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Gettng into imaging and other queries

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Hi everyone,

I have recently got into astronomy and I find it incredibly amazing.

I have a Celestron model #31044 Firstscope 114 EQ 4.5" Newtonian Telescope with the folloing specs:

Aperture: 114mm (4.5")

Focal Length: 900mm
F/ratio: f/8
Standard Oculars (or Eyepieces):
20mm 1¼" (45x)
10mm 1¼" (90x)
Resolution:  1.0 arc seconds
 Light gathering Power: 267x unaided eye
Limiting Magnitude: 12.8
Highest useful Power: 270x
I would like some advice on eyepieces. From one of my previous posts I enquired about the celestron eyepiece kit and was advised to avoid. From all the kind advice I received I was recommended the following eyepieces:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/vixen-eyepieces/vixen-npl-eyepieces.html 30mm

http://www.365astronomy.com/8mm-BST-Explorer-ED-Eyepiece.html  or


And the GSO Superview 20mm.

I was wondering if this is a good basis to start as I quite fancied to start my glass collection here and also wondered if it would be wise to get a 6mm lens to increase magnification further. I was advised to avoid barlow lenses for now.


My next question is in regards to filters. I have researched the following filters and wondered if they would be a worthwhile investment, especially the sun filter as that would be cool!





Finally, I have recently been researching astroimaging. However, I have no idea where to start with this and if my equipment have the capabilities to cope. I believe CCD cameras are the way to go. I would be interested in imaging planets and the moon in the first instance bfore moving onto stars and DSO, however I feel I may need to get a variety of CCD cameras.


I have noticed the Celestron Skyris 618 on FLO at a good deal and would like advice/recommendations on astroimaging and how I go from here!


Apologies for the huge post and thanks in advance for any advice!


Happy stargazing!!!



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Never easy on eyepieces, I like getting a given set of eyepieces rather then one from here and one from there.

If you went for "the set" approach then consider the BST's. They are 5, 8, 12, 15, 18, 25mm. Usually the least expensive are from Skies the Limit, it is on abay but is run by Alan at Welwyn Garden City and he is a member of the Hertford club. Basically no problems.

The other set at the budget area you imply are the Celestron X-Cel LX eyepieces, FLO have them. If I recall they are 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 25mm

If you want a 6mm then many suggest the William Optics Planetary 6mm. However it looks identical to and has the same specification as the Altair Lighwave or Starwave eyepiece. Bit odd as from Altair they are £55 and from Tring and I think Rother Valley they are £45. So check each out and check if there is a postage factor.

The Vixen NPL's you have a link to are good plossl eyepieces - do you wear glasses or need eye relief ?? If so they may not be the best option. But they are reported as nice, simple, good eyepieces.

Highest useful power will be closer to 180x and occasionally maybe 200x. However I suspect 180x is the more realistic maximum (if the scope delivers that adaquately)

Solar filter is as it says for the sun, so get one if you want to look at it. Other filters I am unsure of, I do not have any and get along very happily. Maybe leave that aspect out of consideration for now. You will spend enough without perhaps buying something that could prove little used. LP filters are becoming difficult as the nature of the pollution is changing from the "classic" yellow to a broader white.

Again leave the imaging out of it for a while, reading your post there is no mention of tracking or motors, and if none then imaging will be difficult even with a webcam.

Take a month or so to become familiar with everything and track things down. Summer is coming upon us and the clocks change at the end of March so nights will be lighter and less observing time available. So observe while you can and get some experience under your belt. Maybe during the lighter summer months get a web cam and play at that when possible.


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While I can not comment on visual and eye pieces at all, I've learnt a couple of things about imaging ....... DSO imaging in particular. If you think you would be interested in this then get hold of a copy of the book 'Making Every Photon Count' available from the FLO website in the book section. This is something of a DSO imaging bible and will really  help you understand what you need to help you with this sort of imaging. 

Unfortunately there isn't a one scope does it all and planetary and the moon have very different requirements to DSO imaging. 

I would say to enjoy your time with visual first and then think about whether imaging is something that you do want to pursue.

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First off, imaging, especially DSO imaging is so counter-intuitive that it's easy to spend a huge amount of cash and have to start over.

Next, before you spend anything more get yourself this book:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html Steve posts on here as "Steppenwolf"

Read it twice, pause, think then read it again while considering where you want to go with your imaging. It really does take that amount of head-banging.

Thirdly, your 'scope, whilst fine for visual is not really suitable for DSO imaging. It might, however, be a first step into planetary / lunar imaging, something I don't get involved with yet.

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I second the book "Every Photon Counts", it's a great read for anyone thinking of getting into imaging. When starting out, there's so much to learn and it can seem really confusing at times - this book really helps explain concepts in imaging, what kit you'll need, and help on imaging different DSO's.

The moon is a great target to start imaging. It's big and bright! Jupiter is also a good target right now as it's near opposition.

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Can't help with eyepieces and not a visual guy. But for imaging, I would suggest start cheap 1st to see if it is for you. Trust me that it can get very expensive and dipping your toe in the so called water is a wise choice at this stage.

The scope you have will allow you to image the moon, some planets and some other deep sky objects, but the quality will not be as great as some of the images you see on here. If you get the bug, then is the time to start thinking about scopes, cameras etc.

For the moon and planets, video is what you are after so you can process the frames and work out the best ones to comprise together.

A simple web cam will do to start with, you will learn a lot and then you can start to spend the money if you want to go further is my advice.


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If you seriously want to image then do nothing until you have purchased and read the book "making every Photon count" by Steve Richards. You can get it from FLO.

The most important part of an imaging rig is the mount.

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To do serious astrophotography you will need a high-end Equatorial mount. You need this because long exposure pictures are required to capture the faint details hidden in galaxies or nebulas. The EQ mount will track the sky so that you  can get flawless pictures without star trailing.

These mounts are incredibly expensive so if I were you I would stick to planetary astrophotography  like you said. I don't have any experience with CCD so I can't help you with that. 

The filters that you linked all seem good but stay away from the colored filters (like the ones that come with the Celestron eyepeice kit) they don't help too much.

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4 hours ago, Owmuchonomy said:


The most important part of an imaging rig is the mount.


I second that! Some years back, on this forum I believe, I saw a guy start out with a HEQ6  (Now NEQ6 I think) and a goog quality 80mm something refractor. It looked a bit silly with the small scope on the huge mount, but makes a lot of sense for imaging.  

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