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richaddis

New Scope, no improvement! Help?

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I recently purchased a Celestron Nextar 6SE as a step up from my SkyWatcher 130m 5" Newtonian and was excited about the improved images I was expecting to produce but the results I'm getting are no better than with my old scope and in some cases a lot worse!

 

I've checked collimation and it's fine. No dust or dew on corrector plate, mirrors or eyepieces. 

Have tried on different nights with differing conditions of seeing. 

Telescope is being acclimated before use.

 

I'm starting to think that my limitation is either my capture method (iPhone in an adapter held over eyepiece caturing video in 1080p for stacking) or my stacking software... I'm using a Mac so am limited to Keith's Image Stacker or Lynkeos. 

 

Does anyone have any advice for me because I'm beginning to get frustrated at having spent so much on a new telescope and not seeing the benefit! 

 

Thanks.

image.jpeg

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The capture mode is certainly constraining you. The extra 20 mm of aperture won't do very much of course, and seeing may also play a role, especially when the planets are low in the sky

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I think you're expecting too much of a phone. A decent fast frame camera would surely be your best bet?

Olly

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I agree with Olly.

 

 

Edited by VSOP

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8 minutes ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

The capture mode is certainly constraining you. The extra 20 mm of aperture won't do very much of course, and seeing may also play a role, especially when the planets are low in the sky

Thanks for your reply...

 

When you say the extra 20mm are you referring to it being a 6 inch scope rather than a 5? Because the focal length is 50% longer in the new scope and it has much better optics so it should be a vast improvement should it not?

 

the planets are low yes (well Mars and Saturn are, Jupiter's pretty high!) but I'm comparing them with images taken last year around the same time with the old scope.

 

thinking of investing in a decent webcam like the ASI120MC. Just don't want to throw more money in if I won't see any difference!

 

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2 minutes ago, richaddis said:

and it has much better optics

Why do you assume that?

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5 minutes ago, richaddis said:

Thanks for your reply...

 

When you say the extra 20mm are you referring to it being a 6 inch scope rather than a 5? Because the focal length is 50% longer in the new scope and it has much better optics so it should be a vast improvement should it not?

 

the planets are low yes (well Mars and Saturn are, Jupiter's pretty high!) but I'm comparing them with images taken last year around the same time with the old scope.

 

thinking of investing in a decent webcam like the ASI120MC. Just don't want to throw more money in if I won't see any difference!

 

The Newtonian has a smaller secondary obstruction which would favour it (slightly). Long focal length can be achieved with a different Barlow or PowerMate (a 2.5x in an F/10 scope gets the same focal ratio as a 5x in an F/5 scope).

The iPhone probably stores videos in compressed form, which degrades quality a lot. A planetary camera like the ASI120MC would give a lot better results.

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5 minutes ago, acey said:

Why do you assume that?

Because all of the reviews I've read of the Celestron Nexstar series rave about its StarBright optics and how advanced they are!

 

I would hope that a £1200 scope would have better optics than a £180 scope! 

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Not necessarily, a lot of what you're paying for is the mount.

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Could you do a visual test with the 2 scopes and compare them on some narrow double stars and Jupiter? See if the 6" is indeed optically better than the 5" and if the collimation is indeed correct.

Edited by Linda

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I'm sure the scope is fine. If you are concerned about buying a camera and getting no improvement, can you first borrow a camera?

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I don't think anyone wants to dishearten you, but a lot of the extra cost is the mount, but it is a good mount, as long as you do not want to do long exposure deep sky photography. The scope is not necessarily a huge step up from your old scope but it is a flexible scope for all kinds of things you may wish to do in the future. I think a better camera is definitely the way forward for planetary imaging. If you cannot afford a better camera, I would consider talking to the supplier who sold it to you and see if they can replace your scope with a new scope and camera package to suit your needs for the same price, but remember your needs may change in the future.

Edited by RobertI
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5 minutes ago, VSOP said:

I'm sure the scope is fine. If you are concerned about buying a camera and getting no improvement, can you first borrow a camera?

Unfortunately I don't know anyone else with this hobby! Maybe I'll buy a camera, test it and return it if no joy!

 

Has anyone used Lynkeos? Can't tell if it's overcomplicating the image in the stacking and just adding noise or whether it's the source!

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As said, a lot of the extra cost is the mount with it's Goto and electronics, but also SCT's are more expensive to manufacture than Newtonians. They are a nice scope to own i.e. really compact and light for the aperture, no diffraction spikes, and really easy collimation as you only have to adjust the secondary.

 The XLT optics refer to the coatings which will likely be a bit better than your 130mm Newt, so will reflect slightly more light. The C6 being an inch more in aperture than your Newtonian will yield a touch more resolution but not a huge amount, these things tend to be more noticeabe when jumping 2-3" in aperture.

Your new scope optics will be a bit of an improvement to summerise, but the main thing will be the seeing with planets low down, and the fact that you are capturing images with a phone rather than a dedicated high frame rate planetary camera. The ASI120MC is an excellent choice! I had the mono version but sold it so I can hopefully pick up the colour version at some point in the future :)

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Your mount with a different telescope is being used for astrophotography check out the No EQ Challenge imaging thread. Depending on where looking can get 45 second exposures and lots of 30 second ones stacked gets you an image.

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Have you considered getting an inexpensive (c £20) webcam and modding it for prime focus AP? In many cases it's as simple as prying the lens off with a screwdriver and sticking a nosepiece on the end. The results should outperform the afocal iphone approach, and will be much less expensive than a DSLR.

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2 hours ago, richaddis said:

Unfortunately I don't know anyone else with this hobby! Maybe I'll buy a camera, test it and return it if no joy!

 

Has anyone used Lynkeos? Can't tell if it's overcomplicating the image in the stacking and just adding noise or whether it's the source!

Hmmm... There are 51,118 members of this site of which at least 90% are in UK. UK is not a huge place so it would seem to me that you know a few thousand people who share your hobby and many would likely have a camera for you to try. If I wasn't 5780 KM away, I would gladly let you try mine. Just sayin...

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Beside the stuff you are capturing with the phone, how are the actual visuals through the eyepiece? Better, worse, same?

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2 hours ago, VSOP said:

Hmmm... There are 51,118 members of this site of which at least 90% are in UK. UK is not a huge place so it would seem to me that you know a few thousand people who share your hobby and many would likely have a camera for you to try. If I wasn't 5780 KM away, I would gladly let you try mine. Just sayin...

What I mean to say is that I don't know anyone personally who is into Astrophotography...I'm certain that there are thousands of people living nearby who practice it but i don't know them and can't expect a stranger to lend me expensive equipment!

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2 hours ago, SacRiker said:

Beside the stuff you are capturing with the phone, how are the actual visuals through the eyepiece? Better, worse, same?

I think that everything is brighter but I'm not sure about clearer.

 

I've been able to see surface detail on Mars for the first time rather than just an orange blob but Jupiter isn't revealing much more than its 2 main bands which I was able to see with the Newtonian. The mount is great and I love being able to go off, make a cup of tea and come back to still find the object in frame, but I wouldn't have spent such a lot of money just for the mount! 

 

I did do quite a bit of research on this telescope before buying and looked at lots of images produced with the same scope and just kind of expected to be able to achieve the same quality but maybe they were captured under better conditions!

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14 minutes ago, richaddis said:

What I mean to say is that I don't know anyone personally who is into Astrophotography...I'm certain that there are thousands of people living nearby who practice it but i don't know them and can't expect a stranger to lend me expensive equipment!

I think you would be surprised. I am a "stranger" and as I said, If I wasn't way across the pond, I would lend you mine. I would even help you with setup and capture etc. I recommend you to start a new topic and ask if any astro guys would be interested in meeting up for a beer and let you test drive a camera like, for example, the Neximage 5 that I am using. It is relatively inexpensive and very easy to use. In 10 minutes, you will know if the problem is the scope, camera or your technique. Alternatively, go out to a star party. I find amateur astronomers usually love to assist others in enjoying this hobby.

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I notice you are in the Wirral, there are a couple of astronomy groups over that way, Chester Astro for example meet in Delamere Forest. Maybe try and get to a meeting? I find that most amateur astronomers are very keen and willing to impart their knowledge & wisdom and willing to share equipment. :)

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Here are four images taken with a webcam (which should be a step up from a phone camera), through my Celestron C8 (the older (20 years) 8" brother of your 6SE). The brown cast in the first two was through lack of IR filter

mars0001.jpgjupiter3awithmoons.png jupiter_20101008_2152_12s.jpg saturn_20100616_2111_37.png

 

Here are three more recent ones taken with an ASI120MC through the same scope:

Drizzle15_Jup_012517_L_pipp_g3_b3_ap33RS6-2.jpgsaturn25052014drizzle-resscale.jpgMars_232744_L_pipp_g3_b3_ap16RS6-2.png

The upgrade of a camera can certainly help, and an SCT is certainly a decent planetary imaging scope. Seeing was awesome in the latter Mars and Jupiter shots

 

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Those are all incredible shots. I especially love the first saturn shot. 

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I actually think those iPhone images are quite good all things considered.

 

If you want to see what your scope is capable of but don't want to risk putting too much money in to the cause you could always try one of these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-original-Philips-SPC900NC-webcam-NOT-SPC880NC-Astronomy-/291773564136?hash=item43ef0f44e8:g:93sAAOSweW5U6xR with http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Webcam-Adapter-for-Telescope-1-25Inch-Thread-video-and-photo-taking-of-moon-/111904655535?hash=item1a0e0988af:g:m20AAOSw~bFWG1uM

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