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Astrophotography in London


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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!

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2 hours ago, mpeniak said:

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?

Although theoretically possible, and one or two here have imaged with the ST80 short FL achro, the triplet apo 'scopes will also be (Or *should* be) better corrected for spherical aberration which will bloat your stars even with narrow band.

You say you live in a flat, will you be trying to image from there or taking your kit out to a dark site? I know that at least one of our members (Thalestris 24) images through the windows of her flatin Glasgow, though it's not generally recommended due to hot air currents ruining the seeing.

Having said that, and to leave you more funds for the mount (Always the most important part of an AP rig) you could go for the Skywatcher ED80 and reducer / flattener, £350 for the 'scope and £160 for the flattener. This would be fine for DSOs but too short to be useful for lunar or planetary.

Ok, just seen your latest post, how are you planning to guide? The 190MN really needs an OAG.

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Thanks for the reply. I would take the scope on the rooftop terrace from which I have an excellent view. I was under impression that if I invest in eq6 mount I would not need autoguider. If on the other hand I went with the skywatcher refractor and eq6 would I still need an autoguider?

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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 Mesu 200). If you need a guide 'scope then budget another £350-400, for a ST80 and whatever guide camera takes your fancy. I use a QHY5 II, but that's only because I got it on offer at Astrofest. I'll soon (I hope) be moving to a self-guided ASA DDM60 mount.

Interesting that you haven't quoted any of the 'scopes from FLO?

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6 minutes ago, DaveS said:

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 Mesu 200). If you need a guide 'scope then budget another £350-400, for a ST80 and whatever guide camera takes your fancy. I use a QHY5 II, but that's only because I got it on offer at Astrofest. I'll soon (I hope) be moving to a self-guided ASA DDM60 mount.

Interesting that you haven't quoted any of the 'scopes from FLO?

I quoted the scopes to share the specs not because who sells them. What is it from FLO that you would recommend? 

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10 hours ago, DaveS said:

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 Mesu 200). If you need a guide 'scope then budget another £350-400, for a ST80 and whatever guide camera takes your fancy. I use a QHY5 II, but that's only because I got it on offer at Astrofest. I'll soon (I hope) be moving to a self-guided ASA DDM60 mount.

Interesting that you haven't quoted any of the 'scopes from FLO?

Perhaps maybe get the Eq5 and then get an autoguider. The refractor  you are aiming for is relatively light and the Eq5 will probably suit it well. The eq5 maximum load is 9kg and the espirit is 6.3kg but then you would have to take into consideration  the camera, autoguider and guidescope.

Here is another suggestion: the review  http://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/review/mounts/bresser-exos-2-go-mount

the actual product: http://www.telescopehouse.com/bresser-messier-exos-2-goto-mount.html

The neq6  Payload capacity is 18kg for imaging, 25kg for visual, which is more than you need but it is very sturdy. The neq6 is £1000 ( although you could possibly pick up one second hand here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEQ6Pro-GoTo-Telescope-mount-/152108076214?hash=item236a590cb6:g:1d4AAOSwNsdXSykv) and then you would have to get the refractor which is 1,500. Then you would have to get an autoguider for nearly any mount (as I am told by dave S) which adds roughly 350. What camera are you aiming for?

possible autoguider:https://www.firstlightoptics.com/guide-cameras/skywatcher-synguider-autoguider.html

and then paired with this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orion-Mini-50mm-Guide-Scope/dp/B004SFUO9U   

Just some more suggestions:icon_biggrin:

Seb

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11 minutes ago, mpeniak said:

It's 1mim walk, can use lift or stairs 

Just checking because if you get a heavy mount carrying it several flights of stairs can be a put off. NEQ6 weighs about 16 kilograms, legs weigh about 10Kg I think, CCD (QSI) about 1 kg, Scope average talked about 8-12 kg. Batteries could be another 16 Kg. Associated wiring and Laptop another 10 kg. It all adds up and takes time to ferry about back and forth.  Could be about 65-70 Kg of gear to move there and back again. Are you prepared to do that two or more times a week? Can get very tiring.

If it is not secure you may have to go for  toilet breaks and leave it unattended! Lot of monies worth to leave for a while!!!

Just be aware that it isn't always about having the gear it is the using and safety as well.

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1 hour ago, Physopto said:

Just checking because if you get a heavy mount carrying it several flights of stairs can be a put off. NEQ6 weighs about 16 kilograms, legs weigh about 10Kg I think, CCD (QSI) about 1 kg, Scope average talked about 8-12 kg. Batteries could be another 16 Kg. Associated wiring and Laptop another 10 kg. It all adds up and takes time to ferry about back and forth.  Could be about 65-70 Kg of gear to move there and back again. Are you prepared to do that two or more times a week? Can get very tiring.

If it is not secure you may have to go for  toilet breaks and leave it unattended! Lot of monies worth to leave for a while!!!

Just be aware that it isn't always about having the gear it is the using and safety as well.

Sure, I used to have similar setup before with regards to weight. Thank you for pointing it out but for me it is not an issue :)

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I would agree that there is not a lot wrong with the ED80.  This would free up some cash from the original budget to put towards autoguiding (essential for the longer exposures you will need in NB) and camera.  If you want to spend a bit more there is the Esprit range.  

I've had an ED80 and liked it a lot, though the focusser was pretty horrible (Baader Stteltrack maybe?).  I can't comment on the Esprit yet - but I have one coming in the next few days.

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15 hours ago, gnomus said:

I would agree that there is not a lot wrong with the ED80.  This would free up some cash from the original budget to put towards autoguiding (essential for the longer exposures you will need in NB) and camera.  If you want to spend a bit more there is the Esprit range.  

I've had an ED80 and liked it a lot, though the focusser was pretty horrible (Baader Stteltrack maybe?).  I can't comment on the Esprit yet - but I have one coming in the next few days.

Please keep me posted. Do you think the 80mm aperture of ED80 will be sufficient for narrowband imaging considering that it already needs longer exposure times?

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Also, when I visit the link you provided: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-ota.html
It says: "Note: To achieve this price we are splitting the 80ED DS PRO bundle into individual components so the telescope will be delivered in our own box and packaging."
What does it mean? I see the prices of this scope elsewhere are higher. Has something been removed from the scope?

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Yes, they've removed everything that isn't needed for imaging, ie the diagonal, finder, eyepiece, and probably the aluminium case as well (Not sure about the latter).

80mm is plenty for NB imaging. One of the popular 'scopes is the WO Imaging Star 71 f/4.9 (Just been replaced by a mkII version), as is the Esprit 80 f/5 and the TS 80mm f/6, the latter two are triplets, and considerably more expensive. The ED80 / HEQ5 is recommended for a reason, it just plain works, something all too rare in AP.

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7 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Yes, they've removed everything that isn't needed for imaging, ie the diagonal, finder, eyepiece, and probably the aluminium case as well (Not sure about the latter).

80mm is plenty for NB imaging. One of the popular 'scopes is the WO Imaging Star 71 f/4.9 (Just been replaced by a mkII version), as is the Esprit 80 f/5 and the TS 80mm f/6, the latter two are triplets, and considerably more expensive. The ED80 / HEQ5 is recommended for a reason, it just plain works, something all too rare in AP.

Thanks a lot! I am now lot more confident about the setup. I am thinking this, does it look like a good setup for narrowband imaging? :)
HEQ5 - £759

ED80 - £349

Atik 383L Plus - £1,495

H-alpha 7nm - £171

.85x Reducer/Flattener - £159

Autoguider - £275

Dual-saddle - £120

Side-by-side mount - £146

17Ah powertank - £98

TOTAL = £3,572

 

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Looks oK to me, but don't just take my word for it. I see you have specc'd the 2" H alpha filter, I think you could get away with a 36mm unmounted filter for the 383. Which brings me to the next point, how are you going to mount the filter? You will either need a filter wheel, or a filter holder, something like this perhaps

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3979_TS-M48-quick-filter-changer-incl--1x-2--filter-drawer---low-profile-for-big-sensor.html

I've specc'd the m48 version as that is what the Skywatcher flattener / reducer has on the camera side. You'll also have to budget for whatever extenders you'll need for the reducer's back focus.

Sorry if I'm telling you things you already know, you did say you used to do some AP a few years back.

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Quote "Which brings me to the next point, how are you going to mount the filter? You will either need a filter wheel, or a filter holder"

 

 

This is why I suggest a second hand QSI 583 wsg. ( around £1600).

It has an integrated filter wheel and takes the 1.25" filters and possibly un-mounted 31mm filters. It also has an integrated prism for off axis guiding.

So you don't have to go buying a separate filter wheel and off axis guider!

 

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1 minute ago, Physopto said:

Quote "Which brings me to the next point, how are you going to mount the filter? You will either need a filter wheel, or a filter holder"

 

 

This is why I suggest a second hand QSI 583 wsg. ( around £1600).

It has an integrated filter wheel and takes the 1.25" filters and possibly un-mounted 31mm filters. It also has an integrated prism for off axis guiding.

So you don't have to go buying a separate filter wheel and off axis guider!

 

Is that second--hand camera vastly superior to atik?

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Cannot, say vastly superior to an Atik.

Atik are really nice cameras, but they do not have the integrated filter wheels. You may possibly get a bit more vignetting due to the extra distance to the filters from the CCD. Plenty of members use them and are happy. QSI are renowned for their build quality, but so are Atik.

You need to go and look at their websites and read up on each make of camera. We can only tell you snippets of what we know.  I have never owned an Atik camera, but know friends who do. On the other hand I have had two QSI cameras and still use the second one. Number one was a 585wsg number two is the QSI 683 wsg.

You must go and read as many thoughts that members have posted on these cameras, that you can to get a real feel for what you want. Asking questions can only point you in a direction to look. It should not make your mind up for you. If you rely only on our advice you may regret it if you decide on a slightly different approach at a later date, when you think of something else to do. That may rear its head when researching exactly what you want.

There are benefits to both makes. Atik are slightly cheaper than QSI but " I " believe, QSI are slightly better for my purposes. You may be able to get a very good Atik second hand as well. But then you will need the extra filter wheel and off axis guiding or extra guide scope and ancillary equipment.

Derek

 

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I've had an Atik 383L.  I like the camera but I have had problems with odd reflections from the filters in the Atik filter wheel.  The other camera to consider might be the Moravian.  I will be getting one of these in a week or so.  I think the QSI 583 or 683 are also worth considering.  One advantage of the 683 is that you can use 1.25" filters.  That could make a big difference if you decide you need the best NB filters available.  (If you do look up the price of Astrodon or Chroma filters, make sure you are sitting down).

If you are going to get a second hand camera, make sure that you get the seller to send you FITS files from the camera.  Images are OK but do have a look at darks, biases and flats too.  I have looked at two used cameras recently and both had 'issues'.  It may be worth buying new so that you get peace of mind and some warranty.  I hear that it can be expensive to ship a QSI back to the US.  

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New QSI 583 wsg £3200 ish when sold. Second hand now about £1600 to £1800.

New QSI 683 wsg about £3200 second hand  ?????

To be quite honest the only real differences between the two is the down load speed 583 ~20 secs. 683 ~13 secs. Also there is slightly better cooling on the 683 by 5 degrees C. Built like a tank.

New.  12nm Ha  Astronomik  1.25" about £120. Astrodon 3nm Ha £400.

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7 minutes ago, Physopto said:

New QSI 583 wsg £3200 ish when sold. Second hand now about £1600 to £1800.

New QSI 683 wsg about £3200 second hand  ?????

To be quite honest the only real differences between the two is the down load speed 583 ~20 secs. 683 ~13 secs. Also there is slightly better cooling on the 683 by 5 degrees C. Built like a tank.

New.  12nm Ha  Astronomik  1.25" about £120. Astrodon 3nm Ha £400.

I think you'd pick up a used QSI for a lot less than that.  A new 683 with 8 position wheel and OAG is ~£3400.  Apologies - I misread your post.

Edited by gnomus
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Not when I bought one. It does depend upon offers or seller and being in the right place at the right time.  Around £1500 is a good price for a really good condition 583wsg. That is less half the original price. As I said built like a tank.

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