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Hello from Tacoma WA

17 Jul, 2020 19:01

I'm an engineer living in the Puget Sound who enjoys exploring the stars.  I've only recently begun trying to image night sky objects. I've been able to spend some time with Neowise recently and am just beginning to produce images that seem not-too-terrible.  Looking at some of the images here I see I have a lot of room for improvement!  I'm excited to continue to learn and experience more of our cosmic neighborhood!  smilesmile

This is my most recent image.  After some feedback I'd like to reprocess and try to reduce the halos around the stars and fix the issue with the over-exposed nucleus (not over-exposed in my data, I'm just new to post-processing).  Processing tips are welcome!  I'm really winging it with whatever gear I have on hand while I'm in this early learning phase.  I shot this with a borrowed, old Canon 50d and an 85mm lens on a tripod while tracking by hand.  200 x 3.2" exposures under Bortle 8 skies.  It was a bit challenging but as a noobie, I'm very pleased with the results!

27 Jul, 2020 16:48
After enjoying the hobby with this shot and others I've bought my own equipment.  A like-new Nikon D5300 just showed up and a 70-200mm lens is on the way.  After some experimentation I find that my skies at home are too light polluted to get much data while shooting untracked at low exposure times.  I'm looking at options for aided tracking.  I'd like to leave room for growth in to a small refractor and a guide scope.  Here is what I'm thinking, opinions are welcome!

iOptron SkyGuider Pro w/ iPolar - The highest priced of the three I'm looking at but seems to have the best reviews.  I have a heavy duty pan head tripod with 15lb capacity and very stiff locks.  I would mount the guider to the pan head, foregoing the included iOptron mount.  If the pan head locks are stiff enough this should get around the mount's limited tilt and I won't have to buy a different tripod (the pan head is built in to my heavy duty tripod).

Sky Watcher Star Adventurer Pro - Similar to the iOptron, I would use this without the mount, mounting directly to my pan head.  Less expensive and more available than the iOptron.

iEXOS-100 PMC-Eight - This last option looks promising.  I haven't seen much information about it but I have seen others listing it as their mount in AstroBin and showing some impressive results.  I think this might be the best option when considering room for growth and cost.
27 Jul, 2020 22:38
hello from puyallup um you probobly need a better lense than that i have a lense that goes from 100-300mm and at 300mm saturn only showes up on like 75 pixels so i have figured out i am definitely going to need a better lense or maybe im just not looking at the right things
Edited 27 Jul, 2020 22:40
27 Jul, 2020 22:49
Hey over in Puyallup!

I certainly agree about the lens.  It is very much a cheap starter lens.  I bought it because it's relatively fast for the price and has decent glass.  I nabbed a used one in great shape for the meager price of $70!

I think you need some pretty serious focal length to get decent solar system images.  My 200mm should do fine for capturing some unguided constellation shots, maybe a grainy Andromeda and some Milky Way shots.  The shots in my profile were taken with an 85mm on a crop sensor.

My strategy for growth from there (and this is very fluid, adapting as I learn) is to get tracking, then a small refractor and then probably guidance, I guess?

Have you tried pointing your 300mm at Andromeda?
27 Jul, 2020 23:56
I have tried andromeda but that was like my first or second time i went out just to get a bunch of shots my main problem was I gave up because deep sky stacker could find any stars but turns out there is a way for you to turn up to brightness in it in order to see stars sometimes
01 Aug, 2020 20:01
Hello bpd,

I'm in Tacoma, too ,and joined Astrobin just today. I like your image and feel that Bortle 8 every night! Looking forward to seeing what all the PNW's can do!

Clear Skies,
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