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EAA for ES/MS Education -point me in the right direction

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#51 SchoolMaster

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:52 AM

Looking at the list of kit in the first post, is there anything more we should have?  I'm working on budget for next year and things I can buy out of my supplies' fund.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 14 June 2021 - 11:52 AM.


#52 GaryShaw

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 02:38 PM

Quick check didn’t note:

- Bahtinov Mask

- Dew protection gear (Florida right?)

- nebula dual band pass filter, eg Optolong Extreme

- filterwheel, convenient but not a necessity

- led panel for making Flats 

- good mono camera, eg ASI183MM, ASI178MM, etc.


Edited by GaryShaw, 14 June 2021 - 02:41 PM.


#53 SchoolMaster

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 05:07 PM

Quick check didn’t note:

- Bahtinov Mask

- Dew protection gear (Florida right?)

- nebula dual band pass filter, eg Optolong Extreme

- filterwheel, convenient but not a necessity

- led panel for making Flats 

- good mono camera, eg ASI183MM, ASI178MM, etc.

Thanks Gary

 

I 3D print masks and have one for the 102, 127, and 90, don't need one for the 80 and I'll make one for the C6 when I use it for EAA  We have the OTA only and I figure that it's too slow without a reducer and I'm reluctant to spend anything if I can get usable images out of the 102mm.  I'll need a better reducer to slow it down, same for the Maks.  I could use the laser cutter to make them too, but I have yet to try that.

 

At school, the scopes are kept in a vented storage space that is not air-conditioned, so it is equilibrated to the outside most of the time; at home here, I have always stored my stuff in the garage, which is also at 'outside-ish' temperatures because I often need to rush out to hit short windows in the clouds (admittedly only with my small Virtuoso)  Would you expect significant issues with the kit I have?

 

Expensive filter. I'll check that out when I can actually DO something.  What would I expect it to do for us?

 

May have a LED panel in the school's TV studio.

 

Why the mono camera?  I realize that the 224MC is a 'starter' camera.  I was expecting that the first upgrade would be to something larger, like a 533 or a 294 uncooled, keeping the 224 for planetary and small DSO.  I was planning to look at what we actually show the students and get a camera that will handle that FOV, and maybe add reducers rather than bigger cameras, but with ZERO personal experience, all I know is to wait until I know more. 

UPDATE:  I see that the 178MM is also mentioned for use with microscopes/  That dual-use (and someone else's) combining budgets could work.

UPDATE:  Gary has explained the reasons for the 178MM (which he uses himself :) ) in a PM

 

I will likely get a camera for the kit I keep at home, the Virtuoso, and the SLT which normally has the ST80 mounted on it or the 90mm Mak and the ST80 on the Virtuoso, or I may transfer these to the school (they were donated personally to me) and upgrade my own stuff. A C8 and 80-100mm refractor would seem to cover all the bases well enough for me.  I'd need to chose the 'right' mount first and go from there. (AZ-EQ5 or Ioptron Az Pro??)  


Edited by SchoolMaster, 15 June 2021 - 03:15 PM.


#54 alphatripleplus

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 11:20 AM

If you want more sensitivity for some of the less colourful but faint targets, such as smaller galaxies, a mono camera can be useful. Among the smaller sized mono cameras, the 290MM is probably the most sensitive and works well for faint galaxies. As mentioned earlier, most EAAers prefer colour, for colourful  targets.



#55 SchoolMaster

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 12:10 PM

If you want more sensitivity for some of the less colourful but faint targets, such as smaller galaxies, a mono camera can be useful. Among the smaller sized mono cameras, the 290MM is probably the most sensitive and works well for faint galaxies. As mentioned earlier, most EAAers prefer colour, for colourful  targets.

I think I'll be happy with most of the Messiers.  I'm trying to build a foundation for High School and Uni.  The 224 and 290 seem to have similar FOV, with the 178 a bit bigger, all at a reasonable price, especially if I can use it for microscope work.  I use cheap USB macro-cameras for that at the moment.

 

The 183mm and 533mc also have about the same FOV and the price of either is a bit steep, although the 183 pixels are smaller and there are a lot more of them.

 

When I actually get something going, experience can guide me.  Cost-effectiveness is an issue.  I jave to consider what else I could do with the money, like buy some water quality sensors for Environmental Science.



#56 SchoolMaster

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 12:56 PM

Since I'm a glutton for punishment and want to WOW! kids, with the right other kit (vastly expensive Quark maybe), which of these mono cameras could be used for solar imaging.  Plenty of sun here in Florida and the kiddos are at school during the day and I can broadcast from a connection to the TV studio. (Just asking, I'll ask the solar imagers if it seems like this is a viable option)

 

Actually, considerable absence of sun today, and sky last night and expected tonight too frown.gif


Edited by SchoolMaster, 16 June 2021 - 01:23 PM.


#57 alphatripleplus

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 01:01 PM

Since I'm a glutton for punishment and want to WOW! kids, with the right other kit (vastly expensive Quark maybe), which of these mono cameras could be used for solar imaging.  

 

For solar imaging, you should probably ask the question in the Solar Observing and Imaging Forum  as that is the hot place for such discussions.



#58 SchoolMaster

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 03:02 PM

A3+

 

Yes, I will later, I guess I wanted to introduce it as a consideration when advising me for my main EAA plan.  It might make it easier for others to refine choices based on secondary uses.  I have already discovered that the 102 achromat is suitable.

 

Apart from making flats and darks, and reading the 'secret plans' of the software, is there anything useful I could be working on while my skies are crappy?  Could not even see the moon last night.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 16 June 2021 - 03:45 PM.


#59 SchoolMaster

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 04:26 PM

Weather in Florida is still $##%^^$%##!!

 

Things have advanced at school, although I still expect 'hurry up, and wait'.  I'm now putting together a $5,000 proposal for a system.  I have received the following advice from other parts of the forum.  I assume that it is OK to ask for suggestions/criticism here in EAA.  If not Mounts or Cats and Casses has threads on this topic.

 

Hypothetical system - GaryShaw (and me)

:

Ioptron Az pro and Tri-pier $1800

8" TS optics CF Newton $1600

AT 102 ED  $600

ASI 533 camera $900

Electronic focuser - ???

 

Hypothetical system - carolinaskies (and me)

 

AZEQ5 $1600

C8 + Hyperstar $2000

AT 102 ED $600 (can be deferred, and existing  f/4.9 102mm OTA can be used to balance budget)

ASI 533 camera $900

Electronic focuser ??

WiFi/GPS for mount??



#60 GaryShaw

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 04:36 PM

small point....

I would not say that you really needed the tri-pier for the AZMP although that would give flexibility for the future if you went to a larger OTA and wanted an EQ mount. I have the 2" tripod that came with my AZMP several years ago and its great. The one they have now is called the Literok and is fine from what I've read elsewhere on CN. I also have the tripier and I use that with my CEM 70. I plan to put a RASA 11 on that in a year or less.

Gary



#61 SchoolMaster

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 04:52 PM

Thanks Gary.  I am uncertain there, and the change would save a bit.  That brings the mount cost down to about to $1400. although some are selling with the tripier for $1600.  The difference is enough for an electronic focuser, or a camera upgrade. smile.gif

 

'The future is hard to see', but I find it unlikely that a significant upgrade is on the cards, and if it is, it is more likely to be another system.  The oldest kiddos are 14, so I am sceptical concerning bigger and better.  For more serious visual observation, a big Dob might be the answer, but this is an EAA forum.  Either the Newton you suggested, or carolinaskies suggested SCT with Hyperstar seem to be plenty for my needs and audience, WOW!ing kiddos with views of DSOs and the solar system (and later a solar scope for the Sun)


Edited by SchoolMaster, 22 June 2021 - 04:59 PM.


#62 GaryShaw

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 05:01 PM

FWIW, I bought a ZWO autofocuser 6 months ago and have yet to install it. The installation is pretty time-consuming regarding figuring out all the 'offset's for each filter condition. Plus, I find the bahtinov mask a breeze use to achieve great focus. So, I would not place that high on my list ... if I were in your situation. It's a huge benefit, however, if you plan to often be observing remotely from where your scope is.... If you do go that route, be sure to verify whichever auto-focuser you get will be compatible with your OTA focuser.

Gary



#63 SchoolMaster

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 05:05 PM

ABSOLUTELY!  That is a detail I will ask about later, worst case, I'll buy it myself.  I retired from 'work' at 44 when I sold up a company.  The last 20+ years of teaching are main hobby :)



#64 SchoolMaster

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:27 PM

Weather still unsuitable, over 2" of rain last night and not a glimpse of the moon.

 

I am putting in a request for this kit.

 

GoTo AZ-Alt mount $1500

8" SCT + with f/2 adaptor $2000

102mm doublet refractor $600 

9+ Mpixel color CMOS camera for EAA $900

 

The absence of specific names allows me some flexibility (533, 183, or 294 camera, for instance)  This should be light enough to deal with the weather issue mentioned in Mounts.  I'm including pictures of examples of possible parts to show what they look like and how 'impressive; they are.

 

I'll also need a focal reducer and probably an electronic focuser.  I hope to buy new for less, or go gently used or open box for a bit more savings to squeeze some things in.

 

This will allow me to do good and flexible EAA, once I master all the bits.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 26 June 2021 - 08:12 AM.


#65 SchoolMaster

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Posted 26 June 2021 - 05:34 PM

Now I've 'settled' on my kit, what camera should I choose for the C8/Hyperstar?

 

The least expensive, decent, option mentioned in other threads seems to be the 294 uncooled.  As with every part, whatever I save on one item can be used for more stuff elsewhere.  What subtleties do I need to consider?


Edited by SchoolMaster, 27 June 2021 - 06:14 AM.


#66 nic35

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 09:26 AM

In Florida, I'd go for the cooled version.  Actually, anywhere, I prefer cooled.  YMMV.

 

j



#67 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 09:41 AM

In Florida, I'd go for the cooled version.  Actually, anywhere, I prefer cooled.  YMMV.

 

j

Thanks, I see that you have a Pro.

 

Me too BUT,

 

I have $5000 budget, the four items I have listed cost $5000, nominally, and the cooled 294 is $100 over, AND I also need a f/6.3 focal reducer, and there are likely to be other 'little' things like an electronic focuser I might need.  Given my audience and shortish exposures, if I'm going cooled, I have budgeted for the 533.  I'm trying for cheaper, but nearly as good options.



#68 nic35

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 11:30 AM

If you go with the cooled 533 - a very good choice- you may want to get a Starizona night owl instead of the hyperstar.  F4 versus F2.

 

They are on backorder, or so I understand.  The night owl is made for a 16mm sensor - the 533 for example - so it doesn't play as well with the 23mm 294.

 

for outreach, I think the difference in speed is immaterial.

 

You might start with the 0.63 reducer, and move on if not satisfied, if you have timing flexibility - meaning you don't have to spend everything al at once. Plenty of folks happy with 0.63 FR's 

 

I haven't perused all of this thread, but you might want to look at the value of the hyperstar and the 294.  Fast, and big FOV, but not good for small objects unless you have a full 4k UHD video system.  Even then you'll lose some resolution.

 

j



#69 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 12:19 PM

If you go with the cooled 533 - a very good choice- you may want to get a Starizona night owl instead of the hyperstar.  F4 versus F2.

 

They are on backorder, or so I understand.  The night owl is made for a 16mm sensor - the 533 for example - so it doesn't play as well with the 23mm 294.

 

for outreach, I think the difference in speed is immaterial.

 

You might start with the 0.63 reducer, and move on if not satisfied, if you have timing flexibility - meaning you don't have to spend everything al at once. Plenty of folks happy with 0.63 FR's 

 

I haven't perused all of this thread, but you might want to look at the value of the hyperstar and the 294.  Fast, and big FOV, but not good for small objects unless you have a full 4k UHD video system.  Even then you'll lose some resolution.

 

j

Thanks.  That's the sort of derails I want to know.

 

This is a capital purchase, so now or never.  COVID has pooed up the budget for the last two years so I want to avoid future budget flex if possible.  The Night Owl is a lot cheaper, although unavailable, and I'm pretty sure I need to go faster than f/6.3, from what I've read.  That would free up a lot.

 

In practice, I am trusted to use my knowledge to make changes to benefit us all, so changing Hyperstar for a Night Owl and a f/6.3, and maybe a better camera, is doable, but I will need to have something to show for the money soon in August, which may be a challenge, given the current unavailability of nearly everything.

 

I'm assuming from your signature kit that you think:

 

Evolution mount

C8 with reducers as needed

Smallish ED refractor

Decent camera

 

makes a good EAA system to look at just about everything.  I'm considering a Lunt 70 ED that can be later upgraded with a filter and etalon for solar EAA, rather then the 102.



#70 Alien Observatory

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 12:35 PM

Just a thought...Why not use your C6 (which is HStar compatible), buy a C6 Hyperstar for $600 and get started with a 1553 cooled cam (you are in FL !).  Same thing with the filter, just get a UV/IR ZWO filter and an EVO Mount to start with...Many times it is better to crawl, walk then run as opposed to running out the gate...  Pat Utah :)



#71 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 12:51 PM

The C6 has a very wide, aftermarket, dovetail plate (black, two rows of holes and about 4" wide IIRC) and will not mount in my Vixen saddles, and I'm completely unsure how to change it out.  It is stored down in the Pre-Cambrian layers of our storage unit, and I'm moving into a new facility at the start of the year, so it will take a while to 'excavate'

 

Crawl before walk is indeed my plan, WHEN the local skies cooperate.  I have some kit right next to me and yet have had 8/10th or greater cloud for the last two weeks so almost no crawling has been done. 

 

I get the money, I get the kit, results must follow very soon.   I need to go through a process to spend money on each item I buy, and it can take time, sometimes years, so getting a bunch of money and spending it wisely and quickly is the way to go.  anything not used after a few months will be 'repurposed'.

 

Know where I can get a decent used Evolution mount?



#72 alphatripleplus

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:31 PM

The C6 has a very wide, aftermarket, dovetail plate (black, two rows of holes and about 4" wide IIRC) and will not mount in my Vixen saddles, and I'm completely unsure how to change it out. 

The 4inch width of the dovetail on your C6 sounds like it might be a Losmandy D series dovetail  (they come in different lengths, but should be 4 inches wide). If it is, you can buy a Losandy to Vixen converter which will attach to the bottom of your Losmandy dovetail and attach directly to a Vixen saddle. That would be a cheap solution allowing you to mount your C6 if you wish.



#73 nic35

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:47 PM

If you go to astromart, there's a chap in Port Orange, FL that has an Evolution mount, with a starsense for $950. 

 

You could sell the starsense, if you want for about $200.

 

Note that using a cooled camera on an evolution, with a reducer will mean you'll probably need a diagonal that screws onto the reducer.  Otherwise you hit the mount when chasing high altitude objects.

 

If your observation site is permanent, I'd think about getting a GEM.  Better upside than an alt-az mount.  But good ones aren't very "portable" regardless what the advertising says.

 

A C8, and short fl refractor allows you to cover about everything quite well from planets to large scale DSO.

 

j



#74 Alien Observatory

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 02:01 PM

I did purchased a used C-6 (CN Classifieds) for $350 and have ordered a HStar for it.  I am interested how it will do compared to my CPC 9.25 @ F6.3.  Oranges to Apples comparison, but in the last couple of years a number of CN folks on the EAA Forum have done quite well with the smaller telescopes as well as I have also done with my TV101 refractor.

 

The C6 / Hstar is cheaper than a standalone a Hstar for the C9.25 by a couple of hundred dollars.   So it will be interesting to see how it performs.  All my C 9.25 accessories (FR, Cams, Extensions, Adapters, Filters...) are useable on the C6, so for me it was an economical way to go.   Pat Utah :)



#75 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 02:25 PM

The 4inch width of the dovetail on your C6 sounds like it might be a Losmandy D series dovetail  (they come in different lengths, but should be 4 inches wide). If it is, you can buy a Losandy to Vixen converter which will attach to the bottom of your Losmandy dovetail and attach directly to a Vixen saddle. That would be a cheap solution allowing you to mount your C6 if you wish.

Don't remember the Losmandy lettering, but that looks quite like my memory.  Thanks!  It will take some time to excavate the OTA.




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