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dreamlander

Am I wasting my time and money?

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Hi, I am buying my first telescope and I am pretty set on the Celestron 8" edge hd on a VX mount. It seems to fit my budget and viewing needs quite well. Now this telescope will be for observing, but I enjoy photography and think  some night I would  like to try astrophotography, planetary and dso. I have been reading a LOT and I understand the edge hd telescope with a dslr would not be the ideal setup for either. When I get into something I don't like to do things half-ass. So would I be wasting my time and resources by buying necessary gear such as .7 focal reducer, auto guider, adapters, etc., for this setup? I feel like I might get frustrated with the quality and get deeper and deeper into a money pit. I am a little ahead of myself, but I like to start thinking of these things.

So, am I better off getting this scope for now and just enjoying the view for a while until I could afford a more dedicated setup for imaging like a refractor and ccd? or would the time and money be worthwhile for the extra parts needed to use the 8" edge hd? I guess a third more unlikely option is to start with a refractor and go from there, but I do like the idea of the portability and and observing quality of the edge hd.

All opinions and experiences welcome.

thanks

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The 8" SCT would not be a good starter scope for Astrophotography. Due to the focal length even with the reducer it will need very accurate polar alignment, guiding and balancing to get good results. I would even doubt that the AVX is truly capable for AP with that scope once you've added on the weight of the accessories so for me would mean the CGEM mount at the least.

An APO refractor with approx 80mm aperture and preferably f6 or lower will be the best way to start with guiding, for the mount, unless portability is a concern get the heaviest you can afford.

For visual observations I'd recommend at least 8". An SCT is good for mostly,everything. Another option would be a large dobsonian to get the largest aperture for the money,

I'd start with your DSLR for Astrophotography. No need to jump in a the deep end with CCD!

Edited by Davesellars

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Hi and welcome.

Starting with a long focal lengh for photography will be very very difficult.

To get correct guiding with that scope you will be putting tons of money away.

lots of people start with short refractors like the skywatcher ed80 on an NEQ6 AZEQ6GT piggy backing a cheap ST80 for guiding.

i am still using this setup and you can achieve astounding results even with a dslr.

i started with an SCT and then went back to a refractor for starters. I'd recommend you though to start slowly and see if astrophotography is for you and what you want before you go steap (and astrophotography will pick your pockets, i promise you :) )

Kind regards Graem

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That scope would be great for planetary imaging but very challenging for DSO's.

If you want to do long exposure images then a small frac would be much easier to start with.

However if you think you would be happy doing planetary for a while then you could do that with the set up you have suggested then when you want to do DSO's buy a small frac. There is no one scope solution I'm afraid.

/Dan

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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If you want to do visual as well as imaging at some point then a refractor will not be a great option - you need aperture for visual on DSOs (refractor for planetary and double stars is OK with a frac).

I have an 8" SCT (not the edge) and it is a fantastic telescope for visual and planetary imaging.  I now want to buy another telescope however - a larger SCT.  My interest is in planetary imaging and visual only, and not in DSO imaging at this stage (everything is always open to change in this hobby but I don't think I will go down this route - I still enjoy sitting at the eyepiece and taking it all in).

I think you need to make a decision on what you really want to do and go from there.  If it is visual and a bit of imaging as you say then you could get a standard SCT and not the edge version - you really don't need the upgraded optics for visual or for planetary imaging as you only use a part of the field anyway so it is the central part in use, you can then get a larger SCT and a better mount.  If you want to commit solely to imaging and primarily on DSOs then get a refractor and a better mount.  The AVX is meant to be a great mount, but for imaging you want it to be as solid as possible so most people get a CGEM or NEQ6 upwards.

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All the above say the same and I agree, will add that instead of picking a scope and then trying to make it do what you want it is fairly simple to just determine what is required:

For observing I have to say just about anything does the job, short refractor, long SCT/Mak, dobsonian and manual or goto in any will enable you to observe with varying degrees of success and ease.

Planetary imaging: Best appears to be an SCT/Mak an Alt/Az mount is adaquate, you can use a webcam and to increase the focal length you may want something like a 2x barlow. One very good image on here was from a 9.25 CPC and with a 2.5x powermate.

DSO imaging: The scope needs to be fast (image brightness) and generally small (less shake), a good example of this is that a good number of people here in the UK and the US are using the WO Star 71 - sort of as far opposed to an SCT as you will get. The mount has to be Equitorial and it must have motors as a minimum but preferably goto. Later you can add guiding if you progress. The mount needs to be fairly solid.

One aspect of the DSO set up is that you can get a good mount and the mount will cover then all aspects, visual and planetary imaging asn well as DSO imaging. So for greatest flexibility the good equitorial mount would be the way to go.

Another aspect is that an SCT (big) is not the greatest for visual DSO observing, the big (diameter) is OK the problem is the long focal length. This causes the field of view to be on the narrow side and the magnification is also high so the final image to your eye can be dim. You would have to work at keeping the magnification low in many aspects.

Then if you wanted to start out go for the SCT and get a webcam, that way you cover immediate visual and planetary imaging. Later buy a reasonable ED or APO refractor and dip into the murky world of DSO imaging, the mount is useable across all aspects.

Concerning planetary imaging you have Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. I think Saturn is disappearing for a while - not 100% sure of that, but Jupiter is making an appearance and next year Mars also appears. Do not think any of the planets are going to get nice and high and so "easy" to image.

The last item to remember is that getting the scope and mount is the first bit, you will soon want additional items, usually 3 or 4 or more eyepieces. So budget those in somewhere.

Any use: http://www.go-astronomy.com/astro-club-search.htm

I see ND only has 2 clubs, Bismark and Grand Forks.

Bet you have some COLD wintrs.

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That would be a good planetary scope but you will find that a small frac like an ED80 will be much easier for DSO imaging. Why not enjoy it for observing and planetary imaging for a while then think about a frac a bit later.

I use my AVX with my C9.25 as well as my ED80 and ED120 and I find that it is well capable for DSO imaging with the fracs. I can get 10 min exposures with no problem.

Peter

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.

Another aspect is that an SCT (big) is not the greatest for visual DSO observing, the big (diameter) is OK the problem is the long focal length. This causes the field of view to be on the narrow side and the magnification is also high so the final image to your eye can be dim. You would have to work at keeping the magnification low in many aspects.

I have never really had a big problem with this - I suppose I have only had an SCT as a serious OTA so have got used to it but when I have been out with others that have 8" reflectors and I have compared views on DSOs there has never been anything different in the view.  It can be a little narrower but generally most things fit in fine with a 2" diagonal and eyepiece.  Very few DSOs are that big they don't fit in adequately with a few exceptions for visual - the huge DSOs tend to be difficult to view visually anyway in my experience

Edited by CodnorPaul

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Agree with most of the comments above.  What about this:

Get yourself a suitable mount for imaging such as the HEQ5, and get yourself the Celestron 8" edge and do some visual.  Then when you are ready to do some imaging, get yourself a small APO refractor such as the ED80 as suggested above and plonk it on the same mount, you will then have a set up for imaging and a set up for observing (not simultaneously of course).  You will also have a good scope for planetry imaging in the SCT.  

Actually I just looked up the Advanced VX mount that you wanted and which I am not familiar with and it does say it is suitable for imaging with a small refractor, but do make sure it is capable of guiding (needs a guide port) before you buy, otherwise get yourself an HEQ5.  

A DSLR camera, especially a modded one will do some great images.  

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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I have never had or looked through a Refractor, i have had a (brought new ) SCT 11", it replaced my 10" Newt some 6 months went by and i swapped back the views were not up to the bright and sharpness of the Newt, since then the Newt does the Imagine and viewing through a 12" Dob, it's your money and your choice, me i would spend it on a SCT...

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Thanks for all the replies. Mostly confirmed what I was thinking. Although it did get me thinking a bit more about the mount choice and after coming across the Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G mount  I am sold. It looks awesome after reading anything I could find on it and I would have trouble outgrowing it. So looking like the the 8" edge hd on the Atlas for me, although I am in no hurry. Nights are already getting to that below 0 C around here. So probably won't purchase until next year. We do get lots of clear skies though.

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Sub zero nights are great for DSLR astrophotography. My noise vanishes when I image at -20C [emoji3]

/Dan

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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No you are not wasting your time and money as long as you think you've learned something. If you are looking into changing your gear you could always sell your existing ones for some cash.

AP is not something you do with "the one and only correct setup" and I think it is perhaps impossible to get 100% prepared before you do anything. Perhaps it's fair to say everyone is doing things "half-ass" to some extent. There are always larger scopes, better cameras, better set up (for example a permanent setup at home) out there but you'll just have to make do with what you have got. You learn along the way. And equipment is only at most 50% of what you need to get good images. How you operate it, how you process the data is more important. So I think the most important thing for you now is to get to know your existing scope and mount very well, make the most out of it, learn everything you can learn with it, build your own experience, start connecting your camera to the scope to get a feeling of AP, do some lunar and planetary imaging, learn all the concept of, for example, dark/flat/bias frames, registering, stacking, post processing, etc. 

Then when you are considering upgrading to a more AP set, you wont be too confused with all the options out there. Hopefully you'll know what you would like to do, know your limit, and spend money wisely on scopes, mounts and cameras. In other words, you'll know what you want :)

Mia

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Actually I just looked up the Advanced VX mount that you wanted and which I am not familiar with and it does say it is suitable for imaging with a small refractor, but do make sure it is capable of guiding (needs a guide port) before you buy, otherwise get yourself an HEQ5.  

It does have a guide port and seems quite capable to me.

Peter

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Something to realise is that you are already in the money pit and once you get your first image, very difficult indeed to get out. Heq5 or second hand neq6 would be great for 60-120 sec exposures. The buzz from taking a photo of something that you can't see, with a fairly modest camera, and that is of a comparable quality to photos taken by pro astronomers from dedicated observatories 50 years ago, is immeasurable.

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Hi

For a first scope it may be better to avoid trying to jump straight into photography, but it may well be worth investing in a good mount like a HEQ 5 or 6 and getting used to tracking etc. You will then have kit you can upgrade - possibly with your first OTA becoming a guide scope. I was happy as Larry for years with a TAL just learning my way around the sky and you need to ask the hard question as whether you really feel the need to invest a lot of ca$h in kit that will give you pictures no better than you can download online. Admittedly, the moderm amateur can take images that are better than the pro astronomer could get at some point in the not too distant past, but the sky is the sky and unless you get off on "wow look what I did" you are unlikely to photograph anything that isn't available in higher res elsewhere.

That being said - I'm an astrophotographer and was very happy with my first images of planets like Smudge (Mars), Blur (Mercury) and Wibble (Saturn), I'm also a fairly Rubbish mountaineer who takes great pleasure in managing to claw my white-knuckeled way up Welsh mountians and find an old lady with a dog on top, and I design and build electronic circuits that smoke, crackle, pop and go bang using more time and components than I could have bought them working from China for.

P

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I hear you. That is kind of the point of the my post. I know I am not ready to dive into ap and this scope is being purchased for observing. I was just trying to get a feel if it would be worth spending money on accessories for this setup. I am a buy once cry once kind of person though so I have decided to get the skywatcher az/eq6 mount, or the the Orion Atlas here i guess. Although looking at the exchange rate I wish I could buy it over there and save about $500.  :Envy:

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If this is your first telescope then you can go wrong with a nice 80mm Refractor and I will tell you why.  It is easy to set up and you can take it anywhere and be ready to go in just a few minutes.  Refractors provide very good views with great contrast.  The photos I have taken of the moon using my $599 Refractor are better than those I have taken with my $3000 SCT.

As a beginner, (like me) imaging with a small refractor is just easier.  Period.  I imaged for over a year with the refractor and a tripod and got great pictures while reading and learning about Stacking and processing.  THEN I decided to buy the Edge HD SCT and CGEM for Planetary viewing and imaging.  My big aperture SCT has narrow FOV and can allow for the magnification to make those tiny planets big enough to see.  But, I slap my little Refractor on that CGEM and I have a great setup for long exposure DSO work. 

No single telescope is good at everything.  That's why I say, get yourself an 80mm refractor and save the big expenditures for later after you learn more you will have a better idea of where you want to spend your money.

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I started out with a Nexstar 6" and it was ok for planets and the moon extra, but after a while you loose interested in such stuff. So gave it all a rest for a couple of years, now i have come back with the aim to take those fab pixs that you see people taking of orion etc etc with all the colours.

For me this is the draw, to take a picture of something you cant really see and see it turn into a WOW image.

Hence my latest setup, which doesn't brake the bank, but hopefully will take some half decent pictures, you will get bored of taking pictures of the plants, I believe its the Deep space stuff that makes it all interesting.

Hence my setup in the signature.

si

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I have the Edge 8" and it is a fantastic OTA for viewing. I have been told that it is a challenge for AP but then astronomy is a challenge.

AP can be achieved with it but a small frac will be easier. If you've set your heart on the 8 Edge then go ahead and get it. No one said you can't image DSO's with it, just that it'll be a challenge.

Clear Skies

Regards

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I have no idea how many clear nights you get but here in the UK I found it difficult to do both DSO imaging and observing, without having an observatory to help speed things up.

By the time I had my C11 set up for imaging, I wasn't really much in the mood to observe. And I was wanting to keep checking the images, so my mind wasn't on observing.

I find video camera imaging of the moon a bit more compatible (I use an Edge 8). Setup time is less, no need to even polar align (I just roughly point the mount the right way) or guide, and I can get plenty of images done in 30 mins or an hour. With DSO I was wanting to image for as long as I could on a target.

I used to have a C11, which can take you in closer, but the Edge 8 gives me enough detail for my taste, and it's such a nice compact, light unit.

I hope all the views help you decide what is best for you.

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DS imaging with a DSLR and SCT is not just a challenge, it's a bad idea. Just an example, but the 8 inch Edge with a Canon 550D is imaging at 0.44 arcseconds per pixel. This is absurd. Neither the guiding of a budget mount nor the atmospheric seeing most people live with will allow it. This resolution will be blurred out to something far less but you are stuck with a small field of view and very little light landing on each pixel. There is nothing to be said for any of this. It is lose-lose.

However, you can have 8 inches of aperture for visual use and a sensible focal length for DS imaging (and so a sensible F ratio) by going for an 8 inch Newt. It will need Barlows for plantary imaging and will be out performed on the planets by an SCT. But for visual observing it will be more flexible in that it will allow a wider field of view and it will be a good deep sky imaging scope.

I've had SCTs for nearly 20 years and they have their place but they are not the only show in town.

Olly

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