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Advice for easier tracking and finding objects

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Hi all,

I bought a Astromaster 130EQ two years ago and bought separately a celestron xcell barlow 2x and a Xcell LX 25mm. I now use my iphone to take photo's with a adapter.

However, I have trouble finding and specially tracking objects. Will an Goto system make this much easier? The next question is, should i stay with my astromaster 130 mm newt. telescope and invest in a goto mount like the skywatcher eq5 with synscan or can i better take an Nexstar 5SE? I am open for other suggestions

I want to make planetary pictures with my cannon camera (moon / mars / jupiter) if possible deep sky. However there is severe light pollution in my area. 

Thanks in advance

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Hello and a warm welcome to the SGL.

A little more information is needed before offering you advice. Are you polar aligning the mount before observing ? Are you aligning the red dot finder to the scope ?  I assume you do not have a motor drive, but if you do these procedures you should be able to locate targets and to track them using your slowmo controls.

I can not offer advice on AP as I am purely a visual observer, but I am sure others will be along to help with these questions.

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The motor-drive system on a GoTo mount will usually outperform any add-on drive if that is what you are using so from that point of view, a GoTo mount like the EQ5 with SynScan would be an improvement but if you are thinking about imaging deep sky objects in the future, I would really recommend that you get a more substantial mount like the HEQ5 for its stability and tracking capabilities.

Imaging planets is a very different proposition to imaging deep sky and the tools require differ enormously! Planetary imaging requires a long focal length telescope to achieve the 'magnification' required and a fast frame rate camera to capture the moments of good seeing. Deep sky on the other hand requires a shorter focal length instrument for the wider field of views this will give and a camera capable of taking very long exposures. There is, however an interesting opportunity for using your Canon camera for both purposes - as it is for some deep sky imaging and by controlling it using the free software 'EOS Movie Record' which taps into the cameras live view feed for capturing relatively fast rate frames for planetary and Lunar imaging.

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And a camera lens could be used for the DSO as you can get some good old manual lenses second hand cheaply.

Is your light pollution so bad you have trouble seeing stars? Even with goto you will need to align it to use it.

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Thank you for all the advice. 

I am using the tiny red dot finder, but it is not easy to pin-point objects with it. I can find Jupiter with it but smaller objects are tough. I start off with my 25mm and then zoom in by adding a barlow. But going to the stock 10mm or then even use it with a barlow is for me imposible. The field of vision is so small with the 10mm and a object is litterly going from side to side in a minute. Adjusting results in vibrations which makes my photo's unsharp. 

How do you guys track at high magnification? Are you continuesly using the slowmotion controls? Or do you have wideview eyepieces to increase the field of vision. And how do you get less vibrations during the tracking?

I think I will  focus on improving my tracking skills before investing in goto. I hope that the goto improves my photo's and gives me more time to enjoy viewing and making picture. 

 I do not want to heavily invest in it, so i forget deepsky. Also the sky conditions are not optimal. I live between two major city's and a area with a massive greenhouse industry which lighten ups the sky.

Edited by BobNJD87

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The thing to remember about "goto"! is that is only what it is. It should goto the target selected and put it in the field of view - within reason. After that it tracks where the target should be and in the path that the target should take. It does not "See" the target and so make corrections for drift.

To an extent there is nothing in all this that says it will apply the corrections determined for position to the tracking, seems odd but it is not given anywhere that it does. And being the distrusting whatsit I am I would not assume that it does.

An equitorial mount will simply forget the Dec drive and rotate only the RA drive at sidereal, so I see no correction being applied at all for the tracking aspect.

The big aspect is to get the initial setup and alignment as correct as possible. It is as ever the small aspects that make it - get the mount level, not approximately but accurately, get the polar alignment accurate - not sure how as the dial on the side tends to be large steps and questionable in accuracy anyway.

You ask:


astromaster 130 mm newt. telescope and invest in a goto mount like the skywatcher eq5 with synscan or can i better take an Nexstar 5SE?

Not sure what the 130mm actually is, I think one of those has a built in barlow and they are not good, concerning mounts then ultimately it is the EQ5 that you will want or need. They are the mounts for DSO imaging and the 5SE is OK for planets but there are not that many planets, there are lots of DSO's to go image. So taking the future into account then the EQ5 will be the more sensible mount.

Edited by ronin

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