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What approach would you take if........... ?

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#1 Cobalt5120

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 11:00 AM

Celestron AVX mount.

 

Three telescopes:

1) Explore Scientific AR102 achromat

2) Zhumell 8 inch reflector that came with the DOB mount.  (I did purchase rings for EQ mounting)

3) Celestron OmniXLT 150 that came with my manual CG4 mount as a package.

 

I also have a superfast Windows 10 PC with great graphics card and USB3.

 

For those of you experienced in EAA and knowing what you know now,  what approach would YOU take if you were just getting started in EAA for the first time if you had the same equipment available to you that I currently have?

 

Thank You!

Larry



#2 Ian Robinson

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 11:43 AM

I think the 8" Newtonian & AR102 will be too much for it.

I'd dispense with having a telescope on other than a small guidescope and use the AVX as camera platform for telephotos up to make 300mm fl .
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#3 sg6

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 11:44 AM

Have only seen EAA done with SCT's, also the scope has to track and goto. Point an EAA system at anything and you need ti track it, otherwise it is not in view after a short time.

 

Guess both the 150 and the 102 are around 650mm in focal length, so nothing in it for them, thinking of image size on the sensor.

 

What would I do?

Try the 102 just to see what transpired, but consider buying a Mak or SCT on a goto mount.



#4 Cobalt5120

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 12:31 PM

Try the 102 just to see what transpired, but consider buying a Mak or SCT on a goto mount.

The AVX is a goto with tracking. 

Considered OK for short level exposures and can go longer with autoguiding which I dont want to do.

 

EAA is only done with SCT's, didn't know that.



#5 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 12:34 PM

Celestron AVX mount.

 

Three telescopes:

1) Explore Scientific AR102 achromat

2) Zhumell 8 inch reflector that came with the DOB mount.  (I did purchase rings for EQ mounting)

3) Celestron OmniXLT 150 that came with my manual CG4 mount as a package.

 

I also have a superfast Windows 10 PC with great graphics card and USB3.

 

For those of you experienced in EAA and knowing what you know now,  what approach would YOU take if you were just getting started in EAA for the first time if you had the same equipment available to you that I currently have?

 

Thank You!

Larry

All great scopes for Night Vision EAA



#6 descott12

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 02:26 PM

 

EAA is only done with SCT's, didn't know that.

That is definitely not true. I and many others do use SCT's but there are alot of people doing great stuff with other types of scopes. You need a tracking mount (Alt-Az works very well), and preferably a fast scope with a wide FOV (low f ratio) and an appropriate camera but there are many options and combinations to get there.



#7 nic35

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 06:19 PM

depending on your budget, id go for either a ZWO asi224 or asi385 or asi294 camera. play around with this web site to see what the image scale with various scope/camera combinations looks like.  http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fovcalc.php

 

i'd start using the  omnixlt on the AVX mount.  decent aperture for starting EAA, good focal ratio. A newtonian will not give you chromatic aberration as will the doublet.

 

most maks are too slow (high f ratio) for EAA.  not that it cant be done, but not a good use of resources IMO.

 

if the AVX can handle the bigger newt try that next.

 

you may have trouble reaching focus if you use a focal reducer with any of these scopes.  not enough in focus. But to get going you shouldn't need a reducer.

 

use the search function to see if there's any experience with these scopes for EAA.

 

depending how dark your skies are you may want to get a light pollution filter.

 

id suggest using sharpcap for image acquisition and other things.  

 

jump right in.  the water is deep and warm.

 

john


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#8 Cobalt5120

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 07:36 PM

depending on your budget..............

.........jump right in.  the water is deep and warm.

Thank you for that response.  That is what I was looking for.  I'll check out those cameras



#9 Matt Harmston

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 09:14 PM

With the AVX, I have had good success using my MallinCams and a 100mm SkyWatcher 100ED pro (f/9, about 7 lbs). I then purchased an 8" MallinCam Newtonian (f/4, about 19 lbs). Tracking with the AVX was decent with the newt, but gotos were hurt by the additional weight.  The newt was just too much, in my opinion. Of the scopes you listed, the Celestron is really in a good spot in terms of weight, length (short tangent arm in the breeze), field of view, and no chromatic aberation.    

 

I don't do any guiding as yet, but with good polar alignment (I just use ASPA), exposures longer than a minute are no problem with my AVX and the SkyWatcher. And, a one-minute exposure will take you incredibly deep with a 150mm scope. 

 

BUT...the most important thing is, which will you use most often?  That decision is of course very personal as well, but critical to really enjoying yourself.

 

Good luck, and have fun!

Matt



#10 Ian Robinson

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 02:00 AM

With the AVX, I have had good success using my MallinCams and a 100mm SkyWatcher 100ED pro (f/9, about 7 lbs). I then purchased an 8" MallinCam Newtonian (f/4, about 19 lbs). Tracking with the AVX was decent with the newt, but gotos were hurt by the additional weight.  The newt was just too much, in my opinion. Of the scopes you listed, the Celestron is really in a good spot in terms of weight, length (short tangent arm in the breeze), field of view, and no chromatic aberation.    
 
I don't do any guiding as yet, but with good polar alignment (I just use ASPA), exposures longer than a minute are no problem with my AVX and the SkyWatcher. And, a one-minute exposure will take you incredibly deep with a 150mm scope. 
 
BUT...the most important thing is, which will you use most often?  That decision is of course very personal as well, but critical to really enjoying yourself.
 
Good luck, and have fun!
Matt


This is why I suggested dispensing with the telescope other than little one (50mm or 80mm finder/guidescope) as viewfinder / guidescope and using telephotos instead, shorter , generally faster (f2 , f2.8, f3.5, f4, f5.6 all good even with a 300mm to 400mm telephoto or zoom on a nice off the shelf DSLR).

I don't it's a good idea to go to a much bigger than a 6" f6 newton on the AXV payloadwize and if it's the least bit breezy the tangent arm will make imaging problematically.
I'd restrict the payload to no more than 15kg INCLUDING counterweights for the AXV. Best to be conservative when trying to image at prime focus.

Easier to set up and much more portable , and if you to a 200mm or 300mm f/2.8 (which can be picked up as manual focus lenses (as Nikkors AI and AIS , Tamron SP Adapt2all, Soligor pretty cheaply in virtually mint condition on Ebay) , then you can go pretty darned deep and get nice wide images too.

Edited by Ian Robinson, 08 May 2019 - 02:06 AM.


#11 makeitso

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 12:56 PM

I have an AVX, I use an f5 8” newt and it works fine. It works even when it’s windy. I stop at winds of over 25mph though.

 

I use it with an asi224, it works way better with my Canon DSLR aps-c sensor. Not sure how much your dob weighs. Mine weighs about 25lbs ready to go give or take a pound or so.

 

I would recommend getting a larger sensor camera in most cases depending on what you’re going to image. The 224 is a nice camera but has a very small sensor, that coupled with a long focal length can be frustrating.

 

Jack



#12 Cobalt5120

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 08:51 AM

I have an AVX, I use an f5 8” newt and it works fine. It works even when it’s windy. I stop at winds of over 25mph though.

 

I use it with an asi224, it works way better with my Canon DSLR aps-c sensor. Not sure how much your dob weighs. Mine weighs about 25lbs ready to go give or take a pound or so.

 

I would recommend getting a larger sensor camera in most cases depending on what you’re going to image. The 224 is a nice camera but has a very small sensor, that coupled with a long focal length can be frustrating.

 

Jack

Thank You Jack and all!


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#13 t_image

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 06:02 PM

Larry,

You many benefit from more research and investigation into the type of EAA you are looking to do.

EAA is very diverse, just like selecting a personal transportation vehicle.

There are off-road vehicles, sports cars, motorcycles, RV's, smart cars, pickup utility trucks, etc. They all will get you somewhere, but in different ways and will meet different requirements.

It may be best for you to decide how you want to roll..

 

 You'll probably not get the whole of diversity of EAA advice shared on this one thread in the timeframe of a few days thus research beyond here will be profitable.....

 

  • target size: so what type of targets? DSO's? nebula? Galaxies?

From visual I'm sure you know different objects are different sizes, and how focal length will be key and a result of figuring out what realm of targets you will want to primarily observe via EAA.

 

  • EAA often is about getting data quick (although there are people here who will discuss images achieved that are live culminations of lots of minutes to achieve....

Getting data quick means with a given sensor, one needs a fast f/ratio. Hence the popularity of focal reducers and bright optics....

Tracking like in AP just allows you to extend your integration time to develop a better image.

 

what approach would YOU take if you were just getting started in EAA for the first time........

My approach would not be to expect the answer to be found on a thread asking about equipment one has.

Instead I would search through the endless wealth of this section of the forum and youtube with archived streamed live EAA sessions and notice what resonates and notice what things don't......

Then, and only then, after I had a clear sense of the requirements I was looking for, and a sober sense of how to mitigate my expectations based on my budget and available equipment, would I seek out to determine the proper equipment that would get me there.....


Edited by t_image, 11 May 2019 - 08:36 AM.


#14 Cobalt5120

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 09:12 AM

 

EAA is very diverse, just like selecting a personal transportation vehicle.

There are off-road vehicles, sports cars, motorcycles, RV's, smart cars, pickup utility trucks, etc. They all will get you somewhere, but in different ways and will meet different requirements......

 

I have read a lot of threads to determine all the different options.  I just wondered how others with experience (knowing what you know now) would enter the EAA speciality if all they had was what I had, and perhaps some had started with equipment similar to mine and made mistakes along the way that perhaps I could avoid.



#15 descott12

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 10:16 AM

I have read a lot of threads to determine all the different options.  I just wondered how others with experience (knowing what you know now) would enter the EAA speciality if all they had was what I had, and perhaps some had started with equipment similar to mine and made mistakes along the way that perhaps I could avoid.

Here is my take as somebody pretty new the EAA. I did alot of homework like you did but I did not have any existing  equipment to try to maybe use. So I was starting with a clean slate and I think that made my decision a little easier. So here it goes (in no particular order)

 

1. EAA is about seeing some cool stuff in as close to real-time as possible. It is about viewing. Not imaging. Although I and many others like to capture screen shots to show friends and family  and to post on this forum

 

2. Since we are NOT trying to create an award-winning image, our setup can be ALOT simpler.  While an equatorial mount can certainly be used, an Alt-Az works very well. We are using very short exposures so any field rotation is easily handled by the stacking software. Again, since EAA is about about just viewing, why bother with doing a polar alignment and heavy counter-weights. I know alot of people will take issue with this, but I firmly believe in the KISS principle. And that means no guiding either.

 

3. A fast scope really helps. Many use an SCT which are natively f10 but we all use either a traditional focal reducer or a HyperStar. Doing EAA at F10 is no fun. With my Hyperstar and f2, things can literally pop right up on the screen. It is amazing.

 

4. There are dozens of cameras to choose from. The majority of people probably use a ZWO camera and SharpCap. They work together really well but there are other options and other vendors provide their own software (such as Atik).

 

5. You must match your camera carefully to your optics. Image scale is important but the resulting FOV is also very important. It can be really hard to find objects if your FOV is very small. So that means you need to know about the camera's pixel size, resolution and overall sensor size. It is not too complicated but it is important.

 

6. You do need a pretty decent PC but the little mini in my signature handles SharpCap and Stellarium with no problem at all. Many of the new cameras use USB3 so make sure the computer has that.

 

7. You will want a motorized, tracking mount. I believe there is one guy on this forum that does some pretty amazing stuff with a manual mount, but that is the exception to the rule.

 

8. I am not qualified to comment on the equipment that you have, but there is no reason why you can't start with what you have and see how it works.  EAA is not inexpensive. Most will describe it as a money pit.  I am the kind of person who likes to jump right in so I didn't spare any expense. I started with an Evo 8 + ASI 294MC + Hyperstar. That was about $4000 to get going but I am really happy I did. The setup works great with no hassles and when you get so few actual clear nights, it is nice to not worry about your equipment.

 

9. Eventually you may decided to remote control your setup so you can operate it from the comfort of your living room when it is freezing outside. I would suggest that you not worry about that now as it does complicate the setup. It is really great but I would concentrate on just getting a workable system first, and then automate it later.

 

Just my two cents. I hope it helps. EAA is really great. I wouldn't be able to see anything where I live so it has really opened up this amazing hobby to me and alot of others.


Edited by descott12, 12 May 2019 - 12:25 PM.

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#16 Cobalt5120

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 03:17 PM

Dave,

 

Thanks for all those points as my goals are very similar to yours.

 

Yes, I have some equipment already and I am not opposed to selling it or giving away some of it to the schools astronomy club and starting from scratch if need be.  Based on everything I've read so far, I'll probably start with

 

1) AVX equatorial mount

2) Omni F5 750mm telescope. (Not as fast as F2 but a place to start)

 

I already have a super fast Windows 10 PC and graphics card I bought to fly Xplane 11 flight simulator so there clearly are no issues there (other than portability).

 

I do need to buy a camera and I am looking at one of the ZWO models, not sure whether to test the waters with the cheaper uncooled or start right out with the ASI294MC pro cooled that you have listed.

 

Thanks for all yiour points.  Very informative.



#17 bobhen

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 03:26 PM

I would pick up an 8” SCT (used or sell something to get it) along with a F3.3 reducer and a cheap astro-video camera like the Revolution II.

 

The AVX will handle that fine.

 

The RII is cheap and will allow you to get a taste of what imaging involves and whether getting more involved in imaging is something that you want to do. You can always sell the RII if you want a better camera down the road or decide that imaging of any kind is not for you.

 

Bob



#18 descott12

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 04:31 PM

Larry, your plan sounds like a good one.
Regarding cooled vs uncooled - there is alot of debate on CN regarding the usefulness of  cooled camera for EAA. I believe the consensus is that there probably is no advantage. For the 294, I think that means you can save about $300. Plus the cooled cameras are quite a bit taller (they are can shape) and if you switch to an SCT on a Alt/Az fork, there is limited room behind the scope and above the mount. So an uncooled will work alot better. With most cooled cameras, you are limited in altitude before the camera hits the base.  On your GEM, this will not be an issue.

 

However, cooled cameras do have other advantages. Master flats can be really useful for EAA (not just for AP) especially on setups like mine with horrible vignetting. Sharp Cap makes it trivial to create and use flats. But, my understanding is that they should be temperature matched to light frames and this can only really be done with a cooled camera. This is probably not a big issue for EAA but it might be if you ever want to do long exposure AP. Just something to consider when spending 100's of dollars on a camera.

Regarding the Revolution  that Bob mentioned - If you are still undecided about EAA, then the R2 might be  cheap way to get your feet wet and it is self-contained so you don't even need a computer. But if you are pretty much decided on EAA, I wouldn't waste any time on the R2. I bought one originally for a first step and was entirely disappointed. But others have had pretty good results so I guess it is all about expectations.


Edited by descott12, 12 May 2019 - 08:09 PM.


#19 Cobalt5120

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 09:03 PM

Bob:

Thanks.  I gave video astronomy a try with a Mallincam Micro EX Super HAD II camera several years back.  I had a really tough time getting any object I wanted to observe centered and the FOV seemed really tiny so I just sold it here on CN.

 

Dave:

My guess is I am NOT going to get into the longer exposure aspect of astrophotography.  Should my AVX kick the bucket I will probably go next with an ALT/AZ goto which my understanding can work with EAA since it is short exposures.  I also think I am going to go with the more expensive cooled 294 because my guess is there will be a a bigger market should I decide to sell it if EAA doesn't pan out.  If it works out for me, the extra $300 will probably be worth in the long run.

 

smile.gif



#20 bobhen

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 07:27 AM

Bob:

Thanks.  I gave video astronomy a try with a Mallincam Micro EX Super HAD II camera several years back.  I had a really tough time getting any object I wanted to observe centered and the FOV seemed really tiny so I just sold it here on CN.

 

 

 

smile.gif

If you can’t get an object in the field with a C8 working at F3.3 or maybe F2 and a GOTO mount then any kind of imaging (except maybe really extreme wide field with camera lenses) may not be for you.

 

Although relatively expensive, you might want to look into doing Night Vision astronomy using an image intensifier. Night Vision is as close to visual as you can get. No power, no polar alignment and you don’t even need a powered mount, and intensifiers are as easy to use as an eyepiece.

 

HERE is a website with more info.

 

Bob



#21 t_image

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 10:44 AM

Thanks.  I gave video astronomy a try with a Mallincam Micro EX Super HAD II camera several years back.  I had a really tough time getting any object I wanted to observe centered and the FOV seemed really tiny so I just sold it here on CN......

FWIW,

I have a AVX but never really use GOTO to move to a target. (arrow keys only)

 

I have a piggy back setup with two very sensitive cameras (MILC types).

One I have connected to my usual "finderscope" lens, 85mm f/1.4 lens,

The main optic is usually my 500mm f/4.5 beast, I sometimes adding a tele 2x/3x if desired.

Both camera's live outputs are routed via HDMI cables to a large display.

My display allows both split-screen and input switching, so from the comfort of my control station I can view the "finderscope" scene, move the AVX hand controller, and compare the display with my tablet running Stellarium to quickly navigate to my desired target....

Once pinpointing my target and framing in main optics{I can physically rotate the lens/camera easily on the lens's foot), I can do whatever with my main feed, with straight to display high ISO 4K viewing,

or via HDMI capture card to laptop with Sharpcap.....

 

Just throwing it out there that even a RII low res camera with a portable display connected to a fast "finderscope" could help one get on target with their main scope EAA style......



#22 Cobalt5120

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 01:05 PM

... so from the comfort of my control station I can view the "finderscope" scene, move the AVX hand controller, and compare the display with my tablet running Stellarium to quickly navigate to my desired target....

Can you use plate solving with your setup if necessary?

 

I can control the AVX using Stellarium myself but the two are not always "perfectly" aligned.  If I recall, I would move to where I thought the target should be, and not seeing the target, wasn't quite sure which way to move and due to the small FOV, looking at the screen just gave me no idea where to go next.

 

With the ZWO camera and sharpcap, I am "hoping", that when lost, I can do some plate solving with the current image to reorient myself.  At least thats my hope.



#23 nic35

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 05:37 PM

Plate solving with sharpcap is a game changer.  centering objects is a piece of cake.  No need to "hope".  Just do!

 

john


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