#1  
Old 31-10-2020, 09:49 PM
Rod1448 (Rod)
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Beginner Astrophotography Scope

Hi,

Only a beginner in astronomy with an 8" Dob.

I'm enjoying it so much that I have decided to look at building an observatory at my place so I can house an astrophotography scope. Possibly looking at a HEQ5 or 6 mount with a Skywatcher 200/1000 OTA tube and Evostar 72ED guide scope with ZWO tracking camera, etc???? Still researching what might best suit a beginner and would like to use my Nikon DSLR for the photos with the recently purchased T-ring adapter. Any input would be greatly appreciated as I may need other stuff that I haven't even thought of or, my idea might not even work. Every time I look at photos in this forum they have what looks like hundreds of cables running around the scopes so I'm sure there will be more but maybe the extras are for later once I get the hang of it.

There are so many options and questions for everything. Head spinning.Thanks in advance.

Cheers
Rod

Last edited by Rod1448; 01-11-2020 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 31-10-2020, 10:51 PM
sunslayr (David)
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If you wanted to go for 8" I'd get the EQ6R it's a lot of mount for the price. On the other hand an ED-80 is the go to beginner scope you might want to start there, nice wide field of view, easy tracking, light and portable. I use the 290mm mini as my guide camera but the 120mm is pretty good too. I think the 72ED guide scope is a little overkill the 50 and 60mm orion guide scopes are much smaller lighter and cheaper.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:40 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Rod
Welcome to IIS
Enjoy your 8” dob , you have a great visual scope there to explore the night sky
If your considering getting into Astrophotography, take your time and research as much as you can on this part of our hobby
I’m currently setting up to install a NexDome backyard observatory after 4 years of setting up and pulling down my Astrophotography rig ( takes me 2 to 3 hours at a time , I usually leave it up for a week or 2 and have a weatherproof cover for it )
I use an 8” f5 newt on an EQ6-R mount which is just about the maximum you can place on this mount for Astrophotography ( just under 15kg )
Probably the most important part of an Astrophotography rig is the mount. The mount should be only loaded to around 60% to 65% of its max rated payload
The telescope is secondary to the mount , I use basic GSO newtonian reflectors $300 to $600 range and they produce fantastic images with both DSLR and cooled Astro CMOS cameras
HEQ5 mounts are great little workhorses but are limited to a 6” newt OTA or an ED80 or ED100 refractor for Astrophotography ( around 9kg max)
There are a lot of factors governing Astrophotography not just what type of scope you buy and where you will be using it
I hope other members offer more advice , the main thing is don’t rush into it , take your time and learn as much as you can just by reading forums, looking at video clips , magazines, books etc....
A great e book for beginners is one released by Jerry Lodriguss called “Beginners Guide to DSLR Astrophotography” it a well constructed book , easy to read , has interactive topics, covers the A to Z in starting off in Astrophotography and is thoroughly recommended

Cheers for now
Martin
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:44 AM
Rod1448 (Rod)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunslayr View Post
If you wanted to go for 8" I'd get the EQ6R it's a lot of mount for the price. On the other hand an ED-80 is the go to beginner scope you might want to start there, nice wide field of view, easy tracking, light and portable. I use the 290mm mini as my guide camera but the 120mm is pretty good too. I think the 72ED guide scope is a little overkill the 50 and 60mm orion guide scopes are much smaller lighter and cheaper.

Hi,
Thanks fore your feed back. I probably will go with the EQ6R mount as would also be more versatile for later. I was looking at using the 200/1000 tube as main scope to shoot planets, etc and then the 72ED as guide scope and also as stand alone for Nebulae, etc. Could the ED-80 also be used as guide scope for the tube? Or is this a bad idea to use the 72 or 80 as guide? Possibly buy the tube, ED-80 and a 50-60mm Orion as guide??
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:05 AM
Rod1448 (Rod)
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Thanks Martin,
I did look at the NexDome Observatories and look very good for the US$ price but wasn't sure how much they would be in AU$ including delivery so decided to build a Roll-off roof style observatory. I do not want to go through the 2-3 hour setup as I would then probably use it very little.
That is the same tube I am looking at the GSO 8" f5 Newt and as you have stated, I will have to go for the EQ6-R mount. What guide scope do you use with the tube? I was going to use a 72ED so that I could also use this one as a stand alone. If I use the 72ED as stand alone, would it also need a guide scope? If so I might just get a smaller 50-60 guide as David suggested. I will also get the book you suggested, sounds good.
Cheers
Rod
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:04 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Rod
I have 2 Astrophotography rigs -

Sydney (Bortle 8 skies)
6”f6 GSO Bintel newt
EQ6-R pro mount ( 2019 model with added USB2 connection )
Orion 60mm guide scope with helical focuser
ZWOASI120MM-S USB3 guide camera ( warning don’t use the ZWO USB2 guide camera problems galore !!! )
Imaging cameras Canon 600D and
new ZWOASI2600MC cooled OSC
Baader MK111 coma corrector for both cameras

South Coast NSW ( Bortle 3 skies )
8” f5 GSO Bintel newt
EQ6-R pro mount ( original 2017 model )
Orion 60mm guide scope with helical focuser
Guide camera ZWOASI120MM-S USB3 guide camera
Imaging cameras Canon 600D and new ZWOASI2600MC Cooled OSC camera
Baader MK111 coma corrector for both cameras
My NexDome Obs arrives in Australia in January 2021 for this rig

Both set ups I use -

Goto and navigation - EQMOD and Stellarium
DSLR capture software BYEOS Classic version ( both DSO and Planetary work )
Cooled Astro OSC camera capture software APT ( DSO )
Autoguiding- PHD2
Stacking software DSO - Deep Sky Stacker
Planetary Stacker Autostakkert 3
Planetary processing Registax 6
DSO post processing Startools
Reviewing FITS files - Astap

Rod
With your rig , it’s important to keep weight down , a 72 ED is an overkill for a guide scope at 1000mm focal length. You can opt for an Off Axis guider to reduce weight but they are more intended for longer focal lengths from 1500mm to 4000mm. My Orion 60mm guide scope does a perfect job !!!
Remember you will have to use mounting bars , bolts , a swag of cabling plus dew control heater bands etc.
it all adds up !!!

Hope the above helps

Martin
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:14 PM
Rod1448 (Rod)
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Thanks again Martin,
I checked light pollution map and I thought it was dark here but still only have Bortle 4 skies, I'm just on border of Bortle 3. It's all the lighting from the coal mines nearby.
Thanks for sharing your rig setups. A lot more than I thought, I'll have to give the 72ED a miss by the sounds of it and just use similar to what you have (60mm Orion). That is a huge amount of software required, I've heard that a lot of it is freeware, is that correct?
This will be a huge learning curve by the sounds of it, how did you learn when first starting out? Is there some books that may be worthwhile or does the "Beginners Guide to DSLR Astrophotography" book help lots? That is the ZWO guide camera I was looking at but I will remember the USB2 issues and go for the USB3 version.
Cheers
Rod
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:36 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod1448 View Post
Thanks again Martin,
I checked light pollution map and I thought it was dark here but still only have Bortle 4 skies, I'm just on border of Bortle 3. It's all the lighting from the coal mines nearby.
Thanks for sharing your rig setups. A lot more than I thought, I'll have to give the 72ED a miss by the sounds of it and just use similar to what you have (60mm Orion). That is a huge amount of software required, I've heard that a lot of it is freeware, is that correct?
This will be a huge learning curve by the sounds of it, how did you learn when first starting out? Is there some books that may be worthwhile or does the "Beginners Guide to DSLR Astrophotography" book help lots? That is the ZWO guide camera I was looking at but I will remember the USB2 issues and go for the USB3 version.
Cheers
Rod
Glad to help

As far as software goes here’s what it cost me -

Stellarium ( open sourced so free ) it’s the astronomers road map for the night sky , whether your just observing or into Astrophotography it’s a must. The latest version has been updated to support Ascom telescope control ( see my post in (Software and Computers ) today
EQMOD ( open sourced so free ) telescope control ( drivers seat ) used with Stellarium
BYEOS cost me about $60
APT cost me about $60
PHD2 guiding software ( open sourced so free )
Deep Sky Stacker ( open sourced so free )
Autostakkert 3 for Planetary stacking ( free )
Registax 6 for Planetary processing ( free )
Startools processing software cost me I think about $60 or $80
Astap ( free)
Gimp ( free )
There’s a huge amount of opened sourced Astronomy software around
But some are a bit expensive like Photoshop , Pixinsight etc...
All the software I use is entry level ( beginner to intermediate) but it does a great job and is easy to use once you get the hang of it
Jerry Lodriguss book is a great resource to get up and running in your first year into Astrophotography
Another good book is by Allan Hall , Getting Started , Budget Astrophotography

Cheers
Martin
PS: Yes it can be a long road ahead if you go down the Astrophotography path but so challenging and rewarding just the same
Also you can’t buy your way out of problems with this hobby , you have to do the hard yards , read , read , watch and learn but that the exciting fun part

Good luck again !!
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:41 PM
Rod1448 (Rod)
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Can't thank you enough for all your help.
Cheers
Rod
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