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Matt Davis

Nexstar 6se - what kind of pics can I take?

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Hi all. Newbie here! Have just ordered the nexstar 6se with some adaptors for my canon DSLR. It's mainly for visual stuff but I'll want to try a few pics. I am aware the it's just an AZ mount so is clearly not for complex imaging but I've been told I can get some sort of photos. Could anyone kindly let me know what kind of pics I'd be able to take and whether I need a stacking programme? If so, can you recommend one for an iMac? Thanks for any words of wisdom!!

Cheers, Matt

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Hi Matt

You're right about the scope, but you sound similar to me.

Odd pic now and then.

Here's a couple I've taken. Both with my EOS 40D with t-adaptor fitted and using my stripped down astro engineering barlow ( no lens)

The moon and M42, but you'll see by the noise that you can't compete with the fast scopes and better tracking. Well not without practice (perhaps I'm putting myself down a bit there ?)

But the latter is just a 40 second prime long exposure straight out of the camera. So the light IS there to be captured :)

Anyway see what you think

moon1a.jpg

IMG_3028.jpg

Neil

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Wow! fantastic pics! Just the kind of thing I hoped might be possible. Did you use any computer jiggery-pokery for your image of M42 or is that just a straight long exposure picture? Very impressed..

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Did you use any computer jiggery-pokery for your image of M42

It was shot in RAW format and upped the exposure and clarity before opening in photoshop.

I used a remote lead on the 40D to ensure I didn't move the camera (and scope) during the exposure. It has a locking switch so I can just count how long to leave it.

Camera was set to ISO 800 (ISO 1600 for focusing) and I set programing to manual with "bulb" for the shutter.

You can use "live view" on the LCD at the back of the camera, but you'll struggle to focus without any bright stars in your field of view.

So I basically filled up a 4Gb card and did fine adjustments on focus each time.

I had a good Auto 2 Star alignment to start, so tracking was pretty good.

As long as you appreciate that it's a f10 scope and don't have too high expectations, then yeah you can do something with it.

HTH

Neil

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These are a couple of images I took with my 6se last month.

What you see through the eyepiece is far sharper than what you see in these pics (well... with the exception of the fantastic image of m42 above).

I'm only new to it all myself so i'm still learning.

Jupiter resized.jpgMoon 12th feb 2011.jpg

post-23667-133877540329_thumb.jpg

post-23667-133877540331_thumb.jpg

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More inspirational pics. Do you guys find ghat you have to use filters to get a half decent image or can a simple scope and camera setup get something half decent for a beginner? Have either of you used any stacking programmes? I know there are some free ones for PCs and I have an old laptop that could run them, but do you know of any programmes for Apple Macs?

Thanks for the replies. Really great to see what will be visible!

Cheers

Edited by Matt Davis

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90% of my time is spent viewing.

I take my hat off to those that regularly image (they must be very organised ?)

I got the 6SE because it is just so easy to set up and use. The bonus is the fact that it's a 6" SCT and can produce some great views of the night sky.

Never used a filter.

I'll shortly be getting a focal reducer for when mr moon comes back round again.

Not used stacking software.

I've got the usual suspects like registax installed.

I've got a SP900NC but that was just me jumping on the "Morgans" band wagon silly price !!

Not really much help in that area and I've no idea about Macs...sorry

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I have attached a test pic that I took again no processing (straight from the Camera apart from cropping it) so the street light spoils it.

This was with my Canon 350D(Unmodified) on my 6" Meade LS.

I used a Focal Reducer to drop from F10 to 6.3 the image was 30s exposure at ISO 1600.

Not yet had good clear skies to use the reducer yet but was well chuffed with this pic although 30s was a tad too long for my scope as I was getting Star Trails at the edges.

post-24339-133877540361_thumb.jpg

Edited by Fija

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Another impressive pic! I'm now really excited! Thanks for all your input and images. I think I'll just try messing about with the scope and camera and see what happens. Hopefully First Light Optics will get it sent out soon - read lots of good things about them on here.

Cheers all

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Good luck with the 6Se - I loved mine and was sorry I had to let it go when I moved on to a kit more suited to long exposure DSO work. I found it a great scope for lunar and planetary imaging. Not really suited to DSO work though - doesn't mean you can't try though - the limiting factors are the Alt Az mount which will give rotation in longer exposures, and the fact that it is slow at F10. As long as you keep these factors in mind you should have hours of fun with it. I found that visually for the moon the views were stunning.

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More inspirational pics. Do you guys find ghat you have to use filters to get a half decent image or can a simple scope and camera setup get something half decent for a beginner? Have either of you used any stacking programmes? I know there are some free ones for PCs and I have an old laptop that could run them, but do you know of any programmes for Apple Macs?

Thanks for the replies. Really great to see what will be visible!

Cheers

I hace a 6se and use Macs. There are loads of programs for Macs to do everything you need. Join the Mac Astronomy Group here

Stargazers Lounge - Mac Astronomy

for a discussion about Mac programs.

I use:-

Equinox Pro for planetarium/scope control/webcam and guiding

Sofortbild for controlling Nikon cameras

Keith's Image Stacker for post processing

SkySafari for scope driving from iPhone/iPad

These are all free or cheap. If you are prepared to pay a bit, there are pro level astronomy programs too.

Edited by vulcan

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A 6se is not ideal for astrophotography. I had to buy a NEQ6 in the end to track better and hold my DSLR and guide scope.

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You'll be able to get some good results on the moon and planets. Use something like the SPC900/880. Whilst not ideal, you can use that mount for Deep Sky... The scope might be an issue as the long focal length gives a very narrow FOV and it's a bit slow... Ideally you want something short and fast... If you're prepared to spend enough time capturing many many subs and processing them (my record was 168x40 second subs) you can indeed get decent results on faint targets. I picked up a very small, but reasonable bubble nebula (it's in Infrared and my camera has not been modified). It will eventually get very frustrating as you want to go for longer exposures but you can't... however, no reason to not use it.

An option, would be to mount the camera and a decent lens onto a dovetail bar and fit that directly to the mount.

AltAz allows for longer exposures low in the east and west, up to about 2 minutes, more likely you'll be limited by the mount tracking errors, with the exposure time coming down to somewhere around 35 to 40 seconds as you get into the North or South and up to the Zenith. Those limits are to prevent field rotation affecting the stars. There will be field rotation between frames, but stacking will deal with that, and in fact, it doesn't hurt form the perspective of hot pixels etc.

Edited by jgs001

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This was taken with my 6SE and a x2.5 barlow on 26 Nov 2010.

post-21918-13387754054_thumb.jpg

The 6SE is a very capable scope with great optics.

Cheers,

Chris

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Hey Matt,

I took this last night. Not great but it shows whats possible!

I also took a great image of jupiter, which i'll post later today.

orion.jpg

This was using a the 6se in alt/az mode after a two star alignment.

Iso 800,

10 second exposure (too long I know!)

With focal reducer

post-23667-133877542195_thumb.jpg

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These are my first efforts with my 8SE, prime focus with a Canon 500D. Not great, probably not even good but mine nonetheless :)

Dave

The Moon

IMG_1577.jpg

Orion Nebula

IMG_1573.jpg

Andromeda Galaxy

IMG_1572.jpg

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Must admit, most of the photographs I have taken with my 6SE have been with the webcam rather than the DSLR. The double whammy you get with a DSLR is that because it is a 'slow' scope (F/10), you need to take longer exposures, which are a problem with an alt-az mount. However, as well as lunar and planets, I have had some success with double/multiple stars (if that interests you at all)

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I have played around with AP with my 6SE before getting my EQ6, i was happy with the results, be selective with your targets low in the east or west and your get some decent 30sec exposures, i took these at kelling (never done it before then)

cgolder-albums-c6-xlt-se-mount-picture10241-m92.jpg

and another taken on the same night

cgolder-albums-c6-xlt-se-mount-picture10242-m57.jpg

Edited by CGolder

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Just sold my 200P/HEQ5 combo because I have no space/time to set up and starting to think this will just not do. I enjoyed imaging.

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