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The crossroad of the beginning

astrophotography beginner equipment
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#1 PollAirUs

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 09:12 PM

Hi folks! I want to start astrophotography, I've been researching this for 6 months and I already know how it is made and the necessary equipment, and I would be very grateful if you could help me with a question.

 

I have a Newtonian in a manual alt/azimuth mount. And like anyone on a small budget, I’ll buy my equipment slowly, but I don't know which area to enter: Planetary or Deep Sky!
On the one hand, I think about planetary, because the only thing I’d need to buy to start shooting would be a ZWO camera, but I'm afraid the results will be bad, as I would have to track the planets manually (although I've seen really great results with this method).

On the other hand, investing in Deep Sky, I would have to wait for the dollar price to drop (I live in Brazil), and the first part of my equipment would be a camera tracker, and then I would have to save money again to buy a tripod and a DSLR. In other words, I would only start taking pictures at december, but that way I am sure that I would have some good results.

So, should I invest in planetarium or deep sky?

 

My first, poor and unique telescope:

Attached Thumbnails

  • telescopio-refletor-114mm-skylife-cygnus-4-az2-profissional-skylife-marca-especialista-em-produtos-astronmicos-D_NQ_NP_863514-MLB31142342065_062019-F.jpg


#2 imtl

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 09:22 PM

Personally I would first ask, what are you interested in? Before discussing funds etc.



#3 17.5Dob

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 09:29 PM

Hi folks! I want to start astrophotography, I've been researching this for 6 months and I already know how it is made and the necessary equipment, and I would be very grateful if you could help me with a question.

 

I have a Newtonian in a manual alt/azimuth mount. And like anyone on a small budget, I’ll buy my equipment slowly, but I don't know which area to enter: Planetary or Deep Sky!
On the one hand, I think about planetary, because the only thing I’d need to buy to start shooting would be a ZWO camera, but I'm afraid the results will be bad, as I would have to track the planets manually (although I've seen really great results with this method).

On the other hand, investing in Deep Sky, I would have to wait for the dollar price to drop (I live in Brazil), and the first part of my equipment would be a camera tracker, and then I would have to save money again to buy a tripod and a DSLR. In other words, I would only start taking pictures at december, but that way I am sure that I would have some good results.

So, should I invest in planetarium or deep sky?

 

My first, poor and unique telescope:

post-330175-0-15675300-1594692722.jpg

 

With that telescope, I wouldn't invest a dime/10 centavos on anything besides a cell phone holder for afocal lunar shots...
 



#4 PollAirUs

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 09:44 PM

Personally I would first ask, what are you interested in? Before discussing funds etc.

The problem is that I'm interested in both!

 

With that telescope, I wouldn't invest a dime/10 centavos on anything besides a cell phone holder for afocal lunar shots...
 

I know the telescope isn't good, I bought it 5 years ago, but I don't see a difference between it and a Dobsonian with the same aperture, with which you can actually do planetary astrophotography with manual tracking.
 



#5 17.5Dob

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 10:48 PM

The problem is that I'm interested in both!

 

I know the telescope isn't good, I bought it 5 years ago, but I don't see a difference between it and a Dobsonian with the same aperture, with which you can actually do planetary astrophotography with manual tracking.
 

I don't think they make 114mm/ 4- 1/4" Dobs....

Not enough aperture/resolution for planets, much too slow for DSO's , and highly unlikely to get focus with any camera...unless it's a cell phone used afocal...

People get really nice cell phone photos, using gear like yours..give it a try


Edited by 17.5Dob, 13 July 2020 - 10:50 PM.

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#6 KTAZ

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 11:01 PM

Planetary and DSO AP are 2 very different paths.

 

Planetary are generally bright objects and can be shot at much shorter exposure times, that is why some folks have some success using manual mounts. It does not require a second guide camera.

 

DSO’s require multiple long time exposures and require a very stable and motorized tracking mount; the mount is typically more expensive than the imaging telescope. A second guide camera is a must.

 

I think you may have more research to do before you start investing dollars. Do you have a budget in mind?


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#7 Gipht

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 11:03 PM

The moon would be the best place to start.  The moon is bright enough that all you would have to do is get it started across the field of view and snap a cell phone picture.

 

A astronomy  camera may not come into focus with a reflector telescope set up for visual astronomy.

 

Any effort at manual tracking will leave you with an extremely blurred picture.


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#8 Rac19

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 12:05 AM

I have been on this journey for about three years now. I purchased an 8" Schmidt Cassegrain (SCT) on an Alt/Az mount, for no other reason than it seemed to be a popular choice. I think now that it may have been the right choice for me as a platform that, with significant additional expenditure, achieves a useful range of application.

 

Firstly, with a 2x Barlow/PowerMate and either a DSLR or astrophotography camera (a significant additional expenditure), planetary imaging it is a good place to start. It's not a trivial skill to learn but easier than DSO and very satisfying the first time that you get a good image of Saturn's rings, Jupiter's GRS or the polar icecap on Mars. The Moon is also an easy subject.

 

Planetary imaging can keep you busy for a year or so because it's not just a matter of taking some quick snapshots. You have to wait for planets to come into view, with good seeing conditions, learn about "lucky imaging" and so on.
 

The comes, however, a time you when ask "what next?". The answer is DSO (mainly nebulae and galaxies) for which the above setup is not really suitable. Fortunately, if your chosen SCT compatible with HyperStar, you can reconfigure your optics from f/10 to f/2, giving you 25x the optical speed and making it possible to capture DSO images within the time frame (30 seconds) that field rotation dictates. HyperStar is another significant investment but a relatively easy path to DSO imaging. For DSO there is a new suite of techniques and software to master.

 

Thst kept me busy for another year or so and now I have moved on to a wedge (another significant investment) and permanent pier, which I have managed to construct quite cheaply. The use of the wedge brings polar alignment into the picture for the first time but eliminates field rotation. This means that I can consider intermediate focal lengths with 0.4x, 0.5x and 0.63x optical reducers which have slower optical speeds and a narrower field of view (FOV) so that smaller DSOs, such as galaxies fill more of the frame.
 

The alternative is to purchase an equatorial mount (EQ or GEM) at the outset. This would eliminate field rotation from the start, but for many of us, it may be too steep of an initial learning curve. I have the impression that if you purchase such a mount, it's best to avoid entry level offerings, so a the expense would be significant. Such mounts are unquestionably superior to to an Alt/Alt Mount on a wedge but, to take advantage of them, you need to spend much more time on image capture and processing than I am likely to have time for.

 

EDIT: I should add that this is just a record of my experience, which I am reasonably happy with. It is not today that it is necessarily the best choice for everyone.


Edited by Rac19, 14 July 2020 - 04:51 AM.

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#9 PollAirUs

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 02:06 PM

I thank you all for your attention! But I don't think I made some things clear, I don't want to use the telescope I have for DSO AP at all, it would be ridiculous! What I had in mind would be to attach a planetary camera to it and record a series of videos of the planets manually, then center the image and stack them together. Is there any problem with that? I just wanted to make sure that I would have good results, because I would use the same method that this guy used, and even though I know his telescope is bigger, I don't see why I can't get good images. Is there a possibility that I cannot achieve focus with the camera? That would definitely be a problem.

 

About the DSO setup, what I had in mind was a setup like this, which I'm sure it would work and bring me good results, but it would take me longer to buy the equipment. So my question was whether it’s worth going to the planetary setup I talked about above (which I could start shooting as soon as I bought a planetary camera), or if it’s more worthwhile to save more money until I buy the equipment for the DSO setup.



#10 KTAZ

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 02:27 PM

I thank you all for your attention! But I don't think I made some things clear, I don't want to use the telescope I have for DSO AP at all, it would be ridiculous! What I had in mind would be to attach a planetary camera to it and record a series of videos of the planets manually, then center the image and stack them together. Is there any problem with that? I just wanted to make sure that I would have good results, because I would use the same method that this guy used, and even though I know his telescope is bigger, I don't see why I can't get good images. Is there a possibility that I cannot achieve focus with the camera? That would definitely be a problem.

 

About the DSO setup, what I had in mind was a setup like this, which I'm sure it would work and bring me good results, but it would take me longer to buy the equipment. So my question was whether it’s worth going to the planetary setup I talked about above (which I could start shooting as soon as I bought a planetary camera), or if it’s more worthwhile to save more money until I buy the equipment for the DSO setup.

No, there is no problem with attaching a planetary camera to your scope and imaging.

 

Will you get good results? Unknown. I have no idea what the quality of images are that you get when using your scope visually. The Dob that you reference is a high quality unit with a very good mirror/secondary/focuser combination. Is yours? When you use it visually, do you get nice clear images? How stable is the mount?

 

Can you achieve focus? I also don't know. In general, the camera will drop right into your 1.25" eyepiece holder and should not give you trouble with focus. Worse case you may need an extension tube which is relatively inexpensive.

 

Since this is not a tracking mount, you will have to limit your exposures to the amount of time it takes for the planet to move across the FOV of your CMOS chip; or you must manually push your mount to track the object. That will certainly take a bit of practice and a smooth moving mount to achieve.



#11 APshooter

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 03:44 PM

Check out this thread:  https://www.cloudyni...er-w-6-or-less/

 

It will be very difficult to manually track a planet at the magnifications needed for good imaging.  You might be able to get some widefield planetary shots by doing the drift through method.  Give it a go and see what you get.  Most folks in that planetary imaging thread are using tracking mounts.




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