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Astrophotography in London


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Hi guys,

I used to do a lot of astrophotography work when I lived in Plymouth but then I sold all equipment and lived in California for a while. Now I live in London and really miss doing some astrophotography but never really bothered because of the light pollution. 

The light pollution should not be such a big issue for planetary imaging and of course for solar imaging. I am thinking to either get a Coronado and try solar imaging or get a decent refractor and focus on lunar and planetary imaging. Does anyone have an experience with planetary imaging from London? What would you do? What equipment would you go for? Previously I had 10" computerised celestron but now I think refractor would be a better choice.

 

Any advice very much appreciated,

Martin Peniak

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You *will* have to autoguide with the NEQ6, in fact you'll have to autoguide with anything short of a mount from 10 micron or ASA, which are in the £6k and up league (And that included the awesome Mes

That multicoloured blob in my avatar is the Rosette taken from Ruislip, so NB is certainly do-able from London. Admitedly I used 3nm Astrodons.

Or never remove the camera   (except for periodic cleaning). Im with Olly on the manual FW... nowt wrong with using your hand!

Posted Images

I'll be moving in London too, in July.

I won't be having any instrumentation right from the beginning, but I plan to move my current telescope in autumn.

Also, I have no experience about London, but I did lots of planetary imaging right here in Milan.. surely smaller,  but still a very light polluted city.

If you wish, let's just keep in contact, I was planning to join the Baker street club too :)

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I think I am going to do narrowband imaging using Ha, Oiii ans Sii filters then combine them using Hubble pallete. I do not want a reflector this time. What refractor you guys reckon would be decent for serious astrophotography. My budget is around 1k on camera and 2k and scope and accessories :)

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1 minute ago, mpeniak said:

I think I am going to do narrowband imaging using Ha, Oiii ans Sii filters then combine them using Hubble pallete. I do not want a reflector this time. What refractor you guys reckon would be decent for serious astrophotography. My budget is around 1k on camera and 2k and scope and accessories :)

2k quite a good amount of money fora refractor. For the camera, if you want to do narrow band imaging a ccd will be necessary. perhaps an SBIG-8300M?

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55 minutes ago, Physopto said:

QSI 583 or 683 better than SBIG ? Heard of many who do not like the SBIG 8300M. There is also the Atik.

Derek

SBIG seem to be popular between professional astrophotographers. They seem to like this: http://astropixels.com/bifrost/stl11000m.html but way out of your price range.

For the budget (£1000) QSI might be a bit pricey.http://www.qsimaging.com/583-details.html 1,000 might be a little to little for a proper CCD as you will need to buy the filter wheel and possibly an autoguider depending on your mount type.

As for Atik, yes you could find something there. http://www.atik-cameras.com/

Suggestions, suggestions, suggestions:icon_biggrin:

Seb

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Narrow Band is do-able in London. Looking at the spectrum of LEDs it looks like the Oxygen line falls near the Stokes gap and the Hydrogen and Sulphur lines are where the light is tailing off at the red end. LRGB might be another matter though.

This is about the cheapest CCD with a good sized sensor:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/atik-cameras/atik-383l-plus.html

But you would still have to acquire filters and either a filter holder or wheel. Perhaps starting with just Hydrogen and working in mono then adding the others as and when.

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Thank you very much for the replies guys. Basically I would like to build a setup for around 3k. The 2k scope-mount-accessories and 1k camera was just a wild guess. I would love to squeeze the most out of this and have a setup which I can upgrade in the future. All considering I am based in central London. My mission will be to do some spectacular narrowband imaging from London, which would be awesome demonstration that astrophotography is perfectly possible even from huge light polluted cities. Indeed, I could first get a hydrogen alpha filter only and then upgrade and buy filter wheel and remaining two filters. I supposed that a good apo refractor and eq5-6 tripod would be fine, do you think?

Edited by mpeniak
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51 minutes ago, mpeniak said:

Thank you very much for the replies guys. Basically I would like to build a setup for around 3k. The 2k scope-mount-accessories and 1k camera was just a wild guess. I would love to squeeze the most out of this and have a setup which I can upgrade in the future. All considering I am based in central London. My mission will be to do some spectacular narrowband imaging from London, which would be awesome demonstration that astrophotography is perfectly possible even from huge light polluted cities. Indeed, I could first get a hydrogen alpha filter only and then upgrade and buy filter wheel and remaining two filters. I supposed that a good amo refractor and eq5-6 tripod would be fine, do you think?

That sounds good but I would recommend the EQ6 as you are doing dso. If you do get an EQ5, you will probably need an autoguider which will bump up your costs by about £200-300.  I also live in London and really wish I could do narrowband imaging but I will really need to find the price for it. 

SEB

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You should be able to pick up a QSI 583 Wsg for between £1400 to £1600 in good condition. It has a filter wheel incorporated and off axis guider prism. Filters can be got later. NEQ6 really good and can take a reasonable weight. Once guided very accurate second hand. About £650' for a good one. 

Derek

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What refractor would you recommend guys? I was thinking that in theory I should not need apochromatic refractor because of sole narrowband usage. I don't mind having to refocus for each filter and I thought I could get more aperture for money this way. Am I missing something or standard achromat will do?

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The 150mm apo ed refractors can be up to £5000. Takahashi do very good ones but they are well out of your price range. Perhaps a sky watcher espirit; https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/SkyWatcher-Esprit-100ED-3-Element-Apochromatic-Refractor.html

Or possibly you could have a look at this. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov-newtonian/skywatcher-explorer-190mn-ds-pro-mak-newt-astrograph.html

 I know this isn't a refractor but it is a very good telescope with almost double the aperture. It is also considerably cheaper.

Remember both of these telescopes do need a mount so be thinking of this when you come to buy.

Seb

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2 minutes ago, Galatic Wanderer said:

Ok I see

I guess I could change my mind if the scope was much superior for what I am trying to use it for. Would you say that that one is the best for narrowband dso for the money I can spend? I quite like the refractor you mentioned earlier on.

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The refractor is good and fits into your price budget nicely. The refractor has half the focal length of the refractor (which I have just seen!) so if you want to do dso, which requires a short focal length, maybe the refractor would be best for you.

Seb

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