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Thread: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

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    Default Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider



    Hi folks!
    I want to go into astrophotograpy and get autoguider for my current setup:

    Meade LX80 Mount
    Explore Scientific David Levy Comet Hunter (152mm Carbon Fiber Maksutov-Newtonian)
    Canon EOS 60D (not modified)

    The idea is to get Celestron autoguider + good refractor for deep sky imaging.

    Celestron autoguider
    Celestron - NexGuide Autoguider
    Sale Price: $269.00 CDN

    I found the following refractors from online retailer:

    SV Raptor 90 mm Apo Triplet with new 2.5” SV focuser
    Stellarvue SVR90T-25SV - 90mm APO Triplet Refractor Telescope with Carbon Fiber Tube - 2.5" SV Focuser
    Weight: 6.8 lb, has a 90mm clear aperture, 630mm focal length and operates at f/7
    Price: $1,495.00 CDN

    Stellarvue SV Raptor 80mm APO Triplet f/6 Refractor Telescope - Carbon Fiber
    Stellarvue SV Raptor 80mm APO Triplet f/6 Refractor Telescope - Carbon Fiber
    Weight: 8 lb, APO Triplet f/6 Refractor
    Price: $1,295.95 CDN

    Explore Scientific ES - 80mm Carbon Fiber f/6 ED Apo OTA w/ Dlx Case & Accessories
    Explore Scientific ES - 80mm Carbon Fiber f/6 ED Apo OTA w/ Dlx Case & Accessories
    f/6 ED Apo OTA w/ Dlx Case & Accessories
    Sale Price: $999.99 CDN

    Orion ED80T CF Triplet Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
    Orion ED80T CF Triplet Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
    Fast f/6 focal ratio and 80mm aperture refractor
    Versatile triplet apochromatic refractor telescope featuring ED glass, Weight: 8.6 lb
    Sale Price: $849.99 CDN

    Stellarvue SV Raptor 80ED Carbon Fibre Refractor Optical Tube Only
    Stellarvue - SV Raptor 80ED Refractor
    80mm diameter, 560mm focal length (f7), air-spaced ED doublet objective, Weight: 4.4 lb
    Price: $799.00 CDN


    Please help me to make a right choice, because I'm still too new to astronomy and didn't have that much experience on a field. Just a few notes:

    1. Originally, the idea was to get a scope under 1k, but...
    2. I understand that, the higher price, the better equipment I can get, but if you compare side by side, doesn't make a big difference in image quality to pay almost twice more?
    3. I'm trying to stay away from having a laptop on a field and use it with a camera as auto-guider.
    4. What parts do i need in order to mount refractor above to my Comet Hunter? I assume it should be attached to the handle.
    5. All refractors above are carbon fiber. It looks nicer and much lighter comparing to a standard tube.
    6. If I get more expensive refractor, maybe Comet Hunter will serve me as a guider tube?
    7. I provided links to Canadian Telescopes online store just for the reference of refractors and specs. I'm not affiliated with these guys, I'm just a happy customer
    8. Phew! Are you still reading this post.... ?

    Thank you for your replies! Hope to see some of you on a Starfest next month!)

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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    Welcome to the forum! I don't think you will go wrong with any of the triplets. I would personally choose a triplet over the doublet to avoid CA. Have you considered using your Comet Hunter for imaging? I have heard that it is a fantastic imaging scope, and the f/4.8 focal ratio might pair better with a dslr, especially during the warmer summer months.
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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    I was where you were 18 months ago... looking at the self-contained Autoguiders..

    Why avoid the PC..

    imaging is better with BackYard EOS than a timer. (Some use APT also)

    Live Focus based on star size in live view or focusing mask help but much faster.
    Programming and labeling of all your image runs.
    Works with PHD guiding to dither.. (shift the shot just a tiny bit in between to help stacking remove noise)

    Add in Astrotortilla which I just did.. for Polar Alignment and Precise mount alignment.. and I used Cartes du ciel to pick shots and run the scope.

    Even for visual nights I am thinking I will take the notebook out to let Astrotortilla align the mount using PHD and my guide camera. . vs all that tedious star centering.

    PHD also guides in fractional pixels where the Celestron Unit does not.

    Once you get the right tools on the laptop.. you will never image with out it.
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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    I always look at LX and think of the fork mounts, did not know Meade had brought out a version which will also work as an EQ mount which is what is needed for deep sky imaging.

    I would say any of those Apo refractors f6 would be ideal.
    I have heard nothing but problems from people with a stand alone autoguider and would recommend a finderguider system with a QHY5, so get a refractor that has a 9 x 50 finderscope, just add an adapter and camera and laptop and you're away.

    Laptop is far easier than trying to see what is on the back of a DSLR LED screen, just think of the weird positions you might have to crouch into. Which reminds me, with a finderguider system you can also use the finderguider as your finderscope which also alleviates the need to stand/crouch/twist into difficult positions. I have one and I love it.

    You can also use APT or BYEOS for capture. Take the SD card out if downloading to laptop though, as it appears this can cause horizontal banding. I got this tip from an aussie when i was having some banding problems and it seems to have cured it.

    HTH

    Carole
    Last edited by carastro; 07-28-2013 at 09:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    I also am trying to put together an astro imaging package. My goal is as simple a package as practical for grab and go. Stand alone guiders are few and far between. The mini Borg SG4 combo is what I am saving up for. Many people that actually know what they are doing strongly suggest computer based systems.
    The Raptor scopes have recieved great reviews. Borg also get praise.
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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    I've been pleased with 80mm ED EON refractor for imaging deep space objects. With that aperture or smaller, I don't know if triplet APO quality adds that much, unless trying to image solar system objects. For planets I'd use a bigger aperture. Frankly, I'm not as much an imaging expert as some that have already replied but my thinking is that the true APO quality becomes more meaningful at >100mm aperture. But I'd like to hear other opinions on this point as well. Certainly, though, if you have the money to spend, you've got reputable choices in your list already. My strategy, though would be $400-$500 on a 80mm ED refractor for deep space and save for a >102mm APO after gaining some photography experience.

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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    I think I can't go wrong with a computer based system if so many people suggest it . I guess I need to google these software titles above. Most of it, I've never heard of. It will keep me busy for a while.

    What about he mount/parts that I need in order to put a refractor like Raptor on the top of my Comet Hunter's handle? There is a link with an image.

    http://explorescientific.com/images/..._cf_%20med.jpg

    Thank you all!!!

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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    I'd suggest that you search the Forum for other thoughts on the NexGuide. I had one, but eventually gave up on it for an Orion SSAG.
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    Default Re: Need advice about astrophotography, refractors and Celestron autoguider

    To mount a refractor on the Comet Hunter you will need a dovetail and tube rings.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carastro View Post
    You can also use APT or BYEOS for capture. Take the SD card out if downloading to laptop though, as it appears this can cause horizontal banding. I got this tip from an aussie when i was having some banding problems and it seems to have cured it.

    HTH

    Carole
    Can you explain what this is? I use BYEOS and and record to both computer and SD card. Is it better to not record images to SD card? And what do you mean by banding?
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