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Telescopes For Astrophotography


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#1 mjrmillard69

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 09:09 PM

Hi,

 

I was wondering if anyone here is using a telescope with their cameras to take photos?  It is something I am thinking of getting into and wondering if anyone has recommendations on a good 6-8 inch telescope for this.  Thanks.

 

Michael

 



#2 Bill Peppas

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 02:43 AM

You are in for a relatively good splash of money :D

With astrophotography using a telescope along with your camera you can't go cheap.

For starters you can't use a Dobsonian telescope apart from shooting planets.
For any kind of serious photography of nebulas and galaxies you need extended exposure times which means... equatorial tracking mounts.

 

A good source for astrophotography beginners is http://www.astrophot...hy-tonight.com/



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#3 PeterPP

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 09:52 AM

Yup what Bill said.

 

I have a 8 inch newet on a CG-5/EQ-5 mount and it is NOT stable enough for long exposure photography.

The 8-inch tube is too much for the mount, which is fine for visual observing.

 

Your are looking at heavier mounts which cause the cost to skyrocket.

 

cloudynights is another good astronomy site and forum to help you dispose of your spare cash 

http://www.cloudynig...page/index.html

 

Been a long time since I posted to Flickr but this old album has some test shots done in 2013 with a 5d-mkii comparing the telescope to a couple of normal lenses, they are terrestrial shots of a 5 foot high statue at about 50feet.

https://www.flickr.c...157633312262739

8" skywatcher newtonian 2000mm f/l  with a 25mm plossel eyepiece doing eyepece projection

8: skywatcher newtonian 2000mm f/l camera at prime focus

200mm lens

100mm lens


Peter
 


#4 David Pavlich

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 01:24 PM

Well....I just got out of that chapter in my life.  Sold all of my imaging gear and tore down the observatory.  Anyway, as already mentioned, if you wish to do serious astroimaging, there's a few things to be aware of when picking a scope.  The simplest answer is a refractor.  It needs no collimation, unless you've really banged it around and messed up the lens mounting, it focuses easily, and you can keep the size relatively small and still get nice results.

 

However, isn't there always a "however"?  Refractors have varying degrees of chromatic aberration....false color.  The really good imaging refractors have little, but they are the most expensive because of the glass required to make them close to color free.  Typically, you'll see the better scopes have at least a triplet lens with one being a low dispersion glass like FPL 53 or Flourite or a combination of both.  Typically, they'll be around f6 to f8.  And here's a little bugaboo about fast triplets.  When you get down to around f6, you run into field curvature due to the steep angle that the light comes focus.  For that, we add a field flattener in the imaging train.

 

Or, you can get one of the even more expensive Petzval designs that use twin doublet lenses.  This takes care of most of the CA and flattens the field.  Televue, Takahashi, and Stellarvue are a few of the manufacturers that use 4 or more lenses.  As an aside, I would say that Takahashi makes the best imaging refractors....but that's just me.

 

Then there's imaging Newtonians which is what I was using before I quit.  Because they use mirrors and not glass lenses, they are CA free.  However, they require collimation and typically at f4, require that collimation to be very good.

 

I'd recommend that you join Cloudy Nights.  They have a great imaging section discussing DSLR and CCD cameras.  I happen to be an Admin there, but I don't hand out favors. :-)

 

And one more thing....this all hinges on a GOOD German Equatorial Mount for long exposures.  That's another kettle of pixels for sure.  The mount I had was capable of handling 80lbs of imaging gear (scope, camera, guidescope, etc.).  But I had a 50lb scope so I needed a heavy duty mount.  It can get expensive, although none of my astrogear cost as much a new 50mm f4 Canon lens. ;-)

 

David


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#5 PeterPP

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 03:20 PM

One thing not mentioned so far is that DSLR's are not be best option for astro imaging at least not deep sky and wide field astro imaging.

They can work and I've seen some great images made with DSLR's but the special peltier cooled ccd cameras are the cats meow for extended long exposure sessions that can last over several nights.

(another place a really good computer controlled tracking mount comes into play)

 

The IR cut filter present in most DSLR's also plays havoc in trying to get decent images of nebulae or anything radiating in the lower red end of the spectrum.

 

For astro cameras (at least when I was involved with it years ago) the CCD camera manufacturers to look for were Santa Barbara Instrument Group, Starlight Express, Apogee Instruments, Finger Lakes Instruments. 


Peter
 


#6 Bill Peppas

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 04:09 AM

Adding some info to PeterPP's correct notes as usual.

 

You can have the IR filter removed from your DSLR ( and re-installed when needed, or have it removed permanently, and attach an IR screw in filter when doing regular photography ).

Additionally ( or separately ) you can use Hydrogen-A filters to capture the red & blue emissions of the nebulas ( requires a long exposure however, thus a german equatorial mount ).



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#7 David Pavlich

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 09:48 AM

DSLR's can do a pretty good job if you do the proper additional work; lotsa' dark frames and flat frames.  Heat is the big enemy here since the longer one exposes, the warmer the sensor gets.  Most long exposure DSLR users use an AC adapter.  Batteries warm as they are used and add internal heat to the camera.  Here's a webpage of arguably the best astro imager using a DSLR:

 

http://astropix.com/...IG/SHOW_DIG.HTM

 

He's a terrific terrestrial shooter as well.

 

Cooled CCD cameras are still the best, though.  The last one I had which was a QHY8 Pro cooled to 30 degrees below ambient and it used a Sony sensor.  It was so low noised that I didn't bother shooting dark frames, just flats and bias frames.

 

And, Bill, I used a 12nm H alpha filter on my Canon T2i that I had modified.  I had the Baader UV/IR cut filter installed which allowed the camera to let in the red that the standard filter won't AND it allowed the camera to continue to autofocus if I used it with a lens for terrestrial shooting.  I just had to use a custom white balance to get the proper color renditions.

 

David


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#8 mjrmillard69

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:45 PM

Wow lots of good information and responses which I appreciate.  Mostly I am interested in taking pictures of the moon...planets...basic stuff for now.  Down the road I might get into it deeper...and spend crazy money lol.  Is there a good scope to get started that is not overly expensive?

 

Michael



#9 PeterPP

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 03:56 PM

Lower priced SkyWatcher, Orion

Higher priced Celstron, Meade

maybe also Vixen

 

I think SkyWatcher, Orion, and Celstron are all made by the same plant in China.

 

In all cases you would want a motorised if not computerised (read more expensive) GEM mount, not a version of an alt-azimuth mount.

A GEM mount tracks the sky smoothly in an arc, an alt-azimuth mount goes in stair steps over, up , over, up making for wiggly images.

 

Fork and L mounts like many of the Mead and Celestron start off as alt-azimuth until you add a wedge for your latitude that enables them to track smoothly in an arc.

 

The moon and planets are fairly easy targets, but the buggers move fast at higher magnifications. Out of your field of view in no time if your mount is not properly polar aligned. :)

 

BTW: most of the scopes will come with a  brand version of a 10mm & 25mm Plossel or super Plossel eyepiece.

These are generally alright, until you get a look through a Televue Nagler or Panoptic eyepiece, then the urge to empty the wallet hits again!

 

once you have picked a scope

You will also need a t-mount adaptor for your camera (cheap!)

http://www.bhphotovi...ra_Adapter.html

 

and a telescope adaptor simlilar to this, this screws into the t-mount adaptor and slides into the telescope eyepiece port.

http://www.bhphotovi...n_SLR_35mm.html


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Peter
 


#10 mjrmillard69

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 08:10 PM

Thanks for the info Peter...and from Ontario as well I see...:)

 

Michael



#11 PeterPP

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 11:12 PM

Ah  :)

My favourite scope shops in Ontario seem to have closed down, 

Perceptor and Efston Science  :(

 

There is still Khan Scope in Toronto,  http://khanscope.com/

There are others around but I've not dealt with any of the newer ones.


Peter
 





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