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Thread: What is a guide scope?

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    Default What is a guide scope?



    Hi,

    What and how does an autoguider work...do you need a special type of scope?

    Phil
    Last edited by karateman; 10-02-2009 at 05:55 PM. Reason: found part of answer elsewhwerte

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    There are several means of providing auto-guiding for imaging purposes:

    - guide-scope + auto-guider camera
    - prime focus CCD imager with integrated auto-guider (no guide scope req'd)
    - off-axis guiding (no guide scope req'd)

    The most common means of providing auto-guiding is probably the combination of a guide-scope and auto-guider CCD camera. The guide scope is nothing special, they are typically 70mm - 100mm short tube scopes, achromats that are mounted piggy-back to the main scope, much like a finder scope. The auto-guider CCD camera mounts prime focus in the rear of the guide scope, and provides tracking feedback via typically a serial interface via ST-4 protocol to an input on the telescope mount.

    The guide signal keeps the main imaging scope accurately pointed at whatever is being imaged, and compensates for drift and other forms of error in the mount (periodic error, other tracking error from a variety of sources).

    The CCD autoguider is usually a sub-pixel accurate, small sensor camera. It can be standalone, or may require computer/software support to generate the ST-4 output for controlling the mount's guide port.

    That's the simple description of what auto-guiding is all about...

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    Default

    Thanks.....so how does the off axis guider work?

    Phil

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    Phil, you can also use an autoguider with a finderscope eg. Kwikguider.

    I am going to try to put my finder with my autoguider when i receive it to save some money. The larger the guidescope, the dimmer the stars you can guide with however the first restriction would be your autoguiders chip sensitivity, followed by your guidescope aperture, then light pollution/sky conditions.



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    Quote Originally Posted by karateman View Post
    Thanks.....so how does the off axis guider work?

    Phil
    An off axis guider is a piece of equipment that fits between your telescope and camera. It redirects some of the light that would normally go to the camera through an eyepiece with an illuminated reticule.





    There are a number of drawbacks to this method (faint stars, stars aren't points, hard to find a suitable guide-star) but it is also much cheaper than using a guide scope.
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    Am I to understand that you constantly monitor the eyepiece fitted into this gizmo, and twiddle your slow-motion controls to keep the scope from wandering off?
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    Yup, sounds like fun huh?

    My father once took an hour long exposure using an off-axis guider... too bad the shutter was only set to 1/60th of a second
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolmaker View Post
    Yup, sounds like fun huh? Lol, not to me.

    My father once took an hour long exposure using an off-axis guider... too bad the shutter was only set to 1/60th of a second


    Oh NO!!!!!!
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    Oh the pain , and the air would be blue. !
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    lol poor guy... man that's hard work for a one hour exposure to get only 1/60th of a second! thats 3599 and 59/60ths seconds out of 3600 seconds lost!
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