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Old 12-02-2011, 11:11 AM   #21
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I thought this forum might have a few more astronomers out there that do astrophotography? Used a small refractor last night (80mm) and got some wide field shots of Andromeda and a second shot of the Flame/Horsehead nebulas. Horsehead is just bleow center, very small but it's there!



If you're out there lurking, please share a few shots. These are screen grabs from the video camera I use.
I may put something together and start some astrophotography when I retire, but doing now would be a bit of a "busman's holiday".
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #22
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Dave, have you ever tried the edge on/face on pair 81 & 82? I always found that to be a unique view in the same field.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:41 PM   #23
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Makes my mouth water, I just sold my Meade LXD55-SN6 with Autostar, goto scopes really work. The first few years I had the scope I thought something was wrong with the optics the stars always had spikes, I would collimate and re-collimate never could fix it. Turns out it was my eyes.
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:28 PM   #24
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Ordered some Quickcam equipment and dusted off my old 3.5" Questar scope. Looking forward to trying digital astro photography.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:25 PM   #25
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Dave, have you ever tried the edge on/face on pair 81 & 82? I always found that to be a unique view in the same field.
Next time I'm set up when these are in a good spot in the sky, will see what I can do. I've imaged M82 (Cigar Galaxy) in the past but not with my new equipment, I expect to be able to get some pretty good shots and will post them if I do. My view is completely blocked to the north so sometimes have to wait a while for the objects to get in a decent spot.

Thanks to all for the feedback and look forward to seeing some others results.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:43 PM   #26
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What kind of equipment are you using Dave?

I shouldn't even ask. I have good "seeing" at my weekend house and might be tempted to go out and buy some of this insanely expensive gear - something in the 10" range, collapsed optics, goto capabilities . I am spouting off from vague memories looking at other people's stuff years ago. All I ever used was our 6" Dobsonian with a home made box that turned on teflon pads on a 33 rpm record.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:46 PM   #27
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donheff, video cam I use is a Mallincam Extreme, Google will bring up a lot of results. They're made by one guy in a workshop in Toronto, he has other models that yield good results as well. You should be able to get decent images with just about any scope on a mount (I recommend an german equatorial) with good tracking. So far, none of the shots I've posted have had more than a 56 second exposure and that's reasonably easy to obtain.

The scope for the Andromeda and the Flame/Horsehead is a $600 Williams Optics refractor scope but it's piggyback mounted on a large Celestron 14" scope that was used in some of the other pictures. With a little research, you'll find a lot of scopes with decent GoTo mounts in almost any price range you want to look.

Net is, I have a lot of money in my current equipment because of the large, 14" SCT but a refractor on a good mount will do well for astrophotography, especially for wide field shots. Maybe there is an Astronomy club nearby where you could sample what's available for some time on nightskiesnetwork.com might let you get a fix without having to buy your own equipment?

Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:32 AM   #28
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With a little research, you'll find a lot of scopes with decent GoTo mounts in almost any price range you want to look.
Are goto scopes hard to calibrate? It would be nice to be able to set it up in a permanent mount in an observatory but few of us have that luxury. As I understand it you have to place the scope in a stable location and triangulate on two known stars. Is that a quick, simple process or a PITA.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:07 AM   #29
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Meade Autostar works great, hard to remember now from years ago, 5-10 minute set up if everything is working right,perhaps less. Basically set up tripod, align on Polaris,level,train drives, puch in to computer your lat and long, time of day, do a one or two star align and your done. Then tell Autostar what object you would like to goto, or take a tour of tonights best.
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:44 AM   #30
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Alignment routines usually go pretty quickly after the first one or two. I usually do a two star alignment, the mount picks the stars based on the location data you entered. Some mounts have GPS receivers where you don't even have to enter a location. You can pick your guide stars manually if you prefer. Mount slews to where it thinks the first star is located, it's usually at least in the finder scope. Then you center the star and then the scope can slew to the second star, center this one and you're done. My Celestron mount gives you a choice to enter additional calibration stars to refine the alignment. For visual observation, don't usually do this. Takes about 5 minutes or so once the scope is physically in place.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:27 AM   #31
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I wanted to see if there are any Astro-photographers out there that are currently active in this hobby, I am looking to get started once I retire, I have joined the local group in Denver and will be looking at equipment soon. They have loaner equipment that I may try out first, but I have always been interested in this hobby since I was a boy scout so many years ago.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:44 AM   #32
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Lots of photographers here. When you ER you finally have time to pursue such a hobby.

I do night sky photography - wide angle stuff capturing stars, the Milky Way, meteors if I'm lucky, etc.

I enjoy this Facebook group - but it specifically does NOT include deep space objects captured with tracking devices, etc. However there are many Facebook groups that do. https://www.facebook.com/groups/NightSkyPhotography/
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:58 AM   #33
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I wanted to see if there are any Astro-photographers out there that are currently active in this hobby, I am looking to get started once I retire, I have joined the local group in Denver and will be looking at equipment soon. They have loaner equipment that I may try out first, but I have always been interested in this hobby since I was a boy scout so many years ago.
You can see my posts in this thread from last year, I'm still active when I have time. Loaner equipment can be a great help to decide what you want to do or even to decide if you want to continue. I use astro video cameras usually limited to about 60-90 second exposures and usually view them on a computer monitor at the time they are taken. I'm not into imaging with long exposure CCD cameras with a lot of post processing- I love the images but just don't have the patience or interest to spend that much time.

One other way you might get some ideas is to visit the Night Skies Network website- this is where a lot of the video astronomers will broadcast what they are seeing with their cameras live- good chance to see different video and telescope equipment in use and in different combinations. I broadcast there sometimes myself under this same user name but go there and you can see if anyone happens to be broadcasting. There are also webcasts there about various topics- there was one last week on using a histogram to tweak your images as an example. You can view as a guest without registering I believe. Don't forget to check during the day once in a while as there might be someone on line from a foreign time zone or someone doing solar viewing.

Best of luck and enjoy!
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