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Greetings everyone. I recently scored a great deal on facebook marketplace and bought Skywatcher Skymax 180 mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope (f/15) with EQ6R-pro mount. I understand that long focal length telescopes are more suitable for planetary imaging. However, as I am tight on budget, I would like to use the same scope for deep-sky astrophotography. I have Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera that I am using for taking images. Without autoguiding and a decent polar alignment, I can get ~30 seconds long shots without any star trailing, but that's not sufficient for imaging objects like M51. I would like to be able to integrate longer, say few minutes, thus would like to purchase an autoguider. Here are some specific questions I have. 1). The telescope comes with an 8 x 50 straight-through finder. If I were to use it as a guidescope, what type of image integration time can I expect? Has anyone done autoguiding for f/15 scope with an 8x50 or other finderscopes? 2). If the integration time will be an issue with the 8x50 finder scope, I am open to purchasing an off-axis-guider. However, considering the narrow field-of-view of Mak-180 telescope, I am concerned about not having enough photons from guidestar for autoguiding. For instance, with my DSLR camera, I need to integrate 20-30 seconds to see the nearby stars in M51. What type of OAG and camera would I need to autoguide with my scope? Are there affordable cameras (~$200) that would do the job for me? Would ASI120MM Mini Monochrome (~$150) do the job? What about OAG? I plan to use phd2 software for autoguiding rather than relying on the build-in guide port on the mount. Instead of integrating for hours, I am planning to do DSS stacking of few mintues long multiple shots, hopefully this will put less strict requirements on the autoguider. In case this information is relevant: with my current setup, I have no issue pointing my scope to a desired deep-sky object, track the object within the field-of-view of my DSLR camera for hours using the mechnical tracking of the EQ6 mount. For instance following is a single raw image of Ring nebula taken with 30 seconds shot. But it is not enough for generating high-quality images. Thank you in advance for your help. Regards, Jay
So after a couple of months faffing about, trying stuff out and trawlling the net for ideas, i think i have a solution that works. I wont take credit for basic idea but have refined it to make solution less hassle. So i read on post here and on some american sites that the use of a barlow would sort out the focusing issue and it did however it requires using a barlow between the diagonal and the extension tube. This inceases the length and makes for a wobbly affair. In a moment of enlightenment i wondered if i could combine the barlow and the diagonal to make one unit. I have other skywatcher scopes and so spare barlows and diagonals. I took the lens from a barlow screwed it to the diagonal and had ago hey presto it worked. Whats more using the supplied spacer provided with the ED50 the scope now focuses in the center of travel of the focuser so no issues with lens length etc. was up last night looking at jupiter which was small but clear, split a double or two again small but clear and took a look at andromeda which was not bad considering the moon was out. because of the barlow the magnifications were doubled obviously but being 242 FL the FOV was the same as my 102 travel but wiegt wise probably 1/4 of it 42mm= 10x 32mm= 16x 25mm= 20x 15mm= 32x 12.5mm= 40x 9.5mm= 50x give or take a few units for a holiday affair i am extremely happy and i will be using this scope lots between now and my visit to La Palma in the new year in preparation picture attached for those interested and i will up date as i work out some king of red dot finder fir it cheers Mark