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Dadek

Please help me make my first step!

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Hello everybody!
I sold my old Dobs and saved some money so I would try my hand at AP.
My issue is that I feel overwhelmed with all the information available online.

I want to take pictures of DSO's and I want to get some "relatively" good gear that should be based on: 

1. Skywatcher HEQ-5 mount
2. The camera I own: Nikon D40

Now, the question is what tube would fit this setup nicely?
I have these lined up but I don't know which one would be the best (my budget is around 500€ for the tube):
1. 150/750
2. 200/1000
3. Something completely different?

Also, in your opinion what other (eyepieces, t-adapters, filters) would be necessary for the setup to work?

Looking forward to your answers!
Cheers :)

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Nether those, they are too big for a eq5 mount

for. Visual could be ok but not ap /imaging

with eq5 should be 130 reflector or 80mm ed refractor

 joejaguar 

 

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On the heq5, the 130 PDS is considered an excellent match. Very easy to attach a dslr to, to get started. Also easy to guide for longer exposures,  as you find your "ap legs" :)

Check out the "Imaging with a 130 PDS" thread in the beginners imaging section.

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Hello guys, 

Thank you for your answers!!
I have checked a bit more and this is what I came up with: gear_to_buy

Can you please let me know if anything crucial is missing? Some cables or filters or whatnot?

Also, this HEQ5 is not available for a long time, is there any alternative?

@joe aguiar I have checked the videos (thanks for the links!) and you did a great job explaining! :)

Cheers guys!

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Might need spacers to get to the right focus point.

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You need some form of 12V power supply for the mount, either battery or mains adapter.

Do note that Joe mentions your original scopes being too big for an EQ5, while you were enquiring about an HEQ5.  There's a difference I believe.

While most will say it's not a good idea, I'm using a 200PDS on an HEQ5 with some success. Can only image when it isn't windy though, and the refractor in your current list is no doubt easier to start with.

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Thanks for the answers guys!

@Erling G-P, doesn't the mount come with some kind of adapter or cable to connect it to electricity output?
 

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33 minutes ago, Dadek said:

Thanks for the answers guys!

@Erling G-P, doesn't the mount come with some kind of adapter or cable to connect it to electricity output?
 

Mine didn't, so I would at the very least check with the intended supplier in your case.

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Thanks!

Can you guys tell me please what sort of cables do I need? 

For now I would practice from my balcony so I would like to try and connect everything to my house electricity.

Cheers!

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Posted (edited)

There is a lot of personal preference when choosing kit but I would suggest you go for an 80 400mm APO as they are more forgiving on the guiding for a beginner and there are lots of large targets that they are perfect for. Also, I would avoid a Crayford focuser for AP due to the weight of the camera and other accessories - try and find a rack and pinion focuser.

Suggest you go to Astronomy Tools where you can input your camera details and try different scopes and it will show you what your images will look like regarding field of view.

Also consider pixel scale - there is a calculation for it. You definitely don't want to under sample and over sampling wastes data. This should be a major consideration in choosing camera/scope.

The HEQ5 is a fine mount, its lighter than its big brother, which you will appreciate if you have to set up each night, and providing you are happy with its lower cargo weight it arguably gives better tracking - personally having used one for 4 years I wouldn't look at anything else. Also just had mine Stellare tuned and getting unbelievably good guiding.

Its a steep learning curve, suggest you keep it simple to start. Perhaps leave guiding for a while, an ED80 on an HEQ5 with a DSLR should give you a few minutes unguided - cant remember what I used to get.  Focus on getting good polar alignment. Get used to taking calibration frames - they are ESSENTIAL!

When you have that working consider the following - these are the steps I took over my first 4 years:

- Buy Star Tools for processing - you have a steep learning curve and ST is really easy to use, also use DSS for pre-processing (Buy APP if you can afford it). Yu will probably move to Pixinsight at some point but dont do it know, you have enough on your hands.

- Buy a light panel for taking flats (google it, you will find flourescent panels including cable/transformer for under £20.

- Buy Polemaster or similar for PA (best optional extra I ever bought)

- Use some software for control - I recommend SGPro as it integrates with the following add-ons

- Buy a cooled CCD/CMOS MONO camera - this will vastly improve your images, if you are serious about AP you will buy one at some point so don't wait longer than you need to save up! 

- Buy an electronic filter wheel (7 position) - start with LRGB filters, then get Ha, SII, OIII. At this stage decide whether your guiding will by OAG or a separate scope. Personally I like OAG and suggest you look at Starlight Express USB EFW with OAG

- Buy a guide camera - I would look at Lodestar 2 but lots of good ones

- Buy an autofocusser - I use Sharpsky, it includes dew belt and controller, but there are several.

As I say, lots to learn and you need deep pockets so buy a bit at a time and save up. You will also change your mind about what is important as you gain experience so start small, master what you have, and then move onto the next step. 

Hope this helps

 

Edited by Midnight_lightning

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2 hours ago, Midnight_lightning said:

There is a lot of personal preference when choosing kit but I would suggest you go for an 80 400mm APO as they are more forgiving on the guiding for a beginner and there are lots of large targets that they are perfect for. Also, I would avoid a Crayford focuser for AP due to the weight of the camera and other accessories - try and find a rack and pinion focuser.

Suggest you go to Astronomy Tools where you can input your camera details and try different scopes and it will show you what your images will look like regarding field of view.

Also consider pixel scale - there is a calculation for it. You definitely don't want to under sample and over sampling wastes data. This should be a major consideration in choosing camera/scope.

The HEQ5 is a fine mount, its lighter than its big brother, which you will appreciate if you have to set up each night, and providing you are happy with its lower cargo weight it arguably gives better tracking - personally having used one for 4 years I wouldn't look at anything else. Also just had mine Stellare tuned and getting unbelievably good guiding.

Its a steep learning curve, suggest you keep it simple to start. Perhaps leave guiding for a while, an ED80 on an HEQ5 with a DSLR should give you a few minutes unguided - cant remember what I used to get.  Focus on getting good polar alignment. Get used to taking calibration frames - they are ESSENTIAL!

When you have that working consider the following - these are the steps I took over my first 4 years:

- Buy Star Tools for processing - you have a steep learning curve and ST is really easy to use, also use DSS for pre-processing (Buy APP if you can afford it). Yu will probably move to Pixinsight at some point but dont do it know, you have enough on your hands.

- Buy a light panel for taking flats (google it, you will find flourescent panels including cable/transformer for under £20.

- Buy Polemaster or similar for PA (best optional extra I ever bought)

- Use some software for control - I recommend SGPro as it integrates with the following add-ons

- Buy a cooled CCD/CMOS MONO camera - this will vastly improve your images, if you are serious about AP you will buy one at some point so don't wait longer than you need to save up! 

- Buy an electronic filter wheel (7 position) - start with LRGB filters, then get Ha, SII, OIII. At this stage decide whether your guiding will by OAG or a separate scope. Personally I like OAG and suggest you look at Starlight Express USB EFW with OAG

- Buy a guide camera - I would look at Lodestar 2 but lots of good ones

- Buy an autofocusser - I use Sharpsky, it includes dew belt and controller, but there are several.

As I say, lots to learn and you need deep pockets so buy a bit at a time and save up. You will also change your mind about what is important as you gain experience so start small, master what you have, and then move onto the next step. 

Hope this helps

 

I admire you folks who can come home from a long day at work and then turn around and image the stars all night.  I suppose if you get it automated enough with a permanent observatory, it's not so bad.

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3 minutes ago, Louis D said:

I admire you folks who can come home from a long day at work and then turn around and image the stars all night.  I suppose if you get it automated enough with a permanent observatory, it's not so bad.

An obsy would be great, I carry mine out onto the drive each time I image  - but the automation really helps, I now do my imaging sat in front of TV with a beer - I monitor whats going on with a second laptop and an IP camera :)

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Thanks for the awesome answers guys!

Could you suggest me a list of "essential" software please?

 

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On 01/04/2020 at 07:53, Dadek said:

Hello guys, 

Thank you for your answers!!
I have checked a bit more and this is what I came up with: gear_to_buy

Can you please let me know if anything crucial is missing? Some cables or filters or whatnot?
 

Before you hit buy on that shopping list - you mention at the start you have a Nikon camera, but your list only contains an adapter for an Canon EOS - have you selected the wrong item? It also sounds like you are imaging from within a town, so you might want to consider a light pollution filter.

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Hey, I have changed the Nikon as it is prehistoric to a Canon 1100D so it should be fine. 
Yes, I am shooting from a small town and I plan to get a LP filter, but for starting out I would just do some tests to get used to polar alignment and generally taking pictures since I am completely new to this subject.
That is also the reason I feel a bit confused with all the software up on the internet and I cannot figure which software would be absolutely needed and which would be nice to have.

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