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Entropicdrifter

Jargon free quick start for a newbie?

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Hello, and please bare with me as I'm still learning to navigate the jargon filled minefield that seems to accompany my new hobby.

After years of thinking about it and looking at amazing pictures on websites, I've taken the plunge and bought by first telescope with the aim of getting involved in AP (see I'm learning).

I used this forum a great deal in sourcing advice and information as to what to go for, and subsequently I have pushed the boat out a bit and bought a Celestron C9.25 SCT on a EQ-5 GEM, along with an eyepiece kit which has all the useful stuff i need for observing, along with a polar finderscope which I can't adjust properly yet as I don't have a hex key small enough.

For AP I have a the ubiquitous Canon Rebel T3 (1100D), a T ring, T adaptor and a tele extender for EP projection (see I have been paying attention) plus a remote shutter release.

What would be helpful now, is some (newbie friendly) quick and dirty hints on how to get some reasonably good planetary and DSO shots, whilst I learn the finer points and nuances of our hobby.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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I haven't read it myself, but many people on here swear by Steve Richards' book (Steppenwolf on this forum), 'Making Every Photon Count', here:

http://nightskyimages.co.uk/making_every_photon_count.htm

Doubtless several people will be along shortly to endorse it as a good investment for the beginner in AP, especially since you have already spent a wad of cash on shiny new toys and want to learn how to use them properly.

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A quick search of the forums shows that it's required reading as most of the threads in the 'getting started' section seem to reference it. So what's another 20 odd quid on top of what I've already spent, I'll order it :grin:

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A quick search of the forums shows that it's required reading as most of the threads in the 'getting started' section seem to reference it. So what's another 20 odd quid on top of what I've already spent, I'll order it :grin:

you won't regret it :)

Scott

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Let's divide this into solar system and deep sky (DS) imaging. I'm a DS imager and only shoot the sun other than that.

Solar system is easier (initially) and is usually done using fast frame cameras starting with webcams and moving up from there. (You may be able to use your Canon in AVI mode to shoot video, I don't know.) The principle is to shoot a couple of thousand frames and get software to find the best of the bunch of individual frames and combine them. Webcams, unlike most things AP, are quite cheap!! Owners of £5000 DSLRs are sometimes put out that a naff webcam will out-image them by a mile but this is so. Software like Registar is free. Yes, that's right!!

Deep Sky requires long exposures so mount tracking accuracy is number one priority. Usually this is done using an autoguider but you can start without. Your choice of a long focal length scope like an SCT is going to mean you need to master the tracking and guiding to a higher order because the required precision rises with focal length, and yours is seriously long. Which brings me to Needed Item One:

F6.3 focal reducer field flattener. Your scope is F10 which means that it is photographically very slow, four times slower than F5. The reducer flattener reduces it to a more bearable F6.3, giving much shorter exposure times as well as less distortion at the edge of the chip. You'll also fit more sky on, which is generally good because many DS objects are very large. There is an F3.3 reducer but it is useless on anything but tiny chips. Ignore it.

Your scope is pretty big for an HEQ5 with DS imaging in mind so I'd recommend an Off Axis Guider when you do come to guide. It will save weight.

Well, it's a business, this AP, but it is soooooo rewarding and you can master it. Patience and that book! And when an experienced imager makes a recommendation believe them because many aspects of AP are profoundly counter intuitive. I resisted an awful lot of sound advice when I started and that wasted quite a bit of cash. The worst sources of information are vendors' and manufacturers' websites, with a very few exceptions. Read that sentence twice...

Welcome to the fun.

Olly

http://ollypenrice.smugmug.com/Other/Best-of-Les-Granges/22435624_WLMPTM#!i=2277139556&k=FGgG233

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my dmk21 imaging camera and your c9.25 would get on like "a house on fire" :grin: seriously that scope could produce some very, very good planetary images! all you need is a webcam/adapter and some free software, you dont even have to polar align.

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Thanks Olly and everyone, some good food for thought there.

I have more gear than idea right now, and I'll practice on what I have before I buy any more kit, but a focal reducer may be in the near future after I've a better understanding of the strengths and limitations of my gear.

I just need the rain to stop now.

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