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Cosmic Geoff

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About Cosmic Geoff

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    Bucks, United Kingdom
  1. If you are into serious DIY, consider making a proper equatorial mount with RA drive. Amateur telescope makers used to do this in the days before Chinese-made mounts and credit cards. Or keep an eye on the second-hand market and see what comes up. A budget alt-azimuth GoTo mount (e.g. Celestron Nexstar SLT or Skywatcher Synscan) will work quite well for short exposures with a small telescope, if you fancy that route. See my posts under EEVA reports.
  2. I bought a 15mm Celestron Omni plossl to use with mine. The focal reducer will give you a wider visual field. Alternatively you could get a 32mm or 40mm eyepiece. As for AP, I suggest you think of getting some entirely different kit. The OTA is best suited for planetary astrophotography, and the SE mount it not suited for any sort of astrophotography at all.
  3. Good advice above. People do perform astrophotography using the somewhat similar 130PDS Newtonian reflector, but mounting it on suitable powered equatorial mounts that cost far more the entire Heritage 130 outfit. For general astrophotography, a DSLR or an expensive large-sensor astro camera would be used, and for planetary astrophotography a small-sensor planetary astro camera (+Barlow) would be used. The question for you therefore is: how much are you prepared to spend? If the Heritage has a standard dovetail, it could be re-mounted on a better mount. What 'better mount' means is up to you, but a really good one would leave little change out of £1000.
  4. I think you are worrying about something that 99.99% of SCT owners don't worry about. The manufacturing tolerances of the corrector and secondary supports should ensure that it is well enough centred for the purpose. There has been some discussion here about whether the angular position of the secondary mirror is critical, should it come loose, but the general opinion was that the recent secondaries are well enough figured so that the angular position should not matter. Some SCTs are said to perform better than others, with the finger of blame being pointed mainly at some older production runs (of a particular make). But I have found that at an 8" size the main limiting factor is the atmosphere.
  5. Depends what you think you want out of the hobby. There is no 'right' answer. Some people like the simple approach and swear by 'learning the sky'. Others like lots of tech. Personally I have never seen the point of 'learning the sky' and most of my observing projects involve the use of GoTo. Equatorial mount - for the beginner a manual equatorial is probably more trouble than it's worth. A motorized equatorial would be handy for visual observing. Heavy duty equatorial mounts (nearly always GoTo these days) are used for serious astrophotography. Also be aware that modern electronics and cameras can considerably enhance the reach of even a small telescope. GoTo makes faint objects rapidly findable. Planetary imaging can reveal detail that is hard to even glimpse visually. And if you see what a small scope set up for EAA (electronically assisted astronomy) can do, you may start to wonder what's the point of a bigger scope, at least for fainter objects not requiring high resolution.
  6. Visually observing the planets may not occupy you for very long. For £500 you can definitely buy something that will let you see some bands on Jupiter and glimpse its Great Red Spot, and the rings of Saturn and lots of detail on the moon. Somewhere on this site is a guide to 'What can I see?' But once you have looked at these?? You can explore the deep sky with a Dob, but it is a lot easier to find stuff with a GoTo mount. The latter may involve choosing a smaller telescope to keep within your budget. Some people though don't get on with GoTo mounts or prefer the old-fashioned simple method. Personally I would not be without a GoTo mount as most of the things I want to try would be difficult, excessively time-consuming or impossible without one. There isn't any 'best answer' when buying a telescope as it is largely a matter of personal preference.
  7. It clearly rains more in some parts of the country than in Bucks. My lawn looks rather brown in summer and it never gets boggy. I have a line of paving slabs running alongside the 'observing' area of the back lawn, so that I can tramp to and fro on them or try to place the stool there. Paving slabs can be a mixed blessing for tripods as they shift if you put your weight on the slab.
  8. There is also Meade's new LX65 series, with ACF optics and a single arm mount that can mount two scopes. An 8" model costs about £1300. There are some reviews of it online. Is ACF the equivalent of Celestron's Edge HD? An 8" Celestron Edge HD costs around £1300 without any mount.
  9. My experience of Celestron SCTs and Maksutovs is that they work well optically and if the mount develops a minor problem I can fix it myself. Spares seem to be available for bigger problems, should anything occur. No reason to switch brands so far. Thousands of happy owners can't be wrong. As for Meade, never used one, less familiar, confusing model identifying scheme, rumours of mechanical problems.
  10. Primarily for visual use? The Celestron C8SE is a popular setup, and a good visual instrument, and portable (one can pick up the whole assembly and carry it through a standard doorway) However as a C8 SE owner, let me disillusion you of the notion that it is any good for imaging. Using it for planetary imaging is a pain and for deep space imaging, even worse. If you intend any sort of imaging, get a C8 tube assembly and mount it on the heavy-duty GoTo mount of your choice. The CPC800 version works very well for planetary imaging, but a German equatorial GoTo would be a more flexible choice. Attempting deep-space imaging with a scope of 2 metre focal length is by most accounts not for beginners, regardless of what the manufacturer may imply. As for the LX90, I know nothing, but take a critical look at the mount and tripod.
  11. The wedge seems to be getting the thumbs-down here. As an engineer, I can appreciate that using a wedge could add more stress to a consumer-grade mount. Perhaps the best answer is to mount it as an alt-az but design the setup/pier so that a wedge can be added later if desired. The wedge for the OU LX200 telescope is a fixed one, apparently welded up from angle iron.
  12. An equatorial mount (wedge) will get any images in the correct RA/Dec orientation, which may be a consideration for your purpose. I took an image of the 'africano' comet with an alt-az mount and it is skewed by about 45 deg which made the image harder to interpret.
  13. Africano captured EVA style with 102mm f5 Startravel achromat, ASI224MC on SLT mount. Field is angled around 45 deg to lat/long. Comet near bottom of frame next to TYC2285-216-1 19 Sept around 22.30 BST
  14. I was thinking of the deepsky imaging with long exposures option. IIRC the eyepiece height of the OU instrument is suited to standing observers - a bit high for a child. The wedge is triangular (a fixed welded sub-frame) and I don't think removing it would make the instrument significantly lower.
  15. Future proofing. I have seen the 16" LX200 Meade at the Open University observatory, and that sits on a wedge.
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