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Archive 2013 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount

  
 
TimCz
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p.19 #1 · p.19 #1 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred Miranda wrote:
BTW: Using the above set-up, I was able to capture the image below. Shot with EOS 6D, Canon 500mm f/4 II @f/4.
It's a very long focal length but I was able to lock on the stars for a few hours exposure.


Bit late to reply, but wow Fred, seriously, wow. Ive been seriously considering a scope and EQ6 mount, but this really shows what the astro trac can do. Ive got access to borrow one, so def will be giving it a crack based on what ive read here.

Sadly, only with a 300mm 2.8... might throw on a 1.4 and see what I can do.



Dec 31, 2014 at 07:45 AM
dgdg
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p.19 #2 · p.19 #2 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I think the hardest part of going long with the astrotrac is finding your subject. The Orion nebula, Pleiades, and Andromeda galaxy are good proof of concept objects to try first. The high dynamic range is the main challenge.
I've imaged the sombrero galaxy, rose nebula with an astro modified Rebel, but the IQ of my 400DO was not just up to it. I'm tempted to balance my 600mmII on it and see what I get.

Another comet should be easily imaged once the moon wanes in early January. That would be a fun subject to track.

I'm usually quite content to have super sharp milky way wide field images from 14mm - 35mm with a landscape.

Unless you have an expensive compact geared head, you're going to be all over the place finding your deep space object. I put an inexpensive Rigel Quick Finder site on my hot flash mount and screw it down. Then I calibrate the site with a known star, then star hop to my object which gets me pretty close. Please post your images!

David



Dec 31, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Todd
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p.19 #3 · p.19 #3 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount




dgdg wrote:
I think the hardest part of going long with the astrotrac is finding your subject. The Orion nebula, Pleiades, and Andromeda galaxy are good proof of concept objects to try first. The high dynamic range is the main challenge.
I've imaged the sombrero galaxy, rose nebula with an astro modified Rebel, but the IQ of my 400DO was not just up to it. I'm tempted to balance my 600mmII on it and see what I get.

Another comet should be easily imaged once the moon wanes in early January. That would be a fun subject to track.

I'm usually quite content
...Show more

I bought the AstrTrac wedge for mine. I took this image of M31 with my Nikon 300mm f/2.8 G VR II lens from Fort Davis Tx. I used my D800E at ISO 800 for about 5 minutes

http://www.toddhargisphotography.com/Nature/Astrophotography/9687544_vbVb5L/3635712524_QhsbKQW#!i=3635712524&k=QhsbKQW&lb=1&s=XL



Dec 31, 2014 at 10:02 PM
kwoodard
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p.19 #4 · p.19 #4 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


What a great shot! How much of a crop is this? I have always wondered how one of the 500mm mirror lenses would do in this situation. Long reach, no CA, light weight...


Jan 01, 2015 at 02:16 AM
dgdg
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p.19 #5 · p.19 #5 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


That's a fab shot.
The wedge is great for polar aligning.

David



Jan 01, 2015 at 06:52 AM
Todd
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p.19 #6 · p.19 #6 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount



kwoodard wrote:
What a great shot! How much of a crop is this? I have always wondered how one of the 500mm mirror lenses would do in this situation. Long reach, no CA, light weight...


There is no crop on this image of the Andromeda galaxy with the 300mm, however I did crop out a small amount of amp glow on the edge of the frame with the 500mm f/8 lens shot. The 500mm is a great ligh-weight lens for astrophotography but it is a little slow @ f/8. Go to page two of this gallery to see the 500mm andromeda shot. For some reason, I can't get the link copied correctly with my iPhone 6 plus
http://www.toddhargisphotography.com/Nature/Astrophotography/9687544_vbVb5L/3635712524_QhsbKQW#!i=2753126675&k=TtZxmjJ




Jan 02, 2015 at 12:37 PM
Wildcats_Fans
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p.19 #7 · p.19 #7 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Great article


Jan 05, 2015 at 01:59 PM
kwoodard
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p.19 #8 · p.19 #8 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Todd wrote:
There is no crop on this image of the Andromeda galaxy with the 300mm, however I did crop out a small amount of amp glow on the edge of the frame with the 500mm f/8 lens shot. The 500mm is a great ligh-weight lens for astrophotography but it is a little slow @ f/8. Go to page two of this gallery to see the 500mm andromeda shot. For some reason, I can't get the link copied correctly with my iPhone 6 plus
http://www.toddhargisphotography.com/Nature/Astrophotography/9687544_vbVb5L/3635712524_QhsbKQW#!i=2753126675&k=TtZxmjJ



Amazing gallery Todd...!



Jan 05, 2015 at 02:59 PM
TimCz
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p.19 #9 · p.19 #9 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


So I picked up the astrotrac today from my colleague at work who had bought but sadly never got a chance to use. As predicted, cloudy skies here in Australia currently, so might be a few days before I get a proper test of it.

From what I've read on other forums it can be much more difficult to polar align down here, so I think that will be the first round of challenges.

Aiming to test it using a 5d3, and probably a 70-200 and/or 300mm 2.8 with or without a 1.4x converter.

Question for you Fred - how much cropping did you need for your image of m42 with the 500mm?



Jan 06, 2015 at 02:24 AM
TimCz
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p.19 #10 · p.19 #10 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


So the sky cleared just enough for me to test it out, sadly just on my front porch with a number of large trees and houses around, and a very bright sky w/ a lot of light from the moon also.

Polar scope here in the Southern Hemisphere was almost impossible to use, couldn't see any of the relevant stars easily so gave up on that after a while. Tried rough aligning using true South and latitude but sadly didn't really get it close enough. Either way the device was well made and look forward to trying again, but I can see the next few days will be spent just trying to find better and easier ways to polar align the astro trac.



Jan 06, 2015 at 04:32 PM
dgdg
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p.19 #11 · p.19 #11 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I found colimating the Astrotrac polar scope so frustrating I gave up.

If you have a local metal shop you can adapt the Vixen Polarie scope to the astrrotrac. Mine is an aluminum cylindrical sleeve about 0.5 cm long that slips over the Polarie scope and inside the Astrotrac hole. A large ring basically. A couple set screws holds it from falling out. Shouldn't be that expensive to have them make you a couple. I see in the Polarie scope manual it can align for the southern sky and be worth investigating.

The Ioptron has an illuminated polar cool scope that you can align with an app - that makes it even easier.

David



Jan 06, 2015 at 06:44 PM
Frogfish
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p.19 #12 · p.19 #12 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Really exciting thread on something that I'd really love to get into.

Has anyone here tried the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2014 and how does it compare to the Astrotrac ?

It's a great price and has a very good polar scope built-in. It's cheap here too (since I live in China) !

Discussion here on Stargazerslounge : http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/215957-skywatcher-star-adventurer/

Details here including video and Quick Setup Chart : http://www.brandonoptics.com/Sky-Watcher-Star-Adventurer--Celestial-tracking-platform-_p_1219.html

Blog : http://orlygoingthirty.blogspot.com/2014/07/sky-watcher-star-adventurer-portable-eq.html



Jan 14, 2015 at 02:07 PM
dgdg
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p.19 #13 · p.19 #13 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Looks interesting, but having to take off the camera to polar align is a pain.
I think if you want to stay wide, get the ioptron.
If you want to go long, get the astrotrac. I can track at 1,200mm unguided for a minute with out any star trails at 100% magnification. It's the wind that matters. I need a portable dome I guess.

David



Jan 14, 2015 at 03:58 PM
Klaus Priebe
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p.19 #14 · p.19 #14 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Frogfish wrote:
Really exciting thread on something that I'd really love to get into.

Has anyone here tried the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2014 and how does it compare to the Astrotrac ?

It's a great price and has a very good polar scope built-in. It's cheap here too (since I live in China) !

Discussion here on Stargazerslounge : http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/215957-skywatcher-star-adventurer/

Details here including video and Quick Setup Chart : http://www.brandonoptics.com/Sky-Watcher-Star-Adventurer--Celestial-tracking-platform-_p_1219.html

Blog : http://orlygoingthirty.blogspot.com/2014/07/sky-watcher-star-adventurer-portable-eq.html


What a horrible setup. As soon as you attach the camera your polar alignment will go to crap. IMHO the Astrotrac is the way to go for the most accurate tracking at wide and longer focal lengths. There is none better for accuracy in this type of mount.



Jan 17, 2015 at 12:29 AM
dgdg
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p.19 #15 · p.19 #15 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2
1,200mm, f/8, 60 secs x12, iso 2000
Vixen Polaire polar scope, adapted. No RA guiding.
Astrotrac with Manfrotto geared head to help point and search for the comet without losing alignment.
A little darker skies would have helped to bring out the tail more, but not bad for a short drive from home.

http://davidsphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v118/p212994776-5.jpg



Edited on Jan 17, 2015 at 08:31 AM · View previous versions



Jan 17, 2015 at 08:22 AM
jforkner
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p.19 #16 · p.19 #16 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


There are alternatives to all these types of devices, however. I recently acquired the new 100-400 II lens for my Canon 6D, and wanted to see how it worked as an alternative to my motor-driven 600mm refractor telescope. So I bought a dovetail bar, mounted the lens to it, and slid it into the mount in place of the telescopeóyou can see a pic of the configuration below. I transferred my green laser pointer to help with aiming via a hot shoe adapter, and voila!

The mount itself is half the price of an AstroTrac, though probably not as portable. But it does include a tripod. I donít have/use one of these devices, so I canít compare them to a telescope mount. But if you wanted to mount a DSLR to a tracking device for astrophotography, you might want to consider a telescope mount. It worked for me. Images from this setup can be viewed here in my similar post in the Canon Forum.

Jack

http://jackforknerphotography.com/Temp/_1143024.jpg



Jan 17, 2015 at 08:30 AM
dgdg
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p.19 #17 · p.19 #17 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Astrotrac is great for portability.
What I really need is your driveway!!!!



Jan 17, 2015 at 08:55 AM
jforkner
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p.19 #18 · p.19 #18 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


dgdg wrote:
Astrotrac is great for portability.
What I really need is your driveway!!!!


Next time you're in the area, give me a call.

Jack



Jan 17, 2015 at 10:29 AM
buggz2k
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p.19 #19 · p.19 #19 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


This looks very interesting to me.
Also seems to be very cost effective.
I have a 5DMkII and late model version I of the 100-400.
I am still debating on to go this route, or not...

jforkner wrote:
There are alternatives to all these types of devices, however. I recently acquired the new 100-400 II lens for my Canon 6D, and wanted to see how it worked as an alternative to my motor-driven 600mm refractor telescope. So I bought a dovetail bar, mounted the lens to it, and slid it into the mount in place of the telescopeóyou can see a pic of the configuration below. I transferred my green laser pointer to help with aiming via a hot shoe adapter, and voila!

The mount itself is half the price of an AstroTrac, though probably not as portable. But
...Show more



Edited on Feb 07, 2015 at 06:54 PM · View previous versions



Feb 07, 2015 at 11:41 AM
jforkner
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p.19 #20 · p.19 #20 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Not sure if these will encourage or deter you, but here's a couple pics from that setup.

Jack

http://jackforknerphotography.com/Temp/Pleiades-color%20align-mid55-sat25-StarTools-webpage.jpg

http://jackforknerphotography.com/Temp/_MG_4006-II-webpage.jpg



Feb 07, 2015 at 05:05 PM
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