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Old 14-05-2020, 04:32 PM
AusS2000 (Wayne)
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Upgrading Celestron Evolution 6

I currently have a Celestron Evolution 6".

I would like to upgrade the OTA to 8 inch. Considering the CPC 800 or something like the Bintel GSO RC8.

Wondering if the Goto mount for the 6 will be up to the upgrade and what is required?
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  #2  
Old 14-05-2020, 04:49 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Hi Wayne,

to IIS.

Why not an 8" SCT on your Evolution mount?

It is the one and the same mount for the 6", 8" & 9.25".

Also the Evolution mount has bronze gears, not plastic like the SE line. These are very beefed up mounts.

But if your intention is photo, that's a different matter. I day this as the RC scopes are not really a visual instrument, but designed for photo.

Alex.
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Old 15-05-2020, 08:24 AM
AusS2000 (Wayne)
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Thanks for the welcome Alexander.

And good to know the Evo mount is up to it.

Im not really aware of the specific differences between visual and photo astronomy. I will have to do some more research. But yes, my aim is photographic. I use a Canon EOS R but have recently acquired a NexImage 5.

And yes, an 8 SCT is another option.
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Old 15-05-2020, 10:55 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Hi Wayne,

For both visual and photo, a tracking mount does not need to be used. There are consequences of course due to the movement of the Earth, such as short exposure times and limited to lunar and planetary for photo, and of course needing the nudge, nudge, nudge the scope with visual.

When it comes to a tracking mount, things then start to change. The accuracy of polar alignment is more critical with longer and longer exposure times, and to take things even further there are the individual image idiosyncracies of the different scope designs that need "correcting" for photo, and then even further still is guiding the mount in order to get the tightest possible stellar images once the optical train has been nailed.

With visual, having a super accurate polar alignment is no where as important, and a simple motorized alt-az mount is sufficient, and then polar alignment is not even a thing.

This is just to illustrate the extreme differences between the two.

But for a mount like your Evolution, it is excellent for lunar and planetary photography. And the exact same processing software and cameras can be used with this as for deep sky objects, with mostly the very short exposure times being the biggest advantage so this means there will be no image rotation. Your current set up with the cameras you have, INCLUDING your phone, you are very much capable to producing sensational quality lunar and planetary photos! There are many very experienced and highly proficient lunar and planetary imagers on this forum that use a mount like yours to produce their exquisite photos, and using larger SCT's than your own with these mounts.

Some limited DSO photography is also possible with your Evolution mount without using a wedge for polar alignment. And the current stacking software greatly helps overcome some of the image rotation issues. You will be limited to the brighter DSO's.

So what I'm saying is don't think that you need to change to a different scope or mount to start on your imaging experience! You have everything you need to not only get started, but to produce some simply stunning work right now! The learning curve is a steep one, and you are already at the base of it, just didn't quite realize it

Hey, to help inspire you, I've attached some of my earliest pics done with existing stacking software (first two) (if you don't know what stacking is, don't worry, you'll get to it soon enough) and a couple of single frame smartphone pics done with my Maksutov scopes and an alt az mount like your Evolution.

I am only too happy to help you out if you have any questions. If I don't know something I am certainly able to point you to folks who know a whole lot more than me. Just drop me a PM

Alex.

Alex.
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Old 15-05-2020, 11:53 AM
AusS2000 (Wayne)
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Thanks for the help, and offer of even more help. It is extremely appreciated.

I am aware of stacking although haven't ventured there yet. I have watched a few Youtube videos on it and will give it a try next time we have a clear night. All my photos to this point have been single exposures so no where near as much detail as yours.

I have had some success with the moon though using the 40mm and eyepiece projection. I will have a play with prime focus and the Neximage 5 next time I get a chance.
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Old 15-05-2020, 12:30 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Hi Wayne,

I'll just add to Alex's information below & advise some specific details & processes to enable you to capture images with what you have.

A tracking mount is not necessarily essential for astrophotography but, without one, the process becomes extremely onerous & for Deep Sky stuff, pretty much impossible.. anyways, in the evolution mount, you already have tracking so, pretty much a moot point.

Okay, on to the good stuff...

Planetary & Lunar imaging on an Alt/Az mount works just fine since, you are not worried about movement of stars in the background. The most effective capture method is video... combined with some particular stacking software, this will enable you to capture thousands of frames & allow the software to sort out the best for stacking. Then, once stacked you can sharpen the resultant image to achieve the sort of results Alex has posted. One of the key things you need to achieve in any photography is pinpoint focus, this is generally not possible purely by eye, a bhatinov mask used on a bright star is the way to go for achieving sharp focus.

Software needed for planetary/lunar imaging:

Autostakkert (free) - processes your video into single frames & stacks whatever you tell it to.

Registax (free) - load resultant planetary/lunar stack into this software & use the wavelets function to sharpen the image.

Photographic processing software of your choice for final colour tweaking.. if you already have Photoshop or similar, then you are sorted. If you do not wish to pay for this type of software, you can download Gimp (free).

Deep Sky imaging with an Alt/Az mount is a little trickier... not impossible but, you do need to keep your expectations realistic. The issue is that the sky is moving & imaging Deep Sky objects involves lots of static images which are then stacked & processed. An EQ mount or a Wedge with your current setup, then suitably Polar Aligned seeks to eliminate this movement (which is what gives you star trails). An EQ mount or Wedge will enable you to capture longer exposures & avoid star trails.

Without an EQ mount or Wedge, you can still capture some deep space objects as Alex alluded to; objects that come to mind are Orion Nebula & Eta Carina but, there are some others. On a purely Alt/Az mount you will be limited to 10 - 15 second exposures before star trailing becomes an issue. Also, with an SCT not using a focal reducer will result in brighter stars appearing somewhat bloated.

To attempt Deep Sky imaging with what you have, you will need the following software:

Deep Sky Stacker (free) if using your DSLR, shoot in raw & load all the raw images into DSS for stacking. Your neximage 5 is best suited for planetary/lunar work.

Processing software, if you already have photoshop, then you are in a position to process the resultant stack from DSS. If you don't have this already, then you are going to have to spend some money on some processing software. I & many others on here use a program called Startools, it runs at about $45. There are other programs, such as Pixinsight, Nebulosity, etc.. but, they can run into the hundreds of dollars. Many of these programs have free trial periods so, once you have an idea of what you want to do & have captured some data, perhaps give the trials ago to see what suits you best...

Have a look in the beginners astrophotography section & also, search the web for 'Astrobin'. Have a look at what results people are achieving, often with quite modest gear, including some fine examples of what can be done on an Alt/Az mount with persistence & good technique. Astrobin has a search function where you can put in the gear ie: Celestron Evolution 6 & it will find images taken through that scope setup.. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at just how good some peoples images are using alt/az setups such as yours however, there is a lot of work gone into achieving those results & it does get a little bit easier (in some respects) if you move to an EQ mount or Wedge.

Once you start getting some images, be sure to post them in the beginners astrophotography area of the forum. It doesn't matter how good or bad you think they are, don't be embarrassed, by inviting critique even on the worst results, you will learn from those who have gone before & gain great information, tips & knowledge on how to improve your results..

Hope this all helps, have fun with it...

Cheers
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Old 15-05-2020, 02:04 PM
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Tulloch (Andrew)
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Hi Wayne, last year I upgraded my Evolution 6" by fitting a 9.25" SCT OTA to it (bought second hand on this website). The Evolution mount can easily handle the extra weight, but the tripod that comes with the 6" is not as happy, normally the Evolution 9.25" comes with the tripod that is normally included with the CPC 925. Having said that, I found it still works really well and I'm getting a significant improvement in my planetary images using the 9.25".

My main focus is planetary, but I've also had some small success imaging a galaxy (NGC 1566) but it's a lot harder with an alt/az mount since you cannot guide with the Evolution, it doesn't accept ST-4 connections (and don't try, as you could damage your mount).

Outcast's post above is excellent, the only thing I would add is to watch these excellent tutorial videos on how to image and process the planets. I don't use a Bahtinov mask for focus, instead I use one of Jupiter's moons for Jupiter, the Cassini Division for Saturn and the planets themselves for Mars, Uranus and Neptune.

You will also need a program to capture the videos from the camera, for the Nexstar I would recommend FireCapture and for the DSLR I would recommend BackyardEOS (for both planetary and DSO).

If you are thinking of upgrading to an 8", have a look around for a good second hand 9.25" instead. Might cure your aperture fever for a bit longer .

Andrew
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Old 19-05-2020, 12:06 PM
AusS2000 (Wayne)
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Cheers guys, appreciate the input.

One slight hitch though, I use Mac!

I've managed to find some capture and stacking software on Mac OS X so will keep me busy fin the meantime.

Now, for some clear skies...
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Old 19-05-2020, 03:16 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusS2000 View Post
Cheers guys, appreciate the input.

One slight hitch though, I use Mac!

I've managed to find some capture and stacking software on Mac OS X so will keep me busy fin the meantime.

Now, for some clear skies...
You might find this useful for getting Autostakkert to run on a Mac:

https://github.com/dokeeffe/autostak...vericks-10.9.2

Registax won't run on Mac OS but, you might try Lynkeos:

https://lynkeos.sourceforge.io/

Deep Sky Stacker has a Mac version available...

Cheers
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