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It's that time of year again, the nights are getting darker and I'm inspired once again to begin researching into a telescope investment, but each year I spend so long bewildered by the vast choice of scopes, that time moves on and lighter nights begin drawing closer. this year I want to change that and I'm looking for guidance into purchasing my first 'real' telescope.

As I have mentioned in my previous introduction post, I have been fascinated with the night sky and space for as long as I know, and I did have a high street quality telescope in 1994 when I was 11 year old which I have fond memories of.   Here are a few ideas of  what I would expect to use a telescope for.

As the celestial events occur year after year, and I have nothing but a pair of binoculars that may as well be made from chocolate and the naked eye, I kick myself for not having taken the bull by the horns and making a choice of a telescope.  Naturally as a photographer i am going to want to take photos of things that I see. Understandably this is going to be a huge learning curve in new photographic techniques and editing etc, but it is definitely a desire that my telescope is going to need to be able to fulfill.  We all need to start out somewhere and so naturally lunar shots and shots of nearby planets in the solar system would perhaps be my first realistic goals in astrophotography.  Eventually a few years down the line once I have got to know my telescope and also the skies above my head better, then I would like to think I could progress into some deep space photography.   I  do have photographs of the Moon which I have taken using a 300mm lens on a D7000 and even that took some time to perfect - so I totally get that deep space photography of nebulas and galaxies  is a long term goal and whilst it is something that i am definitley looking at being able to do, it's not something that i'm going to be able to jump right into.  Small steps at a time will do it.

With regards to my situation, I live UK, in Rothwell which is on a bit of a hill that over looks Leeds City down in the Valley around a mile or so away, I  can only imagine the City lights do generate a fair amount of light pollution, but with limited mobility in my legs and no car, I'm going to need to work around that as most of my viewing is most likely going to be from my back yard.   From my back yard on a clear day with all the house lights and outside lights turned off, most of the constellations can be seen with a naked eye.   I haven't even began to look for nebulas or galaxies as i currently don't know what I am looking for or where.   This is going to be much of the fun of the telescope - learning and discovering the night above me and making a photographic journal of what I see.

As for portability of the telescope, it's not important that it is portable, because it would only be on rare occasions that I can see me being able to take it out into the field due to the limited mobility and lack of transport, it just needs to be portable enough for me to be able to get it in and out of the house with or without help.

My instincts tells me that its perhaps a good idea to purchase a more advanced telescope that I am going to be able to grow into as my experience, knowledge and skills advance, although I could be totally wrong about that and more advanced features will only complicate the early stages or learning? I don't know and this is where I need some guidance.

My current budget is around £500, but If I was to wait a couple of months that budget could be stretched to £1000.   

I look forward to being guided towards the right telescope ranges / types  and I  look forward to embarking on a new venture into learning and discovery.

Lee.

Edited by lee2017

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First I will say there is a sort of minimum requirement for AP. You will need:

Equitorial mount, probably goto these days, solid (read generally heavier).

Scope, well best seems short and fast, maybe the 130pds or a 70mm ED refractor.

DSLR or astrocamera, assume DSLR and that you have one, will want an intervalometer or remote timer, this is set to take say 20 exposures each of 30 seconds duration. Suggest you start with the DSLR and consider a sort of dedicated camera later.

Reading the limitations I guess you are looking at an EQ5 Pro (the goto option). There is not much that is lesser weight and stable - the EQ3-2 is just not up to it. Scope wise either of the 2 options mentioned, the refractor may be easier to get along with.

Accessories - you may want a flattener and you will want a T-ring for the DSLR in question. T-ring is essential, flattener can wait a while but you get better results if the field is flat. For the 10pds you may want a coma corrector.

With the mount obtained you can start with a DSLR and mount it on the EQ5 and take wide field shots, then get a scope afterwards - spreads the cost. For an EQ mount you will need a polarscope and you will have to poalr align the mount. Do not mix up polar aligninmg of the mount with goto aligning of the scope. Two different functions.

For light pollution there is narrow band but that starts to get costly, as you really need a mono camera (dedicated) maybe cooled, the filters - LRGB, a filter wheel. It all starts to add up. Again suggest you get the one shot colour DSLR aspect covered first.

One aspect of AP is that if you keep at it then eventually the equipment gets upgraded, the EQ5 becomes an HEQ5 or EQ6, the 70mm ED becomes an 80mm apo triplet, then comes guide scope and guide camera. So part of this is decide how far and therefore how much. £12,000 to £20,000 is not uncommon whn you get serious.

However the EQ5 and a relatively small scope is the starting position. If mobility is still a problem there was a lighter set up at one time = an iOptron SmartEQ and a 70mm ED refractor. It came out as a sort of first AP setup. The SmartEQ is a bit lightweight. But is an option.

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There are other options to start in astroimaging. I can't use a heavy EQ mount but I didn't want that to stop me trying with my camera so my gear is around what suits my circumstances. I have some light polution so use a 2" filter with varies step rings to fit to my camera lenses.

If you already have a dslr and a selection of lenses then something like the skywatcher staradventurer may suit your situation. You don't have to have a telescope to start astrophotography.

If the gear is such it takes 3 or 4 trips to get it outside is it going to be used.

Perhaps looking at what different equipment is managing and keeping in mind budget will help see what might work for you and what you might expect to capture.

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Sorry for delay in getting back to such fantastic responses, both of which have given me lots to think about and lots to look into.  

I have been spending some time having a look at options that I might previously have embarrassingly ignored. and in doing so I can see just how each scopes have their advantages/disadvantages and uses and it's not simply a matter of choosing the biggest aperture with the most automatic features (such as go to) that I can afford.  That said, this excites me even more as one of the major reasons I wanted to get into astronomy & AP is because I wanted something that I could get my teeth into and learn!

Apologies if it seems that I have rambled on some, just though I would include my chains of thought in case it helped anyone spot somewhere I may be misunderstanding something or missing the point totally.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Budget

My allowable budget now is £500.  In a couple of months that would increase to £1000 (or if I was to spread the cost then that would be another £500).  

What different equipment is manageable?  

The priority is getting something workable first to use where it's going to get most use - at home in the back yard, but its after thinking more it is possibly worth keeping portability in the back of my mind as I make choices. 

In my back yard,-  Chunks of  equipment unto around 10kg and several trips would work fine - I can rest, and I can do things in stages (Assembling outside if need be). 

Venturing out to darker skies -  I would restricted to 25kg total PROVIDING I could find or customize a single carrying system which has wheels and obviously also very, very protected.   

Goals & Aims

AP compatible:  Extremely Important.

Planets: Important - very interested.

Small Faint Stars - Not so important 

Distant Galaxies and Nebulae  - Important (Especially as experience grows)

EDIT:  Back Yard I'm certain there's going to be a fair amount of of light pollution living only 1.5 miles as the crow flies to Leeds City Center.  (this may affect ^ and realistic short term goals & possibly choices of equipment) 

Options & Equipment

I already have a D300s and a D7000 SLR camera. Both of these SLR's have a built in intervalometer, I also have a remote control that works with both these cameras. 

I think a good starting point would be to purchase

  • mount    (It has become very clear over the past couple of days as I have done a little digging that an equatorial mount is definitely the way forward for AP and having looked at the EQ5 (suggested by Ronin) this seems to be a good option)
  • a polarscope
  • T-ring for DSLR's in question (D300s + D7000) ? ?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Questions

GOTO - I see that a goto is something that can be bought as an upgrade.  From experiences it wise for a beginner to purchase a goto separate and later?

Polar Scope - I assume that this is all I would need if I was to purchase an EQ5 (which says it has a Polarscope holder built into it)  http://www.skywatcher.com/product/polar-scope-eq6eq5/

T-RING  - I'm a little confused - is a T-ring not for attaching a SLR to a telescope?  If so then this is something I would need to purchase once I know which Scope suits me the best?

  •  
Edited by lee2017

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I would advise you to get a copy of the book Making Every Photon Count. It is considered something of a bible for AP and was written by a member of this site. It can be purchased from the site sponsors FLO. Click on the banner head line at the top of the page.

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Imaging distant galaxies & nebulae is a completely different game to imaging the Moon and planets, also almost entirely different in their hardware requirements. Further - whilst you can image the Moon and planets from a light polluted back yard without too much problem (the subjects being relatively bright) there is the caveat that no bright planets will be well positioned in the sky for a number of years (i.e., they are all low near the horizon). For these targets you need a long focal length, sharp optics, and a fast frame-rate camera. The mount does not need to track particularly accurately - it just needs to keep the target within the field of view.

Galaxies and nebulae are faint and require longer exposures, which in turn demands a highly accurate mount that can track accurately. You need fast-ratio optics for preference (f/5-f/6) and a large enough aperture telescope to provide the necessary fast f-ratio at a usable focal length (say, 600-700mm for nebulae - preferably longer for galaxies). The camera needs a larger sensor because the targets are often extended over a much larger area. A DSLR works well under dark skies but they don't work so well in light polluted environments, being colour sensors they suffer from background colour bias if light pollution is present. A cooled mono camera offers more control and is to be preferred.

There is no doubt that delving into astro-imaging is an expensive undertaking and it is difficult to 'dip your toe in the water' so to speak on a limited budget. To do so involves many compromises which may leave you frustrated with the results you can achieve. However, if you enter into it with realistic expectations it can still be very rewarding! Just be aware that money-wise the hobby will be something of a bottomless pit for your bank balance :)

ChrisH

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20 hours ago, laudropb said:

I would advise you to get a copy of the book Making Every Photon Count. It is considered something of a bible for AP and was written by a member of this site. It can be purchased from the site sponsors FLO. Click on the banner head line at the top of the page.

Thank you for the recommendation, I have gone ahead and purchased this book, and I look forward to its arrival.

19 hours ago, ChrisLX200 said:

There is no doubt that delving into astro-imaging is an expensive undertaking and it is difficult to 'dip your toe in the water' so to speak on a limited budget. To do so involves many compromises which may leave you frustrated with the results you can achieve. However, if you enter into it with realistic expectations it can still be very rewarding! Just be aware that money-wise the hobby will be something of a bottomless pit for your bank balance :)

With Astro-Photography I have not even set both feet on the first rung of the ladder regards to what I can foresee to be a huge learning curve. I do appreciate the huge learning curve that is involved in any photography, let alone something as complex as what Astro-Photography looks to be.   

 My expectations of what I might capture at the beginning of my journey is perhaps a gray scale fussy smudge which if I posted on here some may say "what is it?".

I am totally comfortable with the fact that there is no way that I’m going to be able to just head out with a telescope and a camera of any description (SLR or cooled Mono) and start creating color photos of Nebulae and galaxies with any amount of detail in them. I appreciate that, those sorts of images take a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of experience.

 

Whatever I capture, even if it is a fuzzy grey-scale smudge . . . .  (That’s once I find one!) then knowing what it is I have taken a photograph of (even though others probably won’t have a clue what it is) will inspire and motivate me to want to keep at it and keep learning.   

and

20 hours ago, ChrisLX200 said:

A cooled mono camera offers more control and is to be preferred.

Whilst I do think my starting point will be to try and see what I can / can't achieve with a SLR, I have been looking at mono cameras, color fillers etc today and see that the price range goes from £300+ to £4000+.  I can see how once I get my teeth into this, the bank balance could end up being sucked into a black hole,  but out of curiosity would something like an Atik Titan  be beneficial over a SLR or would I be looking at something more like the Atic 314+ being more of a realistic investment?   

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2 hours ago, lee2017 said:

Thank you for the recommendation, I have gone ahead and purchased this book, and I look forward to its arrival.

With Astro-Photography I have not even set both feet on the first rung of the ladder regards to what I can foresee to be a huge learning curve. I do appreciate the huge learning curve that is involved in any photography, let alone something as complex as what Astro-Photography looks to be.   

 

 My expectations of what I might capture at the beginning of my journey is perhaps a gray scale fussy smudge which if I posted on here some may say "what is it?".

 

 

I am totally comfortable with the fact that there is no way that I’m going to be able to just head out with a telescope and a camera of any description (SLR or cooled Mono) and start creating color photos of Nebulae and galaxies with any amount of detail in them. I appreciate that, those sorts of images take a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of experience.

 

 

Whatever I capture, even if it is a fuzzy grey-scale smudge . . . .  (That’s once I find one!) then knowing what it is I have taken a photograph of (even though others probably won’t have a clue what it is) will inspire and motivate me to want to keep at it and keep learning.   

 

and

 

 

Whilst I do think my starting point will be to try and see what I can / can't achieve with a SLR, I have been looking at mono cameras, color fillers etc today and see that the price range goes from £300+ to £4000+.  I can see how once I get my teeth into this, the bank balance could end up being sucked into a black hole,  but out of curiosity would something like an Atik Titan  be beneficial over a SLR or would I be looking at something more like the Atic 314+ being more of a realistic investment?   

I think you need to get a 'feel' for it with the DSLR first - mainly because you already have one. Personally I found it difficult to process one-shot colour images into something I liked to look at, having all the colours in the image while you manipulate it makes life difficult (changes to one colour channel affect the appearance of the others, and isolating your processing to only one channel is also more difficult). So although it sounds more complicated working with three separate channels before combining into a final result it's actually easier to do that. Nevertheless, the task of aquiring image data is the same - you still need to focus accurately, track your target (autoguide preferably), and avoid the common pitfalls with mis-behaving software - we all get those :)

At this point I would not be in a rush to blow the budget on new kit, wait 12 months and see how you get on. Buying s/h definitely moves you up a few notches in the quality market for the same outlay but you have to know what you want first and d be able to spot a bargain. That takes experience.

ChrisH

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The only thing stopping you learning and gaining experience is actually doing it. Clear nights can collect data, cloudy nights can expand processing skills. The no eq challenge thread clearly shows how skills develop and the time frame is much faster then you might think.

Why not right now start taking images with your existing dslr and widest lens, learn what the longest exposure you can take before star trails, learn dss to stack multiple images, learn to take flats. Have a go at a star trails image. All possible with free software. Start your learning :-)

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It's well worth reading the Imaging with the 130P-DS thread. With a coma corrector these scopes cost under £300 without a mount/tripod and have the benefit of being light  and producing excellent results.

 

 

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Some more thoughts. This site might help get going. Link 

And this guy might just get you having a go at a challenge as this target is up again with what you have already. Link

The 135mm camera lens is nice on that target too looking at images but that was from an altaz tracking mount.

GIMP is free and quite comprehensive editor. 

Just getting outside and doing stuff might help in decisions in your onward purchasing and your book reading.

A telescope with a nice big aperture to observe with would need a big heavy mount to image with. DSO like fast telescopes planets like slow long telescopes. It is a tricky one size fits all. Only you know how far/deep you want to go into astrophotography.

My little 130p showed one of Jupiter's moon transit's, yes it was tiny black shadow dot but I knew what it was. DSO are a grey smudge just in varying tiny sizes, it's the knowing what it was that brings it to life for me. The gear you will use is the best gear to have.

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I'm overwhelmed by the amount of support on these boards - Thank You all so much.  Last night after some trial and error with the built in Invertalometer on the D7000, I took a series of shots. (30 second exposures at f16 ISO 1600) which were enough for me to use to learn how to stack images using LR and PS.

Attached is that image I created from those 8 shots.  I took many more, but most weren't successful.   I know for many on here what I did is extremely Primial, and its something to go into the gallery for me to laugh at a couple of years down the line, but I was really excited as the images came together and created star-trails, abeit very small ones!   My next step I guess is to increase the shots taken and create a full circle with some terrestrial object in the background :) 

Once again, thanks for all the support, Links and help I've received here so far!  Really appreciated!

 

star-trails.jpg

Edited by lee2017

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That's great to be outside and use your camera. Look forward to seeing your full circle.

I have yet to use this software that merges star trail images together for you. link

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Hi,

I read in the beginning of this thread that someone recommended the SW Star Adventurer, I have one as a complement to my heavy EQ6 mount with an 5.2" APO refractor.

The little Star Adventurer is very easy to bring with me when travel to dark places, I will use it a lot more in the future. It's only one thing that I'm a little bit disipointed at and that's the wedge, it's very hard to lock stable in latitude position.

You can read here how I use it and what other equipment I bring with me, there is also two photos that I have taken with it with a 150mm f/2.8 telephoto lens:

http://astrofriend.eu/astronomy/projects/project-star-adventurer-repair/project-star-adventurer-repair.html

 

You already have the camera and lenses so this will not be very expensive.

 

/Lars

Edited by Astrofriend

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To refer to the beginning of this thread, with a budget of approx £500 i would look for a a second hand vixen GP DX  mount on UK Astro buy and sell, a lot of famous imagers started with one of these, and look out for a second hand Orion USA ED80. The setup would be light and easily transportable.

 

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Have you considered a pier mounted setup. This would allow you to leave the mount outside and you can just attached the scope when needed and it will cut down your setup time. I would add a bit more cost but may allow you to purchase a larger mount.

I managed to buy a second hand eq5 pro, 150 newt and dslr for under your budget and I see you already have the dslr.  You can normally pick up a webcam (phillips) for below £60 and these will give you good results for planetary shoots.

Its hard not to be sucked in by the bigger better (more expensive) stuff but this game can be played on a tight budget. If you look back a few years people where still achieving great results and that kits can be purchased second hand on the cheap. 

Yes you can purchase kits for thousands and get amazing results but in my view its allot like push bikes. Yes I can buy a racing bike for 10k and cycle the tour de france but you can also cycle this route on a £25 mountain bike..just takes longer and a bit more effort is required.

But then again I am just a beginner and my knowledge is limited.

 

spill.

 

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I got the astrophotography bug last year, after several years of mainly visual fun with my trusty Nexstar 6SE. I sold it and traded up to an EQ mount and small refractor. Best decision ever, but it's still a steep learning curve a year on from the change to EQ, so just be aware that nothing is as simple as it looks. Rush anything at your peril, especially with the rare UK clear skies. I've wasted several nights due to rushing to set up, then wasting the rest of the night taking images I can't use.

Taking all that into consideration, don't aim too big too soon. I'm more than impressed with my iOptron SmartEQ Pro mount and Altair Astro 72ED-R refractor. I originally got a Skywatcher ED80 DS Pro, but it was just a little too heavy for the mount after I added a finder, focal reducer, DSLR. The 72mm is light, has great glass and has a lovely wide field of view, as it's only just over 400mm focal length, but fast at f6.

I live just outside Newcastle, so suffer from light pollution too, but imaging deep sky objects is proving easy enough so far.

I would recommend that you go to an astronomy store before buying, as the advice is great, plus you get to see and feel the gear before you buy. Images in magazines and online never truly show you the size, or more importantly the weight, of mounts and scopes. Important if you plan to head out to a darker sky one night. Green Witch have a store in Birstall, plus Grovers in Northallerton (a bit further afield, I know) have a great range on display in store.

Hope this helps.

Image of M51 Whirlpool Galaxy, taken from my light polluted Tyneside garden. Still lots to learn, but i was so pleased to finally image this!

 

PSX_20161206_221026.jpg

Edited by JGM1971
Added image.

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On 15/10/2016 at 23:39, lee2017 said:

Sorry for delay in getting back to such fantastic responses, both of which have given me lots to think about and lots to look into.  

I have been spending some time having a look at options that I might previously have embarrassingly ignored. and in doing so I can see just how each scopes have their advantages/disadvantages and uses and it's not simply a matter of choosing the biggest aperture with the most automatic features (such as go to) that I can afford.  That said, this excites me even more as one of the major reasons I wanted to get into astronomy & AP is because I wanted something that I could get my teeth into and learn!

Apologies if it seems that I have rambled on some, just though I would include my chains of thought in case it helped anyone spot somewhere I may be misunderstanding something or missing the point totally.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Budget

My allowable budget now is £500.  In a couple of months that would increase to £1000 (or if I was to spread the cost then that would be another £500).  

What different equipment is manageable?  

The priority is getting something workable first to use where it's going to get most use - at home in the back yard, but its after thinking more it is possibly worth keeping portability in the back of my mind as I make choices. 

In my back yard,-  Chunks of  equipment unto around 10kg and several trips would work fine - I can rest, and I can do things in stages (Assembling outside if need be). 

Venturing out to darker skies -  I would restricted to 25kg total PROVIDING I could find or customize a single carrying system which has wheels and obviously also very, very protected.   

Goals & Aims

AP compatible:  Extremely Important.

Planets: Important - very interested.

Small Faint Stars - Not so important 

Distant Galaxies and Nebulae  - Important (Especially as experience grows)

EDIT:  Back Yard I'm certain there's going to be a fair amount of of light pollution living only 1.5 miles as the crow flies to Leeds City Center.  (this may affect ^ and realistic short term goals & possibly choices of equipment) 

Options & Equipment

I already have a D300s and a D7000 SLR camera. Both of these SLR's have a built in intervalometer, I also have a remote control that works with both these cameras. 

I think a good starting point would be to purchase

  • mount    (It has become very clear over the past couple of days as I have done a little digging that an equatorial mount is definitely the way forward for AP and having looked at the EQ5 (suggested by Ronin) this seems to be a good option)
  • a polarscope
  • T-ring for DSLR's in question (D300s + D7000) ? ?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Questions

GOTO - I see that a goto is something that can be bought as an upgrade.  From experiences it wise for a beginner to purchase a goto separate and later?

Polar Scope - I assume that this is all I would need if I was to purchase an EQ5 (which says it has a Polarscope holder built into it)  http://www.skywatcher.com/product/polar-scope-eq6eq5/

T-RING  - I'm a little confused - is a T-ring not for attaching a SLR to a telescope?  If so then this is something I would need to purchase once I know which Scope suits me the best?

  •  

You don't mention the lenses that you already have for the DSLRs?

With a 300mm lens, on a good camera tripod you could expect around 2s exposures (there's a finger in the air guesstimate which is the 600 rule, exposure = 600/lens focal length. There is also a rule of 400, and to balance things out one of 500.They are just used to guesstimate what you expect exposure timing wise.

If you start with something fairly easy - Orion - you can use live view to frame your mage, take your shot, if the stars are nice and round, increase exposure slightly. If stars are not quire round, decrease exposure.

check still in frame, take next shot. You should be able to get at least 10 images before Orion has drifted noticeably.

Reframe using live view again, and take another 10 (there is where your interval over comes in - set it to the exposure you determined above, the number of shots is going to be based on the number you got above before Orion drifter in the frame).

DSS (deep sky stacker) should be able to take the rotation out of the images and stack them for you.

You could end up with a reasonable stacked image with the Orion Nebula (M42). 

I dug out some of my first images and the below image of Bode's Nebulae (M81 & M82) was taken with a Nikon D90, 70-300mm f5.6 lens. This was before I got a Bahtinov mask; focused by eye - without my specs on doh!!

14 x 20s exposure, ISO 3200. Stacked and stretched a little bit using Nebulosity 4.

The camera was piggy backed on a Celestron SLT130 - an Alt-Az mount with 130mm f5 reflector, I am NOT recommending that for imaging.

 

 

 

 

20s ISO3200 M81.jpg

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      1. I purchased a second hand PST and replaced its ITF with Maier one from the US and it finally had a clear image coming through + moved Etalon screw to third position - all the usual thing everybody does [after I researched it]!
      2. used a new SCT screw-on short focuser [used once or twice on a LX200 R Classic] and using Teflon tape I screwed the PST Etalon to the focuser and purchased a 2" adaptor to fit on Etalon.
      3. then used a Chinese 2" to 1.25 and modified the 2" side socket taking internal ring off and making 3x 120° threaded holes and 3x nylon thumb screws and used that as an adaptor to fit the original PST eyepiece holder - strangely enough at present this adaptor is also used as a tilter ... until I buy a proper camera tilter
      4. then fit the above eyepiece holder into the SCT focuser with 2" to 1.252 adaptor in it and screwed the whole Gold PST tube with Etalon in it and made a BETTER PST - see image

      5. I also initially tried a 2.2x DSLR camera Lens magnifier in front of PST and it decently works too - so PST will be fine for full solar disk mainly and without the 0.5 angstrom - not forcibly needed, I am probably around 0.7 as it is!
      6. more importantly, I decided to make my own 90mm solar scope using the above bits and pieces.
      7. with the help of Solar Chat Forums [great guys with a lot of knowledge, some are professional - i.e. they know the optics mathematical details - which helps] I purchased a cheap Bresser AR90/900
      8. the ONLY usable thing there ... is the main tube, a nice and thick tube - the rest is ALL plastic!!!
      I dismounted all parts and saw tube shorter ... a bit too much ! - I could have saved ~6cm really as I went with original ideas, but forgot I was using a different telescope from my initial thoughts - silly me!
      So, I added a 6cm extension - no problems there to reach the 20cm inward needed for the PST Etalon which has ~20cm FL
      9. initially I used a Tuna Fish 100g tin to adapt the SCT focuser onto my AR152 and fit Etalon inside the focuser to get near the 20cm needed- lets call it Quark unit - which it is really!
      It worked well, so I decided to add a second focuser to tune the Etalon ... getting back to AR90/900 ...
      10. I was trying to avoid overspending, I could not afford to spend too much - then I remembered I had a unused AR102SX which in my mind I guessed ... the focuser should over AR90/900 and it did!
      It just fits perfectly - then drilled three holes for the holding screws et-voila'
      11. I purchased a second hand 75mn Baader D-ERF and fit it INSIDE the AR90 tube at about 20cm inside from the front air-spaced doublet lenses, as there are the usual internal rings soldered in and just sit on it and I have about 70mm aperture  - i.e 70mm width from the D-ERF for photons to get through.
      At that ~20cm distance from front lenses the beam is still very large - probably about 60-65mm - there is no heat in between - no need for air-escaping holes
      12. when I have the time I will make a solar finder scope and fit it on the tube - not that is really needed - I usually use CDC to get there almost over The Sun [having an almost exact spot on the yard!] - then use my eye without eyepiece and look thourgh the PST eyepiece holder for solar shinging and centre the telescope over The Sun.
      Well, it works well after tuning Etalon focuser correctly and then focusing/tuning Etalon etc. - the usual.
      See some images - still learning imaging/processing and a lot more to learn about Solar ... a lot!
      I will probably need to get a Power-mate 2.5x when I can afford it!
       
       

      1st mod - without the original black box - it works so much better - better focusing and sharper viewing too.


      This is the AR90/900 shorten tube with AR102SX focuser and adaptors to test it normally
       

       
      This is complete with the Quark Unit on the right side
      Since this image there have been some changing - do not use the revelation adaptor any more and added a 6cm 2" extension.
       
      Here are some images:

       
       
       

       
       
    • By dragorom7
      Hello, i am new to this forum, i made my account here because i need help.
      So few weeks ago i ordered a USB to Serial cable to be able to Control my Telescope with my computer using stellarium.
      It arrived today.
      So i made my Star Alignment, then i plugged the cable to my Telescope and Computer, i installed the Cable driver and ASCOM Platform + ASCOM Celestron Driver.
      I started DriverConnect.exe and put the Celestron Driver i downloaded, and did the properties informations ( had to tick on "Advanced Setup" and "Show All COM Ports" ) and i put "COM8" on "COM Port", then i pressed "OK" and then "Connect"
      Result:
      Create              Creating device
      Connected           Connecting to device
      Error               System.Exception: Connect to COM1 failed, no Celestron scope detected
         to System.Dynamic.ComRuntimeHelpers.CheckThrowException(Int32 hresult, ExcepInfo& excepInfo, UInt32 argErr, String message)
         to CallSite.Target(Closure , CallSite , ComObject , Boolean )
         to ASCOM.DriverConnect.ConnectForm.btnConnect_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e) in C:\ASCOM Build\Export\ASCOM.DriverConnect\ConnectForm.cs:line 268
      Dispose             Disposing of device
      ReleaseComObject    Releasing COM instance
      ReleaseComObject    Completed release. Count: 0
      GC Collect          Starting garbage collection
      GC Collect          Completed garbage collection
       
      "Connect to COM1 failed, no Celestron scope detected"

      In Stellarium i set-up everything, the plug-in and restarted the app, then added my telescope  and i says it's "connected" but i can't find my telescope.
       
      Telescope:
      Celestron NexStar 127SLT
      The Cable i bought:
      https://www.amazon.com/Telescope-CP2102-Adapter-Control-Console/dp/B077G37VL1/
      PC Specs:
      Windows 10 Pro, GTX 970, 8GB Ram(DDR4), i7 6700 3.4Ghz
       
      Looking forward for your help, thanks in advance,
      dragorom7.
    • By LILYDENISE
      Hello everyone, happy Tuesday.
      First time stargazer here, I'm hoping I can get some awesome feedback from you guys. 
      my fiancé and I are planning on taking a trip to Great Basin National Park from October 25th-30th, we're trying to catch the new moon, we want to do some deep sky viewing but we're having such a hard time on knowing which kind of telescope to purchase. we do have a few must- haves on our purchase, but I wanted to see what you guys recommend and what your experiences have been.
      we need a telescope that is portable
      good for deep sky viewing
      reflector vs. refractor
      and almost, but not necessarily, easy to use (we have time to learn the ins and outs of it)
      I apologize if its a lot, but trying to understand the jargon, as of now, is giving me a hard time
      Cant wait for any responses!!
      p.s. anyone ever been to Great Basin? what should we expect on our trip? its our first time going and first time doing any serious camping!!!
      THANKS A BUNCH!!!
      -LILY 
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