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About lrt75914

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  1. Is there any news on the Astrotrac 360? A lot of vendors here in Germany switched the delivery time from '1 - 2 weeks' to 'unknown'. Seems to me that they missed their delivery date.
  2. Hi guys, Sorry for not checking back on my thread a bit sooner - work has been keeping me busy these last couple of days. Thanks for putting me in touch with @DirkSteele. I really appreciate it :). I have been looking at the Baby-Q and I have read a lot of good things about Takahashi in general. The guys on cloudy nights also suggested the Epsilon 130 as the most aperture one can get when looking at airplane portable telescopes. I have, however, heard from a vendor here in Germany that the quality control from Takahashi has been lacking in the last couple of years. It's the only time I've heard of any problems with that brand, but I generally trust his opinions so I'm not quite sure what to think. The APM scope looks interesting albeit a bit heavy. I was thinking of getting an Avalon M-Zero as a travel mount. A lot of people seem to think that suggested maximum load capacity of 8kg is on the conservative side. I'm just not sure if that mount can accommodate all the necessary imaging accessories when the telescope itself is already that heavy. Do you use the APM scope for astro imaging and if so, is there any mount that you could recommend to go with it? I know astrotrac is going to release its 360 mount with a supposed imaging instrument capacity of 10 kg. But I'm not going to trust any marketing numbers unless they have been substantiated by independent reviews. If there is a travel mount that could carry a 7kg telescope the APM LZOS 105/650 would be a likely candidate. Otherwise I'm going to have to look at the Takahashi as an alternative. I have not thought of a tripod as of today. I'm still looking at all the portable mounting options that are available. Since the Astrotrac 360 is just around the corner I was thinking of waiting on a couple of reviews before I make a decision on that. The Avalon M-Zero, however, is a strong contender. Do you think the Gitzo tripod would mesh well with the Avalon M-Zero mount? I think weight is more of a limiting factor for me than weight. That's what drew me to the Baader Travel Companion. Fairly large aperture in a small and light package. In the end, though, any large aperture will do as long as I can still find a mount for it. I have a Skywatcher StarAdventurer in my arsenal and had been looking at the RedCat as well. Some of the posts here on stargazerslounge.com seem to suggest that that scope suffers from misshapen stars, though. It is certainly worth a thought, but right now I just wanted to now what the ultimate travel rig would look like and how much it would cost (within a certain limit). Thanks for the link and thank all of you for taking the time and answering my questions.
  3. Hi everyone, The weather in my area has been pretty poor in the last couple of months/years and I'm getting really frustrated with the limited imaging time I can squeeze out of the local skies throughout the year. For a long time I've been thinking about putting together a portal astrophotography setup and my last trip to the nevada dessert finally settled it for me - I need a imaging kit that I can take on the plane with me. Since I already own a Sony Alpha 7, the obvious choice would be to get a quality lens. However, I'm not much of a daytime photographer and I really don't see a reason to spent all that man on a camera lens that I'm not going to fully utilize. I've been scouring the internet for a travelscope that could fit in a carry on bag and so far, the best glass I've found is the Baader APO 95/560 CaF2 Travel Companion. I was wandering if anybody here has any experience with the Travel Companion or if there are better alternatives out there within that still fit my budget? Cheers, Patrick
  4. Hi everyone, After months of bad weather I finally had the opportunity to give my new Skywatcher Esprit 100, which I bought last summer, a try. I was able to take a couple of pictures of NGC2023 and NGC2244 and I am quite happy that I was finally able to use my telescope for anything other than collecting dust. However, the shape of the stars in my test images look a bit weird to me. Maybe it's because I'm used to images from my newtonian telescope, but the brighter stars from my Esprit 100 look a bit bloated to me. I used the following setup: Skywatcher Esprit 100 Skywatcher AZ-EQ 6 Borg Collective 50mm Guide Scope ZWO ASI 1600 MM Cool ZWO ASI 174 (Guide camera) Microtouch Focuser EKOS running on a Raspberry Pi 3 Both images are 600s Luminance subs with the Gain set to 200 and Gamma to 21. Hopefully you guys can give me any feedback on weather these images are acceptable or not. Best, Patrick
  5. Thank you for the advice. I did check all the manuals that are available to me and so far they've all said the same thing. I don't now if the design of the flattener changed but the one that I've got has a M66x1 thread on it's backside which can be stepped down to a M48x0,75 thread with a preinstalled 8mm extension tube. Therefore the flattener has 55mm of back focus with and 63mm of back focus without the preinstalled extension tube. At least that's the information I've been supplied with. I will, however, check with my telescope supplier to see if he can confirm these measurements. Lucky you
  6. I used one of those variable spacers before and wasn't a big fan of it. It wasn't very sturdy and seemed to introduce a slight tilt in the optical path. Thank you for your suggestion though :).
  7. Hey all, I recently bought a Skywatcher Esprit 100 and I’m generally quite happy with the quality of the telescope. Since I’m located in Germany I tried to order a couple of extension tubes and an adapter from a German retailer to fit my ZWO ASI 1600 MM Cooled camera to my new telescope. As it transpired, however, the German retailer was blissfully unaware that their Chinese manufacturer does not seem to exercise any quality control whatsoever, making any of the ‚precisely machined‘ adapters absolutely useless. I'm now thinking of ordering a custom machined extension tube because I had it with ordering dozens of different adapters that never fit as well as they should. Before I do, however, I wanted to make sure that I have the correct optical length for the costume adapter. According to Skywatcher the backfocus for The Skywatcher Esprit 100 Field Flattener measures 63mm from the M66x1 thread to the camera sensor. I use the ZWO EFWMini filter wheel with an eff. optical length of 20mm and the 1600 MM camera with a back focus distance of 6.5mm. That means that there are 63mm - 20mm - 6.5mm = 36.5mm left that I need to bridge with the adapter. Furthermore, since I use a monochromatic sensor, I also need to account for the effect that the filters have on the overall back focus distance. If I'm not mistaken this means that I need to add 1/3rd of the filter thickness to the 36.5 mm. I'm currently using ZWO ASI's RGB-L Filter set which are 1.9mm thick. I'm also using the Baader H-alpha 7nm CCD Narrowband-Filter which is 2mm thick. Thus, the effective optical length of the adapter should be 36.5mm + 0.66mm ≈ 37.17mm. In the future, however, I may want to buy a set of Astrodon filters which have a thickness of 3mm. This means that the adapter should have a length of 37.5mm. My idea was to go with the 'future proof' option and order the adapter with an overall length of 37.5mm. Does anyone here know if this would result in a noticeable degradation of the image quality when using the ZWO ASI Filter Set - i.e. noticeable field curvature/aberrations at the edge of the frame? Furthermore, I was told to subtract 1mm from the optical length of the adapter to allow for fine tuning using spacer rings. I'm not a big fan of these spacer rings so my second question is whether you guys reckon that this is an advisable thing to do? Cheers, Patrick
  8. Thank you guys for all the kind words. I am so glad that I heeded the advice from so many people on this forum telling me that I should automate my imaging rig. Having these images is nice but seeing the eclipse with my own eyes was magical. What a weird and wonderful sight to behold. Thanks for the heads up. My dad and I are already planning our next solar eclipse Holliday . To be perfectly honest I am happy that the eclipse was partially covered by clouds. A perfect set of images would have been lovely, but my cloud covered shots are unique to me and will always remind me of how the clouds opened up just at the right moment for us to enjoy the eclipse. We were visiting friends near Lake Glenville and their friends invited us over to their mountain house to watch the eclipse. Since I didn't want to fiddle around with my imaging rig once totality came around I set up my telescope at four o'clock in the morning to get precise polar alignment and focus. It was a crazy day and we were worried that the thick layer of clouds would block our view, but it all worked out in the end. Edit: Here's a video of the eclipse that my dad took with his drone. Hope you like it :).
  9. Hey guys, We had a lot of clouds in NC but i managed to take a couple of nice pictures of totality. Enjoy!
  10. Thank you guys for all the kind remarks! That's a pretty nice setup you got there. What software are you using to control the imaging/guiding camera? Yeah, I forgot to mention that I used the TSRED279 Photoline Corrector in conjunction with the telescope to capture those wide field images. It's a nice enough combination although I'm not to impressed with the star shapes at the edge of the frame. But, considering how portable and relatively cheap the 'scope is, one cannot really complain about these minor shortcomings. The setup does balance out but that is as far as I would try to push the star adventurer before moving on to my larger mounts. If your polar alignment is spot on you might be able to get 3min unguided subs out of the system, provided you are using a sturdy enough tri-pod.
  11. Hey guys, I used the clear sky on Saturday night to squeeze in a couple of shots of the Andromeda Galaxy with a TS-60-Apo that I borrowed from a local telescope vendor. Since I was to lazy to travel to the nearest 'low-light' area I set up my equipment in my garden. Although light pollution was pretty high due to a pesky street lamp, I was able to capture 56x1 min subs before dew started building up on the telescope. Post-processing was done using PixInsight. Equipment: Camera: Nikon D5300 Mount: Skywatcher Star-Adventurer Telescope: TS-Optics Photoline 60mm f/5,5 FPL53 Apo
  12. Are you going to image the total eclipse with or without the solar film?
  13. The raspberry pi is running an indi server and is connected to my camera, mount, focuser and guiding camera. I use my laptop and kstars to connect to the indi server and control my whole setup, so dithering would still be possible. The ZWO OAG features a 8*8mm prism, which may not fully cover the 11*7mm sensor of the ASI174. Since, however, the ASI is the most sensitiv camera of the bunch and the second most sensitiv camera (Ultrastar) has a smaller sensor, lower frame rate and is more expensive, I figured there is no point in worrying about the pickoff prism not covering the whole imaging sensor. Furthermore, I might want to delve into planetary imaging down the line so the camera seemed like a future proof investment. This may be an idiotic thing to say but, is it really going to be that much more difficult to find guide stars through an OAG when the imaging scope has such a short focal length? I have had some problems with qhy and their drivers and the ZWO ASI 174 MM seems to be almost identical - apart from the form factor.
  14. That sounds like you'll be sweating spinal fluid. Are you going to use a special software to control your canon? I guess the D5300 will deliver nice enough photos in spite of the lossy compression. I'm just annoyed to no end that there is no option to turn the lossy compression off. It just sounds like something that the marketing team came up with to justify the price tag for some of the higher end models.
  15. I think I understand what you're saying. According to DxoMark there are, however, plenty of entry level cameras from both Nikon and Canon that have already surpassed the low light performance of the Canon 1100D despite their higher pixel count. There are also those who say that Canon's cameras are subpar when compared to the low light performance of Nikon and Sony cameras. But that's to be expected, I guess. I have done some digging and it seems like the Nikon D5300 is the bee's knees when it comes to affordable 'astro' DSLRs. There is, however, the big problem of the lossy compression scheme the D5300 uses to store its NEF files. Why Nikon doesn't offer a lossless option is beyond me. The whole APS-C DSLR market seems a bit fubar to me. The more I read about those cameras the less I know what's good or not. There are some cameras that would definitely fit me needs, but somehow Nikon/Canon keep f***ing it up with some odd software design choices. Anyway, thank you for your reply
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