View Full Version : Help with telescopes
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 04:48
Ive always been interested in the planets, space and in general the universe.
I watch almost every space documentary that is on sky digital evey week and i have done for some years.
Last night was my first time take photos of the night sky but my pictures were not that great, i want pics of nebulars, distant stars and even some planets.
Maybe one day i will be able to get a shot of the andromeda galaxy:)
At the moment i have no telescope.
My question is
What exactly do i need in terms of scope, tracking base for scope and mounts in order for me to take decent images.
If anyone knows the answer please let me know
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 11:37
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 12:23
To be perfectly honest, there isn't really a single answer for your question. But I'm sure there are plenty of people here who can give you some advice.
What's your budget for starters?
The most important thing if you want to take super-long exposures of deep space objects is a tracking mount. These come in all shapes and sizes and prices, from homemade things called Barndoor Trackers, to cheap Equatorial Mounts such as the EQ1, (around £50 to £80), to ultra-expensive ones which can cost thousands. I guess the more you spend the better the mount will be for accurately tracking the stars. I've got an EQ-5, which is fairly heavy duty and was about £350, but that came with a controller and software called GOTO, which can find objects in the sky for you. The mount without the software is a bit cheaper
That would certainly be enough to get you started, and you could easily rig up your camera to the mount and use one of your current lenses. You might be surprised to know that a lot of deep space objects actually appear very large. You mentioned M31, the Andromeda Galaxy - it's full width in the sky is six times that of the full moon! Anything over about 400mm or 500mm and it'll start to be too big for the frame.
I've got a 50mm f/1.8 like you, and that's great for constellation and Milky Way shots, as it lets in so much light. I've also got a Canon 10-22mm, not unlike your Sigma 10-20, and that's also great for big widefield shots of the sky.
So if I were you, I would start with investigating Equatorial Mounts. Getting one that's powered is a benefit, so you can plug it in and it'll track the stars nicely.
P.S. What are the skies like where you are? Are you away from big cities and stuff? Care to post your astrophotography attemts here? I wouldn't worry about then not being great...most people struggle at first. I've been trying over a year and haven't really taken any pictures yet that I'm particularly proud of, and I've spent around £3500 on kit! ;)
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 15:12
thanx again for the advice
Sadly where i am is quite busy so the sky are heavily polluted with light, even on top of winter hill(were i shot from last night) the glow of near by Bolton and Manchester fills the sky with an orange glow:(
in regards to 50mm, i thought it would be good idea but i heard a few people saying it better to stop down to f4 for star shots although i have no idea why??
fingers crossed with a tracking mount i will be able to use lower ISO for longer exposures:)
what kind of exposure do you use?
also if you know of any kits with a motorized mount and a scope etc (a novice kit) at a pretty good price please let me know, as i have no idea what i need and i cant seem to understand about the mounts or what i need for it to track the sky
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 15:50
Start researching German Equatorial Mounts (GEMs) on the web....
Start researching telescope types on the web:
As was stated in the first reply, there really is no "standard" answer.
But, I will say that you get what you pay for.
As was mentioned, Orion Binocular and Telescopes offers the EQ-1:
Where Software Bisque offers the Paramount ME:
They are the same "design" of telescope mount (German equatorial)...notice the price difference ;)
The EQ-1 is a flimsy mount at best and would not hold a very heavy telescope of ANY design.
The most I'd mount on the EQ-1 is a camera! LOL!
The gearing on it is cheap and substandard and would not produce very reliable tracking.
The Paramount ME on the other hand....um... we don't need to go there, do we? ;) ;) ;)
There are "affordable" choices out there, but it's not easy to just say, "Go buy Brand x....."
INMSHO, invest in a good mount the FIRST time.
It is difficult to reduce the answer to your request to just a few replies....there is so much to cover.....
While we are a great bunch of people here at POTN, I would frequent some astro-imaging message boards:
What I eventually wound up with is a 127mm (5") refractor from Burgess Optical, a Vixen model GP-DX GEM and Meade LXD55 mount motors (for tracking) with the Meade AutoStar GOTO system.
It's not the "ultimate" astrophotography setup, but the GP-DX is very well made (not sure that particular model is available new anymore),
the optics on the Burgess refractor are good, and the Meade AutoStar was affordable.
I'm hoping others will chime in with their suggestions and experiences to help guide you in a good direction....
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 19:22
I would also look at Astro-Physics mounts.
They really have no equal in terms of range of environment, precision, features and customer service.
They usually have a waiting list for things but you would be missing out on some excellent equipment if you didn't at least look at them
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 19:32
slightly off topic, can i get advice on better moon pics on a very tight budget.
is something like this (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7570210204&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT) going to help or hinder me?
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 19:42
I think it will hinder more than help.
I would look elsewhere even on a small budget.
a 76mm Primary mirror is very tiny couple with the large central obstruction I would suspect the images will be very dim and not very sharp.
Look at a small 80mm ED refractor or a 6" newtonian from Orion or somewhere similar.
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 19:45
Best advise I can give you. Find a local club, join it and participate. Astrophotography is hard, having someone there to lend you a hand is what will keep you going.
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 19:56
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 22:59
Hey, I learned a few things during my five years as President of a club.
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