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Limerick John

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    visual and astrophotography, sea angling
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    limerick, Ireland

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  1. Either of these instruments should work well for wide field astrophotography. You will need a field flattener / extender for reach focus. I use a basic Skywatcher field flattener (can be found under different brand names) which does both and works well. Your T ring screws on the back of the flattener to attach your camera https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reducersflatteners/stellamira-2-field-flattener-with-m48-adapter.html Check the weight limit on your mount first.
  2. The Dob wins here unless portability or space is an issue. For the same money you are looking at say a 100mm doublet refractor. I have both. The refractor gives lovely wide field views and good views of the moon and planets at lower powers. The 12" Dob just goes much deeper.
  3. I have the 90mm and 127mm Skywatcher Maks. They are good instruments for the money with very sharp optics. The 127mm is excellent on the moon and planets and is also good for the brighter DSOs. There is a bit of flaring from bright stars just outside the field of view but it is minimal. This is probably due to the baffling. This is my grab and go scope which I have mounted on a Skywatcher AZ4 mount. Replace the diagonal with a decent dielectric and get some plossl eyepieces. I use a 32mm plossl eyepiece to give the widest field of view. It just frames the full moon with a crop frame camera which can be attached directly to the back of the scope via a T adapter which screws directly to the provided rear thread. https://www.flickr.com/photos/7703127@N07/49844940726/in/dateposted-public/ Have a look at an 8" Dobsonian as well- its a great all rounder
  4. I agree with the advice above. My goto eyepiece for my 12" F5 Dob is a 27mm Televue Panoptic (which I picked up used). It gives bright sharp to the edge images with a nice wide field of view, perfect for the Orion nebula, double cluster, Pleiades etc.. I don't use anything with a longer focal length than that. Its also my goto eyepiece for my 103mm F7 refractor.
  5. The ST80s' are good little scopes, especially for wide field observing, not so great at high magnification though. Would you consider a decent pair of binoculars to start with? There a few good makes to choose from. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pentax-binoculars/pentax-sp-50mm-wp-binoculars.html I would still recommend holding off for a 6 or 8" Dobsonian. They would give you so much more flexibility and are great all rounders for an extra 70 bucks. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html
  6. This is not a bad combo to consider alongside the Hertitage. A 90mm Mak on an EQ1 mount. It is quite steady and is great for the moon, planets and the sun (with solar filter). You can add a motor drive later and they track quite well. It won't have the aperture of the Heritage or be as good on clusters and nebulae but they punch well above their weight on the solar system objects. Its a small package and no collimation to worry about. You can connect a DSLR directly to the back of the instrument for shots of the moon (see below) and nature photography. The EQ mount can be a bit fiddly to start with but you soon get used to them. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-90-eq1.html If you can stretch a bit further, a 6" Dob is a great all rounder which you won't regret https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html
  7. I picked up one of these lights from Princeton Tec two years ago. They are a bit pricey but well made and should last a long time. It has a set of clip down filters that come with it. I leave the red one on permanently. Its a pretty decent headlight for other activities too (fishing etc..) as it has three light levels. I am still using the original AAA batteries that came with it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000RLM3P2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  8. The 103 would push your mount to its limit. Not ideal for astrophotography in that case (fine telescope though). Perhaps the 73mm for your setup. The Skywatcher ED pro scopes might come in a tad lighter. An 80mm might work well.
  9. Yep, an 8" Dob like the 200P would be ideal if you can push the budget a bit more and will give many years of great views.
  10. The best planetary views I have seen were with my 12" Dob. I found them better than through my 11" SCT, as the cool down period is quicker there are no tube currents. That was from Sydney where the local seeing can be exceptional at times. Back in Ireland with the same scope and the low altitude of the planets it is mostly mushy images with the odd night of average/ decent seeing. I rarely push it beyond 120X. Syywatcher scopes are pretty good. What does a star test look like through your scope (in and out of focus). Are there nice concentric rings on both sides of the focus or is it mushy? Make sure the scope is fully cooled down before doing this. use a high powered eyepiece and a green filter if you have one.
  11. I'm bringing a scope and filter to work and setting up after lunchime in the carpark for an hour or so for anyone who wants a quick peek at the event. Loads of interest in it with my colleagues and I get to sneak off work for an hour
  12. I have a SW 127mm Mak and a 103mm doublet. I love the views through both instruments. The refractor gives lovely wide field views but can take some magnification and gives good planetary views. I could spend hours just looking at the Pleiades and Perseus double cluster which are perfectly framed. The Mak is a moon and planet killer and good general purpose instrument. I use an AZ4 mount for both scopes and swap them around as required.
  13. I have the Zenithstar 103. It's a nice instrument and gives very pleasing views, especially on wide field stuff. Nice sharp optics. Its a bit more expensive that the others but the fit and finish are very good. I suspect the optics are similar to the other scopes mentioned but in FL53. Not mad about the focuser though. I haven't tried any astrophotography with it yet . Like yourself, I got it to complement my 72mm Megrez refractor.
  14. A small refractor such as a 72mm or 80mm ED will work well. There are plenty of choices out there, they have an easier learning curve and are easier on the mount. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-outfit.html https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4964_TS-Optics-ED-102-mm-f-7-Refractor-Telescope-with-2-5--R-P-focuser.html I have seen great results on those short focal length reflectors (F4) that are available at good prices. You need a coma corrector as well You are looking at the best part of £600 for a 8" scope with corrector. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-quattro-f4-imaging-newtonian.html https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-f4-aplanatic-coma-corrector.html https://www.firstlightoptics.com/coma-correctors/baader-mpcc.html
  15. I have the Zenithstar 103. Its a fine instrument and is fairly light and portable and works fine on a small mount like an AZ4. The focuser is OK but not brilliant. For the same price (£1170) I would go for the triplet. They were 1800 euro when I was looking around so that price you quoted is a great deal. It even cheaper than the 102mm version at the moment. Go for it.
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