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Help. 
I want to buy an astronomical telescope suitable for astrophotography. Planets a definite as well as other distant objects. I would like a tracking telescope either via computer or app. Compact design so I can take it on my road trips. 
I have a budget of AUD$ 1,500

 

Am I being realistic? If so any advice would be welcome. If not, how much do I need?

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Hi Jez you may need to double that budget. A great scope/mount for astrophotography when taking wide deep sky images would be something like the William Optics Redcat 51 combined with the Skywatcher EQM35 Pro. If you have a DSLR camera already then that can be adapted to remove its IR cut filter to allow the all important redder wavelengths to get through. The above would be entirely computer controlled and I have such a system.

There are other alternatives such as using a star tracker which could be something like the Skywatcher Star Adventurer combined with the same scope as above or the William Optics Zenithstar 61. Although with the latter you would also need a optical field  flattener which will bring the cost up to the same as the Redcat with which needs nothing extra. The Altair Astro Altair 60 EDF Doublet Refractor Telescope V3 is also a superb scope. The Altair also requires a flattener too otherwise stars end up egg shaped at the edges of the image.

 

All the above are refractor telescopes but there are also reflecting telescopes such as the Skywatcher 130PDS which is a superb scope. These  Newtonian scopes require frequent maintenance in the form of collimation which is aligning the optics. Not difficult or time consuming once you have learnt it but still something that needs doing every time you setup. This one also needs a coma corrector which again does the same job as a field flattener. More cost! Whereas refractors are in general maintenance free.

 

Another alternative is using your DSLR with a prime lens such as a Canon F1.8 50mm or the Samyang F2 135 both of which are superb lenses for AP. However if using a APC sensor the effective focal length of either lens is made longer. Essentially this means you get images that seem to be more “zoomed in”. The focal length of the lens hasn’t changed it’s just the image will be cropped. This isn’t necessarily cheaper than above as the Samyang is quite expensive and is not a dedicated telescope but people have found them great for AP.

 

If light pollution is an issue where you live then you would also need suitable astro filters which will add extra cost. When you get further into AP you will then find you need to add guiding to your rig. This is another small telescope/camera combination added to the main rig and is intended to improve the quality of your images by taking pictures of the sky, locking onto one star and then sending small adjustment signals to the mount to ensure it is always pointing exactly where intended.

 

Beware everything AP is expensive and you WILL end up spending much more than you anticipated. Do your homework and get advice from others too and you may end up with something closer to your budget.

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19 hours ago, TerryMcK said:

Hi Jez you may need to double that budget. A great scope/mount for astrophotography when taking wide deep sky images would be something like the William Optics Redcat 51 combined with the Skywatcher EQM35 Pro. If you have a DSLR camera already then that can be adapted to remove its IR cut filter to allow the all important redder wavelengths to get through. The above would be entirely computer controlled and I have such a system.

There are other alternatives such as using a star tracker which could be something like the Skywatcher Star Adventurer combined with the same scope as above or the William Optics Zenithstar 61. Although with the latter you would also need a optical field  flattener which will bring the cost up to the same as the Redcat with which needs nothing extra. The Altair Astro Altair 60 EDF Doublet Refractor Telescope V3 is also a superb scope. The Altair also requires a flattener too otherwise stars end up egg shaped at the edges of the image.

 

All the above are refractor telescopes but there are also reflecting telescopes such as the Skywatcher 130PDS which is a superb scope. These  Newtonian scopes require frequent maintenance in the form of collimation which is aligning the optics. Not difficult or time consuming once you have learnt it but still something that needs doing every time you setup. This one also needs a coma corrector which again does the same job as a field flattener. More cost! Whereas refractors are in general maintenance free.

 

Another alternative is using your DSLR with a prime lens such as a Canon F1.8 50mm or the Samyang F2 135 both of which are superb lenses for AP. However if using a APC sensor the effective focal length of either lens is made longer. Essentially this means you get images that seem to be more “zoomed in”. The focal length of the lens hasn’t changed it’s just the image will be cropped. This isn’t necessarily cheaper than above as the Samyang is quite expensive and is not a dedicated telescope but people have found them great for AP.

 

If light pollution is an issue where you live then you would also need suitable astro filters which will add extra cost. When you get further into AP you will then find you need to add guiding to your rig. This is another small telescope/camera combination added to the main rig and is intended to improve the quality of your images by taking pictures of the sky, locking onto one star and then sending small adjustment signals to the mount to ensure it is always pointing exactly where intended.

 

Beware everything AP is expensive and you WILL end up spending much more than you anticipated. Do your homework and get advice from others too and you may end up with something closer to your budget.

Well I guess I could increase my budget but I think the killer will be the technical know how. I’m too long in the tooth to learn something that seems so complicated. I’ll probably sim for something less so. I do though really appreciate the time you took to reply. 

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