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M Astronomy

Imaging with a Star Adventurer

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I'm using the Horizon tripod ATM but have used flimsier ones which worked OK with camera lenses up to 300mm and WO Star 71 and WOZ61.

The main problem was movement caused by  the mirror wobbling it this showed on brighter stars as a wiggly line so had to use the mirror  lock then all was fine.

Dave

Example

Mirror-wobble.png.104d9da79369b69a9ab9af1046a8b93a.png

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Do you know what model of horizon? If I do mount my scope on it in the future (1250mm focal length), I'll need something pretty sturdy but would prefer to keep it around the £50 if that is sensible.

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That's exactly the one I use, but I've completely removed the pan/tilt head and bolted the SW latitude base directly to the legs at the top, then run 3/8" studding the full length of the central tube to a 5kg counterweight at the base.

It is now incredibly sturdy.

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On 26/11/2017 at 16:51, serbiadarksky said:

I get good results too with the Star Advenutrer and a 600D :D

Always I keep the exposure for all objects 8-10 min each sub :D

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Do you use a light pollution filter too or are all of these shot at a dark location, would appreciate it if you could give bortle scale class aswell. Awesome shots btw!

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If it helps anyone looking at mounts, I did some research through what astronomy stores stock and what people on forums such as this have used and these seem to be the best options:

First Horizon 8115 (£85, load unknown)

Manfrotto 055. The 055CL and 055XB are older models which can come up second hand, they will take 7Kg. The 055XPRO3 will take 9Kg and is around £149

Velbon DV-700N, 6Kg load, £100-£110

Fotomate VT-2900, 8Kg, £142

I just had a beep on my phone to say a Manfrotto 055CL from eBay has been delivered. A ball head arriving tomorrow, I should be set. Now all I need is one of those great big fans that blows the cloud away. It has not been worth trying with my rubbish tripod since my SA arrived a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully I will post a first light picture soon.

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On 07/07/2019 at 10:08, DaveHKent said:

It looks like I have recently made the right choice. I wanted a tracking mount for widefield images of the milky way and star fields, and had fancied the Omegon Mini Track (the small windup mount). Then I realised it only worked in the northern hemisphere and I'd be disappointed if I go on a more exotic holiday again, but a model that works in both was a little bit more. But for a little bit more still, they have the newer sturdier version, then add a bit more and you get both hemispheres. As the cost mounted up, it was getting close to the star adventurer, so a new one arrived on my doorstep on Friday :) (A very quick response to questions and shipping from Rother Valley Optics).

Seeing some of the images on this thread has convinced me I have made the right choice. I have a Celestron Nexstar SLT90 (altz goto mount) and thought DSO imaging was beyond me. It looks like this will take the weight of the tube if I want to go that far, but some of the images with just Canon DSLRs have been amazing.

I have got a couple of questions though. I don't have a ball head and my photography tripod is a cheap basic one. I have set up my SA on there and it is clear it is going to be very wobbly. I have a load of Amazon vouchers, are there any tripods or ball heads people would recommend on there? The Skywatcher SA tripod is £59 (but not sold on Amazon), so I was looking in the same price range. There are a number of ball heads with good reviews for £20-£30, would pretty much any of these be suitable?

There is a Neewer tripod that will take 12kg for £47 and the ball head is removable, which would give me both for £50. Would I regret scrimping on this?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Neewer-Aluminum-centimeters-Camcorder-kilograms/dp/B073515X3H/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=607M2SPFZFE0HN5NYFJ3

 

A short term alternate I could use is to put the SA onto my Nexstar Altz mount. If I didn't use the wedge and put it straight on the mount, it would fit but be mounted sideways. Would that work or would the tracking now be working the wrong way? I would not have the Nexstar mount unpowered so it did not track. How would I go about aligning, still turn the 6 so it is pointing to the ground.

I have the neweer tripod - it’s fairly good! I’ve definitely overloaded it now though. I was just using this setup temporarily but I found that it wasn’t particularly stable - ended up going all out on a heq5 as well but I got it out (the SA) last night to get some shots of Jupiter and it serves its purpose well 😊

Was very nice carrying the whole setup in one hand and have everything running off of batteries!

 

 

 

 

C8DA8C6F-02CA-4733-BC30-F01CCFDB25CF.jpeg

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North America Nebula taken on the 1st Jul and processed just now

Taken with Canon 550d modified with 300mm lens , mount on SA

i freaking love the SA but even more so the canon 300mm f4 Lens!!!!!!

0994D136-F7DD-4940-8B85-633269544553.jpeg

Edited by lnlarxg
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7 hours ago, lnlarxg said:

North America Nebula taken on the 1st Jul and processed just now

Taken with Canon 550d modified with 300mm lens , mount on SA

i freaking love the SA but even more so the canon 300mm f4 Lens!!!!!!

0994D136-F7DD-4940-8B85-633269544553.jpeg

Did you use a light pollution filter aswel or was this shot at a dark sky location? 

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6 hours ago, Kenco said:

Did you use a light pollution filter aswel or was this shot at a dark sky location? 

I had a astronomik cls Clio on filter on the canon when taking the exposures

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Been practising the set up and polar alignment of my Star Adventurer through the short nights in the hopes I can get started on some proper imaging now that the nights are getting a little longer.

This was a (cropped, but otherwise unprocessed) 7 min exposure of the tail of the Plough (Alkaid, Mizar / Alcor and Alioth), taken just a few days after the longest day - admittedly I'm only using an 85mm lens at the moment but I'm still delighted with the tracking capabilities of this little mount!  Check out M51, M101 and M63 all in frame!  Think I must have just cut of M106, which is a bit of a shame...

Getting some curious star shapes in the corners with this lens (could I ease that by stopping it down a bit, do you think?) but otherwise it's looking good for some seriously deep Cygnus time over the next couple of weeks!  7 minute exposures with anything approaching f1.4 is hugely exciting!

 

Star Adventurer

Canon 6d

Samyang 85mm f1.4 stopped down to about f2

ISO 100 (to prevent total over-exposure!)

1 x 7 minute exposure

Plough_7mins.JPG

Plough_7mins - Galaxies.JPG

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Single 41s exposure of the Laggon and Triffid nebula at 214mm. Canon 1200D modded + Sigma 70-300

101312885_LagoonTriffidrez.thumb.jpg.8daa7c3d71a2f9d504a73aa69c5a7305.jpg

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(Cross post from...elsewhere. Thanks @Davey-T. Stunned by what you guys have been able to achieve with this little gadget)

This is my first stab a tracking and stacking using a Star Adventurer, or anything in fact. I've never tracked and stacked before and I'm an imaging noooob.  I'm using a Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera with an adapted vintage Pentax Super Takumar 200mm/f4 at f5.6. ISO 2500.  Happy enough with star shape (apart from the aperture blade spikes)  so I think my polar alignment is ok. Used a 5litre bottle of water to weigh down the tripod.

Obviously the North America Nebula. (Well, not that obvious) Bortle 4/5 back garden, Moon not yet risen. 15 lights at 165s (best I could get with those cloud things), 10 darks and 10 flats. Flats shot by holding the camera to a white screen on my phone. Stacked with DSS and processed in PS and Astronomy Tools Action set using AstroBackyard's methods here. Transparency wasn't the best, i think I was shooting through thin cloud most of the time.

North America NebulaTo be honest I'm not delighted with it:

  • The nebula is a bit dim eh? Very low contrast on the nebulosity. I don't think I could go much longer untracked than 2'30" or 3' on the Star Adventurer.
  • There's a red cast. Stars that should be bluer all seem to be a bit reddish. Not sure why. White balance? I think I probably had it on auto but I was shooting raw so would think I'd be able to deal with that.
  • It's a bit noisy.
  • Big pointy stars.

What I think I need to do to improve it:

  • To increase nebula contrast, I'm thinking of getting myself an old 600d off fleebay and getting it modded. Maybe one day getting an h-alpha clip filter for it. It would leave my gorgeous Fuji X-T2 to have normal human being settings, and not weird astro settings.
  • Redness? I don't know. It doesn't look very natural to me.
  • Noisy? More subs I guess. I could drop the ISO but then I'd need have longer subs, and the SA won't be up for it. 
  • Spiky big stars. I have a stop down ring that I forgot to use. Note: Don't forget to use it.

Does this make sense? Any further advice on improvements i could make would be hugely appreciated. (I'm a budget astrophotographer if you hadn't guessed)

 

Thanks all!

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Hello,

Just a small question. I want to use a DSLR on the SA included dovetail without having to remove the quick release plate from the camera. One option would be to atach the whole ball head to the dovetail, but I'm worried about the extra weight. My question is, would I be able to just get a arca swiss plate and clamp from amazon and attach the clamp to the fine-tuning end of the dovetail? If so any clamps you recommend. I have seen some pictures with what seem's to be panning bases doing this job but i'm unsure if they are standard bases or something custom built.

 

thanks in advance!

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10 hours ago, inlin3 said:

Hello,

Just a small question. I want to use a DSLR on the SA included dovetail without having to remove the quick release plate from the camera. One option would be to atach the whole ball head to the dovetail, but I'm worried about the extra weight. My question is, would I be able to just get a arca swiss plate and clamp from amazon and attach the clamp to the fine-tuning end of the dovetail? If so any clamps you recommend. I have seen some pictures with what seem's to be panning bases doing this job but i'm unsure if they are standard bases or something custom built.

 

thanks in advance!

This is how I run mine.  No issues really and I'm getting 300 secs 

Just for scale this is my tripod no broken backs for PA for me!!

20190825_230048.jpg

20190320_160435.jpg

Edited by Daniel-K
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3 hours ago, Daniel-K said:

This is how I run mine.  No issues really and I'm getting 300 secs 

Just for scale this is my tripod no broken backs for PA for me!!

20190825_230048.jpg

20190320_160435.jpg

Damn! thats a high tripod!!
Unfortunately i'm not able to get more than 120secs with my 70-200 unguided. tried to get the ball head (manfrotto xpro bhq2) as you did, but the whole setup becomes unbalanced. That why i thought about just putting a arca swiss clamp on the dovetail fine adjusting setup.

 

thanks!

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Are you you using a tripod collar on you're 70-200?  I'll be adding a vixen clamp my self just for some more stability.

I'm not a fan of manfrotto products I think they are over rated I've brokenteo of their tripods and that head you use has failed on me. 

I found using a heavyweight tripod makes a big difference to my exposure length and an accurate polar alignment. 

Is you're camera a crop sensor as it will give you 1.6x crop factor vs a full frame sensor and could be the difference between out set ups so you're trailing would be slightly more exaggerated 

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51 minutes ago, Daniel-K said:

Are you you using a tripod collar on you're 70-200?  I'll be adding a vixen clamp my self just for some more stability.

I'm not a fan of manfrotto products I think they are over rated I've brokenteo of their tripods and that head you use has failed on me. 

I found using a heavyweight tripod makes a big difference to my exposure length and an accurate polar alignment. 

Is you're camera a crop sensor as it will give you 1.6x crop factor vs a full frame sensor and could be the difference between out set ups so you're trailing would be slightly more exaggerated 

 

I found that my trailing comes from the SA itself, the tripod setup is extremely sturdy when all set. I also have a tripod from eq5 with an adapter and see no difference when shooting. Its mostly about the balance, the head+camera+lens adds too much weight that the counterweight cannot .. counter. Yes, i'm using a crop canon. 

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On 22/08/2019 at 20:21, elliot said:

Does this make sense? Any further advice on improvements i could make would be hugely appreciated.

@elliot I think that makes a lot of sense. I had similar problems with a camera not really picking up nebulae and bought a 600d from Camera Jungle and had it modded. All in cost was about £235. I'm pretty happy with the performance. This is my NAN using a vintage Russian 135mn lens on a test of my relatively new SA with 90 second subs at iso800. I think it could be quite a lot better with longer subs and more of 'em! Likewise I suspect this would help address your other problems as well 👍

 

Cygnus Mosaic 190824.jpg

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Hi,

I was asked from another thread to put a photo of M31 taken with Star Adventurer and my Canon 300mm f/4 L lense on Canon 6D full frame camera. I don't think I can have the full resolution image here.

Link to my homepage with the full resolution image:

http://www.astrofriend.eu/astronomy/astronomy-photo/galaxies/m31/m31-galaxy.html

This is my project page with the modifications I have done to my Star Adventurer:

http://www.astrofriend.eu/astronomy/projects/astronomy-projects.html

Scroll down and you find them.

 

/Lars

 

Edited by Astrofriend
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what scope goes best with the SA? 

I'm looking for a  Refactor, relatively cheap, wide field and compact. 

suggestions would be appreciated, thanks 

 

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6 minutes ago, Leon-Fleet said:

what scope goes best with the SA? 

I'm looking for a  Refactor, relatively cheap, wide field and compact. 

suggestions would be appreciated, thanks 

 

Just found your other post, I use the WOZ61 and the Redcat with mine both work well or there are camera lenses like the Samyang ones for wider fields of view.

Dave

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I have a few basic questions after finally getting some cloudless nights and really have a play with my SA.

1) How do you aim the SA at your target, especially if you are using a scope on the dovetail bar, rather than a camera on a ball head? Does anyone use the DA dial or is it just a case of manually moving the RA and DA axis until it points into about the right place, then zoom in for finer positioning?

2) Is there any benefit to having the tripod lower than higher? I have a manfrotto 055 tripod, so it is pretty stable, having it low did mean kneeling on damp ground for polar alignment.

3) What do people do with their intervalometer when doing long exposures? I left mine swinging for one exposure and it did affect the quality. If there is not a common solution, I might look at 3d printing a holder bracket.

My first real picture with this is:

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Not brilliant, but there was a lot of moisture in the air. Something to build on when I have built my skills up. I did try M42 shortly afterwards but reached the point where there was too much dew on the lens. A hair dryer or dew heater is my next purchase.

 

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I am going  to get one of these so I can do some imaging away from home if I am working away, overseas etc.  

EDIT: Just bought one 😉

Edited by kirkster501
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