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Collected some kit - what's next

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Hi All

I've been asking a lot of questions on mounts, cameras etc trying to sort myself out. I'm sure the name will be recognised.There are a lot of "no, you can't do that" :) or "you need to get the upgrade (expensive)" :clouds2:answers.

Please don't misunderstand, I really appreciate all the advice and time taken by others to help me but now I ask -

what can I do with what I have?

and, more importantly can you point me in the right direction so that I will actually being doing something and not just talking (fretting) about it all? Am I being too ambitious? I hope not

The kit:-

HEQ5 mount

Canon 550D camera (I don't nelieve it will be modified)

ST102 & 70mm OTA

SPC900NC Webcam

Skywatcher AltAz GoTo (lightweight version)

Wireless Camera Shutter control

Various EPs and Filters

Dedicated laptop

Most of the programs mentioned in the forum

What I would dearly love to do is Astrophotography and then some observing but I am getting bogged down:(;):(

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Wide field DSO imaging with the camera at the prime focus of the ST102, mounted on the HEQ5, should work quite well. Especially if you use the 70mm OTA & webcam to guide it.

Hydrogen regions won't register all that strongly but star clusters & planetary nebulae should work fine.

Edited by brianb
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I'm very much at the beginners end of astro imaging. I currently use an 80 refractor on an EQ1, ra guided only, toucam webcam & my laptop. The learning curve is very steep but I feel I'm getting better images than when I started out as am happy with my set up & therefore utilising more of my time on imaging as opposed to tinkering with my kit.

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Hi Brian

Thanks for the reply.

I forgot to mention that I will have the necessary 'T' rings or MaxDl adaptor for the camera. Will that make a difference to what I can photograph? Silly questions coming up :)

conection between the 70mm and the ST102. How is that done and how do I guide/track the HEQ5?

Thanks for the help


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Hi Dante

Try starting with the simplest senario.

Ensure your HEQ5 is properly levelled.

Polar align as accurately as you can.

Using the ST102, ensure the scope is balanced correctly.

Choose your target , remembering that any target that is nearer Polaris will be more forgiving with respect to star trailing .

Take sample exposures to gain a tight focus.

With the wide FOV on your ST102 you should be able to get 2minute subs without any star trailing even unguided.

Take as many subs as you can .

Take darks and flats.

Stack the images with Deep Sky Stacker (free software)

Process the resulting TIFF image (from DSS) using Photoshop , if you do not have photoshop then download GIMP ( free software) and process with that.

Hope that helps


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Hello Graham

Thanks for the reply. I have never used the ST102 since I bought it from you - didn't have a mount to carry it. Now that I have the HEQ5 I shall have a go and see what I can produce. I was going to use the AZ70 for guiding, what is the bar that I need to mount both OTAs on the HEQ5?

I shall let you know and the Forum in general what success I have


PS did you resolve the RDF problem?

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I seems to me that you have done the right thing in asking lots of questions and building up your kit in stages. The next step is to continue in the same fashion - start simple and progress from there. I wouldn't bother about dual mounting bars just yet. Instead, get the camera connected to the ST102 and shoot away. You may find that you need an extension tube between the 2 to achieve focus (there's always something else you need to buy!). As "pvaz" has suggested, Making Every Photon Count will help considerably.


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