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Top end Mount and / or (auto) guiding


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Hello everyone,

I am relatively new to Astronomy and even newer to Astrophotography but 100% hooked and in the fortunate position where cost is not my prime concern. Don’t get me wrong you don’t get to the point where cost isn’t your prime concern without being very careful with money but I have reached an age where in the limited leisure time I have I would rather save time and frustration than a few quid.

My question is: if I can afford a top end Mount then should I buy one before trying (auto) guiding on my CGEM? After many frustrating evenings I am at the stage where I can align my CGEM mount adequately for observing but I am still not getting above 45 – 60 seconds of exposure time unguided. Next time out I am going to try guiding and fully expect it to take weeks or months before I get some command of the process.

To ask the question again: should I learn the hard way or are there shortcuts by throwing some money at the problem?

I would much rather be looking at the cosmos than messing about with kit.

Help and advice hugely and advice hugely appreciated.

Thanks,

Steve.

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Whilst I love spending other peoples money ;-) been a total newbie when it comes to imaging, am I not right in thinking that you'd still need to refine your alignment process for astrophotography, regarless of the mount you're using?

Cheers

Alun

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Unless you are going to spend £15k on a fixed obsy mount, then you will need to autoguide for anything much over 30s or so reliably.

Your CGEM, being a beefed up EQ6, should autoguide very capably though and you should be able to get anything up to 10 minutes if your guiding system is good.

For me, guiding would be A LOT cheaper than trying to get a mount with a good enough PE that it could work without guiding.

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Thanks to Steve for recommending the book. I have many books but not that one. I will check it out.

Alun, there is a Greek guy on here, Aggelos I think his name is, who is getting 300 seconds plus unguided with an ASA mount. His images are awesome. You have hit the nail on the head – if you buy an eight grand mount does it mean you don’t have to worry about a separate guide camera?

Do people who have these top end Mounts think they were a good buy?

Do they make life significantly easier as far as setup is concerned?

Cheers,

Steve.

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Thanks Stuart, our posts crossed. I am going to give guiding a go on my CGEM but there does seem to be some evidence that you dont need separate guiding with some of the new top-end mounts and I am all for keeping life simple. Quick and easy set-up is also very attractive.

Steve.

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To be a little controversial and extreme for the sake of the ‘argument’ – if you need to correct via auto guiding with all mounts then why not buy a cheap mount, why even pay mid range prices for a “Pro” level mounts if guiding is going to correct any tracking issues with the low end mounts?

Steve.

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The quality of the mount controls not only the peak to peak of the periodic error but also the consistency. A good mount will be more consistent and the guiding adjustments smoother and therefore the final image better.

The higher cost mounts have better PE and generally greater load capacity. For the average amatuer, an EQ6 / Atlux / CGE / CGEM mount is more than adequate, if you can affort a Paramount or AP1200 or ASA then you get even more reliable tracking, better guiding and greater load capacity for bigger or more complex scopes.

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Thanks again for the clear and direct advice Stuart. Until a couple of days ago I didn't know mounts like the AP1200 and ASA existed. I intend trying to get the best out of my CGEM but as I have said a number of times now I would be happy to pay a premium for ease of use coupled with quality. I need to 'speak' to someone who owns a top end mount to get the full picture.

I see you have spent a few quid on kit.... If you were starting again would you consolidate to higher end kit or do you like the variety?

Cheers,

Steve.

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I've pretty much got as good as I'm likely to get now, can't see me spending more than the £3k for the CGE mount and the 132FLT with Feathertouch and TMB at nearly £3.5k is probably all the scope i'll use for a while. I also have the big dob for visual work and galaxy hunting along with the TeleVue grab and go setup.

Once I get a lil solar scope i'll be done...

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Thanks Stuart.

I have the FLT132 with the feathertouch focuser and love it to bits. I do wish I had spent more on a better mount now though but at the time didn't know enough to make a fully informed decision. Having said that one of the great things about this Astronomy game is that there is always so much still to learn.

I have my eye on a Solarmax II too. Please let me know what you think if you get one first. I will do the same.

Cheers,

Steve.

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I have my eye on a Lunt with pressure tuner, there seems to be a general feeling of more even illumination and less of a "sweetspot" than with the SolarmaxII. That said, there also seems to be a feeling that within the sweetspot is the better view but you can't get the whole disc in the sweetspot! Grrrrr, why isn't life easy....

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