Our family has for many years playfully observed skies with our "toy" AstroMaster 130EQ and now with kids becoming teenagers we decided the hobby can evolve and we can venture into more serious equipment. I had a wonderful discussion in the "Beginners" forum here and lots of great feedback. Ultimately, I decided we'll go with the C11 EDGE HD scope mounted on CGX-L to make sure we have a very very solid mount that can handle the weight and all accessories we can throw at it.
The aim: (a) with kids (and friends) the main purpose will be viewing; (b) I will slowly start learning about AP. I will probably start with my Nikon D750 full-frame DSLR but aiming to upgrade to ZWO ASI camera in the near future. So, we need to pick the right set of accessories that can support both functions with some minor adaptations.
Ultimate build: having a Pulsar Observatories dome installed on top of our flat roof (passive house with active cooling located in alpine region of Central Europe, so no major heating issues); the scope would be mounted in the dome most of the time with an occasional transportation to an offsite location. I would therefore like to have the ability to control the scope from the inside of the house via wifi for my AP endeavours.
1) Starsense adapter = no brainer
2) Celestron Skyportal Wifi module = some people mentioned this is not that useful? I guess for viewing with kids and controlling the scope via an iPad it might be an added benefit, but probably for overall integration of the scope into a networked environment I would need a more powerful computer controller? I'm still not very clear as to most optimal integration here...
3) Vibration suppression pads = I'm assuming Celestron's own should be a good choice?
4) TEMPest fans from Deep Space Products = I hear great stuff about this one, but since the scope will be mounted in the dome most of the time, I wonder if this is necessary; would it be helpful for AP or is it mainly useful for folks who need to transfer the scope in and out of the house each time?
5) anything to assist with collimation?
Accessories to support viewing:
1) 2" diagonal = which one to choose? Celestron's own "Dielectric Star Diagonal" or better to take other brands? Any recommendations?
2) Celestron 0.7x Reducer (also to be used for AP - see below)
3) Eyepieces: I have some from my 130EQ but I guess few of these will be handy so will likely need to upgrade. Any recommendations where to start?
Accessories for Astrophotography:
1) ASI2600MC Pro = this will be bought in the 2nd phase, but the camera I will go for is the ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, so I wanted to state this first
2) Starizona Hyperstar C11 V4 adapter = to make the scope f/2?! Expensive, but I think a no brainer.
3) Celestron 0.7x Reducer = gives me even more focal length choices plus can be used for enlarging FOV for viewing purposes vs Hyperstar which would only be used for photography. Am I reasoning this correctly?
3) Off-Axis Guider = Celestron's own OAG - I think the consensus is this one is a good choice to go with?
4) Autoguider camera = ZWO ASI290MM or ASI174MM? From what I've read the 174mm would be more suitable for the large focal length of the C11, but is almost twice the price of 290mm. Any advice here?
5) Motorized autofocuser = this is another tough one: (a) Celestron's Focus Motor attaches to existing focuser and is a very affordable option (~$200); however I see many people raving about Starlight's FeatherTouch focuser... but that one also requires additional stepper motor unit MicroTouch Autofocuser, bringing the total to nearly $1000! I wouldn't go for Moonlight's options as that one would not come handy when using Hyperstar front-end set-up.
6) Controller: something to bring all of this together; is ZWO ASIAIR Pro WiFi Camera Controller also capable of controlling the autofocuser? Not sure what computer equipment will I need to use to bring all of this together yet... but certainly needs to be "user friendly" as I do not know how to write my own code etc.
phew... that is an exhaustive list! I appreciate any input you could give me - although I'm sure I will still make many mistakes, I would like to avoid too many "wrong" purchases and start with a good set-up.
Many thanks in advance!
Edited by aeneas, 25 September 2020 - 04:29 AM.