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Critique My Equipment Choices (Gently)

beginner equipment refractor
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#1 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:06 PM

New Guy here. Newcomer to a telescope, but fairly acquainted with the skies. Well, I'm not well aquainted with objects in the sky, but I am acquainted with driving hours searching for immersion in darkness, sitting around for hours watching the sky change, surprising myself at the amount of vehicle gas used, and going back home with memories that don't fade as fast as magnitude 14 stars in Bortle 7 skies.

I think it's time the sky and I took it to the next level. wink.gif

 

I've narrowed my telescope search to an Explorer Scientific Carbon Fiber Refractor with F/7.5 127mm FCD100 glass (triplet). LET'S ALL GIVE A CHEER FOR GALILEO! I considered reflector telescopes and the various configurations and shapes of primary mirrors and secondary mirrors, but they don't seem to fit the bill for my interests at the moment. Mark my words. I will own a 16in or greater Dobsonian one day! (Cheers to wishful thinking). Catadioptrics have a bit too much focal length for my needs with beginner AP.

 

This is a long term investment, because this refractor will be my only scope for the foreseeable future, which will consist of learning the sky, visual astronomy, short exposure AP with tracking (unguided), and image processing. I'll look into guiding systems when the time is right, but there's much to learn about the sky visually, imaging, and image processing before guiding becomes a necessary skill. It's not the best visual scope (immediate future is visual astronomy) given its aperture compared to reflectors, but it's an improvement over 8x, 50mm binoculars! It's not the best scope for a beginner AP; however, I would rather not purchase two scopes, and trials and tribulations rarely drive me away from a hobby or skills that requires patience and fortitude. This scope fits the bill for my start with visual astronomy (biggest aperture that I can afford) while being very apt for AP with inherent growing pains.  

 

The carbon fiber version cuts weight to 12lbs, which will allow me to use the Explorer Scientific EXOS-2GT with PMC-Eight mount. This mount is a budget mount, but after reviewing its functionality, I love it! 30lb payload capacity. ASCOM compliant. Belt driven with PEC. Memory drive to save settings. Wireless. 8 CPU processors. King tracking rates. 2 inch steel tripod legs with spiked feet. Bubble level (thankful). Illuminated polar scope. 2-star and 3-star alignment. It's accompanying app is open-source (my favorite aspect). Sorry, this is not a commercial. I may upgrade to a better mount in the future when I dive into guided AP, but I'll have to see how the EXOS-2GT performs first. I really don't want to forgo the open-source aspect of the ExploreStars app. 

 

I also added items to accompany the above investment (basic items):

 

1. Farpoint 2 inch laser collimator with 2 inch Cheshire eyepiece. I will use the laser to ensure the focuser is centered and use the Cheshire to ensure that the lenses are centered and collimated.

2. Orion Q70 38mm and 26mm eyepieces with Celestron 2.5X Barlow lens. This will give me 6 different magnifications depending on the location of the Barlow lens. Red LED headlamp. I'm still learning about vignetting and exit pupils of eyepieces. Any knowledge on the topic would be appreciated. Shorter focal length eyepieces = smaller exit pupils. 

3. USB Dew Heater. 20000mAh external battery.

4. Lens wipes, microfiber cloth, and a glorified turkey baster for air blowing.

 

Items you might think are missing:

Case; I have a padded guitar bag, in which I will add bubble wrap, or I will cut the original material from the scope's packing to fit into the bag. 

Finder scope; I'm going to go without one for the time being. This will add to the required skill of acquiring a target. 

Sky Map: Google will suffice. Plus I really enjoy just surfing around the sky. 

 

 

Let me know what you think!


Edited by FocusedNaim, 25 August 2019 - 12:07 PM.


#2 PirateMike

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:25 PM

You should put the cost of the Explorer Scientific Carbon Fiber Refractor with F/7.5 127mm FCD100 towards a mount and get a short telescope.

 

Guiding is not required for AP, but it does limit you considerably. Buy a guide setup and learn to use it.

 

If your doing AP you don't need a finder scope, just use a plate solver.

 

 

 

I think you need to do a lot more research before you decide to spend a load of cash on things you don't need... like a Farpoint 2 inch laser collimator.

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 25 August 2019 - 12:25 PM.

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#3 Jeff Lee

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:49 PM

He wants to do visual, 5" is about as small as I would go for that. It is an all round scope unlike the 80mm and smaller used in starting AP.



#4 Eddgie

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:56 PM

The carbon fiber version cuts weight to 12lbs, which will allow me to use the Explorer Scientific EXOS-2GT with PMC-Eight mount.

Hello FocusedNaim,

 

Please do not take this as anything but constructive.

 

I am not sure where you got the 12 lb weight from,  and while I have not owned the FCD 100 version of this scope, I did own the original carbon fiber version, and all up, (rings, dovetail and finder), the scope was closer to 16 lbs than to 12 lbs.

 

I would ask some owners to weigh the scope to get an accurate read.

 

The reason that this is important is that I think the EXOS-2GT is probably better suited to a 4" ED doublet than a 5" triplet.  The triplets tend to be front heavy and will ride with the focuser back further than a lighter 102mm ED, and this means that to get to the eyepiece, the legs will have to be fully extended (and even then, you will probably need an adjustable chair for viewing at zenith).  When the legs are extended far enough to do this, these mounts will loose a lot of stability. 

 

I had my 127 on a Sirius EQG and I thought that while it worked OK, it was kind of at the limit of what that mount could hold.  Focusing caused the scope to oscillate for several seconds. 

 

So, I would try to get an accurate figure on the weight, and while Explore Scientific says the carry capacity is 28 lbs, I just feel like from my own experience with these size mounts, that capacity is probably overstated in terms of what the mount can carry and avoid excessive dampening times.

For visual only it might be OK, I would encourage to post in the Mount forum or here about experience from others that use this scope and this mount. 


Edited by Eddgie, 25 August 2019 - 12:58 PM.


#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:57 PM

A fine setup for visual astronomy.  Hopefully the following is gentle.  It's certainly intended to be helpful.

 

It's difficult to convey just how different imaging DSOs is.  Even moreso, learning how to image DSOs.  First the problem, than two good and relatively inexpensive solutions.

 

The long exposure camera is completely different than your eyes.  It works because of that difference.  Your short exposure eyes need a big scope to gather light fast, but hooked to a smart brain, they compensate for small motions.  Dumb .005mm pixels exposing for orders of magnitudes longer don't need a big scope, what they need is extremely precise tracking.  1/1000 of an inch error, no image.

 

This turns things upside down.  The mount (guided) is now the most important thing.   The big scope is a liability for several reasons.  The two chief beginner mistakes are using too marginal a mount, and too big a scope.  Doing both is a serious problem, one that may discourage you altogether.

 

Here's a talented beginner, looking back on his first year.  It's the reality.

 

"First and foremost is listen to the folks who have been there. The philosophy of 80MM APO and good $1500-2000 mount is great advice for beginners. Sure you can possibly <learn to> image as a beginner with something that is larger or that you may have but holy cow its hard enough with something small."

 

Holy cow, it is.  <smile>

 

The solution, costing much less than the 80mm and the $1500 (you could get away with $1200) mount.  When you're ready to try imaging, don't use the 127.  Something shorter, lighter, and faster will be much better.  Like a camera with a lens, an excellent choice.  You may have one already.  Or a tiny scope (the EXOS can't handle much more for imaging). 

 

https://optcorp.com/...ptics-redcat-51

 

This book will be very helpful.  Another beginner mistake is thinking this is all about equipment.   Dustin Johnson's clubs will not put you on the PGA tour.  <grin>

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470906


Edited by bobzeq25, 25 August 2019 - 01:09 PM.

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#6 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:57 PM

You should put the cost of the Explorer Scientific Carbon Fiber Refractor with F/7.5 127mm FCD100 towards a mount and get a short telescope.

 

Guiding is not required for AP, but it does limit you considerably. Buy a guide setup and learn to use it.

 

If your doing AP you don't need a finder scope, just use a plate solver.

 

 

 

I think you need to do a lot more research before you decide to spend a load of cash on things you don't need... like a Farpoint 2 inch laser collimator.

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

I've done alot of research. I've heard that focusers can be out of alignment with the objective; therefore, a laser collimator can ensure that it is centered. 

 

Sure, you can just collimate the objective to "correct" / cancel the effects of an unaligned focuser, but that is not really fixing the issue of alignment. Plus, a laser collimator is a useful tool. It's a laser! 

 

The cheshire tool can correct lens centering and collimation, but not focuser alignment as far as I know. 



#7 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:04 PM

He wants to do visual, 5" is about as small as I would go for that. It is an all round scope unlike the 80mm and smaller used in starting AP.

Hey Jeff, after much research, this is the conclusion that I came too as well. I want to avoid buying two scopes. The 5in aperature is respectable for my type of visual astronomy. I came from binoculars so I think that I will greatly enjoy this telescope for visual work. If my (127*127) / (50 * 50) = 6.45 more light gathering. A narrower field of view, yes, but I can live with that. I don't need to see certain objects or planets just yet, I really enjoy just seeing the immensity of what is around this Earth.

 

That being said, I enjoy the prospects and discipline of astrophotography. The ES scope would serve very well as an AP scope once I get through the growing pains. 

 

I believe Miguel thinks that I'm hopping straight into AP, but I am not. There's no rush for me. I have prerequisite skills to gain first.  



#8 Eddgie

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:08 PM

As a followup to me previous post if you are going to use this for visual only, consider a high quality Alt-az mount like the Stellarvue M2 on a heavy tripod. 

 

https://www.stellarv...e-mount-system/

 

I think the mount you are looking at is not might be ok for visual, but my bet is that it would not future-proof you for AP and selling the mount would result in a big loss.


Edited by Eddgie, 25 August 2019 - 01:17 PM.

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#9 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:09 PM

Hello FocusedNaim,

 

Please do not take this as anything but constructive.

 

I am not sure where you got the 12 lb weight from,  and while I have not owned the FCD 100 version of this scope, I did own the original carbon fiber version, and all up, (rings, dovetail and finder), the scope was closer to 16 lbs than to 12 lbs.

 

I would ask some owners to weigh the scope to get an accurate read.

 

The reason that this is important is that I think the EXOS-2GT is probably better suited to a 4" ED doublet than a 5" triplet.  The triplets tend to be front heavy and will ride with the focuser back further than a lighter 102mm ED, and this means that to get to the eyepiece, the legs will have to be fully extended (and even then, you will probably need an adjustable chair for viewing at zenith).  When the legs are extended far enough to do this, these mounts will loose a lot of stability. 

 

I had my 127 on a Sirius EQG and I thought that while it worked OK, it was kind of at the limit of what that mount could hold.  Focusing caused the scope to oscillate for several seconds. 

 

So, I would try to get an accurate figure on the weight, and while Explore Scientific says the carry capacity is 28 lbs, I just feel like from my own experience with these size mounts, that capacity is probably overstated in terms of what the mount can carry and avoid excessive dampening times.

For visual only it might be OK, I would encourage to post in the Mount forum or here about experience from others that use this scope and this mount. 

I feel graced by you comment Eddgie. I've been surfing these forums for a while and I've seen your responses everywhere. Thank.

 

Hmm, I will do more research on this topic. Thanks for the heads up. It's a MAJOR factor in my decisions. 



#10 bobzeq25

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:18 PM

Hey Jeff, after much research, this is the conclusion that I came too as well. I want to avoid buying two scopes. The 5in aperature is respectable for my type of visual astronomy. I came from binoculars so I think that I will greatly enjoy this telescope for visual work. If my (127*127) / (50 * 50) = 6.45 more light gathering. A narrower field of view, yes, but I can live with that. I don't need to see certain objects or planets just yet, I really enjoy just seeing the immensity of what is around this Earth.

 

That being said, I enjoy the prospects and discipline of astrophotography. The ES scope would serve very well as an AP scope once I get through the growing pains. 

 

I believe Miguel thinks that I'm hopping straight into AP, but I am not. There's no rush for me. I have prerequisite skills to gain first.  

It's not a matter of skill. 

 

At the risk of being repetitive.  Everyone doing this would like just one scope.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a good scope for visual that will also be effective for learning AP of DSOs.  They're completely different activities, and the large scope is simply the wrong tool for the job of learning AP.  It's like a professional photographer who needs a long telephoto for photographing a professional soccer game, and a wide angle for an indoor wedding.  He simply has to have two lenses.

 

Getting through the going pains is far better done with shorter, lighter, and faster optics.  You'll learn this complicated hobby much faster and better.  Have more fun along the way.  Be emailing images to your friends sooner.  <smile> Another cautionary quote.  These are not me, I collect them to better advise beginners.

 

"I keep running into people who have tried starting out in imaging with big beautiful instruments with longer focal lengths who have had all kinds of frustration - and sometimes sell the equipment because it just isn't worth it.

 

The ones who switch to something like a good 80mm refractor are often suddenly far happier and enjoying life!"


Edited by bobzeq25, 25 August 2019 - 01:24 PM.

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#11 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:23 PM

A fine setup for visual astronomy.  Hopefully the following is gentle.  It's certainly intended to be helpful.

 

It's difficult to convey just how different imaging DSOs is.  Even moreso, learning how to image DSOs.  First the problem, than two good and relatively inexpensive solutions.

 

The long exposure camera is completely different than your eyes.  It works because of that difference.  Your short exposure eyes need a big scope to gather light fast, but hooked to a smart brain, they compensate for small motions.  Dumb .005mm pixels exposing for orders of magnitudes longer don't need a big scope, what they need is extremely precise tracking.  1/1000 of an inch error, no image.

 

This turns things upside down.  The mount (guided) is now the most important thing.   The big scope is a liability for several reasons.  The two chief beginner mistakes are using too marginal a mount, and too big a scope.  Doing both is a serious problem, one that may discourage you altogether.

 

Here's a talented beginner, looking back on his first year.  It's the reality.

 

"First and foremost is listen to the folks who have been there. The philosophy of 80MM APO and good $1500-2000 mount is great advice for beginners. Sure you can possibly <learn to> image as a beginner with something that is larger or that you may have but holy cow its hard enough with something small."

 

Holy cow, it is.  <smile>

 

The solution, costing much less than the 80mm and the $1500 (you could get away with $1200) mount.  When you're ready to try imaging, don't use the 127.  Something shorter, lighter, and faster will be much better.  Like a camera with a lens, an excellent choice.  You may have one already.  Or a tiny scope (the EXOS can't handle much more for imaging). 

 

https://optcorp.com/...ptics-redcat-51

 

This book will be very helpful.  Another beginner mistake is thinking this is all about equipment.   Dustin Johnson's clubs will not put you on the PGA tour.  <grin>

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470906

Hi Bobzeq25, nice to hear from you too. I respect you comments a lot. You are genuinely giving great advice. 

 

I'm hesitant to move away from this mount solely due to its functionality and open-source app. Are there other mounts with open-source capabilities? I have strongly considered the Skywatcher EQ6r-Pro. 

The big brother to the EXOS-2GT PMC is the G11, but that's $3600.  I have a garmin vivoactive watch, which has an app store. I wouldn't have achieved much of what I have with running without some of those user programs. Open-source is a major factor in my decision with that mount. 

 

I would have no problem going for the EQ6r-Pro if it had some of the open source capabilities. 



#12 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:27 PM

It's not a matter of skill. 

 

At the risk of being repetitive.  Everyone doing this would like just one scope.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a good scope for visual that will also be effective for learning AP of DSOs.  They're completely different activities, and the large scope is simply the wrong tool for the job of learning AP.  It's like a professional photographer who needs a long telephoto for photographing a professional soccer game, and a wide angle for an indoor wedding.  He simply has to have two lenses.

 

Getting through the going pains is far better done with shorter, lighter, and faster optics.  You'll learn this complicated hobby much faster and better.  Have more fun along the way.  Be emailing images to your friends sooner.  <smile> Another cautionary quote.  These are not me, I collect them to better advise beginners.

 

"I keep running into people who have tried starting out in imaging with big beautiful instruments with longer focal lengths who have had all kinds of frustration - and sometimes sell the equipment because it just isn't worth it.

 

The ones who switch to something like a good 80mm refractor are often suddenly far happier and enjoying life!"

I am open to your suggestions, because you are more experienced than me. Would you care to answer a few questions after I reassess my choices? A reassessment does not mean I will change my current choices, but I will consider your thoughts, because you've taken the time to respond to me. 

 

I am all for a quality mount investment. One mount to handle them all! The Ash Ketchum of mounts. The Atlas of mounts would be more apt. Considering Eddgie's statement about the payload capacity of the EXOS-2GT PMC, I will look into this further. I would still appreciate knowledge about open-source software for mounts. THAT IS A MAJOR CONCERN FOR ME. 

 

1. I understand that no scope fits all the bills, and a smaller refractor would be easier for a beginner photographer. I've read you comments on the matter extensively in the forums; however, I intend to compromise: increased difficulty / stunted growth of learning AP, but the ability to have an aperture and focal length that will allow me to use the scope visually. This is really against my wishes, but I will reassess my choices.

 

Considering the ES 127mm FCD100 scope is $2200 and EXOS 2GT PMC is $700 = $2900. My new mount range is $1400 (looking at EQ6-R Pro, Orion Atlas, and iOptron 30s, OTHER                RECOMMENDATIONS?...*I'm not yelling, I just want to ensure you read these areas*); therefore, I can get two scopes for a total of $1500 for two scopes. Considering the RedCat is $700. That leaves me with $800 for a fat Newtonian or a slim Newtonian and the RedCat, which is jumping into AP faster than I intended. 

 

2. As far as I can tell from many imaging processing videos that I've watched, many people crop their images after taking them.

 

Why not just get a longer focal length (no crop) and aperture to capture more light? Sure a faster focal ratio means faster subs (think about the sun, magnifier, and the ant analogy), but the larger aperture literally means more light capture. 

 

3. When reassessing my options, I'm jumping into AP sooner than I expect. With the reassessment including the 51mm RedCat, will I need to consider purchasing an autoguider? I want to avoid getting an auto-guider, because once I move to a bigger scope, the 51mm will be my autoguider. Is there an autoguider that will fit into a finder scope then into the back of the RedCat as well? Can the RedCat be used as an auto-guider at all?


Edited by FocusedNaim, 25 August 2019 - 02:48 PM.


#13 bobzeq25

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:00 PM

I am open to your suggestions, because you are more experienced than me. Would you care to answer a few questions after I reassess my choices? A reassessment does not mean I will change my current choices, but I will consider your thoughts, because you've taken the time to respond to me. 

 

I am all for a quality mount investment. One mount to handle them all! The Ash Ketchum of mounts. The Atlas of mounts would be more apt. Considering Eddgie's statement about the payload capacity of the EXOS-2GT PMC, I will look into this further. I would still appreciate knowledge about open-source software for mounts. THAT IS A MAJOR CONCERN FOR ME. 

 

1. I understand that no scope fits all the bills, and a smaller refractor would be easier for a beginner photographer. I've read you comments on the matter extensively in the forums; however, I intend to compromise: increased difficulty / stunted growth of learning AP, but the ability to have an aperture and focal length that will allow me to use the scope visually. This is really against my wishes, but I will reassess my choices.

 

Considering the ES 127mm FCD100 scope is $2200 and EXOS 2GT PMC is $700 = $2900. My new mount range is $1400 (looking at EQ6-R Pro, Orion Atlas, and iOptron 30s, OTHER                RECOMMENDATIONS?...*I'm not yelling, I just want to ensure you read these areas*); therefore, I can get two scopes for a total of $1500 for two scopes. Considering the RedCat is $700. That leaves me with $800 for a fat Newtonian or a slim Newtonian and the RedCat, which is jumping into AP faster than I intended. 

 

2. As far as I can tell from many imaging processing videos that I've watched, many people crop their images after taking them.

 

Why not just get a longer focal length (no crop) and aperture to capture more light? Sure a faster focal ratio means faster subs (think about the sun, magnifier, and the ant analogy), but the larger aperture literally means more light capture. 

 

3. When reassessing my options, I'm jumping into AP sooner than I expect. With the reassessment including the 51mm RedCat, will I need to consider purchasing an autoguider? I want to avoid getting an auto-guider, because once I move to a bigger scope, the 51mm will be my autoguider. Is there an autoguider that will fit into a finder scope then into the back of the RedCat as well? Can the RedCat be used as an auto-guider at all?

0.  Any mount you consider will have an ASCOM  driver.  ASCOM itself is open source, but that doesn't come into play.  A wide variety of third party software (commercial, small entrepreneur, open source) interfaces to the mount using ASCOM.

 

1.  Sirius/HEQ5 $1200.  Similar price and performance to the 30PRO.  What you lose is limited capacity for expansion.  The EQ6-R is the bargain choice.  The downside is that it's heavy.  A CEM40 has similar performance to _that_, at half the weight.  Unfortunately it's above your budget.

 

2.  The Redcat would be a fine tool for getting into AP.  With the mounts above, a wide variety of 60-80mm scopes would also work well, the Redcat was intended to be what you could put on the EXOS. 

 

3.  The Redcat would make an excellent autoguider.   You use it as is, a number of standard autoguiding cameras have a 1.25 form factor, just like an eyepiece.  The ASI120MM mini is both cheap and excellent. I started with a William Optics 66, that I then transitioned to autoguider.  With an older 120MM.

 

The larger aperture does indeed capture more light, that's the pro.  But the cons for starting out with one dramatically outweigh that.  The big one is tracking.  Difficulty with tracking goes up with focal length, and it's far from linear.  Twice the focal length is way more than twice as hard.  Also, the big scope makes any number of things in learning AP harder, which is why a number of us (and many experts) recommend against them as a first scope.  A nasty one is that it makes diagnosing issues hard.   There will be issues <smile>, a common beginner post is "what am I doing wrong?".

 

Also, the increased light gathering ability is significantly less important than it is in visual.  Two different things.  <smile>

 

Minor points.  A good mount is versatile, can do both visual and AP.   I rarely crop, beyond a minor one to eliminate edge artifacts.  I like images that put smaller targets into context, like the one below, which used 400mm focal length.  Cropping to increase the size of the target is equivalent to digital zoom.  The loss in quality is large.  Just as imaging is not like visual, astrophotography is not like terrestrial photography.  You're trying to tease a tiny signal from a sea of unwanted noise.

 

Acquisition details, and a better (sharper) version here.  Hover your mouse over it, and you'll see some (not all) of the small galaxies also captured.  Click on it for a larger version, look at the upper left corner.  Would have been a shame to crop those off.

 

http://www.astrobin....3196/B/?nc=user

 

M13 2nd V3.jpg


Edited by bobzeq25, 25 August 2019 - 04:11 PM.

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#14 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:23 PM

Next question:

 

$829 Gran Turismo 71mm. Comes with a carry case, bahtinov mask.

 

$879 ES 80mm FCD100. Comes with a star diagonal. 

 

Which one?

 

I'm steering away from the RedCat, becuase it seems too weird. I'm not sure what threads I can use. Plus, I would prefer the larger aperture and more standard shape of the above-listed scopes.



#15 FocusedNaim

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:52 PM

@Bobzeq25, I'm moving foward with:

 

1. WILLIAM OPTICS GRAN TURISMO 71 APO REFRACTOR with Flat6AIII field flattener (sorry for the caps, copy and paste)

 

2. SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro

 

3. Laser and cheshire 2 inch collimation kit. 

 

3. USB Dew Heater, External Battery, Cleaning Supplies (Lens wipes, microfiber cloth, air blower), LED Red Headlamp

 

Could you help me with the rest of the equipment?

 

Imaging Camera (monochrome. what are the specifics of monochrome, adding a filter wheel and most post processing jazz?)

Guide Scope

Guide Camera

Software (this is where I am completely clueless). 

Other equipment?

 

 

I really wanted to avoid having to buy a guide scope and camera for this scope. 


Edited by FocusedNaim, 25 August 2019 - 04:59 PM.


#16 bobzeq25

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:59 PM

Next question:

 

$829 Gran Turismo 71mm. Comes with a carry case, bahtinov mask.

 

$879 ES 80mm FCD100. Comes with a star diagonal. 

 

Which one?

 

I'm steering away from the RedCat, becuase it seems too weird. I'm not sure what threads I can use. Plus, I would prefer the larger aperture and more standard shape of the above-listed scopes.

You need to understand my focus here.  It's about what the best tools are for learning this complicated art.  From that standpoint, either would be good.  I slightly prefer the quality of the WO GT71, things like the focuser.  But it's a minor thing.

 

@Bobzeq25, I'm moving foward with:

 

1. WILLIAM OPTICS GRAN TURISMO 71 APO REFRACTOR with Flat6AIII field flattener (sorry for the caps, copy and paste)

 

2. SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro

 

3. Laser and cheshire 2 inch collimation kit. 

 

3. USB Dew Heater, External Battery, Cleaning Supplies (Lens wipes, microfiber cloth, air blower), LED Red Headlamp

 

Could you help me with the rest of the equipment?

 

Imaging Camera (monochrome. what are the specifics of monochrome, adding a filter wheel and most post processing jazz?)

Guide Scope

Guide Camera

Software (this is where I am completely clueless). 

Other equipment?

 

 

I really wanted to avoid having to buy a guide scope and camera for this scope. 

Good stuff.

 

If you have a DSLR with Liveview and an available intervalometer (or if it's pretty much any recent Canon or Nikon), that would work.  The big chip makes things easier.

 

If not you can get a Nikon D5300/D5500/D5600 new for $500 or so.  Used for less.

 

The next step up is a _cooled_ astrospecific one shot color camera.  The ASI294 is $1000.  If you don't get cooled, there's little advantage over a DSLR.

 

Monochrome plus filters opens up more possibilities.  The real drawback is the expense, an ASI1600 with a filter wheel and modest filters is $1500.

 

I use all three options at various times.

 

Guide scope.  I use this. 

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B015VUPS2I/

 

The guidescope is relatively non-critical.  What is critical is mounting it securely.  Differential flexure between the two scopes is really easy, and a nasty problem.  Your guide graph looks fine, your stars don't.  Avoid using a finder shoe.

 

The inexpensive and good guide camera is that ASI 120MM mini.

 

I went unguided for the first few months.  Bright targets, high ISO, 30 second exposures.  It rapidly became clear that guiding would be a significant improvement.

 

Software.  Most everyone uses PhD2 for guiding.  Stacking/processing software choices are all over the map.  I recommend Astro Pixel Processor.  It both stacks and processes, relatively easy to learn (processing is more than half the game, and it's never really easy), and quite competent.

 

Camera control.  I started using a simple intervalometer and recording the data on the in camera chip.  Backyard EOS or BackyardNikon are popular.  Sharpcap is a relatively easy and very competent way of controlling an astro specific camera.

 

There are a variety of data acquisition suites, but I think they're a complication you don't need real soon.


Edited by bobzeq25, 25 August 2019 - 07:01 PM.


#17 FocusedNaim

FocusedNaim

    Sputnik

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 05:03 PM

Thank you PirateMike, Jeff, Eddgie, and Bobz for all the knowledge and wisdom!


Edited by FocusedNaim, 28 August 2019 - 05:08 PM.


#18 Phil Cowell

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 07:23 PM

Hi Bobzeq25, nice to hear from you too. I respect you comments a lot. You are genuinely giving great advice. 

 

I'm hesitant to move away from this mount solely due to its functionality and open-source app. Are there other mounts with open-source capabilities? I have strongly considered the Skywatcher EQ6r-Pro. 

The big brother to the EXOS-2GT PMC is the G11, but that's $3600.  I have a garmin vivoactive watch, which has an app store. I wouldn't have achieved much of what I have with running without some of those user programs. Open-source is a major factor in my decision with that mount. 

 

I would have no problem going for the EQ6r-Pro if it had some of the open source capabilities. 

EQMOD is open source. It’s the best way to control the EQ6r-Pro. For image run control there is NINA again open source. Your getting some fine advice from the others here. It’s a huge learning curve and the easier you make things for yourself with your choices the happier you’ll be.


Edited by Phil Cowell, 29 August 2019 - 03:20 AM.

  • bobzeq25 likes this


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