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== Planetary and Lunar Imaging == Planetary and lunar are one of the easiest and cheapest types of imaging to get into. While tracking certainly helps in planetary it's certainly not required, the most important things are a good camera, a big scope and good atmospheric seeing. While there are only a few targets you can get with a dedicated planetary setup the surface of the planets changes all the time so it's still a very interesting part of the hobby. Planetary imaging is theoretically possible with any telescope, but the bigger the better. For a lot of astronomers it's a good entry to the hobby as they can use their visual telescope without issue. === $300 - $400 – The moon, some planets === Using a small beginner telescope we can take images of the moon and start to pull out some detail on the larger planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. 6" or larger dobsonians can be picked up on craigslist or Ebay for even less than listed here - as a popular beginner scope there tend to be a lot of them floating around. You can find up to 10" of aperture for <$300 if you're lucky. As there's no tracking on this type of telescope you usually need to record a video as the planet drifts through the field of view. You can learn more about stacking planets on our wiki. Dobsonians >6" also make nice visual telescopes so it'll be good to pick up some eyepieces as well as your camera. * Telescope: Orion 4.5" dobsonian - $250 * Telescope :Orion 6" (slightly more expensive, but a much better option) - $270 * Camera: Orion Starshoot Solar system V imager - $80-$100 ''Optional: Save yourself $50-80 by making your own planetary camera! Check out this guide by Gary Honis to see how.'' * Camera: Modified Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD - $20-30 from Ebay. * 1.25" nosepiece adapter: - Free if you disassemble the Barlow included with the scope. Potential images === $400+ – The moon, large planets === At this budget you can do two things - add on to the previous setup or try to find a better scope. It may or may not be worth it for you to add on and you may wish to buy a better telescope instead or save up for one capable of DSOs. As with the previous section buying a second-hand dobsonian could save you a decent chunk of cash, which you can put toward a better planetary imaging camera. * Telescope: Orion Skyquest Xt8 - $380 * Camera: Orion Starshoot Solar system V imager - $80-$100 Examples: [http://imgur.com/cxfIaRG Jupiter] [http://i.imgur.com/6l3mqOm.jpg Saturn] === Planetary above $500 === Planetary above this price is hard to write a guide for because there are so so many options for cameras, telescopes, etc. The ideal planetary setup in our opinion has large aperture, a quality mono camera and equatorial tracking. EQ mounts can also be used for your DSO setup, a lot of us share one mount between the two. You could also stick with the dobsonian from the previous entry but get a better camera. Option 1: * Telescope: [http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/Classic-Dobsonians/Orion-SkyQuest-XT8-Classic-Dobsonian-Telescope/pc/1/c/12/sc/13/p/102005.uts Orion Skyquest Xt8] - $399 * Camera: [https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/product/asi120mc-s ZWO ASI120MC] (color) - $150 Option 2: * Mount: Orion Sirius (new): $1100 new on Orions Website * OTA: 8" newtonian (new): $500 on Orions website * Camera: ZWO ASI120MC: $150 on ZWOptical site Again, you can find these products used on websites like [http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/ Cloudynights] and they will offer significant discounts compared to buying new. While this option is obviously a lot more expensive than the other options, you can use this setup for DSO imaging if you have another camera like a DSLR. That said, it isn't recommended to get started using such a high focal length such as this for DSOs. The Sirius mount will be the best upgrade you could make here, as you could easily use it to image DSOs. Schmidt-Cassegrains are also OK for planetary imaging scopes. The issue with these is their cost to aperture ratio is much higher than newtonians, an 8" SCT is often more than double the price of an 8" newtonian and will not produce noticeably better images. Bigger budgets also allow you to buy larger telescopes and accessories such as barlows, just make sure your mount can handle the extra aperture. Imaging through a dobsonian with a long focal length isn't recommended because tracking is difficult so you won't be able to capture as many frames. An example planetary imaging setup: * Mount: Skywatcher EQ6 * OTA: Skywatcher 300P * Camera: ASI120MM * Other accessories: Televue 2.5x Powermate, Astro-engineering 4x Imagemate, Astronomiks proplanet 742nm IR filter There is a good deal of variety out there when it comes to setups and there is no one "right" solution. Ask around and try to find what works best for you in terms of image quality and your overall budget.
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