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  1. #1
    Randy123SD's Avatar
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    Default meade ls 8 for astrophotography



    I'm thinking of getting the meade light switch 8 and wanted to know if anyone has tried hooking it up to a DSLR or dedicated CCD. I heard from the manufacturer that a camera would prohibit the mount from rotating 90°. Has anyone found this to be an issue or found a camera that will work with the LS 8? Is it powerful enough to image deep sky objects?

  2. #2
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    The main problem with that telescope is it is on an alt/az mount. You can do short exposure stuff and stack them, but anything over 30 seconds will start showing field rotation. To do long exposure AP, you need a German Equatorial mount. You could put it on a wedge (If they made one for that telescope), but you run into a whole nother set of problems with balance using a single arm mount in the EQ mode.

    If you are serious about AP, you need to start with a good solid EQ mount first, then get an optical tube of your choice to do AP with. In long exposure AP, the mount is king, not the optical tube. You can use just about any OTA to do AP with.

    Hope this helps

    Jim
    Celestron C9.25. Atlas EQG mount. Canon 500D unmodded, Celestron ST80 guide scope, SSAG, Meade 6.3 FR, Thousand Oaks dew control with Dewnot straps. Zhumell 8/24mm Zoom, 2"Gso Superview 42mm, Meade 2"QX wide angle 30MM, Meade 1.25 EP and filter set. Tasco 10x50 Zhumell 20x80 bino and a few other odds and ends.
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  4. #3
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    Another problem is balancing the LS-8 after attaching a camera to it. A single arm AZ mount is not the most friendly thing out there for balancing - some claim they do it well and other very knowledgeable types say it just flat can't be done.

    But a lightweight webcam or similar lightweight video camera should be no problem if that were all you wanted.
    Orion XX12G and XT8; 10 inch LX200GPS; ETX-80 (Backpack); Celestron NexStar 8SE; SVR90T-25SV (90mm Triplet); Explore Scientific ED102 (102mm Triplet); AVX mount.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OleCuss View Post
    Another problem is balancing the LS-8 after attaching a camera to it. A single arm AZ mount is not the most friendly thing out there for balancing - some claim they do it well and other very knowledgeable types say it just flat can't be done.

    But a lightweight webcam or similar lightweight video camera should be no problem if that were all you wanted.
    My uncle was unable to balance his 35mm onto an LS-8 at a star party... granted a bit heavier than a dslr, but stilll, yikes.

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    As others have said balance could be a problem you could get it balanced on one axis with magnets stuck to the OTA... But balancing it ion a wedge is basically impossible as the OTA itself will sometimes be hanging off to one side or the other depending on what part of the sky the OTA is pointed...Dual forked mounts do not have this problem..

    You last question about an 8 inch SCT being powerful enough for imaging DSO's is easy to answer ..its much much much more then powerful enough...

    BUT you will end up using a focal reducer anyway to reduce the power... plus lower the Focal ratio to allow you to take shorter exposures.. and flatten the FOV especially for DSOs...

    Bob G.
    CPC1100 housed in a slotted domed observatory (Exploradome) 4 and 5 inch refractors for use from the lawn, a 8" Sct (NS 8i) for star parties...
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  7. #6
    tmohr's Avatar
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    Randy, my LS-8 with Canon EOS T2i and AP experience is limited, but I can confirm what has been stated here already, though I didn't "balance" anything.

    Depending on the area of the sky, I get 30 seconds without much problem and can push 90 seconds sometimes.

    With a DSLR in primefocus, the camera will jam up on the base as there is not enough clearance. I get around this with a Parks Barlow(it has t-adapter threads). I remove the lens cell (it unscrews) and just slide that into the diagonal with the camera attached. With that setup, the camera clears the base with no problems.

    I must say that you will be better off with a solid EQ mount (I'm waiting on Meade's new line LX80) for a better AP solution.

    Hope this helps,
    Tom

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  8. #7
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    In short, The LS8 is woeful for AP and a bit gimmicky for normal viewing. The Astronomer inside is a very expensive gimmick - Buy a twin fork if you want an Alt Az viewer - buy an OTA and a GEM if you want to include AP.

    There's really no other way.
    The new Meade 8" LX80 sounds like a very good option - it converts to altaz by dropping the Polar axis to vertical. so yu have an easy view alt az or a decent EQ mount

    The 8" ACF tube is excellent by the way
    NEQ6 Pro Mount.Meade LX90 ACF 8"OTA, Canon 450D (Rebel XSi) 18-55 and 75-300 lenses. 4000 lens kit .Antares 6.3 focal reducer. Meade Wedge. Orion deluxe off axis guider. Orion Starshoot Autoguider.
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  9. #8
    Randy123SD's Avatar
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    Default starizona

    thanks for all the responses!

    Last night I came across the hyper star by starizona .apparently I'm a newbie and can't post hyperlinks, . So Google starizona and click on hyperstar. They also have a link for a video on YouTube called Hyperstar Nighttime Demo

    it seems like the camera can be mounted on alt-az, and comes with a counterweight, although I don't know how perfectly it is balanced. And they seem to suggest that it can take pictures with a much shorter exposure time, so maybe Field rotation won't be a problem and a wedge would be a unnecessary?

    Has anyone used this technology before? And is it safe to put so much weight on the secondary mirror mount like that?

  10. #9
    tmohr's Avatar
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    Hi Randy, odd that you should ask.

    I'm in Tucson right now on business. I've been out to Starizona the last two weekends (Friday and Saturday night) for their "right out front of the store" viewing sessions. There have been a few Hyperstar users there each time. A C14 setup on a CGE Pro pulled off an amazing Dumbell Nebula in 25 seconds. Of course the one where he stacked 10-120sec exposures had more depth. I've seen a CPC 800, pull in the Bubble nebula near M52 with a video type ccd camera using Hyperstar (had to look hard to see it, but it was there.) He was pumping his captures from the camera to a 32 inch tv monitor. The image would update every so often depending on the timing he chose.

    I can't answer your question about weight on the secondary mirror mount. I'm pretty sure that has been addressed.

    I was very impressed by the capability as well.
    Tom

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  11. #10
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    Azimuth photography is doable and you can get some very nice photographs. I don't know but suspect the LS will work as an suitable platform for azimuth mount photography. Azimuth photography does have many limitations in comparison to photography using an equatorial mount. A lot of your decision depends upon what you personally want to achieve. For examples of what can be done with azimuth mounts:

    Dark skies with quality mount and a f3.3 focal reducer: Messier Images 1-36

    and a beginner in light polluted skies with entry level azimuth mounts: Flickr: Sxinias' Photostream

    Field rotation is a big issue which limits both exposure times as well as the areas of the sky that can be photographed. The exposure time limitation begs using telescopes that have a low focal ratio or something like hyperstar. Meade has a f3.3 focal reducer for their f/10 SCTs which is almost as fast as hyperstar.

    The 30 second exposure is a rule of thumb. The actual exposure times vary dependent upon the latitude of the observer and both the altitude and azimuth of the object. This time can be measured in minutes for objects near the eastern and western horizon to a second or two for an object near the zenith. Essentially with azimuth photography, you can not photograph objects near the zenith which can be constraining ... e.g., photographing M33 at this time.

    Another issue with azimuth mount photography is that many simply were designed with viewing only in mind and a few have difficulties with periodic error.
    SXINIAS

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