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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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locod1
member


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
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

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
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
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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Reged: 09/11/09

Loc: Gambier Island, BC, Canada
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
member


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
super member


Reged: 11/05/09

Loc: SW Ohio, United States
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
member


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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Reged: 09/11/09

Loc: Gambier Island, BC, Canada
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
member


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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Reged: 09/11/09

Loc: Gambier Island, BC, Canada
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
member


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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Reged: 09/11/09

Loc: Gambier Island, BC, Canada
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
member


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
Post Laureate
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Reged: 09/04/09

Loc: Puerto Rico Island
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
sage


Reged: 11/21/07

Loc: New England
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
member


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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Reged: 09/11/09

Loc: Gambier Island, BC, Canada
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
member


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
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/16/04

Loc: Beaverton, OR, USA
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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