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My Astrotrac Advenuture

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #99491 by manic_dave
My Astrotrac Advenuture was created by manic_dave
http://www.flickr.com/photos/79136331@N07/11236546755/After many months of deliberation and driving several members of MAC crazy, i took the plunge this week and bought myself an Astrotrac.
I have decided to do a bit of a blog on how I get on with it over the next few months.

To start with I went for the Holiday Special which I ordered from Stephen in K-Tec Telescopes.

I went for this package as i also wanted a good tripod and ball head for my other Photography work. So all that justified the 1175 euro price tag, or thats how i managed to convince my better half of it anyway.

My DSLR set up is as follows.

Canon 60d.
Sigma 10-20mm F4.5-5.6
Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro
Canon 70-300mm F4-5.6
I also intend to borrow a good L series lens for this blog, but more on that later (Michael you have been warned)

Astrotrac Holiday Pack contains

Astrotrac TT320X-AG
Astrotrac Polarscope
Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod
Manfrotto 496 RC2 Ball Head
Manfrotto 410 JuniorGeared Head
Astrotrac 8xAA Battery Holder & Lead

First Night.

After doing the real man thing and disregarding the instructions i headed out to the garden. Typically half the street had their garden lights on. One man leaves 3 on for his dogs. so after several text messages i had some darkness.

I put the Sigma 10-20mm on the camera and set up everything as it looks in the picture on Astrotrac website.

So after shooting several shots and seeing stars trailing I headed back inside and read the manual.

That was Wednesday 4th Dec. Next entry - getting some fist shots - My Polar Alignment Adventure !


www.flickr.com/photos/79136331@N07/11236546755/

www.skelligstarparty.com
Europe's Darkest Skies
Top 4 Locations in the world to Stargaze by Paste Magazine.
Last edit: 10 years 6 months ago by manic_dave.
The following user(s) said Thank You: StephenK, michael_murphy, PaulWalsh

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #99493 by manic_dave
Replied by manic_dave on topic Re: My Astrotrac Advenuture
Thursday 5th December

After reading the Instructions and doing a lot of reading on line about setting up the Polar scope on the Astrotrac I set everything up again.
I was not expecting to have a clear sky but the great thing with this set up is it takes about 5 mins from picking it up in the spare room and taking that first shot in the garden.

Polar alignment has been a struggle for me. I had a loan of an EQ5-ED80 set up for the last few months and i really struggled to get it aligned. After getting some advice I did manage to do it and got some good shots. However I did feel that the set up was taking a log time, not to mention the weight of carrying it in and out of the house. As an imaging platform it was very good and Im sure anyone with a place outside the house to store it, be that a shed or an obsey would find it very rewarding. This however was a five min process.

So pointing the rig north i put the polar scope into its holder and turned it on. a quick twist moved the constellations around until the matched what i could see in the sky, and i used the slow motion controls on the gear-head to bring Polaris into the correct position. There is a further step to bring another two stars into play in the scope but in my light flooded estate i found these hard to see. So i left it at the rough alignment.

Attaching the Camera at this point was simple on the ball head, and i attached my Sigma 10-20mm lens opened out to f4 @ 10mm. ISO was set to 400 and using a wireless trigger (Gigga T Pro, highly recommend these, Amazon do them) i set the exposure to 4.5 mins

www.flickr.com/photos/79136331@N07/11236546615/

www.skelligstarparty.com
Europe's Darkest Skies
Top 4 Locations in the world to Stargaze by Paste Magazine.
Last edit: 10 years 6 months ago by manic_dave.
The following user(s) said Thank You: StephenK, michael_murphy, PaulWalsh

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10 years 6 months ago #99494 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: My Astrotrac Advenuture
Hi,
Looking at the later pic, I'd say the adventure was worth it :-)

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
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10 years 6 months ago #99495 by manic_dave
Replied by manic_dave on topic Re: My Astrotrac Advenuture
Thanks Dave, Im having problems getting images onto this site, and Flickr makes a mess of my images. Ill try another site later on and post some pics.

I also took some stacked shots of M45 and the Orion Nebula which ill upload.

www.skelligstarparty.com
Europe's Darkest Skies
Top 4 Locations in the world to Stargaze by Paste Magazine.

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10 years 6 months ago #99496 by Keith g
Replied by Keith g on topic Re: My Astrotrac Advenuture
That's the way Dave, I have ben using my astrotrac for a few years now, you will find it dead handy to polar align in no time :) :)

Keith.
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10 years 6 months ago #99497 by StephenK
Replied by StephenK on topic Re: My Astrotrac Advenuture
Super stuff Dave.

Great to see progress.

Cant wait til you pull out some great pics :-)

Stephen Kershaw
Ktec Telescopes Ltd
085 - 228 8692
sales@ktectelescopes.ie
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