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Budget DSO showcase

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All taken with an unmodded 450d with an ST80 clone, mounted on a Celestron NexStar SLT (scope and mount cost £100).

m42.jpg

m38adj3.jpg

m52bubble.jpg

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Nice to see you got some red on the bubble with a stock camera John. I plan to have a go at that when it comes round again.

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An un-guided attempt from me, and not a DSO that has been posted in this thread yet, The M45 Pleiades. IMO this is a must try target for any modest setup.....

Stan :)

6977392773_492331578d_b.jpg

m45-redo1 by James stannard, on Flickr

Edited by stan26

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An un-guided attempt from me, and not a DSO that has been posted in this thread yet, The M45 Pleiades. IMO this is a must try target for any modest setup.....

Stan :)

That's a beauty Stan :)

The only M45 I have that is any good is a guided one on a bigger mount.

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Cheers Rik, I find M45 a real challenge to process. Il never leave the above image alone, its one of those forever ongoing tweaking images......

Stan

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I probably ought to provide a breakdown..

ST80 Clone (Konus Vista 80s) - £60

Celestron NexStar 60 SLT (scope didn't get used) - £42

Canon 450d (a little over budget) - £400 if I remember correctly.

Still all in, under the overall budget.

However, I got an HEQ5 and a lot of the frustrations of using an AltAz mount stopped being a problem.

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I cant remember exact to the penny cost's, but mine goes something like this.

Un-guided setup. (Bare in mind I already had a DSLR)

EQ3-2 complete with dual axis motors, 2nd hand £122 (ebay)

Startravel ST102 fast achro scope £150 (FLO)

T adapter £15 (FLO)

Remote timer control £20 (amazon)

Bahtinov mask (home made) £0

Total cost £307. And that gives you results like M45 above.

Guided conversion using same mount.

DIY Pier approx £30 for materials.

Guide scope (made from frac I already had) £0

Guide scope rings, made from old metal utensil holder £0

Guide cam, logitech quickcam pro 4000 £6 ebay

Serial interface adapter to PC £50 (shoestring astro USA)

Additional cables required £15 (kenable UK)

Laptop for guiding, already had £0

Guide software PHD £0

Total cost to start guiding £101, and that gives you results like my first post M42.

Total cost for a full 5min sub guided setup £408!!

Add in the cost of a DSLR, say a 2nd hand 350D (£150) and a cheap 2nd hand laptop like an early dell lattitude £30 thats about £580-600 all in.

Stan :)

Edited by stan26

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Ok, I can see this is going to get competitive!

Shouldn't we quote prices for new kit unless the item is no longer available? The EQ3-2 with dual motor is quoted as £255 at FLO. An EQ2 with single-axis motor is £177.

I also think that you have to budget for guide optics even if you can reuse an existing finderscope.

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this is what i managed with the celestron nexstar 4 and canon350D,it is just a 30 second exposure no stacking or photoshopping, from camera to here,

Might get a Nexstar 6SE then if that's achievable with a 4" :)

Nice photo Mike :)

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Another thing I just need to ask but I may have already worked it out for myself.

Are the diffraction spikes round the stars on images the result of using a Newtonian and are caused by the thin vanes of the spider holding the front mirror???

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I'm not botherd about getting competitive, that's not the point. But we should be sure to include all the bits we used or set some ground rules for what is included and what isn't. Do you have to include sofware? laptop? Obsy? All these things contribute to being able to produce the images.

I would suggest to include:

Mount and accessories (including polarscopes and any autogiding system if used)

Scope

Camera and adptors, filters etc. But only if dedicated CCD or modified for astronomical use. e.g. if a Photographer has a 7D or something and it's not been modified, then that shouldn't count because you'll not get any better images with that than with a SH 1000D for £100. If you take the filter out, then it's an 'astro' camera and should be included. If it's a stock camera then only include the adaptors and filters.

Don't include laptop and software or observatory.

It should be based on new price rather than SH or the price actually paid.

150P / EQ3-2 £279

Dual axis motor £91

Polar scope £32

2" T mount adaptor £20

2" SW LPR filter £26.50

I'm going to include my camera since although not modified it was originally purchased for astro use. 1000D + EF-s 18-55 £384 (this is the price of the 1100D kit at Wex)

So £832 for me.

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Might get a Nexstar 6SE then if that's achievable with a 4" :)

Nice photo Mike :)

I wouldn't. The focal ratio is to slow and the mount is altaz. You want a fast scope on an EQ mount.

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Orion in a fairly dark sky with a standard second hand Canon EOS 500D with standard 18-55mm lens at 18mm, balanced on open car window with engine running (to keep warm) parked up on the side of a main road, no tracking, no guiding, single image (no stacking), ISO1600, 31 sec exposure, resized down to 1/4 normal size. 18th Feb 2012 8:40pm

Their are some lovely images in this thread! .. amazing what you guys do really.

post-32860-13387774631_thumb.jpg

Edited by Cath

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Another thing I just need to ask but I may have already worked it out for myself.

Are the diffraction spikes round the stars on images the result of using a Newtonian and are caused by the thin vanes of the spider holding the front mirror???

That's so, yes. Some people do add them using an Action written by Noel Carboni.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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Thank's Olly.

Think it makes all the difference to a photo personally.

So I need to think about getting a Newt of some sort then :)

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Thank's Olly.

Think it makes all the difference to a photo personally.

So I need to think about getting a Newt of some sort then :)

Not really, I would still get a fast ED refractor for overall image quality and weight etc, and if defraction spikes are a must for you just make a cross with some fishing line/thin wire across the front of the dew shield, gives you the same affect. I know what you mean though, Diff spikes IMO look great on certain subjects...

Stan.

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Not really, I would still get a fast ED refractor for overall image quality and weight etc, and if defraction spikes are a must for you just make a cross with some fishing line/thin wire across the front of the dew shield, gives you the same affect. I know what you mean though, Diff spikes IMO look great on certain subjects...

Stan.

Thats a good idea Stan :) hadn't thought of that.

What set-up would you recommend then to stay within the budget?

Quite like the look of the Starwave 80ED but get confused over mounts :)

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Thats a good idea Stan :) hadn't thought of that.

What set-up would you recommend then to stay within the budget?

Quite like the look of the Starwave 80ED but get confused over mounts :)

The starwave 80 is exactly what I would recommend to you! I think it offers absolute fantastic value for money, In fact I shall probably have one myself in the near future. A few reviews after there release starting to apear on here now.

As for mount, I would say whatever the maximum you can afford, but certainly no less than an EQ3-2 (not forgetting this is a budge releated thread) An EQ5 would be a good place to start.

Stan.

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I would say whatever the maximum you can afford, but certainly no less than an EQ3-2

I get one arcsecond RMS tracking error with an autoguided EQ1, so you can definitely go "less than EQ3-2", provided you use a camera and telephoto lens of < 200mm for reasons of weight and focal length.

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I get one arcsecond RMS tracking error with an autoguided EQ1, so you can definitely go "less than EQ3-2", provided you use a camera and telephoto lens of < 200mm for reasons of weight and focal length.

Yes, most definately I wouldn't disagree, but as you point out its all relative to focal length and weight limits. My response to jon sales question was taking into consideration his interest in the starwave 80 scope. IMO EQ3-2 is minimum for this size. AP for me started with a basic camera tripod. 1min subs at 18mm.......

Stan

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What set-up would you recommend then to stay within the budget?

Quite like the look of the Starwave 80ED but get confused over mounts :)

What I hope to get across with my posts is that while respectable images can be achieved with budget equipment, I am sure that with better equipment, better images could be achieved. If you know you want to get into deep sky AP, don't limit your budget for the sake of it.

If you can afford it, the best starting set up is probably:

HEQ5 Synscan £747

ST80 guide scope £90

QHY5 guide cam £189

ED80 + reducer £459 + £165

Canon 1100D + Adaptor + LPR filter £360 + £20 + £26.50

Total = £2056

The mount and guide system is the most important part of this set up.

One thing though, you can't buy good images. Better kit doesn't reduce the effort but does give you a better return on your effort in the form of better images :)

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Lots of very decent images there, just shows what can be done on a budget, well done guys.

Regards

Ben

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