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i want to start astro imaging, but were to start?

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Hi Melibum,

Making Every Photon Count is a book by Steppenwolf (on the Forum) aimed at beginners to Astrophotography recommended highly by lots on here. Can't find it on Amazon but I believe there is a link on the forum somewhere.:)

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Depends on the type of photography you intend to do. If you're after planetary pics and short exposure then adding tracking motors to your mount may be the way forward.

If you're after dso's and long exposure then you'll need a better tripod and mount such as the EQ6 or HEQ6 pro. You'll also want to check the focus on the newt to make sure there's no problem with "in travel" - some folks put a low profile focuser on for that.

I reckon a good read of the book mentioned by Trillion above should be your first step :)

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I'm all new to this as well, trying to do a similar thing with a compact digital and "just sticking it down the end of the eyepiece". The more knowledgable guys on this forum pointed me at bits of kit that essentially attach the camera to the scope and lense upto the eye piece, there's loads out there for all type of camera (see thread Imaging with a compact). So I guess it's down to what you want to image, my scope hasn't got tracking but for the present time I'm after lunar stuff for which its perfectly okay.

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i was hoping some one could give me a list of whats need'ed so i can go get it i would like to do dso's but first all i want to do is take a picture of a random peice of sky and see what i get. tried with my compact but didnt get much really

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What in the sky do you want to photograph ?

Answering that one question will steer general advice to specific.

No, you do not need to equip a whole astronomical observatory. A tripod, SLR, and a good lens is all you need to get started.

Star fields, meteor showers, the Moon, star trails, can all be shot this way.

Another option you may want to consider is online observatories. From your computer, you can access sophisticated observatories and conduct observations. Afterwards, just download the files and play with the results. This can be a very effective way to get your feet wet and help you decide later if you want to invest in your own observatory. The experience will also help you better understand the various pieces of equipment and what best provides you with the functionality you are looking for.

I have an account on Global Rent-a-Scope and there also is LightBuckets - Online Telescope Rentals and Astrophotography

Edited by Steaphany
typo & added more
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i want to image nebs and galaxy's but i know i wont be able to do this straight out of the box so i would like to start off on clucsters and doubles im very excited to get started but dont want to make any big mistakes buying the wrong equipment and need all the help i can get realy

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imaging any dso inculing clusters ect needs a eq mount and good tracking system i would recoment eq6, heq5, depending on what scope your mounting weight and size

also how your going to image weather ccd or dslr each have there own pros and cons

steve book is a very good read bud highly recomened

theres alot to think about

good luck bud

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i want to image nebs and galaxy's but i know i wont be able to do this straight out of the box so i would like to start off on clucsters and doubles im very excited to get started but dont want to make any big mistakes buying the wrong equipment and need all the help i can get realy

Find a club that has an imaging section. Go along, learn.

If you do not want to waste money buying the wrong equipment then you have to start by buying whatever it is that you will finally use.

For a mount for astrophotography that means a HEQ5 or EQ6 with RA+Dec motors.

If you start with anything else then you will eventually have to upgrade and buy the above. If you don't mind that then fair enough, but it is money spent now on items that you will need to change later.

Reasonable astrophotography isn't cheap (£1500-2000 to start), good astrophotography is simply EXPENSIVE.:):eek::D And once you have the equipment you have to learn how to do it, say 6 months. It isn't point and press.

The mount will have to have a set of motors, the earth rotates so whatever you point at up there isn't in the same place 30 seconds later. You get a trail. You have to track the thing across the sky at the same rate as it is moving.

Doubles and clusters are not bright, they need to be tracked, just the same as nebula's and galaxies do.

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Will depend on the scope attached and what it is that you are hoping for. An EQ3-2 will track but to maintain any degree of accuracy the scope will have to be light/small. Think you are looking at less then 3 or 4 kg of scope and DSLR. Suspect that saying no more then 3kg is the better.

It is also a case that extra time, care and accuracy spent setting it up helps. What is OK for visual is NOT acceptable for photography.

Also the idea of attaching a DSLR to the scope means that the balance of the scope changes. So you have to adjust the scope position on the mount for that. The DSLR is extra weight to be driven also, even if balance is set.

You will be able to do some, but do not expect great things. Some images may well come out pretty good. Orion nebula could be worth a go.

Someone on the equipment help has posted asking about a scope for imaging. He is planning on a WO FLT98 or 110. The person giving help has a WO FLT 132. Go look up the price of those scopes alone, that gives an idea of astrophotography cost.

Edited by Capricorn
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It always amuses me when people quote £1500 - £2000 to start a hobby? Not everyone has this type of money to spare, especially in these harsh times.

Getting into Astro Photography is really easy, find a scope, get a digiscope camera adaptor and a Camera, photograph what you see in the eyepiece.

If you have a DSLR already either piggy back on the mount or get a scope adaptor.

Now if you want to compete with the guys who photograph all the DSO's then you need much more expensive equipment and better scope, better mounts, better Camera's, Better CCD cameras, Now that's where the money outlay is.

Depends what you want to get out of the hobby, start small and work your way up is my advice, if you find you really like doing it, then put the money into better equipment, but initially just experiment with the gear you have.

And if you have no gear yet, think about your budget and stay within that, but bear in mind it's not just the scope, mount, it's everything else that goes with it.


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