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

Master Plan to Get Started

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 astronut17

astronut17

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2020
  • Loc: MA

Posted 20 February 2020 - 12:44 PM

Hello,

 

I am getting back into astronomy and AP is sucking me in.  I have done tons of research and understand the challenges.  I currently have NO equipment, but want to create a plan to progress without duplicating my equipment as much as possible for budgetary reasons.  I have posted in a couple of other places here for equipment considerations (not related to AP per se) and already received some great advice (like joining a club - which I am in the process of doing).

 

Here are my requirements:

 

- Need a good visual scope 

- Need it to be reasonably portable and easy to set up (no observatory)

- Good Planetary views suitable for Planetary AP

- Be suitable for future DSO AP ***** I realize that this adds a lot of wrinkles

 

I don't want to have to buy another scope or mount later until I decide to make a major upgrade in all of my equipment  - $$$

 

So Initially I was all into a C8 - but as I have read SCTs are not easy to do long exposures with (DSO) due to:

 - Weight of C8 would require a 40 LB mount (like a CGEM II) even though it can be purchased with an AVX 

 - Auto Guiding

 - Mirror Flop

 - Focal Length/F ratio

 - Collimation

 

..... so my thinking moved to a C6 on an AVX Goto EQ mount

- Lighter should be suitable for that mount (much less than 50% of capacity)

- Still gives good planetary views

- Assume less mirror flop due to smaller mirror?

- Collimation still an issue

- Still need auto-guiding

- When I am ready to start with the DSO imaging (won't be for awhile until I get used to my equipment, some visual and some planetary imaging) I can use a Night Owl FR to get to ~600m Focal Length at ~F4 - which seems doable for DSOs and comparable to some of the refractor configurations that I have seen

- First Camera I buy can be one for planetary and eventually use it for autoguiding (I think this is possible, again to save $)

- I have seen some good DSO images on Astrobin with the C6 and 6.3 and/or Night Owl FR - even some with Hyperstar (but $$)

 

I have even started practicing image processing by downloading some raw images and using all free software -  Registax/Gimp and DSS/Gimp for Planetary and DSO.  I highly recommend this - it's actually kind of fun. 

 

I really need to think this through and prevent me saying " Darn, why did I buy this?" down the road.  My thinking is that this is as close to a one scope solution as I can get that meets my requirements for a reasonable budget, realizing that there are some trade-offs that are unavoidable - I dunno - so much to think about, but the good news is I haven't spent anything yet.  Looking forward to feedback.

 

TIA,

 

Carl

 

 



#2 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,569
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:10 PM

The only advantage by getting the C6 instead of the C8 is a somewhat less expenditure and a slightly smaller tube. The "EdgeHD" models, available from the 8" size up, are IMHO a better purchase if plan to do deep sky AP with the telescope as have already some "facilitation"

Take note that the issue here is not much as the weight, rather the very demanding sampling due the 2000mm focal length and slow focal ratio (f/6.3 reducers can speed up considerably, but the focal is still around 1200mm and therefore rather demanding); it is not unheard of people using a c8 with the AVX mount for deep sky AP but, as far as I know, they usually knew already the trade when opted for such setup.

And while it is true that some may take a very step learning curve as a challenge, others prefer a more "cautious" approach so, usually, without knowing the "soul" of those asking, I prefer to follow the adage better safe than sorry...

 

Furthermore, as many already discovered, it is much less pricey to have two dedicated setups, one for visual (which, thanks to its aperture, should be pretty good for planetary AP as well) and one for deep sky AP.

By doing so may start with a smaller, lighter and therefore easier to move mount (e.g. computerized forks, if like the SCTs) and then, when are ready to dip into the AP pond, may re-evaluate the situation and add equipment accordingly.

Take note that also for visual many prefer to have two telescopes, one with somewhat large aperture for planets and small objects, and a little one with short focal to observe large objects, or as travel telescope (in truth this can be replaced by binoculars, especially if have already some photographic lenses as those in the 100-300mm range are very proficient for widefield deep sky imaging).

 

Therefore, and take note that this is my personal opinion, not an universal truth, I prefer to have in my "stable" two devices: a telescope as large as am willing to move (in my case, a C8 atop an equatorial mount), and a telescope as small as I can make it be (I use a tiny 55/300 refractor riding a particular kind of extremely compact equatorial mount called "star tracker").


  • astronut17 likes this

#3 Madratter

Madratter

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,957
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2013

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:11 PM

My recommendation, soon to be overriden by those who feel differently, is Don't follow the above plan.

 

IMO the C6 has too many issues. IMO the AVX has too many issues. IMO they are both fine for some purposes, just not the purposes you are talking about.

 

There are very few systems that are actually good at both planetary photography and DSO photography, and you probably don't want to afford those few. They also are not particularly beginner friendly from a DSO point of view.

 

My strong recommendation if you are budget strapped is to focus and get good at either the planetary or the DSO photography. Make a choice.


  • Stelios and astronut17 like this

#4 OhmEye

OhmEye

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 465
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Western NY Southern Tier

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:14 PM

I think the best way to avoid a scenario where you end up saying "Darn, why did I buy this?" down the road is to NOT try to compromise looking for a solution that does both AP and visual well. There are budget approaches to both that should be less expensive and less frustrating and more rewarding than trying to achieve both goals with the same rig.


  • Madratter, DrGomer and astronut17 like this

#5 kathyastro

kathyastro

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,422
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2016
  • Loc: Nova Scotia

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:16 PM

For visual and planetary AP, you want lots of aperture.  For DSO AP, you want a fast focal ratio.

 

An SCT is a good all-around compromise, if you can only afford one scope.  You will need a barlow for planetary AP, and a focal reducer for DSO AP.

 

A better solution is multiple scopes.  Long focal length for planetary AP, fast focal ratio for DSO AP.  And a decent aperture on one of them for visual.


  • DrGomer and astronut17 like this

#6 Madratter

Madratter

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,957
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2013

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:28 PM

By the way, from a visual point of view the old C8 optical tubes are really pretty good. And they have very little value in the used market. Any mount I would recommend for DSO astrophotography is more than capable of carrying a C8 for visual purposes. Even some mounts I would not recommend for DSO photography like the AVX are capable of carrying it. AND it can do some planetary as well. So if you are really dead set on doing both, I would get a small refractor (4" or less aperture) for the DSO) and then keep an eye out for a good cheap c8 (Only a couple hundred $$$).


Edited by Madratter, 20 February 2020 - 02:15 PM.

  • rgsalinger and astronut17 like this

#7 dhaval

dhaval

    Vendor

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 1,842
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Round Rock, TX

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:35 PM

If you go the route of one of the EdgeHD scopes (8in, 11in or 14in), with either of those scopes, you will have 3 scopes in one. 

 

For example, you can use a HyperStar, a reducer or just go native with the scope (primarily for planetary or visual). 

 

So with that said, I would recommend the C11EdgeHD. That obviously requires larger capacity mount. Not sure where you are budget wise, so won't go in to recommending a particular mount. You can build that system over a period of time as well - for example, you can get the HyperStar and a very good barlow for fast DSO imaging along with planetary imaging using the barlow. 

 

CS!


  • astronut17 likes this

#8 droe

droe

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 905
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Fenton, Mi

Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:52 PM

Get the best mount you can afford.

 

As far as the scope, every target need a scope with different strengths. If there was one scope that did it all, everyone would be buying it. Just look at Orion, do you want to image the Orion nebula, then Orion nebula with the running man nebula, the horse head nebula, the horse head-flame-running man-orion nebula all in one shot or maybe the Barnard loop also. Each of these combination of targets would need a different scope or lens. Planetary scopes may be different then the ones above.

 

I have 5 telescope and lens that I use for AP; I select my target for the night and then pick the setup that is best for that target. And I still cant cover all the targets I want to shoot. (still need that C11EdgeHD for planetary AP)


  • astronut17 likes this

#9 Peregrinatum

Peregrinatum

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 897
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2018
  • Loc: South Central Valley, Ca

Posted 20 February 2020 - 03:09 PM

C800HD Edge is a jack of all trades but a master of none, but if you want one quality scope that can do DSO, planetary, and a little widefield then I would get that scope with the reducer.


  • astronut17 likes this

#10 WadeH237

WadeH237

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,444
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Snohomish, WA

Posted 20 February 2020 - 03:16 PM

Here are a couple of random points...

 

Don't try to do deep sky imaging and visual with the same system.  As many people have pointed out, there are conflicting priorities between them.  I actually sat down at one point and priced out what I considered an acceptable low cost imaging system, low cost visual system, and a system that would be good at both.  It turned out that it was cheaper to buy two separate systems, one for visual and one for imaging, than it was to try and make one system do both.  Plus, with two systems, you have a visual scope to use while the imaging stuff is doing its thing.  Note that this same thing does not apply for planetary imaging or EAA.  Planetary and EAA are close enough to visual in their priorities, that it does make sense to get one system to do them.  It's the deep sky imaging that is quite different from the rest.

 

If you want to get into deep sky imaging, the three most important things are the mount, the mount and the mount.  After that, the camera is the next most important thing.  And for starting out, the telescope is the least important thing.  In general, the telescope should be light weight and with a short (like 600mm or less) focal length.  I call this out because It is very easy to get locking into thinking about the telescope, when it is really the part least deserving of your attention.

 

The above applies to people getting started out.  If you get deeply into deep sky imaging, there will come a time (likely after you've spend the cost of a nice used car on the mount) when you will be ready to make an investment in an expensive telescope.  But by the time that happens, you should have sufficient experience that you won't need us to tell you that you need to do so.  You'll know pretty much exactly what you want and why you want it.

 

And finally, even though we recommend that you start out with a good mount and a short focal length refractor, that is not the only way to do it.  Many people (myself included) learned to do deep sky imaging on, by today's standards, was the entirely wrong setup.  There's nothing at all wrong with that, but I would encourage you to do some homework in advance, so that you are going into it with eyes wide open.

 

Since you are doing your homework before you've spent any money, I would encourage you to pay particular attention to my first few paragraphs.  I generally don't advise people to start imaging with the "wrong" setup, unless they've already purchased a bunch of gear.  And in that case, my suggestion is always to give it a go with what you have and see what happens.


  • astronut17 likes this

#11 astronut17

astronut17

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 12
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2020
  • Loc: MA

Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:05 PM

Ok, after all of the comments and additional research. I am going to first focus on a visual/planetary/planetary AP scope and not worry about DSO AP.  When I do, as others suggested (some call them the short refractor police LOL), I will start with a DSLR/short refractor or lens and the appropriate mount. After seeing what you can do with them, it is quite impressive for the larger objects.

 

It sounds like the best all around scope is at least 2 setups.  So thinking of a C8 maybe a used 8SE will suit my needs for awhile until I want to dive into the DSO AP world. 

 

Thanks for all of the advice.

Clear Skies

 

Carl



#12 TelescopeGreg

TelescopeGreg

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,433
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2018
  • Loc: Auburn, California, USA

Posted 21 February 2020 - 10:12 PM

Ok, after all of the comments and additional research. I am going to first focus on a visual/planetary/planetary AP scope and not worry about DSO AP.  When I do, as others suggested (some call them the short refractor police LOL), I will start with a DSLR/short refractor or lens and the appropriate mount. After seeing what you can do with them, it is quite impressive for the larger objects.

 

It sounds like the best all around scope is at least 2 setups.  So thinking of a C8 maybe a used 8SE will suit my needs for awhile until I want to dive into the DSO AP world. 

 

Thanks for all of the advice.

Clear Skies

 

Carl

Sounds like a plan, but do check back with us as you make that transition to DSO, and see if you can rack up a robust discussion on what you need.  :)

 

(Disclaimer:  Not a member of the Short Refractor Police...)


  • astronut17 likes this

#13 Stelios

Stelios

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8,453
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2003
  • Loc: West Hills, CA

Posted 21 February 2020 - 10:30 PM

Ok, after all of the comments and additional research. I am going to first focus on a visual/planetary/planetary AP scope and not worry about DSO AP.  When I do, as others suggested (some call them the short refractor police LOL), I will start with a DSLR/short refractor or lens and the appropriate mount. After seeing what you can do with them, it is quite impressive for the larger objects.

 

It sounds like the best all around scope is at least 2 setups.  So thinking of a C8 maybe a used 8SE will suit my needs for awhile until I want to dive into the DSO AP world. 

 

Thanks for all of the advice.

Clear Skies

 

Carl

If you want to do visual and planetary AP, I would get a used 9.25" on an AVX or CG-5 mount. The extra F/L of the 9.25" will come handy, and--for visual or planetary--the AVX or CG-5 will easily handle them. You will need a nice 2X Barlow, and likely a flip-mirror diagonal. You will also need a Bahtinov mask for focusing. 

 

For a camera you can start with a DSLR if you have one, but I would recommend an ASI224MC or ASI290MC (both by ZWO) as the superior solutions.

 

THAT SAID... the issue with planetary AP is that there are really three interesting planets, and one of them (Mars) is only interesting every two years or so. Whereas there are many thousand DSO's. 

 

Once you get the AP bug, it will start consuming you. I used to be a purely visual observer for 50 years. About 6 years ago I tried AP. The only time in the last 4 years I've used an eyepiece was to check the airy disk on my new SVX70T and to collimate my Edge800. 

 

Incidentally, that Edge800 is truly an excellent scope (strongly disagree with the "master of none" diss), but a LOT of extra expense is involved to make it 3-in-one--you will need Hyperstar, a reducer and a focusing system, which together will far exceed the initial cost of the scope. 

 

There's a reason for the standard recommendation of an 80mm ED or triplet refractor. 


  • astronut17 likes this

#14 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,569
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 22 February 2020 - 08:40 AM

Well, planets are few, but change a lot and very fast so keep being interesting
Wirh a 8" can enjoy Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and, if like the challenge, Uranus and Mercury (Neptune is imho a bit too extreme).


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






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics