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Everything posted by Alan64

  1. Ah, then you know just how beastly an equatorial can be. With the counterweights required, per this telescope and that, it is rightly the equivalent of hauling out, then in, a mount, and two telescopes.
  2. I don't like my CG-4. It's in the "Twilight Zone" among equatorials as far as I'm concerned. If you ever do want an equatorial, the EQ5-class mounts are the sweet-spot among equatorials, just the weight of a small sack of sugar over an EQ3-class; and just as a 127mm Maksutov is among the varying apertures of its design. Yet an EQ-5 is much more versatile. If you're going to huff 'n' puff and lug out either one, make it an EQ-5. If you don't have a proper dew-shield for your Maksutov, do get one straight away. I didn't take my own outdoors at all until I got one for it... Enjoy.
  3. The OP's telescope is a 127mm Maksutov; a short tubed telescope. Yes, I suppose with a long-focus achromat that that would be problematic. Hence, let this be a lesson to those with long-focus refractors; and long-focus Newtonians perhaps?
  4. If CAD400, that's equivalent to about USD300, which is an amount whereby you can avoid the typical, entry-level kits, of which I have a few. For example, this one cost me only US$139... It's not a bad kit, not at all, and with a 114mm aperture. I got this one for $299, but I suspect it was a promotional at the time, as it's now back up to about $450... https://khanscope.com/collections/explore-scientific/products/explore-scientific-firstlight-127-mm-maksutov-cassegrain-telescope-on-twilight-nano-alt-az-mount-fl-mc1271900tn That's a 127mm Maksutov. It's like a microscope, but for the sky; for medium-high to high powered views. It's a close simulation of a long-tube, long-focus refractor, but within a compact, short tube. Other options... https://khanscope.com/collections/sky-watcher/products/heritage-p130-5-tabletop-dobsonian-telescope-31002 (for low-to-higher powered views of practically everything in the sky) https://kwtelescope.com/classic-150p-dobsonian/ (for medium-to-high powered views of the planets and deep-sky objects) https://kwtelescope.com/starpro-az-102mm-refractor/ (for low-to-medium powered views of dimmer objects) https://khanscope.com/collections/explore-scientific/products/explore-scientific-firstlight-4-inch-doublet-refractor-on-twilight-nano-equatorial-mount-fl-ar1021000eq3 (for medium-to-high powered views of the planets and deep-sky objects) https://khanscope.com/collections/meade/products/polaris-90mm-german-equatorial-refractor-216003 (for medium-to-high powered views of the planets and deep-sky objects) https://khanscope.com/collections/meade/products/meade-s102-mm-refractor-telescope-on-alt-az-mount-708010 (for low-to-medium powered views of dimmer objects) There are only four types of telescopes in the marketplace from which to choose: refractors, Newtonians, and Maksutov- and Schmidt-Cassegrains.
  5. If for visual-use only, I would suggest motorising the RA-axis only, and to the point whereby I had removed the DEC cable from the hand-controller from my own Celestron dual-drive kit, and for my own CG-4... But pay no attention to this madman, as I've yet to use the mount and motors, and likely never will, as I'm now wanting an EQ5-class mount instead. I have read in the past that amateurs usually prefer to manually adjust the DEC-axis, for what that's worth. I also know of at least one instance whereby a user attached this motor-drive to their CG-4, and successfully... https://www.365astronomy.com/Celestron-RA-Motor-Drive-EQ-AstroMasters-and-PowerSeekers.html The nice thing about that drive is that the speed is adjustable. I have one myself, but I haven't made use of it yet; soon, I hope, and with my EQ-1. For a CG-4, I would suspect perhaps a bit of DIY in attaching it to the mount. If you require dual-drives, for imaging, then please disregard my reply.
  6. There are after-market, stand-alone mounts of different types: a simple, tripod type alt-azimuth; or an equatorial, which can track objects for you, especially when motorised, but there is a learning-curve with equatorials. Then, there are the go-to mounts, either an alt-azimuth or an equatorial. All are differing types of mounts for various tasks, and at varying price-points. One of the simplest and easiest-to-use upgrades for the "Heritage" 130P or 150P... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth-astronomy-mounts/sky-watcher-az5-deluxe-alt-azimuth-mount.html The 150mm f/8 Newtonian of the "Skyliner" 150P has been a classic, tried-and-true instrument for decades... That advertisement being from 1963. The kits were more costly back then, as the mounts were robust; of metal, and motor-driven. Telescopes were more costly in general during that era, and up to about the year 2000. But since that time, the 150mm f/8 Newtonian has remained a constant, popular choice. I won't tell you which one to get, in the end. All have their strengths and weaknesses, which have already been discussed. But I would research the choices thoroughly before deciding, for the long run.
  7. Actually, the "Heritage" 150P is at f/5, which is more difficult to collimate than the "Skyliner" 150P at f/8. In addition, the "Heritage" is a collapsible, which further complicates collimation. Then, there's the helical-focusser of the "Heritage", which isn't quite up to snuff compared to the far superior focusser of the "Skyliner".
  8. A 150mm f/5 is versatile, for observing practically every object in the night sky satisfactorily, from a low 23x to 200x and beyond, the latter if the collimation is spot-on. A barlow or two, or very short focal-length eyepieces, would be required to reach the higher powers. However, a 150mm f/8 Newtonian-Dobson better fits the purpose of a telescope, and to see faraway objects up close. Simpler, less-costly eyepieces will give a good show, and collimation is indeed easier at f/8. Also, the secondary-obstruction is smaller, resulting in somewhat sharper, more contrasty images. The power with a 150mm f/8 can be as low as 21x, with a 2" 56mm Plossl, whilst keeping the exit-pupil just within limits, and for the hunting of objects. But then you have the physical sizes of the kits. The 150mm f/8 would be a bit more difficult to store and carry about, yet with improved stability whilst observing.
  9. In choosing either a short-tube refractor or Newtonian, in this case the latter, optical performance is sacrificed for ergonomics(easier to store, carry, travel with). The planets, to see them well and up-close requires either a telescope with a long focal-length, or that shorter combined with 2x and even 3x barlows(or comfortable, somewhat costly eyepieces of very short focal-lengths). In addition, the collimation of the Newtonian must be spot-on for sharp images at the higher powers, the powers necessary to bring the planets closer. Both a 130mm f/5 and 150mm f/5 Newtonian are quite versatile, and for observing most everything in the sky, from a low 20x to 200x and beyond.
  10. You have a choice to begin with either a refractor(achromat), or a reflector(Newtonian). Reflectors require collimation, alignment of the two mirrors within, on occasion. Refractors, generally, do not require such maintenance, as the design is simpler and tighter in construction. A refractor is usually a bit more costly, as lenses are more difficult to manufacture than mirrors. Refractors(achromats) will show false-colour to varying degrees whilst viewing brighter objects. The shorter the achromat, the worse the false-colour. Reflectors are false-colour free. For the same outlay of funds, a reflector will usually have the larger aperture. This is a shorter refractor... https://kwtelescope.com/starpro-az-90mm-refractor/ This, a longer refractor... https://kwtelescope.com/polaris-90mm-german-equatorial-refractor/ For either of those, a star-diagonal may be desired for the sky at night... https://kwtelescope.com/1-25-star-diagonal/ This is a shorter reflector... https://kwtelescope.com/polaris-130mm-german-equatorial-reflector/ This is a compact, collapsible, shorter reflector... https://www.all-startelescope.com/sales/product_info.php?cPath=21_112&products_id=624 This, a longer reflector... https://kwtelescope.com/polaris-114mm-german-equatorial-reflector/ This, a longer Newtonian-Dobson... https://kwtelescope.com/classic-150p-dobsonian/ What is your budget?
  11. Vixen produces a 90mm pair, and a 115mm pair. I have the latter for my refractor. Vixen does not offer customisations; never have in fact. The Sky-Watcher rings would work as well, with slightly thicker felt. You can use carpet-tape to secure non-adhesive felt within the rings... Before, and after... ...and that for a 50mm f/12 achromat from 1969. I used pipe-clamps of iron for that one. I'm able to use it now, albeit a bit on the dim side, although I have seen one of the dimmer globular-clusters through it; and stars within its mass, with averted-vision. My Takahashi is a porker, weighing in at about twice as much as the DC. John's DL comes closer to weight of my own, but not quite. Mine is about four pounds heavier than that. The DZ likely weighs the same as the DL. The finish of tube-rings, or a cradle, is a personal preference, as are the colours of same. Those Vixen rings of my own originally came from a 102mm Vixen achromat... I took one look through that achromat, then decided I didn't want an achromat for my definitive 4" refractor. I returned it and got the FS-102 instead. But I kept the Vixen rings and bar. True the Vixen-green is not quite as lovely as the Takahashi-green... ...but they're just rings, and they work.
  12. Oh, for the long run, you might want to consider the DZ instead... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/takahashi-fc-100-series-refractor-telescopes/tak_tfk10310.html
  13. Yes, of course it can, and simply by purchasing a pair of tube-rings and a dove-tail bar. This is my own Takahashi refractor, an FS-102, and attached to an EQ3-class equatorial. The rings and bar were made by Vixen. It's a snug fit, but they work... The outer diameter of the FC-100DC's optical-tube is 95mm. A 200mm-long Vixen-type dovetail-bar should serve. The rings are attached to the bar with stainless-steel machine-screws(or bolts). These 101mm rings should fit, but if they're slightly too loose, you can remove the thin felt and replace it with that somewhat thicker, and self-adhesive... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/tube-rings/skywatcher-telescope-tube-rings.html The rings are white, apparently, which would match the tube of the telescope; yes, quite. Black rings would look nice, too. You can also consider the Takahashi tube-cradle for it, if you haven't already. It should be possible to attach it to a dovetail-bar... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/takahashi-cradles/takahashi-tka21420-tube-cradle-for-fs-78sky-90fsq-85edx.html I believe that that one will fit the FC-100DC, but you will need to confirm all of that with FLO. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dovetails-saddles-clamps/astro-essentials-dovetail-bars.html (the 21cm)
  14. The Bresser 102/1000 refractor(achromat) would be best for visual-use; not ideal for astro-photography. The Orion "StarSeeker IV" 130/650 Newtonian is not fully collimatable, but might do in a pinch for astro-photography. If you're in the U.S., you can try this OTA... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/468744-USA/Vixen_Optics_2604_R130Sf_5_1_130mm_Reflector_Telescope.html/overview The Vixen is collimatable, but it has a plastic 1.25" focusser, and rubber-grommets for the primary-cell. Both can be upgraded, the cell most easily, and with metal springs. Then, you choose the go-to mount. However, this is the ideal 130/650; a proper, collimatable instrument... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-ds-ota.html ...and configured for astro-photography, as well as for visual-use.
  15. I have received individual parts for my focussers from the manufacturers, but under warranty, yet with myself to blame; no defects in either case. Am I to understand that Celestron International will not sell you the individual part(s) you need; only the entire focusser, and for £40?
  16. I understand, hence sacrifices to be made. Bortle-3 skies sound very nice; very nice indeed. I have Bortle-4 to -5 here at my home.
  17. There is another con to the collapsibles: they tend to require collimation more often than a full tube. I also suspect, over time, that the mechanical aspect of it being a collapsible would wear out over time, eventually making collimation very difficult if not impossible. This, William Herschel's 6.13" f/13.7 "Dobsonian", and with which he discovered the planet Uranus... Does a 6" f/8 seem too big and unmanageable still? In hindsight, I would've gotten a 6" f/8 instead of that 6" f/5. But that's just me, as I prefer telescopes with longer focal-lengths. They perform better, optically. A telescope can be ergonomic; easy to store, carry about, tuck away. Or, a telescope can be an optical powerhouse, one's very own observatory. A Maksutov-Cassegrain comes closest to encompassing both aspects, but it has its own issues... Do you live in a city, or a suburb of same; or far enough away from either, under darker skies, a semi-rural to rural setting?
  18. Both the 6"f/8 and 8" f/6 Newtonian-Dobsons have the same focal-length: 1200mm, and great for medium-low, medium, and high magnifications; not so much for low-power, wide-field views. But then, a telescope, in the first place, is for seeing faraway objects up close, and closer still if the collimation is spot-on. Else, you'd use a pair of binoculars. It just so happens that I have that Orion 6" f/5 kit... However, notice what I did. I couldn't stand the original Dobson alt-azimuth mount, so I moved the telescope over to a tripod-type alt-azimuth, and the experience was worlds better. A 6" f/5 Newtonian has it all, almost: a shorter tube, an appreciable aperture, and the ability to observe most everything in the night sky, from about 20x(binocular-like), up to 200x and beyond. It's quite the all-rounder. Although a 6" f/5 Newtonian is more difficult to collimate compared to a 6" f/8 Newtonian-Dobson, but not as badly as that might seem to imply. In addition, the secondary-obstruction is larger at f/5 versus f/8. Such will reduce sharpness, for it's an obstruction, like a cataract of the human eye. That of an f/8 is smaller, and negligible. If you're curious, you can peruse the finer GSO 6" f/5 OTA, and the same tripod-type alt-azimuth that I have, here... http://www.andrewscom.com.au/site-content-section-10-guansheng.htm#accessories ...decisions, decisions.
  19. At one point, a few decades ago, Plossls were considered to be premium eyepieces. They still are to an extent, but currently they are among the most economical eyepieces you can buy. They are now regarded as the minimum standard in performance-eyepieces. Some beginner, entry-level kits include Plossls even, albeit the somewhat pricier kits. Plossls perform well with practically every telescope, specifically the short-tube Newtonians which are the most demanding and picky as to the eyepieces introduced to them. However, there is a catch: eye-relief, the distance that you have to hold your eye up to the eye-lens of an eyepiece to see the full field-of-view. Plossls shorter than 9mm have rather tight eye-relief(6mm, 5mm, 4mm), whereby you almost have to touch the eyepiece with the eyeball itself to see the full view. And to make matters worse, those shorter eyepieces are for the higher powers. One solution is to barlow one of the longer Plossls. With a 3x-barlow combined with a 12mm Plossl, you get an effective, simulated 4mm; with a 2x-barlow and a 9mm Plossl, a 4.5mm. With your telescope, that translates into powers of 225x and 200x, respectively. You do retain the longer eye-relief of the longer eyepieces when barlowing them. Sometimes the eye-relief is greater than that even when barlowing. But know that the Newtonian's collimation must be spot-on to make use of the higher powers. Fortunately, with your telescope at f/8, collimation is easier, than at f/5 or f/4.
  20. Yes, that kit and the smaller "Heritage" 130mm f/5 are collapsibles, and with a helical focusser. In that you're wanting to take pictures, you may prefer a 150mm f/8 Newtonian-Dobson, and with a conventional, metal 2"/1.25" focusser... https://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/product/6-classic-dobsonian/ If you can find this 150mm f/5 Newtonian-Dobson kit there in Australia, it has a solid tube and a traditional(albeit plastic) 1.25" rack-and-pinion focusser... https://www.amazon.com.au/Orion-10016-StarBlast-Reflector-Telescope/dp/B00463ZK3O If you wouldn't mind bumping the aperture down a bit, yet with no collimation worries... https://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/product/90-eq2-refractor/
  21. Baldor, the galaxy in Andromeda is at least six full-Moons wide... Therefore, the lowest power possible among telescopes is required to view it in its entirety, even through a pair of binoculars, and the lowest power of all with the eyes only. The lowest power possible with your 114/900 is 28x, and with a 32mm Plossl; for example... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astro-essentials-eyepieces/astro-essentials-super-plossl-eyepiece.html Not a bad view at all, and in almost encompassing the galaxy. Even the galaxy's satellite-galaxies, M32 and M110, are visible within the view. I would strongly suggest getting a 32mm Plossl. Now, if you had the shorter 114/500 Newtonian, the 32mm would offer this wide a view of the galaxy... As you can see, the galaxy is almost seen in its entirety, but your longer telescope is better for most objects in the sky; the planets and the majority of deep-sky objects, which are smaller and much smaller than the galaxy in Andromeda. Incidentally, I got a telescope primarily and specifically to view the galaxy in Andromeda in its entirety, a 100/400 Newtonian... This will be my own view of the galaxy when I get around to observing it with my 32mm Plossl(I haven't yet)... As you can see, that little star-box can show the entire galaxy. That 100/400 is the same as this one... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-100p-tabletop-dobsonian.html All in all, that should help you understand the nature of long-tube and short-tube refractors and Newtonians a bit better. Now, I'm not suggesting that you should've gotten a 114/500 or a 100/400 instead of the 114/900, for the short-tube refractors and Newtonians are not as observationally versatile as your own. I would never suggest or recommend a short-tube refractor or Newtonian as a first and only telescope, but I would the one that you already have. So, in my opinion, you made the best choice after all.
  22. In that your C5 Schmidt is at f/10, you don't need corrective/expensive eyepieces for a good showing; instead eyepieces much, much less than £100 each. But do avoid ready-made sets. Plossls at 9mm and longer, up to 32mm, are a good choice. Others prefer a wider view. Those can be a bit more expensive, but for an f/10 telescope, not much more; and sometimes even less than an already-economical Plossl, if you know where to look. The choosing of eyepieces approaches the importance of choosing a pair of prescription-eyeglasses, particularly if one has to wear glasses whilst observing. There are more eyepieces out there in the marketplace at which you might shake a stick. I do know for the lowest power and widest view that a 32mm Plossl would be the ideal; a 24mm 68° ocular is a more expensive alternative to that. The width of the view would be the same as the 32mm, but the background sky would be darker, blacker, more contrasty. That's due to the somewhat higher power of the 24mm. Always, as you go up in magnification, the sky grows darker. Patience and research is key, and with no more than one eyepiece to consider at a time, ideally.
  23. From your description, I assume you're needing that outlined in red, but do you have that outlined in green which secures the draw-tube within the focusser's housing? The upper, chromed part on the left is the draw-tube. The lower black part is the visual-back which screws onto the draw-tube and holds the eyepieces. The small parts on the right keeps the draw-tube from falling out whilst racking it in and out.
  24. Yes, a refractor or Newtonian with a focal-length at 900mm and longer is ideal for the planets, the longer the better. Unfortunately, that requires the telescope tubes to be longer as well. Both designs are rather ancient, and from the 1600s. An alternative is a Newtonian at f/5, either a 130/650 or a 150/750. I have the latter... The 150/750 Newtonian is not all that long, and weighs about 12 lbs. or so, just the optical-tube, or OTA. But it can be a bit of a beast in its own right. At f/5, both the 130mm and 150mm are somewhat difficult to collimate, but with barlows both can produce quite good images of the planets, and close-up, and offer low-power wide-field views as well. These are examples of a smaller 130/650... https://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Reflector-Telescopes/Reflector-Telescopes-for-Beginners/Orion-SpaceProbe-130ST-Equatorial-Reflector-Telescope/pc/1/c/11/sc/339/p/9007.uts?refineByCategoryId=339 https://www.telescopesplus.com/products/zhumell-z130-portable-altazimuth-reflector-telescope Still, I prefer telescopes with longer focal-lengths, like this 90/900 refractor... Note how long it is in relation to your 70/400 refractor. A 90/900 kit for example... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1061423-REG/meade_216003_polaris_90mm_german_equtorial.html Now, if you were referring to a Maksutov, those are a bit of a specialty, and for those unfamiliar with one, a Makstov is best used with a go-to mount, for example... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/681797-REG/Celestron_22097_NexStar_127SLT_Computerized_Telescope.html This is because of the very long focal-length. It's quite difficult to find objects when using a Maksutov on a manual mount. The telescope is a bit blind in that, and needs help to find its way around the sky, hence a go-to mount. But, before you consider yet another telescope, try to exhaust all the possibilities with the 114/500 Newtonian.
  25. I would hardly look upon a 114/500 as a "beast"; not even this 114/900 as such... Both, the short refractor and the short reflector, are configured for low-power wide-field views; well under 100x. At least you'll have the full 114mm aperture, the brightness and resolution, with the reflector; if it's collimated well. Short Newtonians are more difficult to collimate. Then, there's the secondary-obstruction: a long 114/900 on the left, and a short 100/400(similar to your 114/500) on the right... A reflector's secondary-obstruction is like a cataract of the human eye. The images are not as sharp and contrasty as a result. The shorter the Newtonian, the larger the obstruction; conversely, the longer, the smaller. The one on the left is ideal for high-powered, close-up views of the planets; the one on the right, not so much, I'm afraid. 400mm and 500mm focal-length telescopes do not play well with the focal-lengths of eyepieces, in realising the higher powers. The planets become interesting around 150x. With your 114/500... 500mm ÷ 150x = a 3.3mm eyepiece; for example... https://agenaastro.com/bst-1-25-uwa-planetary-eyepiece-3-2mm.html (156x) But I'm not suggesting that you purchase that eyepiece, for I do not know if it will play well with the 114/500; perhaps, perhaps not. It would be a gamble. A safer alternative would be a 9mm Plossl eyepiece combined with a 3x-barlow, and for an effective, simulated 3mm(167x). I would stick with Plossl eyepieces for the 114/500. Plossls perform well with shorter Newtonians; the cheaper of wide-angle eyepieces, not so much. Plossls... https://agenaastro.com/eyepieces/1-25-eyepieces/shopby/gso-gso_plossl.html A 3x-barlow, for example... https://agenaastro.com/meade-128-3x-barlow-07278.html To see details, and the natural colouring, of Jupiter, through the 114/500, a variable-polariser is suggested, for example... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1454232-REG/celestron_94107_variable_polarizer_filter_1_25.html?gclid=CjwKCAjww5r8BRB6EiwArcckC2NP7CaaTx33ZFxqisaX_US26SewSrZ9um39UpPWT-2DqQxmVPukuBoCnZ0QAvD_BwE You've made strides in getting a telescope to see the planets, but you're not there, quite yet. Now, all of those eyepieces and accessories can be used with other telescope that may be acquired in future, therefore they're a sound investment, although a 3x-barlow might be too much for a longer focal-length telescope. For high-powered, close-up views of the Moon, the planets, and the single and double-stars, along with the smaller deep-sky objects, a telescope should have a minimum of 900mm in focal-length. This telescope of my own has a focal-length of 1900mm, a 127/1900... It's not much larger in aperture compared to your 114/500, and short, too, but its focal-length is almost four times that of your own. Of course, high-powered views are its forte. It's like a microscope, but for the night sky. You might want one of those some day. It's a Maksutov, a modified-Cassegrain.
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