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Which best combination for lunar?

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Hi all,

I've done a fair amount of DSO work, but not much lunar. I'm going to change that tomorrow night hopefully, with some experiments to see what works best with my kit.

I have a 130PDS on an NEQ6 mount, and two cameras: a modded Canon EOS1000D DSLR, and a T7C which is essentially identical to the ZWO ASI120MC, which I usually use for guiding but doubles as a solar system camera. I also have a 3x Barlow and a 5x Barlow.

My capture software is usually APT, but I also have Sharpcap Pro which I usually use for polar alignment, but I've also used it for solar system video capture.

I want to get close and personal so I'll be using the 5x Barlow, and taking lots of shots while manually slewing around the Moon's surface, then bringing them together as a mosaic in Microsoft ICE. I'll also be driving the scope with Stellarium so that it tracks the Moon.

However, I'm not sure about the best use of the other equipment:

  • APT with DSLR - I wouldn't be using the Live View settings because they're so low-res, so I'd be wanting to take lots of fast, single shots. Would this work? If so, any recommendations on exposure time if I use ISO800, which is what my darks library is based around?
  • APT with T7C - I know that APT takes lots of JPGs rather than recording a video file. Is this a problem? I get the feeling APT is more about DSOs than solar system stuff, but I could be wrong.
  • Sharpcap with T7C - seems a more natural combination for this kind of work. But, again, I could be wrong.

(Oh, and Sharpcap with DSLR is excluded because I just use the open source ASCOM drivers with the DSLR and I really don't think I'd get much joy using it for anything else other than polar alignment.)

I'll probably experiment with those three combinations, but does anyone know if any of them are likely to work really well, or work really badly?

Thanks, Brendan

Edited by BrendanC
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Sounds like you have a plan.  Things would go better if you could use a high frame rate mono camera and an IR pass filter.  That's not to say the DSLR results will be disappointing but you are less likely to defeat the 'seeing' issues with your set up.  I'm not sure of your pixel size but I imagine they are around the 5 micron size so with your scope the 5x Barlow is a must to get the best image scale and sampling rate.  Regarding software, when I used a DSLR I just used the bundled Canon package.  It's more than adequate.  My best results have been achieved with a combination of an ASI290 mono and ASI174 mono camera.  Give it a go and let us see your results.  Happy imaging.

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Thanks! So, you think the DSLR approach will work better than the T7C approach?

I agree a mono camera with an IR pass filter would work well, but then, as the saying goes, if I had eggs, and I had ham, I could have ham and eggs!

Edited by BrendanC
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