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Old 02-09-2020, 02:57 PM
porthacking (Scott)
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Questions about first newbie set up

Hi All,

Having been interested in astrophotography or over a decade, I am finally going to get on and do it. I have done quite a bit of research about what I think I would like to get.

In principal, I want a high quality set up that wont become completely redundant when I upgrade. I would like it to be forgiving and able to produce good images without too much head-into-brick-wall action. I am quite OK with steep learning curves and I'm not unfamiliar with most of the work flow.

I was thinking...
- Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro 2 mount (on the matching tripod).
- This seems like it will be great for Milky Way photography too.
- William Optics SpaceCat/RedCat 51 + ZWO ASI 183MC Pro
- This seems like a good match according to reviews and the calculations.
- I am hoping that this scope should be fairly user friendly and low fuss.
- I'd prefer to not add the complexity of mono and filters to the learning curve at this stage.
- ZWO ASIAirPro for polar alignment, guiding, and automation.

I would like to use off-axis guiding so that I can also have a visual guide/finder scope. I don't think there is room on RedCat51 for a visual guide scope and autoguide scope but OAG should free up room for a visual guidescope. My concern is that without a visual scope as well that I will struggle to find targets, but that could just be because of the unknown. Should I just have a guidescope and be done with it?

Lumicon has a 2" easy guider for ZWO cameras but it doesn't have a helical focuser and the ZWO helical focuser probably isn't compatible with this. Does anybody have any recommendations on what I could use? I don't have to have a helical focuser but it would be nice.

I would also appreciate it if anyone can see any gaping holes or has any comments about the set up.

Thanks,

Scott

Last edited by porthacking; 02-09-2020 at 03:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2020, 04:06 PM
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Astronut07 (Ben)
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Hi Scott

Iím sure other more experienced members will add there thoughts
From my own experience buy the best mount you can afford
Start on strong base then work from there
Inevitably you will want a bigger scope

If you buy something like a Heq5 pro you will future proof your setup
Plus mount will have goto functions

Other equipment you have mentioned sounds ok for beginner

Cheers
Ben
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:07 PM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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Nice one, Scott! A nice lightweight and high quality set up there, which is good to take out to dark skies for those super wide shots.

I'll say to you what I'd say to everyone thinking about a star adventurer, "why not the sky watcher AZ GTI with eq bundle?". Theyre very similar in price, weight and probably in build quality. The bundle is available from a bunch of places, I got mine from andrews communications.

background reading https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/3...r-for-imaging/

I see two main (and I think huge) reasons to go the AZ GTI

1) GOTO - even with a focal length like the redcat, a GOTO will be nice for imaging. 400-500mm FL OTAs will be in the weight capacity range with the GTI as well, and this will really benefit from GOTO. As will visual sessions!

2) Guiding in RA and Dec. I'm not 100% sure, but I think even the new star adventurer only has one live axis? This is also absolutely massive, especially with longer focal lengths.

Looking at the two, I see the star adventurer has a polar scope in its favor, but I doubt you'll use it much/ever in the southern hemisphere, and especially if you're using the ZWO camera connected to a computer... sharpcap polar align is a cinch, and even without, the AZ GTI has the synscan polar align set up which is the same as sky watcher bigger mounts, you dont even need to be able to see the pole for that one

You mention that you don't want your purchases to become redundant later on, and I think this is another vote for the AZ GTI, it must be one of the best grab and go GOTO alt az mounts around. The AZ GTI even has encoders on each axis, allowing for their freedom find feature. I wonder if those encoders give any benefit in tracking? Thats speculation and shouldn't come into it

Anyway, I bet they will both be great, but I reckon the AZ GTI will give you more varied good times for longer

JP
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:04 AM
porthacking (Scott)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astronut07 View Post
Hi Scott

Iím sure other more experienced members will add there thoughts
From my own experience buy the best mount you can afford
Start on strong base then work from there
Inevitably you will want a bigger scope

If you buy something like a Heq5 pro you will future proof your setup
Plus mount will have goto functions

Other equipment you have mentioned sounds ok for beginner

Cheers
Ben
Thanks Ben, Go To is right up at the top of my list, but I was avoiding it because there's a chance that the HEQ5 wont be sufficient for what I want next and it isn't portable which is a benefit of the Star Adventurer. But JP has made an interesting suggestion which could solve both these problems!

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:08 AM
porthacking (Scott)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahnpahwa View Post
Nice one, Scott! A nice lightweight and high quality set up there, which is good to take out to dark skies for those super wide shots.

I'll say to you what I'd say to everyone thinking about a star adventurer, "why not the sky watcher AZ GTI with eq bundle?". Theyre very similar in price, weight and probably in build quality. The bundle is available from a bunch of places, I got mine from andrews communications.

background reading https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/3...r-for-imaging/

I see two main (and I think huge) reasons to go the AZ GTI

1) GOTO - even with a focal length like the redcat, a GOTO will be nice for imaging. 400-500mm FL OTAs will be in the weight capacity range with the GTI as well, and this will really benefit from GOTO. As will visual sessions!

2) Guiding in RA and Dec. I'm not 100% sure, but I think even the new star adventurer only has one live axis? This is also absolutely massive, especially with longer focal lengths.

Looking at the two, I see the star adventurer has a polar scope in its favor, but I doubt you'll use it much/ever in the southern hemisphere, and especially if you're using the ZWO camera connected to a computer... sharpcap polar align is a cinch, and even without, the AZ GTI has the synscan polar align set up which is the same as sky watcher bigger mounts, you dont even need to be able to see the pole for that one

You mention that you don't want your purchases to become redundant later on, and I think this is another vote for the AZ GTI, it must be one of the best grab and go GOTO alt az mounts around. The AZ GTI even has encoders on each axis, allowing for their freedom find feature. I wonder if those encoders give any benefit in tracking? Thats speculation and shouldn't come into it

Anyway, I bet they will both be great, but I reckon the AZ GTI will give you more varied good times for longer

JP

Hi JP,

I can't believe I missed the AZ GTI, I guess it is because it comes up in most places as an AZ mount. This sounds great to me because I really do want Go To, but if I couldn't get it in a smaller and cheaper product then I'm looking at something like an HEQ5 which I think wont be big enough for my next scope and it isn't portable enough to take to the northern hemisphere when I go skiing.

I will use an ASI Air Pro. Will the ASI Air Pro Go To function work with this mount? I'm not sure if it has an ST4 port or if I would have to do it some other way.

As for autoguiding I am not how how this would work either and am struggling to get relevant info on it. How would an ASI Air connect with the mount? Perhaps I'd have to use something else and connect to a laptop and use ascom? I don't understand enough about this and need a kick in the right direction.

Thanks for your help, this makes me much happier.

Scott

Last edited by porthacking; 03-09-2020 at 09:50 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2020, 09:53 AM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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Location: Canberra, AUS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porthacking View Post
Hi JP,

I can't believe I missed the AZ GTI, I guess it is because it comes up in most places as an AZ mount. This sounds great to me because I really do want Go To, but if I couldn't get it in a smaller and cheaper product then I'm looking at something like an HEQ5 which I think wont be big enough for my next scope and it isn't portable enough to take to the northern hemisphere when I go skiing.

I will use an ASI Air Pro. Will the ASI Air Pro Go To function work with this mount? I'm not sure if it has an ST4 port or if I would have to do it some other way.

Thanks for your help, this makes me much happier.

Scott

Hi Scott, I'm stoked that you found that useful!



GOTO should be totally fine with the asi interface.

You'll need to connect an eqdir cable (specific to the azgti, lynx astro makes one) to the handset port on the mount, then will be pulse guiding with Phd2 just as you would with a bigger mount.

Last edited by jahnpahwa; 03-09-2020 at 10:48 AM.
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