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DSO Astrophotography - changing kit, but to what???

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I've been getting more and more into Astrophotography (mainly planetary, with some DSLR wide field stuff too) but the DSO bug has got a hold of me since imaging the Leo Triplet, M31 and some Globular Clusters back in March, while under The Lake District's perfect clear, dark skies.

I'm using a Nexstar 6SE, so I'm on an AltAz mount, so I know the mount will have to change to EQ if I want to get better results. I was considering an AVX mount and that was the issue sorted, but seeing the size of it, has me considering going in a different direction...

Should I sell the 6SE and get a whole new set up?

Thinking of going smaller, as having something more portable would be a real advantage too.

Considering an ED80 DS Pro, but wanted to know if moving to an 80mm APO refractor, would be better or worse than the 150mm SCT I have?

Next query is back to the mount. As I'll still need EQ, what would be the best option for the ED80? Is there a sturdy EQ mount that can handle the OTA, DSLR and be future proof in case I one day add a small guide scope, or would I still need an AVX or HEQ5, etc?

Grrrr, why did I get hooked on this hobby!!!

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I cant comment on a comparison between your current scope and the ED80 as I havent used both.

I do use an ED80 on a HEQ5 and the HEQ5 is often suggested as being the minimum for an ED80  - when its loaded up with flattener/reducer, camera, filter wheel, guide scope, guide camera etc the weight soon goes up ! The HEQ5 handles it with no issues. (the combo of ED80 and HEQ5 is an often suggested setup for good reason)

If I had my time again I would have gone for the AZ EQ6 GT or similar from day one and given myself some future proofing.  

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Many imagers stress the importance of the stability of the mount.  The Celestron Advanced VX, or AVX, is considered entry-level for deep-sky astrophotography.  An EQ6 would the next step up...


An 80mm ED or apochromatic refractor is considered one of the "de facto" telescopes for deep-sky imaging, but an inexpensive 130mm f/5 Newtonian can be used as well, and perhaps even on an AVX or another EQ5-class mount.  The use of faster telescopes results in faster exposures, and less time spent; f/5 to f/6 is fast, whilst f/10 to f/12 is slow.  There are many variables in choosing the right telescope.

If a single error occurs during a time-exposure, and due to an unsteady mount, the image would become blurred, and all would be for naught.  Larger telescopes, like a 150mm f/4 Newtonian, would also serve for imaging on an EQ6, and for galaxies at least...


Imaging is almost totally different from visual observations, and can be very expensive.

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