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About Crater

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  1. Hello and welcome. I also possess the same AZ system that you describe and have been very pleased with it. Alternatively, I often successfully attach a Reflector telescope ( see signature below ) on this mount. Some success in imaging can also be achieved with this mount if care is taken. There are some useful examples of imaging, including exposures, obtained while using AZ (Alt-Az) mounts, in the excellent forum shown below : http://stargazerslou...hallenge/page-1 Apart from this, I find that up to 30 sec exposure times can be used on an Alt-Az mount without excessive trailing/rotation effects. Good luck.
  2. Hello and Welcome. For Astrophotography, using your type of mount (Alt-Az), have a look at the superb thread below which shows some examples. http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/228101-the-no-eq-dso-challenge/page-1 Good luck.
  3. There are some useful examples of imaging, including exposures, obtained while using Alt-Az mounts, in the excellent forum shown below : http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/228101-the-no-eq-dso-challenge/page-1 Apart from this, I find that 30 sec exposure times can be used on an Alt-Az mount without excessive trailing/rotation effects.
  4. Attached is an image showing an example of a DSO image that can be obtained using an Alt-Az mount. When obtaining the image the equipment I used comprised : Camera : Modified Canon EOS 1100D DSLR plus Light Pollution Filter. Telescope : SkyWatcher 130PDS Reflector plus Coma Corrector. Mount : SkyWatcher AZ GOTO. Capture Software : BackYardEOS. This was imaged on 06 Feb 2015. Exposures were, 30s at ISO 1600, effective f/4.5, using 20 Light frames and 20 Dark frames. The rather short exposure and high ISO being necessary with an unguided AZ type mount in order to prevent star trailing and field rotation. A second set of exposures was also obtained in order to achieve more detail in the bright core of the nebula. This core was over exposed in the first set, whose purpose was to obtain detail in the nebulosity. Exposures for this second set were, 30s at ISO 200, effective f/4.5, using 20 Light frames and 20 Dark frames. When stacking, I was very selective and used only 9 and 8 of the 20 Light frames in each set respectively after rejecting any frames showing signs of star trails or star distortion. Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) was used for all stacking. The output file from DSS for each of the above two sets was processed using both Photoshop CS2 and StarTools. The two different results were then merged using the Layer Masking facility in Photoshop in order to obtain the required High Dynamic Range of this nebula. This prevents the bright core being overexposed, while allowing the detail in the nebulosity to be seen. This Layer Masking technique is that advocated by Jerry Lodriguss on his website. The final image obtained is better than a similar attempt a year previously, as the star shapes and colours are improved. Firstly, I believe that this is because I used a reflector telescope rather than the non-apochromatic refractor in the previous year. Secondly, because I now used a DSLR that had been modified. This modification allows more of the red content of the nebula to be recorded.
  5. Crater

    another newbie

    Hello and Welcome Like you, I am new to this forum, and also possess the system that you describe. I can confirm that the image will not be inverted, but will be reversed from left to right, but will not present a problem. This system is excellent for planets and also for close-ups of the Moon. I have also achieved some good images of the above by attaching a camera to the scope. I have also managed to get images of some of the brighter DSOs like Andromeda, Orion and star clusters. You will enjoy this system. Best of Luck.#
  6. Hello and Welcome Like you, I am new to this forum, also possess the same telescope and mount as you, and also interested in astrophotography. I have used the Philips Webcam SPC900NC as a camera for Moon and Planet photography with success using this system. In addition, I have also used a Canon EOS 1100D DSLR for Moon, Planets and some of the brighter DSOs like Andromeda, Orion and Star Clusters successfully. The limitations on DSO imaging with this mount is that I find the maximum exposure time to be around 30 sec before the stars distort. Hence, you may need to use a high ISO value such as 1600 or even 3200. Don't let this put you off, as it will be possible to achieve some satisfactory images with your system. Best of luck.
  7. Crater


    Hello and Welcome. Like you I am new to this forum and also into astrophotography using a DSLR on, and off, my telescope. I use a Canon EOS 1100D DSLR and found it to be extremely good and possesses the essential live screen facility. I believe that this is not available new now. It has been replaced by the equally good Canon EOS 1200D which is both light and at the low end of the Canon DSLR price range. I am sure that you would be very happy with this popular astrophotography DSLR. Best of luck.
  8. Hello and Welcome Like you, I am new to this forum and also possess the SW Skymax AZ Goto and interested in astrophotography using a DSLR. Some people say that an AZ mount is not suitable for astrophotography but I have found that, with care, good results are possible if you select suitable objects. Good results are obtainable with close-ups of the Moon and also Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. This also applies to some of the brighter DSOs such as Andromeda, Orion and Star Clusters. I am guessing that you used the video facility in your camera for your Moon image. You should use a similar approach for the planets. However, for the less bright DSOs mentioned above you should take a series of images and 'stack' them using the free software 'Deep Sky Stacker' I find that for these images you can take exposures up to about 30 sec using the AZ mount, before the stars appear to distort. Do have a go, and don't be put off by being told that you need a more expensive mount. Best of luck.
  9. Crater


    Hello and Welcome. Like you I am new to this forum and also possess that Alt-Az Goto mount and some telescopes including your 102. My interest is also Astrophotography but I am frequently told that the Alt-Az mount id not suitable for imaging. However, I have found that you can have success and is worth pursuing. I have used two cameras. The first is a Philips SPC900NC webcam, which is now only available second-hand. My main camera is now a Canon EOS 1100D DSLR which includes the important live screen facility, not possessed by older DSLRs. So, older is not better. This 1100D has now been replaced by the similar 1200D. It is the cheapest DSLR in the Canon range and is suitable for astrophotography. The Alt-Az mount is fine for imaging the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and possibly Mars. I have also imaged some of the brighter DSOs like Orion, Andromeda and some of the star clusters. The mount can handle exposures up to about 30 sec with care, but you may need to be selective when stacking. So you will be able to achieve some imaging with your system. Good Luck
  10. I also tried a reducer on the Mak ( a cheap x0.5), but it was rather poor and cut off the corners of the image. This was before I got the reflector. Your reflector is likely to possess a much lower Focal Length than the Mak. Hence, in my experience would be much better, and cheaper, to use that for any wider field applications than a reducer on the Mak. The big advantage of the Mak is its high magnification and narrow field of view, hence ideal for Jupiter, Saturn and close-ups of the Moon. Regards
  11. Welcome Keith. Like you, I have also just joined this forum, am also retired and also possess the SW Skymax 127 Goto Mak. I am assuming that this is the Alt-Az mount. I have had this scope for about 2 years and found it very good, particularly for the moon and planets. If you get a 15mm eyepiece and possibly a x2 Barlow, if you do not already have one, the possible combinations will cover all your requirements. I have also successfully attached both a DSLR and a webcam to it and achieved some success at astrophotography. Better results being obtained with bright objects such as the moon and planets and some DSOs. I also possess a SW 130PDS reflector telescope that works well on this mount and is better for observing/imaging wider field objects such as Andromeda etc. I am sure you will enjoy your system.
  12. I am in the North Herts area, and a member of the Letchworth and District Astronomical Society (LDAS).
  13. Thank you for your reply. I find that if I limit my subs to 30 sec and use an ISO value of 1600, or even 3200, I can often obtain satisfactory stacking using Deep Sky Stacker, providing that I am selective with my subs. This is all OK with the brighter DSOs, but recently I was very unsuccessful when trying to image the Heart Nebula using these sort of exposures.
  14. Hello, I have just joined SGL today. I started my interest in astronomy a couple of years ago. My main interest is in trying to make progress in Astrophotography while using only an Alt-Az Goto mount. I know that I should be using an EQ mount, but I do not wish to change now. I am a member of a local Astronomy society and I think that I am alone in trying to use an Alt-Az system for imaging. My Telescopes elescopes are a SW 130PDS Reflector with Coma Corrector, and a SW 127 Mak. My Cameras are a modified Canon EOS 1100D DSLR together with a Philips SPC900NC Webcam. I was first attracted to this forum because I noticed the thread entitled 'No EQ DSO Challenge', which was refreshing. I hope to post some of my previous efforts on that thread shortly.
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