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 Post subject: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:19 pm 
Hi Everyone,

Newbie alert! (apologies for any silly questions in advance)

I am quite new to astronomy, having only purchasing my first telescope over the festive period (an 80mm reflector). I bought it to fuel a genuine thirst for knowledge for 'whats out there', and boy has it done that. After spending what few clear nights we've had outside and shouting the wife to 'come and see what I've spotted' every 5 minutes I know this is turning into a (no doubt expensive) passion!

After attending the first BAS meeting last week it was great to mingle with folks sharing the same passion, from all different levels of expertise and getting different opinions on equipment, techniques etc and after speaking with a chap (who I can't remember his name!) who was big on his 'Astrophotography', I instantly knew this was the area I want to progress in.

He advised that, for astrophotography, refractors are the way to go. So after I got home I started to look what 2nd hand telescopes are for sale nearby I have come across a Bresser Skylux (70mm) refractor going for £40, which seems quite cheap, however I have been assured it's all in good nick, hardly been used etc etc. But I thought I'd best speak to the experts first!

I was hoping for some of your advice on -

Whether you guys think this would be fit for purpose for starting in astrophotography? - On a budget at first.
What your opinions are on this scope?
Anymore tips on getting started in astrophotography - This would be massively appreciated!

Thanks in advance and I look forward to getting to know you all over the coming months!
Rick


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Hi Rick, and welcome aboard.

:idea: I'd caution against going out and buying any more 'scopes until you've spent some time working with your present one - by then you'll have a better idea of what you really need to pursue your interests. Note that you'd need a long-focus 'scope for imaging planets, whereas a short-focus refractor is best for most deep-sky objects. But for imaging constellations, then no 'scope is needed, just a high-quality camera lens!

I suggest that a much better early investment would be a sturdy mount, and as you're interested in photo-work it had better be a motorised equatorial type. See the comments on the EQ5-types elsewhere in the Forum:
http://www.boltonastro.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=259
One of those would serve you well for many years, whatever 'scopes (up to 8") you use.

By the way, I've just noticed that there's a motorised EQ3-2 for sale in Preston:
http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=64895
this is not as hefty as an EQ5, but should cope with small 'scopes, say up to 5".

Incidentally, that 70mm refractor you mentioned will just be a cheap "achromat" - so it will suffer from colour-fringing.
If you really want a refractor, then save your money and get a decent "apo" sometime (but expect to pay over £200 for even a small one).

Ross.


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:50 am 
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Location: Horwich
Hi Rick

Ross gave me the same advice on mounts last year when I first started, I got a HEQ5 and has set me up as I can mount all my scopes on it.

Give me a shout if you need any help

Regards

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:58 pm 
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Hi Rick. Like you, I'm new to astrophotography although I've been an amateur photographer for many years. I bought my first scope last year so as a newby like you, I haven't any advice to offer but I'd like to pick up on something Ross said re 'Just using the camera'. I have a EQ5 goto mount and I wondered about 2/3 star alignment. Does the telescope tube still have to be used with the camera piggy back, or can the alignment be made with just the camera attached to one of the tube rings using live view? My attemts at alignment haven't been 100% up to now.
Regards Bill C


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:19 pm 
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bchamberlain wrote:
I have a EQ5 goto mount and I wondered about 2/3 star alignment. Does the telescope tube still have to be used with the camera piggy back, or can the alignment be made with just the camera attached

Bill, use your polar-scope to do as good a polar alignment as you can, and then just turn on sidereal rate tracking - no need to bother with any GoTo gubbins!
I made myself a little wooden bracket for mounting my camera directly into the EQ5's dovetail:
Image
so the scope and rings can be left in the box.


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Thanks Ross. Can't wait to give this a try. Bill C


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:26 pm 
Thanks to all for your advice, it's much appreciated! It seems I am in safe hands with BAS!

I have a quick question regarding mounts (forgive the ignorance) but what is the difference between EQ2/3/4/5 mounts?

Thanks,
Rick


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 Post subject: Re: First step towards Astrophotography
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Basically the higher the number on the EQ series mounts the better it is. Each one is built to hold a certain weight. the EQ2 is meant for smaller scopes. EQ3 slightly larger, heaver etc. I have an EQ5 with an 8" reflector, the EQ5 is just about on its limit with my scope anything less and everything would be very wobbly. The HEQ5 is a sturdier version of the EQ5 capable of carrying a large payload. After that comes the EQ6 & NEQ6

_________________
Phil
Skywatcher Explorer 200P & EQ5


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 Post subject: Re: EQ mounts
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:48 am 
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Often it's the tripods which come with the lightweight EQ mounts which let them down.

I had an 8" Newtonian on my first EQ5, with a lightweight alloy tripod - and it was just too "whackery". But when I replaced the tripod with an ancient wooden surveyor's tripod (which I found in a second-hand ship) it was much better. I've also read of people filling the hollow legs of their alloy tripods with sand, to make them more rigid!
However a better solution is to get one of the newer tripods with the round stainless steel legs, or best of all a heavy-duty pier set in concrete.


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