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c4xp

Extensible Autoguided Design

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Hi guys,

I want to start a hobby into astronomy, but I want to start it smart.

I don't know if I will stick to it, that's my biggest concern.

I only know that I want a setup which can take pictures, and I read that it has to be autoguided for exposures greater than 90sec.

Basically the first choices I am presented with are:

1. Buy a low grade scope or a pair of binoculars and freeze outside while saving for a expensive professional equipment.

2. Start out using something more expensive, and then find out this is not for me, and then try to sell the whole thing.

3. Buy an ST80 for a main scope, watch some stars and then later (if I will be still in the mood :)) use that as a guide scope for a bigger more powerful reflector.

I have chosen to go with option #3 and this led me here :(

1st question:

Can I use a cheap Schmidt-Cassegrain design instead of the ST80, and later be able to use it to autoguide a more powerful Reflector ? I have read something about 'differential flexure' but I'm not sure if it applies to an SCT or if it's even better..

2nd question

To be able to take pictures, do I need this Imaging Camera (expensive bit of kit but I imagine I could use it later), and then (if I will be still in the mood ;)) use it as a guiding system ?

3rd question

What EQ mount can be autoguided ? Not sure if this has an input port and accepts guiding commands.

4th question

What to buy first ? Only the ST80 ? I already have a tripod which I use with my Nikon d3100

Any other manufacturer is welcomed, I am not fixed on a particular one, the links here are only given by example. (Hope it's ok)

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Hi c4xp!

I battled similar questions myself, trying to find pieces that could stay with me a long time. I decided on an 80mm refractor as it's easy to maintain, easy to travel with and versatile outside astronomy too.

I concidered the Orion camera you mentioned but decided against it. I use (ok plan to use) a Dslr for imaging, again useful outside astronomy, and I'm experimenting with various webcams for guiding. Some come with removable lenses and you can attach a 1.25'' nosepiece to them. Total cost about £25! You can experiment with using the finderscope for guiding. This way very little money is waisted and you'll get a feel for the hobby.

/Jessun

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I did a little research on what my country (Romania) has available at the moment, and the choice between Skywatcher and Orion became a one horse race with Skywatcher winning :)

So the lucky winner is: Skywatcher Startravel 80

Hmm, I wonder if this little gem does have t thread on it ? What do you guys think, is this ok ?

Edited by c4xp
Tried to edit the first post to add details as I make a log didnt work:(

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The ST 80 is a good widefield portable scope and an excellent guidescope. A guidescope needs to give a wide field of the (with plenty of stars to choose from) and have a fast focal ratio so it can get enough light from them quickly, in short exposures. An SCT is, therefore, entirely the wrong choice for guiding.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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Thanks Olly for the answer to my 1st question :) I suspected something but I didn't knew the tech details.

The 5th Question is about what camera I can use for DSI

In the past cameras like ToUCam, Vesta or Philips SPC900NC were used because they had sensible CCDs.

Now my options are:

1. Logitech c510 with mod article here £44.99

2. Microsoft Lifecam HD-5000 with mod article here £49.99

Both have CCD but it seems like microsoft cam is smaller and it will fit inside a cheap eyepiece, the drawback being that it is not on the QCUIAG website :)

What do you guys think ?

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If you know already that you want to take pictures and you're not bothered about looking, buy things with that in mind and forget the rest. I was the same as you and I can tell you that the binoculars I bought have been out the box twice and the fantastic Televue eyepieces I have are just gathering dust (well, they would if they were allowed out of their padded case). Fortunately I got an imaging setup right from the get-go, otherwise I would have sold it all within weeks after the novelty of Saturn, Jupiter, the moon and a couple of double stars had worn off.

If you buy most of you stuff second hand, from the forum here or from astro buy sell - be a bit more careful with EBay - you can pretty much ensure that you'll get all your money back if you do decide to sell in future. If you want to just dip your toes, get an SPC900 webcam and image the planets & moon - you can do that with almost any scope/mount. When you start on Deep Space Objects you'll be wanting the mor expensive stuff.

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dmahon you realized you made 666 posts :) ? Thanks for the feedback , I am still thinking about 2nd hand items but I don't have 50 posts yet to see the market thread

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Hey guys, Please help me before I go completely bonkers: Is CCD still required in the modern era of 4T CMOS and 7T CMOS ?

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I am meeting someone tomorrow for option number four :)

4. Get a second hand Philips 900NC and modify it like here and here

Edited by c4xp

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