Before beginning, we highly recommend that you turn off any screen savers and adjust the setting for your laptop so that it won’t automatically shut itself off for the lack of activity. We also recommend that you turn off any WIFI or internet connection while using Nebulosity. We have found that the laptop works best when it is dedicated to only Nebulosity and no other program except PHD autoguiding.
We will assume that you have your camera attached, A/C power supply (ACK-700) connected to the camera because long exposure photography will eat a NB-2LH battery in no time. You also have the Canon EOS USB cable connected to the computer and camera. You’ll need a Shoestring Astronomy DSUSB cable or other suitable cable to control the shutter connected to the remote shutter control of the camera and the other end attached to the computer.
There is not much to Camera control as Nebulosity does all the work, but there are two things that you need to do before starting. Set the Canon EOS to “M” manual. Set the auto-off control to “off” otherwise the camera will turn itself off after 2 minutes leaving you scratching your head as to why it’s not taking photos. Don’t worry about ISO setting or image size. Nebulosity will control those items.
Important USB information: Some laptops only have one or two USB ports. This will present a problem for using all the USB controlled items such as the mouse, remote shutter control, autoguiding, and image capture and camera control. Newer laptops only have three or four ports which may not be enough. I humbly recommend that you purchase a 7-port “powered” USB hub. A laptop USB port only has 5VDC @ 500 mA. That will not be enough to power all the accessories.
On your laptop, I recommend that you create a folder to the target object. That will prevent any future mistakes during processing. If you’re taking an image of the Trifid, make a folder in “My Documents,” called “Trifid.”
If the laptop is not already on, boot it up. Go through a checklist to prevent Murphy from ruining a night’s imaging. Does my laptop have appropriate power to last the evening? Is the camera power supply plugged in? Is the USB hub power turned on? Shutter control cables connected? Camera control cable connected to the laptop? Red flashlight to see the keyboard? And the list goes on….
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