|This page documents astrophotography comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. Be certain to see the other articles on the main Astrophotography page.|
Subject: I have a few questions Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 23:28:02 From: rene nevermind (email@example.com) hello, from Northern Ontario Canada - Sudbury to be exact. I want to start off my aknowledging your pursuits in your passion for astronomy. This is a passion I share. I do not want to bore you, or take much of your time - so I will try and keep on point. While surfing the web tonight, and trying to find answers to a question in my mind (which I'll come to) I found your site. Your efforts blew me away, to be quite frank. I have aspirations of building a backyard observatory much like your own one day. I was quite caught up in following your progress through your past posts on your road to oracle obsevatory. The question in my mind is about astrophotography, as I saw your 'kits' I thought you might be able to help me by providing some advice and insight gained through your own efforts. I wish to begin my own journey into astrophotography. I've done the things any new person would, I imagine... obtained the books and guides, surfed the internet to find personal experiences and tips from others. Still, without actually going out and making the investments necessary to really get started - I find myself still at a crossroads. This is specifically where I would like your help. Which direction do you believe one should go in to get started in astrophotography - ccd camera (like a webcam or neximage ccd camera), or a DSLR? I find myself confused (without the actual experience) which way to go. Opinions on the matter seem to be ... somewhat conflicting. The equipment I have at this time is the following: celestron 114slt canon t1i DSLR neximage ccd camera a few dollars ready to go where it can be best used, and a real desire to get started. Although I have both a dslr, and a ccd camera, I do not really have a backyard to take the laptop with me into. Like yourself, in your earlier days, I am left with only camping back 'home' on manitoulin island (amazing dark skies) - which doesnt come with electricity (the local store has batteries ready for me when I walk in). While a battery pack / portable power generator is on my list of needs, it is not necessarily the direction I am hoping for. CCD seems rather straightforward... drop it in place of an eyepiece and get started... stacking to take place afterwards. The DSLR however... It seems to me that it would provide 'better' images (shows how inexperienced I am, doesnt it?) I have read about afocal astrophotography.... which at first sounds great, but the complications and challenges involved (admittedly) shy me away. Piggy back astrophotography has been highly recommended by a local astrophotographer, however he was unable to explain precisely what the benefits were over the other options (he works in a camera shop - time is money). ' So. What advice can you offer a novice such as myself? I plan on investing in a new mount this weekend. An opportunity has come up to pick up a new mount. The suggested mounts have been ruled out due to prices (I believe nosmandy was the name given). CGEM with dual axis motors was recommended. From there? I am lost. Any advice you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for taking the time to read all of this. I look forward to reading a response from you soon. - Ren, in the great white north.Mike here: Hello from Cassiopeia Observatory. I'm getting ready to image a couple of globular clusters using my Nikon D7000 DSLR.
Subject: Awesome Pictures Sent: Monday, April 18, 2011 03:33:56 From: Kersey, Christopher T SSgt USAF USAFE 721 APS/TRP (firstname.lastname@example.org) My name is Christopher and I ran into your website when I was looking for instruction/info on Astrophotography. Holy Moly did your site kick some ass. I purchased my D7000 back in October as well. My wife and I are stationed in Germany and will be here for at least 4 years. So I thought and new for a fact we would be traveling. Needed a good camera. Well to get to some relevance for you. Our nights out here are dark and you can see for days. On a clear night that is. So now I'm looking into Astrophotography as a hobby. Also any other type of awesome pictures I could take. So I have a couple of questions: Would you recommend a "D7000 for dummies book" and what would you recommend when looking for a telescope that I can hook up to a Mac Book Pro and my Camera as well? Your thoughts and suggestions will be much appreciated. Regards are in advance, SSgt. Christopher T. Kersey Ramstein AB, GermanyMike here: I haven't really looked for a "dummies" type book on the D7000 but I'm sure they exist. Since I had experience with the D70, moving up to the D7000 was pretty straight forward. As to a telescope to connect to your MacBook Pro and telescope, that will depend on your budget and expectations. Any Meade or Celestron telescope will connect to the Mac via a Serial-USB adapter. Not all adapters work reliably with the Meade AutoStar (don't know about the NexStar); I recommend Keyspan adapters. Software (like Voyager and others) can be used to control the telescope. For mounting the camera, you will want a stable tripod for the telescope. Depending on the type of astrophotography you want to do (see the article "Astrophotography Types" on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page), you may want a larger aperture telescope. (While you are on the Astrophotography page, check out many of the topics there.) Certainly the Meade ETX models can do some types of astrophotography (as seen on the ETX Site).
Subject: photography Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2011 07:57:00 From: doug skillman (email@example.com) I have a dsx90 and am trying to take photos with. My setup is the dsx90 with a nikon D 60, a nikon adapter from meade. My problem is that if I focus the scope on the moon and take a picture it is nowhere near in focus. I tried turning the scope focus knob out as far as I could and took a picture and it is fairly close (see Pic) any thoughts on the Problem...Thanks Doug Skillman
Sorry I am using prime focus method, But I cannot focus my dslr without the lens on for some reason. I'll experiment and let you know...Thanks Doug SkillmanMike here: When doing prime focus photography, the telescope is just like a telephoto lens. You remove the eyepiece and the camera lens. The telescope image is focused in the camera. if there is insufficient focus movement to bring the image to a focus, then you may be able to focus IF the adapter has multiple components that can be added or removed to change the focal plane position. Alternatively, using the rear or top port on the telescope (for models that have both) you may be able to focus. When doing eyepiece projection photography, the camera lens is removed but an eyepiece is used to project the image onto the camera. When doing afocal imaging, the eyepiece projects the image into the camera through the camera lens. Normally, afocal photography is only done with fixed lens cameras (like point-n-shoot models or cell phones).
Subject: lx90 and astrophotography Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 09:12:42 From: seanpius (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an 8" lx90 and a canon eos 7d dslr and was hoping to get into deep sky astrophotography,could you please tell me what other equipment I would need to get started,I have tried to capture M42 with a little bit of success just taking a 15 second exposure and doing nothing else with it Regards, Sean.Mike here: See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page on my ETX Site. Depending on what type of astrophotography you plan to do, piggyback, prime focus, and/or eyepiece projection, you will need various adapters.
Subject: Setting up ETX 125 AT on the Tripod for Polar alignment Sent: Friday, January 21, 2011 03:25:56 From: Bob Gunnis (email@example.com) I am having a go at astrophotography but have noticed that once the camera is attached by using the #64 T Adaptor, that if the scope is in a high elevation, the camera and Adaptor can come into contact with the mount. If I go for Polar alignment, I feel that I will reduce the risk of this happening. I am now a bit unsure of exactly how the Scope Tube is fitted to the tripod so that I can use the Tilt Bar to Polar align. I have attached two photographs of how I have the Tube attached to the Tripod and am asking if you can confirm that this is the correct way to mount the scope. I cannot find on the two locating screw positions one that is marked with high altitude. Many Thanks in anticipation Bob Gunnis
Thanks for the reply. I have now mounted the scope tube on the tripod as described. My latitude is 53 degrees North. If I adjust the tilt bar to 53 degrees, do I have to set Polaris in the middle of the eye piece and then do a one star alignment or do I point the scope at Polaris and just do a one star alignment. Furthermore, if I set the scope up in easy align which is what I have been doing previously to this ie before I got a camera, I had to "Home" the scope. Is there a "Home" position for Polar alignment. Hope you can understand what I am trying to explain. Many Thanks again Bob GunnisMike here: There are several articles on Polar Alignments in the "Alignment Tips" section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. They should help answer your questions on Home position and using Polaris. I suggested the One Star Alignment because that refines the tripod position for the location of Polaris, which is not exactly at the pole. You can start by centering Polaris in the eyepiece, which is close enough for visual purposes. Depending on the type of astrophotography you plan to do, you may need to do more accurate aligning.
Thanks Mike Will go to the Alignment Tips page you recommended Bob Gunnis
Subject: Upgrade from EXT 80 To EXT 125 From: Ron Harries (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: January 3, 2011 11:08:21 AM GMT-07:00 I've had my EXT 80 for about a year and now feel is is time to do a small upgrade to a scope in the $600 to $800 range. I realize that using dollar figures is probably not the best criteria to use when upgrading but I really have no other choice. I would like to know if the EXT 125 offers better tracking. Tracking that is good enough for up to 15 minute exposure when photographing deep star objects. Also, this will probably be my last upgrade so, I would like your opinion on the 125 as to whether I will see considerable improvement over the 80. Is there any other model that would suite me better. I am not that great a fan of "go to" technology. I think it takes away from properly learning the sky which is what the hobby is all about, to me. Ron Harries Salmon Arm BC The cloud capital of the worldMike here: First, telescopes in the sub-multi-million dollar category will likely not track accurately on their own for over 15 minutes. Visually, the view may not change but photographically some trailing will usually be evident. Some assistance, manual or electronic (via an auto-guider), is normally required for go longer than a couple of minutes, depending on image scale. And to track for long exposures, the telescope must be polar mounted or a "field de-rotater" must be used. Alternatively, you can take many individual short exposures and "stack" them using software to yield an effective longer exposure. So, you need to include all the pieces of the equation in your calculation of costs. Yes, the ETX-125 can do some amazing astrophotography, as seen on my ETX Site. But you have to devote some effort to it.
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