Astrophotography Tracking and equipment Discussions

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I am splitting the huge astro thread into two different threads since there is primarily two types of posts in the single long thread. One on tracking and building a tracker, and images.

Most of the tracking and discussions have been moved to this thread, but please note the New Tracking Thread started by Ed here on his new project:

https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=308853

Please do visit for the latest information.



Awesome! I want an astrotrac so bad. But they are expencive. My barn door tracker should be good for hour long exposures if I ak careful with the construction. Gotta order more parts today.
 
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definitely going to have to look in to one of those.

Here's a separate question but related: does anyone earn any income from astrophotography, other than those doing it in the context of research?
 
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Doug,
What is the largest lens you have put on your astrotrac? I believe I read somewhere that it will support up to 25lbs? I would love to get one of these and see what I could get with my 200-400.
 
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I am splitting the huge astro thread into two different threads since there is primarily two types of posts in the single long thread. One on tracking and building a tracker, and images.

Most of the tracking and discussions have been moved to this thread, but please note the New Tracking Thread started by Ed here on his new project:

https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=308853

Please do visit for the latest information.





I mentioned the Astrotrack to a friend and he mentioned this::

http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~product_id=27154

He has one so I might give it a try and if I am pleased I will get one.

Holy shoot that is cheap! Keep us posted on how it works, 'cause if its even halfway decent, that price is incredible!

I did notice, however, that its out of stock until November

Thanks for the link!
 
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Yes it is inexpensive. Should match or excede performance of a barn door.
as long as you pay attention to the mathematics the barn doors are pretty reliable, you just have to make sure you have corrected for the tangient errors which the design im using corrects for this with a curved pushrod, it should be accurrate for over an hour woth of exposure.

i did look into that one you posted up, from the reviews ive read it does work relativly well, but i had some concerns about putting much weight, and i do plan to put my D90 with 70-200 and hopefully a teleconverter.

plus it looks like fun to build one. ;) Ill keep the progress of my build updated on here.
 
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"i did look into that one you posted up, from the reviews ive read it does work relativly well, but i had some concerns about putting much weight, and i do plan to put my D90 with 70-200 and hopefully a teleconverter. "

It supports 7 pounds. My D700 with 70-200 and 1.4 TC comes in at 5.3lbs. I think my D90 weighs in a little less than a pound less.
 

Commodorefirst

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It truly depends on the performance you need and the weight you have.

I keep telling myself, that I am not going to buy a large aperture Dobsonian, or even a nice 4-5 inch refractor, and start another hobby full time, however, I have been an amateur astronomer since middle school, sketched many events, and own several very nice pair of binocs that I use for viewing.

I have always wanted a dark sky site, and I finally have one, but I only plan to use my DSLR and large telephoto lenses for the pics and only want a nice go to EQ mount for guiding.

In doing my research the past couple of years, I have considered the Astrotrac, and other tpes of EQ mounts that I could mount my telephoto lenses on (500 f4, 200-400, and 200VR) along with my other smaller lenses, and use live view to get accurate focus and start traking and stacking images complete with flat and dark frames (the best way to get good results with astrophotography)

Talking with many on the web and being on several astronomy forums, everyone states that with heavier gear (meaning over 10lbs) you will need to spend a minimum of 600-800 dollars to get the mount needed to support the large tele with full frame DSLR like a D3. I have been eyeing the Celestron CG-5 goto, and you can sometimes find it for around 675-$700 on sale. Everyone states that this is the minimum for a goto electric guiding quality EQ mount. I have also received a recommendation for the Meade LDX75 too and it can be found for $599.

If you don't go much over 4-5 lbs then the gear listed above by folks would work in a pinch, but once you start getting to the 10lb plus to 15lb range, you have to go bigger. Much like tripods and birding I guess. You can get by, but the differences are there and on the big guns, you need better mounts.

I provide this info only for everyones information and my past couple of years of researching and figuring out what I need to do to start diving in to astrophotography with my current gear. Sure, I could go with a new CCD on a new scope and get better photos but it always comes with a price! :smile:
 
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Extremely helpful information Commodore - very helpful indeed! Its not as bad expensive as I'd thought/remembered, but then, you're talking minimums . . .

. . . and if you're going to go, why not go all the way ;-)

Thanks!
 
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Isn't going all the way the only way to go? That's how I do it.


I have a question though. How to these build at home kits, astrotrac and the picture of the monster above work? What is their purpose? It appears to follow the stars but I don't see any motors or anything on them. I'm in the zone of that's cool but what does it do :biggrin:
 
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I'm in the zone of that's cool but what does it do :biggrin:
It makes tea, Earl Grey, hot . . . :biggrin:

Seriously, I'm curious about the home brew trackers as well. If I remember correctly (and I may not) there are manual systems that you crank yourself, without a motor.

But maybe I should google this and find out! :eek:

:cool:
 

Commodorefirst

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some links on barn door mounts, which I built one back in High school to use with the astronomy club,

We simply wound the handle at the same speed as the watch second hand. Worked for us with a Olympus OM1 for up to 3-4 minute wide angle shots.

http://www.homebuiltastronomy.com/barndoor/index.htm

http://www.davetrott.com/DoubleArmBarnDoor.html

http://www.jlc.net/~force5/Astro/ATM/Barndoor/barndoor.html

http://www.nightskypix.com/equip/ScotchMount.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_door_tracker
 

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