LX90 astrophotography

Post your pics here, or questions about how to take pictures.
goldblade1983
Posts: 22
Joined: 30 Sep 2013, 12:18

LX90 astrophotography

Postby goldblade1983 » 01 Oct 2013, 12:46

Hi

Brian here (the new guy from Inverkeithing).
As mentioned to some of the folk at last meet I would ideally like to use my LX90 (8 inch) for astrophotography.
At the moment my limited 'arsenal' of accessories are:
LX90 - Standard Tripod
3 eyepieces - 24mm 9.[?] and a 5.[?].
T adaptor and ring - (with built in removable barlow lens).
Sony Alpha 300 camera - I think it's a 300, a DSLR anyway.
Flexible dew shield (no heater)
All powered on portable battery pack rather than using the C size batteries .

So far I haven't taken any shots - only had the scope 3 weeks and the t adapter for less. So I am going to experiment when I can for the moment with what I have. My basic understanding is to set camera to:

ISO 800
RAW file (for stacking)
Make sure focus is spot on
Take exposures of no more than 20 seconds (Alt mount).

In terms of general queries I have some initial (!)queries as follows:

Does anyone have experience of using the 'wedge' for LX90 tripod?
Does anyone have one that they can show me?
If so is there really that much difference from doing a standard 'polar align' following the manual or is it a requirement to do the 'drift' method (which I think will require me to get an illuminated x-hair eyepiece?)
Has anyone used LX90 for photos?
Is it worth getting a 'webcam' style camera as well as DSLR? - if so any recommendations?
Am I likely to need counter weights at the front given weight of DSLR?
If I don't use counter weights can I actually damage the gears of the scope if it struggles against weight of camera (currently my main concern) or is it just a case of that if it's too heavy it just won't track right without the counter weights?

Think that'll do for now!

On another note I went down to Aberdour beach on Sunday night and got some great views of messier 57 (ring nebula) easily distinguishing the circle and even some of the finer detail. Also good views of Uranus and Neptune (despite being 'over' Edinburgh's orange glow). M57 definitely on top of the list for photos!

Finally - updated the software on the scope (actually didn't need to as it is the same version) but added in some other objects - such as Hubble / ISS / Comet ISON. Looking forward to trying to see these. Was looking to add 'Juno' to the lsit but couldn't find it on Meade Autostar Updates - has anyone had that problem?

Regards
Brian

pbholmes
Posts: 282
Joined: 15 Nov 2006, 22:17
Location: Dalgety Bay

Re: LX90 astrophotography

Postby pbholmes » 07 Oct 2013, 18:16

Hi Brian,

I don't have any experience with the LX90 or similar, but like you I have a Sony DSLR (mine's an Alpha 350), and a T-ring and adapter.

Focusing is difficult, but I have a few tips:
  • Use your highest available ISO (e.g. 3200) for your focusing trial shots, then switch to a lower ISO for your serious shots.
  • Buy or make a Bahtinov mask. I made one at home from a foil pie tray.
  • Do your focusing on a bright star, e.g. Sirius, Vega, Capella. Pick one near your intended target in the sky, as focus can shift if you slew a lot after focusing.
  • If you have an EQ mount (or a wedge) you can make longer exposures, because your field won't rotate as you track.
Re the webcam, it depends what you want to photograph.
The webcam is good for planetary work, as it will give you much higher magnification.
The DSLR is better for deep-sky, because it is more light-sensitive and you can make long exposures.

Paul.

longinthetooth
Posts: 29
Joined: 12 Aug 2007, 22:36
Location: Kirkcaldy

Re: LX90 astrophotography

Postby longinthetooth » 15 Oct 2013, 16:14

Hi Brian - did you get anywhere with your enquiry about a wedge? I have a standard meade wedge for up to 8" scope - you are welcome to borrow if you wish.
Cheers
John B
Altair Astro 102 EDT on Skywatcher AZEQ6GT pier mounted, Baader modded Canon 700D, 10" Meade LX200 deforked, Meade DSI3 OSC. Swift Model 831, Roll off roof observatory, plus loads of bits which may come in handy ...one day...

goldblade1983
Posts: 22
Joined: 30 Sep 2013, 12:18

Re: LX90 astrophotography

Postby goldblade1983 » 27 Mar 2014, 14:00

Thanks
I actually deforked it and bought an neq6.
Next step is to piggy back apo on the top of the LX90 (probably 90mm) so can use either for autoguiding and the other for photographs.
Even with NEQ6 finding that max exposure without autoguiding is probably around 45seconds. Think that's mainly due to LX90 long focal length.
Ultimately my plan would be to get a separate set up with another scope and the APO on top and put the LX90 back on the fork as a 'grab and go' scope (it's gps enabled and very quick to set up). Having said that managing to get neq6 set up in about 15 mins now so it's probably about the same amount of time (could probably do it quicker without doing 3 star alignment for visual anyway). NEQ6 is HEAVY though!
Brian


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