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I have a 127 celestron mak and now have a spc880 cam flashed to 900. I am hoping to capture Saturn when the weather permits. My question is what power Barlow would suit best?. I have a 2x Antares which came in the eyepiece kit, so i presume this will be a relatively cheap one. I currently have a budget of £70 for another Barlow. Should i wait and save up more or is there something out there within budget?.:)

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As you already have quite a long focal length I would suggest trying with and without the 2x Barlow you already have. You don't say if you have a driven mount but even if you do it takes quite a bit of skill to get the image of the planet onto the camera chip! If you go to an even greater focal length you will also have the problem of the image becoming much fainter and difficult to set-up.

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Planets are best imaged at F20-F30, so your Mak with 2x Barlow would give F26. Think you would need exceptional seeing to push it much further.

How many frames are you capturing/stacking? Do you have any examples? I normally capture 3000 or so and stack about a third to half of those. Focus and seeing conditions are everything. Try several captures, altering the focus slightly in between to try and optimise it. Saturn doesn't have high contrast features, but you may pick up some subtle banding or the Cassini division.

I can recommend the Celestron Ultima 2x Barlow but probably a bit over your budget.

Keep trying. Good luck.


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