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Going to buy GPCAM2: help with setup/guiding validation


d3k

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Hi all!

I am new in this forum, I write from Italy.

We have quite a good and vibrant astronomy community in Italy but I need some help from you because the cam I would like to buy (GPCAM2 colour) is not used in Italy, so I do not know where to get advice.

I have a Celestron Nexstar 8se SCT 8", a Skywatcher 80/400 achromatic refractor, and a Nikon D40X DSLR.

I would want  to put a step into imaging (no experience at all in the field, only some short exposure photos of M31 and M15), and I would use this cam for a couple of things (in order of importance):

  1. Planetary imaging (Moon and planets, a bit of Sun) - and maybe a bit of deepsky - from SCT unguided
  2. Guiding my DSLR mounted on the main tube - maybe with a focal reducer - from the little 80/400 with the GPCAM2 attached on the top of the SCT
  3. Guiding my DSLR mounted on the 80/400 from the SCT with the GPCAM2 attached to the SCT
  4. "Live view" from either of the 2 tubes to see faint objects directly on the Laptop with short exposures and maybe 2x2 binning
  5. (eventually) deep sky imaging using the GPCAM2 on 80/400 unguided (but motorized of course)

This would give very good flexibility and choice of focal length and sensor size for imaging.

When I saw the GPCAM2 I felt in love with it, because it uses the new Sony IMX224 (same of ASI224) but without the price and the added complexity of an ASI224 with USB3.

Moreover, it has (following producer description) a so-called cold finger allowing future TEC cooling.

What do you think? I know the (very good) planetary possibility of the IMX224 but I don't know its guiding capabilities... usually mono cam are preferred for guiding, but given the sensitivity of GPCAM2... could it work for guiding?

Does this make sense in general?

Thank you very much, any help (and idea) is greatly appreciated.

Daniele

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Sorry, maybe my question was too complex/specific? If I am saying something stupid let me know :happy7:

Let's reduce it to a simpler question: anyone here is using the GPCAM2 or the ASI224 for guiding? Is it ok for guiding despite being a colour camera?

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Yes, it would be sensitive enough for guiding and would perform well for planetary imaging. Not sure about DSOs though without any guiding, your SCT has a long focal length so the smallest movements will be visible on the image. The brightest objects you may be able to use a short exposure (a few seconds) and get something but likely you would be discarding many subs.

ChrisH

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