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Hello from St Albans, Herts, UK !


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Hi All,

I've been thoroughly bitten by the astronomy bug and after hours and hours of surfing I've come across this excellent forum.

I have no Astronomy kit at all, and as a complete newbie am currently researching my first scope and other kit.

My main aims, i think, are to try and get semi-decent photos of the planets and some DSO's.

My Astro knowledge is pretty much zero. Rather embarrassingly all I remember is from being a boy-scout about 25 years ago is how to recognise the big-dipper and the Pole star etc (..and the moon !), but that's about it.

Over the last few weeks I've been distracted by the flash marketing of the computerised scopes like the Meade Lightswitch series and similar Celestron scopes, but have read learnt enough to realise now that I will need something slightly better if my images are to anything other than tiny fuzzy blobs.

I'm at the point now where I think a nice refractor would suit me. This decision is mainly due to image quality coupled with lack of maintenance, I wouldn't know where to begin with collimation, and portability, something easily set up and put away, and something I could chuck in the back of the car.

My budget keeps growing, but I need to realistically stop at £1500 for the scope and mount. My current muse is the Evostar 120 ED Pro with a HEQ5 Goto Mount.

I have chosen this set up as I'm presuming a 120 is better than a 100 or an 80mm aperture (Really need advice here as this is obviously the budget pinch point), and ashamedly I think I really need a Goto mount to start off with.

Imaging equipment will follow in a later stage of the hobby, but for now I'm thinking of somehow using my Fujifilm HS20EXR with a t-mount.

Am I on the right lines guys? :)

Any help most appreciated.


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Hi, Drakester, and welcome to the forum.

You will get loads of advice, the best thing I can suggest is that you take your time and make sure you know what you are getting and why before parting with the cash.

No shame in a GOTO mount, when it comes to imaging things that cannot be seen through the scope (by eye) it is nigh on essential. For imaging the HEQ5 is generally regarded as a minimum.

A longer focal length gives you a smaller field of view.

A smaller focal ratio (focal length divided by diameter) gives you a brighter image (so shorter exposures and less critical guiding).

That's just some bits and pieces which hopefully will fit into the big picture as you build it.

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Hello Drakester........:)

No doubt you are in the right place to gain valuable info. There are some great stickys to read and it is well worth flicking back through the threads in the equipment section..

Regards to buying a scope it really is best to have a look through a few first so you get a true feel of the options available to you. You have a good budget so you have some good options. Just don't rush it..

Good luck and enjoy...

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Hi Drakestar and welcome to SGL, best advise is do not rush into things but take your time, Astronomy is a long learning curve and you have, by all accounts, just stepped onto it, I do not doubt the forum members will vary in their recommendations, but it is well worth having their first hand knowledge and experience :)


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Hi there Drakester, welcome to SGL :)

Before making a start into astro-photography I really recommend that you read Making Every Photon Count (by SGL's very own steppenwolf).

Easy to read, it's full of good advice aimed at the imaging novice, including choosing the right equipment - explaining what kit you'll need and, more importantly, why. Helping you avoid poor choices and costly mistakes. There's also loads of tips 'n' tricks as well as lots of other vital stuff.

Have a trawl through the imaging sections too. They're full of info and some very experienced and talented folk who, I'm sure, will be more than happy to share advice and guidance with you.

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Hi Drakestar,

Welcome to the lounge.

Think really carefully about what you want/need if you are going down the astro-photography route. I am not an imager so can't give great advice but from what I have seen here you will be hard pressed to find something that is easily set up, have a good look at the imaging section of this forum and ask plenty of questions.

Good luck.

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Hi and welcome to the forum

The best advice is to take your time because as they say, "the stars aren't going anywhere". Ultimately the trick is to buy once and so avoiding the buying and reselling roundabout which proves more expensive in the longer run. Imaging starts with the mount and of course converting a shed into an observatory (Where your total imaging rig is already set up) is the ultimate option, as it will save time and effort when you want to be devoting your attention on data collection. One small thing, there exists thankfully a lot of useful software that is not only great but free too but there are also some other great programs that are not free and so getting books such as "Making Every Photon Count" (FLO £19.95) is essential in having that overview of all that you need right from the beginning - before parting with your cash.

Look forward to reading up on what your decide to get but please ask any questions that you want in the meantime - a bad question is the one you didn't ask. Clear skies in the meantime!


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Hi Drakester welcome to SGL, I'm in Hertford so if want to look through some telescopes/binoculars drop me a pm. I'm visual only though so the telescopes are a smallish dob and a largish dob!


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