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Having never really dabbled with astronomy in any kind of meaningful way, I have decided that I now have the time and inclination to try my hand at AP. I have been a keen photographer for an awful lot of years now so forgive me if I fall back on a photography term rather than an astronomical one.

In a different thread I expressed an interest in EAA (getting the hang of acronyms as well) and received a lot of good advice.

On the back of that advice I have ordered a Skywatcher EQM-35-Pro goto mount, I based that on the information in this link, https://www.darkframeoptics.com/product/stellardrive-eqm35 and a lot of reading, I figured a decent mount would be a good starting point. Yes, I could have bought a more expensive mount, I could also have bought a cheaper one. My rationale is that if this is a flash in the pan, then at least I have something with a half decent resale value, and if I persue this as a hobby/interest then it might be a better starting point than some other options.

So that's the mount sorted, the next item on my shopping list has really taken care of itself, an ASIAir + along with a guide scope and camera. Why would you want to put yourself through polar alignment and all that faff.

That leaves two remaining major items, what telescope and what camera. I would like to image stuff like, Andromeda, the whirlpool galaxy, the sombrero galaxy etc.

This is where I need advice, at the moment I'm leaning towards a Redcat 51 or something a bit bigger, a 70 to 80 ed as my first real scope. I simply don't know enough about telescopes to make an informed choice, mind you I didn't know anything about mounts either, still don't come to that. So please make some suggestions and tell me why.

Finally, the camera. I currently use a Nikon Z5 full frame 24 mpixel item. It's more than sufficient for my needs and talent. So can I use that or would I be better off using a camera from ZWO? I assume that an Astro camera can come with different sensors, full frame, apsc, m43 or maybe even smaller. I also assume that crop sensors (apsc and smaller) have the same cropping effect with a telescope as they do with a camera lens. I would probably prefer the astro camera route rather than use my Z5.

Do you need to match a camera to the scope? Does it matter? Does using a colour camera negate the need for a filter wheel? Do I need a motorised focusser?

Sufficient to say that apart from the mount and the guiding I'm not sure of the direction I should be heading in, HELP 😕


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Firstly, with regards to the mount, there have been varying stories regarding the EQ35 for AP. Personally I would have gone for a used HEQ5 pro for similar money - but as you have ordered it, you will need to use what you have.

You will need to check the ASIAir works with your camera if you have not checked already.

As for scope, the Redcat gets pretty good reviews, but is very wide field. There are a number of other offerings with good optics will a slightly longer FL. Ultimately, it depends on your choice of targets and weight limit of the mount. There are plenty of ED doublets or triplet scoped - maybe have a look at some of the Askar offerings.

I would start with the camera you have. You would need a cooled camera to see any major improvement with will be expensive for a possible short term hobby. Colour is fine to start with but will limit the Ha response without being modified. This will reduce the quality of emission targets.

Motorised focuser is nice to have but not essential.

Have a look through the beginners section on the forum. These questions have been asked plenty of times and there is lots of good advice.

One word of warning. AP is expensive. Be prepared to throw money away to get the images you desire...... Trust me, I know.

Good luck.

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