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Is it time to focus on one type of Astronomy (Upgrade advice needed please) !!!!


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Hi all 

I am at an "astronomical junction" in which I could really do with some valued advice from fellow astronomers. 

I have been having sleepless nights for a while now stressing backwards and forwards about what astronomical move to make next. 

My current set up is as follows:

HEQ5 with a Skywatcher 80ED PRO

Imaging through DSLR / Celestron Next Image planetary imager 

DSLR / Camera tripod for wide filed (non tracking) milky way work. 

I have been happy for a while with this set up, but to be honest, with not having a permanent pier, observatory, it's becoming a bit of a labour of love to drag it all out when we get a clear night, (spend 50 mins setting it up) then the clouds roll in..Grrrrrrr

I am city based, so I can just about image some of the more bright DSO which I have been really happy with. 

My question is now what to do next, as it's becoming more frustrating going though the same motions overtime I want to quickly look at the moon. 

 

Here are my thoughts so far: Take a step back from Imaging for a while and focus on a investing in a nice 10" Dob and a great set up eyepieces and fall in love with the visual side of imaging again. 

Invest in a Skywatcher Star Adventurer for better wide field Milky Way work, and maybe add a small scope to this for bright DSO?

Or go the other way: Invest in a 8" Cassergrain and mount this on my HEQ5 mount and focus on planetary / lunar work with a good quality web cam? 

I have had reflectors before on this mount, and to be honest the size and portability didn't work out to well. 

Maybe even do some planetary / Lunar imaging through the Dob? Tracking Dob perhaps? 

 

Arhhhhhh My dilemma. 

Is anyone in a similar position out there? or has been? city dwellers who have made a change of astronomical imaging based on their surroundings? time to set up and didn't have a permanent base to observe from?

 

Thanks in advance all 

 

Ben 

 

 

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I think a 10" Dob would give you the respite you are looking for. Enough aperture to offset your LP situation and capable of lunar and planetary imaging. A 8" Celestron OTA on an alt-az mount would be lighter and would also go on your current mount although the setting up could still be a pain.   :icon_biggrin:

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Depending on your storage facility, this is the ultimate mobile setup:

Just suggesting that if you have access to a shed near your observing site, you may be able to keep what you have, but cut down on set up time.

An alternative may be to leave the mount out (covered) between observing sessions. I do this sometimes on those occasions where I will have several nights in a row to observe/do AP.

If you have the funds, you can also invest in a large goto dob with a very sensitive camera (such as the new ASI cameras), and use lucky imaging. Since exposure times can be short, you can get away with just tracking in alt-az mode. http://www.astrokraai.nl/

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By far the best decision I made was to build an Obsy.  It reduced the set up time dramatically, provided a sociable format for others to join me, provided hours of fun in designing etc., etc.  I have now sold my 12" Dob because I can have a 9.25 SCT or my other kit ready to go at the drop of a hat.

FC3A6852.jpg

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If you're city based, unless you have a backyard and live in a house with a garage and a yard with decent unobstructions of houses/trees/powerlines around you- that large 10-12" dob is going to be laborious all the same.

 

Get a CAT for your current mount. Easier to transport , nice viewing angle. Preferably an Edge or ACF for visual. 

 

Try some lunar and planetary imaging with a cheap ASI cam from in town without driving to a darksite and having clouds roll in and waste gas and time.  I am city based and made that decision a long time ago. Everyone's circumstances are different though 

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The way I look at it is that given your city location, imaging is only really viable if you do it through narrow band filters.

Seeing as you already have a decent mount and scope, just get a set of decent eyepieces and do visual astronomy with that set up. When you have the time/motivation for imaging, load up the car and get out of the city for a night.

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I'm more suburban, but do both visual and imaging. I also setup and tear down each time for imaging.

I would definitely recommend a 10" dob. I love my 250px. It's quick to setup and doesn't require too long to cool down. It's also easy to transport to a dark site. I put the OTA on the back seat of the car and base in the boot. I've had some great views with the scope under darker skies.

With imaging I also find the setup time can be challenging. I'm considering the following:

- keeping my imaging scope, guide scope, reducer, filter wheel and camera permanently setup, but stored in the house.

- possibility of keeping my mount in the garden covered up in some way when not in use.

Andy.

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Before I installed a pier I had my kit on the HEQ5 and tripod under a Telegizmos 365 cover which is very good if a little pricey. After I installed the pier I still had the cover, but now the mount held its polar alignment and I could walk around without risk of kicking the legs.

So...even without going to an obsy I found the pier to be a very worthwhile investment.

Imaging Wise, going to a cooled CCD and narrowband filters made a huge difference, more even than the pier (So it should for the cost!).

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20 hours ago, mystarrymessengr said:

do you ever do any imaging through your DOB? Planetary? lunar? Solar? 

I use the dob purely for visual and my 80mm refractor for imaging.

I think it would be possible to put the dob on an eq mount, but it would be too heavy for the HEQ5. 

For imaging I've also just ordered a mono cooled camera with narrowband and lrgb filters.

I'm also considering a polemaster for quicker polar alignment. I've tried a few different methods but at the moment still end up drift aligning, which adds quite a bit of time to setting up.

20 hours ago, DaveS said:

Before I installed a pier I had my kit on the HEQ5 and tripod under a Telegizmos 365 cover which is very good if a little pricey

Telegizmos covers look good. Also Green Witch sell what looks like a good scope cover for £30.

Andy.

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