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Equipment selection for a novice

astrophotography
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#1 DaytonJones

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 02:53 PM

Up until recently I had a Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ which was great (though I did struggle with locating objects at times)  I managed to get some great pictures of the moon, and some (not so great) of Jupiter and it's moons (mostly just bright dots, no detail)

 

I'm looking on upgrading so I can see further into space and get better details with pictures.  Would anyone be willing to give their opinion on my next telescope?

 

I've been thinking about the Celestron NexStar 130SLT, but a friend of mine recommended the Celestron NexStar 8SE.  There's not a great price-point difference between the two, but is the increase in price "worth it" for the NexStar 8SE?  Primary focus would be to view the planets, etc but I would like to get some great pictures as well, and I've heard that the NexStar 8SE is too light to hold a DSLR.

 

I've heard arguments about which is better - Dobsonian (the 8SE) or Newtonian (the 130SLT) but not enough to deter me one way or the other.  Other than these 2 telescopes, are there any other recommendations (and reasons) for a good telescope that will enable me to get some great astrophotography images without completely breaking the bank?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Dayton


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#2 sg6

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 03:56 PM

Lets clear everything out: What do you want to do ?

Not entirely sure of the 130 SLT but I am sort of guessing that neither are overly suited to imaging.

 

The 8SE is a slow SCT and the mount is Alt/Az - would give field rotation. OK for a planet noit DSO's and there are few planets and lots of DSO's.

 

The 130 SLT appears to be a newtonian again on an Alt/Az mount. Unsure if a DSLR could easily/successfully be attached for imaging. Again would not track right - field rotation would occur.

 

In a way imaging requirements are simple - good equitorial mount with drive motors although goto is better - motors are generally better and the driving in better. Also they find things easier then you do.

 

Next is a good scope, unllike visual often small. In the refractor side consider something like a 72mm ED, in reflector consider a 130PDS. If you go big the scope costs more and the mount costs a lot more.

 

Set up that I have seen used, small and with success is: EQ5, 72ED, DSLR - I expect a flattener in there but I never at the time enquired much. So as a rough budget:

Mount - $600

Scope - $400

DSLR - you have one I expect.

Flattener - $150

T-ring - $25 (for DSLR to flattener connection)

Intervalometer - $25 (need one to get a somewhat automated sequence of exposures)

So $1200 for what is a fairly basic but useable setup.

 

I would suggest a new, good high capacity battery for the DSLR and a couple of memory cards.

Software =  DSS and one of the free processing ones SIRIL or NINA or Astrosurface.


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#3 aeajr

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 04:07 PM

Up until recently I had a Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ which was great (though I did struggle with locating objects at times)  I managed to get some great pictures of the moon, and some (not so great) of Jupiter and it's moons (mostly just bright dots, no detail)

 

I'm looking on upgrading so I can see further into space and get better details with pictures.  Would anyone be willing to give their opinion on my next telescope?

 

I've been thinking about the Celestron NexStar 130SLT, but a friend of mine recommended the Celestron NexStar 8SE.  There's not a great price-point difference between the two, but is the increase in price "worth it" for the NexStar 8SE?  Primary focus would be to view the planets, etc but I would like to get some great pictures as well, and I've heard that the NexStar 8SE is too light to hold a DSLR.

 

I've heard arguments about which is better - Dobsonian (the 8SE) or Newtonian (the 130SLT) but not enough to deter me one way or the other.  Other than these 2 telescopes, are there any other recommendations (and reasons) for a good telescope that will enable me to get some great astrophotography images without completely breaking the bank?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Dayton

Visual astronomy, eye to eyepiece, and astrophotography or imaging are two very different things. 

 

You must decide which is your priority.  I think you are primarily interested in visual astronomy with some interest in taking some pictures. Then the 8SE could be good as a starting point.  However a DSLR might not be the best choice.  There are many imaging cameras that are a LOT lighter than the typical DSLR.  

 

DSLRs are made for human hands and human manipulation.  For Imaging with a telescope that is not optimized for imaging, like the 8SE, you are likely better off with an astronomy camera that replaces the eyepiece.

 

Something like this kit would be good as a starter kit for deep sky objects.  The 8SE should handle it fine.  Not the best imaging system but the kit includes everything you need to get started.  Capture to your computer and learn how to do stacking and manipulation.

https://www.revolutionimager.com/

 

If you are primarily interested in imaging with visual being secondary then this is the wrong choice.  You want a apochromatic refractor on a GoTo Equatorial mount as described in SG6's post above. 

 

The 8SE is NOT a Dobsonian which is a Newtonian optical tube on a Dobsonian mount.  It is a GoTo SCT.

 

Different types of Telescopes
https://telescopicwa...-of-telescopes/


Edited by aeajr, 25 October 2020 - 04:29 PM.


#4 Stelios

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Posted 25 October 2020 - 06:00 PM

Up until recently I had a Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ which was great (though I did struggle with locating objects at times)  I managed to get some great pictures of the moon, and some (not so great) of Jupiter and it's moons (mostly just bright dots, no detail)

 

I'm looking on upgrading so I can see further into space and get better details with pictures.  Would anyone be willing to give their opinion on my next telescope?

 

I've been thinking about the Celestron NexStar 130SLT, but a friend of mine recommended the Celestron NexStar 8SE.  There's not a great price-point difference between the two, but is the increase in price "worth it" for the NexStar 8SE?  Primary focus would be to view the planets, etc but I would like to get some great pictures as well, and I've heard that the NexStar 8SE is too light to hold a DSLR.

 

I've heard arguments about which is better - Dobsonian (the 8SE) or Newtonian (the 130SLT) but not enough to deter me one way or the other.  Other than these 2 telescopes, are there any other recommendations (and reasons) for a good telescope that will enable me to get some great astrophotography images without completely breaking the bank?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Dayton

There are two main types of astrophotography: Planetary/lunar, and DSO (galaxies, nebulae, etc.)

 

To put it bluntly: You *cannot* do DSO astrophotography *with a telescope* without "breaking the bank" (or getting lousy images). Figure on a $2K budget as a *minimum* (not including camera, laptop and software), most of which will go to the mount. You can start DSO astrophotography cheaper by using just a camera tracker and a DSLR. 

 

Planetary/lunar imaging can be done on any tracking scope, even the 8SE. Which would be my overwhelming preference between the two scopes you cited. Note that the 8SE is *much* more expensive than the Nexstar 130SLT which is really a beginner scope at best. An 8SE could be removed from the fork and (later) used on an equatorial mount such as the HEQ5 or EQ6R-Pro for DSO imaging. You could also tippy-toe into DSO imaging with it by buying an OAG, guide camera, and a wedge (which will cost an extra $1K), but that would be inferior to buying an equatorial mount for it. 



#5 alphatripleplus

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 08:22 AM

As mentioned by Stelios, you can get started doing some very widefield DSO astrophotography with a camera tracker and DSLR or small sensor CMOS camera (less preferable). That would at least let you get your feet wet and decide if it was something worth pursuing before commiting substantial $$$s.




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