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Originally Posted by GH85Carrera View Post
The biggest reason I sorta lost interest was the light pollution. I have to drive for about an hour and a half to get to a good dark spot. It is the club site and it is secure and dark.
I lived astronomy as a kid back in the late 60's going so far as to grind my own mirror and hand built tube and clock drive equitorial mount with dreams of building my own cold camera. After finishing the first mirror, I had visions of grinding a 12" cassegrain mirror set but couldn't afford the blank. Never got around to doing any AP and by the time ccd's became affordable, I couldn't handle staying up late anymore. I have a 8" SCT in the closet that hasn't seen starlight in years and at this point would prefer a smaller aperture refractor for casual planetary observations in the city. Too much trouble to get to dark skies. Had dreams of getting a cabin in the back woods and building a robotic Ritchey-Chretien 20"er for remote AP and viewing. That would be the life.

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Old 09-26-2017, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by porsche4life View Post
We were in Northern AZ last weekend. Almost eerily dark up there still.
I would love to see a dark sky the way the ancients saw it. A bright sky has almost nothing in it. The darker the sky the more spectacular it is. In a way, modern life has paved over both the earth and the sky.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by berettafan View Post
curious are there mounts that could do the job for less $$$$?
I remember when I first started looking into it, there was some mount, I think it was a something EQ5 or something like that, that was about $1500-1600. Most folks said that was the best balance of cost and quality for AP.


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Originally Posted by Rickysa View Post
I'd really like to get into this. I looked into it briefly a few years ago, but got discouraged due to local light pollution, overwhelming product info, and general ignorance. Can someone dumb it down a bit to give a general idea of what you would need to purchase to do deep space photography?

Type of telescope, software, mount, CCI (which is, I believe the way the images are captured), etc.
Probably the easiest would be a scope on a tracking mount with a DSLR w a telephoto lens piggybacked.

Lots of AP these days is done with DSLRs, some is done with dedicated AP cameras. For long exposures with pinpoint stars especially at high magnification, you'll need a quality ($$$) tracking mount and a guide scope. Yeah, you strap 2 telescopes together, and use 2 "cameras". One camera is taking the photos, and the other is watching some star, and using a computer to keep that star stationary (pretty much all mounts will skew a bit while tracking which causes issues with long exposures, so you use the guide scope/camera to compensate for the skew).

The two sites below have some decent info about doing AP (astrophotography) on a budget.

BudgetAstro - Home
This one shows a couple of mounts that are in the $1200-1600 range, I think.
Beginner Equipment for Astrophotography

One of the things to remember is that the more magnified you want to go, the more money you'll need to spend on the gear. If you are using a DSLR for a wide angle shot of the milkyway, you don't need much equipment. If you want to zoom way in on some DSO (deep sky object), you'll need a better mount and tracking.

Also, the darker the skies the better, but some amount of LP (light pollution) can be dealt with.

A huge part of the process is the post processing that's often/usually done in photoshop.
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Last edited by masraum; 09-26-2017 at 06:52 PM..
Old 09-26-2017, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by quicksix View Post
The app is called Stellarium, its free and awesome.
On a related note I have a Meade etx 90mm that I use, and it has a port for astro photography,
is this a good starter scope and what sort of camera would be a good starting point. I have a 13 yo whose is interested and it would be great to get her going.
I also have an ETX but it is the original model, I do have a "T" attachment but the drive no longer works. I use it for waaaay easy travel, moon watching and sun spot tracking. It is a great starter scope as it is stable and the optics are good.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masraum View Post
I remember when I first started looking into it, there was some mount, I think it was a something EQ5 or something like that, that was about $1500-1600. Most folks said that was the best balance of cost and quality for AP.
These two sites have some decent info about doing AP (astrophotography) on a budget.

BudgetAstro - Home
This one shows a couple of mounts that are in the $1200-1600 range, I think.
Beginner Equipment for Astrophotography

One of the things to remember is that the more magnified you want to go, the more money you'll need to spend on the gear. If you are using a DSLR for a wide angle shot of the milkyway, you don't need much equipment. If you want to zoom way in on some DSO (deep sky object), you'll need a better mount and tracking.

Also, the darker the skies the better, but some amount of LP (light pollution) can be dealt with.
AND higher mags require better seeing, ie clearer and drier sky. There are filters that can remove "some" LP but darker is always better.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wdfifteen View Post
I would love to see a dark sky the way the ancients saw it. A bright sky has almost nothing in it. The darker the sky the more spectacular it is. In a way, modern life has paved over both the earth and the sky.
There are places where you can. Really, to get pristine, you'd have to go back to cavemen times. If you were in/near a city back in medieval times, you'd have tons of smoke from fires and lamps to deal with, and the smoke from oil, coal and wood would probably have a huge impact.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wdfifteen View Post
I would love to see a dark sky the way the ancients saw it. A bright sky has almost nothing in it. The darker the sky the more spectacular it is. In a way, modern life has paved over both the earth and the sky.
Best sky ive ever seen was at Philmont in NM. In the middle of 200k pretty primitive acres. Nearest towns are 10-20mi away over mountains. No glow on the horizon. Was pretty amazing what you could see at night!
Old 09-26-2017, 06:56 PM
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Find someplace on the map where it's black and go there.



I live in Houston, 4th largest city in the US, a very big, sprawling metropolis. I think I'm currently in a red or white LP zone. I was in an Orange zone. My mom used to live in the middle of no where in the panhandle of FL, but she was still on the border of yellow and green zones. The difference between there and here was huge.

I was also in the Amazon forest and it's pretty dark there.

I'd still like to get out west into the desert somewhere some time.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:52 PM
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First, an apology. Many of these pictures were taken with very early CCD technology, using small computers, and were then converted to low-res JPEG files because that's all we could handle back then (many of these are 1998-2004). So, they look like crap.

4 filter true color Eagle Nebula, "Pillars of Creation"


Spiral Galaxy M74


M27, planetary Nebula, true color


Orion Nebula, same as Eric's first picture, but a smaller field:


Orion with a different telescope and camera
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:08 PM
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M31, Andromeda Galaxy. This is a 9x9 tiled mosaic that I built, IIRC there was something like 10 images per tile, plus flat field images and dark field images. So, something like 20 pictures per tile, 9 tiles, all slowly stitched together.


North American Nebula. Another 9x9 timed mosaic, but this time with closer to 30-40 pictures per tile, since each tile had several filters to image through.


NGC 4567/8, true color interacting galaxies:


M8, true color Triffid Nebula


I tended to over expose bright stars, because I was often using 20-40 inch telescopes. I preferred to blow out stars in return for fewer images. Technically, 1 10 minute image is cleaner (better signal to noise) than 10 one minute images stacked.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:15 PM
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Now, the more obscure things...

Coma Galaxy cluster. We put a wide field prime focus camera on the 24 inch telescope which gave us a 1 degree field of view, so I could do big fields like this.


Virsgo Galaxy Cluster


Cassiopeia A supernova remnant (we were searching for the progenitor neutron star)


FY Aquila (Variable star, was thought at one time to be the progenitor star for a famous gamma ray burst in 1979). Turned out to be a Mira type star (it has a small localized nebula around it)


Abell 39, a very faint planetary nebula, one of the most perfect spheres ever seen in space:


Wolf-Rayet 124
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:23 PM
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AND...the pure science stuff, which always is the ugliest imaging...

GRB020813 (I helped discover this one...)


GRB030329


XTEJ1118. Either a black hole, a micro quasar, or a super-massive neutron star


Supernova 2002ap


Supernova 2000cb


GRB010222a
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:29 PM
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Keep posting your pics guys...awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing with those of us who've been "blinded by the light" our whole lives...
Old 09-27-2017, 02:54 AM
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:08 AM
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my wife as a teen ground a 8'' f8 mirror for a Newtonian
she had the tube internal mounts and spider but not much else

some years later I found an older 8'' f7 Newtonian with a equatorial -clock drive
so used that to finish and mount her mirror and tube
her's was much better then the factory produced f7

when I was a kid dad had a german ww2 tripod binocular by leica artillery/range used
it was huge and heavy but had a crisp image

now we have a little 3.5'' folded mirror scope that sure is eazyer to lug around
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masraum View Post
Find someplace on the map where it's black and go there.



I live in Houston, 4th largest city in the US, a very big, sprawling metropolis. I think I'm currently in a red or white LP zone. I was in an Orange zone. My mom used to live in the middle of no where in the panhandle of FL, but she was still on the border of yellow and green zones. The difference between there and here was huge.

I was also in the Amazon forest and it's pretty dark there.

I'd still like to get out west into the desert somewhere some time.
That's almost a North Korea/South Korea division of light and dark along the I35 corridor. Amazing.
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Old 09-27-2017, 06:07 AM
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Great stuff, this is fun to see (Eric, those pics are spectacular!)
You fellas into the scene probably already know all about this, I heard about it for the first time about a month ago on the radio, but there are international guidelines for rating the darkness of a stargazing park:

International Dark Sky Parks
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:35 AM
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Interesting tidbit to blow your mind.

Voyager 1, and Voyager 2 - over 40 years ago - each had state of the art guidance and robotics systems.

Jim Bell states in his book The Interstellar Age, (2016) that :
each of their computers were less powerful than the current day, average, remote key fob..

Think about that - and sending the signals to the system millions and millions of miles away, to the end of the our planetary system and beyond. !!
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:01 AM
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Incredible stuff Mike, thanks!
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bkreigsr View Post
Interesting tidbit to blow your mind.

Voyager 1, and Voyager 2 - over 40 years ago - each had state of the art guidance systems.

Jim Bell states in his book The Interstellar Age, (2016) that each of their computers were less powerful than the current day, average, remote key fob..

Think about that - and sending the signals to the system millions and millions of miles away, to the end of the our planetary system and beyond. !!
Speaking of the Voyagers...
As Voyager 1 left Saturn behind to venture out into interstellar space, Carl Sagan (in 1990) asked the Voyager imaging team to turn Voyager's camera back toward earth. That image of the tiny Earth, barely visible through the rings of Saturn became the iconic "Pale Blue Dot" (less than 1 pixel in the image). Sagan was moved to write what I think is some of the best prose written in modern times: "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there......on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of human conceits, than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot.......the only home we have ever known".

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Old 09-27-2017, 08:43 AM
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