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Stargazing Cost-effective digital camera and telescope

  1. Jun 8, 2005 #1
    Could anyone suggest good equipment for astrophotography?

    What is the most cost-effective digital camera and (digital camera compatible) telescope?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2005 #2
    My hope for a reply is slowly diminishing.

    Another question: What will a decent 4-6" aperature refractor/reflector telescope allow me to see? What viewing distance is allowed (considering a little city light and smog)?
     
  4. Jun 11, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry...

    I have an ETX-105 (4 inch) and I like it. The tracking is a little sketchy as you can see from my previous posts, but as a beginner-intermediate scope with real go-to capability, its pretty good.

    With the naked eye, a scope of this size will allow you to see planets in pretty good detail with the naked eye and the brighter nebulae and galaxies. Attached is an unprocessed photo of Jupiter and its comparable (though a little higher contrast) to what you can see through the eyepiece. The processed pics are a good twice the detail and you can get pictures like that with a $20 webcam. For more than just faint-fuzzy pics of galaxies or nebulae, you need a camera that'll do long exposures.
     

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  5. Jun 12, 2005 #4

    turbo

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    Gold Member

    To dekoi: It depends what you can afford and how much storage room you have and where you can observe from (including questions of transport). The nicest scopes are pricey, but they can also be a life-long investment, so you'll have to factor in your interests. If you are the type that latches onto a hobby or interest, only to lose interest in a year or two, you should buy a USED entry-level scope (let the original owner eat the depreciation) and if you find that a few years later, you can't live without better quality, then go for it. You're hooked.

    Roland Christen (Astro Physics) has made exquisite apochromatic refractors for many years (I have one of his early 6" f:8 models). They command some pretty stiff prices, but the optical quality is astounding. I went through a succession of commercial-grade scopes (including a really sweet little 5" JSO Schmidt-Cassegrain and a 3" Questar) before investing in one of Roland's instruments. Tony Hallas and Daphne Mount contributed wonderful deep-sky photos to amateur astronomy magazines for years using these great refractors. They have since moved up to some pretty big scopes - here is their website (they have married since they started their collaberation.)

    http://www.astrophoto.com/index.htm

    Here is Roland's website. You can see some of the pictures that he has taken with the 'scopes he builds - absolutely killer.

    http://voltaire.csun.edu/roland/ [Broken]

    These sites are just to show you the results that dedicated amateurs can get with good observing sites and great equipment. This level of commitment takes a great deal of time and no small amount of money. Many people can come up with the money - fewer are willing to invest the time to achieve the level of proficiency necessary to turn in results like this.

    I have not been active in astrophotography for years due to time constraints, light pollution in my location, etc, but soon I hope to be moving to a VERY dark location and intend to build a roll-off roof observatory for my APO and buy a CCD camera. No more 20-40 minute guided exposures with Konika 3200 film when it's -20 deg F (absolutely the clearest skies you can get, except when the sun acts up and the sky is washed out by aurorae.) I processed all my own film and only let the photo-processors do the final printing. Digital will be a hoot.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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