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Hello from California

16 Sep, 2018 23:31
Hello Everyone,

I have been lurking around AstroBin for a while now.  The site has been a great resource of practical representation of what is possible with a little effort and care.  I want to thank everyone right up front for that, it has undoubtedly helped in no small way to my astrophotography journey.

That journey started Christmas 2017 when my wife bought me a small telescope for the holiday, not knowing if I would take any serious interest it was not an expensive OTA.  However, it was all I needed to rekindle the passion I had in my youth for Astroimages.  When I was a young man, Carl Sagan was still alive, and I watched the first version of Cosmos on PBS.  The images of deep space have always captured my imagination, and I never thought it would be possible for me to be able to create such images.

How times have changed!  Who would have imagined even 10 years ago, what people would be producing even with their cell phones, let alone the $$$$$ rigs that people have been able to buy “off the shelf” rather than build it themselves?  After that small telescope, I did what every impatient astrophotogrer does when starting out, makes purchases before doing all the research needed.  In January 2018 I bought a Celestron XLT 150 with mount.  The OTA was fine, but the mount was not motorized at all.  Struggling with after market add-ons, DOA purchases from the UK, I gave up on using this as a guided platform and looked for a new mount.  This time a little research and time was spent, and I settled on the Skywatch EQ6-R Pro that was recently released.  This has been a game changer for me.

Not so much in finding targets, that was not a problem for me before.  Although star hopping can be challenging, there is a certain amount of pride when you get the Leo Triplet, or other obscure targets in frame (especially in light polluted skies).  The real change was having a mount that was heavy enough to adequately and accurately track with 16 lbs of weight.  While not the most advanced mount, and therefore not the most expensive, it was the midline model that I should have started with.  I always knew what my goal was, just not what equipment was needed to get the result.  Eight months into this hobby, I have a much better understanding, thanks to Cloudy Nights, and AstroBin.

Why AstroBin?  Because it allowed me to take a look at what people have been able to produce in the real world, not under the most optimum conditions or locations.  Using the site allowed me to finally grasp FOV, Focal Lengths, and the impact of sensor size.  So that when I recently was lucky enough to have the opportunity to upgrade, I did so sensibly, yet in such a way that I hope soon (back orders are hateful things) To be producing new images of the sky with the Orion 8 inch F3.9 OTA.  We can argue all day about refractor/reflector SCT/SC/NEWT but at the end of the day, with what I already had, this was the best option, and I don’t find collimating to be that cumbersome.

Anwyay, it is a lazy Sunday, and I’ve just joined… No need to overtax my welcome with a overly long intro.  Tonight’s skies look good for a session, so I’ll start to prepare for that and wish you all

Clear Skies,

Edited 16 Sep, 2018 23:35
17 Sep, 2018 07:24
Hi James,

welcome from germany and thanks for sharing your images and the acquisition details! Looking forward to your next images.

17 Sep, 2018 12:38
Welcome James!  Astrobin is a great place to learn what is possible.  And if you haven't already, check out your local Astronomy clubs.  Many in California have Astrophotography special interest groups which are a hands on way to learn.  Also a great way to meet like-minded people.  Orange County in particular has a great club.
20 Sep, 2018 20:15
Thanks James! I am a beginner whom did do some research and pros/cons of the 3 telescope technology  platforms and was hardened on getting a 6" Refractor much like U, until I saw the Cassegrain-Schmidt Celestron 8SE Bundle#2 I could get at High Point Scientific for less $$$. I think I made a good decision for My purposes, but still think I'm going to want that 6" Refractor for comparison purposes if nothing else.
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