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Thread: The AP learning curve

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    Alec in France's Avatar
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    Default The AP learning curve



    A couple of the members were taking photos at the observatory the other night. I went along with my F/5.0 short tube refractor since it was a nice night with decent skies. I figured I could have a wander around some open clusters whilst the guys were clicking away.

    Now please be aware that I have absolutely no intention of going down the AP route. Honest! After a while someone said "why don't you put the club's Canon 500 onto your scope and take some photos?". The answer to that is I don't have the first clue on what to do. However I took out my 2" diagonal and in went the Canon. Lesson 1: The weight of the camera tilted the tube straight up. Ooops! Move it forward in the tube rings to get it balanced. There is a great thread on this forum by Sxinias (Joe in Athens) entitled Minimalist Astrophotography which I've read a couple of times. Over the next couple of hours I began to find out the wisdom of Joe's words.

    I had taken great care earlier on to carefully align my finderscope. I had M45 well centered. Now of course with a camera in the way you can't look through your telescope! Lesson 2: I was introduced to Liveview!

    After a quick lesson on ISO settings from the others I tried to focus the camera. No joy. Slide it out of the tube a little I was told. It was a long way out before I was successful and I spent a large part of the evening waiting for the crash should the camera fall out, especially when the scope was slewing.

    My refractor was sitting on my alt/az Skywatcher GoTo mount. This is not the most rock solid mount in the world but not quite as bad as a drunken giraffe on a trampoline. I tried to take a shot and of course the camera reacted a lot faster than it takes for the mount to settle. Lesson 3: I was introduced to the camera's built in timer delay, which I set to about 5 seconds.

    So, experimenting with ISO, varying exposure times etc. I took a few shots. Remembering Joe's words on field rotation I kept exposure to under 30 seconds. Despite the cold, I enjoyed the next couple of hours. The results were poor (I expected little else) but I suppose I learned a few things. I'm attaching a photo now which I've had to heavily crop so I could upload it to the forum. hope its at least viewable.

    The photo is a weird looking shot of M45. The main stars looking like little bullseyes. As memory serves it was a 15 second exposure at ISO 400. The final lesson could come from you guys if you would, by kindly telling me what I should have done to make it better.

    I will repeat though, I am NOT going down the AP route

    Alec.
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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    but it is really fun and you have something to play with after the sun comes up.
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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    Alec, I too took some pictures of the Pleiades Saturday and another night before that. I had gotten a T-ring and T adapter and installed them and my camera on my 6SE. I was pleased somewhat with my first attempt. I really did not want to get into AP either but I've been intrigued enough to experiment, like you, and see what hardships are involved. Joe does do a great job in the minimalist thread you posted and I have read it a few times myself. Alec, you and I may be kidding ourselves to some point in thinking that we really do not want to get into AP. I guess I'm saying I don't really want to play with fire but I do like lighting the match! I will watch this thread!
    Chris

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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    Quote Originally Posted by GrandPrixChris View Post
    Alec, you and I may be kidding ourselves to some point in thinking that we really do not want to get into AP. I guess I'm saying I don't really want to play with fire but I do like lighting the match! I will watch this thread!
    Thank you for this quote Chris. I don't think you are too far wide of the mark!
    Please put your Pleiades photo up on this thread. I'd like to see what you achieved.

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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    Uhh....okay, but it is not much to look at other than me getting a kick out of it. I'll do that later when I get home.
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    Chris

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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    I like AP since it is the best of both worlds, you can image and then do post processing during the cloudy nights but you can also take along a scope/binoculars to do observing. Once you are setup for imaging you really have some free time on your hands.
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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    Okay, so Alec...this looked better on the smaller screen of my camera. The stars in your image are brighter.
    IMG_1388.JPG
    Argh....had to resize the pic
    Chris

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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    asking questions on how it could have been better? LOL, face it, both of you are already on the road and picking up speed.
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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    Quote Originally Posted by Alec in France View Post

    I will repeat though, I am NOT going down the AP route

    Alec.

    Alec.

    Looks like you already are. Be aware; one more shot and you will be hooked for sure. You are already wanting to do more ...

    The blue fringe is chromatic aberration and is systematic with the Synta short tube telescopes and other achromatic refractors. From what I can determine it is more pronounced with the 102mm than the 80mm short tubes. Often the blue fringe can be greatly reduced during processing. I don't seen any signs of nebulocity; most likely due to the very short 15 second exposure.

    Instead of using a T Ring adapter, you can directly screw the camera's T ring onto the focuser drawtube which provides a very secure connection.

    Well Alec, now that you have jumped into the water ?????????????
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    Default Re: The AP learning curve

    Quote Originally Posted by Alec in France View Post
    I will repeat though, I am NOT going down the AP route
    LOL! Famous last words. I'd say you were a goner.

    A well-done first image! Your focus is not bad, but it could be a little more precise. That will reduce the colour fringing a little, though as Joe said, it is inherent in that scope. When (!) you start doing more AP, you might want to buy or make a Bahtinov mask for focusing.
    Last edited by KathyNS; 12-13-2013 at 03:27 PM. Reason: typo
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