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SmokeyJoe

Trying to decide on a target.

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  While I wait a week or two for the clouds that came with my new imaging setup to clear, trying to get everything sorted.  Not sure what to use as a first target. Looking for something that I can return to that will enable me to improve both imaging and post processing over time.

I will be using a SW ED80 with a Canon 450D on an EQ5 unguided to begin with.

I have ok skies but am in the middle of a new build housing estate overlooked by windows  on three sides best views are from South to West.

After consulting Stellarium I am thinking of either Bode's galaxy or the Pinwheel at the moment, does anybody have any other suggestions?

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Astro darkness ends soon for a few months and the bright evenings means you'll be limited to just a few hours from 11/midnight onwards. Also, going unguided means you'll be limited to shorter exposures, uncooled camera will be susceptible to noise especially with warmer weather. Is the 450 modded? If so you could try something nebulous like NGC7000 but youd need lots of short exposures. M13 might be a good target to try first. A good polar align and plenty of 60s exposures at ISO800 should work. Practice your polar aligning and see how long you can expose for without star trails.

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Nice thing about M101 is that it comes pretty close to the zenith (though I'm at 42° N), minimizing light pollution and atmospheric issues.

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  Thanks David, I realise that conditions aren't the best for the next few months but the scope was a birthday present that I have been staring at the Flo site for a year or so I am itching to use it, plan to spend the summer months making sure kit works fine and improving basic skills such as polar alignment etc, just need a target to practice on so I can see if I am improving.

 

18 hours ago, rickwayne said:

Nice thing about M101 is that it comes pretty close to the zenith (though I'm at 42° N), minimizing light pollution and atmospheric issues

I agree that's why I'm considering it, just wondered what would be best for my kit.

Thanks both for your advice.

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As @david_taurus83 suggests, practising with polar alignment and bright star targets such as M13 (or M3) is a great way to tune your setup and can get you ready for winter when the bright Orion nebula etc comes into view. Imaging galaxies unguided is harder as they are much dimmer.

I recently destroyed my guide camera by plugging too high a voltage PSU into a hub, forcing my setup back to EQ5 unguided. I have to say the subsequent images weren't great - even at 30 secs. There's something I haven't quite got right with my setup, so it depends on guiding to keep it on track. If you can get your EQ5 tracking well unguided that will be a great start.

Good luck!

Bob

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+1 on the idea of going for clusters- they're probably your best bet for the next month or 2, although the globs will be quite small in your setup. The beehive is around for a little while yet- that's pretty good. 

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5 hours ago, SmokeyJoe said:

  Thanks David, I realise that conditions aren't the best for the next few months but the scope was a birthday present that I have been staring at the Flo site for a year or so I am itching to use it, plan to spend the summer months making sure kit works fine and improving basic skills such as polar alignment etc, just need a target to practice on so I can see if I am improving.

 

Your plan to spend the summer playing with the kit is the best thing that you could do.

I got back into imaging this time last year.  I spent the summer learning the equipment.  This turned out to be the best decision that I could have taken.

I agree with the comments about globular clusters.  M53 and NGC5053 would make a good pair to practise on. 

 

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Thanks all, going to have a look see tonight and see how well my mount tracks.

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bodes is a good target to practice with,although as above better images will come in a month or two,but your only practising

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