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RASA 8 OR 11 Mounting on top of Jeep

14 Jan, 2020 18:57

I usually do Nature photography and own premium equipment for that. But now I want to get into Astrophotography. I always loved stargazing since I was little. I'm retiring and will be traveling in my Jeep all over US & Canada and mostly I will be camping.

I am more interested in photographing in DSO so I liked reviews on RASA 8. I have been reading a lot about equipment on Astrophotography and understand the 1st equipment you select is the Mount. But since I'm close to choosing RASA 8 I thought next step would be choosing right Mount that I can mount on top of my Jeep.

Since it would be on roof top and this scope is not made to be used as visual scope anyway, I believe scope mount can be mounted close to roof and tripod may not be necessary. Is there way to mount Scope Mount on rooftop without tripod? Of course I should be able to remove/unscrew the Mount when not in use. I will also have rooftop tent where I can sit with my laptop.

What Mount can I buy with which I can do this and is also good for RASA 8?

14 Jan, 2020 21:28

Those are some exiting plans you've got there!
As you mentioned correctly, the mount is the most important part of AP. I'm not sure if the RASA 8 is advisable on a beginners level. Not because is has a high focal length (longer focal length is more difficult in AP) but what I've seen and read, to a beginner they normally advise small refractor telescopes like 80 mm aperture. This hobby is complicated enough, best to start with a set up as simple as possible. It is good though to buy a mount that leaves some room for telescope upgrades.

Maybe some RASA 8 owners can explain this better…

14 Jan, 2020 22:07

I'm not sure how you are going to attach a mount to your roof.  Yes, the 4 bolts are the easy part, but the counterweight arm in a german equatorial mount usually goes lower than the mount, so it would hit your roof when slewing.  If you are thinking Alt-Az mount, you will have field rotation in the pics that you don't want, so most astrophotographers go with a german equatorial mount.  Here is a pic of my Paramount MX+ when I was installing it in my backyard obs last year.  See the weights are below the mount.  Maybe you can get away with a 12" or 18" pier and that might be enough.  My bigger concern is that the mount and optics, camera etc are a decent amount of weight, mounting that on top of a Jeep roof unless it's made of 3/8" plate steel I would imagine will be wobbly and not a good base for astrophotography.  Investing in a good mount is smart, and because of the cost I wouldn't want to leave that on my roof permanently. They can be heavy to lift to put up there or take down for the weather.  For these reasons, I like a tripod next to the jeep.  I also think, if the mount is mounted to the roof, you will need to be very careful not to shake the jeep at all or you will have substandard results.   My only other suggestion to you is to start simple and evolve organically as needed.  I can't tell you how much time and money I have wasted because I had big plans when I was starting out and just didn't know any better or what I really wanted to do.  This is why I have 3 mounts in 2 observatories in my backyard.  Also, I have a RASA 11", but the 8 is very fast at f/2 and short focal length not a long one so it is similar to a small refractor from a FOV perspective and a friendliness perspective.  A good rule of thumb is to pick a mount that can handle a payload of double what you want to put on it.  The RASA being the heaviest thing, add in the camera, guide scope, a computer if you strap it to the scope like I do, so that your mount can easily handle the payload.  As far as how much to spend, that depends on you but a general rule is the mount is the most expensive thing, the camera second and the scope the third most expensive.  Of course this does not need to be the case.  You can get decent mounts for as little as $1500 but you can also easily spend $15000 on bigger mounts.  Looking at what other people have done successfully is a great way to learn in this hobby.  Between Astrobin and YouTube, I have learned so much!

Good luck and clear skies!
14 Jan, 2020 23:34
How about stability of the car? You need to have supports stabilizing the car! Standard pier for mount is deeply sunked into the ground….portable tripod must be rigid enough… do you have any idea how to stabilize setup on top of your car?
Edited 14 Jan, 2020 23:37
15 Jan, 2020 04:51
Interesting plans!

I own a rasa 11 and it is a great instrument. The fast optics would be great for your purpose and actually good for a beginner because of single shot colour.


It's a mirror based instrument and I wouldn't want to think about the vibrations while travelling in a car, let alone a 4wd,through terrain and subsequently put it up in a hurry and expect it to work.

I would use a small refractor.
15 Jan, 2020 07:53

If you are practicing nature photography you'll probably have a fast telephoto lens (or even better a fast telephoto prime lens). Give it a try. A RASA should be a fine instrument but given that the camera is in front of the lens (see Tom's instrument), some extra care must be taken when choosing a camera and its wiring and of course while obtaining flats (calibration frames to correct for vignetting and dust shadows).
15 Jan, 2020 08:23
Btw, and sorry to hijack: someone a while ago requested that RASA be added to the possible telescope types when you edit your gear in your profile. It was done a few days ago!
16 Jan, 2020 04:16
Salvatore Iovene
Btw, and sorry to hijack: someone a while ago requested that RASA be added to the possible telescope types when you edit your gear in your profile. It was done a few days ago!

Just checked it out to change mine. You have "Rowe-atkinsin" but it's actually "Rowe-Ackermann"  smile
16 Jan, 2020 05:51
🤦‍♂️ I made that typo several times and fixed it, but one must have slipped through. No idea why I was fixating on Atkinson…

Will fix.
17 Jan, 2020 00:08
What an incredible plan! If you ever put that to reality, please post images of this gear! But i also see problems with a mount attached to a roof without any sort of distance keeper (like a solid pillar or something). I dont own a RASA, but for several reasons i would also suggest to use a Apo (or one of your high class lenses) in the beginning. You will be amazed once you see what a good camera lens operated by a good photographer is capable of! You will find a lot of examples here on AstroBin.
17 Jan, 2020 07:03
Hey stargazer , that is an awesome plan, why not considering a pickup truck instead and  there mount it on the bed , or even a construction over the bed so that you can use it for camping gear? something that could be used for foldable rooftop tents on pickup truck beds.

that would be stable enough I think,

i found that last year and I think that is awesome😎
it might be far from of your budget but maybe you want to see that smile

i hope the link works.

good luck with your planing and travels ,
also clear skies!
regards Dennis
17 Jan, 2020 14:55
I have to agree with all the above about trying to mount on the Jeep. My suggestion would be start with the gear you already have and add a mount.  To make it easy use your best camera and a super telephoto lens and Go-To Mount, I would suggest the Skywatcher EQ-6 Pro:

Once you get the hang of things then move up to a nice scope. You can keep to your planned scope or I would suggest one of these:

Here is my portable setup with a modified Canon T7i and the Sigma 150-600 mm lens.
31 Jan, 2020 19:05
I would not pursue this.  You are going to need uber stability. A friend of mine mounted his RASA on roof top observatory in his house, and the vibrations in his house were enough to cause all sorts of imaging problems.  We are talking pixel level changes.
11 Feb, 2020 16:53
Make sure to polar align your jeep
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