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Deep Sky Imaging with a 127 Mak


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I attached my 300D to the Skymax 127, I bought a reducer (6.3) to speed the scope up a bit. The snag with that is the 330D has a big chip and there was quite a bit of vignetting.

I think that with something like a SC1 webcam or a CCD cam with a smaller chip and it would have been OK.

It is possible, but the 127 is not an ideal scope for DSO imaging IMO.



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M31 is huge - about 6 times the size of the full moon, so you'll get the core but not the whole thing...

But something like M13 would be good, as would M27 and M57.

Even with a reducer the 127 will still be F8ish, which is quite slow - but you'll still be able to get stuff.

Have a look for a little bit of software on the net called CCDCalc - it'll work out your field of view - that'll give you an idea of what object will fit.


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Hi, I've got a SW 127 Mak and I use it for DSO imaging (or at least I did until I got my new Equinox 80, which I'm playing favourite with just now).

I've used the Mak to image stuff like M57 Ring Nebula, M13 globular cluster, etc.

I use it with my Canon 450D. It does vignet a little bit, but is much worse if you try to put a focal reducer in the light path, so I don't really recommend that.

Given this constraint, the scope does have a long focal length and that means you're "zoomed in" quite a lot on the bigger targets. For example, I could never figure out why the Beehive Cluster was interesting till I look at it through a pair of binoculars. With the Mak, you only get to see a handful of stars, so the results aren't that great with large targets.

The other problem is that because of the long focal length, it is MUCH more sensitive to mis-tracking of the mount and so getting subs of a decent length is a real challenge. Unguided on something like an EQ3 (like I have), about 30s is the most you can hope for and even then, you'll probably throw about 1/3 of them. If you hook up an autoguider, you can do longer subs, maybe 2 mins or so. I used a 6x30 finderscope modified to be a guide scope on my setup, which worked ok for what I wanted to do at the time.

I would say the scope is maybe better at small planetary nebulae, and of course planetary work. Having now experienced the Equinox 80, I have to say that the focuser on the 127 Mak doesn't help much either. It's fantastically difficult to get a good focus and can be quite time consuming, if you even manage to get it exactly right.

But yeah, you can image DSOs with the Mak. Give it a go on some smaller objects and see how you get on. It might surprise you!



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Also, Not sure how I can Piggyback my Camera on to the Celestron NexStar 127 SLT OTA. I'm not sure if all the fittings are the same as the Sky watcher 127 or how I would go about it.

Any Ideas, I have thought about parcel tape but that might get messy!!!

Is there a Dovetail adapter I can use to attach the camera to the tripod???

Thanks Aaron

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Two DS images from SW 127 mak:

* Omega Centauri | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

* Deep Sky Stacker - Trifid Nebula | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Maks, SCTs can be and are used for DS astrophotography. Long focal length requires however good mount and guiding (and lack of wind and shakes). For small planetary nebulas you can even use a barlow :)

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I just need to work out how to focus on something like M13 - as you cant really see it in the viewer of my EOS500 is it a case of keep focusing to you get it right?

Yes, I know this problem very well! What I do is slew to a bright star quite near my intended target for imaging, and I use this star for 2 things. Firstly, I do a 1-star GOTO alignment on that star, and then I set the focus correctly on that star. I find that because the alignment star is so bright, you can actually see it through the viewfinder enough to get a rough focus. Once it is roughly focused, I bring up Live View on the camera and centre the star on the camera screen. Then I go to 10x zoom and tweak the focus until I'm happy with it.

You won't really be able to focus on a DSO, so don't bother trying. You're much better off adjusting the focus on a bright star like Vega or Capella etc. Also, the moon can be a bad choice since it is a big target and its hard to judge precise focus. Bright stars are much easier since you essentially try to minimise their size until they approximate pinpoints, or as close as you can get to that with your setup.

Once I've aligned the GOTO and focused, I do a slew to the intended target. Since I chose a nearby bright star, the slew will be short and therefore the target should be bang in the middle of the camera's FOV. I then do a test exposure anywhere from 30s to 2 mins, to check I've got the right target and adjust framing etc. I'll repeat test shots till I'm happy with how the target is framed, and then I'll start the main imaging run, which is basically automated with some software I wrote for my Mac.

Hope this helps.


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