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Thread: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

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    Default Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP



    I am contemplating updating my beginner setup (Orion 130mm Reflector). I have done some simple things with my iPhone and a mount on the eye piece to capture some decent moon shots and a couple simple Jupiter and Saturn captures, but nothing to the level I would like and would love to get into AP a bit more and get into more DSO.

    What is a relatively good setup that isn't TOO expensive. I am looking at an 8" or maybe 10" Orion AstroGraph and ideal a GoTo EQ Mount. Is there a reason to go with the 10" would I get that much better with it over the 8" and with that setup, what camera setup would be best? A CCD, or could I use my Nikon D3100 DSLR with the necessary adapter setup to fit it?

    Trying to get an idea of what could get me the best results and even support some Visual Viewing as well, but if I get a CCD connected to the computer it would nice to be able to share the view with others so that may be a better option anyway.

    Thanks Everyone!
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    Hi,

    Starting smaller is much easier, gives better less frustrating results, and is quite a bit less expensive. Instead of an 8 - 10" astrograph, you should consider an 80mm APO refractor on a very solid mount EQ mount. A mount that can handle twice as much weight as your projected gear will weigh. Even to start small like this and assuming you are going to use a DSLR (which you already own) your budget needs to start at around $2000.

    BTW, what is your budget?

    Cheers,
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    If all you have is a DSLR, a lens and a tripod... you could always begin with nightscapes. Some of the best images on this forum are nightscapes. But if you want to do DSOs, you will need to graduate into the world of equatorial mounts.

    When JT mentioned the $2000 as a minimum to start, that probably scared you off.

    Some of us started with much less -- like myself. I started with a motorized Celestron CG-4 ($190), a f/4 100mm achromat (which I already owned) and a Canon 450D ($140). Yeah, I started that way and learned the ropes. But it was hard.

    So the key question has already been asked: What is your budget ???

    Joe
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    The 10" astrograph has no advantage over the 8" except a longer focal length for tiny objects like planetary nebulae. It is harder to mount, given its weight.

    The 8" astrograph is a fine instrument. It is what I mostly use. However, it is too heavy for entry-level EQ mounts. Your best bet for DSO AP is a small, fast refractor. A lighter scope is easier to mount, and the shorter focal length will be more forgiving of alignment and tracking errors.
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    Hello and welcome to the forum! I would also agree with KathyNS. Joe, and JT.
    I only started about 1 year ago, and I found you need a lot of time and learning about polar alignment, focusing, and handling light pollution. Its better to start with a small scope, preferably an ED refractor or an Apo if you can afford it. I started with a ED70 scope and I am happy with my choice at 420 mm. Whats more important, is that you need to spend a lot of time on this hobby.

    Your work may get in the way, you may need more time to devote to your hobby. A large scope and all that it entails will involve more set up time, unless you have an observatory. If you have an experienced astronomer in the background to help you, that would be an advantage.

    A good budget will also help. How much time and money would you want to invest ?

    Remember, post processing will take a lot of time as well...Maybe the deciding factors in AP are - time, underlying interest and motivation, and patience and temperament - those post processing issues can be very difficult and time consuming, and you will need to learn lots of new software, trying new software etc. I think it is 60% post processing, 40% acquiring images...
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    Thanks for all the great input. I wouldn't say I am a beginner with Astronomy, but I would be a relative beginner in Astrophotography. Currently I use a GoSky phone mount and my iPhone to capture some of my viewings. However, the AltAz mount I have is pretty basic and definitely could use an upgrade. I have had my Orion Starseeker 130mm for about 8 years and have done a good bit visual viewing and started capturing things on photo over the past year.

    I would say my budget is in the 1500-1800 range and have been looking at the 8" or 10" Astrograph and a few different EQ mounts. I really want to get an EQ Mount to simplify the alignment process as my Starseeker setup is a bit "prehistoric".

    The couple EQ mounts I have my eyes are include the various Atlas, as well as the bit lower cost Orion Sirius EQ-G Computerized GoTo.

    I also see some full setups from Orion that may be good options as well. Such as the

    https://www.telescope.com/All-Telesc...e=SortByRating

    Pretty much same price range as a decent EQ mount and the 8" Astrograph and the Orion Sirius EQ-G Mount or the Same EQ G Mount that is in the other combo. It would be closer to 2k. Not sure if the Scope included in the Atlas bundle is equal to the Astrograph.
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    To quote some of our more famous members, "Put your money where your mount is." UM
    Another, "A cheap telescope on an expensive mount can yield great images, but a great scope on a cheap mount may not yield any images." H

    Use all your budget for a great mount then look at getting an inexpensive 80mm Achromat like the Orion ST-80A. Or just put your camera on this great mount using your camera lens while saving up again for a good APO scope.

    In AP aperture is not nearly as important as Focal Length (FL) and Focal Ratio (FR). Large aperture scopes have longer focal lengths meaning you are imaging a smaller piece of the sky which equates to magnification (roughly). This higher "magnification" will make guiding and imaging so much more difficult. A lot of us have been down this route and then we come back to an 80mm refractor to continue our AP education.

    I hope this helps in your decision making.

    Cheers,
    JT
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    If you have a tight budget i would say start looking at secondhand stuff. Astromart is a good place too start. And also the classifieds on this forum and others.
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    Quote Originally Posted by jaetea View Post
    Use all your budget for a great mount then look at getting an inexpensive 80mm Achromat like the Orion ST-80A. Or just put your camera on this great mount using your camera lens while saving up again for a good APO scope.
    GREAT advice.

    No matter what your budget, sink most of it into the mount.

    Joe
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    Default Re: Contemplating the Route to Get Into AP

    I have seen great images by an 8" astrograph, by Kathy on an HEQ5 and by geethq on an AVX. Those miunts are barely adequate for the 8" and require skill to be used successfully.

    The 8" is cheaper than an 80 mm Apo except that you will eventually need a coma corrector. It is more versatile than an 80 mm Apo so it would be my choice.

    The trouble with CCDs is that they get so expensive for larger sensors like the APS-C size of a DSLR. So if you are on a budget, stick with the DSLR and invest most of your money in the mount.
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