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brushedsun

Greetings from London

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HI Folks! 

Looking forward to getting to figure out Stargazing, the lounge and astrophotography.

I am a complete newbie and i am just about to purchase my first scope. As i live in a london apartment it will mainly be used while camping (4 or 5 times per year) So looking for something small and lightweight that i can hopefully hook up my DSLR to. I think i need a GOTO and not just computer controlled for astrophotography) I will probably buy second hand initially and i have been looking at the Meade ETX80 GOTO, as this seems really portable and comes in a backpack. 

I would be delighted if anyone can spare a min to give me a little guidance or to tell me if i am way off track, all seems a little daunting!

KR

Marc

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Welcome to the SGL.

There are folk here that are are better suited in the art of astrophotography, who will help and guide you.

One of the books often recommended is this one https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html    I have a copy myself, but your best listening to the photographers themselves, that said, the author of this book is also a member here at the SGL.

Enjoy the process.

Edited by Charic
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Hello and welcome :smiley:. As a strictly Visual observer I`m afraid I cant give you any pointers towards the steep ladder of AP.

But there are (of course) plenty of AP experts in here. Good Luck!

 

Rune

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Hi Marc, welcome to SGL :smile:

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Greetings, Marc - welcome to SGL, it's very nice of you to join us here!

Asking questions on all-things-astronomy is why we're all here, so have no qualms or worries in asking yours in these many forums of SGL. We love helping to find answers.

Starry Skies (or the best as can be from London) -

Dave

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Hello and welcome ?

Not sure about the astrophotography issue. Wondering what you want to look at, or photograph. The Etx80 is small, so what you see through it is also very small and you would be limited by it's resolving power. It is quite bulky to carry around, despite it being small.

Jupiter through the Etx80 was not much bigger than a dot! It may be good for the moon.

I'm sure others will be able to give you better advice.

Good luck and clear skies ?

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Hello and a warm welcome to the SGL. Sorry I can not help with your question. I only do visual observing.

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Hi Marc and welcome.  

If you're looking to do AP you should really be looking at a German Equatorial Mount (GEM) which is far more suited for this purpose than the ALT-AZ on the Meade.  That's not to say you can't image with the ALT-AZ mount, as you can, but as you progress with AP you would almost certainly want to get a GEM mount anyway.

An 80mm or similar short refractor is probably a good start as they are quite forgiving for imaging, but can also give some good visuals on larger targets, but of course for real visuals and AP you would really be looking at 2 different types of scope, with the larger aperture Dobsonians or reflectors being best suited for visuals.  You can get stunning visuals with larger refractors, but the costs increase to reflect this.

There is no real perfect starting solution, especially as you want visuals but want to also do AP, but a second had triplet or good quality doublet 80mm refractor on a GOTO GEM mount would not be a bad area to start looking.

As noted above, Steve Richards' book from FLO is well worth a read to get a basic understanding.

Edited by RayD
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2 hours ago, RayD said:

Hi Marc and welcome.  

If you're looking to do AP you should really be looking at a German Equatorial Mount (GEM) which is far more suited for this purpose than the ALT-AZ on the Meade.  That's not to say you can't image with the ALT-AZ mount, as you can, but as you progress with AP you would almost certainly want to get a GEM mount anyway.

An 80mm or similar short refractor is probably a good start as they are quite forgiving for imaging, but can also give some good visuals on larger targets, but of course for real visuals and AP you would really be looking at 2 different types of scope, with the larger aperture Dobsonians or reflectors being best suited for visuals.  You can get stunning visuals with larger refractors, but the costs increase to reflect this.

There is no real perfect starting solution, especially as you want visuals but want to also do AP, but a second had triplet or good quality doublet 80mm refractor on a GOTO GEM mount would not be a bad area to start looking.

As noted above, Steve Richards' book from FLO is well worth a read to get a basic understanding.

HI and thanks for taking the time to reply, i really appreciate it. 

 

As i am am totally green in this field, the meade just looked like something that was portable and would be a decent introduction, as i have limited time and experience i guess i really want to just get a feel for set up and see if it is something i will want to indulge in a little more as time goes on, hence not wanting to commit too much time, money or closet space to a set up!

 

I will work through your suggestions and see what is available on the interweb!

 

KR 

Marc 

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Dear Marc,

The ETX being an Alt Azimuth mount will only be suitable for imaging planets and the Moon.  If you want to do deep Sky images that requires long exposure and for that you need a sturdy Equatorial Mount.  It won't be lightweight or cheap I am afraid.

Take it from one who has owned an ETX at one time and who had to buy a completely new kit for Astro-photography.

The equatorial mount is the most important part of your kit as if it doesn't drive the scope and cameras properly you'll get elongated stars.  If you have a car then this is not too heavy to lug around, but far too heavy for a back pack. 

I live in SE London and as you are planning to do, I go to dark sites throughout the year to do imaging but I take a car or my campervan.

If you decide that deep Sky imaging is what you want to do, we can recommend some tried and trusted equipment for you to buy.  

Welcome to Astronomy by the way.

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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Hello and welcome to S G L, hope you enjoy the forums, and good luck with the A P.

Clear Sky's.

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Hi Marc

welcome to the forum!

an alternative to a scope and mount could be an astrotrac with a good quality zoom or prime focus lens?

easier to travel with and set up, you could compliment this with a telescope for visual observation whilst photographing? 

Be careful. If you get bitten by the bug, you will end up camping more often and parting with a lot of money! 

I hope you manage to get some equipment that suits your needs and allows you to capture the wonders of the night sky on camera!

bryan

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Hi Marc, and welcome from another suffer under the horrid orange glow.

One question, (Or two linked) how much is your budget, and how much do you want to carry?

A full-on GEM with a 'scope could be a bit daunting at first, as well as pricey. You could put a DSLR and lens on an Astrotrac or, for a cheaper option, a Skywatcher Star-Adventurer, both have a good reputation here. You might also look to take a laptop with you to control the camera (APT is good, and pretty cheap) and to run a planetarium program, either (Or both) Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium. CduC is better for telescope control if you end up with a full on equatorial rig.

A good pair of binoculars is always worth adding to the kit for when the scope is tied up with imaging.

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Welcome.  Just a head's up, there are several astronomical societies in London, including Flamsteed in Greenwich, Loughton and Baker Street Astronomers at the Hub in Regent's Park.  All have observing evenings so you don't have to limit yourself to observing whilst camping.

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