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  1. #1
    scotty.gathers's Avatar
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    Default Beginner Targets for AP



    I recently posted regarding what mount to buy for AP. I stumbled across a CG-5 GT that came with a Celestron cn-10 on craigslist so i bought both of them for only $500. Good deal, huh?

    So my question today is this... What targets do you guys recommend for my first few night out? I'm at 40' north lattitude and I don't have an autoguider yet.

    any input is appreciated. Thanks.

    Scotty

  2. #2
    Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    If you can see them, M42, M3, M31... good luck.
    Before you head off, have you checked that your camera (DSLR?) can actually reach focus on a very distant object with that particular Newtonian scope?

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  3. #3
    scotty.gathers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    I should be alright i have a celestron nexstar 8se that i will be using for imaging along with an rebel eos t3. I've been gathering all i need for quality imaging over the past six months or so. I will take the time today to update my profile with all of my equipment. I have the t-ring adaptors for the nexstar and camera. i ordered a piggyback mount and polar scope last night. I have been lucky enough to have a friend who is into ap. He has been guiding me. lol I have pretty dark skies and i am set up to do this right. Thanks for the input. All i need now are clear skies here in western PA.

  4. #4
    Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    Quote Originally Posted by scotty.gathers View Post
    I should be alright i have a celestron nexstar 8se that i will be using for imaging along with an rebel eos t3. I've been gathering all i need for quality imaging over the past six months or so. I will take the time today to update my profile with all of my equipment. I have the t-ring adaptors for the nexstar and camera. i ordered a piggyback mount and polar scope last night. I have been lucky enough to have a friend who is into ap. He has been guiding me. lol I have pretty dark skies and i am set up to do this right. Thanks for the input. All i need now are clear skies here in western PA.
    Ah - OK.
    The Nexstar will be fine mounted on the CG-5 but until you get a focal reducer (essential) you will be shooting at f10 and 2000mm - that's pretty demanding but you should get something if you stick to big bright targets for now. Do you know how to polar align the mount? Does the handset/mount have the latest firmware? - does it have the ASPA (all star polar align) feature?

    The T3 is a good choice for AP. Are you connecting the camera to a computer via USB? (this is something you will almost certainly want to do at a later date - it makes life so much easier with DSLR's)

    Spare batteries for the camera?

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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    Well sounds like you're almost ready to go. If you are not guiding, I'd stay with bright short exposure objects. That 8se Piggy back (leverage and such) is going to stress the CG-5 a little (imaging wise). It's still below the mounts capacity for visual and you'll be okay. You are going to have to get a good polar alignment. Which I have to say I done using the live view on my Olympus and the all star polar alignment routine. Just have to be consistent and accurate. The key thing is have fun and don't stress it! Those stars and nebulae have been up there for millions of years and probably will be there for millions more don't rush it!

    I'd hit the Orion nebula first and get used to finding the optimum exposure.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    i need to practice polar aligning. i have ordered a polar scope that should be here tomorrow. all i need is clear pittsburgh skies. I pointed the mount north in my living room and tried to do the two star alignment. i chose betelguese as the first star and the mount didn't even slew close to where it should be. i hope it works. i don't have any experience with an eq mount.

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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    i have the newest handset that came with my alt az mount i got this summer. i'm nervous because i pointed it north in my living room and tried to slew to betelguese in the two star align and it wasnt even close to where it should be. i dont know anything about eq mounts yet. i hope this one works. both axis motors run smoothly so im guessing i just need to wait for a clear night and get it outside to mess around.

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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Leigh View Post
    If you can see them, M42, M3, M31... good luck.
    Before you head off, have you checked that your camera (DSLR?) can actually reach focus on a very distant object with that particular Newtonian scope?
    The CN-10 will not reach focus with a Canon DSLR / Standard T-Adapter - by about 5-10mm. (I know from personal experience.)

    There are 2-3 posts on the Forum of people who have been able to successfully move the Primary Mirror forward that small distance using "longer bolts" for the Collimation Bolts. (I haven't tried this yet as my CN-10 is in storage until I get to building the Permanent Pier / ROR Observatory for it. Next year, please...)
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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    Given your focal length and without a focal reducer, I would recommend trying clusters as first targets. You will get very decent images with reletively short exposures. And that will give you something to practice processing with. Imaging is only one of the two challenges. The other one is processing.

    I look forward to see your first images!

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    Default Re: Beginner Targets for AP

    The normal advice would be:
    Start with the "Big Winter Targets", both to get some Practice and to get these wonderful targets before they get away...
    (BUT, these will most all be too Large for the native FOV of your C8... Although, you can still pick-up some of the juiciest parts of each...)
    M45 - Pleiades - target the nebulosity illuminated by Merope or Maia (two of the brightest stars in M45) - although NexStar HC fails to list them in "Named Stars" so you'll need to target SAO76172 and SAO76155 from the "Stars" button)
    M31 - Andromeda - target the Core and/or the Dust Lanes near M32
    M42 - Orion - target the Core and you'll still get a good bit of the bolder / most colorful portion of the Orion Nebula - or target M43 to get much of the same plus a bit more of the "edge of darker dust"
    (Once your Piggyback Mount arrives, revisit each of these with even your Kit Lens for a splendid surprise at how much a common Lens can capture when Tracking is applied.)

    Of the Winter Messier Open Clusters, make sure to visit:
    M37 - Salt&Pepper Cluster - this one will fill your FOV with both Blue-White and Orange-Yellow Stars
    M35 - no real name - this will fit your FOV - and as a bonus there is NGC2158 (a very nice sized dense Open Cluster) hiding just about one FOV to the SouthWest of M35
    M36 - Pinwheel Cluster - this is a bit smaller and fewer stars, but worth the effort if you are in the neighborhood
    M38 - Starfish Cluster - this one will fit quite well in your FOV
    NGC2264 - Cone Nebula Open Cluster - a rather spectacular OC around which you might also pick-up some of the Cone Nebula - how did Messier miss this one ??
    NGC2244 - Rosette Nebula Open Cluster - another great OC with good nebulosity surrounding it a bit further out than with the Cone Nebula - another notable Messier miss...

    Don't forget to post your Images...
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