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Please help us!!! . Moving to a new place with great skies. Time to unleash our desire to do astrophotography.

Started by Big Louie, 02/04/2021 06:37PM
Posted 02/04/2021 06:37PM Opening Post
Hey:

First post on Astromart.

We are moving to our new to us retirement home in SE Missouri. This place has awesome seeing. The nearest town is 23 miles away with a population below 300. The nearest neighbor is more than half a mile away. I mean it is in the middle of nowhere just left of in back of beyond. The expectation is to have the most wonderful clear skies ever experienced. 

The intention is to try to do world class amateur astrophotography on a retirement budget.  We will build an observatory with a concrete pier. We have a complete machine shop that is moving with us. Not sure whether to purchase or build a GEM. If anyone has scratch-built a heavy mount We would love to hear from them. Why do people build steel piers when steel embedded in concrete is more rigid?

For an OTA, we are thinking a C14, or something along those lines. Need advice on that. We loved our Meade ETX90, but that is the largest telescope we have owned or used. We see lots of advice about jumping up in small increments. But that would not satisfy our desire to do astrophotography of planets and deep sky objects. We can only afford to do this once rather than trading up over and over. Perhaps a refractor would be better? There is an older gray colored C14 OTA only for sale from a friend at $2K. We would like to help our friend, but do not want to buy the wrong telescope. We get one chance only and need your help. 

Thank you

Barry
Posted 02/04/2021 07:43PM | Edited 02/04/2021 07:47PM #1
You are likely to be frustrated with jumping in to imaging with a C14 and trying to do long focus planetary work out of the gate. The forums here at AM are not very active as well. This is the best place to buy and sell but you might consider joining the Cloudy Nights site for input/info on imaging advice.

That said the C14 is a great choice for planetary imaging but doing long focus imaging requires knowledge and experience....Not what you want to hear but you might be better served by starting out with some deep sky stuff at shorter focal lengths with say a small refractor while you learn.

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
8" f/16 Muffoletto Achro
Meade 6" AR6 f/8.0 Achro
Celestron C11
Parallax PI250 10" F/5 Newt
Vixen FL102S,NA140SS,R200SS
80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk with WO APOupgrade lens, 90mm f/16.67 Parallax Achro
LXD75/LX200, Mini-tower, GP-DX, CG5 ASGT, LXD650, GM-8, G11, GM-100, GM-150EX, GM-200 and a Gemini G40
4" portable AP convertable 44" or 70" pier
Stellarvue M7 Alt-Az, TSL7 Pier/Tripod
12.5" f/5 MidnighTelescopes DOB Swayze optics
Monroe GA
Posted 02/04/2021 07:56PM | Edited 02/04/2021 07:58PM #2
Originally Posted by Greg Shaffer
You are likely to be frustrated with jumping in to imaging with a C14 and trying to do long focus planetary work out of the gate. The forums here at AM are not very active as well. This is the best place to buy and sell but you might consider joining the Cloudy Nights site for input/info on imaging advice.

That said the C14 is a great choice for planetary imaging but doing long focus imaging requires knowledge and experience....Not what you want to hear but you might be better served by starting out with some deep sky stuff at shorter focal lengths with say a small refractor while you learn.
Hi Greg:


I appreciate your answer very much. What I want to hear is what people who know more than I do think of what I am thinking. 

When people like me ask a question, it is to learn, not to validate decisions we have already made. If I had already decided there would be no point in asking what others think. 

Thank you very much for your reply. 

Barry
Posted 02/04/2021 11:12PM #3
Originally Posted by Barry Young

Hi Greg:


I appreciate your answer very much. What I want to hear is what people who know more than I do think of what I am thinking. 

When people like me ask a question, it is to learn, not to validate decisions we have already made. If I had already decided there would be no point in asking what others think. 

Thank you very much for your reply. 

Barry

LOL.....so the implication is that I dont know more than you about imaging and the process involved? Really? I guess all those years I spent learning, building my own scopes and astro imaging count for nothing. 

You asked for thoughts on jumping straight to imaging with a long focus instrument such as a C14, I tried to point you down a less frustrating path.....Best of luck to you though.

Now assuming you didnt intend to convey the meaning I got from your response I will offer you one more bit of advice. Accurate tracking is essential to good imaging and the need for accuracy goes up exponentially as you increase the focal length used (such as for planetary imaging). I wouldnt consider attempting to build a mount and attain the accuracy required if you have not done so before.

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
8" f/16 Muffoletto Achro
Meade 6" AR6 f/8.0 Achro
Celestron C11
Parallax PI250 10" F/5 Newt
Vixen FL102S,NA140SS,R200SS
80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk with WO APOupgrade lens, 90mm f/16.67 Parallax Achro
LXD75/LX200, Mini-tower, GP-DX, CG5 ASGT, LXD650, GM-8, G11, GM-100, GM-150EX, GM-200 and a Gemini G40
4" portable AP convertable 44" or 70" pier
Stellarvue M7 Alt-Az, TSL7 Pier/Tripod
12.5" f/5 MidnighTelescopes DOB Swayze optics
Monroe GA
Posted 02/04/2021 11:35PM #4
Originally Posted by Greg Shaffer


LOL.....so the implication is that I dont know more than you about imaging and the process involved? Really? I guess all those years I spent learning, building my own scopes and astro imaging count for nothing. 

You asked for thoughts on jumping straight to imaging with a long focus instrument such as a C14, I tried to point you down a less frustrating path.....Best of luck to you though.

Now assuming you didnt intend to convey the meaning I got from your response I will offer you one more bit of advice. Accurate tracking is essential to good imaging and the need for accuracy goes up exponentially as you increase the focal length used (such as for planetary imaging). I wouldnt consider attempting to build a mount and attain the accuracy required if you have not done so before.


Hello Greg:

You might have inferred that you are one of the people I referred to as "the people who know more than I do". Which is exactly what I meant. Did you even notice when I told you how much I appreciated your answer? 

I will take your excellent advice and purchase my first mount. For most people, a precision mount might be a daunting task. I have made inertial guidance systems for smart bombs, Microwave guidance systems for submarines, docking rings for the International Space Station, and the rotors for the rotoblator (a device that goes up into your arteries to chop out the plaque). I have designed and built cameras from scratch, parts for microscopes, military, medical, aerospace, bicycles, Machine Tools, and many other things for customers and for sale in many fields. There is no way you could know that from what I wrote, but I am very capable. Despite that experience, I am going to take your advice and purchase a mount because I respect the opinion of those who know more about this than I do. You are one of those people. 

Sorry if you got the wrong impression.

Barry
Posted 02/04/2021 11:43PM #5
Greg,
Barry is absolutely right.  It's best to go short on focal length in the beginning.  You will just end up frustrated if you go in the direction that you described.  I did it with a C9.25.  It's gone now for the same reasons and now I own and work with a 70mm high quality  triplet refractor and a 102mm triplet refractor. Using a DSLR but will jump into a CCD when I master the DSLR environment.  I do have an C8 Edge but use that primarily for visual.  But when I attempt to use it for imaging, the issue of tracking and precise alignment come into play.  It's always good to have fun though and you can try things out and see what success you have.  Good luck with it.
Joe G
Posted 02/05/2021 02:15AM | Edited 02/05/2021 02:17AM #6
Originally Posted by Joseph Gervase
Greg,
Barry is absolutely right.  It's best to go short on focal length in the beginning.  You will just end up frustrated if you go in the direction that you described.  I did it with a C9.25.  It's gone now for the same reasons and now I own and work with a 70mm high quality  triplet refractor and a 102mm triplet refractor. Using a DSLR but will jump into a CCD when I master the DSLR environment.  I do have an C8 Edge but use that primarily for visual.  But when I attempt to use it for imaging, the issue of tracking and precise alignment come into play.  It's always good to have fun though and you can try things out and see what success you have.  Good luck with it.
Joe G

Joseph....I think perhaps you meant to say "Barry, Greg is absolutely right" since we share the same opinion regarding beginning imaging. smile

Barry, I caught that you said you very much appreciated my reply....it was the rest of it that was a bit ambiguous lol

No worries mate..... One other bit of advice. When choosing a mount and following the philosophy of "lets do this once" that you indicated in your 1st post, you should consider the largest load you might be putting on it (for instance the C14 and the required accessories for imaging) then consider a mount with the "rated" ability to work with DOUBLE that load. You definitely want to stay at 75% or less of the rated capacity. The closer you get to using a mounts full capacity, the more images you will have to cull before beginning the image stacking process. Mounts like that dont come cheap but if you have the wherewithall to do so, it will serve you well for many years regardless of where your interests take you. 

On the mount itself, the "lets do this once" philosophy works, no so much when it comes to the scope though.....

Ohhh and before I forget, welcome to Astromart! smile

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
8" f/16 Muffoletto Achro
Meade 6" AR6 f/8.0 Achro
Celestron C11
Parallax PI250 10" F/5 Newt
Vixen FL102S,NA140SS,R200SS
80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk with WO APOupgrade lens, 90mm f/16.67 Parallax Achro
LXD75/LX200, Mini-tower, GP-DX, CG5 ASGT, LXD650, GM-8, G11, GM-100, GM-150EX, GM-200 and a Gemini G40
4" portable AP convertable 44" or 70" pier
Stellarvue M7 Alt-Az, TSL7 Pier/Tripod
12.5" f/5 MidnighTelescopes DOB Swayze optics
Monroe GA
Posted 02/05/2021 02:46AM #7
Although I personally don't do imaging, but spent many nights observing near a semi-pro who did, I think Greg's advice is quite good and one would do well to follow it. 
Go with an apo refractor first. Check out Ed Ting's video on this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE18PBQRzDQ&t=2s
Posted 02/05/2021 11:41AM #8
Greg, Rod and Joseph:

This is wonderful advice. Thank you very much. 

Barry
Posted 02/23/2021 08:07AM | Edited 02/23/2021 08:38AM #9
Originally Posted by Barry Young
Hey:

First post on Astromart.

We are moving to our new to us retirement home in SE Missouri. This place has awesome seeing. The nearest town is 23 miles away with a population below 300. The nearest neighbor is more than half a mile away. I mean it is in the middle of nowhere just left of in back of beyond. The expectation is to have the most wonderful clear skies ever experienced. 

The intention is to try to do world class amateur astrophotography on a retirement budget.  We will build an observatory with a concrete pier. We have a complete machine shop that is moving with us. Not sure whether to purchase or build a GEM. If anyone has scratch-built a heavy mount We would love to hear from them. Why do people build steel piers when steel embedded in concrete is more rigid?

For an OTA, we are thinking a C14, or something along those lines. Need advice on that. We loved our Meade ETX90, but that is the largest telescope we have owned or used. We see lots of advice about jumping up in small increments. But that would not satisfy our desire to do astrophotography of planets and deep sky objects. We can only afford to do this once rather than trading up over and over. Perhaps a refractor would be better? There is an older gray colored C14 OTA only for sale from a friend at $2K. We would like to help our friend, but do not want to buy the wrong telescope. We get one chance only and need your help. 

Thank you

Barry

Hello Barry and welcome to AstroMart !!!

Much of what Greg says makes sense to me. It is a HUGE step from an ETX-90 Mak to a C-14 SCT. I have read and re-read you post several times. I understand the situation about helping your friend and obtaining the gray C-14 at the very favorable price of $2k, (which assumes the optics are great).

I have a friend who has a C-14 that has been "upgraded' from the Celestron fork mount to a much sturdier Mathis 500 fork mount. He's even considering a mount upgrade beyond that 500 lb (edit-make that 120 lb) payload rating. He is considering the upgrade because his mount is old and needs a modernization of motor controls. Modern mounts have computer controls that make GOTO happen "seamlessly" in the background. The C-14 also needs a DOME or a Roll-off-Roof enclosure to protect it from the weather in SE Missouri. What are your plans for housing the mount that would "properly" carry a C-14 ?

Respectfully,

Ed Blankenship (aka eblanken in both places: AstroMart and Cloudy Nights)