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3722 posts

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  Reply # 781853 14-Mar-2013 18:55
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A schmidt cassegrain scope is best for terrestrial and sky. 

Dobsonian is maybe best for sky only. 

Maybe things have changed since 7 years ago though? 



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  Reply # 781881 14-Mar-2013 19:27
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I brought my 127mm Mak from nz telescopes, there price was not to bad best I could do in NZ good service too.

 

http://langwoodsphotography.com/eshop/home.php

I have not used it in a while might be looking at selling it if you are interested.



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  Reply # 782010 14-Mar-2013 23:12
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Thanks for the offer, but if its the one I'm thinking of it's probably a bit out of my beginners price range.

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  Reply # 782015 14-Mar-2013 23:34
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What is your budget? 
This is a good buy if you didn't want to spend the cash on a Dobsonian

http://langwoodsphotography.com/eshop/Celestron-AstroMaster-130-EQ-Reflector-Telescope.html

 

What sort of astronomy are you most interested in? deep space, planetary viewing or astrophotography?



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  Reply # 782022 14-Mar-2013 23:46
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Thought about hiring a really good one  http://events.slooh.com/   ?


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  Reply # 782035 15-Mar-2013 00:17
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Stan: What is your budget? 
This is a good buy if you didn't want to spend the cash on a Dobsonian

http://langwoodsphotography.com/eshop/Celestron-AstroMaster-130-EQ-Reflector-Telescope.html

 

What sort of astronomy are you most interested in? deep space, planetary viewing or astrophotography?




Nice. My interest has again picked up, but I am lacking clear guidance on what specs I need, time for more research. When I first did some newbie research, I found it a tad overwhelming. I had thought that big wide lens, and $ would get a really nice telescope, but its not all about being bigger. Higher magnification eyepieces can I think hinder the experience, so it is a matter of compatibility?

What I am seeking is a large, very sharp moon, lot of detail. Planets that are a little sharp. Possible? I dont really want to see a blurry image, but I do recall reading that many get a telescope and have an expectation that is often not met. Now, I don't expect to see Mars in detail, well perhaps a little. Saturn and Jupiter where I can see the Saturnian rings, and where I might see some level of low colour definition of Jupiter. With a solar filter, to see Mercury passing.

My budget is around $1k, happy to go higher if beneficial.

I guess I need to make some contact with experienced users in CHC and get a taste test of a particular spec to give me a base point to calibrate from, as regards type/focal length/eyepiece/level of detail

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Reply # 782042 15-Mar-2013 01:34
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I have recently been through the process of purchasing a scope a few things I found.

  • NZ agents/sellers have limited stock/options
  • I found that most NZ stores were difficult to deal with, the Aussie group i went with actually offered alternatives and suggestions. where as the typical NZ was lackluster.


the best NZ stores I found were:
  • http://www.astronomy.co.nz/shop/
  • http://langwoodsphotography.com/eshop/home.php
both have good options including some really good Dobsonian options which were really tempting, but I went with a Newtonian at the end with a HEQ5 Pro mount

The store I went with was : http://www.bintel.com.au/  which were really good.

if buying overseas make sure you factor in the "hidden" costs 
  • freight costs (this can be $300-400  )
  • gst/customs duties
  • currency conversion charges etc.
if you do purchase overseas and your spending more then $1000 I seriously recommend you fill out and get your customs client code before the purchase and give it to the freight company to expedite the import process otherwise you could end up waiting............

  • http://www.customs.govt.nz/incommercial/preparingtoimport/submitentryform/Pages/default.aspx

first light experience was very exciting and their is a lot to learn but even simple observations of the moon are just breathtaking in what I would call a "real scope" and not a toy.

the downside is that this looks to be a hobby that once you start spending money their is always something else that would make it that just bit more better.

But I am very happy with my imported scope just disappointed I could not get it from NZ, but the mount I got if I got within NZ I would have spent the same money as what I spent importing my complete setup.  So I still saved money.





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  Reply # 782066 15-Mar-2013 08:42
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Howdy,

The best advice I can give is this - check to see if there's a local astronomy group, and get along to some meetings and observing sessions. That's the best way to find out what you want, and to get a realistic expectation of what you can see. In my experience, they generally welcome newbies, and you'll get tons of useful advice.

Where abouts are you?

If in Chch, it might be worth catching up for a chat at some point before you splash out, as I can almost guarantee you'll end up disappointed with your first purchase. I've got a range of 'scopes that I can show you, and can take you through the pros and cons of each type. I'm a DIY type of person, and have learnt quite a lot the hard way.

As for where to buy - I've bought gear from OPTCorp and Astronomics in the US (online) without any issues, and from William Optics in Taiwan (based in the US but manufacture in Taiwan) and have never had a problem.

The advice to get some good binoculars first is GOOD, as you'll get a lot more use out of them than a telescope. On the telescope front, if you're looking for something half decent, on a useful mount, you're looking at $5-10k - this is NOT a cheap hobby once you get hooked!

Good luck!




Things are LookingUp....  A photo from my back yard :-)
http://www.astrophotogallery.org/u141-rodm.html 


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  Reply # 782138 15-Mar-2013 09:54
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And I expect many want to connect a camera to it too...
So some guides on that would be nice?

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  Reply # 782259 15-Mar-2013 13:07
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Jaxson: And I expect many want to connect a camera to it too...
So some guides on that would be nice?


Okay, here goes...

There are two main types of astrophotography - webcam, and DSLR/specialist camera.  

Webcams tend to have smaller sensors, so provide a much smaller field of view, so are most commonly used on planets and other small targets.  Operation is relatively simple - you record a short video sequence of the target, run it through some freeware called Registax, which splits the video into individual frames that it then aligns and averages, and hopefully you end up with something half decent.  Because you're dealing with a sequence of frames that are sub-second, the quality of your tracking and telescope mount are not so important and good results can be obtained with modest kit.  I started here, and then moved on to....

Deep sky images, like the ones posted here http://www.astrophotogallery.org/u141-rodm.html taken with a modified Canon 350D DSLR, require considerably better equipment.  I'd rank importance as follows:

1.  The mount.  You need an equatorial mount for thus type of work, as it has to move in the same manner as the sky, which for us, rotates around the Southern celestial pole which is a point (in Chch) about 43 degrees up from the horizon due south.  The mount has to be rock solid when fully laden with telescopes, and have good tracking capabilities.  Expect to spend at least half your money on this item.

2.  The imaging telescope.  Good optics are a must, as poor optics will guarantee a poor result.  Reflector scopes are cheapest to start with and are most forgiving, but are least convenient to use.

3.  The camera - a normal DLSR with a T-mount attachment to a 2" telescope eyepiece barrel is a good start.  Then there are modified DSLR (remove the infrared filter and replace) or dedicated astro cameras.

4.  Guide scope & camera - not absolutely necessary, but very important if you want to take exposures longer than ~1min, which you'll probably want to do.  This is a smaller 'scope with a webcam on it that you feed into a PC, that's connected back to the tracking controller of your mount.  Software on the PC tracks a guide star viewed by the webcam, and sends tracking adjustments to the mount.

In terms of building these images, you need to take quite a few (I'd typically aim for 30~40) exposures of 5~10 minutes each, which are then processed in a freeware app called DeepSkyStacker, which like Registax mentioned above, aligns and averages the images to give you a result with a much higher signal to noise ratio that can then be processed in Photoshop or similar to darken the darks and highlight the details.

If this all sounds like a bit of a process IT IS, and it can take many nights of effort to get a single reasonable photo.

Hope that wasn't too much detail - can provide more if anyone's interested...





Things are LookingUp....  A photo from my back yard :-)
http://www.astrophotogallery.org/u141-rodm.html 


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  Reply # 782279 15-Mar-2013 13:50
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LookingUp:
Jaxson: And I expect many want to connect a camera to it too...
So some guides on that would be nice?


Okay, here goes...

There are two main types of astrophotography - webcam, and DSLR/specialist camera.  


Awesome post man, much thanks for that!

I had envisaged a static tripod, a telescope or large zoom/prime lens, and some short exposure time photos to avoid the tracking blur.  Maybe there is room for this, but either as a one off photo of the moon, or as short videos to process as you mention above, though with a DSLR instead of a webcam?...

Beyond that though and I can see you're going to have to get on the serious wagon!

Thanks again.

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  Reply # 782320 15-Mar-2013 14:54
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Have to dig out my old camera pics I took with my elcheapo. I would do just that, Tripod with small Canon A70 camera at right angle and focus for the eyepiece. Align it till I knew things would pass one side of the eyepiece to the other, record video and stack the stills out of it.

Got some goodies of the moons craters, and saturn.. where you can make out the ring lines and 5 of the moons and the dark storm cloud



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  Reply # 783237 18-Mar-2013 08:45
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Thanks all for the help, I'm going to go back to the drawing board for the time being and do some more research around what I want and what I can afford!

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