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Imaging DSO's


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I'm new to astrophotography and have recently begun taking images of the orion nebula, but my images do not seem very clear and/or sharp. Is this down to my equipment or am i doing something wrong; also, how do I get closer to my subjects, a friend of mine suggested using a barlow, but will this require longer exposure times?! :(

I'm currently using my ra motor drive, which works quite well under the circumstances, but my end results are not very detailed! What is the best OTA for the job, should I be looking at an APO/ED scope, what other equipment do I need, are there any accessories which I will require such as a light pollution filter, nebula filter etc.?! :(

I know I will need a sturdier mount and tripod at some point, but I would like to be able to capture fairly detailed images with the equipment I have, but is this going to be realistically possible; I know astrophotography is an expensive hobby and you need deep pockets, but can it be done on a budget. What is the minimum number of exposures I need to capture a reasonably clear, sharp and detailed image of an object?? :)

My equipment is as follows: SW ST 102, EQ1 mount, and my trusty Canon 1000d slr camera. :D

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated. ;)

Thank you in advance.

Rick.

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Hi Rick.

i'm not expert being as i'm a newcomer myself, but i would suggest that you order "making every photon count" from First light optics, it's very informative and tells you everything you need to know starting from scratch.

anyway all the best with AP, i hope to be joing the ranks very soon, once i've figured everthing out that is.

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Pop over to the imaging section for a look at some of "Stepenwolf's" pics. He's an excellent imager and the book is well written and steps you through all the fundamentals you'll ever need to know - thoroughly recommended.

Rick - are you doing any post processing with your images? Deep Sky Stacker can be used to align all the good frames and chuck out any duff ones (it's a free download). Then you'll need somethng like Photoshop to process it and tune it up. You could go for something like Gimp initially which is a reasonable picture processing download - again free. :(

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Hi Brant.

Sounds like I'll have to get a copy of that book then. ;-)

As for post processing, I've been getting to grips with DSS, I followed a tutorial from this site... Astronomy Shed UK Astronomy Forum • View topic - Superb Processing Tutorial don't know how on earth he got that image of the nebula, mine looks nothing like it!?! lol

I've got Photoshop, too.

Thanks

Rick.

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The mount is the key bit of kit in imaging. You have to be able to track the sky accurately. The EQ1 is not a photographic mount and will hold you back. However, a good grasp of the problems is the starting point and so I second a read of Steve's book. The other bit of advice I would give you is, believe what the imagers tell you, not what you read in the adverts.

Olly

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Rick, the EQ1 is going to limit the exposure time, a fair amount. You really need to work out a way of fitting a polar scope as a minimum (steppenwolf has done a sterling job doing just that recently.

If you use the camera and kit lens, you'll be able to get decent wide field images, with sub lengths between 2 and 5 minutes, depending on the focal length. This will also allow you to work on processing.

The Book is a must buy... then really, look at upgrading the mount... An APO is gonna be heavier than the ST102, and the eq1 is really going to struggle.

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The ST102 is going to work, and when on a mount that can handle it better, you'll get some nice results... but... You will suffer from CA and the optics in my ST80 clone) are not up to resolving the stars too well either. My 80ED (not an APO, but it's a superb scope none the less) in terms of colour correction and resolving, is leagues above it.

I would say, aim for a mount that you know if going to easily handle your intended scopes though, and not for something that is going to handle the 'APO' alone... you'll probably want to get into guiding at some point, that means more weight on top.

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As a beginner who's been into photography for a long time but is trying to get into astrophotography (stars don't fly off like birds do - well not as fast anyway LOL) can I reinforce what's been said above about mounts. I bought a 127Mak on a GOTO mount and tripod and while it will track objects and is fine for viewing there are problems with stability, accuracy and rotation of the image when trying to get pictures.

First place on my wish list is at least a driven CG5 mount. This will take my scope, or my DSLR and big lens or my Leica spotting scope plus it should be OK for a bigger scope down the line.

Good luck

David

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