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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Mount For AstroPhotography
      #4460584 - 03/19/11 07:29 PM

Hello all, this is my fist post here, and I'm not sure if im posting in the right place. I've been out of the hobby for a while now, and With the resent purchase of a DSLR, I'm am wanting to start what i have dreamed of for many years astrophotograpy. Right now i have a Meade LX50 8" that i purchased when i was 16. I have the standard wedge and field tripod over the last few nights out i have been taking some simple exposures of M42, and in almost every one i have misshaped stars. I not im not tracking perfect and I expect some trails, but the zig zag can only come from vibration? is the LX50 forks just too much for the standard wedge during AP? I really have my heart set on an orion atlas mount, would it be better than the LX 50 for AP?
Thank you for your advice!!!


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skybsd
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4460618 - 03/19/11 07:48 PM

Hello,
An Orion Atlas being a GEM would natively lend itself easier to photography than the Alt-Az based LX50 mount.

Hope that helps..,

Regards,

skybsd


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avarakin
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4460758 - 03/19/11 09:17 PM

Atlas is a very good mount for AP. The only cons of it are higher cost and weight. If you want lighter and cheaper, consider LXD75 or CG5. You may still have to upgrade to Atlass down the road, but LXD or CG5 can be still used as base for grab and go setup.

Alex


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Falcon-
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: avarakin]
      #4460843 - 03/19/11 09:50 PM

I also agree that the Atlas (or CGEM or EQ6 or HEQ6) would provide a better astrophotography platform. If you plan to de-fork your 8" SCT from the LX50 then I think the Atlas type mount would be just about right.

If you plan to use a wider-FOV (and lighter) scope like the AT65EDQ then the CG5/LXD75/EQ5 Alex mentioned is a less expensive and lighter option.... but as an astrophotography guy who owns a CG-5 I would still recommend the Atlas class mount if you can afford it!


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4461014 - 03/20/11 12:07 AM

Thanks for the advice. I want to go ahead and spend a little more now and avoid the need for an upgrade in an years time. i have a LX50 8" and a LX10 8" i want to "un fork" the LX 10 tube and sell the LX 50 to offset the cost of the upgrade. I would like to get a Astro-tech 10" imagine newt later on, would the atlas mount be a good choice for this scope also? I see the CG-5 comes with a 10" so i assume that the atlas will carry one also.

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bbbri
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Reged: 11/05/09

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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4461041 - 03/20/11 12:29 AM

According to tho Astronomics web site, the Astrotech 10" RC weighs 34.4 pounds, which may be too much for the Atlas and astrophotography.

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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: bbbri]
      #4461057 - 03/20/11 12:40 AM

what about the Astro-Tech 10" f/4 imaging Newtonian optical tube. It says its about 5 pounds lighter at 29lbs would it be a good match?

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Falcon-
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: bbbri]
      #4461063 - 03/20/11 12:50 AM

People may sometimes put a 10" newt on a CG5 - but I would expect that to be pushing the limits of the mount for *visual* observing, it will *certainly* be far too much for astrophotography.

There is a general rule of thumb that to get the acceptable tracking results for astrophotography your equipment should weigh 50% or less of the maximum rated load for the mount.

In the case of a CG5 a 10" newt would likely be at 100% max load, and that is without camera or other equipment.

A 10" newt is going to be heavy for an Atlas as well, but there you have a chance of being able to pull it off, while a CG-5 would not.

If I might make a suggestion though, there are reasons to consider an 8" imaging newt other then weight. I am of the opinion that it is good to select new telescopes for imaging that compliment your existing telescopes rather then replace. That way you can select the scope to use based on the seeing conditions and size of the target object with lots of flexability. With that in mind in your case you have:

- Meade 8" SCT at native f/10: 2032mm focal length
- Meade 8" SCT with f/6.3 reducer/corrector: 1280mm focal length
- Astrotech AT10IN would provide a 1016mm focal length
- Astrotech AT8IN would provide an 800mm focal length

So the 8" newt provides a reasonable focal length/field of view change from your LX10 OTA at f/6.3 and as an added bonus the AT8IN only weighs 21.6lb vs the AT10IN's 29lb. For a comparison I see a Celestron C8 weighs 13lb, your LX10 and LX50 8" SCTs are probably just about the same weight.


In any case, keep in mind the 50% load guideline and remember that the mount is key for astrophotography so getting the best you can reasonably afford will not be regretted down the road.

BTW, some off-topic curiosity, what camera are you using?


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4461087 - 03/20/11 01:16 AM

Well that seems to be very sound advice, I was thinking of the 10" as being good for visual too just for the light bucket stand point lol. I never really thought of the focal reducer for the SCT thought. as of now I'm using a Canon 1000D/XS, I hope to save up for a nice CCD one day though.

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Falcon-
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4461094 - 03/20/11 01:26 AM

Don't underestimate the 1000D That is a proven astrophotography performer. I recently got a 1000D myself as an upgrade from a modified 350D.

You are of course correct about the 10" light-bucket idea for visual. I was just thinking from a strictly astro-photo point of view.

Hope to see your first astro-photo results over in the DSLR imaging section of the forums soon!

BTW - if you are planning for future AP gear you might consider an autoguide setup. A guide cam can help immensely in getting consistant long exposures for going after those dim nebula and galaxies. The KWIQ Guider package is an example of an autoguide setup that is very light weight and effective. I guide with a home-made version of that setup.


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4461101 - 03/20/11 01:36 AM

I was actually wanting to order the "Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Package" this weekend. Dont really know how it comparse to other systems in its price range tho.

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Falcon-
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4461123 - 03/20/11 01:59 AM

The Orion Awesome Autoguider Package and the KWIQ Guider package often end up directly compared to each other, they are in the same price range and aim at the same target market.

Both systems use the *SAME* guide camera, so in that aspect they are equal. Orion's Starshoot Autoguider is simply a re-branded version of the QHY5 camera that comes with the KWIQ Guider. In fact in my own home-made 50mm finder-guider I use a SSAG rather then a QHY5.

So then it comes down to the optics. I personally prefer the 50mm finderscope-guidescope that the KWIQ guider uses for these reasons:

- very light weight (good for keeping your mount happy)
- Less chance of flexure, especially less chance of focuser-flex
- Nice wide FOV makes it slightly easier to find a guide star. (the ST80 has a quite wide FOV too though)

One could argue that the Orion package does give you a 80mm achromat refractor to use visually if you wish, and the slightly longer focal length of the ST80 *might* be an slight advantage if imaging at 2000mm (f/10 on your 8" SCT) - but I have seen people report good success with a 50mm finder-guider and an 8" SCT in the past so I am not so sure on that one.


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4461703 - 03/20/11 11:38 AM

Thank you all for the great advice, I'm going to order the atlas mount as soon as they are in stock again.

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JoseBorrero
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4461725 - 03/20/11 11:49 AM Attachment (185 downloads)

If you have some trail using your fork mount consider to practice the drift method.
If you plan to defork your Lx-50 then is not worthy to mention that there's a relay for autoguiding on the market here: http://www.technoplus.nl/astro/lx200.htm
The orion package is highly recommended and compatible with the relay. I Also use this autoguider relay and is complatible with PHD.
The relay is really cheap and simple to use. Before spending several hundreds you should try it. I know that the GOTO is very attractive but that's the only difference.

This my setup:


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DaveB
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4463067 - 03/20/11 10:00 PM

Quote:

what about the Astro-Tech 10" f/4 imaging Newtonian optical tube. It says its about 5 pounds lighter at 29lbs would it be a good match?




The issue with newts for imaging is that the camera/focuser is well off-center of the optical axis, so it creates an unbalanced setup. It is best solved by adding counterweights opposite the focuser, but that adds weight. So, in the end, they end up being heavier than the initial numbers (don't forget the weight of the tube rings either!). And, if you want to guide with a guidescope, suddenly you're in a different class of mounts.

None of these items are showstoppers, but you will definitely want to take them into account when you size up the mount that you will image with. I have a 10" Newt and because of all of the above factors, I went with an MI-250 and have no regrets. You can find good used deals on this class of mount (AP900, Losmandy Titan, etc.). My 10" newt and tube rings are well over 40 lbs IIRC (don't recall the exact numbers). And, with a guide scope and cameras and cables, the whole setup is easily over 50 lbs. You don't necessarily need all of that, but at least think about it before you leap.

Good luck with your decision.

Dave


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: DaveB]
      #4464248 - 03/21/11 02:10 PM

I guess I would be better off getting a 10" dob for the visual light bucket andthe atlas mount for photography. Maybe later get one of the astro tech 6" imaging scopes?

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Falcon-
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4464296 - 03/21/11 02:32 PM

You could get an Atlas w/ 10" newtonian package. That way you would get the Atlas and get a big light bucket for a single price. Just because the Atlas may not be suitable for *imaging* with the 10" newt that does not mean you can not use it for visual. Visual is a lot less sensitive to vibration and in visual you do not have to make small guiding adjustments that the long/heavy OTA make difficult.

You would just have to un-mount the 10" newt when it was time for imaging and mount up your de-forked SCT or a 6" scope like you mentioned or even a small refractor or camera lenses. It is a lot easier to change scopes on a GEM then a Fork mount, the dovetail system makes it (relatively) easy.


Of course if you want to observe at the same time as you image then a Dob does make perfect sense as you can have it set up while the Atlas works away at an imaging sequence.


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4465389 - 03/21/11 11:30 PM

Quote:


Of course if you want to observe at the same time as you image then a Dob does make perfect sense as you can have it set up while the Atlas works away at an imaging sequence.




That is an excellent point that i have over looked, Especially since When i do make it to a better dark sight once every month or two, I'm going to want to do as much of both as possible!


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avarakin
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4465462 - 03/22/11 12:39 AM

Quote:

Quote:


Of course if you want to observe at the same time as you image then a Dob does make perfect sense as you can have it set up while the Atlas works away at an imaging sequence.




Yep, this is why I also have a dob in addition to imaging rig. Moonless night without clouds at a dark site over weekend is very rare, need to use every minute of it.

Alex

That is an excellent point that i have over looked, Especially since When i do make it to a better dark sight once every month or two, I'm going to want to do as much of both as possible!




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Duncan Kitchin
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4465476 - 03/22/11 12:49 AM Attachment (188 downloads)

A 10" Newt on an Atlas is definitely going to be over the limit, particularly when you add a separate guidescope and the camera. If you want to use a Newt for imaging, I'd suggest sticking with a 6" or 8".

This is a setup that I had on mine at one point:

That's a 6" Newt with a Stellarvue SV70 as the guidescope. Note that I settled on rotating the tube so that the focuser was pointing downwards rather than sideways - it makes the whole setup *much* easier to balance.

I did try a 10" Newt at one point - but it's really way too heavy for imaging, and you just don't need that kind of light bucket most of the time.

I eventually ended up using the SV70 as the imaging scope and the Newt as the guidescope more and more - I just found more interesting stuff that I wanted to image at shorter focal lengths.

Good luck, whatever path you choose!

Regards & Clear Skies
Duncan

Edited by Duncan Kitchin (03/22/11 12:54 AM)


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Duncan Kitchin]
      #4476086 - 03/26/11 06:07 PM

Ok, so I just bit the bullet, and purchased the Atlas 8 EQ-G GoTo Reflector Telescope. I figured if i was buying a mount for $1,400.00 I might as well spend the extra $250.00 and get a 8" newt. with it. Now I need plenty of moral support, because buyers remorse is starting to set in! lol

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nemo129
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4476125 - 03/26/11 06:30 PM

OK, I think you will have a great time with that setup. Imaging at f/4.9 is a lot of fun. What camera are you going to use? Do you have a coma corrector yet. Lots of questions. You might want to visit the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forum for more advice. Don't regret buying good equipment! You will be buying more..welcome to the dark side of astronomy...astrophotography!

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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: nemo129]
      #4476150 - 03/26/11 06:43 PM

I'm using a Canon XS (1000D?). I have been looking at getting a coma corrector, but there is a lot of them to chose from lol. I also ordered the Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Package along with it. Hopefully this set up will hold me over for the time being anyway.

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Falcon-
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4476257 - 03/26/11 07:34 PM

Congrats! I wish I had that package myself!

Yes the "Rebel XS" is the 1000D

People always seem to say good things about the MPCC so if I had a newt to image when I think I would go that way. (I have not tried it or any other coma corrector myself... lacking an imaging capable newt and all).

Hope you have a chance to do your first light soon!


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Falcon-]
      #4476295 - 03/26/11 07:55 PM

Thank you! What would the MPCC be an acronym for? Reading these forums is almost like being in the army again lol.

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nemo129
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4476304 - 03/26/11 08:05 PM

Multi Purpose Coma Corrector

Check here.

It's made by Baader. I do not image with a newt either, almost, but I bought an AT8RC instead! Like Falcon though, I have heard lots of good things about the MPCC.


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bluedandelion
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: nemo129]
      #4476472 - 03/26/11 09:32 PM

I agree with Sean (Falcon) and Kirk. Enjoy the scope. You will love it and be glad that you did not go for anything bigger. I have a 9.25 inch SCT on an Atlas that is right on the upper limit for AP in my estimation. With an MPCC you will have an excellent imaging platform.

Ajay

Edited by bluedandelion (03/26/11 09:37 PM)


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Duncan Kitchin
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4479371 - 03/28/11 11:09 AM

Quote:

I'm using a Canon XS (1000D?). I have been looking at getting a coma corrector, but there is a lot of them to chose from lol. I also ordered the Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Package along with it. Hopefully this set up will hold me over for the time being anyway.




That should be a great setup - you'll have lots of fun with that. I used a Baader MPCC with my 6" Newt, and found it to work very well.

Regards & Clear Skies
Duncan


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Duncan Kitchin]
      #4548588 - 04/27/11 09:26 PM

OK, so I'm sitting in my living room gazing at my New atlas mount with the 8" f/4.9 newt that just came in Monday and Tuesday. I am still waiting on one more 11lb. counterweight. Now I'm wondering what would be the best way to attach my un-forked meade 8" sct OTA to the atlas mount. I need something on the cheaper end as I have already spent more money than my better half allotted me!

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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4548610 - 04/27/11 09:42 PM

Sorry, I have to list the new equipment. Can't hold it in.
Orion Atlas w/ 8" f4.9 newt
Astro-Tech 72mmED
William Optics 2" Carbon Fiber Dielectric Diagonal
2" SCT Focuser - Crayford Dual Speed
Bahtinov Focus Mask
F/6.3 SCT Focal Reducer
Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Telescope Package
So you can see why the wife might be a little upset, but when I told her It was all "around $1500" she calmed down.
now I just have to figure out how to tell how just how "round" that was...........


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Ranger Tim
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4549213 - 04/28/11 09:00 AM

The Baader MPCC is a very nice corrector. Stars away from the center of view are much less "seagull" shaped and the corrector provides a convenient method of inserting the camera rig into the 2 inch focuser. A low profile focus tube adapter is not necessary with the MPCC - simply screw the MPCC onto the T-ring, attach camera and insert into focus tube. There is a flange on the MPCC to prevent the rig from falling too far into the tube. Spacing is generally not an issue with a DSLR.

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Bill W.
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Ranger Tim]
      #4549237 - 04/28/11 09:25 AM

You made a great choice with the Atlas. Mine has been a great performer. I have the AT8IN. It's a good match. I would also suggest at some point upgrading to a Losmandy head for your Atlas. ADM makes the dovetail you need to mount your Meade and also makes a dual Losmandy/Vixen head for the Atlas. Email Anthony at ADM if you have any questions. He makes quality stuff and is very knowledgable. Check out my webpage at the link at the bottom of the page. I have a Meade 8" SCT mounted with ADM dovetails.

http://admaccessories.com/

-Bill


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Patrick
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4550669 - 04/28/11 10:44 PM

Quote:

I just bit the bullet, and purchased the Atlas 8 EQ-G GoTo Reflector Telescope.




I have a personal dislike for EQ mounted Newts (sorry to be so blunt), but on the other hand, you can't go wrong with the Atlas mount, 8" of aperture, and an f/4.9 focal ratio (as you well noted).

Back to your original problem: " i have been taking some simple exposures of M42, and in almost every one i have misshaped stars. I not im not tracking perfect and I expect some trails, but the zig zag can only come from vibration? " While mount vibration could very well be a major contributor, I think a large factor is likely plain old periodic tracking error combined with the long focal length 8" SCT.

I'm assuming you were not autoguiding with your LX50 and I want to throw out a cautionary note regarding your new mount. Even though I'm sure the Atlas will be much (very much) better than the LX50 mount, I think you'll find you'll still need to autoguide with the 1000mm focal length reflector. If astrophotography is really the main goal, you might want to consider putting an autoguider in your budget.


Patrick


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Bill W.
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Patrick]
      #4551236 - 04/29/11 09:28 AM

I agree with Patrick about autoguiding. To cut costs, you can make a guidescope out of a 50mm finderscope and use an Orion SSAG. I know from personal experience that the Atlas does a fine job autoguiding at 800mm. I have shot at 2000mm a couple of times and the Atlas did a good job with nice round stars. IMHO, collimation is the biggest 'hurdle' to over come using a newt until you learn how to obtain a good collimation. Your f/4.9 with be a little more forgiving than my f/4.0. Good luck.

-Bill


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orlyandico
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Bill W.]
      #4551336 - 04/29/11 10:28 AM

er. the OP listed the equipment he just bought.. and it includes..

Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Telescope Package


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EFT
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4551451 - 04/29/11 11:34 AM

Quote:

Now I'm wondering what would be the best way to attach my un-forked meade 8" sct OTA to the atlas mount. I need something on the cheaper end as I have already spent more money than my better half allotted me!




For price and quality, the ADM dovetail is really the way to go for your M8.


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: EFT]
      #4551567 - 04/29/11 12:44 PM

Thank you all for the great input. I ordered a autoguider with the atlas mount I haven't been able to use it as of yet because I am still waiting on one more counterweight. After last night I also have a dislike for an EQ mounted Newt, the eyepiece seems to always end up in a totally impossible viewing position. On the other hand for AP it seems to be a dream compared to the LX 50. I used the autoguider package on my LX 50 (as it shipped almost a month before the atlas) and after 3 hours of drift alignment, plus autoguiding I couldn't do more than 25 sec exp. at F6.3. I assume the PE for the LX 50 is just more that can be guide out? Now last night i tryed the new atlas out for the first time, attached is a image I took. I am really excited with this capture, as I only did a quick alignment thru the polar scope. I did not drift or autoguide and this is a 60s exp. M51

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Bill W.
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4551814 - 04/29/11 02:52 PM

er.. orlyandico, it had been a day or two since I had read his original post...

locod1... your first image with the Atlas looks good. Congrats!

-Bill


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Patrick
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: orlyandico]
      #4551958 - 04/29/11 04:26 PM

Quote:

er. the OP listed the equipment he just bought.. and it includes..

Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Telescope Package






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Bachus
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Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Nashville,TN.
Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: Patrick]
      #4553209 - 04/30/11 10:35 AM

Yep..I agree with others that replacing the OEM saddle with a ADM "Dual Saddle will be your best upgrade you can get and you'll thank yourself.

http://admaccessories.com/D_Series_Dual_Saddles.htm

If you check over in the "Imaging" area and search for Guidescope or 50mm there are plenty using this as a guider with say a Meade DSI.Something like this which is what I made..

http://msfastro.net/articles/finder_guidescope/


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ADBjester
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Reged: 09/27/10

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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4554091 - 04/30/11 08:36 PM

Quote:

I was actually wanting to order the "Orion Awesome Autoguider Refractor Package" this weekend. Dont really know how it comparse to other systems in its price range tho.




Reading the older posts in this thread, I noted this one. Since your scope is a Schmidt-Cassegrain, I would advise against any form of piggyback guide scopes.

First of all, both products you mention have simple tube mounts with two tight screws and one loose spring mounted one -- just not stable enough. It will move microscopically in relationship to the imaging scope as the scope moves. (This is one form of differential flexure.) While some have tried with moderate success to use six-point Stellarvue guide rings to minimize this, I've got a KWiq, mounted in rings, with an 8" SCT... and I still had flexure.

Second, the inherent nature of an SCT is that the focusing is done via a mobile primary mirror, which means it's just not rigid enough inside the tube to retain its relative position to the tube (not microscopically, anyway). This is the other form of differential flexure, which simply cannot be overcome with better gear (unless you have a high end SCT with a mirror lock, like the Meade ACF or the Celestron HD lines).

To overcome flexure, you want an off-axis guider. Then, you're using the same light path for the guiding and the imaging -- the OAG can't move relative to the camera, and if you experience "mirror flop", the camera and the guider both see it.

I may throw another reply on after reading other posts, but I've seen some people suggest a CG5. Don't do it. For astrophotography, I saw you comment that you wanted to buy more mount than you need. You also saw the correct advice that (unless you're dealing with a $10,000 Astro-Physics mount), you shouldn't expect to exceed 50% payload for photography. With a 10" SCT in the wings, and likely some additional gear like an off-axis guider ($100 for entry level, up to $700 or more for Cadillacs like the Moag or the Taurus), your camera, your finderscope, dew shield if the dew point calls for it, etc, etc... my guess is that even the Atlas EQ-G or the CGEM may be "pushing" it (if indeed you want to "overbuy".)

Either is a great first mount for AP, but each has their quirks and learning curves and issues to overcome.

If you can stretch your budget into the low $3000 range, though, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Losmandy G-11. I wish I'd saved up a bit longer and bought that instead of my CGEM.

Jester


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ADBjester
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Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: locod1]
      #4554122 - 04/30/11 09:03 PM

Quote:

Thank you all for the great input. I ordered a autoguider with the atlas mount I haven't been able to use it as of yet because I am still waiting on one more counterweight. After last night I also have a dislike for an EQ mounted Newt, the eyepiece seems to always end up in a totally impossible viewing position. On the other hand for AP it seems to be a dream compared to the LX 50. I used the autoguider package on my LX 50 (as it shipped almost a month before the atlas) and after 3 hours of drift alignment, plus autoguiding I couldn't do more than 25 sec exp. at F6.3. I assume the PE for the LX 50 is just more that can be guide out? Now last night i tryed the new atlas out for the first time, attached is a image I took. I am really excited with this capture, as I only did a quick alignment thru the polar scope. I did not drift or autoguide and this is a 60s exp. M51




That's not a bad 60 second unguided image of M51, especially for your relatively southern latitude.

Take it from someone that just went through all this.... the problem is not in your periodic error. It's probably not even in your polar alignment, though you can bet that if you're doing pure visual drift as a first-timer, you may be making errors. I still can't drift unassisted, and am happy that:

1) The CGEM has a built-in All-Star Polar alignment routine that will get you within one degree of the pole.

2) With a CCD there are ways to "drift" computer-aided, including EQAlign, PHD's companion, PEMPro, and "Straight line exposure".

If you're within a degree of perfect polar alignment, good auto-guiding will overcome the PE of your Atlas easily, for exposures of 5 to 10 minutes. However, if you're experiencing differential flexure (as I detailed in my last post), this can kill your session.

I've also had recent experiences with the mount not being adjusted for backlash (not familiar enough with the Atlas to know where it's settings for that are, but it needs to be done), and having backlash bite you even when adjusted because of balancing issues. You have to have a *slight* imbalance to keep a slight but steady pressure on the gears. If it's told by the guider to slow down or stop, you don't want momentum to carry the scope to the other side of that gear tooth. That motion isn't much -- about 3 small star widths on that mount.... but it will wreck your image.

Since the Right Ascension motion is always to rotate west, to "push back" you'll want a few ounces of "push" toward the East. This differs depending on where the scope is. If the scope tube is on the west side of the mount, move the counterweight more to the east (away from the scope) -- just enough to ensure that that's the ever-so-slightly heavier side. If the scope tube is on the east side of the mount, move the counterweight closer to the scope (again, to the east). Always move the weight toward the east, from perfectly balanced.

I suspect your inability to get beyond 30-60 seconds is either or both of the differential flexure in the standard Orion Easyguide package (mirror flop doesn't matter on your Newt), or a misbalanced scope, or both, and possibly could be to incorrect backlash correction settings as well.

Check all three, and upgrade the mount on your EasyGuide at once. The Stellarvue 50mm rings listed here are cheap (~$20) and far more stable than the spring-loaded junk that shipped with the Orion:

Stellarvue 50 mm finder mount from Skies Unlimited

Good luck!

Jester


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locod1
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Reged: 03/12/11

Re: Mount For AstroPhotography new [Re: ADBjester]
      #4555986 - 05/01/11 09:40 PM

here is a image from the first time I used the auto guider Friday night
M 65 and 66
It is just one exposure of 4 minutes. I adjusted the white balance, but other than that it's just a raw image.


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