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Thread: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

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    Default Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures



    Anyone have this mount? I was wondering what's the maximum exposures people were getting with it unguided? Or with any EQ for that matter? So far I've only gotten up to 30 seconds with mine and I know it can do better than an alt/az mount. 1200mm FL I've only tried imaging twice with it around the Big Dipper. Of course I can't say I've had the greatest alignments either but I still expected more from an EQ mount. Even without an auto-guider.

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    There are a couple of things. Your polar alignment is one. The better it is, the longer your exposure can be. Also, if you set your PEC (especially since you aren't guiding) that too will help. Finally, a 1200 focal length isn't very forgiving. So, that definitely isn't going to help you achieve longer unguided images.

    I've gotten 90 second exposures from my AVX without PEC and a quiestionable polar alignment. They were done with a 480mm f/6 refractor though. I seriously doubt I could get 90 seconds with my 2032mm f/10 SCT. (especially without a focal reducer)

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    Without doing a proper polar alignment you have not really tried. If you can estimate your worst case polar alignment, sensor size, focal length, observation time and star trail size relative to the sensor we can determine is the AVX is to blame or not, assuming a worst case situation.
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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    I have to agree with Henk, you have not really tried so any advice given is a mute point.
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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    Well actually I have gotten a good Polar Alignment once which I posted the Display Alignment coordinates in another thread. But I still only got 30 second subs near the Big Dipper. So actually I did try. I just overlooked it because it was the same result WITHOUT good Polar Alignment. Which is why I made this thread. But I did get the same answer on another Forum about trying to work out the laborious task of PEC. So when I get the chance I'll try to get the best PA +ASPA and learn how to train the PEC and see how it fairs. The manual says use an auto guider while others says it can be done with the HC. I'm at least expecting this to pull of 60 second subs unguided even with the 1200mm FL.

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    With my AVX, even with good polar alignment with a polar scope I threw out half of my 60 sec subs due to star trails. Some people have reported stable 60-120 sec subs unguided with this mount but as it is mass produced piece from China, there are bound to be significant variations. I found that mine has quite a bit of periodic error compared to others. I manually PEC trained it once but that was quite tedious and not very accurate but it did help some. The best answer is still guiding.

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    Cmassa, actually that's not the best answer. I didn't ask what was best between auto-guiding and unguided exposures. I asked what were people's max exposures unguided. Thank you for your answer concerning that particular question but other than that I'm not concerned with auto-guiding anytime soon until I learn the equipment I have at least. Then I'll move on to the task of auto-guiding.

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    Sorry, I was just relaying my experience with my mount. I quickly became tired of losing half of my 60 second exposures, I was even losing 25-30% of 30sec exposures. Once you get the bug, you'll want more, most people do (I know I did!) I asked the same question you did about 4 months ago and I thought I could just keep going unguided and get the quality of images you see here on the forums. For me, it didn't work out. People told me guiding would improve things and it did, I now believe them. Some people do that unguided but it's a lot more work, polar alignment has to be much more precise and you will still lose a lot due to star trails related to periodic error.

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    I was able to go 180 sec unguided with both my 5" SCT (roughly 850mm with focal reducer) and my 750mm f/5 newt.
    I probably could have pushed it further as DSS liked 99% of my subs. Both my scopes are pretty light weight though.
    Your refractor is almost 20 lbs if I remember correctly. Have you tried the st-80?
    Kurt

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    Default Re: Celestron AVX maximum unguided exposures

    This post in some sense reminds me of a problem I used to pose to my graduate students: "How many pancakes does it take to shingle a doghouse?"

    It is difficult to provide an answer here, or any specific guidance, because there is too much missing information.

    The AVX, along with many consumer-market mounts is capable of delivering 180-second or so unguided performance, if, and only if:

    - the mount is properly polar aligned (ideally via drift alignment)
    - the mount's working load is properly balanced in both RA and DEC
    - the mount is correctly powered, level, tripod secure, cable-wrap/tension/drag eliminated
    - external sources of vibration and wind load have been eliminated
    - the mount itself is operating within the design envelope with respect to working load, and is not a 'statistical' fluke relative to poor quality control
    - the temperature range is such that the lubricant in the mount is functioning correctly (>32F)

    If all the above conditions are met, 180-second subs are reasonable to expect. If one or more of these conditions are violated, particularly polar alignment, all bets are off.

    If you can more accurately quantify and describe the process you are using, the community can likely provide better guidance.
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