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    Falmouth, Cornwall UK

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  1. Thank you so much for your reply it's come just in time. I'm actually in the Pyrenees now. I've spent the last couple of nights at a place called Lac de Bious Artigues in the Laruns area. Crystal clear skies so far but the forecast is for it to turn soon. You've given me lots of great info just when I was wondering where to go next, thank you.
  2. Lol, that reminds me - pack sunglasses.
  3. I've got 2 weeks off work, a campervan ready to go and the Plymouth to Roscoff ferry booked for Weds evening. The intention is to drive to somewhere in the Pyrenees for a week of nightscape/landscape astrophotography (call it what you will I'm talking about photos of picturesque mountains with the Milky Way in the background). I've never been to the Pyrenees and have very little knowledge of the area so any advice or location suggestions would be much appreciated. Currently my only thoughts are to visit the area near Pic du Midi de Bigorre purely because I know there's an observatory there and so hopefully dark skies. My main concern is obviously about the weather but the forecast for the end of this week is looking good. Any longer term forecasts quite frankly I don't trust. Anyone with any tips or advice I'd love to hear from you.
  4. I did ask Altair Astro if the scope and flattener would be suitable for full frame before purchasing and their reply was "Yes just!" which gave me a clue that some cropping might be necessary. I'll give the 1100D a try but I think I'll be disappointed with it's sensitivity. I'm thinking about a 100D if I can find a cheap one. I believe it's the lightest DSLR canon do and the sensor seems pretty good for astro. I imagine it'll be easy enough to mod. I've done 3 DSLR mods in the past.
  5. I use a 6D for milky way photography. I have a Samyang 14mm f2.8 which is great for the money. Gives good results wide open although the stars are skewed as you get closer to the edges - still very good but noticeable if you're a perfectionist (not good for large prints). I've recently bought a Tamron sp 15-30mm f/2.8 di vc usd. This lens is exceptional with much better stars at the edges than the Samyang. This performance comes at a cost though as the Tamron is much more money than the Samyang. It's also a beast of a lens weighing over a kilo and very large. I call mine the Behemoth. I wanted it because I found the fixed focal length of the Samyang a bit restrictive with regard to composition however in the short time I've used it I've rarely used it at anything other than 15mm.
  6. Last night was first light with the Star Adventurer and Altair Starwave 70ED. First lesson learnt was to make sure you've got good batteries in the SA! I thought I'd overloaded it and spent ages trying to get it balanced and double checking PA only to find the old batteries I'd put in had run out of juice. Once I had new batteries in it performed as well as I could have hoped. I managed 1 minute subs of which 90% were keepers. I'm already sourcing a better tripod as my carbon Benro photographic tripod is too bendy with that much load. I'm thinking about getting an old EQ tripod. I'm sure with a better tripod I can improve the PA and push the subs a bit longer. Here's a very quick stack of Andromeda using the Canon 6D, uncropped with very little editing done. I need to investigate the spacing for the field flattener because as you can see it's not doing a very good job with heavy vignetting. This may be because I'm using a full frame camera. If anyone can tell me why I get hollow stars with DSS I'd love to know (I may start another thread about this). Currently I wouldn't recommend this set-up for someone starting out with the SA. Balancing the scope is right on the limit with the 6D attached so much so that you have to have the L bracket mounted so low on the SA that you can't use the illuminated polar scope with the L bracket attached. In hindsight I wish I'd gone for a 60mm scope...
  7. As an update I have the Star Adventurer and Altair Astro 70ED set up in the spare room. The 70ED is much bigger than I envisioned - I think I may have ordered the wrong scope... Naturally I've weighed everything as I've loaded it up onto the Star Adventurer. With the 70ED, Reducer, 6D, L bracket and counterweight I'm coming in very close to the max payload of the Star Adventurer - never a good idea for astrophotography! I can save a couple of hundred grams by using my 1100D instead of the 6D but I really want to be able to use both. In order to get everything balanced I've had to flip the supplied dovetail base so it's facing backwards and the counterweight is at full extension. I'm already planning in my head ways of mounting any future guiding set-up on the end of the counterweight bar and replacing the counterweight. There's potentially some clear skies tonight so hopefully I'll get a chance to test it. Not sure my tripod is stiff enough though.
  8. Yeah I was thinking about the WO 61 until I saw the Altair 60EDF but then I saw the 70 ED and realised with the right Flattener/Reducer I could have a faster scope. Hopefully the 70 ED will be alright cos I just ordered one from Altair. Focal length shouldn't be an issue as I'm getting the 0.8x Reducer/Flattener which will bring it down from 420mm to 336mm. We'll see if I can get away without guiding - the whole point of this setup is to keep it simple and quick to use. One of the reason's I stopped imaging with my old kit (HEQ5, CCD,Laptop, Autoguiding etc) was because I got fed up with spending over an hour to set-up only to get 5 minutes imaging time before clouds rolled in. I don't know if it's because I live near an estuary in Cornwall but that used to happen a lot! I'll try and keep this post updated with my results for anyone interested although it might take a while. I haven't even got the Star Adventurer yet. I have the Star Adventurer Mini which I'll probably put the 70 ED on just for giggles while I wait for it's bigger brother to arrive
  9. Which would you choose for DSLR astrophotography with a Skywatcher Star Adventurer? The Altair Astro 60 EDF F6 weighing 1.5Kg https://www.altairastro.com/60EDF-ED-R-Refractor-Telescope.html or the Altair Starwave 70 ED F6 (using a 0.8x Flatenner/Reducer will be F4.8) and weighing 2Kg? Both cost about the same and have similar focal lengths, the 70 ED being slightly wider at 336mm. Currently I'm favouring the 70 ED mostly because of the faster F-Ratio but also because it comes with some nice little accessories like a case and red dot finder (I know the accessories shouldn't sway me but they do). I'm just a bit worried about the extra weight - I know it will fall well within the max payload of a Star Adventurer but I like to have plenty of room for adding extra stuff later. If any of you are already using this scope or similar with the Star Adventurer I'd love to hear of your experience with it. I assume the 60 EDF has better quality glass as the blurb seems to make a fuss about S-FPL 53 glass but I don't know what that means to be honest. Thanks in advance for your comments and by all means jump in with a "I wouldn't choose either of those I'd choose..." answers. My budget is around the £500 mark including a flattener.
  10. I was thinking of subtracting 1/3 but the new price of an OTA is £1069 which would make the asking price £700 and I'm pretty sure I didn't pay that much. It's one of the reasons I've made this post. I think I'll go with £450 ono and see if I get any interest. Thanks for the advice.
  11. I have a Celestron C8 OTA with the Starbright XLT coatings and Fastar compatible that I am about to sell but for the life of me I can't remember what I paid for it! I seem to remember buying it (used) on a bit of a whim and have only used it myself once or twice. It's in great condition and I'll be throwing in some accessories such as dew shield, cheap eyepieces etc. A quick browse shows used ones selling from £300 to £500 which is quite a big difference in price. Would anyone be kind enough to suggest a reasonable asking price.
  12. Thanks for the offer. Like I said I'm going to wait until I get the SAM and try it with my existing tripod before I make a decision. If I decide to go for the SW tripod I'll send you a PM to see if you still have it. I should have the SAM by the weekend so hopefully I'll have a chance to try it out and get an idea of what it needs in the way of a tripod.
  13. Thanks for the quick replies everyone. Mr niall that's reassuring to hear although JamesF and kendg have now got me thinking of alternatives! I hadn't realised carbon tripods had got so cheap. I think I'll wait until the SAM arrives and try it with my Benro tripod. If I think the Benro's solid enough I'll get something like the Neewer mentioned above (I like the idea it could work as a spare if my Benro breaks). If not I'll go for the Skywatcher tripod.
  14. Has anyone out there tried the Skywatcher Star Adventurer tripod? (https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az5-deluxe/sky-watcher-tripod-for-star-adventurer-mini.html) I've just ordered a star adventurer mini bundle and I'm now looking for a sturdy portable tripod to mount it on. The Skywatcher Star Adventurer tripod looks like it would fit the bill but I can't find any reviews about it anywhere. The price tag is very reasonable and the weight also seems pretty good (for the money) but this just makes me think that it might not be any better than my existing tripod which is perfect for DSLR photography but probably won't be solid enough for the Star Adventurer Mini. I need a 2nd tripod anyway as the idea is I carry 2 cameras to locations and have the ability to take tracked images at the same time as conventional untracked shots or timelapses. Just a note before I get lots of replies telling me to just use a HEQ5 tripod or similar - this has to be portable. For example I'd need to be able to carry it up Pen y Fan along with all my other gear so weight is an important factor. I'm also not looking to take images with long focal lengths either. My main interest is (ultra) wide angle astro shots in interesting locations. I'm bound to try longer focal lengths with the SAM at some point but I don't expect good results. Hopefully someone that has tried the tripod will read this and give their opinion. If not I'm open to suggestions for a good, sturdy, relatively lightweight and compact tripod preferably for under £100 (previous experience tells me such a thing doesn't exist!). Thanks in advance.
  15. If you have a look at my album in my profile there are a few I took with the 450D that I modded myself. Probably not the best examples of what can be achieved. Also worth noting some of the images were taken with a Atik 314L+ but the notes should identify the ones taken with the 450D.
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