Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_beauty_night_skies.thumb.jpg.2711ade15e31d01524e7dc52d15c4217.jpg

Recommended Posts

Well I can't believe I've now been part of SGL for one year, so I feel I should give a bit of a review of my 1st real full year in Astronomy that I hope other newbies may find useful.  I will try to keep it brief and to the point, and all I say are purely my thoughts and opinions, so here goes.

Background:

I have always been interested in astronomy and my parents bought me an old 3" refractor when I was about 13, (1983).  They were not really into it so I was left to my own devises and didn't really get going, just looking at the moon.  Years later, now that I have kids, I got the scope out and looked at the moon some more with them, and the passion was re-ignited.  After a few months I thought I should upgrade and I stumbled on this site where I did most of my research.  After a month or so of deliberating, I ordered a Skywatcher 150p on eq3-2, which was promptly delivered by Rother Valley Optics.

First Impressions:

I loved my shiny new telescope and couldn't wait to give it a go.  It came with a handy video tutorial which for someone who had no idea what an equatorial mount was, proved priceless.  I set up at the first opportunity and was blown away with the views of the moon and Jupiter.  The sky was just full of clear bright stars and I was once again hooked.  I was just bumbling around at first, bouncing from one area to another with no purpose at all.  I did not have any books and did not have any plans, I was still loving it though.

Recommendations for a newbie:

Whatever route you take, reflector or refractor or any of the other fancy combinations, equatorial or not, goto or not, I would recommend with that first purchase of your telescope, get a star atlas and/or Turn Left at Orion.  I later bought both and have particularly found my Pocket Star Atlas a great addition to my observing nights.  I also upgraded to a RACI finder scope (after about 6 months) that has helped immensely as I still get frustrated and confused by the inverted and back to front image through a reflector telescope.

The imaging Bug:

A lot of astronomers are very happy with observing, others are solely interested in imaging, well I love both.  From the first afocal shots of the moon through my 3" refractor, to my current efforts, I love setting up to try and image what I am looking at, and share the results on here and with friends on other social media.  I think for a newbie the two go well together but the most important thing to me, is setting my expectations.  I know I will never get the amazing images that appear on here, after many hours of guided imaging with a vast array of filters and brilliant CCD cameras, followed by hours and hours of meticulous processing.  They are beautiful pictures, but for me, I get the same satisfaction from single shot moon pictures, Venus showing its phases, and amateur attempts at stacking multiple images of DSO's.  A year ago I did not know what the Ring Nebula was, nor the Whirlpool Galaxy or what a Globular Cluster was, never mind managing to get pictures of them!

So I would recommend others try their hand at Astro Photography as it is extremely rewarding and does not have to be such and enigma, it is possible with low end, starter equipment.  All I needed was a t-ring and a lot of patience.  Once the bug caught, I bought dual motors, and I feel this is the level where I will remain at least for a few years.  I am also a great believer that you learn from your mistakes and improve by overcoming obstacles.  If I had had all the money to throw at an expensive imaging set up from day one, I am not sure it would made me a better imager now.  Slow progress is far better in the long run.  Processing is still a bit of a mystery to me, I am not fully aware of what I am doing or why, but I have some nice pictures and I am improving all the time in this aspect.  I am not sure there is anything else I could be doing, maybe studying on line tutorials more.

Conclusions:

There are a few things I do however wish I had done from the start, bought a RACI finder scope, bought a Star Atlas, not bothered buying lunar filters or 6mm eyepiece, and gone to dark sites more.  I have only really been a couple of times, I have access nearby to family members who live in the countryside, so there is no excuse.

I will leave you with some of my favourite images that I have captured in this 1st year of what I hope to be a lifelong hobby (obsession).

PS - none of my journey would have been possible without the guidance, inspiration and advise from all of you on here, so thanks.

 

 

 

IMG_5122 - Copy.JPG

IMG_2452 (2).jpg

2.jpg

Orion and Running Man.jpg

4.jpg

2.jpg

Jup1.jpg

MVI_6444bbb_pipp.jpg

IMG_6208 (2).jpg

MVI_8260_pipp.jpg

Edited by Peco4321
  • Like 22

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful hobby, isn't it? I started now about 3 years ago in earnest after having had my first refractor even earlier than you. In the days there was no internet - no computers for this matter - to find places like SGL :) and that made things a lot harder. Also having an income where you can afford some better gear helps.

Keep enjoying it and clear skies!

HJ

p.s: nice images by the way...

Edited by hjw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to hear your story Peter! Pictures are great too, quite the catalog of objects!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a very nice report Peter. It's great to see you have come on leaps and bounds and still have the Astro bug.  Some very nice photos there. Well done.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep it going Peter :)

Perhaps in a year or two (if you really get the bug) you can make the leap to an entry level CCD (ie: 314L+) and be amazed at just how much quicker you can get results. Time is on your side as the stars are going nowhere (relatively speaking...lol) so you can accumulate gear (and data) over the years.

Perhaps give your lad a crack at imaging too, I sometimes let my 6 year old pick a target, control the gear and do some (not too taxing) processing. Youd be amazed at just how good kids are with technology thesedays.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great report Peter and a true inspiration to other newcomers.

You've produced some very acceptable images, I particularly like your Jupiter.

As you say the community here is a great help.

Continue enjoying this great hobby.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting read, thank you. I was wondering ... why do i never see background stars in planet pictures?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Olsin said:

Very interesting read, thank you. I was wondering ... why do i never see background stars in planet pictures?

the short exposure time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Pondus said:

the short exposure time

Thank you. Yes of course, it makes total sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peco4321 that's an interesting read for someone just starting out (I got mine last December), I too don't aspire to spend oodles of cash and countless hours imaging, but I would like to capture some photos of what I see and would love to take some photos as good as yours.  So far I've just had a few single shots with the camera directly through the telescope - I'm pleased with the results so far, I've got some good ones of the moon and I've managed two stripes in Jupiter, but it would be good to take some better ones like yours.   

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up, it's especially nice to see someone who has the same setup as me who is a little further down the line than i am! Looking at your images of Jupiter and Saturn give me something to aim for as i will be taking similar steps to you over the coming months hopefully! :D 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post Peter, I think your approach is spot on, I too had a refractor when I was 14, rekindled my interest 20 years later, then after another gap of 20 years I'm back into imaging hopefully from now until I expire. 

By the way, I think if you continue with your rate of progress on the imaging front over the next 12 months, you will have an APOD in 2018! :icon_biggrin:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.