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Upgrading equipment for astrophotography


PaulP
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I have had my Nexstar 5se for about a year now which as been great for observing and a little bit of planetry imaging.

I would now like to move forward to some more serious astrophotography using my dslr and purchasing a ccd.

I start looking at the Advanced VX 9.25 but have read the mount is not best for astrophotography so have move on &

I am currently looking at a CGEM 9.25 XLT & the CGEM 800 (8") Edge HD

First can the mount take the weight (scope, autoguider,dslr camera ect)

Secondly which is the better scope for both observing & imaging I appreciate I might have to make some trade off

I would like to stay with Celestron as I already have the GPS & Starsense but could steer away if other equipment is a lot better suited

Any advice would be greatly appreciate.

Paul

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Hi Paul, the scopes you are identifying are great for bright solar system objects such as the moon and planets.  However, their associated focal lengths would prove problematic for imaging of deep sky objects requiring prolonged exposure times.  In addition, guiding such instruments is not for the faint hearted.  For DSOs a common but not obligatory choice is a small refractor.  If you are interested in astrophotography then consider what it is you want to image and work backwards to identify the appropriate kit.  The book 'Making Every Photon Count' by Steve Richards, available from FLO would be a wise investment before you part with further cash.

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If you are interested in DSO imaging (as opposed to solar system) then you will do well to get hold of the book 'Making Every Photon Count' available from the book section of the FLO website. Read it once, twice and thrice before spending a penny and then think about what you need and why.

One of the often recommended starting points for DSO imaging is a short refractor (such as an ED80) and an HEQ5 - This shorter focal length scope will place minimal stress on the mount for long exposure photography as this is also a good thing to be able to do with DSO imaging. 

It may sound odd, but shorter focal length does well - There are many large nebula's out there as one of these FOV calculators can show.

I have used a C9.25 for imaging and it was hard going - It's slow speed meant that the exposures needed were long and many of them.

Hope that helps.

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I'm the exception to the rule in so far as I started astrophotography at high focal lengths about a year ago and am only just getting a refractor to go wider.  I take successful sub exposures up to half an hour long and my stars are generally pretty round :laugh:.   But it is more demanding and you'll prob need to research and sort out off-axis guiding.  The big plus of the SCTs (in my opinion) is that if you want to do any visual astronomy, the SCT shows you a whole lot more on deep sky objects.  I don't know the CGEM, but chose the AZEQ6 over it and have had no problems. 

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Many thanks to you all for taking the time to give your advice & comments the book I will get & start reading. I have just been looking at next years star party & think this could be a good weekend spent, lots of advice & different types of setups. I am in no rush to upgrade its more important that I end up with the correct equipment for my needs. Mean time lots of reading & hopefully clear skies with 5se. Once again many thanks, all have been very helpful.

Paul

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