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Wannabe astrophotographer


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I Have been wanting a telescope for years and i'm gonna take the plunge.

Been looking at Skywatcher Explorer 130PM for £200 on internet for my first telescope, good choice?

I have a Canon 300D DSLR camara with the standard 18-55mm lens.

I know I'll need a t-mount

Do I prime focus or eyepiece projection?

I think eyepiece projection would be best for me (easiest) am i right in saying basically you take a shot of what you would see normally through the eyepiece?

Would this product be ok

Variable Camera Adapter 1.25 - Telescopes UK: Telescopes & Telescope Accessories in your only London shop

Look forward to reading anybodies thoughts

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Hello and welcome to the forum. Astrophotography is a slightly different animal to visual astronomy, may I suggest that before you start buying equipment and then finding its not up to the job. That you read this book it could save you some money in the long run as after reading you will have a better idea of what is needed

Books - Making Every Photon Count - Steve Richards

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you can't achieve prime focus with a skywatcher 130 the focusser doesn't allow the camera to get close enough to the secondary mirror. I believe you can do it by adding a barlow between the scope and camera. Or fork out for a low profile crayford focusser to replace the one thats on.

you might be better off trying widefield imaging with your camera on a tripod to start off with

Edited by tonyh66
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Hello Andy:

It's a very expensive part of the hobby I'm afraid, you could try Afocal Photography to start with and perhaps progress later, I have a little article on my blog site that may point you in the right direction.

Ray's Astro-Photography Site: Afocal photography using your Telescope.

Hope that helps?

Ray

Edited by RayGil
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Hello and welcome to the forum. Astrophotography is a slightly different animal to visual astronomy, may I suggest that before you start buying equipment and then finding its not up to the job. That you read this book it could save you some money in the long run as after reading you will have a better idea of what is needed

Books - Making Every Photon Count - Steve Richards

I agree - read Making Every Photon Count before you buy anything. With astrophotography it is the mount that is important. As you will need to take long exposure photos, you need that to be sturdy enough. Usually prime focus is recommended too. You will need an equatorial mount with motors to track, otherwise you get star trails. And if you were buying a newtonian telescope then you need one that has a direct DSLR connection.

Whilst there is sometimes a good priced second hand bargain to be had on eBay, I would suggest you look at an astronomy retailer (such as First Light Optics, who sponsor this forum). If you ring them, or email them, they are very helpful and can guide you in the right direction.

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Find a club that has an imaging section, contact them and pay them a visit and see exactly what is involved.

As someone here said, they have spent about £10,000 on their imaging rig so far, they expect to spend another £5,000 to get it to be what they want.

Imaging is not putting a camera on a scope and going click.

Simple start point: You will need say 10 shots of whatever you want to get an image of, each shot will need to have an exposure duration of 10-15 minutes.

What have you got to accurately track the object?

Can you, at this time, set your camera to a 10 minute exposure?

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Just to quickly add...

'Making every photon count' is a great book but is specifically related to DSO photography. It's great, but specific.

You haven't mentioned yet what you want to photograph.

Planets and the moon require different equipment and different techniques than galaxies and nebulae.

Decide which you most want to have a stab at, then folks can probably give more accurate advice on a good first scope etc.

Hope that helps!

Ben

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Good advice here... One extra comment about using the 130PM - As noted you CAN use a barlow to achieve sufficient in focus, but the extra length plus weight of the camera on the focuser tube isn't a good idea. I looked into using the 130PM when I had one (my first scope) and I was advised that the focuser on the 130 simply wasn't made for holding that kind of weight.

Against the advice I was given, my first step into "real" imaging was using a C100ED refractor on a CG5 mount fitted with a goto device. The package at the time (new) was about £700 and enabled me to to get up to 90s shots (which you can then stack) - You can get some pretty fair images this way, as well as by putting a camera/lens on the mount and taking widefield images, but if you then want to get the longer frames (3mins+ up to maybe 10min or more), that's when it starts to get more expensive and you need to think about guiding (and then it becomes a bit of a minefield - piggyback scope? finderguider? Off-axis guider? Weight considerations? New mount? etc)

The original advice I was given was to get an HEQ5 with at least RA tracking, and, at the time (based on my needs) I was advised to look at a SW80 DS refractor.

Without wishing to create a huge debate, and obviously (sadly) at greater expense, you may want to consider a goto device as well (or at least getting a mount you can upgrade with a goto). If you're new to astronomy, then it takes a bit of getting used to seeing .000's of stars that all look pretty similar when trying to star hop working with controls that work upside down and back to front... That was another reason why I personally upgraded from the 130PM/EQ2...

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If youre thinking of doing any EP projection, be aware this will only work on the moon or planets. Attempting this with DSOs will lead to something rather ugly, and especially ugly if you dont have a mount with tracking or guiding.

Your mount should be of a german equatorial type (not alt/az), that will allow you to track the sky properly.

I dont think the CG5-GT is a bad place to start, as long as you keep the payload as light as possible (mines only 3.8 kg). At that weight, 20min subs are entirely possible (with autoguiding).

As for you scope, something fast (no higher than f7) and light is what you need. As mentioned above, an 80mm ED scope will serve you very well.

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Andy

As a beginner myself, id recommend taking into account all of the other bits & bobs you'll have to buy.

Main one being a dual mount tracker

Think i've spent an additional £200 on bits (additional eye peice, dual motor, barlow (decent sturdy one).

I started by just using my camera / lenses / tripod - but it's a completely different ball game with a tripod ..............

But worth it.

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I've the same problem as AndyUK. My 130 isn't man enough to image from. The mount isn't up to it.

Your looking at about £475 for a HEQ5 mount alone, from site sponsor FLO, and then a scope on top of that. There are various lines of thought regarding scopes and that's a minefield of different idea's. I'd go the skywatcher 150P DS route but then I dont know anything else. Others on here may have better options and advice.

Good luck with the idea and I hope you get there.

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Hi,

for £239 you can get sw150pl or sw150p, the latter of which is slightly better for dso viewing. First light optics can supply whatever you need and their delivery is very prompt. The mount and tripod are up to it,EQ3-2 and is included in the price along with 10mm, 25mm and 2x barlow.

good luck.

adamski

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As always, I suspect it will come down to your budget - An EQ3/2 mount can be upgraded with tracking drives or with a goto device, but as noted above, choice of scope is dependent upon what you really want to image (although whatever you get you need it to be fairly fast unless you're into planetary imaging).

As I did, I suggest you give the nice guys at FLO a call and talk it through with them... I don't regret buying the CG5/C100ED at all as it enabled me to get started without spending HUGE sums of money (which I have since!), but if I'd taken their advice I probably wouldn't have needed to upgrade quite as quickly...

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