A good telescope with tracking for deep sky objects

  • Stargazing
  • Thread starter kolleamm
  • Start date
  • #1
424
38
I've had a refractor telescope and I've managed to get some okay photos of them moon and jupiter. The only thing it lacked however was a tracking system.

I would really like to buy a low maintence telescope that has a straightforward tracking system I can use to take pictures of things such as galaxies. I could probably spend in the magntitude of $400 or $500.

It's really hard to do a search online for a good telescope since every company thinks theirs is the best so I thought I'd ask you guys.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
$400-$500 isn't really a good price range for tracking mounts (by mount I mean the mount only, no telescope). The mounts in this price range can only handle lightweight loads, aren't particularly stable, and are rarely designed for the kind of accurate tracking you'll need for astrophotography work. I spent about $1200 on a telescope and mount when I first started, and boy was it an enormous pain in the butt to try to do astrophotography using that setup. I quickly upgraded to a mount that was a bit more expensive than the price I had just paid for both a mount and a telescope.

Unfortunately astrophotography is one of those hobbies that has a significant monetary barrier to entry. If you're strapped for cash, you may want to browse local classifieds, ebay, and/or astromart for used equipment. Alternatively you could get involved with your local astronomy club if you have one nearby and have someone there take you under their wing so you can see what the hobby is like before you buy anything.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #3
424
38
$400-$500 isn't really a good price range for tracking mounts (by mount I mean the mount only, no telescope). The mounts in this price range can only handle lightweight loads, aren't particularly stable, and are rarely designed for the kind of accurate tracking you'll need for astrophotography work. I spent about $1200 on a telescope and mount when I first started, and boy was it an enormous pain in the butt to try to do astrophotography using that setup. I quickly upgraded to a mount that was a bit more expensive than the price I had just paid for both a mount and a telescope.

Unfortunately astrophotography is one of those hobbies that has a significant monetary barrier to entry. If you're strapped for cash, you may want to browse local classifieds, ebay, and/or astromart for used equipment. Alternatively you could get involved with your local astronomy club if you have one nearby and have someone there take you under their wing so you can see what the hobby is like before you buy anything.
Really helpful advice! I really had no idea, so you have given me a good perspective on the pricing.
I'm surprised a good mount can go over $1000.
Would it be possible to just build one? Using milling machines,3d printing etc..? Or would that be impractical?
 
  • #4
Chronos
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,408
742
A good quality tracking mount capable of supporting an 8" scope [about the minimum size needed for deep sky AP] is going to run you about $1500 with all the proper accessories - and that's just the mount. Of course you can get cheaper mounts, and pay the price in cheaper results. Sorry to burst your bubble, but, that's the price of admission to the world of deep sky AP. For some sound advice try cloudy nights. Getting it right the first time will save you a lot of money in the long run. I have a losmandy GM-8 and that is pretty much the low bar, IMO. A tracking mount is truly a precision instrument, that is why good ones are so danged expensive. Without some extraordinary talent and equipment, building one yourself is unrealistic.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes kolleamm
  • #5
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
I'm surprised a good mount can go over $1000.
Even $1000 is on the low end. $1500 is about what you'd pay for a decent mount, and for a good mount you can expect to pay between $2,000 to $4,000.

Would it be possible to just build one? Using milling machines,3d printing etc..? Or would that be impractical?
It would be horribly impractical unless you already had intimate knowledge on how to build all of this stuff, put it together, and program it. In which case, why aren't you in business for yourself?!? :wink:
 
  • Like
Likes kolleamm
  • #6
152
55
In the UK and Europe it is common to image with 80mm APO refractors which require accurate but smaller mounts. These are often paired with Sky-Watcher mounts EQ6 or even EQ5. Results can be seen here https://stargazerslounge.com/ for example.

Regards Andrew
 
  • #8
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
9,440
8,346
I've had a refractor telescope and I've managed to get some okay photos of them moon and jupiter. The only thing it lacked however was a tracking system.

I would really like to buy a low maintence telescope that has a straightforward tracking system I can use to take pictures of things such as galaxies. I could probably spend in the magntitude of $400 or $500.

It's really hard to do a search online for a good telescope since every company thinks theirs is the best so I thought I'd ask you guys.
Hi there

As others have said, $500 ( and I'm assuming that is US$) is a bit on the low side
You really are looking at US$1000 and up for a respectable solid mount.
This is the one I have .....

https://www.bintel.com.au/product/skywatcher-heq5-pro-goto-mount/

SWHEQ5PRO_1-8.jpg


It's an excellent and solid mount for telescopes up to 13.5 kg (~ 6 lbs)
AU$1300 = approx US$1000 at current exchange rate
I use mine for my solar scope

img_1096sm-jpg.jpg



as well as my big refractor

upload_2018-6-12_9-33-48.png


This is a GOTO mount = when the mount is polar aligned correctly ( you need to do that anyway for astrophotography) you can use the hand controller's database to get the mount/scope to go straight to an object


What type of telescope is it? Maybe you can buy a used mount for it, such as this:
https://m.ebay.com/itm/Orion-Sirius...196454?hash=item4b4603b9a6:g:j44AAOSwvjBbHrQw
Getting down to $500 will be tough though.
Yes, good idea ... but don't buy without seeing/checking first .... what to make sure the bearings are not worn out and all else functions :smile:

but not that particular one, tho ... comments talk about rusted parts :frown: and it doesn't have the hand controller
which is really needed for small changes in the aiming.

Dave
 

Attachments

  • #9
424
38
Thanks for your suggestions, in that case I will just save up a bit more for some of the mounts mentioned at the $800-$1,000 range.
 
  • #10
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
9,440
8,346
Thanks for your suggestions, in that case I will just save up a bit more for some of the mounts mentioned at the $800-$1,000 range.
That really is a good idea, if you skimp on a decent sturdy mount, you will be really disappointed
when it vibrates all over the place every time you touch it or the scope. Like when trying to focus the scope

you still haven't answered the Q as to what telescope you have ?? :smile:
 
  • #11
424
38
That really is a good idea, if you skimp on a decent sturdy mount, you will be really disappointed
when it vibrates all over the place every time you touch it or the scope. Like when trying to focus the scope

you still haven't answered the Q as to what telescope you have ?? :smile:
The refractor I have is a Meade telescope with a lens of about a 3in diameter. I got this off ebay years ago. I also have a reflector with a 6in mirror, however I must say the mount is horrible. It's made of plastic and the telescope is not sturdy on it at all. I bought it off ebay for around $600, the cost wasn't really worth it.
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #12
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
9,440
8,346
however I must say the mount is horrible. It's made of plastic and the telescope is not sturdy on it at all. I bought it off ebay for around $600, the cost wasn't really worth it.
not good :frown:

As you are noticing, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good sturdy mount
It really helps with just optical (eye) observing. But for photography, it is absolutely essential

Well with a good mount, you may be able to put both scopes on the one mount at the same time
both your scopes are reasonably small and a mount like my one in the pix above would handle them both easily

my mate, Martin, from Florida really goes to the extreme with 4 optical systems on the same mount ......

27482347907_bd4a5b03bc_c.jpg


I'm not suggesting you go that extreme, just showing what can be done with a decent mount :smile:


Dave
 

Attachments

  • Like
Likes Drakkith and kolleamm
  • #13
424
38
not good :frown:

As you are noticing, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good sturdy mount
It really helps with just optical (eye) observing. But for photography, it is absolutely essential

Well with a good mount, you may be able to put both scopes on the one mount at the same time
both your scopes are reasonably small and a mount like my one in the pix above would handle them both easily

my mate, Martin, from Florida really goes to the extreme with 4 optical systems on the same mount ......

View attachment 226944

I'm not suggesting you go that extreme, just showing what can be done with a decent mount :smile:


Dave
Let's just start with one for now :oldbiggrin: But in all seriousness that's something I never thought about! I'm definitely going to try that. I remember when I manually tracked Jupiter to get a picture of it, oh boy did that take some luck.

1.Low exposure
2.regular
3. increased contrast of the second image
 

Attachments

  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #14
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
Thanks for your suggestions, in that case I will just save up a bit more for some of the mounts mentioned at the $800-$1,000 range.
That really is a good idea, if you skimp on a decent sturdy mount, you will be really disappointed
when it vibrates all over the place every time you touch it or the scope. Like when trying to focus the scope
Seconded. I can't stress how much pain it will save you if you save up for a decent mount. Luckily a 3-inch refractor is well within the weight limits of even the smaller mounts, and the short focal length makes imaging easier since the errors in the mount's gears and alignment are magnified less compared to, say, my 2000 mm focal length reflector.
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #15
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
I'm not suggesting you go that extreme, just showing what can be done with a decent mount :smile:
Hey now, that should be the goal of every astrophotographer!
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #16
Chronos
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,408
742
If you try out AP on a typical bargain mount you will develop a much better appreciation for what you need to get it right. It will take you a full season of fooling around with it to figure out what he heck you are doing, anyways. Sure, you will be out the $$ you spent on that craptrap mount, but, you can alway sell it to some other fool. You may, by then, decide AP is not really your calling.
 
  • #17
russ_watters
Mentor
20,255
6,849
Let's just start with one for now :oldbiggrin: But in all seriousness that's something I never thought about! I'm definitely going to try that. I remember when I manually tracked Jupiter to get a picture of it, oh boy did that take some luck.

1.Low exposure
2.regular
3. increased contrast of the second image
For reference, here's my first ever astrophotograph:

saturn-11-5-04.jpg


I took it with a webcam on an unguided 60mm refractctor. I'm quite proud of it and it remains on my website!
 

Attachments

  • Like
Likes kolleamm, davenn and sophiecentaur
  • #18
255
112
First deep sky (M31)
m31_1.jpg

My most recent M31 (a few years old - I'm not very active anymore)
M31_ST33_8bit.jpg

Same mount (CG-5) but the first one was using a 20 cm Newton (very borderline on that mount) and the second was using a a setup based on a 200 mm Canon lens, Canon 600D and a guide scope. I also figured out how to focus, align and handle the telescope between the two shots.

As someone else suggested it is a good idea to get started. If your current mount is an motorized equatorial design and you have a DSLR camera with some decent lenses (or not) you can start practicing with "wide field" shots.

If the mount is not equatorial or motorized it sounds (from your "can I build my own mount" comment) that you could build some kind of barn door tracker that is good enough for just a camera.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Likes kolleamm, davenn and sophiecentaur

Related Threads on A good telescope with tracking for deep sky objects

  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
749
Replies
4
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
4K
Replies
10
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
25
Views
3K
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
1K
Top