I have been getting started in AP with my DSLR. So far I have been doing landscape (Milky Way) on a tripod without tracking by using image stacking approach. I would now like to start imaging closer DSO (M31 etc) using my DSLR and 18-300 mm lens. I have seen YouTube videos showing how that can be done without tracking, but I don't want to go about processing 600-1000 images for single object. I'm interested in acquiring a low entry point tracker specifically iExos-100. Can the community help me with a few questions to help me narrow down my choice?
1) I see a lot of posts on challenges with polar alignment on this model. Does a rough polar alignment followed by three star alignment a good way to get long exposures without investing in additional hardware at this time?
2) With the above mentioned alignment, what are some realistic exposure times on an APS-C DSLR and 300mm zoom?
3) The description says Open source software, but I'm unclear on exactly what portion of software is truly open source. Is there an IDE and source code available to "tweak" the software?
4) Is it possible to do planetary photography with long exposures?
5) Is it possible to do time lapses?
6) Does Explore Scientific offer discounts for first time buyers?