ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY - TIPS
Last updated: 11 August 2013
This page documents astrophotography comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. Be certain to see the other articles on the main Astrophotography page.
Subject: Meade back cell adapter Sent: Thursday, August 8, 2013 13:33:51 From: Chris Mcilhargey (firstname.lastname@example.org) First off I'm sorry for always asking you questions all the time haha! Also I read your blog thing about you and it's an impressive life you've had so far :) fighter pilot... Very cool! Ok now my questions! :) I just bought a Samsung scb2000 video cam thing. So I'm buying all the parts to make it work. I hope... My plan is... Keep the eyepiece in as normal and have the camera in the back slot. I bought a meade back cell adapter #07036 but I'm pretty sure I need something else to change that to a 1.25" slot do I not? What size does this change it to? Is the 'SCT thread' a 2"? I haven't got the item yet to see for my self I also bought a c to 1.25 adapter for the cam and a 0.5 focal reducer. It apparently changes it to a f7.5 scope as I hear a f15 isn't good for video. I keep getting the feeling I'm jumping in too deep with all this. It's all getting complicated! :) Sorry for all the questions. It's just that there is not much details about video astronomy and the etx. Cheers Chris Sent from my iPhoneMike here: Since you got an ETX-SCT adapter, you will still need a 1.25" adapter. If you want to use a 1.25" nose piece on the camera, you'd be better off getting a visual back for the ETX. That would allow 1.25" eyepieces or camera adapters to be used at the rear port. As to mounting the camera at the rear port, I don't normally recommend that as a first choice. You can have a severe out-of-balance condition unless you add a counterweight system. And you will find movement limited in many orientations due to interference between the camera + adapter sticking out and the ETX mount base.
Ok thanks man I just read about the visual back sounds good. Question would a counter weight system be needed when using the eyepiece slot too? All in the cam will prob weigh about 400-500g is that too much? The etx125 already does seem a bit front heavy anyway is it not? Also... I was a twat the other day and left my scope out while I got food etc and came down and it was raining! I didn't touch the lens yet its dry but there are water drop marks all over it. Should I clean it or just leave if as it is?Mike here: Probably won't need a counterweight while using the top port. I'd recommend cleaning the water spots off, especially if there is pollen on the lens. See the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
End of today's update
Subject: Narrowband Filter Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2013 14:51:14 From: Micki Goodman (email@example.com) Just as in your area, we are inundated, nightly, with cloud cover. I am anxious to use my new Sony NEX 6 camera and accessories, but "Murphy: is having way too much fun at my viewing expense lately (in the good old summertime). I need your opinion on filters for my ETX 90 EC. Do you often use filters on your scopes? If recommended,what would you suggest as a first filter for me to do two things?: 1. Reduce some light pollution 2. Enhance planetary and deep space photography I know that if filters were available, to cover the front of the scope, the price would be prohibitive(although very convenient-no swapping). So I guess I will be (as most hobbyists) swapping the filter between eyepieces. And one more question-how should I arrange for filtering in prime focus mode? My adapter does not have filter threads. I did manage, a month ago, to get rough, preliminary photos/movies of Saturn, with the Sony and the improved noise looks promising. I will send some photos when I get a few worth sharing. I did find a link to a company that specializes in modding cameras for many types of filtering. Here is the link, to their FAG page: http://www.lifepixel.com/infrared-faq The premium IR setup, for my Sony would cost $325, but the camera is still in warranty and I don't want to void it. Maybe after it is out of warranty I will reinvestigate the possibility. Is this something you would recommend? Here's to clear night skies and productive sessions. Yours always-FredMike here: I rarely use filters when imaging with my iPhone or DSLR. Sometimes, a Moon Filter comes in handy. I occasionally filters when viewing objects (moon, planets, DSOs). One of the issues with some filters when used with the ETX-90 will be the lack of light reaching the camera (or eye) due to the small aperture. There are some filters discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Filters page on my ETX Site. By the way, the OPT Camera Adapter has threads for a 1.25" filter, with or without an eyepiece. I reviewed the OPT Camera Adapter on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. The Meade Basic Camera Adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page) also has threads for a 1.25" filter.
Thank you as always for a speedy reply. I did read that the ETX 90 has too small an aperture to compensate for filter loss, but I value your opinion, so I thought I would ask. I just came in from a brief (clouds came in) test of the new camera. I got a couple of decent prime focus moon images and set up for eyepiece projection. Unfortunately the clouds were rolling in quicker than I could refocus, and the one EP image was not as well focussed as the prime focus images. I will try again in a couple of nights and send you some of the better results. I do hope your skies will be clearer tan here in Colorado Springs.Mike here: I've been suffering from our pretty active monsoon season. But we need the rain.
We also seem to get rain almost daily now. We could have used it prior to the extreme fires here, but it will help minimize the danger. I had a Tucson friend (now passed on) who told me the typical Arizona monsoon season was in April. I suppose, the weather patterns have changed in many parts of our country and the rest of the world as well. Any more changes and we may give Australia a challenge for flip-flopped seasons. Stay well and focussed.Mike here: Monsoon season here "officially" runs from 15 June to 30 September, but the storms are usually heaviest in July and August.
End of 17 July update
Subject: Re: Problem with ETX-70 prime-focus photography above 37 degrees altitude Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:32:38 From: Roy Keeris (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for your quick reply! I do have that camera adapter and I tried to use it. However I could not focus: the center of focus lies very close to the eye piece port of the ETX-70 and my camera cannot reach that position. In other words: the eye piece port of the telescope is too long. Is there another way? Is a tripod with a tilting base maybe a solution? Or another optic? I hope you can help me with this. Thanks again! Best regards, RoyMike here: Not all cameras will reach a focus with the ETX, depending on the adapter used. Using the rear port can sometimes avoid that particular problem, while adding others (as previously mentioned). Depending on where the telescope is pointed, you can eliminate the base interference problem by mounting in Alt/Az or Polar.
Subject: Thx again Sent: Sunday, June 9, 2013 06:23:14 From: stan andersen (email@example.com) Thx for the review of the opt camera adapter. I just received it and you were spot on . Appreciate the advice. stan
End of 12 June update
Subject: Problem with ETX-70 prime-focus photography above 37 degrees altitude Sent: Saturday, June 8, 2013 02:39:48 From: Roy Keeris (firstname.lastname@example.org) First of all: my complements for your work and devotion to astronomy! I have a Meade ETX-70 and use a Canon EOS 400D with an adapter at the rear port of the telescope to do prime-focus photography of comets and deep sky. I stack photos with software, so I don't need very long exposures, mostly 1 - 2 minutes. Taking pictures of objects with a low altitude works fine. However the camera inhibits aiming at objects with an altitude higher than about 37 degrees, simply because the camera clashes with the base of the telescope. Are there solutions to this problem? I read that the #884 Tripod can lift the base to a higher angle, but that it might not be suitable for the ETX-70. If there are no solutions for the EXT-70, what (not too expensive) kind of equipment could you recommend for my purpose? Thanks! Best regards, RoyMike here: Mounting a camera at the rear port of the ETX creates two significant problems: balance and, as you have discovered, interference from the ETX base. If you mount at prime focus using the eyepiece port you avoid these problems. I use the OPT Camera Adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page).
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