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Hello, I am an amateur astronomer that wants to get into deep-sky astrophotography. I already have a telescope which is Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT but it doesn't meet the requirements to take photos of wide field nebulaes/galaxies, (Ex: Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy). I need some help on what to use and afford! It has to be under £550.

I need a 70 or 80mm optical tube, with a mount that does polar alignment and can be attached to the optical tube then I need a Canon camera that can take long exposure high ISO photos and last a filter or two to help reduce light pollution and contrast the nebula/galaxy more!

This is just for my birthday, I do not expect the best!

I just need a beginners setup.

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Hi and welcome.

With that sort of money there is really only one option and that is going to be rather tight.

Look at 72mm ED doublet from skywatcher and star adventurer mount.

Such combination is good for what you are after - larger things like Orion nebula and Andromeda galaxy.

Anything bigger than such small portable wide field setup is going to cost much more. Next mount in size is about the whole budget unless you shop second hand. 80ED scope is also about that much new (with accessories that you are going to need).

In fact even Star Advernturer and 72ED doublet is likely to get you over budget once you add needed bits and pieces - like LP filter and T2 adapter for your camera and such.

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Is there filters too for dimmer nebulae such as Horsehead Nebula, Heart Nebula etc?

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9 minutes ago, William Productions said:

Is there filters too for dimmer nebulae such as Horsehead Nebula, Heart Nebula etc?

Hi and welcome to SGL.

Different nebula emit more strongly in some wavelengths than others but best not to worry about that with a DSLR, just a light pollution filter of some sort if you suffer from it but not essential so you can make a start without one.

You will get better value for money buying second hand but obviously more hassle depending which part of the world you live in.

Dave

 

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Can somebody list me the best deep-sky targets to photograph in Spring to Summer?

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Hi and welcome.

With that sort of money there is really only one option and that is going to be rather tight.

Look at 72mm ED doublet from skywatcher and star adventurer mount.

Such combination is good for what you are after - larger things like Orion nebula and Andromeda galaxy.

Anything bigger than such small portable wide field setup is going to cost much more. Next mount in size is about the whole budget unless you shop second hand. 80ED scope is also about that much new (with accessories that you are going to need).

In fact even Star Advernturer and 72ED doublet is likely to get you over budget once you add needed bits and pieces - like LP filter and T2 adapter for your camera and such.

It doesn't matter if it is either Mini or Pro Star Adventurer?

Edited by William Productions

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Hi @William Productions and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

Many astro-imagers have a copy of 'Make Every Photon Count'.

The mount is one of the, if not, the most important parts of any astro-imaging setup.

 

39 minutes ago, William Productions said:

Is there filters too for dimmer nebulae such as Horsehead Nebula, Heart Nebula etc?

Coloured 'wratten' filters can be obtained for a few £'s / $'s and are mainly used for planetary imaging. You could try a Contrast Booster or Neodymium to begin with. For serious deep sky, you will need: RGB, LRGB, Olll, UHC, S2, etc., filter specific wavelengths and can these be expensive.

 

7 minutes ago, William Productions said:

Can somebody list me the best deep-sky targets to photograph in Spring to Summer?

For this time of year Virgo is rich in DSO's and has eleven messier objects. link below...

https://www.constellation-guide.com/constellation-list/virgo-constellation/

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1 minute ago, William Productions said:

It doesn't matter if it is either Mini or Pro Star Adventurer?

I really don't know. I have not used any of them and since they are portable small mounts - was not very interested.

I do have AzGTI that I plan to put in EQ mode and use it like that. It is another option, and I think it is better - because it allows for guiding in both RA and DEC direction. Star Adventurer only has guiding in RA.

That is probably something that you should not worry about right now - it will be just too much information and additional expense to get auto guiding running as well.

It would be best for someone who used either to offer their advice here, or maybe to have a look online to find some reviews of both Star adventurer mini and regular, for example these:

http://philhart.com/content/star-adventurer-review

http://philhart.com/content/star-adventurer-mini-review

There are couple of other mounts in this class as well that's worth having a look at, for example:

Az GTI mount:

https://starlighthunter.com/articles/az-gti-equatorial-mode/

(there is also thread here on SGL, or even couple of threads discussing az-gti, worth having a search)

Then there is iOptron offering:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ioptron-mounts/ioptron-skytracker-pro-camera-mount-with-polar-scope.html

Vixen offering:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/vixen-polarie/vixen-polarie.html

There is of course other possible path for you to take - get most important thing first - get good mount. Something like Heq5 class mount (second hand - this would be my choice) or EQ5 new.

Use mount and camera and kit lens to familiarize yourself with astro photography and then, when you save some more money - get telescope to image with.

 

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5 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

I really don't know. I have not used any of them and since they are portable small mounts - was not very interested.

I do have AzGTI that I plan to put in EQ mode and use it like that. It is another option, and I think it is better - because it allows for guiding in both RA and DEC direction. Star Adventurer only has guiding in RA.

That is probably something that you should not worry about right now - it will be just too much information and additional expense to get auto guiding running as well.

It would be best for someone who used either to offer their advice here, or maybe to have a look online to find some reviews of both Star adventurer mini and regular, for example these:

http://philhart.com/content/star-adventurer-review

http://philhart.com/content/star-adventurer-mini-review

There are couple of other mounts in this class as well that's worth having a look at, for example:

Az GTI mount:

https://starlighthunter.com/articles/az-gti-equatorial-mode/

(there is also thread here on SGL, or even couple of threads discussing az-gti, worth having a search)

Then there is iOptron offering:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ioptron-mounts/ioptron-skytracker-pro-camera-mount-with-polar-scope.html

Vixen offering:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/vixen-polarie/vixen-polarie.html

There is of course other possible path for you to take - get most important thing first - get good mount. Something like Heq5 class mount (second hand - this would be my choice) or EQ5 new.

Use mount and camera and kit lens to familiarize yourself with astro photography and then, when you save some more money - get telescope to image with.

 

Can the iOptron mount be able to be attached to the skywatcher 72 ed?

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31 minutes ago, William Productions said:

Can the iOptron mount be able to be attached to the skywatcher 72 ed?

Telescopes come with 3 different attachments (most of the time) - regular sized scopes have what is called Vixen level dovetail / connection. Larger scopes sometimes have Losmandy dovetail and very small scopes are sometimes attached via 1/4" thread (same as photo accessories). Often with small scopes Vixen dovetail has also 1/4" thread.

image.png.f6de4651060a3add82e6d5aa2df01acf.png

Above is SW 72ED and it has small vixen level dovetail attached to rings. It also has two 1/4" threads for attachment to photo tripods.

iOptron SkyTracker has 3/8" and 1/4" connections, and you would need something like this to pair the two:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adm/adm-mds-dovetail-plate-adapter.html

image.png.51d3c7ceab34ad19fed1cea90338161d.png

This is vixen level dovetail clamp that can be screwed onto 1/4" thread of SkyTracker mount.

Btw SkyTracker has 3kg payload capacity while SW Star Advanturer has 5kg load capacity, thus SA would be better suited for a small scope, while skytracker can carry ball head, camera and lens.

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@William Productions

Have a look at this thread, might be of interest to you if you opt for either SA or SAM:

 

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Posted (edited)
On 28/03/2020 at 16:20, vlaiv said:

@William Productions

Have a look at this thread, might be of interest to you if you opt for either SA or SAM:

Does a RA without DEC make any difference, does it affect the alignment?

 

Edited by William Productions

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@William Productions

If you are referring to guiding capability then yes - guiding in RA only makes a difference vs guiding in both RA and DEC.

There are two main issues that affect how well a mount tracks - one is polar alignment and the other is periodic error.

Both of these things cause drift over time - meaning that mount is no longer pointing where it started pointing and in astrohphotography terms - stars become small ellipses or even lines.

Polar alignment error causes drift in DEC axis while periodic error causes drift in RA axis. Mount that guides only in RA will still be susceptible to star trails if polar alignment is not good and polar alignment error is large enough. You can control polar alignment error but you can't control periodic error (you can to some extent - there is periodic error correction that some mounts are capable of, but in principle you can't correct for periodic error completely).

With mount that guides in both RA and DEC you don't need to be extremely precise with polar alignment, but with mount that guides only in RA - maximum exposure length will be limited by how well you polar aligned your mount.

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22 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

@William Productions

If you are referring to guiding capability then yes - guiding in RA only makes a difference vs guiding in both RA and DEC.

There are two main issues that affect how well a mount tracks - one is polar alignment and the other is periodic error.

Both of these things cause drift over time - meaning that mount is no longer pointing where it started pointing and in astrohphotography terms - stars become small ellipses or even lines.

Polar alignment error causes drift in DEC axis while periodic error causes drift in RA axis. Mount that guides only in RA will still be susceptible to star trails if polar alignment is not good and polar alignment error is large enough. You can control polar alignment error but you can't control periodic error (you can to some extent - there is periodic error correction that some mounts are capable of, but in principle you can't correct for periodic error completely).

With mount that guides in both RA and DEC you don't need to be extremely precise with polar alignment, but with mount that guides only in RA - maximum exposure length will be limited by how well you polar aligned your mount.

Is there a way to find another RA and DEC axis mount that costs around 240 pounds.

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7 minutes ago, William Productions said:

Is there a way to find another RA and DEC axis mount that costs around 240 pounds.

Only way I see that happening is to monitor classifieds section and look for second hand mount like EQ3 or iOptron SmartEQ.

I would strongly advise against using such mount. Mount is the most important part of astrophotograpy setup. You need to put at least x3-x4 that much budget towards to mount to begin with for anything serious (Heq5 class mount). People can image with mount such as EQ3 or EQ5 if they understand limits of their mounts and image accordingly.

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12 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Only way I see that happening is to monitor classifieds section and look for second hand mount like EQ3 or iOptron SmartEQ.

I would strongly advise against using such mount. Mount is the most important part of astrophotograpy setup. You need to put at least x3-x4 that much budget towards to mount to begin with for anything serious (Heq5 class mount). People can image with mount such as EQ3 or EQ5 if they understand limits of their mounts and image accordingly.

Sky-Watcher EQ5 Mount and Tripod

Is this a good mount?

The name of it is called Sky-Watcher EQ5 Mount and Tripod.

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5 minutes ago, William Productions said:

Is this a good mount?

The name of it is called Sky-Watcher EQ5 Mount and Tripod.

That is very decent mount, however that particular version is not suited for astrophotograpy - because it has no motors.

If you want to look at EQ5 mount, and that would be quite decent option for you, you should be looking at this model:

image.png.50bec5c972b1e2e9c25d6a7744c868a0.png

here https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq5-pro-synscan-goto.html

That version has goto (you select object you want to image, and mount computer points the mount in the right direction for you).

If you want to use above mount, you will need to purchase and fit motor kit to it:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/enhanced-dual-axis-dc-motor-drives-for-eq-5.html

It is less expensive, but I think goto mount has higher quality motors and of course goto capability.

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2 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

That is very decent mount, however that particular version is not suited for astrophotograpy - because it has no motors.

If you want to look at EQ5 mount, and that would be quite decent option for you, you should be looking at this model:

image.png.50bec5c972b1e2e9c25d6a7744c868a0.png

here https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq5-pro-synscan-goto.html

That version has goto (you select object you want to image, and mount computer points the mount in the right direction for you).

If you want to use above mount, you will need to purchase and fit motor kit to it:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-mount-accessories/enhanced-dual-axis-dc-motor-drives-for-eq-5.html

It is less expensive, but I think goto mount has higher quality motors and of course goto capability.

I guess I will just stick with the SA, I think that the more polar aligned it is and the less error it has the better the alignment?

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13 minutes ago, William Productions said:

I guess I will just stick with the SA, I think that the more polar aligned it is and the less error it has the better the alignment?

Yes indeed. If you are limited with your budget, then I guess you won't be guiding your mount? For that you need additional budget for guide scope, guide camera and few accessories to tie all of that together.

Depending on imaging resolution, regular polar alignment (using polar scope) can be sufficient for couple of minutes of imaging without trailing. If you won't be guiding, then I think your bigger concern is periodic error.

According to some sources on internet periodic error can be as much as 50 arc seconds p2p, and worm period of SA is 10 minutes. This means that you are likely to have about 5"/minute of error at some points (sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less).

If you use ED72 and DSLR camera (something with pixel size of about 4um) - you will be imaging at 2.31"/px, so you could expect 2 pixel elongation in some of the subs if you don't guide - that should not be much of an issue. Key is to keep exposures relatively short - about a minute or so.

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On 28/03/2020 at 14:03, William Productions said:

Hello, I am an amateur astronomer that wants to get into deep-sky astrophotography. I already have a telescope which is Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT but it doesn't meet the requirements to take photos of wide field nebulaes/galaxies, (Ex: Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy). I need some help on what to use and afford! It has to be under £550.

I need a 70 or 80mm optical tube, with a mount that does polar alignment and can be attached to the optical tube then I need a Canon camera that can take long exposure high ISO photos and last a filter or two to help reduce light pollution and contrast the nebula/galaxy more!

This is just for my birthday, I do not expect the best!

I just need a beginners setup.

Welcome to the journey, we're all on the same road here.

About budget - take care here, as astrophotography is not a one-shot (excuse the pun) deal, you spend £500 today, and next week/month/year you want to spend another £500. You might want to think about how much you want to spend on this hobby over a certain amount of time, rather than have a one-off budget and think that it will tide you through for the remainder of your interest in this subject.

You will want a DSO camera, you will want a good equatorial mount, and you will want some decent optics.

Combining all three of those will take maybe all or more of your current budget.

Once you have all three of those, you will get cold, and you will start to look at things like auto-focusers, controllers, and all those things that help you actually stay inside in the warmth while you operate the equipment.

The flip side here, is if that if you skimp on the quality of any of the above requirements then it might impact your results, and hence, your enthusiasm.

I would definitely look at second hand rigs that might be on sale out there, they are often a bargain, and you can augment your equipment with some top notch stuff at a later date, it is a journey.

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