Where to begin?

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The_Sisko

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Hello,
Newbie here. Well, sort of. Growing up, I had a huge interest in Astronomy; even conidered working in the field for quite some time. Now, after many years, I'm thinking about it again. I suppose several things sparked the interest. #1, the mission to Pluto is well underway. Planetary Science was my main interest and Pluto was always a fascination. #2, the total eclipse headed to North America in 2017. Anyway, that got me thinking about reaquainting myself with the night sky.

I'd like to get into astrophotograpy but really have no idea where to begin. I do not yet have a telescope, nor any photography equipment. Any pointers on good starter equipment for the budget consious would be appreciated. I don't want to go so cheap that the results are crap and it becomes a turn-off.

Thank you.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Welcome to Space.com.

IMHO, astrophotography is NOT for the budget conscious. Sure you can take some pix, but for beautiful images, unless you have a few K$ to spare, by your own definition, you will be disappointed. First, get a pair of binoculars and learn the sky again....then see where it leads you :)
 
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The_Sisko

Guest
Point taken Wayne. Thank you! I should clarify. When I say budget conscious I don't mean a couple hundred bucks. I'm willing to spend some descent money over time, but don't want to be counter productive. For example, I'd like to find a nice scope in the 6-8 inch range, but I want the style and features that would be compatible with taking some images in the future, as well.

For example, I assume I would need one with some kind of tracking system. I know Dobsonians are somewhat less expensive... any drawbacks to this type using my reasoning above?
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Ok, just clarifying :)

A dob is great for looking at the sky (and the most bang for the buck at that task); for astrophotography, it's almost worthless.

I'll let the astrophotogs answer the rest; I'm a meteor guy, so only use a scope when I'm not meteor observing. :ugeek:
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
Mount, mount, mount. It's all about the mount.

And mounts are comparatively pretty pricey.

You didn't give us too much of an idea of what you were hoping to spend and hoping to get for it.

If you're looking for deep space targets, I'd suggest a fast little Newt like: http://www.telescope.com/control/telesc ... -telescope

Mounted on an Atlas: http://www.telescope.com/control/access ... cope-mount

With a Canon T1i (500D) that has been modified with the IR cut filter replaced.

That's a decent beginners setup for deep sky targets.

That's a big nut to crack. So, if you're handy, I'd buy a 500D, and build a "Barn Door Tracker" and a decently fast xx-300mm zoom lens, probably Sigma or Tamron. Spend as much on that lens as you can afford.

Then later I'd modify the IR cut filter. Then I'd buy the mount. Then I'd buy the scope. By that point, you shouldn't even need to ask "what scope".

The camera can be mounted on the mount without a scope but provide tracking and some nice shots. I honestly don't shoot much through the scope for "easier" deep space objects.

Don't get suckered into a cheap mount. Seriously. You'll hate yourself when you toss it in the dumpster and hate yourself more when it first sucks all interest out of you. I'd rather have a webcam on a barn door tracker built for $10 at homedepot than a nice camera on a crummy mount.
 
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