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A question for Dob owners


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Hey Folks,

I thinking about selling my Heq5 mount and 6se OTA in favour of a Skywatcher Skyliner 300P FlexTube GOTO.

Would it still be possible to do Lunar and Planetary Astrophotography?

What are the lunar and planetary views like through a dob of this size?

Cheers

Stuart

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Hi Stuart,

I used to have a skywatcher 300p and it is perfectly possible to do lunar and planetary astrophotography with it.

It's a bit more fiddly than with an eq mount and the target tends to drift while you are capturing but I found I could just edge it back with the controls.

Visually I think you would notice a big difference by doubling your aperture.

Si.

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Stuart - it certainly would be possible. I have the 250px flextube and the moon an planets are great through it. Your skys should be darker than mine and the extra aperture should make for excellent viewing. I use the Philips SPC900 webcam and have produced some great images (well I am pretty pleased with them :D). Here is a Saturn from last weekend and a Jupiter from earlier in the year.

The tracking keeps the image central for 3 minutes with no problem at all even with a 3x barlow in place as I had with the these two images. I keep meaning to try for longer but always forget! I am confident it won't be a problem.

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post-8924-0-52488800-1370080128_thumb.pn

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From my experience with my Orion Optics 12" dob, Chris's nice images are a reasonable representation of the detail that can be seen visually when seeing conditions are good, the scope is well cooled and collimated and allowing a fair amount of time at the eyepiece to study the objects and tease out the details. That latter point is important I feel as on initial viewing the detail visible is often somewhat less than that which can be eventually discerned - the eye seems to "tune" itself as time goes by.

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From my experience with my Orion Optics 12" dob, Chris's nice images are a reasonable representation of the detail that can be seen visually when seeing conditions are good, the scope is well cooled and collimated and allowing a fair amount of time at the eyepiece to study the objects and tease out the details. That latter point is important I feel as on initial viewing the detail visible is often somewhat less than that which can be eventually discerned - the eye seems to "tune" itself as time goes by.

Yeah, I agree. Although Saturn looks less contrasty to the eye than it does in the photograph.

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I agree with both the above, you never really see much detail other than the cassini division with Saturn but if you take your time you can see a reasonable amount of the cloud band formations on Jupiter. While you won't see the level of detail a webcam image can show you will certainly pick out several bands and be able to distinguish their shape.

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If you're patient, you can see a little more than just the Cassini division. For example, the shadow of the rings on the planet, the shadow of the planet on the rings, the Encke (but that's really hard), the crepe ring, various bands (low contrast), and storms (also low contrast). Here are guides: http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1362 http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/3304811.html As stated above, the features on Jupiter are much higher in contrast and so easier to see.

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I had a test run of imaging Saturn with a webcam the other week in a 400p flextube goto and it looks do-able with some nudging on the handset as it drifts at high mag. It is more fiddly than with my C11 and neq6 mount and not sure i'll be able to zoom in as much while keeping it on the chip.

Visually I once had a view of Jupiter in a 12 flextube that looked like a photo, it was amazing and I couldn't believe my eyes!

Edited by Luke
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  • 3 weeks later...

The 300mm Dob is capable of very good planetary images, as long as it is collimated properly. In addition to techniques already mentioned, I've taken some photos just using a Panasonic LS10 and adapter which is part of the Opticron digiscoping kit supplied by In Focus optics. This kit is still available but now uses an updated camera. It's also possible to take HD movies through the scope with this setup. The Moon can come out great using this kit, in video and stills. Planets are more difficult as they camera only has auto expposure and focus.

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