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5SE for astrophotography?

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#1 SubaruB4

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:32 PM

Seeing as the Se5 can be EQ mounted I was wondering if it's suited for astrophotography? I have a few things I want to take pictures of, and I know it's not the best scope but I figure if I get really into it I can always upgrade.

I would be new to the hobby but I've always wanted a scope ever since my early teens I think it's so cool to be able to say and show people what you saw.

#2 Greyhaven

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:54 PM

I have a 5i and have been enjoying learning how to use it for AP.
Posted Image
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I'd say you can if I can.
Be Well
Grey

#3 azure1961p

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:06 PM

I for one would love to see you become the Damian Peach of the 5" Schmidt cassegrain. often imagers graduate to larger apertures as their skills develop leaving me wonder how stunning those smaller medium aperture images would be if the tops in the field applied themselves here.

Pete

#4 SubaruB4

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:42 PM

Yeah I would move up once I get more knowledge in how to operate it with a camera and all.

#5 bhuvfe

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:01 AM

Yes you can....
http://www.asahi-net...t6k-okn/c5e.htm
http://www.pietro.or.../c5_nexstar.htm

#6 Midnight Dan

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

Hi SubaruB4:

As others have said, yes you can use the 5SE for AP, but not because it's built in wedge lets you set it up in EQ mode.

Using an EQ mode would, in theory, help you avoid the field rotation that is seen in photos from alt/az mounts, and should therefore allow you to take longer exposures. But there are a couple of other problems that will still limit you to the same 20 second or so maximum that you would experience without the wedge.

The first problem inherent in all the SE mounts is the use of spur gears which produces a lot of backlash. The slop in the gears makes it impossible for the mount to do the precise tracking needed for long exposures.

The second problem is that while the mount has a wedge, there are no fine adjustments to let you accurately polar align it. Adjusting the altitude of the wedge is done by just tilting the mount by hand and tightening a screw agains the riser bar. Adjusting the azimuth of the wedge is even worse since the only way to do it is to pick the entire tripod up and turn it.

The EQ mode on these mounts is an interesting feature, but not particularly useful with the included 5" OTA. On the other hand, you CAN use it for wide-field photos using a camera and lens mounted to a vixen dovetail. This is handy if you like to take night time landscapes. In a normal nightscape, the exposure is so long that that the stars streak. Using this mount in EQ mode allows you to take longer exposures to capture the sky part of the landscape without streaking. You don't need precise polar alignment for wide angle shots.

And, you certainly can do a lot with the 5SE without using the wedge. Webcam imaging of the moon and planets can yield gorgeous images. And if you stick to the 20 second or so limit for sub-exposures, you can stack multiples to get pretty good images of some of the brighter DSOs like the Orion Nebula or Ring Nebula.

You can also do solar imaging. Here's a video I shot of the venus transit 2nd contact using my 5SE:
http://www.youtube.c...To&feature=plcp

-Dan

#7 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:40 AM

The amount of rotation is probably much more than you expect. Watch this animation to see how much rotation you can get in just 13 minutes.

#8 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

So which scope would be useful and not cost over $5K? for something longer then 20 second exposures?

Because I was looking at this or a Orion SkyView Pro 8 GoTo Reflector..

Huge difference in price but I did not want to throw all my money at once on a scope, so if I did the Orion I'd have to do the payment plan thing

#9 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:26 PM

I have had success with my CGEM 800. It only costs $2,000 (I got it on sale) but I found that you need about $5,000 to do deep sky astrophotography. You will need a nice camera. The mount isn't good enough by itself so you need a guide scope and camera. You need to be able to mount the guide scope and main scope together on the mount. This requires more weights. You will need cases to put all the stuff in. You need batteries, dew heaters, dew shields, Bahtinov masks, etc. It all adds up.

You said you have a few things that you want to take pictures of. What are they? Many things require a short lens. I use my AT72ED (72mm f/6 refractor) to image the Andromeda galaxy. Anything longer and the field of view will be too small.

#10 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:37 PM

Well some of the stuff I wanted to photograph..

Crab nebula
Ring nebula
Mars
Saturn
M17
M27

That's about all I can think of right now.

#11 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:53 PM

Well some of the stuff I wanted to photograph..

Crab nebula
Ring nebula
Mars
Saturn
M17
M27

That's about all I can think of right now.


Those things are small and a 2000 mm or longer lens would be best. You will probably want a different camera for Mars and Saturn. For everything else most people would use a CCD or DSLR that cost over $1,000. For Mars and Saturn I would recommend the NexImage 5 but the "pros" in the solar system imaging forum recommend The Imaging Source camera. In particular they like the ones with 618 in the part number. Since the NexImage 5 came out it looks like it might be more bang for the buck.

Mars is particularly small. You can get good images with a C8 but you would do better with a C11 or C14. A C8 is good enough for the other items.

Edit: Added Saturn with Mars in a couple of places.

#12 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:21 PM

Well some of the stuff I wanted to photograph..

Crab nebula
Ring nebula
Mars
Saturn
M17
M27

That's about all I can think of right now.


Those things are small and a 2000 mm or longer lens would be best. You will probably want a different camera for Mars. For everything else most people would use a CCD or DSLR that cost over $1,000. For Mars I would recommend the NexImage 5 but the "pros" in the solar system imaging forum recommend The Imaging Source camera. In particular they like the ones with 618 in the part number. Since the NexImage 5 came out it looks like it might be more bang for the buck.

Mars is particularly small. You can get good images with a C8 but you would do better with a C11 or C14. A C8 is good enough for the other items.


Ok well I already have 2 DSLR cameras and will be adding a 3rd next year but tell me this.. In my case I can't afford Any of those scopes you listed, would I be better off building the scope?

I mean can't I stack images anyways with the scope I picked?

Sorry if I ask a lot of questions I just want to be sure since I had a lot of unanswered questions for a few years.

#13 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:48 PM

The first thing to consider is the mount. If you get a mount that is too small then you will have to sell it and get a more expensive one. The thing to look for is payload capacity. My C8 + camera + guide scope + guide camera + mounting hardware (to connect it all) add up to 30 pounds.

There is a $700 mount that might work
https://www.astronom...g-5-computer...
but I suspect it will be too wobbly. A C8 is f/10 and you would want a 10 to 20 minute exposure to image the Crab Nebula. The mount has to be sturdy to stay on track for this much time and it must be precisely polar aligned. If you install the f/6.3 reducer you can change that to 4 to 8 minutes but then the image will be tiny. With this $700 mount you can do bright and large nebulae though so it is one option that many people are happy with.

Another thing to consider is the amount of time you will need to spend. You need to drive to a dark site (an hour each way) and sit there for several hours (often freezing) while your camera takes a bunch of pictures. You may only get a half dozen such opportunities each year. If you can only go on the weekend and you want no Moon then you only get a chance or two each month. Then the weather has to cooperate on those few days. You will also need to spend a lot of time learning everything. A lot of that can be done in your driveway and on Cloudy Nights.

Unless you buy a $10,000 mount you will need an autoguider. This adds weight and expense (and more learning).

Building a scope (I guess you mean buying it in pieces) might save you money if you're buying used. If you're buying new it could cost you more. For example, the CGEM 800 costs a few hundred less than buying the mount and OTA separately (new). You can find good deals on used stuff on the classifieds here at Cloudy Night or Astromart. Also check eBay.

You can join a local astronomy club
http://www.seocom.com/asg/
and go to the dark sites with them and those people will teach you everything you need to know so you can save the most money by not going down the wrong path.

#14 Greyhaven

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 03:51 PM

Subaru
I wasn't thinking you were wanting to go that long exposure times in your original post. All of the items on your list are obtainable on the 5i. Although not at the resolution of Hubble. Here are a couple of others from your list all at 30s not using the wedge.
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
I hope I didn't make it seem as if the 5i was top of the line AP scope. I was trying to point out that 5" with tracking on this scope can lead to an inexpensive way into taking photos of some of the targets on your bucket list ;)
Be Well
Grey

#15 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:45 PM

Nice pictures, but as far as the backlash issue from what I understand the more expensive drive mounts use worm gears right? But I think the 5SE has a backlash setting?

I will be headed down to NC next year in the summer and I think some areas are dark or blue on the sky map.. Speaking of sky maps I know this is the wrong area but what's the best sky map to use when out in the field? For last night I was just using google sky which has it's pluses and minuses but it got the job done.

Now I hear that the mount when set to EQ can be kinda of wobbly? I was thinking to help things to get some vibration damper pads.. Having said that How do most of you fair in slight windy conditions?

Not home right now but some of the things I can think of that I need would be a dew shield and maybe a heater? I have a power pack I can use for portable power so that will cut down some of the extra costs.

#16 Midnight Dan

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:48 PM

Hi SubruB4:

Depends on what you're trying to accomplish here. As WarmWeatherGuy shows above, you can take photos of all those objects. There is a fair amount you can do with the 5SE without using the wedge.

So the question is, are you trying to get a reasonably priced scope and mount that you can use for mostly visual observation, but also start getting your feet wet with some light duty AP? Or do you want to seriously start down the path of long exposure gear.

The hobbies of visual and AP are really quite different and have different equipment needs. For visual, you usually want a lot of aperture because our eyes are very poor at detecting the dim targets in the sky. You want a decent mount, but you can put up with a certain amount of vibration or innaccuracy in tracking.

On the other hand, for AP the mount is by far the most important thing. You can take some awesome photos with a modest scope on a great mount, but you can do very little with the best scope in the world on a poor mount. And aperture is less important since you can make up for it with exposure time.

Bottom line, if you want to do visual with a bit of dabbling in AP, the Celestron SE scopes are a decent choice. If you want to get into serious, long exposure AP, you'll want to focus on getting a good GEM (german equatorial mount). The CG-5 is an ok entry level mount that is reasonably affordable. Better quality mounts are in the $1000 to $1500 range, such as the Orion Sirius and Atlas, Celestron CGEM, and iOptron iEQ30 and iEQ45. The best quality mounts are $3K to $5K and up.

-Dan

#17 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

Well I kinda just want to get my feet wet first then later upgrade down the road, since I will be upgrading my DSLR next year I have to budget for that and that's going to be about $1,000 alone. I do the camera first since I make money with the DSLR for photography, weddings and such.

I would have to check int getting a better mount to upgrade to.

#18 Jmel

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:06 PM

I have a 5se, I like it a lot. It has limitations, but I have been able to prove naysayers wrong about what it can do. If you don't go in with unrealistic expectations, you'll be fine. Many of the things you will buy in the way of accessories during your journey can be used later on other scopes. The 5se, a semi recent canon dslr, and backyard eos can really do some amazing things for the first time astro photographer.

#19 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:13 PM

Hey i have family in NC! I was thinking next year heading down that way and maybe trying to find a nice area that's away from any large areas of LP to test it out.

#20 Jmel

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:34 PM

Lake Phelps! - oh, and I'm from Connecticut originally btw :)

#21 SubaruB4

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:04 PM

Wow Lake Phelps in a dark area! That would be a hike where I would be, I would be in the Southern Pines area about 212 miles one way.

Looking on the sky map I see some areas around Southern Pines are green, I wonder how green looks over a orange area? Because I've been to a red & orange area and after my eyes adjusted they looked just about the same.

#22 BigC

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:10 PM

Grey,

Do you use an autoguider?

#23 Jmel

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:52 PM

It's pretty far for me too, a little over an hour and a half. The skies there are gorgeous. Darkest in NC I believe. I camped out once, but didn't have imaging equipment with me (old reflector scope, and no dslr). It's in the middle of nowhere, and the coyotes in the woods will remind you every so often.

#24 Tel

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:10 AM

Hi SubaruB4,

Welcome to CN and to this forum in particular. ! :bow: :bow:

There's not much to add to the good advice you have already received except perhaps to say that there is nothing much more the 8SE and 6SE can do in this respect that the 5SE cannot, although obviously the latter's resolution capability will be less and, aperture for aperture, the image normally dimmer.

However, in many ways though such can largely be overcome during the final processing stages so, in making your future investments in astrophotographic equipment, don't forget to budget for good image processing software.

To give you an example and to demonstrate the capability of the Celestron 5" SCT, with, I hope Grey's permission, I processed his recent image of M31 in Photoshop.

Here attached is the result now showing the dust lanes and other features he was able to capture with his 5SE (or is it a Nexstar 5i ?).

I hope it encourages you even further to try your hand at AP. :waytogo:

Best regards,
Tel

BTW. I can't remember if anyone's mentioned or advised it, but purchase of a f/6.3 focal reducer/field flattener will be an invaluable help to you as will a good X2 Barlow lens.

Attached Files



#25 azure1961p

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:55 AM

Wow what a difference.

Nice job.

Pete






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