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Beginner interested in AP

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#1 sku

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 08:36 PM

Hi All,

I am a beginner and I am interested in AP. Having read these forums, I understand that the mount is critical. Is the HEQ5 a good mount for AP? 

Also, it seems that most telescopes come with their own mount and tripod? So would I be double paying? Will most telescopes fit on most mounts?

 

My budget is $3K. 

 

Thanks


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#2 dhaval

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 08:56 PM

Yes, the mount is critical. No, you can't fit all telescopes on most mounts. Also no, most decent telescopes actually are sold as an OTA or just the tube. There are other things that you need to buy in order to take images.

 

Having said that, the first thing to ask is - what kind of AP are you trying to get in to? Planetary or DSO? For DSO, the HEQ5 is a decent mount, assuming you have a smallish scope mounted on it. Think a small refractor. If you are trying to do planetary, the scope, camera and mount requirements will be significantly different and the HEQ5 won't be good enough.

 

Hoping that helps.

 

CS!



#3 OhmEye

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 09:06 PM

Most scopes that include a mount that I see are for visual use with ALT/AZ mounts. Most scopes ideal for AP do not include a mount, and a good EQ mount is often a more significant expense. A good 60-80mm APO refractor costs less than pretty much any mount worth mounting it on for AP.



#4 rgsalinger

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 09:48 PM

Most telescopes fit most mounts because the method of attaching scopes to mounts is standard. The mount has a female attachment called a saddle. There are two common types - Vixen and Losmandy (goole them). So when you buy a mount like the HEQ5 it will come with one of those. Then when you buy the telescope you will find that either it has a dovetail (male) already mounted or you need to buy a set or rings and attach a dovetail. It's trivial to put scopes on mounts because of that.

 

I always suggest that before buying anything you consider doing two things. First, get a copy of the Deep Sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken and give it a read. Second, join your local club and see what imagers are doing in the club. If you do this then the explanations you get here will make a ton more sense.

 

Rgrds-Ross 



#5 sku

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 10:01 PM

Thank you so much. A follow up. A refractor is better for DSO photography than a reflector?

 

I am thinking of getting a HEQ5 mount and SKY-WATCHER EVOSTAR 120ED APO - 120MM REFRACTOR OTA. Is this a good combo for DSO?

 

Also, with the above combo, can I see anything visually or is this telescope only for imaging? 

 

Thank you


Edited by sku, 08 April 2020 - 10:33 PM.


#6 Gipht

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 10:25 PM

I would say a refractor is easier to use, and would produce better results for someone starting out.

 

Reflectors have an advantage in aperture, and can operate easily at f/4.  My 8" f/4 reflector  will gather a lot more light than my 102mm f/7 refractor.  Each has a place, and each is capable of very good results.

 

You would likely need a larger mount with a  reflector.

 

One aside,  is starting with a mount with a 30# capacity could mean a future need to upgrade to a higher capacity mount.  You can recoup some of the expense of an upgrade, by selling the smaller mount.  Still, if you can afford the larger mount, then that could be the best way to go.



#7 Huangdi

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 11:09 PM

Not gonna lie here, I wouldn't spend any money on AP until you actually know what you're buying..
Find someone in your vicinity who does AP and check out their gear for a night or two. See how it works.

Once you understand how the optics differ from each other and how the whole Gem-setup including guiding works, THEN you should spend 3k on gear.

If you purchase a scope and a mount, there will be 10+ additional components that you'll have to get as well.

Focusing masks, field Flattener, spacers, t-rings, filters, power supply, cables, guidescope and cam or off axis guider, dew control, the list goes on and on.. And that's just what I wrote down from the top of my head.

I'm not trying to discourage you, I always love seeing new people in this hobby. But you wouldn't purchase a vehicle before knowing whether it can drive, fly or swim, right?

Do your research, then reward yourself by emptying your bank account


Edited by Huangdi, 09 April 2020 - 09:43 AM.

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#8 rgsalinger

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 11:40 PM

Please read my previous post, buy the book and join a club 

 

Regarding your second post, any small refractor that works well with the mount will be a good visual scope as well. You will, of course, need eyepieces and a diagonal but the HEQ5 is happy to be used for visual. With the combo you describe most people would probably recommend a smaller refractor and also that you spend 1/2 of your money on the mount. So, get the EQ6 and a 4" refractor to start with. 

 

If you were to buy that refractor and the HEQ5 you have no budget for all of the other things that you will need to do long exposure AP. You will need 2 cameras, one to take pictures (maybe you have a DSLR) and one to guide the system along either a guidescope or an off axis guider. 

 

You need to get out to someplace and see people doing AP. If you can't do that, troll through youtube and see what's available in terms of some way to educate yourself about how to set up. This isn't just a matter or buying something like a stereo system where you just hook up some speakers to a receiver and your done. 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#9 schmeah

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 07:29 AM

You are correct. The mount is critical, and not under mounting is important. The HEQ5 is a nice entry level mount, but is best suited for small refractors ie: in the 80mm range. These small refractors are ideal for shooting large, diffuse emission nebula, but not ideal for small targets like galaxies or planetary nebula. If you are thinking you will be interested in these DSO targets as well, then you will ultimately want to mount a longer focal length reflector/SCT in which case perhaps an HEQ6R would be a better choice. I would suggest searching for a given mount on Astrobin (although there was a recent major data loss on that site) to see what types of scopes and targets are associated with different mounts. However, there are several very helpful experienced users on this forum who have successfully used the HEQ5. Bobzeq25 and Stelios come to mind.

 

Derek


Edited by schmeah, 09 April 2020 - 07:30 AM.


#10 richorn

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 01:45 PM

Thank you so much. A follow up. A refractor is better for DSO photography than a reflector?

 

I am thinking of getting a HEQ5 mount and SKY-WATCHER EVOSTAR 120ED APO - 120MM REFRACTOR OTA. Is this a good combo for DSO?

 

Also, with the above combo, can I see anything visually or is this telescope only for imaging? 

 

Thank you

For easy use and learning AP, a reflector is the easier choice.  Not the only one, just the easy one.  I am glad I started that way after watching others take a different path.  As to the combination you mention, there are issues.

 

First, the scope is too heavy for that mount if used for AP.  Probably great for visual, but that isn't what you asked about.  If you truly want to start with a 120, you need at least the HEQ6.  That said, learning on a 120 will be more difficult than learning on an ED-80.  If you are under budget constraints, then you could use the HEQ5 with and ED-80 to get started.  If you can afford it, the HEQ6 and the ED-80 will make day to day stuff easier to learn, and down the road you will already have the mount that can handle the bigger scope when you are ready for it.

 

Scopes for visual and AP aren't really different (although the mount requirements can be) but in general you can do AP with scopes that would be difficult for visual as you need a LOT of light now for visual, and in AP we gather light over time.  In AP you can get away with more affordable scopes if that is your desire.  It was mine.  As visual isn't great with my f/6 doublet, when I need to do visual (public star parties) I have been using EAA.  That is a totally different discussion.

 

And if I have completely confused you, Ross's (rgsalinger) recommendations are 100% correct!  A couple books are a very smart way to start in this hobby.  It may be a few months before the clubs get back to socializing...



#11 rgsalinger

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:02 PM

As an owner of 3 refractors and one reflector and having imaged with both types at all price levels, I think that a refractor is a much easier starting point for several reasons. The less expensive Newtonians need coma correctors, constant collimation, balance poorly and have limited back focus. Refractors balance naturally, do not require correctors (just nice to have) and have more back focus. All of this adds up to ease of use when learning. YMMV. I could easily be convinced by a solid example of an easy to set up reflector.  

 

A refractor like the 120 is almost a meter of focal length and the tube is very long - almost a meter. It will be difficult for a mount in the HEQ5 class to guide successfully with that moment arm. It's not so much the weight as the moment arm. 

 

If your local club is like my club you can join over the internet and get a mentor to help you in the same way. I must have helped (or failed to help) ten people over the past 5 years with scopes as far away as Spain. Remote access is wonderful.

 

Rgrds-Ross



#12 TimN

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:30 PM

I have an HEQ5 and a Skywatcher Gold 120ED PRO Scope. Probably similar in size to the Evostar 120ED PRO in weight and size. I have imaged with them - plus a KWIQ guider and DSLR - successfully for many years. I have only used them for imaging but you can use them for visual. This would be about the biggest refractor that you should/could use on this mount. 

 

However, I STRONGLY agree with Ross's (rgsalinger) recommendations. Join a club and get the book Deep Sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken. Please do much more investigation BEFORE you buy anything.

 

When it is time to buy you should consider second hand - your money will go much further. Also, you can always resell for probably for as much or close to what you paid for them. I got my HEQ5 and camera new. Look at the equipment in my signature. Everything else was used.



#13 fewayne

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:42 PM

Standard disclaimer first: There is more than one way to do it, and there is more than one way to learn it.

 

Standard advice second: Short, light refractors are usually recommended to beginners because they are the least problematic scopes. They are not as good at gathering light as large-aperture scopes, and they will not magnify as much as long-focal-length scopes.

But they minimize problems at the outset. And regardless of how much you read, hang with local astrophotographers, or spend money, there WILL be problems. Long focal lengths exacerbate any mount issues -- small mechanical or operational discrepancies translate into much-more-visible imaging flaws, simply because the angular tolerances are smaller. Large apertures don't themselves cause problems, but are invariably associated with larger, heavier, (and usually longer) tubes, and with either more-exotic and thus finicky optical designs, or with longer focal lengths. (Harder to make a big piece of glass that's so curvy that it has a short focal length.)

 

I do disagree with Huangdi's shopping list cited above as a starting line. With a short light refractor and a decent mount, you can get started imaging deep sky objects with nothing more than an adapter for a DSLR. You will quickly outgrow that if you like the hobby, but you can amaze yourself with nothing more than that. Huangdi is correct that when deeper into the hobby, you will probably want all those things!

 

Highly agree with the advice about the book (there are other good ones too) and the local clubs.

 

Welcome. Enjoy!

 



#14 rjhat3

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 05:38 PM

The advice on the mount given so far is good. The price on the heq5 is $1150. For another $250 you could get an Orion Atlas EQ-G with a 40 lb payload capacity. For an additional $445, you could get a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro with a 44lb capacity. Generally, it is recommended that you cut the payload capacity in half, but some higher quality mounts will not have to be restrained to quite that degree. Paying for a better mount now will help you to avoid the need for an upgrade later. Just do your research and select the mount that best fits your needs.
Heavier mounts are generally more stable and not as susceptible to wind/vibration, but lighter mounts are more mobile and may be a better choice if you plan to travel to dark sights.
I still have my first mount. I purchased the Orion Atlas EQ-G, based on advice that I got here. It has handled everything I’ve thrown at it, up to a 10” Orion Astrograph. It is not light, though. (75 lbs I think?)


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