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bmmcwhirt

Advice and Thoughst on planned first purchase.

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This seemed like this post should go under general even though I'm looking to do imagine. If I'm wrong I'm sure I will be reprimanded and the post moved.

I want to get a setup that I can build on over time and as funds become available. Any suggestions are very welcome.

Here are my light polution numbers:

My location that I can use nightly:

Brightness    1.21 mcd/m2
Artif. bright.    1040 μcd/m2
Ratio    6.06
Bortle    class 5
Elevation    259 meters

 

Nearby location I can get to on weekends:

Brightness    0.368 mcd/m2
Artif. bright.    197 μcd/m2
Ratio    1.15
Bortle    class 4
Elevation    249 meters

 

There are two  paths I can take with what I have currently researched one starts with a better mount the other a better imaging system. I'm open to changing out any of this gear though so I'm not set on anything. I'm trying to stay under $3000.00 USD for the initial setup. 

 

Base:

Explore Scientific 80mm FCD1 Carbon Fiber Air Space Tripplet ED APO Refractor.

60mm Starwave Guide Scope Package.

 

Path One: (better mount first eventually having 2 mounts)

iOptron iED45 Mount and Tripod

ZWO ASI120mm-S Kit

 

Path Two: (better imaging from start no second mount)

iOptron SmartEQ Pro+ GoTo Equatorial

ZWO ASI174mm-cool kit

 

I'm still researching what filters I will buy but the end goal by next summer is to have:

Explore Scientific 80mm FCD1 Carbon Fiber Air Space Tripplet ED APO Refractor

152mm Carbon Fiber Air-Spaced Triplet ED APO Refractor 

iOptron iED45 Mount and Tripod

ZWO ASI174mm-cool kit

ZWO ASI120mm-S Kit

60mm Starwave Guide Scope Package

Various Deep Sky filters

Solar Filter system of undecided type for the 80mm.

 

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I assume that you are looking at DSO imaging? If so, you'd do well to get hold of the book 'Making every photon count' available from FLO in the book section, It explains everything so well that you will be mad not to read it and learn from it.

From your list I'd say that the most important thing is the mount........ Under mount at your peril, it will cost you in the long run. Get the very best mount that you can afford (I can't help with your iOptron choice as I've never used one) If I was making a recommendation I'd say that the Skywatcher HEQ5 is a great starting point and is the basis for many people's imaging rig. You can always upgrade your optics later........ Did I say that the mount is the most important thing? :)

A good ED80 scope also from Skywatcher and that will do you well.

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What is the difference between the HEQ5 and the AZ-EQ5, just the additon of alt-az? It looks like to get the HEQ5 I have to order from outside the USA as Skywatcher-usa doesn't carry it any more it appears as well is the case with most of the retailers I can find.

Also if someone could chime in with any first hand knowledge of performance differences between the iOptron EQ45 and the Sky-water HEQ5? Spec wise they both look very similar but I'd like to hear from someone with first hand knowledge. They are both priced in the same range so either one is an option.

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Can someone recomend a US retailer that has the book Sara mentioned, "Making every photon count".  I found it on Amazon via third parties not prime so I might as well support a place that supports the hobby.

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The book can be bought directly from the author http://www.nightskyimages.co.uk/ from his web site. He is a moderator on this forum and is very well thought of around these parts :) 

I'm not sure about the HEQ5 and the different naming styles in the US. They are branded under another name altogether but don't know what it is...... for some reason I am thinking Orion or Atlas? Have you tried asking on the US based Cloudy Nights forum? My thoughts are that information would be more based for those across the pond. While we are a very international forum and love people from all parts, sometimes it's easier to be able to chat with people from your own Continent where they have the same goods and money :)

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The HEQ5 is, I believe, the Orion Sirius. The Orion Atlas is the NEQ6. Stretching my knowledge but I think the Pro versions of each are the AZ equivalents.

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My experience with the first of the iOptron 45s was that it was pretty decent at first but that the spring loaded worm drives became softer and softer, allowing too much springiness after longer periods of use. I think it's been considerably redisigned since then but that seems to be the iOptron problem: too many new products with not enough testing before release.

It's not a budget mount but for portable applications and minimum fuss - notably no meridian flip - my first choice would be the Avalon.

http://www.avalon-instruments.com/products/m-zero-equatorial-azimuthal-mount

http://www.avalon-instruments.com/products/m-uno-equatorial-mount

Olly

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11 hours ago, swag72 said:

The book can be bought directly from the author http://www.nightskyimages.co.uk/ from his web site. He is a moderator on this forum and is very well thought of around these parts :) 

I'm not sure about the HEQ5 and the different naming styles in the US. They are branded under another name altogether but don't know what it is...... for some reason I am thinking Orion or Atlas? Have you tried asking on the US based Cloudy Nights forum? My thoughts are that information would be more based for those across the pond. While we are a very international forum and love people from all parts, sometimes it's easier to be able to chat with people from your own Continent where they have the same goods and money :)

Thanks. I knew he was well thought of as looking for the book I came across several other posts here, it's also how I learned there was no ebook variant which would have been my preferred format as Im trying to get rid of a lot of books. I wasn't aware of the cloudy nights forum as I've spent most of my time researching types of telescopes and youtube videos on proper use. I've recently been reading a lot of Naal DeGrass Tyson PHS's books and decided I wanted to be able to start looking and photographing some of this myself. I will set up an account there too.

10 hours ago, kens said:

The HEQ5 is, I believe, the Orion Sirius. The Orion Atlas is the NEQ6. Stretching my knowledge but I think the Pro versions of each are the AZ equivalents.

Thank you, that will give me a good place to start looking.

10 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

My experience with the first of the iOptron 45s was that it was pretty decent at first but that the spring loaded worm drives became softer and softer, allowing too much springiness after longer periods of use. I think it's been considerably redisigned since then but that seems to be the iOptron problem: too many new products with not enough testing before release.

It's not a budget mount but for portable applications and minimum fuss - notably no meridian flip - my first choice would be the Avalon.

http://www.avalon-instruments.com/products/m-zero-equatorial-azimuthal-mount

http://www.avalon-instruments.com/products/m-uno-equatorial-mount

Olly

Thanks for the info on the iOptron. I am aware that the Avalon is pretty much the best mount you can get for a non-permanent setup, but it's far outside my current budget even if I bought the mount and nothing else.

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