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First light... now what?

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#1 Karr24



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

Sorry for so many what, where, how questions. Be easy on me. There is so much to imaging it’s not even funny :confused: You really do have to know what you’re doing.

So I had my first light with my first scope and mount and it was great. The full moon looked awesome. I can’t wait to get back out under the stars.

So here is what I am working with: Atlas mount, ED80T CF, ES11mm and ES24mm82 eye pieces, William Optics - 2" extender tube, and diagonal.

This is what I was looking at to get started with imaging.

Orion off- axis guider (OAG)
Orion StarShoot AutoGuider
2" Orion SkyGlow Astrophotography Filter
Canon T ring
Power Supply- Marine Battery /AC/DC converter

Is this everything I need to get started? Is a guide scope better? Any recommendations would be great.

#2 agmakr


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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:18 PM

Hello Dave,

Hardware considerations:

if you have no previous experience in imaging,
i think that it may be hard to start working
with an off axis guider.
You may get a lot of frustration in trying to make
it work.

I certainly prefer an OAG in general, but maybe you should start
with a guide scope.

Also, there may be problems with spacers needed to
achieve focus.You can get advice from people that
have your set up in order to sort this out.

Software considerations:

You will need software for capturing/guiding
and for calibration/post processing.

Getting started in astrophotography is a real challenge
but if you have the patience to sort everything out
then it is really rewarding.

#3 Karr24



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:30 PM

Thanks Angelos,

I will do more research on the guide scope. From what I read there are pros and cons to both.

I have Photoshop CS6 and DeepSkyStacker to get started with software.

#4 Footbag



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:49 PM

There are pros and cons to both. I don't think it's bad advice to go piggyback at first.

It is tough to get both cameras on an OAG focused and even if they are focused, it takes a sensitive and expensive guide camera to work with an OAG. A Starshoot Autoguider will not work reliably. Lodestar cameras are the most recommended.

Piggyback setups suffer from flexure, but at lower FL's it isn't as much of a concern. Just make sure your mountings are stable.

#5 shawnhar


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Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:18 PM

2" Orion SkyGlow Astrophotography Filter
Canon T ring

Just stick with those 2 for now, maybe a field flattener, you should be able to get 2 or 3 minute exposures without any guiding at all using the 80 and Atlas, if not you need to learn polar alignment better. Once you are limited by 2:30 subs, then get the guiding, it's a complication you don't need just starting out IMHO.

#6 CounterWeight



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:47 PM

The orion 'mini-guider' (finder guider) works great with the 80t - they were almost made for each other. Shipped with PHD 'autoguider' software, installed fine no problems. In my sigline link is a long expose image or two made with this combo (ED80T-CF w/miniguider) One thing I noticed and pay attention to is that the finder needs to be well secured with it's screws or could be a source of issues. That said/done I've not had a problem getting it secured. Below is an image of what it looks like.

Adam, I'm not in total agreement about piggyback suffering from flexure 'as a rule' - at least I've never had issues. I don't take any chances though and my mountings are extremely rigid, don't use '3-point' rings. I do think it's important that the guide scope have a great focuser that is solid when locked down, same for collet that holds the SSAG.

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#7 JoseBorrero



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:14 PM

+1 for the 50mm mini guider, I adquired a zhumell for lower price and it results in rounders stars than the TS-9 OAG at 1368mm FL.

#8 Karr24



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:51 PM

Thanks for the input. I might take Shawn's idea and just learn the basics with the 2" Orion SkyGlow Astrophotography Filter, Canon T ring, and a field flattener and then move up to the Mini AutoGuider Package or something similar. I did just drop 3k on the mount, scope, and eye pieces, and I still have to get a power source.

#9 proteus5


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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:29 PM

Hi Dave,

I use a very similar set up to yours. A Skywatcher 80ED (same as the Orion 80ED) with an Atlas mount, and the Orion 50mm Mini Guider. I do recommend using EQMOD with the Atlas though. I use EQMODs built in polar alignment routine,then select a couple stars in the planetarium program Cartes du Ciel, slew to them, center them in the eyepiece, sync them, then slew to my chosen target for the night, start PHD and calibrate the guide scope, start up Backyard EOS,frame my target, and can be imaging in about 30 minutes. Polar alignment is good enough with the guide scope that I can guide as long as I want. I normally do 300 seconds using the Orion 2" Astrophoto Sky Glow filter from my light polluted back yard.

EQMOD, and Backyard EOS has made this a breeze. You can make your own cable for EQMOD control very easily and cheaply.

Hope this helps...

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