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Hi All,

I am anticipating, this time next year, a trip to NZ, Aus and a few other tropical areas over 8 weeks and it would be a shame not to get a few images done. Hoping to hire a motorhome in NZ for 28 days so dark nights should be a certainty at some stage.

So, to that end I am thinking the NEQ6 and all the other kit might be a bit bulky for a suitcase and starting now to think about other solutions. One that has crossed my mind is a DSLR and the Astrotrac travellers set up, but then I wonder if the ED80 will fit in and go on the astrotrac with the Atik 16ic. I Haven't tried a DSLR yet but I am thinking with a larger lens I would have the best of both worlds.

Someone must have done it? What kit did you manage to smuggle in the suitcases and hand luggage?

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Hi Mark,

If you go for the travellers setup with the Astrotrac you get the scope head with it plus counterweights, I think all you would need then is the vixen adapter that fixes onto that and then you can just drop a scope on it. The pier and wedge can take 15KG so should handle the scope and atik quite well. If you hold your arm out in front of you you can lay the astrotrac between the elbow and end of your hand.....its that compact.

I'm not jealous at all of your little jaunt :) but it sounds absolutely fantastic and with the targets available in the Southern skies I say take as much as you possibly can and if you can hire a motorhome out there then surely you can find somewhere to hire some Canon equipment.

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There are articles on the 'net about people who've taken a Skypatrol and a DSLR, so I would expect that an Astrotrac would work - so long as you can mount it sturdily.

Using a 200mm F2.8 prime gives an aperture almost as large as an 80mm refractor, so all you'd have to do is work out how to eyeball through it :) Though you can get eyepiece adapters for Canon EF lenses.

[update: or make your own (eyepiece adapter, not prime lens) as these people did ]

Edited by pete_l
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Thanks for that link Pete, hadn't seen that before so will now be having a go at making one of those to use with my Sigma APO 170-500mm DG lens. Would make a handy portable scope which can also be mounted on the astrotrac which when set level can act as an Alt-Az mount.

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The indigenous Māori language name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, commonly translated as land of the long white cloud.

It is called that for a reason, when I was there it RAINED. It was the one time I have had to pull over in a car owing to the amount of rain that was falling. Never done that anywhere else in the world.

Just don't want you to get the idea that you will get 28 clear calm perfectly stable nights. How about less then here in the UK.

As you are going on holiday then I supect the other half does not want an astronomy holiday.

All I would take is a light 80mm, or 72mm scope and a camera tripod and simply look. For imaging you will really need a fair bit and as astrophotography is not (I guess) the purpose of the holiday I would say that the idea may not be welcome.

Edited by Capricorn
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