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Question About The Nexstar 8SE

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#1 ryevick

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

Well my finances fell through and I was only able to get a Nexstar 8SE Bundle (lens, filters, ac adapter, power tank)... not exactly what I was wanting but for my first scope I'm still pretty excited. I know I can't do imaging but it would be nice to be able to record video of the moon and/or sun if there's a way to do that... can I hook it up to a monitor for viewing or can I view through the laptop I'll be using in tandem to control it? I believe the RS232 is the cable they said I need to hook it up to my laptop but I have an ASUS A53E and it doesn't have a serial port. Can I get a serial port adapter of some kind that would work through one of my USB ports? I also want to find out if a focal reducer would be of any benefit with this system. Thanks for the help! :jump:

#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:46 PM

Hi ryevick:

First, I'd suggest you ask these questions in the Celestron Nexstar forum farther down the forum list. There's lots of friendly, helpful, knowledgable people there with the same scope you have, and many are using it for light duty astrophotography.

But to answer your questions, you can record video using a webcam or a DSLR with video mode. You can then stack these to create some rather amazing pictures of the planets and moon. Check out some of the imaging threads in the Celestron Nexstar forum.

To connect to the scope, yes you'll need a USB to serial adapter.

And a focal reducer CAN indeed be a benefit with this scope. It can provide wider views visually, as well as letting you image larger targets. There are focal reducers that many of us use which are designed for SCTs, such as this one:
http://www.astronomi...-sct_p4072.aspx


-Dan

#3 ryevick

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:15 PM

Hi ryevick:

First, I'd suggest you ask these questions in the Celestron Nexstar forum farther down the forum list. There's lots of friendly, helpful, knowledgable people there with the same scope you have, and many are using it for light duty astrophotography.


My mistake... getting it moved. Thanks for the focal reducer link!

#4 Maverick199

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:11 AM

Congratulations on your new equipment! What Dan mentioned, you can easily record or snap away images of the Moon and Planets. But first you would need to buy a T-Ring and a T-Adapter IF you own a DSLR. Otherwise a Neximage or similiar would be more than enough.

For the RS-232, you need a serial port but for PC, the OS should be XP. Didn't try on Win 7 so unsure.

#5 ryevick

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

What about being able to view what the scope is seeing through the screen of my laptop or if I have to a separate monitor... is that possible?

#6 ryevick

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:22 PM

Wow... not much response at all...

#7 cvtim

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:19 PM

Congrats on your new scope! Mounting a camera to the scope and connecting that camera to a laptop is very common and loads of fun.

You can see things real time from your scope on your laptop if you have the things Maverick199 mentioned. You need some sort of webcam/Neximager, a DSLR, or a video camera. Depending on your camera, you will also need the proper adaptors (T-rings, T-Adaptors, etc.) to connect the camera to the scope. The final pieces of the puzzle are the proper cable to connect the camera to your laptop and some sort of software for the camera to display live views from the camera. The easiest/cheapest direction to go really depends on the camera you own. If you don't own a camera, check out the Neximage system and software from Celestron.

Like Maverick199 said, you can easily record or snap images of the Moon and Planets with this scope. The Celestron version of the .63 focal reducer works really well when shooting video of the moon. Barlows or image amplifiers like Televue's Powermates are commonly used for recording videos or snapping pictures of planets. Barlows are used to double or triple the focal length of your scope and thereby, double or triple the size of the planet as viewed by the camera on the laptop screen.

You should checkout the Solar System, DLSR Imaging and, Video forums as well. Lots of good ideas, information and, helpful folks in those forums.

#8 ryevick

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:01 AM

Thank You!!!

#9 GizmoDave

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

Hi Ryevick,
Congrats on the new equipment. It is only fair to warn you that mixing cameras and scopes can be habit forming ;)
You will find that your scope can produce some amazing images with a little practice and loads of time and money.
You can view your target on screen with DSLR or video camera, you will see lots of people using Canon cameras as there are more third party control programs that interface with them. I use Astro Photo Tools (APT) and many use Back Yard EOS, both will run most Canon DSLR cameras manufactured
in the last ten years. HERE is one of several threads that illustrate what can be produced with a NexStar seres scope.

Welcome to the hobby,.......addiction :grin:

#10 Midnight Dan

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

Hi ryvick:

There's different kinds of astrophotography with different equipment needs. For live viewing with a video camera, you need a very sensitive camera unless you're just looking at bright objects like the moon and major planets. For those targets a simple webcam or DSLR in video mode will do. For DSOs, something which is more sensitive and can integrate over larger periods of time is needed - like a Mallincam:
http://mallincam.tripod.com/index.html

To take detailed still photos of the moon and planets, the technique of choice is to use a video camera, either a webcam or DSLR in video mode, and record a couple minutes of video. Stacking software like Registax is used to pull out the individual still frames from the video. The software automatically rates the images for sharpness and uses the best ones to stack into a single image. This reduces noise and increases detail, and helps eliminate those smeared images from moments of poor seeing.

To take still images of DSOs, you need to take longer exposures than a video can provide. Depending on the DSO, exposures may have to be anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes to get good enough data. Due to the fact that the 8SE is on an Alt/Az type of mount, exposures longer than 20-30 seconds will show stars as streaks due to field rotation. So you can take images of some of the brighter DSOs with the 8SE, but many of the dimmer ones are beyond its reach using the included mount. But for these kinds of images, you'll need a DSLR that can take long exposures, or a CCD camera designed for astro use.

-Dan

#11 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:13 PM

To be frank and blunt as I am know to be...

I honestly would NOT worry about using a Laptop to control the scope or to view the images on the screen..and I definitely would not even think of buying a Focal reducer camera mounts or anything else for the NEXT few DOZEN nights you can get the scope outside ..

Learn the scope how it works and why .. then star experimenting ..

Bob G.

#12 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 06:58 PM

Bob - Sounds like sound advice to me. At some point I'd like to try some AP but I don't know my scope very well. Not even sure you can do much AP with it on its current mount. I've got a Nikon D60 I bought several years ago so maybe it is suitable. But I think I need some more experience with just the scope... Tony

#13 ryevick

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:36 PM

To be frank and blunt as I am know to be...

I honestly would NOT worry about using a Laptop to control the scope or to view the images on the screen..and I definitely would not even think of buying a Focal reducer camera mounts or anything else for the NEXT few DOZEN nights you can get the scope outside ..

Learn the scope how it works and why .. then star experimenting ..

Bob G.


I completely agree, I just want to get a list of the bells and whistles for things that I already know I am going to want to do and buy them ASAP... that doesn't mean I will use them ASAP though.

As a side note I am also a photographer and I'm planning on getting some new wedding photography gear by this spring/summer... Nikon just released the D600 which I may be getting if I don't decide to change over to Canon (long story). The Nikon D600 has HD video and also some amazing high ISO/low light capabilities going up to ISO 25,600 with low image noise!!! If I do get that I will be very anxious to hook it up to my 8SE and "see" what I can get. With a scope that can do 20-30 sec exposures at ISO 25,600 that sounds very promising indeed! :yay:

Nikon High ISO Performance Comparison






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