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LS and Astrophotography

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#1 G3oak

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:14 PM

I was wondering if anyone would share their experience using the LS and doing astrophotography. General comments or observations are welcome as well as the types of setups you have.

#2 gunfighter48

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:52 PM

I haven't tried AP yet except for some eyepiece pictures with my Cell Phone camera, they didn't turn out. But from what I've read online it seems that 30 sec exposures is as long as you can do with this scope because of the alt/az mount. The mount is not accurate enough for longer exposures. With longer exposures the objects will rotate and cause blured pictures. You need an equaltorial mount if you want to do serious AP. You can take a lot of 20-30 sec exposures and stack them but you also have to compensate(in the stacking software) for the rotation of the images. I plan on getting one of the cell phone holders that Orion sells and see what I can do with my Galaxy S4 cell phone on the moon and planets, just for the fun of it.

#3 ugh336

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 07:10 PM

I've a LS 8 ACF and have used it for AP. I have a Nikon D5000 and when I was first learning used it as my primary scope. It's not a wide field instrament as one would expect. My first shots were of Moon and Saturn, which was the only planet I could see at that time. You can use it for the Moon since those are quick shots and I have been able to get shots of Saturn and Jupiter using my cameras video function, then using software to get the best frames for stacking. Even with the mount I have been able to take 5 minutes of video to use.

Because of the mount you're limited to short exposures of DSOs, 30-45 seconds, before you star to get star trails. That limts you on the very faint objects, but you can get decent images of the brighter. I don't use it as much as before, because I bought a refractor and equatorial mount for AP, but a month or so back (under heavy Moon LP) I took 85 exposures at 45 second each of M42 and was very happy with the results. When the weather permits and LP from the Moon is again present I plan to add another 85 or so shots to my curent image stack.

I have to add the biggest problem I've had with taking pictures is just getting the LS 8 to startup correctly. That's the main reason I moved to another scope and mount setup. Optically I think the OTA is great, but the mount is too buggy. My plan is to one day remove the OTA from the mount, buy some tube rings and a dovetail so I can use it on another mount.

So it is possible to do AP. Attached is the working image of M42 using my LS8. It might be stretched a little too much, but that's the thing I like about AP. The image is mine to make it what I want to see. I've shrunk the image down to reduce my upload time.

Attached Thumbnails

  • M42_LS8.jpg


#4 G3oak

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 07:01 AM

That's a very nice picture nonetheless. What software do you use to stack the pictures?

Do you use any magnification or is the camera connected directly to the scope?

#5 ugh336

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:23 PM

For multiple exposures I use freeware called Deep Sky Stacker or DSS and then I stretch the image using Photshop Elements. When I use video for the planets or Moon I use another freeware program called Registax6 and again do any stretching or processing in Photoshop Elements. I expect I'll probably move up to one of the dedicated programs, probably Images Plus, once I think I've reached the limit of what I can get using the current programs.

This is the FOV with a focal reducer attached, then the camera via a 2 " adapter and no magnification. The focal reducer has a field flattener which isn't good using an ACF scope, but it allows more light to be gathered in the short exposure time. It also increases the FOV. I never tried taking pics of M42 without it, so It may not fit in the regulat FOV. I cropped a small amount of the image to center M42 better.

I have 1.25 adapters but they cause a lot of vignetting. I only use them for the Moon or planets as I can add an eyepiece to one and another has a built-in barlow. The camera is attached to the Meade microfocuser I bought. That's the only way I can use the 2" adapter. I don't use a diagonal with either size camera adapter. I need to make bahtinov masks for my scopes so I can get better focus, just been too lazy to make them.

I've been able to get images of other DSO, but this is the first time I ever stacked photos using the LS8. I don't know how well it will do on faint DSO. The FOV is too narrow to get all of M45 in view, so I have doubts about other open clusters too, but I believe I can good images of globulars like M13 and probably the brighter planetary nebula like M57 or M27. As far as galaxies I think M31 is plenty bright for the short expsures, but again I doubt it will all fit in the LS8 FOV.

One thing you have to be careful about is the camera hitting the base of the mount at or near zenith, which is also where you get the best images. There just isn't enough clearance. There isn't enough clearance using the Meade focuser and either a size diagonal with eyepieces. I'm not sure whether this is a problem with an LS6, but i suspect it would be with a camera for either size sope. It's just too tight and something you have to monitor. These 85 shots took just over an hour and if I remember right my camera was very close to hitting the base at the end.

Sorry for the long winded reply

#6 G3oak

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 07:33 PM

Ugh336,
Thanks for the very detailed reply. It was very useful.

#7 jimbob4755

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 02:58 AM

Hi ugh336, I have just joined the community, have an LS6 and found your post very useful and would  be very pleased to be able to capture a great picture like yours.

Regards jim



#8 Marco

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:33 AM

Good day,

Here a couple took with

Meade LS6" EOS 1100D on prime focus with Antares 6.3 FR
 

M-42 Total exposure 29minutes and 52seconds
ISO 800 72 x 25sec frames

 

orion-neb-04-03.jpg

 

 M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy
150 x 35 sec frames at ISO3200

 

M-51.jpg

 

regards

Marco


Clear Skies

Marco

LS6" Meade microfocuser zero image shift, Optec Pyxis LE De-rotator TS 2" dielectric diagonal Hyperion 2" 72° 36mm  TS 2" 70° 22mm TS 2" Barlow

Omegron Cronus 1,25" 68° 9mm, Omegron Cronus 1,25" 68° 4mm, Antares 6.3 focal reducer

Camera Olympus ZX1, EOS 1100D ZWO ASI 120MC

 


#9 MistrBadgr

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:35 PM

Marco,

 

Those are really nice!  Thanks for sharing!

 

Bill Steen


Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#10 Wolfgang

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 03:24 AM

Hello Marco,
How do you manage it or how they control with the Canon 1100D focus?
I also have a Canon 1100D in the primary focus of my LS6, but was still able to shoot no clear picture. I too have an Antares Reducer F / 6.3. I've tried to come through EOS Utility in the focus, but I am still not succeeded:
The image of M42 I have done with a Pentax K10 with 10X30s frames on LS6 the prime focus, but with the Canon 1100D me will no longer succeed: - ((
greeting
Wolfgang

Attached Thumbnails

  • M42+M43 in 1350 Lichtjahren Entfernung.jpg

Clear Skies

Wolfgang

LS6 " Meade Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser, Mark III Hyperion Clickstop Zoom 8-24mm, Canon EOS 1100D, Sony DCS V3, Reducer Antares f / 6.3,


 


#11 Marco

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 12:22 AM

Hi Wolfang,

To focus I use a Bathinov mask from telescope-service, 

I contol the meade microshift focuser with APT and it gives good results.


Clear Skies

Marco

LS6" Meade microfocuser zero image shift, Optec Pyxis LE De-rotator TS 2" dielectric diagonal Hyperion 2" 72° 36mm  TS 2" 70° 22mm TS 2" Barlow

Omegron Cronus 1,25" 68° 9mm, Omegron Cronus 1,25" 68° 4mm, Antares 6.3 focal reducer

Camera Olympus ZX1, EOS 1100D ZWO ASI 120MC

 


#12 Wolfgang

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 08:41 AM

Hi Marco,
Thanks for the tip. I'll install APT and then let's see if it gets better.
greeting
Wolfgang


Clear Skies

Wolfgang

LS6 " Meade Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser, Mark III Hyperion Clickstop Zoom 8-24mm, Canon EOS 1100D, Sony DCS V3, Reducer Antares f / 6.3,


 


#13 ka1bqp

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 05:52 PM

Hello,

I bought an LS-6 a few years ago with the intention of doing some astrophotography. While I was somewhat successful, I found the platform unsuitable for any serious work. Without a wedge or field de-rotator you are limited to about one minute of exposure time and while the software does support wedge operation, the single arm setup lacks the stability found on a larger scope. Still, I was able to get some very impressive photos of Jupiter, M-42, the Double Cluster and of course, the moon. I used a Canon Digital Rebel 8MP DSLR mounted at the prime focus. The short answer is, if you want to do short exposure photography, the LS-6 can provide some fine results, however, if your goal is to do long exposure astrophotography, I would recommend a more stable platform, such as the LX-200, LX-600, or LX-850. I sold my LS-6 (which I regret doing) and bought an LX-200 8 inch ACF. I do like the 200, but it is more of a chore to setup when I just want to do some quick visual observing.

Had I not been interested in astrophotography, I would still have the LS-6. One day I may get another one. :)

Matt
Matt,

8" LX200ACF
DSI
Canon Rebel XT DSLR

#14 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 08:07 PM

Thanks, Matt!


Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma





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