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Skymax 127 AZ-GTI + ASI120MC + ASIAirPro: A good first rig?

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#1 thebruce


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:41 AM

Hi all - first post here! Recently bought the kids a SkyWatcher StarTravel 102 AZ GTE and really impressed with the goto mount and convenience. I learned the old fashion way on an Orion ST80 and we've seen more in a few days that i did in the first year with the Orion :) 


Anyway, looking to return/upgrade the 102 for the Skymax 127 and then get the ZWO ASI120MC-S to learning imaging and the ASIAir Pro. Im a techie so always looking for smart, elegant solutions. This seems like that. But i dont know what i dont know :) Ive watched as many videos as i could but have so many questions: 


  1. Are there any issues combining a 127 Mak and ASI120? 
  2. How can you calculate the magnification and fov when only using a camera and no eyepieces? 
  3. Are their any recommended accessories you would recommend?
  4. Can the Sky Watcher AZ-GTI mount be used for astrophotography? I presume it cant be used for longer exposures, but can you get "good" results? Do you need the equatorial wedge thing?
  5. Do you need a guide camera like the ASI120MM Mini, or is the goto mount "good enough" to start? 
  6. I've read the ASIAirPro connects to the AZ-GTI. What i know of it is its like the swiss army knife that simplifies imaging, tracking, finding, etc. But...is it really needed at this stage? I love the idea of sitting on the couch with the kids and controlling the scope. 
  7. Whats the recommended suite of apps (besides SkySafari)? Ive read about the image stacker apps, PHD for guide cameras, etc. 


Appreciate the feedback!! 

#2 Cometeer



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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:06 AM

1. While the mak is great for visual, it is a bad choice for astrophotography. The focal length of the Mak will be too demanding for the AZ-GTi, with or without guiding. I would consider a small refractor (AT60ED or AT72ED) and a DSLR. Lots of DSLR recommendations on this forum.
2. https://astronomy.to.../field_of_view/ (use imagine mode)
4. Yes, it can be used for astrophotography. I use it myself. You will need a wedge for long exposures. Short exposure lucky imaging for planets can be done without a wedge. Keep in mind that ASIAIR does not support planetary capture.
5. Guiding never hurts. Whether you absolutely NEED it depends on the arcsec/pixel you are imaging at and the exposure time. A guide camera even with the 127mm Mak and ASI120 might let you get 30-60s exposures max. I use a guide camera with a 350mm refractor and am able to get very good 10min exposures.
6. If you want to sit inside the house to control things, then the Asiair is great for that. I use it with the AZ-Gti and it works flawlessly. It's not necessary though; you can always connect to a laptop and then RDP to it from another computer for wireless control.

Edited by Cometeer, 05 July 2020 - 02:50 AM.

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#3 sg6



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Posted 05 July 2020 - 03:16 AM

Not the best idea.

The scope is basically wrong - it is a Mak and focal length is low, scope is defined as "slow" so any images would be excessivly long or you need lots and lots and lots. The lonh focal length would also mean you would lose a good percentage.


Then just to really end it the mount is the wrong typr - you need an Equitorial, not an Alt/Az.


The mount and scope will image planets - you obtain say a 90 second video. Catc is there are basically 3 planets (add in the moon).


Visual and any images both use a scope and a mount. problem is they are or need ti be different scopes and mounts.


The Az Gti has an Eq mode, you need a wedge thing. However the mount was not intended as an imaging setup. Sort of you can buy bits and get something but I guess you only ever get to 90-95%. Too many expect it to be perfect.


Starter would be more in the line of a smakk but good equitorial mount and a 72ED or 89ED as the scope. Imaging tends to either be or get expensive as you want more. You have to set your limits as equipment. If you set limits by image standard you spend more and more.


Images are good equitorial mount and a good small relatively fast scope. You have selected a Alt/Az mount and a slow scope. Sort of the opposite end.

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#4 RJF-Astro


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 10:04 AM

Hi there! What kind of photography do you want to do? There are some hints that your aiming at deep space objects. As sg6 points out, this setup is really not suited for dso photography.

If you are after moon and planets however, things change and I think it will be a good start. Yes there are not many planets, but solar system imaging is easier to get into, although hard to master. And the moon is a versatile target with the 120MC, with possible targets changing daily.
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#5 thebruce


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Posted 27 July 2020 - 12:17 AM

Thanks so much @Cometeer, @sg6 and @RJF-Astro! 


Great info and apologies for the delay in replying. 

#6 thebruce


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Posted 28 July 2020 - 10:42 PM

Re @sg6's recommendation on the 72ED, I read the Sky-Watcher Evostar 72ED was a good low-cost astro scope. Considering I already have the AZ GTi would a low cost first step be the 72ED + ZWO ASI120MC-S?


What would be reasonable targets to start imaging with that setup? 


Sorry for the questions but appreciate the feedback!

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