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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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gastargazer01
super member


Reged: 12/21/12

Loc: Flowery Branch GA
I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11
      #5657438 - 02/02/13 12:17 AM

I am pretty confused at this point as far as what to do. First I was thinking DSLR 4ti, Then CCD maybe the Celestron 8300 or the QHY8L, HyperStar has also been something I am looking at.
I would like to be able to at some point be able to remote image from a warm room or the house. I want to be able to start imaging the moon and planets, but for sure M objects and other DSOs. I am pretty technical but do not fully understand all of the interfaces yet, ie Aux auto guiding, mount interface, etc.

Currently I am doing afocal moon with a 2" 32mm 70deg with my point and shoot.

Here is my equiptment so far.
Celestron C11-SGT (XLT) GPS CG-5
High Point Scientific 2" Diagonal & 2" Barlow
Celestron 2" Ultima LX 32mm & 8mm etc filters & eyepieces

[Any suggestions or pros and cons would be greatly appreciated. What would be a good imaging setup for this C11? I do know there might be some issues with the CG-5 mount on longer exposure objects but right now it only has a telrad on the OTA.

Edited by gastargazer01 (02/02/13 01:48 AM)


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Mike7Mak
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5657512 - 02/02/13 02:05 AM

I'm not at all familiar with Celestron gear but from things I've read...

If you're dead set on imaging through the 11", on the CG-5, I'd say try a focal reducer and off-axis guider rather than a separate piggyback guide system. You're gonna need to keep the weight to an absolute minimum to have any hope of success at that focal length.

Honestly, I recommend either getting a smaller scope for the CG-5 or a bigger mount for the C-11.


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gastargazer01
super member


Reged: 12/21/12

Loc: Flowery Branch GA
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5657528 - 02/02/13 02:41 AM

Am I correct in thinking that the HyperStar will bring me down to a F2 scope and reduce the exposure time down by 25 times and increase the FOV?
Would it be not so smart to say get the HyperStart and the QHY8L then maybe go to the CGEM Pro mount or better when I get out of the solar system and local DSOs or would I be fighting the mount from the start.


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Mike7Mak
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5657554 - 02/02/13 03:38 AM

Yeah, I know even less about Hyperstar but I believe you've got the numbers in the ballpark.

For my own reasons, which have more to do with the configuration than the performance, I'm not a fan of the Hyperstar concept. So I'm probably not the best person to ask. If I had to guess I'd say it's probably not the place to start imaging. I'm sure some might strongly disagree.

You should really get a handle on what 'increase the FOV' means with Hyperstar. There will be an extreme difference between images taken from the front and from the back of that C-11. Extreme enough to qualify them as almost totally different types of images.

People do rave about the short exposures and ease of guiding though. So if wide field imaging is what you want to do I'd definitely keep it on the list for further research.


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Mike Wiles
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: Goodyear, AZ
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5657736 - 02/02/13 09:09 AM

Quote:

Am I correct in thinking that the HyperStar will bring me down to a F2 scope and reduce the exposure time down by 25 times and increase the FOV?




Hyperstar is an awesome way to get into deep sky imaging and get some decent results. It's how I started and I highly recommend it for anyone who's already got the Celestron OTA. I started with an Edge 1100HD and a CGEM mount. The CGEM was at its absolute limit...so I have to believe that the CG5 is going to be an exercise in frustration.

One of the nice things about Hyperstar is you can just plug it in and get decent images. It allows you to get some nice images and start developing your skills and then add one technical aspect at a time. I started with a DSLR and Canon's camera control software. Quickly, I learned to make a bahtinov mask to focus the telescope. Next, I took a little time to learn how to carefully execute Celestron's All Star Polar Alignment routine and get the telescope polar aligned really well. This got me even better results. Then I added an autoguider and learned how to use it. Then....I added a one shot color CCD camera. All the while, I was able to get good, useable data to keep me excited and learn post processing. Eventually I moved on to imaging with a refractor and mono CCD with filters, etc. but I credit Hyperstar for really stoking and keeping my interest early on when so many people struggle. So I think that's a splendid idea for you too.

Having said all that... I think you're really going to struggle with the CG5. I'd get a new mount second in line with the astro budget if you're going to go that route. If that's not in the cards and you have to keep the CG5, I'd probably suggest getting rid of the C11 and going small....like an 80mm f/6 refractor instead. But - since you're asking me to spend your money , I think you'd be really happy with hyperstar and a new mount.

Mike


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Footbag
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Mike Wiles]
      #5657753 - 02/02/13 09:21 AM

The CG-5 is going to have a tough time with the C11 for DSO's. Planets and Moon should be OK on windless nights. You can spend a lot of money on other equipment, but that is going to be your weak link.

Do you have any lenses for your T4i? You can use them with no problem on the Cg-5.


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CounterWeight
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Footbag]
      #5657840 - 02/02/13 10:11 AM

Adam that's a great suggestion and I agree with others that for imaging maybe a small refractor/flattener(if neccesary) is a way to keep the CG5 and image.

No way would I attempt any imaging with an old style C11 on a CG5. It is 'sort of' OK for visual (thankfully the Celestron OTA so much lighter than the eq. sized meade's) but I found high mag focusing a bear in terms of settling time. I did try imaging with a CGE mount which held the 11" OTA and guidescope handily, but it was difficult even with the f/6.3 reducer.

I still miss my C11 for visual - they can really bring it home and IMO a great visual tool. If you are happy with the CG5/C11 combo for visual, maybe changing to a small refractor for imaging (and the great widefield views) scope a better option. As you can see from Mike, Adam, and my sigline - one thing we all spent LARGE on was the mount. Going only by what I've read (here at CN in the 'MOUNTS' forum and other forums, the CG5 has several limitations for iamging which you'll need to be comfortable with.

Consider the various tradeoffs between Hyperstar/scope/mount changing and relative merits and associated costs. If you are serious about getting into imaging I would recommend an Atlas/iEQ-45 type mount as the minimum for a C11.

The two Mikes pointed out two options of using a scope like the C11, one being OAG for autoguiding and the other going for shorter exposures and Hyperstar. This outside mount considerations. These sort of branching decisions are pretty normal and each has it's relative merits.

So by my way of seeing things you aren't lost, just at the crossroads everyone arrives at when considering the gear you have and trying to get into imaging with it. That is a great relatively inexpensive larger aperture 'goto' visual setup you have and hope you are enjoying it for that... getting used to the ideas of temp acclimation and collimation (thast will become critical if/when you decide to image)


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darbyvet
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Seneca Falls, New York
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Footbag]
      #5657844 - 02/02/13 10:11 AM

Hi Mike,
your set up is good for planetary imaging.I started astrophotography doing planetary imaging.it is much cheaper and eaiser than DSO imaging and the c11 is an excellent scope for planetary.I would suggest you start doing planetary first.If you like all the time spent and frustation of gathering and processing images you could move on to DSO imaging.
I started DSO imaging with an 80mm refractor and a cgem mount. DSO imaging is much more demanding and getting good pictures means you have to learn a LOT of stuff-focussing,auotguiding,exposure length,light pollution.
The longer the focal length of your imaging scope the harder all of these things are so most folks start with a low focal length refractor (or even a DSLR with a 50-300mm lens attached). This hobby can get very expensive very quickly and if you dont really have a good understanding of what you need you may end up being frustrated and broke.
Fortunately there are so many great amateur astronomers on this and other sites that are so generous with their time and knowledge to help get you off on the right track


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WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28° N, 81° W
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5658314 - 02/02/13 03:06 PM

I would get a NexImage 5 web camera for the C11. This will make it so you can get some awesome pictures of the planets and Moon. Go to the solar system imaging forum to see what can be done. This can be done on your CG-5 mount.

For DSOs you want a shorter telescope. My AstroTech AT72ED 72mm refractor (f/6, 432mm fl) is short enough that I can fit in the Andromeda Galaxy. Watch this YouTube video to learn about how to calculate your field of view. You need to do this before you buy telescopes and cameras.

Yes, f/10 needs 25 times more exposure time compared to f/2. This means 12 seconds at f/2 is equal to 5 minutes at f/10. It is way more likely that a wobbly mount will hold still for 12 seconds versus 300 seconds. Also, the field of view will be 5 times greater. The C11 at f/10 would mainly be good for taking pictures of distant galaxies. At f/2 there are many more interesting things to take pictures of.

If you want to guide you will find that your payload will double. When you add the guide scope, guide camera, side-by-side bar or connecting hardware, dew shields, and dew strips you will definitely need a sturdier mount. I would consider the CGEM-DX as a minimum. I have a C11 and I don't feel my CGEM (non DX) is up to the task of guiding with the C11. I use the C11 for Jupiter, unguided and with a small light-weight web cam.


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gastargazer01
super member


Reged: 12/21/12

Loc: Flowery Branch GA
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Footbag]
      #5658353 - 02/02/13 03:25 PM

I do not own a DSLR, I was just told that the EOS t4i was a good place to start if DSLR is the way I decide to go. So I am trying to decide what equipment is the best for my OTA. I want to get my feet wet with the mount and OTA that I have and I can see adding scopes and mounts later. I don't want to spend money unwisely or in a direction that may dead end me.
Thanks for all of the advice!


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gastargazer01
super member


Reged: 12/21/12

Loc: Flowery Branch GA
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Mike Wiles]
      #5658395 - 02/02/13 03:49 PM

Thank you very much for your insight. I am planning on building an 8 X 8 area off of my large south facing deck and pouring a pier. Then build an out house roll off type obs, the cables would all run into my office about 30 feet away.
I will be taking your advice I am sure on upgrading the mount on the C11. Fortunately I got a very good deal on the C11 and mount so I will figure a way to justify it to myself.


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Mike7Mak
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5658521 - 02/02/13 05:04 PM

See, I told you I wasn't the guy to ask.

The thing that strikes me about most of these 'how to get started' threads is that the actual picture that gets taken is hardly considered at all. I guess that's ok if the goal is simply to 'do astrophotography' the quickest, easiest, cheapest way possible. And I suppose if one is easily discouraged by less than spectacular results in the first month, or year, of trying then that's probably the route one should take.

If the goal is to take pictures of specific objects, that is, the astronomy is as important as the photography, then you should tailor your equipment to fit your purpose. As a general rule difficulty tracks upward with focal length as does the need for ever more expensive equipment, mainly the mount. But 1500mm give or take is 'doable' with modest equipment and perseverance.

I only partially followed my own advice. In fact it sounds like I started much the same way you are. With no thoughts of astrophotography I bought the scope I wanted. After the first year I got kinda sick of the setup/breakdown hassle and started blowing off good nights. Then the Meade DSI came out. Knowing my temperment I knew the only way I was gonna get into astrophotography was with a permanent observatory. So I built one.

I started AP with the primary goal of taking pictures through 'this' scope. How hard or easy it was gonna be didn't enter into it. It was not 'easy' but I don't regret the journey and am now taking images of the objects that interest me. (6 years later )

The moral of the story is don't let difficulty dictate the images you take if they aren't what you 'really' want to do. (There is 'difficult' and there is 'impossible' too so desire must be tempered by reality.)


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gastargazer01
super member


Reged: 12/21/12

Loc: Flowery Branch GA
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5658663 - 02/02/13 06:18 PM

Well actually you have me thinking about getting at some point a refractor and using it on the CG-5 mount and you are correct I bought the scope without any deep thought of AP. I am on the low end of the learning curve.
Here is when I started thinking AP, with a hand held point and click Canon sx210 and I have hand tremors


And it sparked something

I hope to have the simple obs done by end of spring so the AP is forward thinking.
Thank you all for your help.


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JoseBorrero
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Reged: 09/04/09

Loc: Puerto Rico Island
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5658704 - 02/02/13 06:35 PM

hyperstar can be a nice idea with celestron ccd 8300 at F/2 as a starter. you will need a Orion miniguide scope system for autoguiding. Then will need processing software to choose from many and get dvd for tutorials.

you will get objects as large as M31 (andromeda) and M33 (triangulum galaxy) and plenty of wide fields with more than galaxy. A bunch of widefield nebulas like Rosette Nebula and many others. I suggest a planner to have an idea where to start.

The Moon and planets will be easy but that need a dedicated video camera like Imaging Source, Point grey and ZWOptical, Orion G3 cameras. more cameras ideas are in the solar system imaging forum.

Good Luck


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Mike7Mak
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: JoseBorrero]
      #5658785 - 02/02/13 07:41 PM

No doubt you'll be better off staying well under 1000mm on the CG-5.

I have the utmost respect for the portable imaging guys. I don't know how they do it. For me the obs was key to making progress. Being able to leave everything setup and aligned means starting each session where you left off the last time. That is probably the only reason I was able to get my gear to do what it does.

I 'get' why so many recommend the short refractor/hyperstar route. I sometimes forget most guys are starting from scratch every time they go out. I think I have dismounted and setup my rig from scratch exactly one time since it was installed in the obs about 6 years ago.


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Bill W.
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Reged: 10/09/05

Loc: Western PA, USA
Re: I am lost in space,,, AP with a C11 new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5659502 - 02/03/13 08:26 AM

I'm unsure of how much Hyperstar cost (make sure your ota is compatible) but I would be inclined to start there with a 8300. I'd buy a webcam for planets, etc. If your interest is still there after playing with that then I'd upgrade my mount. I'd recommend a Orion Atlas or a Celestron CGEM at the very least. At some point, if you're trying to cut cost I'd be inclined to sell the C11. Basically, because you need a G11, CGE, etc. to tote it for any DSO imaging besides using Hyperstar. There are plenty of DSO's to image at less then 800mm. A 72-90mm scope is a nice place to start because it's more forgiving to you guiding inaccuracies. For the most part, the 8300 will work well in most configurations. I've imaged with the 8300 (SBIG's version) and have a few pictures posted on my web site at 320mm - 800mm focal length. (Tagling below) I used to go to the local state park to image but have a observatory now. So, I've been there done the mobile imaging thing. I still have the Atlas for that. There are probably 30 different ways to approach what you want to do. None is the wrong way. But, what you have to decide what kind of results you want and how fast. You can spend a bit of money quick or be unsatisfied quickly if you try to go too cheap or make impulse decisions. Good luck!

-Bill


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