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: User721401@aol.com (User721401@aol.com) 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!!! Dan 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 (email@example.com) 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 ??? Regards, 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 future. Thank You DanMike 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 (email@example.com) 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. thanks, Charles Nixon firstname.lastname@example.org iChat:astronomer120Mike here: Most of my photography has been done afocal.
Subject: star trail problem ? Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 07:36:11 From: Raven50@aol.com (Raven50@aol.com) 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. TonyMike 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- http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/ Number/194450/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1 Thanks a lot. TonyMike 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 (email@example.com) 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. --VeronicaMike here: Shouldn't matter if the telescope + camera system is in balance although it won't hurt to train with the added weight.
Subject: Moon pics Sent: Monday, September 6, 2004 21:38:16 From: Jay Norlund (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 help. Jay NorlundMike 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: DC60ASTR@aol.com (DC60ASTR@aol.com) 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. Sincerely, D.CattermoleMike 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 (email@example.com) 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. DavidMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 hours.wow 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 suggest.by the lx200 tripod with the super wedge or go for the lx55 ge sgt from Meade which looks far more steady and with good aperture.you 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 lxd75.it 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 lpi.how 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.
Subject: [none] Sent: Saturday, August 7, 2004 11:43:36 From: arya qavamiyan (email@example.com) 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 AryaMike 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.
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 cameraAnd:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. BillMike 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 (email@example.com) 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. DaveMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. DavidMike 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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