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skymax 150 question


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Thanks for replies to my previous thread

Have been looking around at scopes and have though of the following

Skymax 150 pro on eq5 goto

Silly question coming up , apart from the weight issue of the dslr mounted on the scope, would this track properly for astrophotography? Or is the eq5 not suitable at all, do i need the HEQ5 instead, and what is an autoguider port?. I have a canon 1000d

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It's not an ideal 'scope for DSLR astrophotography, as it's a very long focal length (1800mm at f/12). Great planetary 'scope though, and would work very well with a webcam or DMK.

I'm not totally sure that it'll fully illuminate a DSLR-sized chip either?

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I don't think there's a simple all-rounder, although that's a good topic for forum debate :)

Refractors are to some extent the opposite extreme from the Skymax 150 - they're very well suited to DSO imaging but less suitable for planets. A 6" or 8" Newtonian is quite a good middle ground and will do both planets and DSOs reasonably well. Unfortunately in that case you have to deal with collimation and coma; neither are particularly problematic, but learning to collimate is a bit of a fiddle and coma correctors are more money. But I think it's a pretty good solution if you really only want one 'scope.

An alternative is to buy an EQ mount and more than one 'scope, so a refractor for DSOs and something like a Mak or SCT for planets. That's a pretty good solution, but again more money...

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Yeah , I had thought about the 2 scope option. maybe starting on the skymax 150 on a decent mount then later buying a refractor . I am having quite a lot of fun with the tripod based astrophotography so i assume i could piggyback the dsly on a decent mount for longer exposures? Is it 'better' to buy a 150mm non apo refractor, or spend the equivalent money on an 80mm apo refractor?

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Large achromats are good visual 'scopes, although the size/weight demands a reasonable mount. For imaging you'd really want an apochromat - cameras see false colour much better than the human eye, so colour correction becomes more important for imaging (unless you go for narrowband, but that's really another topic).

From what you've said, the Skymax on the best mount you can afford would be my choice. Have fun working to its strengths (lunar/planetary imaging and visual) and when you're ready add a refractor for DSOs. Piggyback with the DLSR will work very well too.

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Thanks for the advice, really useful , just found myself going around in circles. I think i will probably go for the skymax on the best mount i can afford and go for an apo refractor at a later date when i am a little better with the piggyback dslr stuff and webcam imaging. Got my first image of the moon last night via my tasco 4 inch eq 'very shaky mount' reflector and a lens to lens dslr shot. Also got some views of Jupiter and its moons through the eyepiece so happy bunny and hungry for more lol

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I have the SkyMax 150 myself and can count the times I have used it on my fingers. Here is why;

Astro photography

* It is NOT suited for DSO Astro photography. You need long exposures to catch enough light, and long exposures at 1800mm requires a very sturdy mount. I have a HEQ5 Pro Synscan and was not able to get long exposures.

* To my knowledge, you cannot use a reducer on it.

* For me, the term planetary photography is basically Saturn, Jupiter & Mars photography. Are you dedicated enough to spend the coming years imaging that objects?

Visual

* It is not good for visual observation of DSOs. The field of view is very narrow, and at f/12 it is best suited for planetary nebulae and such

* I Also have a Megrez 90 from William Optics. I once did a "head to head" splitting of double stars (the double double) and found no difference in performance between the two scopes. I think it comes down to seeing.

* It needs a good hour, maybe two to cool down

* I've found that Sky is everything (not aperture) when it comes to visual astronomy. I've taken the 90mm with me on trips and have easily spotted the leo triplet. From home I cannot see the triplet with my 200mm Newtonian (!) - I don't take the 150mm skymax with me, it's to heavy.

My opinion on the scope is that it is a specialized scope for lunar and planetary imaging and observation. Hope I didn't ruin anything for you. This is an account of my experience only. What's your budget? How about a 66mm Skywatcher APO on a HEQ5 Pro synscan mount?

My Idea of a "middle ground" kit would be a small but great refractor on the sturdiest mount I could afford. It can produce stunning images, and you can take the scope with you on a lighter tripod and go to darker skies .-)

Edited by glennbech
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The only planets that you can see surface details on are mars, jupiter and saturn. With my megrez 90 I can see the bands on jupiter, ice caps on mars and the rings around saturn.

It's not "discovery channel - hubble" views in any way, bit its very cool to see the bright points resolve into discs with detail.

I think most scopes do a good job on the moon. In my experience, seeing will most of the time limit the highest practical magnification. Somebody might have to correct me here, I mostly do imaging ;.=)

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I had a SKYMAX 180 and mounted it on the HEQ5.

It was by far and away the best scope for Planets and the Moon I have ever had, thats visual and imaging.

But it isn't a DSO scope - not by a long way,

You can use a reducer on them. I used the 127 version a guide scope with a reducer for a little while...

Ant

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