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A bit of advice and discussion on equipment


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Hi there, 

I've just about decided that I would like to return to stargazing and do a bit of AP as well this time (I say just about decided because it takes me a while to justify spending any money). budget isnt too much of an issue.

I'd like to do a mixture of DSO and planetary viewing and AP.

After doing some reading on here and elsewhere for a telescope I started off looking at the Skywatcher Explorer 200p EQ5 with the thought of getting a goto mount afterwards but then found this Explorer EQ5 with goto but in another thread on here someone mentioned the Explorer 200 HEQ5 so out of the 2 GoTo's is the HEQ5 worth the extra?  can/how easy would it be to link one of these scopes to Stellarium and would my surface pro3 be able to drive things? if theres a thread about this already link or say and i'll go delving.

For the camera I was considering the canon EOS 700D, I believe that this would be able to fit straight onto the explorer without any further adapters purchased?

Any comments, questions or suggestions will be gratefully received and discussed.

Thanks for your time in reading.

Dave

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The HEQ5 will be better than a converted EQ5. For AP though either might be an issue particularly if there is any wind, basically the 200p is like a big sail.

The 700D is a good choice, however I'm not a fan of hanging a DSLR of the focuser of a newt.

If budget is no issue get a small refractor for AP as well.

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As mentioned the 200P acts like a sail in any wind and so there is shake and loss of captured images.

You want the 200PDS not the 200P.

The subtlety is that the 200PDS enables the image to fall on the DSLR sensor. You can attach a DSLR to the 200P but it most likely will not create a sharp image. Both "attach" but only one gives an image.

The EQ5 mount is not really stable enough for AP with the 200P/PDS so the HEQ5 is a better option.

Another slight factor is that DSO AP a dn Planetary AP is performed slightly differently.

As suggested if budget is not a great problem then get a 200P for visual and get a small ED refractor for AP aspects. In effect same mount but swap the scope for whatever it is you perform at any specific time.

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Thanks for the comments so far peeps, as mentioned budget isnt a great problem but convincing myself to spend out is a bit tricky.

If I was to get the 200PDS as a starter how would that be for visual once I do get an ED refractor as suggested?

I can see that the 200PDS is a better option for AP over the 200P, and accept, if i understand whats being suggested, that a refractor is a better option for the AP side of things...without going back and re-reading things just to see if I'm actually taking things in, the refractor has a better FOV for the AP side of things? 

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Sounds to me like you've already decided that you want the 200PDS and the HEQ5 mount. From what I'm reading it looks to me like you are trying to get someone to tell you a reason not spend out. hehe, don't think that's likely to happen.

For DSO, you'll need a guide scope - these can vary from finder guiders to large scopes. I personally use a SkyWatcher ST80 mounted on top of my scope. It serves me well, also makes for a good little scope that I can use seperately.

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Hi I can say that for visual I do find the 200pds a great scope I have mine mounted on a non goto motorised CG5 mount whichis is the same as the EQ5 mount as money is no object I would advise either the heq5pro goto or the neq6pro both are capable of taking a 200pds and DSLR . I can not yet comment on the stability issues with the two mounts I suggest but the should be beter than my CG5 mount or the eq5pro mounts as both the Heq and neq are rated for heavier loadings. I hope this is of assistance unfortunately my budget did not stretch to either of those mounts so am saving hard for the upgrades. As stated AP is not cheap but we do the best with what we can afford. My moon shots taken on a cheap refractor looked great I hope for better as I expand my arsenal and upgrade my kit.

Geoff

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Hi Dave, 

I think the 200PDS will always be wonderful for visual. It is not unusual to have one big Newt for visual and one small refra for AP. 

I suggest that you get one first, use it with you camera and get a feeling of what you will be doing before buying a refractor. You can actually do a lot with a 200PDS and a DSLR. But AP is not as simple as everyday photography - frame, press, done. Before you can take any images you'll need to get alignment, focus and tracking right. Then you can acquire some data. But when you connect your camera to your PC, the raw data will hardly be as fancy as what you see from the internet. Post-processing is a very important part of AP and the learning curve is steep. So get yourself something to start with, try it and see whether you enjoy it, how much further you'd like to go with it and what you would like to focus on. Then you can decide what scope to get next. 

(Oh and you have mentioned connecting your camera to the scope. Did anyone mention that you'll need an adaptor for your camera? They are not expensive but you will need them)

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Thanks for the info Geoff and Miafey, I have been looking at some AP sites and reading up so I realize its not just a case of point and click job done :) I'm currently playing around with my dslr to work out how to set up the timers, shutter speeds etc. I have messaged FLO regarding the dslr connector and also about a battery pack so most likely when I get the reply from them i'll go ahead and order the 200PDS with HEQ5 Pro and then sit around the house being sad due to constant cloud cover :D I'm also reading up on astrobaby's collimation guide before it arrives so that I have some understanding of maintenance etc

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Being an old fart, I have actually learnt a few things over the years, most the hard way, or perhaps read 'hard' as 'expensive'.

You are doing all the sensible things, like researching, and asking questions of those who have BTDT.

Probably the most important lesson I have learnt is that when you think that you have eliminated all the possibilities, and found the perfect bit of kit for your needs, go up one level.

And I'm talking about mounts in particular. The EQ5/HEQ5 will possibly do the job today, but I can assure you that human nature being what it is, you will at some time, and likely sooner rather than later, want to go bigger and better with the gear you load it up with.

If budget isn't a problem, do yourself a favour and go straight to an EQ6 PRO or equivalent.

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Ok so 200PDS HEQ5 was ordered from FLO this evening, along with a battery pack, collimator-ma-jig and the adaptors Michael at FLO said would be needed for this scope with my dslr. I decided to go with the HEQ5 for the moment as even though budget was a primary consideration human nature (or mine at least) doesn't like to spend out more than required right now. I am sure that I shall be getting a heavier mount like NEQ6 Pro as you said DarkKnight but that would then take a new scope as well and be the AP scope mount with the HEQ5 being a visual so I can multi task :D

Now knowing my luck I shall be waiting 6 months for clear skies :D

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The best thing is that you make a decision and learn "on the job" my new set up is great but the learning curve always dictates you will need to upgrade. Fortunately I have a 15yr old who wants my hand me downs so any "mistakes" are better absorb but I do think I will need a bigger car or flat bed lorry for the excess we will sonn have, might get a pier mount on a 40ft arctic to save lugging tne kit around the countryside.

I hope you enjoy your new kit when it arrives it is good for father son bonding. And maybe better than following a sports teamas you both learn something in the process. As I have said a 200pds is par excellence once you have mastered polar aligning etc.

Geoff

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woohoo so the scope, battery pack and a few other bits arrived yesterday afternoon... no1 said it would be so big lol so now I'm going to be playing around getting the hang of setting up, balancing and am reading up/watching youtubes about polar alignment.

One question though how would the scope handle heat? it's currently in the loft (i'd prefer keeping it in a garden shed but thats not an option) which gets rather hot in the summer if thats not a good idea I'll find a space for it in my room somewhere somehow. 

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As long as there is some air-circulation, the summer's heat would be the least troublesome of issues.  What one must guard against: moisture, dust/dirt...and insects.  A thin, synthetic-fabric bag that zips up, large enough to accommodate the mount with the tripod's legs fully retracted; and the bag treated with a water-repellant spray, like Scotchguard, would be ideal.  I would store the optical tube, however, indoors, and for the mirrors' sake.

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I once saw a mirror that had been stored in a shed for several years without use.  It was a shame to see that there was what I can only describe as a fungal grown that had taken up residence on the mirror, there were about eight places where it had grown - all around the edge of the mirror and was about 2-3 inches across.  Needless to say, the mirror was wrecked, and it would have needed spraying clean with high power water, then the whole mirror resurfacing.  Not sure if it was only the mirror finish that was damaged or if it was deeper.

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ok cool, so next on my list to hunt down are a fabric bag or a travel case of some sort.. I'm leaning towards a hardcase I can set up with foam inlay and cut out the OTA shape possibly with the motor too but thats not as much of an issue. 

What are peoples thoughts on balancing the scope and then marking the balance locations? does anyone do this and does it help speed up the balancing process?

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What are peoples thoughts on balancing the scope and then marking the balance locations? does anyone do this and does it help speed up the balancing process?

I balanced my scope and used small pieces of masking tape to mark the positions. Job done.

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Yep.  Balancing everything then marking is the way that most people I know do it.  Takes the guesswork out when you know that you are putting the same kit on each time.  Just remember that if you are attaching different kit, your balance will shift.

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