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stan26

M51...budget Setup Beyond It's Limit....

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Hi guys, its been ages since I have been on here, wow check out the new forum! Hope you're all ok?

Anyway....last night I decided to image M51 as a test for (if i'm honest) a setup that I thought was destined to fail. I wanted a longer FL setup that would cope better with the apparent smaller DSO's. I imaged M51 last year with my trusty ST102 and got quite good results however the galaxy was very small in the FOV. As always I'm on a tight budget and this presents a few problems, the main being that I have to stick with the EQ3-2, which in turn means that the scope has to be a sensible size/weight. I manage to pick up an Evostar 90 from scopes n skies for £60 (ex display model) as I though this would be ideal in terms of FL/weight and budget. Last night was my first DSO session with it, I wasn't expecting miracles and to be honest I didn't get any either! Imaging at 900mm (F10) on an EQ3-2 is asking for trouble, and not only that I was up against a full moon. I could get respectable results with guided 2min subs but was limited to 1min subs due to the moon light.

Overall, I'm reasonably please with the results given the setup. That said I do believe that imaging with a 900mm OTA is well beyond the comfortable limits of the EQ3-2, and I wouldn't really recommend it as a budget setup.

Total exposure time around 2.3hrs. No darks. No flats. just 100 x bias frames added. Eveything used as per sig, editing done in photshop cs2.

Oh, just to add, I don't think my Evostar 90 has properly aligned optics either. Strange diffraction spikes are an ongoing issue, and my subs show a strange coma like affect on the stars...?

I thought I would stick it up on here for the benefit of anyone else trying to image on a budget.

I think I will stick with the ST102 for now....roll on late summer/autumn when i can break out the 200mm f2.8!!

Stan

7342015200_cbb231cc22_b.jpg

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy. by James stannard, on Flickr

Edited by stan26

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Hey Stan, good to have you back:) Nice to see you're still testing the bounderies of budget kit:D I don't think many peeps could pull a M51 like that out the bag with a Evostar 90 eq3 combo, you've done well especially considering there might be collimation issues?

I must check Astroboot I've forgot about it for weeks:)

P.s. they only changed the SGL layout about a day ago so good timing!:D

Edited by starfox

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Hey Stan, good to have you back:) Nice to see you're still testing the bounderies of budget kit:D I don't think many peeps could pull a M51 like that out the bag with a Evostar 90 eq3 combo, you've done well especially considering there might be collimation issues?

I must check Astroboot I've forgot about it for weeks:)

P.s. they only changed the SGL layout about a day ago so good timing!:D

Thanks mate, yeah still loving the worlds most expensive hobby on a 50p budget!!

Not sure what's wrong with ota, it could be collimation which would be unfortunate because i

Don't think it can be adjusted. Bright objects like Venus have a huge diffraction spike right through them. I'll look into it further when I get time. How's that obsy coming on?

Stan.

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Maybe it's me but I can't see anything wrong with that image - may be a touch blue but it's got more detail in it than I've managed so far. Seems pretty good to me :)

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The nebulosity surrounding the satellite galaxy is notoriously tricky to capture, like Gina said and I've not managed to get much of it either. Now I know why: Stan grabbed it all!

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Thats a great picture Stan. You've really nailed the nebulosity.

High-pass filter might help pick out more detail.

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Cheers guys, Hey badgers, yeah I use high-pass in all of my pics and did several passes in overlay mode with this one, but its almost like it was out of focus in the first place, not sure if this affect was because of the moon glow or bad optics, a quick re check with the bahtinov mask before I started the imaging session suggested otherwise, everything looked spot on..... :huh:

I reckon more longer subs on a dark night would give me a more detail less noisy image, but I will leave this target alone for now and stick to what the EQ3-2 does best, wide field.

Stan.

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How's that obsy coming on?

Stan.

Getting there mate, it took quite a lot of work just to get a blank canvas so I could start the build :D really enjoying it though and its starting to take shape now:).

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Nice to see you back, Stan. I thought you'd been a bit quiet of late. I think that's pretty impressive. Is it full-frame or a crop?

James

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Thanks guys,

James its a fairly tight crop, the M51 still looks a bit lost in the frame even at 900mm FL. Probably why its come out like a colourful patch of noise!

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Hi Stan good to see you posting your images again. :icon_cheers: That's a great job on m51 with your set up :icon_compress: the weather has been rubbish for imaging for so many nights its good to get out there at all. Really wanted to see the transit of Venus but that was clouded out :icon_cry: and my next clear night I get will be having another crack at the Trifid or lagoon nebula. Saving up for my heq5 hoping to get one on my birthday. :drunken_smilie:

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... I wasn't expecting miracles and to be honest I didn't get any either!...

Ugh! What an awful picture, you should be ashamed! :p No really though, I'd be darned chuffed if I could pull that out of the bag with my (also budget) set-up. I must say though, you've given me some hope - I was beginning to think M51 was going to be a no go, but having seen this, I'll give it a go!

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Had another go at the data tonight, this time I put a lot more effort in. A wider crop for starters to try and make the overall image quality better and a little less harsh on the colours to give a slightly more natural finish.

I like this version better...

Stan

7164462099_27f12c2bb1_b.jpg

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy by James stannard, on Flickr

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Interesting to see the difference - detail and colour are much smoother, but I notice some of the nebulosity and the background galaxy have gone - I think these images are rather good in tandem, to highlight the differences in style :)

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Makes you wonder what sort of scope you need to get "up close and personal" with M51, too.

James

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great work. i love seeing people do great things with the "wrong" gear. guys like you and quatermass are really inspirational, especially when if you google eq3-2 or eq5 astrophotography, all you get is reams of posts about how it can't be done. keep it up.

stephen

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It can be done you just have to be willing to get blood from a stone ^_^ and keep banging your head on the wall :BangHead::book1:

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It can be done you just have to be willing to get blood from a stone ^_^ and keep banging your head on the wall :BangHead::book1:

cheers. given that i can't see myself being able to afford an heq5 for a while, and i just got an ed80, your blog may well be responsible for me pulling the trigger on an eq5 soon-ish. i reckon if i can take a photo on that mount with anything, it'll be an ed80, i should think...

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Most certainly I just got myself an evostar ed80 and the focal reducer and it takes great images with the eq5 much lighter then the 200p on it so therefore not a problem with over weighting it.

I now have the 200p for close up imaging and the evostar for widefield shots. I intend to get an Heq5 once I have saved my pennys but for now I am still happy with my set up.

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not wanting to completely jack the thread, but how long exposures could you do with the eq5 and the ed80?

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I will pm you so as to keep the thread focused on Stans image, which by the way I like the second one but is it possible to get the two combined to keep more of the outer dust around M51?

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