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Asteroids, photometry, and spectroscopy, oh my

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#1 jmandell

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 05:39 AM

I am interested in starting to do some real science, including asteroid hunting, photometry, and spectroscopy. Only problem is that I have a dob, and a dslr, so I am looking for some equipment suggestions. I am thinking a 10 inch sct on a Atlas mount, and I am unsure of a ccd. Any suggestions, budget of ~2500-3000

#2 nytecam

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:30 AM

I am interested in starting to do some real science, including asteroid hunting, photometry, and spectroscopy. Only problem is that I have a dob, and a dslr, so I am looking for some equipment suggestions. I am thing a 10 inch sct on a Atlas mount, and I am unsure of a ccd. Any suggestions, budget of ~2500-3000

So three entirely different areas of research 1] asteroid hunting [=discovery?] you'll need to get down to mag 18/19 - 10" SCT ok + largish monochrome CCD for fov will suit your challenges; 2] photometry slightly more relaxed but only worthwhile with regular monitoring from AAVSO list to bump up the data and more exciting as CV and novae for maybe some collaberative papers; 3] spectroscope = your whole budget gone in one hit and very steep learning curve - only joking so best to go in small steps.

Suggest Staranalyser or Rainbow Optics grating for starters which will do quasar redshifts, confirm suspect novae [got to be quick!] and nearer stuff like gas giants [and Titan's] methane etc.

The target range for spectroscopy is huge - it must be as pros devote most of their observing time to it. Good luck in your venture and hope you last the course :grin:

#3 jgraham

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:33 AM

+1 on the Atlas.

-1 on the 10" SCT. You don't need to go that large. An 8" SCT is plenty large enough and is way over-mounted on the Atlas, which is a good thing. A 10" will be a bit of a handful.

Personally, I use an SN6 on an Atlas (way, way, way over-mounted, and wonderful), though I also use an SC8 on the Atlas for narrow field work.

Just suggestions.

#4 rutherfordt

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:35 AM

I agree that you do not need a 10-inch for photometry-- I currently use an 8-inch fork-mounted SCT and it is well suited to the task. I have also used an SN-6 in the past and found that it did a great job as well.

For a camera, the Meade DSI(monochrome) CCD's are a good way to get started (that's how I did it). Pro I's and Pro II's come up both here and on AstroMart often and at a good price (under $300-- sometimes under $200). They are easy to use and do a good job.

As nytecam mentioned, trying to do all three of the things that you mentioned from the onset will take a lot of equipment (and money)-- try just doing one of the things in the beginning-- variable star photometry is the easiest place to start. It will get you experience with using the scope and camera and in reducing your data so that you can submit it to the AAVSO.

Tom

#5 Ed Wiley

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:58 PM

Don't know what your budget is, but I might suggest looking into a SBIG 402 with a BVIc filter wheel. This would be good for photometry and asteroid light curve analysis. Mounting is critical -- I have a Losmandy G-11 that I like a lot and a Meade 8" Schmidt-Newtonian (F4) that is well matched to the 402 camera. When picking a camera, make sure the FOV matches well with the scope so that you have enough FOV to pick companion stars. (mine is about 30', but I understand, perhaps incorrectly, that 15' will do -- others should jump in to correct this if needed.)

I have done just a bit of spectrometry work with a StarAnalyser and agree with Nytecam that this is the entre to spectrometry, you can get your feet wet without breaking the bank since the next level up in in the $3K range. And the results are nothing to laugh about, you can actually get and analyze results.

Ed

#6 Taylor

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

I am interested in starting to do some real science, including asteroid hunting, photometry, and spectroscopy. Only problem is that I have a dob, and a dslr, so I am looking for some equipment suggestions. I am thing a 10 inch sct on a Atlas mount, and I am unsure of a ccd. Any suggestions, budget of ~2500-3000

So three entirely different areas of research 1] asteroid hunting [=discovery?] you'll need to get down to mag 18/19 - 10" SCT ok + largish monochrome CCD for fov will suit your challenges; 2] photometry slightly more relaxed but only worthwhile with regular monitoring from AAVSO list to bump up the data and more exciting as CV and novae for maybe some collaberative papers; 3] spectroscope = your whole budget gone in one hit and very steep learning curve - only joking so best to go in small steps.

Suggest Staranalyser or Rainbow Optics grating for starters which will do quasar redshifts, confirm suspect novae [got to be quick!] and nearer stuff like gas giants [and Titan's] methane etc.

The target range for spectroscopy is huge - it must be as pros devote most of their observing time to it. Good luck in your venture and hope you last the course :grin:


Thanks for sharing that information.
The Staranalyser looks pretty incredible. Who knew an amateur astronomer in their backyard could create an image of a Comet with evidence of the building blocks of life in the spectrum?
This is definitely on my list to buy in 2013.

#7 jmandell

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 07:27 PM

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I have some updates.

I was recently at the advanced teen astronomy camp on kitts peak and mt graham where we got the 90" telescope to do spectroscopy (including being the first group to type and confirm supernova SN 2013dq in UGC 525), and did exoplanet transits and variable star observing with smaller scopes, and IR imaging of Neptune using the LBT.

All in all, this has refueled my drive for this and I have decided to go with the original plan with an atlas and a c11, along with a rainbow optics grating and possibly building a better spectrometer later down the road!

Thanks

#8 Hubert

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 01:31 AM

I wish you succes!






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