Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Opinions on potential first Observing/AP setup

beginner equipment
  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 trifecta00

trifecta00

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 5
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2019

Posted 18 October 2019 - 01:27 PM

Hi all.  I hope this is the right place to post this...  I'm a noob who will likely buy his first noobtube in the next month.  My goals:  #1) Observe and learn the night sky (hop and enjoy w/ a scope), #2) stay within a reasonable starting budget (~2,000 USD or less if possible) and #3) have considerable flexibility w/ the initial investment for future expansion of this hobby (i.e. AP) that I think I will really love.  With that in mind, and after considerable reading/watching/chatting, I have been thinking about the following setup to start my adventure into astronomy and later astrophotography....

 

Scope:  Orion Astrograph 8" Reflector

Tri/Mount:  EQ6-R (yes it's big but it gives me significant flexibility on future scope upgrades)

 

Perhaps early next year, the following (budget 1000-1500 USD):

 

DSLR:  Used Canon t2i to t7i, AP modded (where/who?)

Guide scope:  ???

Other:  Coma Corrector, software, etc...

 

Questions: Do you think this is a good approach?  Should I consider other equipment in place of what I have listed?  Is the budget reasonable to achieve my goals?  Is the tripod/mount too aggressive?  Other insights?

 

Thanks!!!

 

 

 



#2 SilverLitz

SilverLitz

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 271
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Louisville, KY

Posted 18 October 2019 - 02:13 PM

Very good choice on the EQ6-R, a very high bang/buck mount.

 

8" Newtonian will be a challenge, as it is a large wind-catcher and the ~800mm FL (assuming ~f/4) could pose difficulty guiding.  At least it is a Astrograph, as most Newtonian will NOT achieve prime focus.  Its advantage is that is relatively fast, as which will allow you to keep your subs short.  Newts will give you the biggest light bucket for the smallest cost, but do not have the contrast or easy of use of refractors.

 

The standard suggestion by most is 350-600mm APO refractor for AP.  These will be lighter, less susceptible to wind, and easier to balance with a camera, all of which will be much easier to accurately guide for the the longer exposures.  The shorter FLs are also better for most DSO targets, which are too large for longer FLs.  You will want the APO to have a field flattner, unless it is a Petzval design (generally 4-5 elements) which produce a flat field natively.

 

If you do not already have a DSLR, I would go directly to a cooled astrocam.  Last year, when I started with my Canon 7Dmk2 (which I already owned), but  this year I jumped to a cooled mono astrocam with filters, and it is MUCH better.  A OSC astrocam will be cheaper and initially easier than mono & filterwheel, but it does not have the advantage of shooting narrow band.  When looking at the cameras, consider the size of DSO objects you want to shoot and the FL of the scope, focusing of field of view (X by Y in arcmin) and image scale (arcsec / pixel) .  Astrocams will require you to use a laptop to control with capture software, such as APT, SGP, or NINA, but you will want to go that route anyway to take advantage of platesolving.

 

I am a newbie, but CN has many more experienced folks which will gladly share their experience.


Edited by SilverLitz, 18 October 2019 - 02:18 PM.

  • trifecta00 likes this

#3 kathyastro

kathyastro

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 899
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2016
  • Loc: Nova Scotia

Posted 18 October 2019 - 02:28 PM

I started out with a very similar rig, for similar objectives.  You will be fine!

 

Good to see that you are going with the EQ6.  I used the HEQ5, and found it a bit too small for the f/4 Astrograph. 

 

You won't have any trouble guiding.  Any of the mini guiders (50x162) will work.  Remove the Astrograph's finder and install the guider in its place.  That will save on total weight. 

 

Don't feel that you have to get a guider right away.  Especially since you are just starting out, it is good to get used to unguided imaging first.  That will build your polar alignment skills.  Then, when you do move up to guiding, your results will be that much better.

 

If it's the f/4 Astrograph you are getting, a coma corrector is not optional!  The f/5 scope might be a little more forgiving, but will still benefit from a coma corrector.

 

For visual use, the f/4 Astrograph is a fine scope, but it does want good quality eyepieces.  Avoid "*70" eyepieces (W70, Q70, etc).  Not that they aren't good quality, but they are not designed for Newtonians.  The field curvature is wrong for a Newt, and the results look horrible.  A 68 degree eyepiece will provide almost the same AFOV, but the different optical design is more Newt-friendly.  My favourite eyepiece is a 27mm Panoptic.

 

As you can see from my equipment list, I still use the 8" f/4 as my main imaging scope.


Edited by kathyastro, 18 October 2019 - 02:30 PM.

  • AhBok, Stephen Kennedy and trifecta00 like this

#4 trifecta00

trifecta00

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 5
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2019

Posted 18 October 2019 - 04:00 PM

SilverLitz -- Thanks for the insights.  You have thoughts that I will definitely consider next year if AP is what I love to do and am willing to invest.  Thank you!!

 

Kathyastro -- So good to hear that I am not too far off on a possible starting rig.  You really hit on some of my thoughts.  Very much appreciate the insight on eyepieces as I did notice that the config didn't really include many options.  You have highlighted to me that I need to start reading up on and studying optics.  lol.gif   



#5 John Tucker

John Tucker

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 884
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2018

Posted 18 October 2019 - 06:56 PM

I like the reflector idea. It will take a little effort to get the spacing and collimating just right with a fast reflector but you'll really enjoy the extra speed, especially if you will be driving out to dark sites.

#6 View2

View2

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2203
  • Joined: 20 May 2016
  • Loc: Vancouver, WA USA

Posted 18 October 2019 - 07:01 PM

Refractors are the easiest telescope to use. Especially for Imaging. My first Imaging /viewing telescope was the explore scientific 127 Ed Apo. They are perhaps even better now with fpl53 glass. It's a great scope for viewing and for Imaging ( especially with a field flattener focal reducer). I would have suggested a faster 80mm or so wider field to start Imaging with but since you want to view and image f/7.5 is a good place to start with that you can add a focal reducer to get down around f/5.x or so.

Edited by View2, 18 October 2019 - 07:04 PM.


#7 AhBok

AhBok

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2010
  • Loc: Lakeland, TN

Posted 19 October 2019 - 04:12 PM

I have an F4 newt on an EQ6R Pro as well. It’s a great combination. As Kathy said, you will need a coma corrector, but that is not a big deal. I think you will be happier with the newt than any small ED refractor. Now, a nice triplet or quadruplet would be a keeper!

#8 View2

View2

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2203
  • Joined: 20 May 2016
  • Loc: Vancouver, WA USA

Posted 19 October 2019 - 04:50 PM

I have an F4 newt on an EQ6R Pro as well. It’s a great combination. As Kathy said, you will need a coma corrector, but that is not a big deal. I think you will be happier with the newt than any small ED refractor. Now, a nice triplet or quadruplet would be a keeper!


The ES127ED is a 5" triplet

Edited by View2, 19 October 2019 - 04:50 PM.

  • AhBok likes this

#9 AhBok

AhBok

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2010
  • Loc: Lakeland, TN

Posted 19 October 2019 - 06:52 PM

And I would happily trade with you! I should have stated “small ED doublet”!


Edited by AhBok, 19 October 2019 - 06:55 PM.


#10 View2

View2

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2203
  • Joined: 20 May 2016
  • Loc: Vancouver, WA USA

Posted 19 October 2019 - 09:33 PM

There are some pretty nice Apochromatic doublets also🔭

#11 RJF-Astro

RJF-Astro

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 136
  • Joined: 13 Aug 2018
  • Loc: Zeist, Netherlands

Posted 20 October 2019 - 04:20 AM

I think you are getting some sound advice on the F4 reflector. What I do not see mentioned is collimation. This will be required, so include collimation tools in your budget, such as a cheshire eyepiece. And spend time on learning how to do it, although do not overdo it when you start. There are some hefty collimation guides out there. But F4 will require collimation skills.

 

And that is a pro for the refractor, which is easier to use. Astrophotography is complex, so decreasing the number of factors that can lead to bad images helps in the learning process. This is why the short refractor gets recommendations when starting out. But either way is valid, and an 8 inch newt is nice for visual. Maybe add a cheaper 72ED doublet at some point, for easy imaging and a wider field.


Edited by RJF-Astro, 20 October 2019 - 04:22 AM.


#12 trifecta00

trifecta00

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 5
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2019

Posted 21 October 2019 - 01:29 PM

Loving and appreciating all of the insight everyone.  Thank you so much.  Based on the feedback, perhaps my path looks like this...  Start F4 reflector w/ EQ6-R with a few good eye pieces (including collimation)...  Improve at star hopping and enjoy learning the night sky....  Early 2020 add some AP gear (DSLR, comma corrector, guide scope, software, etc)....  Continue learning....  Maybe 2021, add a refractor (assuming I really enjoy AP) to my arsenal...  I can see how the expenditures really start adding up.  lol.gif  




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: beginner, equipment



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics