[AZ-Observing] Re: Shopping Advice from anyone?

  • From: <johnensworth@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2012 23:56:21 -0400

Wow!  Thank you Bernard very much for the help.  I have the Meade LXD55 10" 
schmidt newtonian, so that sounds like the mount is even more critical.

You mentioned seeing as an issue too... I'm in Longmont, CO - just 15 
minutes east of the foothills of the Rockies on the Front Range. If the 
winds aloft are NW through SW in direction, we have pretty poor seeing with 
14,000 footers upstream form me.

Would anything beyond a DSLR be even useful?  (A painful question to ask, 
since this is where I just built the observatory).

John E

-----Original Message----- 
From: Bernard Miller
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 10:04 PM
To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [AZ-Observing] Re: Shopping Advice from anyone?


The ST-8300 is a great camera. I have it and love it. I can't speak to thel
pro package because I just have the camera and filter wheel, but just Google
"st8300 pro package reviews" and you should find some.

The requirements for astrophogoraphy are much more demanding than for
observing. The ST8300 has a pixel size of 5.4 microns. To get good result,
you need to keep your guiding to within 1-2 pixels, depending on your plate
scale (i.e. arc seconds per pixel) and seeing conditions. This means that
for good results you have to make sure the image does not move more than
5-10 microns during a 10 minute exposure. I am not sure if the CGEM is up to
that. I personally would not want to try astrophotogaphy with a CGEM mount.
I tried it with a CGE mount (since discontinued) and had about equal parts
success and frustration. The only Celestron mount I would try
astrophotography on is the CGE Pro. There are probably other mid range
mounts that could work, but I just don't have experience with them. One
thing to do would be to join the SBIG Yahoo group and ask people what mount
they are using and if they have a website of their work. This would give you
some idea of what other people are doing.

One other thing to consider is the your telescope. You do not mention what
you have, but if you have an 8 or 10 inch Meade SCT, you will have a lot of
challenges. First, an 8-inch SCT with the ST8300 will have a resolution of
0.56 arc seconds per pixel. This will require arc second, to sub-arcsecond
guiding to get good results. People do this all the time, but it is a
challenge to start off that way. It is like taking up golf by joining the
PGA Tour. If you have the time, persistence, and patience you can get some
great results, but you will need lots of all three.

For what it is worth I would recommend getting as much mount as you can
possibly afford. Consider starting with a DSLR. You can get a top of the
line one for 1500 dollars and a very nice one for about 800 dollars. The
ST8300 Pro Package is about 5000 dollars with the filters. This would allow
you to get started with a DSLR and learn the ins and outs. After year or two
you could consider moving to the ST8300 with some experience under your



-----Original Message-----
From: az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:35 AM
To: AZ-Observing
Subject: [AZ-Observing] Shopping Advice from anyone?

Hi All,

  I've just finished installing an Exploradome in my backyard and am wanting
to purchase a 'mid-range' camera system and get going learning the art of

For a camera, I'm interested in what anyone thinks about the SBIG 8300M Pro
Plus package.
Does anyone have a review of this product, or an alternate they would

And if I go this route, my Meade LXD 55 mount (I have the Meade LXD55 10"
(30lbs).) will not work with the autoguider.

SO- it looks like I'll need another mount.

I'm looking at either the Celestron CGEM mount ($1500)  or the Meade LX80
Does anyone have feedback on these mounts, and do you get what you pay for?

Thanks for the feedback - I get one shot at these purchases (and it will
still probably take me a year to save the rest of the $ I need for the SBIG
camera system) and I want to do it right.

John Ensworth
Camp Creek Observatory (near Carefree but currently in Longmont, CO with the

Cherrywood Observatory and Little Thompson Observatory).

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