SLO requirements

Here are the requirements and expectations for RASC members operating the Sue-Lora Observatory.

The SLO imager is expected to be self-sufficient and not require support of the CAO supervisor.

M13 by Sailu Nemana using the SLO rig. 7x300 sec at 1600 ISO on a Canon 3Ti with clip-in LP filter, 5 dark frames, 15 flats frames.


SLO Imaging Requirements

The SLO provides everything you need to capture astroimages EXCEPT a camera. SLO users MUST provide their own camera.

Most Canon DSLRs and many Nikon DSLRs are compatible with the SLO's Backyard EOS and Backyard Nikon imaging software (see below for other brands of camera). Determine if your Canon or Nikon DSLR compatible with our software.

  1. Open the web page for your Canon or Nikon DSLR camera (links will open in new windows/tabs).
  2. Click on the “Cameras” tab.
  3. Check the “Bulb” column for your camera:
    • If the table says “Yes (usb)”, you need only bring your camera and a USB cable.
    • If the table says “Yes (serial)” or “Not supported”, the SLO computer will not be able to control your camera.

If your camera is not a Canon or Nikon you can still image however you will need to provide your own T-ring.

If your camera is not a Canon or Nikon or the Backyard software table says “Yes (serial)” or “Not supported” your camera will need to be controlled by an intervalometer. Your captured images will be saved to the camera’s flash memory card rather than the SLO computer. You will not be able to review your images on the SLO computer as they are captured; you will need to use the screen on your camera or remove the flash memory card from your camera to transfer the images from your camera to a computer for review.  


Equipment Checklist

  • Digital SLR camera
  • USB cable to connect camera to SLO computer
  • Fully charged camera batteries and charger
  • Empty flash memory cards if necessary (see above)
  • Intervalometer if necessary (see above)
  • T-ring if necessary (see above)
  • USB thumb drive to transfer images from the SLO computer to your computer

Note: You must not transfer large files via the internet due to the CAO speed and bandwidth limitations.


Knowledge Checklist

Astroimaging is a very rewarding pursuit however it can be a complicated one. The CAO committee has endeavoured to make using the SLO as simple as possible however to use the SLO, you should consider yourself at least somewhat technically adept. SLO imagers should be...

  • Comfortable working with software in the Windows operating system.
  • Comfortable with connecting/disconnecting equipment to/from a computer with USB cables.
  • Comfortable operating a computerized telescope mount.
  • Comfortable operating a Crayford type telescope focuser.
  • Comfortable with changing lenses on their camera.
  • Comfortable with configuring the settings of their camera including… 
    • Knowing how to put your camera in Bulb mode.
    • Knowing how to turn off the sleep or power-save mode on your camera.
    • Knowing how to turn off the post capture image review function on your camera.
    • Knowing how to dim the display on your camera.
  • Comfortable with astronomy software to homing, slewing, tracking, etc.

Familiarity with the following software, while not required prior to using the SLO, is also an asset:

  • Backyard EOS/Nikon 
  • TheSkyX
  • PHD2

Please review the SLO Quick Reference Handbook in the SLO documentation page.


Time Slot Requests

  • SLO can only be booked during Supervised weekends.
  • Only one slot can be reserved per weekend.
  • Slots will be allocated by the reservation co-ordinator on a first come by first serve basis based upon your indicated priority.
  • On Friday after 6 pm for a given weekend, unallocated slots may be allocated by the supervisor on a first come by first serve basis.
  • Reservation is forfeited if you are not in the SLO within 10 minutes of the slot start time.
  • Must vacate the SLO in time for the next imagers slot.

See the SLO documentation page for more information, a brief training video, and links to manuals.