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I recently scored a great deal on facebook marketplace and bought Skywatcher Skymax 180 mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope (f/15) with EQ6R-pro mount. I understand that long focal length telescopes are more suitable for planetary imaging. However, as I am tight on budget, I would like to use the same scope for deep-sky astrophotography. I have Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera that I am using for taking images. Without autoguiding and a decent polar alignment, I can get ~30 seconds long shots without any star trailing, but that's not sufficient for imaging objects like M51. I would like to be able to integrate longer, say few minutes, thus would like to purchase an autoguider. Here are some specific questions I have.
1). The telescope comes with an 8 x 50 straight-through finder. If I were to use it as a guidescope, what type of image integration time can I expect? Has anyone done autoguiding for f/15 scope with an 8x50 or other finderscopes?
2). If the integration time will be an issue with the 8x50 finder scope, I am open to purchasing an off-axis-guider. However, considering the narrow field-of-view of Mak-180 telescope, I am concerned about not having enough photons from guidestar for autoguiding. For instance, with my DSLR camera, I need to integrate 20-30 seconds to see the nearby stars in M51. What type of OAG and camera would I need to autoguide with my scope? Are there affordable cameras (~$200) that would do the job for me? Would ASI120MM Mini Monochrome (~$150) do the job? What about OAG?
I plan to use phd2 software for autoguiding rather than relying on the build-in guide port on the mount. Instead of integrating for hours, I am planning to do DSS stacking of few mintues long multiple shots, hopefully this will put less strict requirements on the autoguider.
In case this information is relevant: with my current setup, I have no issue pointing my scope to a desired deep-sky object, track the object within the field-of-view of my DSLR camera for hours using the mechnical tracking of the EQ6 mount. For instance following is a single raw image of Ring nebula taken with 30 seconds shot. But it is not enough for generating high-quality images.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Hi, I have taken mono LRGB images of M51 with my new ASI1600mm-PRO.
I have a mix of 30s, 60s, 120s subs. 100 darks, and 100 flats for each filter. About 4 hours total.
I Used DSS for alignment and stacking, then Pixinsight for LRGB combination.
My issue is that i'm not happy with the colours, the stars all appear white and the background is strange.
I have attached the Aligned LRGB images.
Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
Green.TIF red.TIF Lum.TIF B.TIF
I recently upgraded to a purpose made astro-camera (Atik Horizon Color). The learning curve has definitely been noticeable, but I cant figure a couple things out. For some reason the pictures are grey scale when using N.I.N.A. I have tried different binning and formats, but the image is always black and white.
If I use the ATIK software (Infinity,Dusk) there is an option for 'Color Binning', and that seems to have fixed it for those programs, but N.I.N.A doesn't seem to have that option (you can not select anything for binning, or select 1x1, 2x2 ect.). But what makes it weirder is that the preview is always color using N.I.N.A. I used a pinhole lens cover to take pictures of my computer screen and it always shows up as color images. However, if I take that exact image file that previews in color and move it to pixinsight, it is grey-scale.
Is this a binning thing, file format problem? At this point I am just confused, if the preview of the image is color shouldn't the image data be color as well?
So far all the problems I have had with this camera have just been simple things that were new to me, but this one is really throwing me for a loop. Thanks for any help.
I've attached a couple images. The first you can see the NINA preview is color, as well with the couple other I took in the bottom right. And the other in a photo of trying to color saturate the stretched image in Pixinsight, and it says that it cannot saturate a grey-scale image. I have tried this with Tif, Fits, and various binning types.
I went to my family house in the countryside and was able to take some pictures during xmas eve.
Total exposure: 6h
H_Alpha: ~3h (730x15s) --> R, G
Oxigen III: ~3h (710x15s) --> B, G
I didn't have a view on Polaris and could not spend too much time drift aligning (it was xmas eve after all :D) hence the short exposures. Moreover I dont have the proper connection rings to put my flattener on my mono camera so all stars off center are a mess :_(.