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gerardsheldon

buy autoguider for EQ5 or buy HEQ5

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I am asking for your advice, buy autoguider for EQ5 or buy a HEQ5 (without an autoguider).

I have a skywatcher 130PDS (4 kg) and an EQ5 with enhanced dual axis motor, which has a ST4 interface for an autoguider.  It does not have a go to, so I use a finder to find objects (I like doing that). 

I am getting star trails sometimes in my images, and that can be in 30 second exposure, or even 15 second ones.  I am still learning how to polar align and balance the telescope. 

So, I wondering whether it would be worth investing in an HEQ5 or whether just getting a autoguider would help a lot.  The autoguider would itself add weight.  If the autoguider would make a substantial difference, then I would prefer to do that as it would be a lot cheaper.

Grateful for your views

Thank you

Gerard  

 

 

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Hi Gerard, I would pluck for the HEQ5, this will allow you to track without star trails for longer. Then once you’re getting the most (tracking without trails) and want to take it further you can Buy a guide scope. Hope this helps

Edited by Kriss Craik

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Hi Gerard,

I have an EQ5 Pro and a 130PDS and can get 180 seconds without star trails without guiding. Balancing and polar alignment are the key things to getting the best out of the EQ5. Have a look at one of the polar alignment apps, maybe something like Sharpcap  http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/sharpcap/polar-alignment it will make life so much easier.

Clear skies

Ian

 

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Learn to get the polar alignment better. That is the basis of setting up an equitorial mount for imaging. If you add a location in then there may well be a club or similar to get along to in order to gather in help and information. I have to go ask a bit of a stupid one from someone I know soon. The answer will be either some explanation I cannot understand, or, "Are you stupid? Of course it is! What else do you think it could be?" Really do hope it is the latter.

Polar alignment seems a pain but it is fundimentally straightforward you need to set up the mount and although not essential setting it as level as you can just makes things more logical. Then finding out where Polaris should be sitting on the reticule.

The big catch is that they all take time and that just has to be accepted. 5 or 10 minutes getting the mount level, another 5 or 10 minutes getting Polaris located correctly. Presume 10 for both but neither are 30 second operations. Which is all that people seem willing to spend on them.

If the idea is to avoid performing good polar alignment and let the guide scope take care of it then I think you will be disappointed as the purpose of guiding is to follow the object better but it still needs fairly good polar alignment to start out with, and you additionally have to set up the guide scope and camera. Which will take longer then just working through the poalr alignment routine.

There are no short cuts**. I am lazy and if there were I would have found them. **OK, I could get a remote scope to take images and send me the data I suppose, which likely qualifies as a short cut.

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I started out with an EQ5 (I still use it for planetary, Lunar and solar imaging). I spent a while researching and trying out different methods of polar alignment. I can now get a pretty good PA (good enough for guiding) in a couple of minutes. I bought an auto guider and got some good results but the most useful thing was that the set up taught me how to do astrophotography. I have now upgraded to a bigger mount for DSOs.

Would I have bought the bigger mount before the autoguider?...probably not, I followed the logic that the autoguider can be added to a bigger mount at a later date, it was also a smaller investment than a new mount.

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Thanks you all for your advice.  I'll try to get better at the polar alignment and balancing the telescope first and see what happens.  Good skills to have anyway.  It seems that people move to the HEQ5 from the EQ5, and I'll do that before I get a guider. 

 

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If i have EQ5 then i will jump to EQ6 not HEQ5, unless i want to keep lightweight or portability, but i don't know how much lightweight is that EQ5/HEQ5 over EQ6 mounts.

I bought a polemaster, but couldn't understand how to use it properly even following instructions, and i somehow learned with SharpCap manually polar alignment, but sure polemaster can help those who understand the instructions better than me and in some difficult situations.

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