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'AP on a Shoestring' Project

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Nigeyboy

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Hi all,

 

Thanks for dropping into my blog – I have had over 9000 views in total now, which is incredible, so thanks all! As you will know if you have read the previous posts (dating back 4 years or so), I have very slowly been pulling together various bit and pieces of astro gear. Currently I have the following:

Skywatcher EQ3-2 mount (white, non-motorised) – second hand for £90 off ABS

Skywatcher 150PL OTA – new from RVO for about £180

25mm, 10mm eyepieces and 2 x Barlow (came with scope)

Cheshire collimating device – new from RVO for £25

Celestron 20x80 bins – new from RVO for £99

Old Dell Laptop – Downloaded all the free software I can find for it. Free – old works one that wasn’t wanted.

CMy trusty Canon 400D with EF-S 17-55mm f2.8

A dodgy old Webcam – this has been duly butchered and adapted to allow me to slot into the focuser.

From the above, all but the Canon have been procured over the past 4 years, and only the OTA and Bins where purchased new. Going forward, anything I buy I will note how much I have spent.

So, I have set myself a personal challenge!! I want to try and show AP can be done on a small modest set up like this! Up till now, its been purely visual that I have been doing. However, alongside that I have decided to dip my toe into AP. My interest was piqued while on holiday in Cornwall a few weeks back. I took some very basic (and out of focus!) shots of the Milkyway, and was impressed with what detail a single 30 sec exposure teased out.

Now, general wisdom states that to get into AP, one needs to start with a decent, solid mount such as the HEQ5. I’m not one to argue with wisdom, but I don’t have the funds for big mount right now, nor for any guiding stuff to make things easier, or even a dedicated astro-cam! So, I have decided to see what can be done on a real budget with the kit that I currently have. The only addition I intend to make is to add the Dual Enhanced motors to the mount. I'm getting these for my Birthday at the start of October! Over the coming months, this blog will highlight the ups and downs of my journey. The aim is to start simple, and work upwards as my skills and patience get better!! I have also discovered the 'Imaging with the EQ3 mount' thread here on SGL, so that will be a good guide as well.

I intend to try widefield to start with – using my DSLR directly connected to the EQ mount. I also am going to attempt to use the webcam for Lunar and some Planetary photography. Moving on, I may even try some AP with the Canon attached to the 150PL – but lets walk first eh?! I am also planning some DIY on the scope and mount, and will do my best to document this as well. First job is some ring rotator’s, and that will be in the next post!

 I hope you drop in and see how I am getting on!

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