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AstroAdam

A stargazer returning to the fold after a fairly long Hiatus...!

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Hi All,

I'm a long-time lover of astronomy, but have been away from regular nights out in the dark for about six or seven years now. I've recently decided to dust down (literally) the trusty 250mm f6 Skywatcher Dob and get back to it.

I moved down from the (dark) Welsh valleys a year or so ago, and now live in urban Kent, so plucking up the courage and urge to try and penetrate the skyglow has taken a while. It's so different!

So... I cleaned my filthy primary mirror yesterday (did it properly by the way - not with a brillo pad ;) - with much care and attention, and some good youtube tutorials, along with lashings of deionized water). Today I got a laser collimator in the post - have never actually collimated my scope before - not properly anyway. Now thats done, waiting for a nice new 8mm BST Explorer EP, and hopefully will be set up to do some observing in the next available window.

I'm interested in imaging, and have flashed my old adapted Toucam Pro with the SPC900 firmware, so it finally works properly with Windows 7...

Next step is to buy some sort of guiding mount - was thinking of the Watch House one. Bit pricy, but seems to do what I want well, and at the moment, I cant stretch to a new scope...

Anyway - I've lurked around here for quite a while, and it's been a constant source of info and inspiration - so here is me finally joining in!

Cheers all!

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Welcome adam. Looking forward to some images from you, they should be good with that scope.

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Will be interesting to see how it performs following the cleanup and collimation. I'd have been interested to see how far out it was before I took the mirror cell out, but only got the collimator today. The 8mm BST Explorer has got good reviews on here, and hopefully will give me better quality at the slightly higher magnification end. I love my planetary stuff :)

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Hi Adam,

Welcome on board - nice to hear all that kit is being pressed back in to service (too good to be gathering dust). You may have been spoiled with proper dark skies in Wales, but even with the local light pollution I reckon you've enough aperture to get some great images, especially if you can get an EQ Mount and decent LP filter for the longer exposures. At least you can expect a lot less rain and cloud cover than Wales.

Best of luck - Jake

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Sorry - I'm being dull - It's a 200mm F6, not 250mm. Ah well, those extra two inches would have been nice, but hey ho!

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Hi and welcome to the forum. Size isn't everything it's what you do with it that counts :eek: (sounds like a possible line from "Carry On Astronomy") :grin: :grin: :grin: Any advice on imaging please ask away on the imaging sections and there is a lot of experience on there that will soon get you up and running in no time. I would recommend some reading as part of your research and in particular, Steve Richards' "Making Every Photon Count" (FLO £19.95) which will provide a comprehensive grounding in this subject area.

Clear skies for now and keep on with the dusting!

James

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Thanks - will take a look at that book if I can. To be honest, I'm really eager to get a guiding platform - constant nudge, nudge, nudge gets a bit wearing! Also want to be able to take limited deep sky stuff - I know without a true EQ mount it's not going to be great, but it's worth a go. I have a Canon 5D that I'm going to hook up and see what I can come up with too...

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Tracking deep sky objects (DSO's) such as galaxies and nebulae does require a pretty accurate mount in order to be able to collect sufficient 'data' to construct a good consistent final image. My personal opinion is that a HEQ5 is the minimum both in terms of its accuracy and proven track record in performance and reliability, but also because it comes with a facility called 'autoguiding'. Effectively what this allows you to do is to attach a smaller scope which is aligned to a nearby star to the object that is being imaged by the main scope. The autoguiding facility allows the mount's tracking to be micro adjusted so as to keep the nearby star in the cross hairs of the smaller scope, thereby as a consequence increasing the tracking accuracy and facilitating longer exposures on the main target. This is particularly useful if you don't have an observatory and need to set up your imaging equipment ('rig') each time at the start of your imaging session which can introduce polar alignment issues which affect your ability to keep the main object in the centre of your camera's imaging chip as the session progresses. Good alignment underpins accurate tracking and autoguiding can help you increase this accuracy and therefore is a very desireable 'option' to have on board. The book will explain in a lot more depth on what the kit options are and their limitations and in addition will provide you with the necessary overview that can help you decide on how deep you want to go with imaging and what that budget might look like before buying any kit. You don't want your first image of a black hole being the one in your wallet! :grin: :grin: :grin:

Lastly, there a number of people who experiment with different approaches with varying degrees of success, but if you want your imaging sessions to be ones that create more fun than frustration, then 'consistency' is the key to good imaging and a quick glance in the imaging sections at the kit that is listed in member's signatures will inform you of what kit seems to work as evidenced by the images that they produce. Imaging doesn't have to be expensive and in fact solar system objects (moon/planets) can be performed using a simple webcam and processed using a lot of great software out there that is free to download and use. Inevitably there will be one or two programs out there that you will need to pay for and so again, doing the research first before buying anything will certainly help you avoid you blowing your budget and your expectations. Hope that helps you a little more. :smiley:

Clear skies

James

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So, would the HEQ5 be suitable to mount my OTA from the dob then? I toyed with the idea years ago, but never got very far. My main limiting factor is price at the momen, but the Watch House platforms are so expensive for what they are, it may be worth stumping up the extra... Do HEQ5s come as standard with drives?

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Just looked and I see what you mean. Not much more cash than the Platform. What else would I need to mount the Dob tube on an HEQ5?

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Hi Adam and welcome back to SGL from your break in Astronomy, I would certainly go along with what has been said, mounting your 200mm Dob on something like an HEQ5 Syn Trek would require rings and a dovetail, this could be a better bet for AP than the motorised Alt/Az Dob base, as you would have correct sidereal tracking for long exposure DSO if you ever want to go down that path. The s/h market is often good to pick up a used mount, they are a bit like buses, you don`t see what you want for a while, then you are spoilt for choice, as a few come along at once. I would suggest use your present set up until something comes along that suits your budget, enjoy :)

John.

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welcome back from the darkside Luke....

ooh erm sorry am I getting this confused with something else :grin: , welcome to sgl adam

steve

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