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Advice on new gear please


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I have been imaging with my 200P for a year or so now and love it. I am looking at next step really and am not sure whether to get myself a Skywatcher ED 80 for imaging and keep the 200 for visual or to get a guide camera set up for my current gear. I'm not going to be getting a new mount as that is outside the budget I'm afraid but I do have a new laptop so can run all the appropriate software for guiding now. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Steve

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Imho - you won't go wrong with the ED80 and you can add an ST80 for guiding at a later date (unless a cheap s/h one comes up meantime). Your mount will certainly give good results and you can use the webcam as a guide scope. You will either need a side by side arrangement or mounting rings - so budget those in along with any extra dew bands and power requirements. I found that the little extra bits and bobs can end up doubling an imaging budget sometimes. Hth :)

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I know its tempting to go for a new scope as thats quite exciting but I think for me personally I would start guiding asap.  

This if anything will make a big difference to the amount of data you can collect and the quality of your images.  It would also give you the capability to dither which is an excellent noise reduction technique.  

Simple finder guider setups seem to work very well from the posts Ive seen.  I have an ST80 with an Altair Astro mono GPCAM.  The finder guider would be lighter though for your mount.

Its hard work getting a guide set up to work and can be frustrating at times but will enable entry into a new world of data and if you are serious about imaging then the sooner you go there the better.  I think if you want to improve your images for the smallest cost then this must be the way to go.  

The ED80 will give you a larger field of view however and faster imaging  you will be able to frame larger objects.  I would have a play around with a FOV simulator to see what he difference is in the FOV between the scopes and see what you feel is more important to you at this stage.  Certainly to use the two scopes for imaging depending on the target would be a good idea.   Guiding however is an essential tool for serious imaging and the sooner you make the leap the better.

Cheers

Ian 

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Yup, guiding guiding guiding! Did I say guiding?? :grin:

I use my 200P for small objects such as galaxies and planets and my 72mm frac for large nebulae and more widefield etc. I use one finder-guider setup for both scopes and it works very well.

Good luck!

Alexxx

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+1 for guiding. 

Personally I dont know how anyone has the patience to image without guiding.. 

I dont have an ED 80 but I am planning on buying one probably today or tomorrow. If you go for the scope option as opposed to the guiding,  you will need the Field Flattener. Otherwise your only gonna be able to use the centre of the image.. rendering the whole point of the new scope irrelevent as you already have a 200p! 

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Ok guys, you know what's coming then - recommends for guiding keeping the costs down as much as possible with my set up, I guess using the existing finder scope. I should add I have very good skies here in Cyprus.

Edited by steviemac500
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Ok guys, you know what's coming then - recommends for guiding keeping the costs down as much as possible with my set up, I guess using the existing finder scope. I should add I have very good skies here in Cyprus.

Yea the cheapest way to do it is with your 9x50 using the adaptor from Modernastronomy.com (Maybe other companies do one but thats the only one I know of) 

That will save you having to buy another guide scope... and really if your on an EQ5, your pushing your weight limit anyway so adding another scope would just cause problems!

Just make sure you find yourself a good sensitive camera, The 9x50 is only little and sometimes those stars can be quite faint and hard to track

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While I agree with the mono theory I actually found no difference in guiding competence between mono and OSC Atik 16ic cameras a few years ago. But, yes, go for mono to be on the safe side!

Olly

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I also use the QHY5-1. I've seen a later model used and it gave an astrobuddy of mine some issues. If you can get a QHY5-1 second hand, jump at it. I got mine from Modern Astronomy. I'm sure the driver is still available. I've not used my ZWO ASI 120 MC as a guider so can't comment.

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If you are going for a finderguider I would check if the ZWO ASI 120 mono  is definitely suitable.  You don't want a heavy camera for a finderscope.  I am not familiar with that camera so not sure if it might be too heavy, maybe others are more familiar with it.

Carole 

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