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Thoughts and opinions?


Yamez

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I've been doing a lot of research on astrophotography and the whole setup required as i would love to get started with it. After doing lots of searching i've compiled a setup which to me looks like a good starting place. The aim of the setup is for deep sky imaging with a DSLR and lunar imaging (this will come later) on a side by side basis.  I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the setup.

Mount: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-heq5-pro-synscan.html

It was a choice between this mount and the NEQ6, this mount is cheaper but the NEQ6 can hold a lot of weight. If i were to invest in the NEQ6 then it would serve me many years of upgrades. So, is it going to be worth to spend the extra money straight away?

Main imaging scope: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/explore-scientific-telescopes/explore-scientific-ed-apo-102mm-f7-essential-refractor-telescope-with-hex-focus.html + https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/explore-scientific-8x50-illuminated-finder-scope.html

This scope has a good aperture to it and a very nice focal length. This will be the scope with the DSLR attached to it giving me a wide field of view which is what i love. Also the dslr can be piggybacked for long exposure wide field image.

Guide scope + Guide camera: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/touptek-cameras/guide-scope-bundle-suitable-for-side-by-side-bars-or-guidescope-mounts.html

This to me looks like a very good starting point for auto-guiding. The camera is an auto guider and also a mono imaging camera (video). This is where it can be attached with the main scope to get me good lunar images.

To mount both scopes to the mount i will purchase a vixen style side-by-side mounting system: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adm-vixen-type-v-series/adm-v-series-side-by-side-mounting-system.html

 

Thanks for reading and for feedback :)

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Hi although this is a nice set up, depending on your budget you could make small tweaks , I would try to go for the NEQ6 although the HEQ5 is a very good starter , the NEQ6 would be more future proof, the scope is a little on the slow side at F7  and you should aim for an  ideal F/L of no more than 500 imo , my choice would be an Esprit 80 ED , again a little more expensive but again IMO an ideal widefield scope, as for guiding, if you do go for an HEQ5 then with your prefered kit it may be getting a little close to its payload for imaging as you should always try to aim for two thirds of a mounts max payload the guide system I use is the Orion magnificent mini auto package, there are cheaper ways to keep the weight down on a guiding system as I am sure others will recommend , it's all down to cost and personal preference.  HTH 

I am sure you will be offered alternative or better advice as I myself is still wet behind the ears as far as the dark art that is Astrophotography 

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1 minute ago, Yamez said:

I forgot to mention I will be purchasing a reducer/flattner but not sure which side.

If your going to go for the recommended R/F  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reducersflatteners/explore-scientific-3-07x-reducer-corrector-field-flattener.html then the combined cost £1118.00 would out weigh the cost of the Esprit and flattener £1038.00

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27 minutes ago, cosmojaydee said:

If your going to go for the recommended R/F  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reducersflatteners/explore-scientific-3-07x-reducer-corrector-field-flattener.html then the combined cost £1118.00 would out weigh the cost of the Esprit and flattener £1038.00

Ok that's for the heads up deffinalty accounted for

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Aperture of itself is not important in amateur AP. In other words there is no inherent advantage of a 100mm scope over an 80mm. It's important only in connection with focal length because of its contribution to F ratio, which can matter a lot. 

For me the place to start is with focal length because that defines the field of view and so the picture you take. I would model different FLs with your chip on a planetarium software programme to be sure that you are going to end up with the FOV you want. 

With the FL more or less fixed you can then think about F ratio/aperture which, at fixed FL, are different ways of saying the same thing.

Next, will the optics cover your chip and how good is the colour correction?

And then you move onto the mechanical side, the focuser, the build quality and so on. I would always choose a rack and pinion over a Crayford myself.

Going side by side with a lunar scope like an SCT (if that was your line of thought) would greatly overload an HEQ5. Side by side also brings complications regarding the meridian flip. A side by side collides with the mount much earlier than a slim payload and can involve you in a flip which might otherwise be avoided. Just a thought.

Olly

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10 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Going side by side with a lunar scope like an SCT (if that was your line of thought) would greatly overload an HEQ5. Side by side also brings complications regarding the meridian flip. A side by side collides with the mount much earlier than a slim payload and can involve you in a flip which might otherwise be avoided.

You may have mis understood a little, the side by side setup will be the ES102 and then next to it will be the startravel guidescope with the mono guide/imaging camera. I was told that aperture still plays an important role in ap that's why I chose the ES102 but I shall rethink about that. Using Astronomy.tools and strllarium I inputted by setup (scope and camera) to view the FOV and I liked what I could see with it a lot.

What scope would you recommend, above was recommended a espirit 80mm though that does prove quite expensive and my budget is around £2,400.

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Personally I think it's easier to piggyback a guidescope just because of the flip issue but it's no big deal either way. I shouldn't worry about having the guidescope adjustable, by the way. With modern guide cameras you'll always find a star. If you like the FOV then your scope choice is good to go. I was just running through the selection order of priorities as I would see them.

Olly

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Hi, my thoughts are:

- Unless you're planning to set up an observatory or mount a very big scope, get the HEQ5 pro over the NEQ6. They both do exactly the same job only the NEQ6 can carry more weight.

- As Olly says stick the guide scope on top, it's the simplest way and reduces the chance of the scopes hitting the mount.

-if you want to do wide field get a shorter focal length scope 500mm or below. Shorter focal lengths are more beginner friendly because it's easier to guide/track the stars accurately at shorter focal lengths (given a particular camera pixel size)

-An 80mm ED or triplet would be great, but also Google the Skywatcher 130pds f/5. Very cheap and very fast and widefield, also no false colour like a good triplet and only 1/8th the price.

here's some very good imaging scopes in price order:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-ds-ota.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/equinox/skywatcher-equinox-80-apo-pro-ota.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/esprit-professional-refractors/skywatcher-esprit-ed-80-pro-triplet.html

 

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I had the same decision to make earlier this year, HEQ5 or NEQ6?

I was a worried about the extra weight of the NEQ6, but decided to spend a bit more and go for it.  Personally, I don't find the weight a problem and regularly transport the mount out to my back garden.  I use the rules for picking up heavy stuff, get a good grip, keep back straight, bend at the knees, etc.  and take deliberate short steps when carrying it.  Hope I haven't put you off, it's not particularly heavy, but can sometimes be awkward to get a good grip on when getting it out of the cupboard I store it in.  

John

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1 hour ago, Starwiz said:

 I use the rules for picking up heavy stuff, get a good grip, keep back straight, bend at the knees,

I do the exact same when carrying my current scope and mount outside, also being very careful not to bang any walls or doors :D

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A couple of years ago when I was looking at either the NEQ6 or HEQ5 I went in to Rother Valley Optics and I tried picking up both. Although the NEQ6 was obviously heavier (~15kg vs. ~10kg) it didn't feel much different picking them up and carrying them a short distance. If you have a bad back or were to carry it for a mile you'd feel it but otherwise it is like carrying 3 bricks instead of two.

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27 minutes ago, StuartJPP said:

A couple of years ago when I was looking at either the NEQ6 or HEQ5 I went in to Rother Valley Optics and I tried picking up both. Although the NEQ6 was obviously heavier (~15kg vs. ~10kg) it didn't feel much different picking them up and carrying them a short distance. If you have a bad back or were to carry it for a mile you'd feel it but otherwise it is like carrying 3 bricks instead of two.

I didn't have access to those at the time, so simulated it by picking up the right amount of weights from a weight training set that I used to use many years ago.

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7 hours ago, Chris Lock said:

Unless you're planning to set up an observatory or mount a very big scope, get the HEQ5 pro over the NEQ6. They both do exactly the same job only the NEQ6 can carry more weight.

i was thinking of the NEQ6 as it would provide years of service and if i wanted to upgrade my setup bit by bit and eventually to the point where i have a lot of weight for the HEQ5 i won't have the need to buy a whole new mount.

7 hours ago, Chris Lock said:

An 80mm ED or triplet would be great, but also Google the Skywatcher 130pds f/5. Very cheap and very fast and widefield, also no false colour like a good triplet and only 1/8th the price.

Could you explain to me what is meant by false colour (sounds obvious but in terms of astrophotography) and how it will impact my astro photos?

 

9 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

I would always choose a rack and pinion over a Crayford myself.

What is the difference between these focusers? I've heard of crayford but never heard of a rack and pinion.

 

7 hours ago, Chris Lock said:

if you want to do wide field get a shorter focal length scope 500mm or below. Shorter focal lengths are more beginner friendly because it's easier to guide/track the stars accurately at shorter focal lengths (given a particular camera pixel size)

I want a widefeild scope to the point where i am still able to pick up smaller galaxies such as the needle galaxy and smaller nebula's like the dumbell etc. Using astronomy.tools i worked out all the objects i would love to image and i really like how the FOV is on this scope.

 

7 hours ago, Chris Lock said:

-An 80mm ED or triplet would be great, but also Google the Skywatcher 130pds f/5. Very cheap and very fast and widefield, also no false colour like a good triplet and only 1/8th the price.

I currently own a newtonian and i love it. The only downside is i find it quite fiddly and annoying to collimate. In the end i get it collimated but it takes me a while to get there. Also for an imaging newtonian don't you need a coma corrector?

7 hours ago, Chris Lock said:

i had a look at this scope and was defiantly on the list, it looks like a very good starter imaging scope and at a cheaper price and a lower f number.

 

Lastly (wow this getting quite long now) is the guide scope bundle a good starting choice, and how do you piggyback guidescopes? This is something I've never done or been shown how to do.

Thanks for reading this long list of words which probably don't make sense as i'm extremely tired :happy8:

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1 hour ago, Yamez said:

Lastly (wow this getting quite long now) is the guide scope bundle a good starting choice, and how do you piggyback guidescopes? This is something I've never done or been shown how to do.

Guide scope bundles are good value.  This is one example of piggy backing, and how mine is now mounted.

20161009_104003.jpg

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5 hours ago, RayD said:

 This is one example of piggy backing, and how mine is now mounted

Thanks, images always help me understand, what mounting brackets did you use, and a link to them?

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17 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

always choose a rack and pinion over a Crayford

+1. The OP's choice comes with a proper no nonsense 2.5" rack and pinion focuser which -and yes wait for it- stays put when you have focus. Plus it already has a reinforced cradle to mount the finder. Extra expense on other mounts. HTH. 

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"Could you explain to me what is meant by false colour (sounds obvious but in terms of astrophotography) and how it will impact my astro photos?"

Hi, false colour is more scientifically known as chromatic aberration or CA for short. The more CA you have the more blue halo you have around stars for visual astronomy and for imaging this effect gets amplified resulting in big blobby stars. 

i.e. imaging with a fast achromatic refractor wold give blobby stars, an ED would give fairly tight stars, and a triplet should give stars that are tight and like pin pricks. There is some overlap between ED refractors and triplets as there are poor triplets and very good ED's! The 130pds as zero CA because it's a mirror based telescope so it brings all wavelengths of light to a single point of focus. The only thing is they show diffraction spikes from the secondary mirror supports. Some folk like diff spikes and some hate them.

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I was just reading up about the 80ed equinox and it has extrenely positive reviews. The reviews say it has pin point sharp stars when used in conjunction with a field flattner. I again looked at the FOV to this scope and is very similar. Going at a cheaper price and a faster f number I think I will settle with this scope, although it is a Crawford focused is there a way to change it into a rack and pinion?

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2 hours ago, Yamez said:

Thanks, images always help me understand, what mounting brackets did you use, and a link to them?

I use the Altair 60mm guide kit, and there are a few examples of mounts etc. on this page:

http://www.altairastro.com/guide-scopes-auto-guiding-accessories/

I was using side-by-side on my ES 80 (always piggy back on my C8 SCT), which worked fine.  The only reason I changed was that after adding equipment such as FF and filter wheel etc., balancing became a little more awkward (in my opinion) and meant hanging dovetails really close to the edge of the clamps etc.

It doesn't matter which focuser you get as each has it's benefits and pitfalls.  I get absolutely no image or focus shift with either of my Moonlite focusers, but also don't have to worry about backlash as can and does happen on R&P's, and many people rate them very highly.  However, In the same argument, lesser quality Crayfords can and do suffer shift etc, particularly ones without shaft locks, so take your choice and see how it works out for you; there's valid arguments for both types, especially for imaging.

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22 minutes ago, Yamez said:

is there a way to change it into a rack and pinion?

Yep, you can upgrade to a decent quality R&P for the bargain sum of.......£569!  

The one on the OTA will be fine to start off with.  Perhaps consider an upgrade in the future if things start to wear out and focus/image shift becomes really noticeable.  It's not worth going with a cheap R&P as that will almost certainly be worse than a decent Crayford, especially if you end up motor driving it.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/starlight-instruments-feather-touch-2-5inch-r-p-focusers/feathertouch-25-inch-rack-pinion-focuser-skywatcher-equinox.html

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