Last updated: 31 December 2009
|This page documents astrophotography comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. Be certain to see the other articles on the main Astrophotography page.|
Subject: Piggy back mount for ETX 80 telescope Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 06:51:18 From: Paul Randall (email@example.com) Do you know if there is a camera piggy back mount available for the meade ETX 80 telescope? Kind regards, Paul Randall. PS I am in the UkMike here: I don't recall one but you can easily make one using the piggyback mount tips on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. Keep in mind that you may also need a counterweight and that the ETX-80 can not handle much weight (camera and/or counterweight).
Subject: CHARGED COUPLED DEVICE Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 13:42:41 From: THOMAS MCNAMARA (firstname.lastname@example.org) HELLO MIKE, I HAVE A MEADE ETX-70, I WOULD LIKE TO INCREASE THE VISIBILITY OF OBJECTS BY USING A CCD. IS IT POSSIBLE WITH THIS SCOPE? ALSO, IF IT IS, WHERE IS THE BEST PLACES TO BUY ONE? I HAVE SEEN PIXS TAKEN USING A CCD AND THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE. ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOUMike here: First, please read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Site home page. Thanks for understanding. As to imagers, yes, you can use many of the various imagers, from webcams to high-end CCD devices. However, you will want to consider costs vs the capabilities of the little ETX-70. The Meade LPI and DSI imagers will work fine with the ETX-70 but to get the best use of the software that is included you will need an AutoStar #497 instead of the #494 that comes standard with the ETX-70. You will also need Windows and PC with a RS-232 serial port. Other alternatives exist; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography for more info.
Subject: Webcam questions Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 07:46:02 From: Mitchell Setzer (email@example.com) I hope that i am not bothering you with all my questions... I ordered a Phillips Webcam today and was wondering if you had any Suggestions on the 1.25 adapter... I found a site that sells the adapter but it is in europe and the S/H is very expensive. My last question is I tried the other night to mod my existing webcam which was ccd I used a 35mm canister but the problem was that the picture was just the mirror size image which I could not focus. I took the old lense off also.. Is that problem with prim focus. I am a newbie.. Wondering how to get the image to show up in the web cam fully and not a picture of the mirror at the bottom.. Please advise...Mike here: Don't know about specific webcam adapters; search the ETX Site to see if you can a reference to one. As to using/removing the webcam lens, there are several types of photography with telescopes: prime focus (no eyepiece), eyepiece projection, and afocal through an eyepiece. The imager (still camera or webcam) has its lens removed for prime focus and eyepiece projection; the lens is used for afocal through an eyepiece. If you see the mirror (or secondary), it usually means there is a focus issue (assuming you set up properly with or without the lens). Sometimes there is not enough telescope focus adjustment available and you need to shift the imager itself.
Subject: ETX-125AT and deep space imaging exposure limit. Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 03:49:23 From: Iotour Iotour (firstname.lastname@example.org) I found etx-125at at a reasonable price and i am thinking to go for it.However i read in a review that for deep space object imaging with ccd the limit is 10-15 seconds.What do you think about it? I am very interested to have long exposures with dsi II pro , shall i go for it? thanks in advance. John Greece.Mike here: Well, yes and no. Yes, you will find that precision tracking is not available on the ETX models. It was not designed for long duration astrophotography. HOWEVER, you can accumulate exposures to get the affect of long exposures without the drawbacks of trying to precisely track the object (which could require a guidescope, off-axis guider, other means). Using a DSI and the AutoStar Suite software (or any imager and software) you take individual short exposures and "stack" them to create a "long" exposure. That's what is done with many amateur and professional systems (including the Hubble Space Telescope). You can see many examples of astrophotography on the ETX Site.
Subject: ETX-125 OTA and Canon Powershot A590. Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 06:56:45 From: p. p. I have an ETX-125 OTA and had heard that the ETX could do astrophotography despite the long focal length (1900mm). After some research, I decided to get a Canon Powershot A590 IS (last year's model). I tried using the Powershot by holding it over the eyepierce of my ETX 125 (it was my 26mm Super Plossl). Unfortunately, the brightest object that will show up is Jupiter. I pointed my scope so I could take a picture of the Pleiades and nothing came out. I don't know if it's the camera, the scope, or the fact I need to do more than 1/60 second exposures for anything to show up on my pictures (as well as get an adapter for the lense so I don't have to manually hold my camera to the eyepiece)/ I was in very dark skies (a 2 on the Bortle scale). Before I consider taking this camera back for a refund, can you give me an idea of what I'm doing wrong? Thank you. -Phoebiee PhoenixMike here: As you can see from all the examples on my ETX Site, the ETX (all models) can be used for some types of astrophotography. For faint objects (like DSOs) you will need much longer exposures, and even multiple exposures that you "stack" together using software. Handholding the camera lens (focused at infinity) over an eyepiece (which has been focused to your eye), which is known as "afocal photography" only works with bright objects (Moon, brighter planets), when the exposure can be short. For longer exposures you will need to attach the camera to the telescope. There are adapters to hold the camera over the eyepiece. See the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. For more on astrophotography, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Thank you for a speedy response. I will seriously consider getting an adapter for my Powershot. I'm wondering if I shouldn't look into getting a faster scope (maybe even a faster ETX, like an ETX-60/70) at this point? -p.p.Mike here: Whether you need a "faster" telescope will depend on what types of astrophotography you want to do. I would suggest working with the ETX-125 for now; you may decide that you want a larger telescope with a more serious mounting for more serious astrophotography! Also, you may want to consider a camera with a removable lens (DSLR); that will give you more options. I've been using a Nikon D70 DSLR for astrophotography with nearly all my telescopes.
Thank you Mike. After fiddling with my Powershot, I figured out it may have been user error (i.e., me). I will probably be saving up for a DSLR sometime in the future. -p.p.Mike here: Astrophotography opens up a whole new world for you. Challenges and Rewards!
Subject: DSLR and ETX 90 Sent: Friday, August 7, 2009 20:04:17 From: Stephen Olson (email@example.com) Long time. Hope all is well with you and yours. Weather here in Philly has been lousy. Scope is just collecting dust. I have been in the market for a DSLR to mess with. I have both the ext80 and Astrotech AT66 to play with. I just don't understand how the exposures work on these cameras. The longest exp. I have seen is 30 seconds. I have that on my cheap Sony. Isnt that what I should be looking for? I got about 500 to spend any suggestions? It would be really helpful. Thanks Steve OlsonMike here: Many "prosumer" level DSLR cameras have a "bulb" setting that lets you keep the shutter open (but not indefinitely). Of course, to use that setting you really need a remote shutter release, either a wireless one or a USB cable connected to software running on a computer. I use a NIkon D70 DSLR on my telescopes. Canon also makes good ones for astrophotography.
Subject: Astrophotragraphy Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 03:54:13 From: Dwayne (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an ETX70 and would like to try and take a few pictures using my Kodak EasyShare z650, but have not found any way to connect it to my scope. I do not have much that I can spend on equipment and was wondering if you have any suggestions? The camera lens has 45.5 mm threads. I also am unsure on how to use the camera adapter port on the bottom of the scope. I know that you flip the mirror to use it, but do I connect the camera directly to it if so what size are the port's threads or do I need to attach a lens from my scope first? I am still a novice trying to learn so forgive my lack of knowledge. Thank you. Dwayne KukovichMike here: Some suggestions. See the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page for some mounting accessories. See the Kodak Digital Camera page on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. Lastly, search the ETX Site for "Kodak EasyShare; you will find a few references. Since the camera does not have a removal lens you will have to use the "afocal" method, meaning you use an eyepiece and shoot through the eyepiece. For starters, you can handhold the camera over the lens. Try using the Moon. Focus the Moon in the eyepiece to your eye. Then point the camera lens at the eyepiece. Move the camera around slowly until you see the image on the LCD. Try zooming the lens. From there you can experiment. By doing handheld afocal astrophotography, you should be able to image the Moon and the brighter planets. With some practice and luck, you will be able to even photograph M42 in Orion and perhaps a few other bright nebulae.
Subject: RegiStak or Meade #909 APM Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2009 11:38:51 From: Bruce Novich (email@example.com) The Question of the Day: Which method will provide exceptable results? RegiStak or Meade #909 APM My System: ETX125 OTA on a LXD55 mount / Imager - Canon 300d prime focus & projection. WITH a Orion Short Tube 80 Guidescope and LPI imager. Bruce N.Mike here: Depends on how you define "acceptable". If my memory is correct, there are difficulties using the APM with the LXD mount. RegiStax (and similar apps) is more flexible.
From what I have read the APM works just fine with the '55. "Acceptable" non smeary images. What will a guidescope give me that RegiStax won't? Bruce N.Mike here: A good guidescope combined with good control software will send commands to the AutoStar to move the telescope to keep a guide star centered on the imager. However, that requires a good mount to provide smooth tracking. A well maintained LXD mount CAN work. RegiStax will be more forgiving since it stacks and aligns multiple short exposure images into a single image (after the fact). With software, you don't have to worry about precise tracking.
SOOOOO in your humble opinion even while attempting projection on deepsky objects RegiStax will do a better job a lower cost. Yes? Thanks, BruceMike here: Stacking multiple short exposure images, throwing out the bad ones, can yield better images than long duration exposures. The bad ones you throw out can be bad from tracking errors, atmospheric turbulence, or other factors that can influence image quality.
Subject: etx focal reducer & dslr Sent: Monday, June 1, 2009 22:08:55 From: Ronald Pearson (firstname.lastname@example.org) can you tell me if it is possible to use a DSLR (APS size chip) on and ETX-90 with focal reducer? I have found there an adapter for SCT accessoires but no info if the standard size focal reducers will work with a dslr and the adapter. I would like to photograph the sun (upcoming eclipse) but need to reduce the focal length to get the whole disk in the dslr. thanks for any info. Ron Pearson ColoradoMike here: There are some ETX focal reducers discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. I have used a Wide-Field Adapter (Apogee, from Shutan, discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page) with my Nikon D70 DSLR on my ETX-90.
Subject: Trouble in taking photographs with various Meade telescopes Sent: Monday, April 6, 2009 08:22:03 From: Productos y Servicios (email@example.com) I write you form Argentina. Some time ago, I bought a Meade ETX 90 (used) but in very good condition. As I want to begun in astrophotography, bought the T- 64 adapter to attach my Canon 300 D to the scope. One night, prepare all this equipment, went ouside, put the camera on the ETX 90, and wen tried to move the scope with the Autostar, a terrible noise was hear and the no more DEC movements. I taked out my camera, but the telescope didnt move anymore on DEC. I had to bring it to the local service (in Buenos Aires, 300 km from Rosario, my hometown). Some days later, they told me that it wasnt something serious and repaired it. Off course, no more trying to takes photos with the Canon!!!! In March, I bought another used Meade, but de ETX 125, also used, but also in mint condition. I repeat the porcedure one night, put the adapter, put the Canon, and the same noise, the same trouble. That Is the reason that I wrote you, dear Mike: is possible to take photos with a reflex camera with this scopes (ETX 90 or 125)?. I asked some people here with a lot of experience in astronomy and in astrophotography and tell me deffinitely that is not possible!!! That the ETX series are not the "stronger" to attach a reflex (digital or "film") to it. It is real? If so: why Meade sell the 64 T adapter and publish in the instruction manual the way to take photos with a reflex? Thank you for your answer and beg your pardon for my poor English!!!! Bests regards, Luis OConorMike here: It is definitely possible to take photos with almost any camera on the ETX, as evidenced by all the ETX astrophotographs on my ETX Site. I used 35mm and digital SLRs as well as other cameras. I suspect the problem you experienced was that you overtightened the DEC lock to hold the telescope in place with the extra weight of the reflex camera. Adding a counterweight system can alleviate that problem. There are many counterweight articles on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Thank you for your fast answer!!! With my first (and bad) experience with the ETX 90 and the reflex, I took special caution not to overtighten de DEC lock. I think that the problem is not having a counterwight. Im angry with Meade because I think that they have to inform previosuly in the manual of the problem and offer a counterwight as an "obligatory" accesorie. Ill consult your Astrophotgraphy Page!!!! Bests regards, and again: thank you dear Mike, LuisMike here: Not all users will need a counterweight because they may not add heavy accessories. But like all telescopes when adding heavy accessories, it may be important to keep the telescope mounting system "in balance". The more heavy-duty the mount is, the less critical that becomes, but of course, the cost tends to go up. The ETX mount is at the lower end of mounts.
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