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hi everyone,

so my friend and i run an astronomy club at school, and we showed a pic of M51, for an example of interacting galaxies, and one of the lads who was there proposed doing that ourself, so we asked our head of physics, who is like the overseer of the club if we could get some imaging stuff, so he asked the headmaster who said we could, so we were thinking of getting the Celestron CGEM DX mount, but not sure which scope we may need, we were thinking one of these http://www.amazon.co.uk/Orion-Newtonian-Astrograph-Reflector-Telescope/dp/B004GK511I as it extremely fast, and has a wide aperture, then putting a coma corrector on it (would this make the field flatter too?), then we also need advice on a CCD, preferably Atik, we were thinking of the Atik 420L, as it is affordable, and of course a good camera, plus we would need an autoguider and guidescope (open to suggestions) and we were thinking Starlight Xpress Lodestar on an ST80, as I have been told that this is a great pair

thanks

Cameron

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hi everyone,

so my friend and i run an astronomy club at school, and we showed a pic of M51, for an example of interacting galaxies, and one of the lads who was there proposed doing that ourself, so we asked our head of physics, who is like the overseer of the club if we could get some imaging stuff, so he asked the headmaster who said we could, so we were thinking of getting the Celestron CGEM DX mount, but not sure which scope we may need, we were thinking one of these http://www.amazon.co.uk/Orion-Newtonian-Astrograph-Reflector-Telescope/dp/B004GK511I as it extremely fast, and has a wide aperture, then putting a coma corrector on it (would this make the field flatter too?), then we also need advice on a CCD, preferably Atik, we were thinking of the Atik 420L, as it is affordable, and of course a good camera, plus we would need an autoguider and guidescope (open to suggestions) and we were thinking Starlight Xpress Lodestar on an ST80, as I have been told that this is a great pair

thanks

Cameron

Unless any of your lot know their stuff with fast astrographs, this may not prove to be such a bargain. At F3.8 not only the construction of the scope, focuser and mirror housings has to be spot on but also you have a hell of a time collimating the optics, maintaining  and learning how to achieve critical focus with such a fast scope as there is very littlle margin of error. You would also need a good coma corrector as the coma free radius of this scope is the square of the aperture / 2 which is about 7.2 mm . Once you have sorted out your budget it is best to ask again for advice, it maybe a better bet to buy a short refractor for imaging and a Fast Dob for observing if the budget stretches that far or go for an 8" with F5 or F6  F ratio which may make life a little easier, cheaper and spend the rest of the money on a better camera and other bits and pieces that will become necessary.

Regards,

A.G

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we dont have a budget :) but we want to keep it lowish, low of 10k i think, to please the head

so what fracs/other scopes can you reccomend? as i have an ED80 for myself, but i think for the school we need a better one, maybe an SCT?

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we dont have a budget :) but we want to keep it lowish, low of 10k i think, to please the head

so what fracs/other scopes can you reccomend? as i have an ED80 for myself, but i think for the school we need a better one, maybe an SCT?

What exactly do you want to image? If it is the planets or galaxies then yes an SCT is a good bet but this is not much good  for widefield DSO imaging. You must also consider the mount too, is it going to be fixed or do you require a portable mount? The other point is that your choice of the CCD is not well matched to the scopes that you have mentioned. If you really do have a 10K budget then I would strongly advise you to consider SBIG cameras as well as Atik and Starlight Xpress. Is there an Astrnomy club anywhere near your location that you could seek advice from?

Regards,

A.G

Edited by lensman57
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As others have said your choices depend on what you want to image. Things like mount, telescope, camera, filter wheel, filters, guide scope and guide camera and software need to be thought about. Also whether you want just pretty pictures or whether you want to attempt to do science with your images needs contemplated. Deep sky, planetary, photometry, spectroscopy, emission line imaging:all these have differing requirements.

Once you know what you want to achieve the you can discuss exactly what you need to achieve it.

As for cameras, consider all the various choices. Atik, Starlight Xpress, Moravian, QSI, SBIG, FLI, Apogee.

Discuss with the powers that be and settle on a definite plan.

With 10k you have some choices!

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Very good point Sara. How are you storing the equipment? If you take it down after each session then ease of use is important. If it's got its own building then once it's set up it stays that way.

10k sounds like a really generous budget, but when add up everything involved suddenly it looks quite tight. You need to be doubly sure that you buy the right things.

What a crazy game this is!

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Yeah we were thinking of getting the design tech dpt. to build a roll of shed for us, so that will be free, and solidly built, reinforced with aluminium and all that good stuff. We can get whatever we want.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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What exactly do you want to image?

Regards,

A.G

We would like to image nebulae and galaxies mostly.

As for the mount, it will be fixed, so we don't have to move it in and out all the time.

Ok will take a look at SBIG cameras. Thanks!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Is it pretty pictures you are after or are you trying to do some science. I ask as the leader of the club is a physics teacher. Is it LRGB imaging you want to do? This is fine for galaxies but emission nebula also respond well to emission line imaging.

As far as cameras go, I would suggest that you consider other cameras than just SBIG. QSI are of similar quality and FLI are in general one of the best. Buying these though you will get hit on the exchange rate and import tax. Buying from the states usually means you pay the same value in £. Atik and Starlight Xpress are both European. As are Moravian. The USA manufacturers are generally better regarded but on the price you can find a comparative bargain in Europe. The recommendation of SBIG over any other is interesting.

So for nebula and galaxies then, is it LRGB or emission line you are interested in. Is it pretty pictures or are you wanting to do some research?

As for sensors, the KAF8300 is as close to a jack of all trades as you might find. Though it's anti blooming impinges on its linearity which affects it's usefulness for high end science, although it's a small effect.

Hope this is useful and feel free to ask anything to help with your decision.

Paul

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