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Where to start with astrophotograhy

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#1 bslayter

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 09:21 PM

Hi guys!

 

Looking to get a ZWO setup to use with my Williams optics z81 doublet refractor which has the adjustable flat6AIII, and a  uniguide 50mm scope for the scope. What is the advatages of a monocrome vs a color ZWO camera?

 

I need a guide camera for the 50mm scope, along with a decent ZWO camera for imaging. Also what do I use to control my mount and setup? Looking to stay under 1k total for the camera and guide camera. I currently have a Explore Scientific EXOS2-GT Equatorial Mount with PMC-Eight GoTo System to which I am not sure is a good mount for doing astrophotograhy. Thinking of getting a Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro equatorial goto mount if the other mount won't get the results I want.

 

Thank you all in advance!

Best regards,

 

B


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#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 10:56 PM

Hi guys!

 

Looking to get a ZWO setup to use with my Williams optics z81 doublet refractor which has the adjustable flat6AIII, and a  uniguide 50mm scope for the scope. What is the advatages of a monocrome vs a color ZWO camera?

 

I need a guide camera for the 50mm scope, along with a decent ZWO camera for imaging. Also what do I use to control my mount and setup? Looking to stay under 1k total for the camera and guide camera. I currently have a Explore Scientific EXOS2-GT Equatorial Mount with PMC-Eight GoTo System to which I am not sure is a good mount for doing astrophotograhy. Thinking of getting a Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro equatorial goto mount if the other mount won't get the results I want.

 

Thank you all in advance!

Best regards,

 

B

You're doing well.

 

Controlling the mount can be done with an ST-4 cable from the guide camera.  Contrary to what some say here, there's nothing wrong with it.  You do have to recalibrate PhD2 if you change targets.

 

Most people prefer to control the mount with a small computer, often a laptop.  You use an ASCOM driver, and the ASCOM interface.  ASCOM is useful for connecting just about all your equipment to a computer.  With this system, there's no need to recalibrate if you change targets.

 

I used ST4 successfully until I wanted to connect the mount to a computer for other reasons.  At that point it made sense to change to ASCOM guiding (sometimes called "pulse guiding").

 

Good camera choices for a 1k budget.  An ASI120mm mini (a fine guide camera, even at the low cost), and a 533mc cooled color camera.  Saving a few hundred dollars with an uncooled astro camera defines the term "false economy".  <smile>

 

Mono plus filters is somewhat better, but with the filters and a wheel, far outside your budget.  The availability of new duoband filters, like the LEnhance, makes it possible to do a form of narrowband imaging with color cameras.  Justifiably popular.  Emission nebulae only.

 

The mount is indeed a weak link.   It may work with the 81.  Just don't spend too much effort trying to make it work if it clearly doesn't want to do it.  Switch, don't fight.  <smile>

 

This book will be the best $40 you ever spend on DSO AP equipment.

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/0999470906/

 

For calibrating/stacking/processing, I recommend Astro Pixel Processor.  An all in one solution that's substantially better than the supposedly "free" option of using DSS and trying to persuade a terrestrial editing program to do astro.   Only free if you place zero value on your time.


Edited by bobzeq25, 12 June 2021 - 11:05 PM.

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#3 bslayter

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 11:41 PM

You're doing well.

 

Controlling the mount can be done with an ST-4 cable from the guide camera.  Contrary to what some say here, there's nothing wrong with it.  You do have to recalibrate PhD2 if you change targets.

 

Most people prefer to control the mount with a small computer, often a laptop.  You use an ASCOM driver, and the ASCOM interface.  ASCOM is useful for connecting just about all your equipment to a computer.  With this system, there's no need to recalibrate if you change targets.

 

I used ST4 successfully until I wanted to connect the mount to a computer for other reasons.  At that point it made sense to change to ASCOM guiding (sometimes called "pulse guiding").

 

Good camera choices for a 1k budget.  An ASI120mm mini (a fine guide camera, even at the low cost), and a 533mc cooled color camera.  Saving a few hundred dollars with an uncooled astro camera defines the term "false economy".  <smile>

 

Mono plus filters is somewhat better, but with the filters and a wheel, far outside your budget.  The availability of new duoband filters, like the LEnhance, makes it possible to do a form of narrowband imaging with color cameras.  Justifiably popular.  Emission nebulae only.

 

The mount is indeed a weak link.   It may work with the 81.  Just don't spend too much effort trying to make it work if it clearly doesn't want to do it.  Switch, don't fight.  <smile>

 

This book will be the best $40 you ever spend on DSO AP equipment.

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/0999470906/

 

For calibrating/stacking/processing, I recommend Astro Pixel Processor.  An all in one solution that's substantially better than the supposedly "free" option of using DSS and trying to persuade a terrestrial editing program to do astro.   Only free if you place zero value on your time.

 

I already own that book but haven't read it yet. Would a controller like  ZWO ASIAIR Pro be a good option if I get a Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro? I do own a Windows laptop, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+,  and a ROCKPALS 300W portable power station also for imaging where there isn't a power source.

 

Thank you for the advice and tips.


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#4 bobzeq25

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 11:55 PM

I already own that book but haven't read it yet. Would a controller like  ZWO ASIAIR Pro be a good option if I get a Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro? I do own a Windows laptop, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+,  and a ROCKPALS 300W portable power station also for imaging where there isn't a power source.

 

Thank you for the advice and tips.

ASIPro is "polarizing".  <grin>

 

Pro.  Really simple and pleasant to use.

 

Con.  Limits your choice of equipment and software.

 

For me the con drives the train.  A Windows10 computer can use just about any equipment, any software.  I used to use a laptop, now that I have an observatory I use a NUC, and operate it remotely from my house over wifi 95+% of the time.



#5 Phil Sherman

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 10:43 PM

Another option for image processing is to download the now free "ImagesPlus" (IP) from Mike Unsold's web site. The camera control module will control any camera with an ASCOM interface while the image processing piece will do all of your pre and post processing. Mike also has many videos available on his site that demonstrate how to use many of the image processing features of the program.




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