Intro and help please if you can?

Don't be shy! If you're just starting out, here's the place to ask that first question

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Intro and help please if you can?

Post by dorsetman »

Firstly I must say hello and introduce myself, im English after all and therefore a gentleman (according to Sting anyway) so hello, my name is Adam, im 31 from the light polluted South East. I have been into planet gazing with my wife for the past 2 years using a very nice little Skywatcher Skymax 90mm EQ1 which up to now has been plenty good enough for what we want and have been super impressed with what we can see of various planets and of course that lovely bight piece of cheese rotating us. Prior to that it was as a child looking at the moon through my Dads very old Telescope.

I am a very keen photographer and have been for many years and now want to mix the two hobbies together. I resisted up to now as I appreciate I now will need a go to telescope that can track so that I don't get star trails but longer exposure images. My budget is quite limited, maybe £3-400 and having popped into Telescope House in Lingfield (an amazing shop and some of the best and friendliest staff I have ever dealt with) I left with the impression that the Skywatcher Skymax 127 Goto would be the best for me, of course with a T adapter but am I right??? Can you knowledgeable and helpful chaps perhaps help educate me and make sure I follow the correct path.

Thank you kindly in advance!
David Frydman
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am

Post by David Frydman »

Dear Adam.

I am not really an imager, so you will get better advice from the other forum users who are imagers.

Smerral or Brian uses a 127mm Maksutov, possibly a GoTo.
He gets very fine images which you can look at in Gallery.

The only problem with a 127mmm Maksutov is the narrow field of view, so as a GoTo it has to very accurately set up.

I use the 127mm Skywatcher Maksutov tube and optics on a good photographic tripod visually.

Maksutov Cassegrains may take a time to cool to ambient temperatures.
A 6 inch one i had took ages but a 5 inch should be better.
I am not sure if the Skywatcher primary is Pyrex or ordinary plate glass. But I think the cooling is also due to the thick corrector and secondary.
The actual primary is about f/2.5 amplified to about f/14 approx. by the secondary. So the primary is fast.

So I think that it is a good scope, but wait for further advice from others.

Regards, David
The Bat
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:36 pm
Location: Gt Dunmow, Essex

Post by The Bat »

Hello dorsetman, and welcome! :D

If astrophotography is your aim, then I'm not sure that scope is the way to go. Firstly it has a long focal length and a focal ratio of f11.8, which means it's a 'slow' telescope and therefore you would need to use longer exposures than with a comparable 'fast' telescope (f4-6). Secondly, it is on an alt-az mount, which means that although the telescope might track the object, it has to do so in both altitude and azimuth, and the object will appear to rotate in the field of view ... obviously not ideal if you are trying to do long exposures.

Someone else may be able to suggest a particular model that might suit, but I would aim for a fast reflector on an equatorial mount. Whether you can get that within your budget, I'm not sure. Perhaps as a compromise you could mount your existing scope on a new equatorial motorised mount (although your current scope is even slower).

The one you suggest would be fine for taking pictures of the Moon or planetary imaging with a webcam, but I don't think it would suit long exposure photography. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Last edited by The Bat on Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Celestron C8-S XLT
CG5 mount, dual axis motor driven
Imaging Source DFK21AF04.AS camera
North Essex Astronomical Society
David Frydman
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am

Post by David Frydman »

The T mount or T 2 mount more accurately is I suppose for you to use your DSLR body on the scope. It seems APS size Canons are the most popular for photography.

However, for planets Smerral and others use special astro cameras some based on Phillips webcams which are cheap. These have small chips and many hundreds of short exposure images are stacked automatically producing final results.
With the Moon they are also stitched together as the whole Moon is not covered.

Again wait for advice from others.

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