Help needed for Astro Photography

Got a beginners' question? No matter how elementary, our friendly forum community and magazine writers will answer it.

Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby Revilo95 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:59 pm

Hi all,

I’ve been into astronomy for a long time now and have now decided that I would like to take up Astro photography. I have been looking at the Star Adventurer which seems good for the price and very portable which is good for me. I was wondering if any one has used this or would like to share there opinion on it. I’m thinking about getting a 1100d dslr which I can see are relatively cheap ( would this be a good match?). Lastly I was hoping if you could give some suggestions for a tripod/mount for this set up. I’m thinking about just getting a camera and tripod first but a tripod suitable to use with the Star Adventurer to get to grips with AP and to learn the basics as I know it’s a big learning curve. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Would also like to see some images if possible. :)

Many Thanks

Olly
Revilo95
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:46 pm

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby Aratus » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:36 pm

A basic good-make DSLR is just as good as a sophisticated one. A mount which follows an object through the sky is essential. An alt-azimuth will do for 30sec or a minute. An equatorial, and lots of patience is required for very long exposure times. If you are just interested in piggy-backing a camera and lens on to a telescope and then guiding it, that is the easiest method, and can give spectacular views of the sky, albeit wide field. Much increased exposure times are possible that way too.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
Aratus
 
Posts: 790
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby dave.b » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:48 pm

I recently bought the mini version of the Star Adventurer, "SAM". Easy enough to set up and with the right "snap" cable for your camera it will control the shutter for multiple exposures with a given long or short exposure.
The SAM is entirely controlled by an app on your mobile phone or tablet over a WiFi link. There are some issues with this app. One is a white keyboard despite the app being in night mode with a red and black colour scheme! I also had comms issues when using it with my main Android 7 phone, which might be the phone, the OS version, or another app or two interfering. I now us it on an old Android v5 phone and it's much better at establishing and keeping its Comms working.
I have also had blurred stars from vibration with an Equinox 66mm and dlsr. That might be the lack of mass in the tripod. It might also be the lack of stiffness in the SAM. Need to experiment more to determine the cause.
I'd say that unless compactness is a must then go for the full size SA with its manual setting knobs and switches. I gather they are bringing out a WiFi version that presumably users the same app as the SAM, so choose with care.
Dave B.
dave.b
 
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:35 pm
Location: Staffordshire

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:16 am

Hi,
I have the 'big' Star Adventurer Astronomy Pack, and it's great. I picked up a sturdy Manfrotto tripod on eBay for about £57, and this gives a rock solid mount for the SA. Because of the Equatorial Wedge, I didn't need to get a head for the tripod, as the Wedge fits straight onto the central pillar.

I have a Canon 1000D camera and it works fine on the SA. I use a remote intervalometer (you can get one for about £12) and personally I think it's probably easier to use that to control the camera than to use the internal SA controller and the 'snap' cable.

One thing it's worth remembering is that for AP, you don't need sophisticated lenses. All you really need are good optics and preferably a wide aperture. You don't need
Auto Focus
Auto Aperture
Image Stabilisation
You don't even need a Canon lens, as you can easily get adapters to fit other brand lenses to your Canon bayonet.
I mainly use a f/2 50mm lens that I got with my Pentax K1000 40 years ago, and a 200mm f/4 Pentax lens I picked up on ebay.
As I want to use the Clip filters (that fit in the camera body between the lens and the sensor) I have just bought a M42 threaded lens (200mm f/3.5) as part of the Pentax bayonet intrudes into the camera cavity.

Getting good Polar alignment is important for getting long exposures - There are Apps available that show you how to set the 'Polar Clock'; personally, I use the SAM Console - created by Skywatcher to control the SA Mini, it has the exact same Polar Scope so you know exactly how to set it up.

A friend at my Astro Club was taking 8 minute unguided exposures using a 50mm lens last week, and they only had the slightest hint of trailing stars. I've certainly had perfectly round stars with 2 minute exposures using the 200mm lens.

Hope this helps.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby EIZO » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:06 pm

sorry replies are too long to read but my reply

The smaller/lighter a DSLR the better

MUST have live view so you can zoom in and focus does the 11D have live view?
When you get the T2 adapter to fit it to the scope there are 4 grub screws to loosen and adjust the rotation of the camera on the nosepiese
T2 adapter nosepiece screws into T2


If this STUPID forum allowed images I would upload some "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached."
Celestron Edge 8" Evolution, Esprit 120mm triplet, Sky Tee2, WO Binoviewers, 2" and 1.25" eyepieces, ZWO ASI 178MM camera, Neximage 5, Nikon D4s, D810, Nikkor 70-200 F2.8, Nikkor 14-24, Nikkor 70-200, Nikkor 24-120, Sigma 150-600 Sport
EIZO
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:09 pm

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:32 pm

Hopefully this works
Here's an image of M31 taken last October, using the 200mm f/4 lens.
8 images, each 90 seconds - stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in CS2
Image
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby Revilo95 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:19 pm

@GFamily2 Thanks for the image ( and earlier response ) just what I needed. Sounds like a good piece of kit.im going to order the camera and a tripod first just to get basic images of sky and moon so i can get to grips with it, also purchasing a 150p dob so it’ll be a while till I get the SA but jut wanted to know what people thought . Thanks for the help
Last edited by Revilo95 on Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Revilo95
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:46 pm

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby Revilo95 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:22 pm

EIZO wrote:sorry replies are too long to read but my reply

The smaller/lighter a DSLR the better

MUST have live view so you can zoom in and focus does the 11D have live view?
When you get the T2 adapter to fit it to the scope there are 4 grub screws to loosen and adjust the rotation of the camera on the nosepiese
T2 adapter nosepiece screws into T2


If this STUPID forum allowed images I would upload some "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached."


I think the 11d does have live view as it was the reason I picked it I’ll double check. And yes I was looking at the different weights to see what the load in total would be for the tripod :)
Revilo95
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:46 pm

Re: Help needed for Astro Photography

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:00 pm

I don't have a driven mount but here's some advice whether you do or not:

http://www.philippughastronomer.com/Astrophotography%20with%20a%20DSLR.pdf
How can I be one with the universe when we don't know what 96% of it is.

My website: http://www.philippughastronomer.com/

My blog: http://sungazer127mak.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/november-2015.html
The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof
 
Posts: 454
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:53 pm
Location: Wiltshire but can be just about anywhere up to 41 000 feet


Return to Ask a silly (astronomy) question

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests