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Mered

Deciding between two scopes for imaging + is autoguider necessary

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I currently have a Celestron Astromaster 130EQ which has stood me well, but I want to get more into imaging (DSO mainly) so I'm thinking of upgrading.

I've narrowed it down to two choices:-

1) Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro + HEQ5 mount

2) Skywatcher Explorer 200P+ HEQ5 mount

Any reason I should go for one over the other? I'm in a medium sized town with moderate light pollution. My thinking is that the reflector will cope better with the light pollution, but the refractor will produce better images (correct me if I'm wrong). I will also want to do some pure visual observing sometimes, so I was considering getting the refractor for imaging and keeping the Celestron tube for visual. Or should I just get the 200P to be able to do both with one tube?

I already have a Canon DSLR, and I will get the field flattener if I do go for the refractor. Any other accessories I need to get?

Lastly, is an autoguider strictly necessary? Can I start without one and add it later? Would adding an autoguider + reflector to the mount be too much for it?

All comments and thoughts welcome.

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Hi Mered,

You will get lots of opinions on which scope to get. Here are a few pros and cons for each:

Explorer 200P Pros

Good for visual

Can view/ image planets and DSOs

Explorer 200P Cons

Will act like a sail in a wind

requires collimation, not difficult and you are prob already competent at it

Will push the mount to its limits when you add a guidescope & camera

Evostar 80ED Pros

No collimation required

lighter overall, will be well within limits of the mount

Evostar 80ED Cons

Will require a FF/FR

Expense

With regards to a whether an  autoguider strictly necessary, the answer is YES. You will be limited to a max of 1 min exposures witout one. You can achieve this in a couple of ways. 1) Finder guider i.e. finderscope with QHY5 camera or 2) SW ST80 and QHY5. A lot of people say you need to get guide scope rings - not so. Just bolt the ST80 to the top of the imaging scope. You will not have any problems getting a guide star and it will reduce the possibility of flexure in the system.

Hope that helps some.

Ian

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Thanks for the advice Ian.

I think I am favouring the 80ED, and I can keep the 130EQ for visual. Time to get shopping I think!

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For imaging proclivities then the ED80. I have the 200P, although passable it is not an AP rig.

and yes Mark has been an inspiration and continues to be so. :)

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I just bought a secondhand 200P on an HEQ5, with guidescope and cam

Guy I bought itrom took these images with the kit

http://astrocasto.blogspot.co.uk/

just so you know what is possible

Thinking I might add an ED80 at some point, but right now the 200P is good

Those are some very nice images on that guy's website. Good to know what is possible.

I probably will end up getting a 200P too, though I'm tempted to get it on a dobsonian. Might have to wait a bit after I've got the first scope though!

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For imaging proclivities then the ED80. I have the 200P, although passable it is not an AP rig.

and yes Mark has been an inspiration and continues to be so. :)

Another vote for the ED80 :)

While I've enjoyed visual observing, the rewards from being able to take pictures like those is going to be well worth the time and effort producing them.

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I thought the 200 needed to be a PDS for imaging (adjusted to imaging focus).  

Having said that, I think that might be a bit too much for an HEQ5.

ED80 might need a field flattener but a 200 will need a coma corrector, so not much difference in price really.

From a practical point of view, an ED80 is a good introduction to astroimaging without needing collimation.  More easily transportable and storeable, nice size for an HEQ5.  

It's not essential immediately to have an autoguider, but you won't be able to do very long images until you get one.  But if you want to practice imaging one step at a time, and spread the cost out, you could get away with upto a minute or more unguided  depending on how good your PA is, and add an autoguider a little later.  But for really good data an autoguider is a must.

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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Thanks for all the info everyone :)

Can anyone cast a quick glance over my shopping list to see if I've overlooked anything I'll need straight off:-

80ED DS-Pro

HEQ5 mount

Power source for the mount

Field flattener

ST80 for guiding

QHY5

I've got a Canon DSLR already, but I assume I will need another adaptor for the camera to fit on the field flattener?

Bolting the ST80 to the 80ED was mentioned instead of using scope rings. Probably a silly question, but how is this done? Is it using something other than the usual piggy back mount?

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Bolting the ST80 to the 80ED was mentioned instead of using scope rings. Probably a silly question, but how is this done? Is it using something other than the usual piggy back mount?

 See here:-http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/234031-fitting-an-st80-to-an-sw150p-guide-scope/

Will be very similar approach to fit the 80ED with an ST80

Ian

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Thanks for all the info everyone :)

Can anyone cast a quick glance over my shopping list to see if I've overlooked anything I'll need straight off:-

80ED DS-Pro

HEQ5 mount

Power source for the mount

Field flattener

ST80 for guiding

QHY5

I've got a Canon DSLR already, but I assume I will need another adaptor for the camera to fit on the field flattener?

Bolting the ST80 to the 80ED was mentioned instead of using scope rings. Probably a silly question, but how is this done? Is it using something other than the usual piggy back mount?

Hi Mered,

You may  need to add a nosepiece for the SW FF/FR... this will allow you to add a light pollution filter if required.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/adaptors/flo-adapter-for-skywatcher-focal-reducers.html

And yes you will need a different camera adaptor... the SW FF/FR use an M48mm thread not the standard T-2 thread.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/adaptors/flo-adapter-for-skywatcher-focal-reducers.html

All in all the ED80 on an HEQ5 is a very good combination for AP.

I use a finder guider on mine and don't have any trouble finding guide stars.

The only other thing you may need eventually is a dew heater strap for the ED80 objective lens, but these can be made quite easily.

Clear skies.

Best regards.

Sandy. :grin:

Edited by Lonestar70

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Clear skies.

With the weather I've had so far, the only thing I'll be taking pictures of is the living room ceiling  :)

Thanks for the other advice too, will add those to the basket.

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