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#1 Ryan1776

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:25 AM

Hey everyone. I'm really struggling with what to do here. 
I have a Meade LXD55 Newt. 

8" -812mm f/4

I got it from my step moms daughter a few years ago (with it's crappy mount for 200$) because I thought it would look cool in my ham shack! And it did for a few years until my buddy asked if I ever looked THROUGH it not AT it! haha. We got it out and looked at the moon and Jupiter, saw Saturn's rings! Holy amazing! 

 

Tried to take photos though it with iPhone! hahaha. 
Tired to get figure out the goto with the stock Meade mount. Polar align. Sheesh. What a struggle. I would take a photo, plate solve, move, photo, solve, move. Repeat. 

 

From a lot of reading here and guidance, the first thing I did was get a new mount. Orion Atlas. OH YEAH. What a difference. Still took me a few to polar align and what not. 

But I was able to get some really good images (for me) and began to enjoy the aspect of capturing light instead of dinking with the mount.  
 

I then got the ASIAir with guidescope. Revolutionary. 
As a newbie, this changed the whole game for me. 

 

Anyway. I wanted to go through that so you sorta knew where I was. 

My main focus is AP. That's really what I'm interested in. But I do like looking at our solar system with friends. And I'll always have this scope for that. 

 

I feel I'm at the point now where I need a coma corrector. It's an F/4. I kinda also feel I'm getting close to upgrading to a dedicated cam. 294MC Pro is where I'm at. I'm not ready to go mono with all the filters.

Right now I'm shooting with an unmod T7i, and long exposures (90 sec) in the summer really hurt the image. Hot pixels, noise. etc.

 

When I collimate the scope it can get it pretty good with my laser (which I also collimated on machinist V blocks first). 

My thinking is, that once I hang the DSLR off the stock focuser, it probably goes out of collimation. 

Add a coma corrector and the extra weight and distance from centerline, I'm sure it gets worse. 

 

So to me, the first thing on this scope would be a new focsuer. 

Moonlite- with the required mounting plate- 350 (new) with dual speed and lock. If I want power focuser it's another couple hundred, but not supported by ASIAir.

A good coma corrector-250-400 bucks I THINK I can use the SkyWatcher Quarto??? But I don't know for sure. The Parracor is also high dollar. 

Advice here please! :D

 

So I'm into upgrades for 650 bucks.  

 

The question I have is this. Is this scope worth putting that much money into it? I have no idea what's required to change the focuser. I don't want to really screw up the scope by doing that. I don't know if the tube is strong enough to support even more weight with the focuser and coma corrector and DSLR/ or astro cam.

 

For that same 650 I can get a WO 61 apo with field flattener.  NIB shipped. 
I know I won't have the same "reach" as that scope is only 360mm vs my 812mm

Frankly I won't buy much of anything new. But it's easier to compare new pricing. 

 

I think I would probably look at used refractors in the 5-600 range. Which would probably get me into 450mm range-ish. Used WO 71 or the like.

 

I guess the question in all this is, would I be further ahead going refractor, or putting work into my Newt?

 

Writing all this out and trying to critically think, I might be the best move to upgrade the Newt instead of refractor. 

 

Thank you for reading! Comments advice is definitely welcome! 

 

Ryan



#2 KLWalsh

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 07:43 PM

I’m guessing what you have is the Schmidt-Newt 8”, since you said it’s f/4.
I have the SN10. I bought an Orion low-profile Crayford focuser for it years ago. It’s barely adequate. (The latest version is a better design, with a gear drive.)
And I have it on a Celestron CGEM. Waaay better mount than the LXD55.
I use it with the Baader MPCC coma corrector, but I had to modify the T-mount for my Nikon.
The SN design already corrects some of the coma. So instead of having a ‘flange distance’ of 55 mm as recommended by Baader, I use the MPCC at a flange distance of 50 mm, which yields less correction from the MPCC, but is closer to the ‘proper’ amount at the focal plane.

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#3 Ryan1776

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:05 PM

I’m guessing what you have is the Schmidt-Newt 8”, since you said it’s f/4.
I have the SN10. I bought an Orion low-profile Crayford focuser for it years ago. It’s barely adequate. (The latest version is a better design, with a gear drive.)
And I have it on a Celestron CGEM. Waaay better mount than the LXD55.
I use it with the Baader MPCC coma corrector, but I had to modify the T-mount for my Nikon.
The SN design already corrects some of the coma. So instead of having a ‘flange distance’ of 55 mm as recommended by Baader, I use the MPCC at a flange distance of 50 mm, which yields less correction from the MPCC, but is closer to the ‘proper’ amount at the focal plane.

Yes it's the Schmidt-Newt. I should have specified. Frankly, I didn't know. I had to look it up. Still don't really know the difference. 

As far as the focuser, like I said, I'd probably run a Moonlite. They seem really nice. 

 

Also, I should add felt flocking to the inside of the tube while I'm at it. 

 

I have no idea how to determine back focus or really what I'd be at. I also don't know what I'd want to get from them either. 

I'm assuming the CR 2 inch Format Newtonian Focusers; there's a million draw tube lengths, set screws, etc etc. 

 

So that photo you show there is the MPCC Mark III?

 

I still don't know what I should do. 

I've looked on the classifieds here and a WO 73 is routinely under 500. 

I don't know. 



#4 KLWalsh

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 09:41 PM

Yes it's the Schmidt-Newt. I should have specified. Frankly, I didn't know. I had to look it up. Still don't really know the difference.
As far as the focuser, like I said, I'd probably run a Moonlite. They seem really nice.

Also, I should add felt flocking to the inside of the tube while I'm at it.

I have no idea how to determine back focus or really what I'd be at. I also don't know what I'd want to get from them either.
I'm assuming the CR 2 inch Format Newtonian Focusers; there's a million draw tube lengths, set screws, etc etc.

So that photo you show there is the MPCC Mark III?

I still don't know what I should do.
I've looked on the classifieds here and a WO 73 is routinely under 500.
I don't know.


You say you’re a newby.
So, start astrophotography using a refractor. They’re the easiest to use and can give great results. And they don’t require an expensive, heavy mount.
Keep the SN8 and spend your ‘Cloudy Nights’ and days improving it with flocking, a low profile focuser, and a better mount. Maybe get a Hotech laser collimator to ensure great alignment.
Eventually you’ll have the experience to put a unique 8 inch f/4 scope to work.
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#5 Ryan1776

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 12:46 PM

You say you’re a newby.
So, start astrophotography using a refractor. They’re the easiest to use and can give great results. And they don’t require an expensive, heavy mount.
Keep the SN8 and spend your ‘Cloudy Nights’ and days improving it with flocking, a low profile focuser, and a better mount. Maybe get a Hotech laser collimator to ensure great alignment.
Eventually you’ll have the experience to put a unique 8 inch f/4 scope to work.

I can agree with that. And if I was starting out without any equipment, I'd agree. But I have the scope and a really good mount. 

The Atlas can handle it no problem. My tracking is on point, I have a guidescope that I use with the AIR and while I know there's some coma, the stars don't move around. 

 

I bought the mount knowing I wouldn't probably grow out of it. 
I have an L-Pro filter. Which I can't decide if it helps me yet or not, but I can use on any scope. 
I bought the Air and guidescope which of course doesn't matter what it's using. 

 

I guess what I don't know and what I'm asking is, is this scope worth putting money/parts into?

 

Maybe it's yes, if you want the reach, but for wide field nebula and "close" galaxy, thinking Andromeda here, I get a shorter focal length APO?

 

For instance here are some of my first shots....

Final Dumbbell upload.jpg


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#6 Ryan1776

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 12:47 PM

First Edit small.jpg

 


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#7 Ryan1776

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 12:48 PM

WhirlPool.jpg

 

I know they're not the best compared to some photographers, yourself included, but I'm getting there! :D 

 


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#8 KLWalsh

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 11:43 AM

Those are good photos. You call yourself a newby? 🙂

I see 4 options.
1) Upgrade what you have. (Seems like everyone is always ‘upgrading’ something, so even if you get a new scope you’ll probably upgrade it.) You aren’t going to find an 8” f/4 as good for that price (ie, free).
The Schmidt corrector makes it great for general viewing, and with or without a coma corrector it’s great for photography. And btw, with that scope M31 can just be squeezed across the diagonal of an aps-c dslr, and easily across the diag of a full-frame sensor.
2) Get a standard Newt in an f/4 or f/5 format and buy a good coma corrector for it. You’ll get photographic performance like the SN8, without the weight and complications of a corrector. You’ll get diffraction spikes - some like them, some don’t.
3) Get one of the Mak-Newts. The Mak doesn’t need a coma corrector, is a ‘fast’ system, and (from what I’ve read) user friendly.
4) Get a fast Apo refractor. A Petzval is the best for minimizing aberrations, a triplet might need a field flattener depending on your sensor size. Traditional achromats are an somewhat inexpensive option, but fast ones will show color.

Speaking of diffraction spikes, why are there spikes in the photos? The SN8 doesn’t have a spider, so there shouldn’t be diffraction spikes.

#9 Ryan1776

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 02:31 PM

Those are good photos. You call yourself a newby?

I see 4 options.
1) Upgrade what you have. (Seems like everyone is always ‘upgrading’ something, so even if you get a new scope you’ll probably upgrade it.) You aren’t going to find an 8” f/4 as good for that price (ie, free).
The Schmidt corrector makes it great for general viewing, and with or without a coma corrector it’s great for photography. And btw, with that scope M31 can just be squeezed across the diagonal of an aps-c dslr, and easily across the diag of a full-frame sensor.
2) Get a standard Newt in an f/4 or f/5 format and buy a good coma corrector for it. You’ll get photographic performance like the SN8, without the weight and complications of a corrector. You’ll get diffraction spikes - some like them, some don’t.
3) Get one of the Mak-Newts. The Mak doesn’t need a coma corrector, is a ‘fast’ system, and (from what I’ve read) user friendly.
4) Get a fast Apo refractor. A Petzval is the best for minimizing aberrations, a triplet might need a field flattener depending on your sensor size. Traditional achromats are an somewhat inexpensive option, but fast ones will show color.

Speaking of diffraction spikes, why are there spikes in the photos? The SN8 doesn’t have a spider, so there shouldn’t be diffraction spikes.

Haha Thanks! Well newbie, I've only been at it less than a year. Only 200 ish post counts! LOTS AND LOTS of other better examples, your M31 included. 

The Dumbbell I think was my 2nd object. I have a photo of the Ring Nebula too, my first, but not on this computer. Not to mention working on and learning processing. 

 

As far as options. 

You're not wrong on any of that. I guess my focus holds pretty decent, but it's more of the collimation I'm concerned with when I put on a heavy camera in getting a new focuser. 
And you're dead on with it being CHEAP! LOL FREE! 
I tired to get M31 and it was painfully awful results. 

 

I think that's the way I'm going to go. Stick with mine for a while. I really like the reach it provides. And it is in stock. I think I might be underwhelmed with a shorter focal length refractor.

 

So do I need to get a coma corrector with this type of scope? You mention that the Schmidt does a good job with coma to begin with. 
I am willing to get it better if I can. But maybe it'll be more worth while once I get a camera that I can do longer exposures. Plus 2min type stuff. 

 

I ordered "flockboard" kit for my SN8 scope. https://www.fpi-prot.../flockboard.htm I was going to get sticky back velvet, but man, for about twice the price, (25 bucks more) I don't have to use sticky back, I don't have to worry how it fits. I can just let it pop open in the tube. Cut the holes and done. And reversible if needed for whatever reason. 

 

So here's my order of operation. 

1-Flock- Check

2-Focuser- Need help on this. I don't know what drawtube travel I need? As I like to do AP, but also visual I need it to work on both obviously. 

   CR 2Inch?  I emailed them but haven't heard back yet.  

EDIT-Heard back from Ron, super nice guy, 2" travel with compression ring. 

 

3-Coma corrector....still not sure which one. Mark IV? Paraccor? Sky Watcher Quattro? 

3-294MC Pro. Almost bought one yesterday off the classifies, 900 with ASI Air, that I would have sold. But decided to stick with my order of operations. 

 

 

Thanks again for the kind words about my images thus far!  Oh and I added the diffraction spikes in CS6. 

 

Ryan 


Edited by Ryan1776, 15 July 2020 - 05:55 AM.



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