Last updated: 30 September 2004

This page documents astrophotography comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. Be certain to see the other articles on the main Astrophotography page.

Subject:	etx125
Sent:	Wednesday, September 29, 2004 21:33:42
From: (
I have been having fun taking pictures with the LPI from Autostart
Suite. I have also been taken some pics with my Nikon D70.  The question
I have is this:

I cannot get the moon in full frame.  I can only get about 3/4 of it. I
am using scopetronix's Maxview, which gets great pics but not the entire
moon.  I have also hooked the camera to the photo port but get about 3/4
of it.  Any suggestions how to get a full picture of the moon?
Thanks for the help!!! 
Great site!!!
Mike here: Depending upon the eyepieces you have and the camera scale that would result, you may be able to get a full moon single-frame image by using a focal reducer (or a wide-field adapter). You can read about the Shutan WFA on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. However, this will probably still not provide a 0.5 degree image with the LPI.
Subject:	ETX Stacking - What is the difference ?
Sent:	Monday, September 27, 2004 07:24:48
From:	James Jefferson-Wilson James (
Quick question,

If I take a raw JPG of Saturn and then just duplicate it using different
file names and then stack in a program would The outcome be the same as
using a webcam that constantly takes pictures ???


James Jefferson (JJ)
Mike here: Not really. Stacking removes noise and other defects that appear in slightly differing portions of the image. Duplicating the same image will only duplicate the defects and not allow them to be cancelled out.


Arrr, I see .... Makes sense, just wondering :-)

Subject:	etx-90 vs etx-105
Sent:	Monday, September 20, 2004 17:02:56
From:	Dana Pepe (
I was just on your website for the first time. I am in need of advice on
which telescope will best suit my needs.I did skim thru some links on
your site and they were helpful,but I will explain my situation.My
wife(Dee) wants to start taking photographs of the moon. I was
considering the ETX-90 or the ETX-105(with or without the UHTC
coating?). Is there a big difference in the quality and sharpness
between these two? I don't know how far she will persue this and if it
willl lead into photography of other planets. I do want her to be able
to get very close and detailed pictures with it. I did purchase a NIKON
N75 camera for her already,before I realized most people seem to use a
digital. I hope this is O.K..Any input you may give will be very
helpful. I do have lots of other questions pertaining to lenses and "how
to" questions on picture taking if you would like to help me in the
Thank You
Mike here: For the Moon, either will work fine as you can see from many of the photos on the ETX Site. However, the larger aperture will provide more "light gathering power", meaning that she can use a shorter exposure with the ETX-105 vs the ETX-90. That can be important depending upon the seeing conditions. She will also get slighter higher resolution from the ETX-105; could be important for craters and mountains. So, as with most telescope purchases, get the largest aperture you can avoid AND will use. The best telescope is the one that gets used, not the one in the closet because it is too cumbersome to set up. As to other astrophotography tips, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for lots of info.
Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, September 16, 2004 19:39:28
From:	Charles, Charles Nixon, Nixon (
I was wondering what astrophotography method you prefer, just as a
reference.  I have thought about both afocal and rear-mounted, and came
up with pros and cons for each.  I was leaning more toward afocal,
because with rear-mounted, you can only point the scope up around 45
degrees, and afocal seems like it would permit movement all the way to
the zenith. I just want your recommendation on the subject, you've been
such a help in the past.

Charles Nixon
Mike here: Most of my photography has been done afocal.
Subject:	star trail problem ?
Sent:	Friday, September 10, 2004 07:36:11
From: (
I finally had a clear night and decided to try out my new MaxView
eyepiece.  Everything works great, no vignetting, super low noise etc...

I was shooting photos of the Pleiades with my Canon G2 digital.  I
could not take exposures past 4 seconds without getting star trails.  I
use an ETX-70 mounted in altazimuth setup on astro tracking.  Is there
something i need to change or set up differently for longer exposures?

Also, have you considered adding a forum to your website? 
Thanks a lot for your time.
Mike here: In order to a avoid trailing due to the Earth's rotation you need to mount the telescope in polar mode. The standard #882 tripod that comes with the ETX-70 does not provide that capability so you would have to use a different tripod or add a "wedge". Trailing will also occur even in polar mode if the Calibration and TRAIN DRIVES has not been done accurately. As to a "forum" see the Site Guide page.


I appreciate the response.  I realized you were gone after i sent.  Its
ok, i wasnt in a hurry.  I hope you had an enjoyable trip!  I figured it
was the polar mounting.  Of course nobody in my state had a better
tripod to mount in polar so even with scopetronix i would not have
access to one for a couple days.  I decided to try again the next night
with a faster ISO.  Well, my scope just went nuts!  I would start
slewing all over the place!  I did a reset and it was still all over the
place.  I changed the batteries and everything worked perfectly and it
held perfect alignment and i got no star trails!  I never thought
weakening batteries affected the scope so drastically.  I appreciate
your response as well.  I will be moving to an ETX-125 in the
almost-near future, so i will probably ride out my current situation
with the tripod i have.  I was happy with the results i got.  I just
cant wait til the crisp air arrives in a month or two!  Here is a
picture of the shot i got-
Thanks a lot.
Mike here: Yep, low power will create some havoc!
Subject:	How to train drives for camera mounted ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, September 10, 2004 00:03:52
From:	V Ho (
If this information is already posted in your website, please point me
to the link.

I have 2 questions:

1) I was wondering what is the proper way to train a drive if a scope is
going to be used mounted with a SLR camera, either piggy backed or rear
t-mounted?  Should I a) train the drives without the mounted camera? or
b) train it with the camera and weights attached?

2) What is the proper technique to use weights to counterbalance an ETX?
 How do I know how much/where to place the counterweights?  I plan to
both piggyback and t-mount an SLR.

Thank you very much for your help.
Your website has been a huge resource for my new hobby.

Mike here: Shouldn't matter if the telescope + camera system is in balance although it won't hurt to train with the added weight.
The counterweights go on the other side of the telescope's center of rotation from where the camera is located. There are several articles on counterweights on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page that should help you.
Subject:	Moon pics
Sent:	Monday, September 6, 2004 21:38:16
From:	Jay Norlund (
Hi, I saw the sites you have and was wondering how you took the shots
with the A75. Is there an adapter you can buy so it will attach to the
camera adapter for the telecope? Where did you get it? Thanks for the

Jay Norlund
Mike here: See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. There are links to accessories, more on specific cameras, etc.
Subject:	ETX-70 (TRACKING)
Sent:	Monday, September 6, 2004 11:15:38
From: (
From reading the manual it appears that the Meade etx-70 does automatic
sidereal star and deep sky tracking on the ordinary field tripod,in the
(Alt/Az) orientation?Is this ok for short time exposure photography? Am
I to understand that the polar configuration is for lunar and planetary
work only? I sincerely hope you wont mind replying. Thankyou.
Mike here: In order to avoid star trailing in a circular pattern, you need to mount the telescope in polar mode. In Alt/Az mode, trailing will occur as the telescope moves on both axes. You can take short exposures without trailing; the length of which will depend upon the image scale on the film plane. For brighter objects like the Moon and bright planets you will be OK with Alt/Az but for exposures of several seconds you could see some trailing.
Subject:	Beginning photography w/ETX-90
Sent:	Wednesday, September 1, 2004 11:17:46
From:	David Blythe (
I've been using an ETX-90 since January and I'm interested in trying
some astrophotography with it.  A guy in the local astronomical society
told me the best bet was to get a lighted reticle eyepiece and a
piggyback camera mount and use the ETX for guiding while taking photos
thru a 50mm lens on the camera.  What's your take on that advise?

I've noticed that for what I would spend on the reticle and piggy back
mount I could buy the Meade LPI.  Maybe that's a better way to get
started?  Do you have any info on the new Meade Deep Sky imager? What
other equipment does it require (is a lap-top computer necessary?  Will
my Apple I-book work?).

Any advice/info/insight is appreciated.

Mike here: Certainly you can do piggyback photography; lots of excellent examples on the ETX Site. You can also do other types of astrophotography as seen on the Site. The DSI is new (see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page) so I don't yet know whether it will work with the iBook; based upon my results with the Lunar Planetary Imager from Meade (documented in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page) you will need a fast G4 and VirtualPC with Windows.
Subject:	etx -125
Sent:	Wednesday, August 18, 2004 14:32:41
From:	neo (
one question.yesterday I tried the etx-125 in polar mod with pec and I
had the m31 tracking in the 26mm plossl eyepiece for 2 very
good for such a small scope.I am thinking of buying the new deep space
cam from Meade.I want to ask you something.I want to go to dsi but the
tripod that I have now 884 is not so sturdy.what do you the
lx200 tripod with the super wedge or go for the lx55 ge sgt from Meade
which looks far more steady and with good have both
scopes.which do you suggest for serious work in astrophotography?I think
ge mounts are far more steady  and accurate than the fork mounts.which
are your thoughts?since you got both..what about the new looks
good in the commercials but I have not seen yet.with which scope do you
shoot photos the most etx or lxd55?.I have the Meade autostar suite with
the lpi and a 35mm camera but it is too heavy for the etx too handle
it.I tried before two weeks prime focus with an off-axis guider to shoot
m31 but I could not find a guide star to autoguide with the
about a guide scope?or the whole weight will be too much.I estimate an
extra 10 pounds with the 35mm camera guidescope and counterweights.a and
on more question when I polar align in home position where the Polaris
suppose to be in the viewfinder this time of year up ,down ,left or
right from the crosshairs?
Mike here: What new Meade Deep Sky Camera? I don't have an LX200; the LXD55 (and now the LXD75) mount is fine for some DSO astrophotography. But if you are looking to do multiple-hour exposures you should probably go for the serious astrophotographer's choice: an LX200. As to a Polaris Finder, see "Northern hemisphere ETX alignment" on the Astronomy Links page.
Ah ha, just found this link for the new Meade Deep Sky Imager.
Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 11:43:36
From:	arya qavamiyan (
i tried to take pictures from jupiter yesterday night,first i used 
Orite digital  camera no results,the picture was dark,then i used a
Panasonic NV-MX500 Digital camera no results,same as first one if you
had time, can you tell me what can i do for this.
with all due respects
Mike here: First, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.
I presume you were handholding the camera over the eyepiece. Could you see Jupiter on the LCD? Handholding is a challenge but can be done (I and many others have done it); just takes some work. Alternatively you could get an adapter that holds your camera; see the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page. There are usually two reasons for an object not appearing; either the light path was such that the object, Jupiter in this case, was not hitting the camera's imager, or the exposure was too short. You can try increasing the exposure length but more than about a 1/2 second shot will probably blur if you are handholding the camera.


yes,i was handholding the camera over the eyepiece,and i couldnt see
jupiter on the LCD,and exposure time was about 16 secs,i got many
informations from your astrophotography tips but havent read them.its 2
am in here!...
i think i have to try my mamiya analog camera
my digital video camera is 3CCD tye,does it help?
Mike here: Camcorders can also be used for astrophotography.
Subject:	re: your pics on the web
Sent:	Monday, July 19, 2004 17:44:49
From:	william whittall (
Great pics. i'm hoping you could give me some pointers. I just recieved
and modifed a toucam pro II 840. I tried it out in my base ment and it
seems to work quite amazing in darn near darkness. I had a short clear
spell and dragged out my pc/8" SC and camera hoping to try my new "toy"
out. all I could get was a major and the remaining many starts were now
visable. I tried Andromada too figuring that's one of the brighter
galaxies and no image. If you could, have you got any info on what
worked for you ? I'm using K3ccd tools also. I also just bought a focal
reduced/corrector but due to the never ending clouds, who knows when
I'll get a chance again. I strating to think i bought a rain making
machine. Anyhow, if you can give me any info on what worked for you, I'd
much appreciate it. I thought your pics were great. Nice job with the
cone Nebula and the pro image flashing over it !
many thanks for whatever you can provide.
Mike here: Check the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page; lots of articles and tips there.
Subject:	meade LX90 and 300D
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 2004 20:56:20
From:	David Dev (
great web site.  Can I ask you a question ?  I'm using a 300d camera,
and I have a Meade LX90 (8" SCT). The scope has a 2000 mm focal lenght. 
If I use a 26 mm eyepiece, attached to the camera with a camera T
adapter, how do I calculate what the effective focal length is, that the
camera "sees" ?
Thanks in advance.
Mike here: Multiply the resulting magnification by the original focal length of the telescope (I think).
Subject:	hartman mask question
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 2004 08:24:44
From:	David Blythe (
I've read your articles posted about making and using a Hartman Mask for
focusing for astrophotography and I intend to make one and try it out
this weekend.  One question they never seem to answer:  Do you put the
mask over the scope, focus and then remove it for photographing, or do
you focus and photograph through the mask?

Thanks for your help.

Mike here: Normally you remove it once you have focused the image. HOWEVER, for some objects, keeping the mask on can improve the image. Leaving it on increases the focal ratio, which reduces the brightness for bright objects, like the Moon. Sometimes you may want the increase in focal ratio.

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