I set up my Celestron SLT 130 (130 mm aperture / 650 mm FL Newtonian on a GoTo AltAz mount), because I thought the bigger aperture and shorter focal length would make finding some sort of target easier than trying to use my 90 mm Mak. I had already worked out in daylight hours that the Newt would reach focus on the sensor quite easily by taking the eyepiece adapter out of the focuser, and screwing the camera body straight onto the M42 T2 thread at the top of the focuser. (That's a great design feature by ZWO - providing the camera body with an integral T2 thread in the camera body AND providing a standard 1 1/2" eyepiece adapter!)
I set up and aligned the telescope, pointed it at the brightest star in the southern sky, took out the eyepiece adapter, and screwed on the camera, and wound the focuser to roughly the position where I knew focus could be found.
Then I plugged the camera into my Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet, started FireCapture http://firecapture.wonderplanets.de/ , and was gob-smacked to see a slightly out-of-focus star image straight away. Wow! Surely it can't be that easy?! I focused to get the sharpest image I could, and fired a few frames - Yep! I was clearly getting recognisable star shots, including a few background stars I hadn't noticed by eye.
I then slewed the telescoped to an old favourite - the 47 Tucanae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/47_Tucanae globular cluster.
I had to manually adjust the telescope alignment a bit to get it centred, but once it was in frame, the SLT's tracking kept it nicely on the sensor. I then fired off a few short videos and BMP series using FireCapture, experimenting with different exposure settings. For each series of shots with new settings, I tried resetting FireCapture's automatic Dark Frame function and taking a new dark frame, to compensate for the changed exposure, gain, sensor temperature, etc.
I then retired indoors to have a look at what I had caught, and what I could extract with stacking frames using AutoStakkert http://www.autostakkert.com/ etc.
And here's what I found:
Some of my AVI videos don't seem to contain any useful data - specifically, any I took with frames with more than 1-second exposures. I'll have to do a bit more digging to see if this is a fundamental restriction with using AVI format captures, or just the settings I was using (or simple "user error"!)
However, the AVI videos with sub-1.0-second exposures seem to be quite usable. I still need to learn a lot about getting the best exposures, but I was pretty chuffed as a first effort! Here's a sample which is 71-seconds duration, at 1280x960 resolution, with 1.00 second shutter-speed and Gain set to 100:
AutoStakkert is super-easy to use! Whether this simplicity limits its capability, I'm not sure, but I think I'll continue to "cut my teeth" on AutoStakkert before going back to RegiStax http://www.astronomie.be/registax/index.html . Here's a quick shot made from the same video, using the best 50% of frames (straight from AutoStakkert with default settings; no other post-processing):
Again, I have a lot to learn, but there's no mistaking it - that's 47 Tuc alright!
Then I thought I'd try some much longer exposures, so I set it up to take a series of BMPs with 60 second exposures - here's a sample (again with Gain set to 100):