Re: (IAAC) astrophotography

Clouseau@webtv.net wrote:
>I hope some people can give me information on something that I have
>absolutely no practical experience with. That's astrophotography. I've
>done a lot of reading about it so understand the basics. But, I've never
>even considered trying it until recently. A few days ago, I obtained
>from a friend a single axis drive correcter and an adapter that will let
>me attach a camera to my telescope. I have a Meade 10" f4.5 reflecter. I
>live in a very light polluted city. But, I have access to a dark sky
>site about 60 miles away from the city. Given the hardware I have how
>much I may be able to do? Am I going to be limited to the sun and moon
>or can I go farther? 
>Here's a related question. To do photography, I know I will have to have
>my scope polar aligned. Without any type of device such as an alignment
>scope, how can I tell if I am polar aligned? I can eyeball it using a
>compass but doubt if that's close enough for photography.
I'm a fledgling at all this too but I have tried to photgraph 2 objects: 
the moon and Jupiter. I have been pretty successful capturing the moon. 
It's so bright that I was able to use shutter speeds faster than 1/30 
sec. Also the moon is so bright that I had no trouble focusing.
Jupiter was another story entirely. In this case everything worked 
against me. Shutter speeds were very slow, focusing was difficult, tripod 
jitter became a problem and camera movement due to mirror movement was 
also a factor. I disobeyed many of the dictums in HJP Arnold's bbok on 
Astrophotography, published by S&T. Whether my scope was polar aligned 
was irrelevant.Fortunately the weather got cold and gave me a reason to 
wait until next spring to try again.
My best advice, which I will try next spring, is to go for modest goals 
first, such as the moon and constellations (taken with the camera 
piggybacked on top of the telescope.) Then as experience develops try for 
the fuzzies and the planets.
-Lou Cohen