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I am currently researching which setup to purchase as my first proper scope (once they are back in stock).
I thought I had settled on the Skywatcher Explorer 130ps AZ GTi but then I saw the Skywatcher Star Discovery 150i for just a little more money.
Could anyone please tell me the difference between the 2 OTA's (other than the different aperture size), and also the difference between the 2 mounts?
I realise that the AZ GTi can be modified to run in EQ mode whereas the Star Discovery can't.
Can the Star Discovery view all the way to the zenith or does the OTA catch the mount or tripod before it gets there?
I've been trying to image a couple of galaxies per night, one pre and one post flip. On early Saturday morning at 1:30am I changed over to M82, and acquired 63 x 3 mins subs, OSC, totalling 3 hours and 9 minutes of data.
Camera: ZWO 2600MC at -10 deg C, gain 100, offset 50
Telescope: Skywatcher 250PX (blue tube), 1200mm F4.7
Mount: Mesu e200
Guiding: ZWO OAGv2, 290MM, PHD2
Software: APT for capture, APP and PS for processing
I havent really had a chance to get much use out of this camera since I bought it in December, and I havent processed many OSC images before. I've a bit of work to do, but still very happy with the quality of the data for just 3 hours of integration time. I would like to add some Ha to this, but purposely didnt bother during the recent clear spell, as it was moonless nights and I gathered some broadband data on other targets instead.
Finally built a peltier cooler for the canon 600D. Credit goes to Martin Pyott for the originl design:
I had to modify the design slightly due to the aluminium plate snapping and a comedy of errors on my part, such as not being patient enough in drilling the copper plate and snapping a drill bit in the hole.... all learning experiences.
I was going to invest in a dedicated OSC astro camera but this will allow me to get a bit more milage out the old faithful DSLR. I have attached photos of the finished project and Darks (10 min at ISO 1600) and was impressed and surprised at the difference this mod made in noise levels. The cooler managed to drop 7 degC on ambient after running for about 15 min or so. I don't know how cold it will get when running for longer, and know it wont be able to compete with a dedicated astrocam, but any cooling is a bonus, right? At about £35 for the parts this saved me a fortune which will go into the dedicated TEC cooled mono camera fund.
Next on the DIY list are a power box (with power for the mount, camera, dew heaters and RPi: I have already made my own 12v power distribution box which sits on my EXOS2 "portable" mount) and a couple of auto focusers using the MyfocuserPro2 project on sourceforge (the parts are winging their way to me as I sit here). The savings bring that dedicated mono camera all the closer 😀.
Any advice from anyone who has made these projects very welcome (maybe it will help me avoid more silly errors) or ideas for other projects too.
Clear skies 💫