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Looking to get my first astro setup. Hope someone could look this over.

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#26 DrGomer

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 12:58 PM

Thanks all. Really appreciate the continued guidance.  I think I am good to go now for the early stuff.  Hope to be shooting photos sooner than later and will be able to elevate this discussion beyond the super basic fundamentals. Emails sent out about early purchase stuff (like the EQ6-R) :-D


 

While it’s not a major expense comparatively, I second the comment regarding dew control.  I was slow to adopt a proper dew solution and standing guard with my wife’s hair dryer got old fast.  Especially after she caught on.  smile.gif

I live at 7000ft in New Mexico.  It's bone dry most of the time, otherwise I'd push it up higher on priority.  

 

Here's the thing _not_ to miss.  Start taking the camera calibration frames from the start.  Bias, flats, darks.  

Question on this part. Since I'll be using a DSLR for some time, and the temperature is not constant like a cooled camera, and since I can shoot with very high shutter speeds with a DSLR (basically as if the lens cap is on in darkness compared to the multi minute light exposures,) should I be shooting bias frames after every light frame to get a dynamic read noise average for the evening?  I know that the noise changes with sensor temperature and I won't be able to easily capture dynamic darks noise, but I though I could maybe with the bias. 



#27 the Elf

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:03 PM

Some help to get you stared:

get this book: https://www.amazon.c...,aps,394&sr=8-1

1st edition also works

download stellarium, find the eye piece and camera simulation view at the upper right corner and enter focal length and sensor size to explore sizes of objects

Start with bright objects, the brighter the better.

For the calibration frames refer to the above book first. This goes into detail quickly. There are two schools: a) flats, bias and dark b) flats, flat darks and darks. There are programs that can scale darks to time (never to temperature!) and they require bias to do so. You can build a library of darks with different temperatures and durations. Check "preparing your first..." on my YouTube channel to see what I did. While many agree that flats are the most important of all, even more people recommend poor methods to take them (t-shirt, laptop screen). I agree to Bob regarding the calibration frames in general, and I would add, get a decent flat field. As long as you don't know what diameter your future scope will be, there is no point thinking about it now. When the object is bright and your processing skills are on beginner level you will probably not see the effect of darks. It is an important topic, but not the only one.

Are you starting right now, say with the next new moon? Do you have a list of objects you would like to try?


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#28 miwitte

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 03:38 PM

Here is what i wish i did thought you needed a 3k rig to do this. 

Phase 1 ($0): Super wide- Use my unmodified 6D + camera mount + 100 macro (flat field as far as I know) to do only short exposures. using the "500" rule, it means 5 sec max exposures.  Use free stacking software and Photoshop (I own an old version) or GIMP. Get good with learning the processing fundamentals. I can probably start having fun with this this weekend if my schedule allows.

 

While your trying to figure out hardware get some trials to the processing packages and use the sticky on top with really good data to try your hand at processing. This way you've really spent very little and you'll find out pretty quick if processing is for you. Its not easy, as Bob always says not intuitive. You have to learn flats and darks and bias and how to pre process and post process at some point you may as well have a feel for it before you acquire the data and dont know what to do with it.

 

I lurked around here for a while before buying and my path was to look at what most people were using for mounts, scope, acquisition software because in my mind if i had issues there were a lot of folks with the same stuff so someone would more than likely have run into it by now. Initially i was looking at a $1000 127MM scope and cheaper mount i went with a better mount and a $1000 80mm scope for the better quality. 

 

My initial combo was a EQ6-Pro, Stellarvue 80MM, my Nikon and Backyard Nikon. I got a ZWO guide scope and 120MM-S for guiding. $200 windows laptop off EBAY with PHD2, Cartes de Ceil, EQMOD, ASCOM and honestly i was up and guiding in a couple nights it was complete plug and play. its a lot easier to go with known combinations that folks have successfully imaged with over and over. 

 

The best course that we tell everyone is get the best mount you can, it should be at least 1/2 of you budget.


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#29 b.bill.p

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:42 PM

I am a newbie with 2 years of great astrophotography experience.  So here is my recommendation for AP:

Purchase the best mount available for rock solid tracking, I highly recommend the Celestron CGX for mechanical stability and hand controller compatibility.   Five minute unguided exposures are often possible and these last a lifetime too

 

 80mm  scope has about the right field of view so choose carefully, my recommendation is for A 80mm scope EDT elements.

 

An ASIAIR will not be needed with this mount, I highly recommend SkyFi III and the SKYFI app for pointing to complement the CGX data base

 

Thats a good start.  I also use ZWO for Prime OR tracking, Nikon and Panasonic Lumix G70 cameras for Prime AP.

 

I DO NOT OWN A CGX YET, Next month ......


Edited by b.bill.p, 22 September 2019 - 12:44 PM.


#30 DrFootleg

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 11:12 AM

Elf, you are spot on with what you are saying. The iOptron Smart EQ pro 3200 would be better to learn on but I assumed phase 2 could handle that. I guess it comes down to the re-usability of the equipment after phase 2. Does the Smart EQ mount now just set around not being used or is it used as a travel mount.

 

I have 3 levels of portability.

1) If I am going to a site for the purpose of AP I take the CGX. 

2) If I am going someplace for a different purpose but may do some AP I take the AVX (smaller and easier to carry around - similar to the Smart EQ)

3) If I am travelling on a plane or have no extra room I take the SkyGuider - It fits in a suitcase with a tripod and all my clothes - no extra bags

 

Which ever way you start, it is all fun.

Really interested in the iOptron Smart EQ pro 3200 vs SkyGuider. Almost the exact same price (if you put the SkyGuider on an existing tripod like a heavy duty photo-video tripod). The Smart EQ has dual axis drive and GoTo. The SkyGuider has RA axis drive only and is lighter (more portable). Only the Smart EQ quotes a resolution (0.5 arcsec). Which makes a better portable set up for an under 5KG payload (assuming taking in a car, not on a plane). Are both capable of the same precision with a guided setup?



#31 droe

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 11:28 AM

Really interested in the iOptron Smart EQ pro 3200 vs SkyGuider. Almost the exact same price (if you put the SkyGuider on an existing tripod like a heavy duty photo-video tripod). The Smart EQ has dual axis drive and GoTo. The SkyGuider has RA axis drive only and is lighter (more portable). Only the Smart EQ quotes a resolution (0.5 arcsec). Which makes a better portable set up for an under 5KG payload (assuming taking in a car, not on a plane). Are both capable of the same precision with a guided setup?

I do not own a iOptron Smart EQ pro 3200 but I would assume it is by far the better choice between the 2 mount if they are being used for the same role. It has goto, supports more weight and is far more sturdy (if using a camera tripod with the SkyGuider).

 

But I use my SkyGuider and AVX for different purposes. For wide-field images while hiking up a mountain I go SkyGuider all the way. If moving the mount around my yard to avoid some trees or I want to do a little visual astronomy, it is the AVX all the way.  

 

If you do not need ultra-portability, I would think the iOptron Smart EQ pro 3200 would definitely be the better choice. In saying that, I will add the SkyGuider is an awesome little tracker.


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#32 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 03:45 PM

 

Question on this part. Since I'll be using a DSLR for some time, and the temperature is not constant like a cooled camera, and since I can shoot with very high shutter speeds with a DSLR (basically as if the lens cap is on in darkness compared to the multi minute light exposures,) should I be shooting bias frames after every light frame to get a dynamic read noise average for the evening?  I know that the noise changes with sensor temperature and I won't be able to easily capture dynamic darks noise, but I though I could maybe with the bias. 

Bias can be shot at any time, and the temperature isn't important.  The exposure is too short to accumulate thermal noise.



#33 the Elf

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 10:37 PM

All I know is Nico's video and the result speaks for itself. Goto can be a great help for a beginner. An auto guider can be added to improve things if the budget for a real mount is not yet available and the guider can be used with the "real" mount later. Despite it's commercial success the AVX is too expensive to play with and to bad to image with. It is a beginners visual mount, capable for larger newtons with a tripod high enough for comfortable viewing but it is not made for photography. The iOptron mini mount is good to to get the feet wet and know what you let yourself in for for a reasonable price. One will run into it's limits soon but then know why to invest the money for .... an EQ6-R *grin*




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