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skywalker3

astrophotography help!

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Hi SGL,

im 11 and i am thinking about getting started with astrophotography. I have owned a skywatcher skyliner 150p for a year now and want to move on to taking photos of the things ive seen. I know that i will have to 

add a new mount on my telescope because alt-az aren't the best for astrophotography. I was wondering if anyone could give me an AFFORDABLE list of equipment that will help me get started with astrophotography.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,

Ash   :cool2:

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Hmmm, 'affordable' and 'astrophotography' in the same sentence, Ash  - you are a brave young man! However, there are solutions to bring these three  'A's' together.

Imaging the Moon and to some extent the planets is possible using your Sky-Watcher Skyliner 150p provided that you use a fast frame-rate camera like a webcam and webcams are very affordable. BUT, you will need access to a computer outside to control the webcam. You could take some great images of the Moon using a cheap digital camera aimed through the eyepiece of your telescope - even a mobile phone would work well here and then you wouldn't even need a computer outside!

For imaging deep sky objects, the problem is harder to fix so what sort of budget do you have and do you have access to any kind of digital camera already?

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Reasonable results of the Moon and brighter planets can be achieved using just a webcam even on an alt-az mount.  Just a few quid for an XBox 360 cam and an adapter to attach it to the scope.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/xbox-live-vision-camera

http://www.astro-engineering.com/prod/astro-engineering/webcam/nosepiece/ac378.html

Edited by gkec

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i do have access to a camera and my budget is £1000

Hi,

You have a few points to consider. What is it you want to image? Are you going to keep the skyliner or  or sell it and use the funds?  Your budget is more than enough to get you started but you need to spend it wisely.

A.G

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i do have access to a camera and my budget is £1000

Now you're talking!! If your interest lies in imaging deep sky objects then you can make a good start right away but the mount is all important so you would need to start there. Until we know more about what you hope to image, we won't go too far down any route but to give you an idea, a Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Syntrek mount at £630.00 would be a fantastic start leaving a worthwhile amount for the xtras that you'll need to consider.

However lets not jump the gun, you may well be a solar system kinda guy so the path would be very different! Let's hear more about what you hope to achieve.

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i do have access to a camera and my budget is £1000

Hi ash, I have a skywatcher eq3 synscan here

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq3-pro-synscan-goto.html

And I used it with a st102 refractor here

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-102t-ota.html

And a Nikon d3100 here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00403MA4M

And took this image of the Orion Nebula last winter it's far from perfect but I put little effort and got this Posted Image

Have a look on here for a guy Stan26 his images are amazing and he has a similar set up.

Hope this helps and clear sky's !

Stu ~

Sent from my iPhone using my fums

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I think it is obligatory to say "don't buy anything until you have read Every Photon Counts".

£1000 would get you a HEQ5 and a 1100D Canon DSLR with about £100 left over to get things like a T-adaptor and other sundries. But seriously read the book first.

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I'd suggest something like the 150PDS on the HEQ5 pro. But as others suggest, do read up and research before parting with any £ :)

Also you can save by considering used equipment (i.e. make your money go further).

As an imaging novice I took this with a 130P and no coma corrector;

11038005803_12a54e8c82_h_d.jpg

It's nothing compared to what some people can achieve, but given my inexperience and the short length of data I was relatively pleased. I consider this was achievable for me because the mount was suitable (and I used guiding) and as you can see, the tube was a very small component of the cost of the setup. The mount + guiding & camera etc is where the bulk of the cost comes from.

I think bias your budget towards the mount and consider tubes will come and go depending what you want to see and image.

One other thing, do think about storage and portability. Maybe you have this all covered but just be aware the equipment can get bulky and heavy and if not easy to set up may put you off using it as much as you might like too...

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i was thinking of deep sky imaging

In that case, the mount comes first and my original recommendation stands!

Tube rings on your 150P would save the cost of a new telescope but at 1200mm focal length, although great for galaxies, globular clusters and planetary nebulae it is a little long for starting out in astro-photography. It is at this point that everyone will groan because you all know what's coming next!! Yup, it is the Sky-Watcher ED80 Pro refractor which, with your 'borrowed' camera (I really hope it is a DSLR camera) would have you imaging all sorts of fabulous objects including those I've already mentioned.

This mount/telescope combination is well proven and very effective although by your 12th birthday, you'll need to have saved some more funds to add to your birthday present to perhaps get on the autoguiding band-wagon but for now, the HEQ5/ED 80 will give you a really great start.

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i was thinking of deep sky imaging

Do you have a permanent place for housing the mount and the scope or you need to carry and set up each time before use?

A.G

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