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Planetary Setup - Feedback/help required :)


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Hi All,

This year I want to tackle planetary imaging.  I will use an advanced VX mount with the Edge HD 8” SCT.

 For imaging I currently use an unmodded Canon T5i, which has worked well for close up lunar shots and DSO’s. I want to build up a more dedicated planetary setup.

 I was thinking of doing this in two stages:

 Stage one – buy a Powermate 2.5x and use this with my canon: has anyone had any experience with this setup? Examples would be great. I assume all I need is the barlow and T-ring and I am good to go.

 Stage two – Replace the canon with ZWO ASI120MC-S Colour 1/3" CMOS USB 3.0  - Again, I assume the barlow and T ring in stage one is sufficient, just swapping out the DSLR.

 I would be really grateful for any feedback on this setup or alternatives – my budget is around £500.

 Thanks all and clear skies. :headbang:

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I have used my Canon with my c9.25 and get results like the attached. You will get much better results using a dedicated planetary camera like the 120 - I use my 224. You definitely need the Powermate and I would also advocate using a flip mirror to help locate the target.


Jupiter with 4 moons 250517.png

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33 minutes ago, AstroKane said:

Stage two – Replace the canon with ZWO ASI120MC-S Colour 1/3" CMOS USB 3.0  - Again, I assume the barlow and T ring in stage one is sufficient, just swapping out the DSLR.

This is a better option than using the Canon DSLR, but you won't need a T-ring just a 1.25" 'eyepiece' nose on the camera. Not to put you off, but 2018 isn't a great year to start planetary imaging as the main ones Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are all low in the sky especially the first two, so when using a colour camera you are likely to experience a fair bit of colour fringing due to atmospheric dispersion. Mars of course is going to appear very large from the UK this year, but it barely gets to 12 degrees altitude from my Norfolk location (YMMV). The colour fringing can be largely mitigated by also using an Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC), but that of course is another expense. My view is that the ADC is a very worthwhile investment if you think that you likely to want to keep with planetary imaging in future. I'd also recommend that you use the Powermate rather than a barlow if you do decide to invest in the ADC as barlows increase magnification the further away you move the camera sensor, which adding the ADC will do. The x2 and x2.5 Powermates preserve their magnification far better than barlows, in fact the magnification on the x2.5 PM reduces slightly as you move the camera back - see chart on TV page http://www.televue.com/engine/TV3b_page.asp?id=53&Tab=_app

Good luck, planetary imaging is a lot of fun which ever way you decide to go.

Cheers, Geof

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Couldn't agree more with Peter - and great images, by the way!  I'm not a very experienced planetary imager but using my f10 Vixen with barlow and zwo 120 it was incredibly difficult to get even a bright target like Jupiter on the chip but vastly improved when I got a flip mirror.

However, I made the mistake of buying a flip mirror at Astrofest for £40, only to get home and find it wasn't adjustable!  It was also too inaccurate to use as I purchased it.  Luckily I was able to pull off the mirror and shim/adjust it but only because I have a laser collimator and flat mirror I could use for the process.  I made life a lot harder for myself by trying to save a few quid.  Most can be but I would make absolutely certain that any flip mirror you buy can be adjusted/collimated.

Look forward to seeing your results.



Edited by runoffshed
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In the absence of a flip mirror, use no Barlow initially and defocus a bit so the planet becomes a larger ? donut, then put Barlow in place and refocus. Also make sure finder scope is really accurately aligned.

Good luck and have fun.

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Thanks all for the responses, noted re planetary positioning this year - in essence:

C8 - Powermate - ZWO 120 is a more than capable setup to get some nice results. I will still purchase in stages as mentioned. I like to appreciate what each new piece of kit brings to the table rather than just having everything at the get go. From Pete's post it looks like I should get some kind of result in stage one.

Ah, flip mirror, this is new to me and something I haven't factored in! Time to start digging!

With regards to the TV 2.5 - where did you guys buy from, I could only easily see 1 stockist inside the UK.


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With a high focal ratio as yours (F/10) I'd choose a different camera with small pixels, like the ASI 178.

This would allow you to get to the limit of your telescope resolving power, but without using the barlow lens.

It's the same setup I use on my Maksutov, I have a slightly higher focal ratio (F/12), but it should be ok in your scenario too.


I'd also prefer mono cameras over colour, but that's another story...

If you can't buy filters and filter wheel now, you can always start with mono imaging, and buy them later on.

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Personally id buy a mono camera and get the filterwheel etc at a later date..a dedicated planetary camera will be far superior to a DSLR and I initially you don't need the Barlow,so I'd concentrate on getting the right camera first..also I didn't get on with the flip mirror myself..just adjust the gain up and you should find the target easily enough..this could help in your purchase...



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ASI 120MC is a great camera.

Smaller pixels + ability to capture huge RAW video as SER gives a big head start over my Canon for planetary.

I now have the touptek mono which is the same sensor so looking forward to combining different data sets. I see big Wnjupos headaches ahead!

This is with a 150PL + 3x barlow, your extra 2" of aperture should deliver more sharpness:


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