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I'm new to astronomy, I got my first telescope in November (StarMax 90mm f/13), I was really happy with the view of the moon and double stars, but disappointed I could see but barely make out nebula (initially the ring nebula). I also tried to take a photo of the moon with my phone but trying to get a stable shot was too difficult, even with a basic smartphone adapter.
I did a bit of research, found about about Video Astronomy/Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA) and decided I needed a better mount and took the opportunity to get a faster telescope (StarTravel 102 f5/). I really like the Sky-Watcher -102 AZ GTe with the ZWO ASI 224MC. I've only used it for 4 nights as there is so much cloud about but it's allowed me to take images of things my eyeball wouldn't see. Although my setup is below the minimum specification most would consider for imaging and entry level for visual observations I think I've found a setup that seems to work for me. I like that with SharpCap I can get instant results and the day after when it's back to cloudy I can get a bit more out of the images with Deep Sky Stacker and Gimp. I have tried looking through the eyepiece at the Pleiades, that was a pleasure as well. I can see how observing with a big Dobsonian and amazing eyepieces would be great, but many objects seem better with a camera than eyeballs. The Horsehead nebula wasn't found until astrophotography came into being.
The photo above was taken on my first night with the setup. The January 2019 issue of Sky at Night Magazine has a review of the Sky-Watcher StarTravel-102 AZ GTe and they give it 4.5 / 5. Combining it with an Explore Scientific UHC filter seems to reduce most of the chromatic aberration and increases contrast relative to the stars, and light pollution.
Video Astronomy/EAA seems to offer a great window into both the visual and imaging worlds of astronomy. As First Light Optics say "Your first telescope is arguably the most important because if the views do not amaze and delight, your interest in astronomy will crash and burn on the runway!" I understand cost could be an issue, but if the beginner had a suitable camera Video Astronomy could be as accessible as a Go-To visual setup, and seems more likely to amaze (especially in the skies of a typical house).
My question is why is video astronomy not the first suggestion for beginners interested in both visual and imaging?
Concentrating on imaging rather than EAA so I’ve decided to put my Atik Infinity Colour up for sale.
It’s indistinguishable from new and fully boxed + accessories. It has the new screw-on DC power lead.
Only 6 months old and has only been used over two sessions.
£650 + insured delivery. Priced low as I really need to release funds for other things.
Edited December 27, 2017 by CrashEd
So here's a thing - it seems to me that astronomy is one of those not very straight forward hobbies.
Last night I though it would just be the same as Friday night - set up, look at the moon take some pictures! Simples...
Aw but not to be!! I'm good at setting up in the daylight, get my mount bang level (checked with electronic level app on phone...) Get it facing north with my beautiful brass compass and enter coordinates back to Kidderminster from Thame, then you would think just observe...
Nah! Moon very wobbly with tinges of green on the edges... Barlowed it and got some superb views of Gassendi and the Hippalus Rilles albeit a bit wobbly... Then the tree came so I thought check out Jupiter the other side of the tree with the camera. Once again folks it appears I have a great deal of Astro luck! Couldn't find Jupes at first, camera in and out of diagonal, EP in and out of diagonal... Shall I just go to bed?
Then just before my capitulation - Boom she appears as a large white circle! Mmm something to work on I thought... Messed with the Gain and Exposure, what's Gain mean? Now it's a smaller white ball no moons... Then after another stop and start - Boom!! a ball with bands on... Hello Jupiter my old friend I whisper like a sniper lining up a kill!
Brainwave, blue filter! in she goes and Boom again deffo a Jupiter view (although very wobbly) Quick action - click the 'take a picture or million' button... Next quick, take a video or million button.
Amazing here I am with a table chair laptop wonderful AVX mount and my Starwave 102 doing EAA....
It's not that clear and it looks like a black spot just above the main band... Er it couldn't be could it? Could it be? Not another transit surely.... Run indoors get the phone check my Jupiter moons app and Bingo is Io, only Io transiting Jupiter... Wonderful how lucky am I?
I call my girlfriend down out of bed, look look she's sat at the table looking and and "can you get the image any sharper? Oh that's funny I thought the band's go horizontally".. a quick turn of the camera in the diagonal and she's happy! Flipping heck is it me how can she not be doing the I've just bagged a great target dance??
Amazing, another example for me of when things don't go perfect at the beginning, decide it's better to just give up and then a little while later having a wonderful moment.
This hobby never lets me down!
So today the result of all that is I have a million pictures (exaggerate a bit there) and not a clue what do so with em apart from maybe trying something I heard of called deep sky stacker... Should be interesting later.
What a fun night in the end... never give up hang in there the joys are just a moment away.....