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My first (rubbish) attempt at imaging Orion


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So I thought I give a bit of astrophotography a go tonight seeing as though there were some partial gaps in the dreaded clouds, and I had a 20 minute window of opportunity of clear(ish) skies. :-D

I can see why now people recommend a VERY sturdy mount and decent tracking, but I thought I'd give it a go anyways...

I was using my EQ1 mount and tripod without tracking (as If you couldn't guess-lol)

So here it is (don't laugh-I know it's a pile of dog poo! :))...

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Edited by milkyjoe
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Hi. A nice start to imaging. You are starting to get the nebula colour. It's there. I have lots of pics with unintended star trails, overexposure and much worse. You have nothing to be ashamed of with this first picture.

For my wide field stuff with a camera lens I use an EQ5 with the cheapie motor drive. Just kit I have had for a few years. It is often thrown on the garden, not balanced, sort of pointing the right way and levelled in the dark without looking at the bubble. What I'm getting at is that for 10-30sec exposures you can often get away with a fairly crude setup.

Don't go breaking the bank. Get a cheap drive for your EQ and see what happens.

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That is actualy quite impressive given that you were using an untracked EQ1.

If you are serious about taking AP further then....well you know your self...it's an upgrade on the mount.

Start thinking HEQ5 and up. :)

A very good start all the same.

Michael

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Out of interest (because I know nothing about these things), is it likely to be possible to generate a reasonable image without a motor by taking lots of shorter exposures and stacking them?

James

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To answer your question JamesF most astrophotographers will tell you 'most of the time' the longer the exposure the better...well to point, you can over expose aswell but really to start getting in some good deep space stuff you would idealy be looking at a minimum of 60seconds. But to get really good stuff you are looking more towards 600, 800, 900 seconds and so on. It all just depends on what you are imiging and with what equipment.

To get a better idea i recomend you have a good spy through the Deep sky imaging board here on the forum. Usualy useres will state how long the exposures were and you will soon get the idea.

Hope that helps.

Michael

Edited by msinclairinork
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Imaging is mainly about the mount! Build your setup from there. Well done though, because imaging is also an activiy in which you have to get a lot of things working simultaneously and you have got quite a few under control already.

The HEQ5 is the minimum imaging mount, I would say. If the price makes your eyes water have a look at the Takahashi equivalent... You will instantly feel a lot better!!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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That's a good start, the neb is showing through.

Gotta agree about the mount though, an HEQ5 will make everything so much more stable.

However, in the interim, get a motor drive for the eq1, add some form of scope to the main body of the mount to polar align and just use the camera and lens. If setup as best as you can, 2 to 3 minutes or maybe a little more is possible with a 50mm focal length, and you'll be surprised what that'll get you. It may be, if you can set it up properly (I'd suggest adding a finder scope in the same way) to get a 10 second exposures maybe tracked with the scope. Get enough of them and again you'll be surprised... (I picked up the bubble nebula with an unmodded camera and 30 second exposures, ok it took 168 of them but...).

Have a look at http://stargazerslounge.com/equipment-discussion/125616-ultra-portable-widefield-platform.html for an idea on a "polar" scope...

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Something I have noticed is that with the camera and extension tube attached, the setup is 'bottom heavy' and this causes my scope to move slightly, would a better mount resolve this problem? :-\

Also, just out of curiosity, what is the difference between EQ5 and HEQ5??

Richard.

Edited by milkyjoe
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Richard, it sounds like you don't have the scope balanced out, you need to move it forward slightly in the tube rings, if you can. A better mount won't solve that, you'll still need to balance the scope, but a better mount will track more accurately.

The load limit is much larger on the HEQ5 compared to the EQ5. The rule of thumb is to keep your load at around the 50% of the limit mark for imaging. And, if you're looking at the new kit, the drives and motors. The HEQ5 has the full goto motors and controllers built in, I don't think the EQ5 does.

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EQ1 - no tracking - unguided - courageous attempt with the expected result. I knew it was Orion (before reading other posts) so I say Well Done!! :)

The "H" on Eq5 usually means heavy duty if I'm not mistaken (GT means goto). As mentioned above an imaging rig usually starts with the mount. But I reckon it starts with how deep your pockets are lol :(

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Oh I see John, I guess that's why they're more expensive then? I never thought about balancing the scope, didn't even cross my mind! doh! lol

I do have a single axis motor drive, but I can never get it to track anything, no matter what speed I set it to!?!? :-(

Richard.

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At least you're brave enough to post the image you took, I was trying the same thing a couple of nights ago and decided "nope, not going to post that!"

It's also good to see the responses you've received being so positive and encouraging - maybe I will post some of mine after the next attempt... :)

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That's right 'Dara' (:)), I wanted to see what sort of response I would get, and I'm glad it's all been positive.

I'll have to see if I can get this darn ra motor drive to track something tonight and see where that takes me; I also need to balance my scope, which did not occur to me at the time! :confused:

I think people should post more images, regardless of their 'quality' as it's always nice to know someone is in the same situation as you and that we're not all pro's! :)

Richard.

At least you're brave enough to post the image you took, I was trying the same thing a couple of nights ago and decided "nope, not going to post that!"

It's also good to see the responses you've received being so positive and encouraging - maybe I will post some of mine after the next attempt... :(

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To adjust the speed of the motor drive, load up the scope, do your best to polar align, it's really hard without some form of visual aid, Steve and I have both added finder scopes to our eq1's for that purpose, although his is a far better method :), point the scope into the east and line up a star. Set the motor running, and using as high a mag as you can, watch the star... adjust the motor speed until the star stays pretty still (it's a bit guesswork but it's a lot better than not doing it), then mark on the speed knob in some way (I used a spot of gloss paint with a toothpick into a groove) the speed you've set. This is about as good as you're gonna get with it. With that sort of setup, I've hit between 2 and 3 minutes at 50mm and 5 minutes at 18mm.

No, this setup is not ideal for this sort of thing, but... it's giving you practice, both at the setup and the processing, and that's something you end up having to do, one way or another :(.

Edited by jgs001
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I think people should post more images, regardless of their 'quality' as it's always nice to know someone is in the same situation as you and that we're not all pro's! :)

Ok. I'll bite. It's probably the only way to learn and whilst I'm happy to just look, it's actually easier to "share" if you have pictures, especially with children the age ours are. I'll try to get some DSO images through my ST80 and as long as they don't look like someone sneezed on the camera I'll post them.

James

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James, I started out imaging DSO's with an ST80 clone... it works... you could try a Baader Semi APO filter to help with the CA, but you lose the blue channel. You'll need something that tracks to mount it on though.

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