Hi Ed..... Congrats on the scope....they are very nice. Since they used different focuser combinations on different production runs, I need to know what is missing and how the focuser mounts to the telescope; can you attach a photo to your reply so that I can see which one you have?
I will try here.... The simple answer is DIVIDE the focal length of your telescope system at prime focus by 50; the "50" is the inherent magnification of "1" being that of a standard 50mm camera lens. Thus if you image at 2000mm prime focus, then it is 2000 divided by 50 or simply 40x magnification.
Now, if you double the focal length with a 2x barlow, then you have effectively a prime focus of 4000mm, or about 80x with a camera, no lens, shooting at prime focus with the barlow inserted.
If your barlow is giving you 2.4x, then your focal length should be 4800mm (if using a regular 8" f/10 telescope), divided by 50, then gives you an "apparent magnification" of 96x.
Hope this helps somewhat. NOTE that when using any amplifier OR focal reducer, the numbers are NOT always precise in terms of actual "2x" or "3x", etc. The only way of knowing your exact focal length in milimeters is to do a plate solve with a photo against a known star field and keep plugging values that you "think" your focal length is until you get it to match....at that point the PC program will provide you with the exact focal length of your system with whatever optical device is applied.
This is really a very fine job of stacking, Ron.....I am glad that James let you know to stack on the comet and not the stars for a prolonged exposure. Short exposures do not reveal the large proper motion of the comet, but over time you will get trailing since your telescope is tracking sidereally.
Good job. The comet has been in the trees surrounding the observatory the entire apparition, so you have done far better than ASO.
What stacking program are you using? Actually the laying density will vary from camera to camera and from shot to shot; never assume that what worked on the previous image will be right for the next one.
It is, in my opinion (....and I am an asteroid guy.....):
1) ludicrous; 2) total waste of resources and money; 3) waste of time that could be spent developing space exploration; 4) not going to happen.
This is governmental politics for the sake of "wowing" the people of the United States at its best.
We can do the same thing on the moon for far less money and far less effort.
Would you rather see exploration of Mars or hooking up some tiny rock so that Bruce Willis can go drill holes in it? Government meddling in science that they have no concept of....like the one senator who was quite vocal about the fact that the Apollo asteroid that blew up over Russia was faked by the Russian government to mislead the USA.
First thing to check and very likely the cause of this is that one (or both) of your two nylon transfer gears has come loose in the DEC drive; simply remove the DEC lock and fake circle; then take out the multitudes of small Allen head screws that hold on the plastic cover and remove that. With power off and scope unplugged, rotate gently one of the white gears to the left of the motor until you can see the small set screw on its shaft collar; using a 0.05" Allen tool, check to see if that gear is firm on its shaft....rock the gear slightly back and forth before attempting to tighten to get it in position. Check the second gear the same way....I bet a dollar to a donut that one of those two gears is slightly loose on the shaft.
Another interesting aspect and good catch you your photo, Ron, is that you have captured the very elusive ION TAIL, which you can barely make out in a "6:30" position coming from the comet nucleus; this ion tail on PanStarrs has not been recorded but by a very few people. I can clearly detect it on your stacked image.
In my opinion, and as one of the top comet trackers in the world, I can say without hesitation that Michael Jager is beyond a doubt the finest comet photographer today. His images are always well planned and very perfectly processed without exception. Just like the 6-hour drive to the Alps to escape local weather conditions, he seems to always come up with some solution to capture the best of all the comets.
Click to get an enlarged version of the incredible photograph taken by comet photographer Michael Jager, who traveled 6 hours to the Austrian Alps in search of clear and dark skies in which to obtain this most remarkable photograph.
This shows Comet c2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) with its remarkable fanned tail below the Great Andromeda Galaxy *Messier 31* and even a random meteor streaking across the sky at the top of the photograph; a faint silhouette of the mountains is seen at the lower left. You can clearly see the dust lanes and Messier 32 as well in this image, which shows absolutely no sky glow and no light pollution, something rare for today's astronomers.
Photo was taken after sunset (19:00 UT) on April 1, 2013. His equipment consisted of a Leica-APO-Tele 180mm f/4 lens with a Sigma 6303 CCD camera.
Hats off to Michael for this rarest of all astrophotos. This has been posted on ASO with Michael Jager's permission.
NOTE that this is NOT a full resolution posted image, as it had to be greatly reduced in order to fit on the ASO Forum restrictions.
Wow, that surprises me....are you sure that you had the right field? The comet is right now at mag. 4.0 and is highly concentrated with a huge fanned tail; the tail is quite faint but the head of the comet is quite intense and appears stellar in a small to medium telescope. You may have been looking right at it, and assumed it was a bright star.