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Posts Made By: Shawn Connelly

May 15, 2017 06:48 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Starting over - Telescope and Astrophotography - E

Posted By Shawn Connelly

Hello all,

I am jumping back into observational and astrophotography astronomy after a ten-year hiatus and I am looking for a little advice to especially prepare me for the 2017 solar eclipse, in addition to deep sky photography.

To begin, part 1 purchase was relatively easy:
- Celestron CGEM II 800 HD
- Celestron Eclipsmart Solar Filter for 8" SCT & EdgeHD
- Celestron PowerTank Lithium
- Celestron Lens Shade 6" / 8"

So, now I have the telescope and some basic essentials. Now I need guiding (for deep sky), essential eyepieces, and astrophotography accessories. This is where I need some advice:

Here is my shopping list (I have about $1500 remaining in my budget):
- ZWO ASI120MM-S camera to use for auto-guiding and imaging. (Will use PHD and Firecapture for guiding)
- Adapter to connect the ZWO to the Celestron finderscope 9x50 OR should I consider a larger guidescope?
- Celestron Polar Scope Advanced VX / CGEM (later - will consider Celestron StarSense AutoAlign smile)
- 1.25" flip mirror diagonal (i.e. http://agenaastro.com/agena-1-25-flip-mirror.html)
- Essential eyepieces:
> Barlow 3x (i.e. Celestron 93428 X-Cel LX 1.25-Inch 3x Barlow Lens)
> Zoom eyepiece (i.e. Celestron 93230 8 to 24mm 1.25 Zoom Eyepiece)
> Other recommended eyepieces?

Lower priority accessories:
- 1.25" filter wheel (i.e. low-cost Gosky 5-position 1.25inch Manual Filter Wheel)
- LRGB 1.25" filter set (i.e. Astromania Telescope Lrgb)

DSLR Astrophotography Questions
t-rings/t-adapters, etc.

1. What accessories do I require in order to image the full sphere of the sun using my DSLR with the telescope? (i.e. prime focus)
> Ideally, I would love that I have the option to quickly switch between viewing and astrophotography via flip mirror diagonal.

2. Similar to above... what is required to do astrophotography via eyepiece?

3. I would also like to piggy-back my DSLR with a telephoto on the telescope for long-exposures. What accessories will I require? i.e. dovetail (like William Optics Vixen-Style 8") and a DSLR mount?

4. Any tips on travelling (by vehicle) cases for the OTA and the mount? I am considering saving a bit of money by building a custom case with large wheels and a pull handle.

Unknown unknowns? What else should I consider now and later on (when I can build up a new budget)?


Thanks so much for your valued advice.




July 19, 2023 03:24 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Starting over - Telescope and Astrophotography - E

Posted By Shawn Connelly

OMG, I feel so bad that I never responded to any of you.

I sincerely hope you're all still here, survived the pandemic, and are still happily doing astronomy!

I'm back again and this time I am preparing for the 2024 solar eclipse. 

You are all correct... astronomy is a long-term investment and must be carefully thought out... unless money is no object. LOL

For 2024, I am carefully planning this out b/c my Celestron EdgeHD 800, while a very nice telescope, turned out to be impractical for a city dweller. Because of it's weight (mostly the tripod and mount), I rarely took it out since 2017. sad 

Also, this time, I can't drive to the eclipse, which means I need to look at a reasonable travel scope.  I was instructed, by my much smarter wife, that must first sell my EdgeHD to fund my new scope. Perfectly reasonable considering I rarely use it. 

So, for my travel scope, I am looking for a 90-100mm OTA (preferably a triplet but a good doublet will suffice). For the mount, I have my eye on an iOptron HEM27 and carbon fiber tripod, to keep the weight down. The refractor will need to be under 12lbs so that I can fit a camera and other accessories w/o exceeding the mount's weight limit (w/o counterweight). I'll get a separate Maksutov-Cassegrain for planetary viewing.

Clear skies,
Shawn

Attached: One of my photos from the 2017 eclipse.