Last updated: 29 June 2006

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

Subject:	Focal Reducer
Sent:	Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:52:31
From:	Jasmin Pindzic (
I was searching for a focal reducer on line, I found this one today on and I would like to ask you if this reducer would work on
my ETX-125PE.
Here is my e-mail at home 
E-Mail at work 
Thank you very much.
Mike here: Didn't get the URL for the product. If the product says SCT then you need that adapter I mentioned previously. If it does NOT say for the ETX then it may or may not work; check with Scopestuff directly.
Subject:	ETX-60 and Deep Sky Imager Adapter
Sent:	Tuesday, June 27, 2006 14:21:16
From:	Mathew Pedersen (
Do you know if any one makes and adapter to connect the Meade DSI to the
photo port on the back of the ETX, or do I need to have a custom adapter

Mat Pedersen
Amateur Astronomer
and Computer Guru
Mike here: Shutan has a "Visual Back" see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. I believe Scopetronix has something similar. These adapters allow the use of an eyepiece (or 1.25" diameter imager attachments) to be used on the rear port.
Subject:	Focal Reducer
Sent:	Saturday, June 24, 2006 06:42:38
From: (
I found a focal reducer and I am going to ask you before I buy it. Can I
use this focal reducer with dsi AND if I can use it just looking trought
the eyepiece without the dsi.
Thank you.


I sent you an email before this one asking abut focal reducer, but I
forgat to send you what kind of reducer I was talking about.

I just need to know whitch one of these focal reducers I can use with my

Can I use it wth DSI camera AND can I use it just looking trought
eyepiece without the camera.

I found this focal reducer at thay have diffferente kind
of focal reducers, I just need to know whitch one should I buy for my

Here is the reduser#1


I hope you will be able to see them if not you can go on
and there are 2 of them (MEADE)

Thank you very much.
Mike here: As you will note in the description of BOTH of these, they are for use on a SCT (Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope). The ETX is not a SCT. You could attach one of these using a SCT Accessory Adapter (as seen on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page) but they may or may not work with the DSI and all eyepieces (that is, achieve focus). You really want a focal reducer that is designed for the ETX (as suggested in a previous email).


Thank you Mike, I will try to find the one that is designed for ETX
telescope. I am not really sure where to find one of these, I tried so
many places to find focal reducer for ETX, but I couldn't find it
anywhere. I woll keep loking
Thank you very much.
Mike here: As I said in the earlier email:
"See the Shutan Wide Field Adapter on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. Scopetronix also has a focal reducer for the ETX."
Sent:	Sunday, June 18, 2006 01:13:10
I show your fine detailed web pages about ETX. 

I have the DSI and EXT-125PE and I am trying to take a photo of swan
nebula. I am using a focal reducer from astrocom, but the magnification
is still high and  I cannot take a photo of  the whole nebula as I can
see it via 32mm eyepiece. Please do you know if there is a focal reducer
by 4 instead of 2? Can I use a second same focal reducer in series whith
the first? Please if you can exlain to me if there is other solution to
this problem.
Mike here: Small field of view imagers are always a problem when you want a wider image. I don't recall any higher reduction models. Using two focal reducers in series would likely cause a lot of image distortion, assuming you get even get a focus. One technique that many people do is to image separate overlapping parts of the sky and then combine them into a single larger image.
Subject:	Harmann Mask
Sent:	Monday, June 12, 2006 20:15:59
From: (
I read your article on using the Hartmann mask to achieve focus for
astrophotography.  One crucial element was missing in your article
though.  After achieving focus you need to remove the mask!!!
Mike here: Maybe, maybe not. I have left it on when I needed to reduce the effective aperture. But yes, normally it should be removed as it is just a focus aid.
Subject:	which lens? astrophotography deep sky
Sent:	Monday, May 29, 2006 03:59:39
From:	nathanstevenson (
I'm considering buying either a Canon 350D, Nikon D50 or Pentax ist and i
want to be able to photograph deep sky piggybacked on my ETX 105. Ive
seen your pictures of andromeda on this page with your  Nikon AF-S DX
Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED lens and was well impressed. Id like to
be able to take similar shots. After emailing other people i've realized
that i cant expect fantastic shots from zoom lenses (200 or 300mm)
priced about 150 because they are too slow but unfortunately this is my
budget. Do you know if i could get similar results to you with any of
these lenses:

Sigma 55-200mm F/4-5.6 Dc (canon Af)
Canon EF 55-200mm f4.6/5.6 II USM AF Lens
Pentax Lens DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 ED
Pentax Lens 75-300 f4.5-5.8 Lens
I admit to being completely ignorant about lenses. If i can get the same
results as you withother lens' then it  may affect which camera i buy.
Id prefer to buy the canon 350D but only if i can get similar results to
you from a lenses in my budget.

Yours Sincerely N Stevenson
Mike here: Faster lenses will yield shorter exposures. So if you use a slow lens, just increase the exposure time. Alternatively, take many exposures and "stack" them. The 55-200mm lens I used is certainly not a "fast" lens and I was happy with the results I got.
Sent:	Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:02:25
From: (
Hello/ Iremember seeing an astronomy programme some time ago on tv where
an astronomer was apparently viewing the image given by the camera on a
seperate monitor or tv screen which obviously greatly increased the
image and allowed greater resolution to be acheived prior shooting the

If that was in fact what he was doing could you advize me on what sort
of screen,or tv unit would enable me to do this with my digital camera
which is a canon powershot s1 is.

I have to date taken some good shots via my etx-70 with this camera and
wondered if the aforementioned image enlargement could be acheived at a
modest cost?

I sincerely hope you dont mind me asking you but I thought you were the
best person to ask.
Sincerely,Derek C.    DC60ASTR@AOL.COMc
Mike here: Some digital cameras can display their pre and post shot image on a separate TV or monitor. Usually cameras that can do this come with the necessary cables. Some cameras come with software and a cable (typically USB) that lets you use a computer to do the same thing. If your camera doesn't have either of these capabilities you can't do it.
Subject:	Question about etx125
Sent:	Thursday, May 11, 2006 02:05:49
From:	Mark Mathosian (
I need your opinion.  As you know, I use my ETX90 to shoot the moon. 
That's really my favorite target.  Do you think upgrading to the 125 is
worthwhile for shooting the moon?  I know it captures more light.  But,
does that really matter with the moon being as close and as bright as it
is?  Do you see any advantages to upgrading?


Mike here: If you want more magnification/resolution on lunar crater photography, then yes, having a larger telescope will help. Otherwise, not really.
Subject:	digital camera's
Sent:	Wednesday, May 10, 2006 20:17:03
From:	steve harper (
can you tell me the difference in a digital camera like the fujifilm
s5200 and a slr camera like a d50 cannon? i can get a fugi digital for a
good price but want to learn astrophotogrophy and want the right camera.
if i get the fujifilm camera, what adaptors would i need?
thanks as always,
steve harper
 ps     any update on annual star party?
Mike here: I'm not familiar with either of those two cameras but if you get a DSLR you should be aware that unless it has a "mirror lockup" feature, you will get mirror movement vibration induced in the telescope and possible blurring of images. Most people with SLRs and DSLRs will use the "hat trick" method of exposures (cover the telescope aperture, open the shutter, let the vibrations settle down, uncover the aperture for the exposure, cover it again, close the shutter). If the camera you choose has a non-removable lens you will be only able to do piggyback and afocal photography. Also, the camera should have a "bulb" setting to keep the shutter open. Having a "remote" release capability is also useful. As to adapters, see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. For more on astrophotography in general, including specific cameras, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
As to any star party, that info will be posted on the Site when announced.
Subject:	AutoStar Suite, DSI, and Mac
Sent:	Friday, April 28, 2006 02:02:59
From:	Niall J. Saunders (
Why don't you just buy a PC that uses the most common and popular
operating system in the known universe?

Successful Astrophotography is tasking enough without trying to run
Windows under MacOS.

All of the most popular software applications (from Meade's excellent
Envisage software, through to the likes of Registax and Pixel Insight)
ALL rely on Windows.

Yes, I am sure that you, like Mike and many others, feel that MacOS is a
better OS - but that does NOT make it the best choice

Oh, and by the way, if you do decide to buy a $500 notebook PC running
Windows, just make sure that it has a built-in serial port. There ARE
plenty of manufacturers out there who are happy to let you have the
2-worth of RS232 Serial hardware as a built-in component. Why then
choose one of the manufacturers who can't be bothered providing this.
Unless you are a masochist, and enjoy the frustrations that come with
USB to Serial converters.

Just my two-cents . . .
Niall Saunders 
Clinterty Observatories 
Aberdeen, SCOTLAND
Mike here: Certainly there is more of certain types of good (and bad) software for Windows than Mac OS X. Fortunately, there are alternative choices for many purposes on Mac OS X. For astrophotography there are stacking, image manipulation, image capture applications available. And the most popular imagers from SBIG have native Mac OS X drivers. Maybe it says something that Meade's DSI doesn't have drivers for other systems. Guess it just isn't popular enough....
Subject:	AutoStar Suite, DSI, and Mac
Sent:	Tuesday, April 25, 2006 08:57:47
From:	Chuck Durrwachter (
Bought a LXD75 series, Meade's SN-10 scope and the Meade Deep Sky Imager
Camera plus, a Mini Mac last summer. [Already have VPC 6.x.]  Katrina
came to town in August, and in late November I finally got the telescope
and set it up.  I have had a few evenings of visual viewing, learning
the scope, it's controls and limitations. [and mine...]  This month I
have been trying to get the AutoStar Suite  to work with my system. 
Suddenly I find that the DSI won't work with VPC...  I have not tried
the remote control of the scope [ seems a waste of time without a CCD
that works...]

I am thoroughly displeased with the AutoStar Suite package.  Mostly
because of the lack of VPC/DSI support.  My choices seem to be buy
another mini Mac [intel] and MS XP Pro run it as a PC {Shudder!!!} [
possibly it will work... No one knows...] or sell the package and go
else where for another CCD that works with Mac supported software.

So far comments by "others" I have queried are that the LXD 75 10" Meade
F/4 needs a focal reducer, and the DSI falls very short in image quality
due to short exposer time limits.  Yet Meade advertises the 2 as a deep
sky package.

Quote from []

Featuring the largest aperture and best resolving power of the LXD75
series, Meade's SN-10 scope allows observation of fine detail in the
planets and their satellites. Designed to operate at an extremely low
focal ratio (f/4), the 10" LXD75 Schmidt-Newtonian displays very wide,
well-corrected fields of view with the convenience and usability of
Autostar control and advanced, equatorial mountings. The result is a
professional-level  but user-friendly  telescope with brilliant,
rich-field imaging of nebulae, galaxies and star clusters that offers
remarkably fast speeds for astrophotography or CCD imaging.

My basic understanding is that nebulae, galaxies and star clusters
qualify in the "Deep Sky" category...  Most of the messier series are
below the 3.0 magnitude and would require significant assists to naked
eye viewing. [i.e. long term exposure with a steady image.]

1.  So who is correct?  Maybe this is a time for a quick tutorial in the
basics and some help with a recommendation on Mac based Astro
photography equipment.

2.  If a person is going to spend a couple of thousand on computerized
astronomical photographic equipment, then they don't want fuzzy and
blurred images.  So what does that take on a Mac based system?

---------- *** ----------
Charles Durrwachter
ChE and FSA
---------- *** ----------
If you need a hand, you know where I am.
Mike here: I've used VPC6 with the Autostar Suite and my LPI on my PowerBook 17" 1GHz laptop. Worked. Don't have a DSI to try nor USB 2.0 (yet). Unlike the LPI, there isn't (yet, that I've heard of) a Mac driver for the DSI whereas there is for the LPI; see the article "LPI with Mac OS X" on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. As to Mac solutions, SBIG has Mac drivers for their CCD imagers. Also, there is AstroIIDC (, which works with Firewire cameras. There are other solutions for the webcams as well. I don't think you would need a focal reducer for the SN models.
Subject:	C/O MY D70
Sent:	Saturday, April 22, 2006 03:35:33
From:	Sajjad Syed (
I have Nikon D70 and I am crazy for seeing/taking pictures of
stars,would you like tell me about those TELESCOPE who I can purchase,I
never effort costly equipment so pls tell me just those equipments who i
can effort

looking for great reply

Mike here: Almost any telescope can do astrophotography. However, some telescopes do it better. This is usually due to better mounts. A cheap "department store" telescope can be used for bright objects like the Moon (you can even just handhold the camera over the eyepiece and shoot). But for better results, especially if you plan to get serious about it, you will need better (that is, higher priced) equipment, both the telescope and accessories to attach the camera to the telescope. So, buy the best telescope you can afford and go from there. Look through the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. Other considerations on the telescope that is best for you: get one that you WILL use. Do you need portability? What are your expectations for your views through it. Remember, the best telescope is the one that gets used and not put into the closet because it is too cumbersome to set up or doesn't meet your expectations.
Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Sunday, April 16, 2006 11:27:54
From:	Chef Vanessa (
I came across your page on searches, i am very interested in
astrophotograhy and saw your moon shots..those are incredible!!! but
then you also showed the tiny cam that u used.....i have a 3.1 megapixel
camera, can i used that too?? looking for a very inexpensive way
to try out for astrophotography..i have a 60mm refractor telescopes as
well..your input is gladly appreciated...thank you and have a happy
Mike here: Yes, you can use that camera to take photos. See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for lots of tips.
Subject:	piggyback
Sent:	Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:46:53
I hope you'll find the time to answer this question:

I own a ETX 125 UHTC and recently bought a WO Megrez 80 SD II for the
quick vieuw and (hopefully) deepsky astrofotography.

Will the ETX be happy with the 2.5 kilo Megrez on it's back, or does it
mean the end of the motordrive (polar mounted)?

It has been said many times: GREAT site.
Sincerely, Jaap Spigt, The Netherlands.
Mike here: You will likely want to add a counterweight to avoid tracking errors and slippage. See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for lots of tips.
Subject:	meade LPI versus toucam
Sent:	Thursday, April 13, 2006 03:45:44
From:	wayne (
Love your website.
I have both a Meade LPI camera and a Philips vesta pro webcam (otherwise
known as a toucam)
Which would you say is capable of the higher quality astophotography
The Meade LPI or a standard toucam pro?
Best regards
Wayne Byrne (United Kingdom)
Mike here: Either, depending on how much YOU want to do to improve the images. The LPI uses the Autostar Suite to improve images. With webcams you have to use other software to accomplish the same thing.


Many thanks and clear skys to you.
Best regards

Mike here: One other point. The LPI is not "designed" for deep sky imaging. It can be done with some extra effort. Many webcams, especially modified ones, may be more sensitive and work better for DSOs.
Subject:	Oracle 102905-m42 photos postprocessed
Sent:	Tuesday, April 11, 2006 15:51:06
From:	Frantisek Kundracik (
I have tried to postprocess your two M42-photos from Oracle observatory

Postprocessing details:
1. oracle102905-m42stack.jpg streched (+3 gamma correction and darkened
to 50%)
2. oracle102905-m42stack.jpg added using 50% transparency to
3. brightness and contrast of resulting image adjusted
4. some noise reduction using NeatImage

Enjoy your image :-) !



Subject:	Digi T Ring
Sent:	Monday, April 3, 2006 17:14:42
From:	David & Barbara (
Would you be able to tell me the outside threaded diameter of the Digi T
Ring to suit a Meade 26 mm eyepiece.
David Andrew
Melbourne. Australia
Mike here: I no longer have a Digi-T System as I sold it along with my Coolpix 995 camera about a year ago.

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