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Fantasy Equipment Plan

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I want to specify some top end equipment to buy and then when I know the full cost I am going to see what I can do to get it all (legally!!). I am talking about motivating myself really. I currently have a SM127 on an AZ Goto Mount and a few bits (as a grab and go - which is why I bought it first) but I want some serious advice on what would be ideal kit for both viewing and Astro-Togging.

I am still a novice and would just like to see what advice I get and then ask questions and make decisions until I end up with a good spec and budget.

Please don't take the michael!!



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Well I guess my first question is does something like a 12" Meade LX200 do everything?

Not only wont it do everything (e.g. wide field DSO) it would not in my opinion be top end kit - its a midrange item in my book.


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This was something posted on Cloudy Nights when a person how many scopes is enough?:


.....I'd say Six for a completely rounded collection!

1 - A Go Deep Refractor

2 - A Go Deep Dob

3 - A Mid-sized, not too heavy, easy in and out the house scope (this would be the most used or daily yard scope)

4 - A Very small and lite quick look and daytime scope (66mm or 80mm)

5 - A Travel scope (#4 could double as this, but I like the travel one a bit bigger)

6 - A Solar scope

...wait , if you have a vacation home then there needs to be a permanent scope there...so Seven!

....actually...can never have enough.

...wait...I forgot...a nostalgia scope, like a long long refractor. Maybe 2 of these, a big one and a small one. Nine!

OK...I forgot about photography ...two more one dedicated imaging and a guide scope on it. Eleven!

Yes. ELEVEN...a nice round number

---you're not counting finder scopes I hope

One person admitted to over 100, they had boarded the loft space to store them, they did not have the most.

A couple of nights back someone posted a list of the scopes thay had. Something like 14 or 15. You can probably find it easily.

I like refractors, would rather have a good 6 inch apo at 5K then a 12 inch reflector at 1/3 the cost.

But have you seen the Sumerian Optics dobsonian offerings? Sumerian Optics

They are a work of art almost and I would consider one of them.

What is your idea of an ultimate will not be mine.

Edited by Capricorn
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ok so what set of scopes would you propose please?


a) Solar Scope

:) Big Dob 20"+

c) Widefield Refractors various sizes 66mm - 120mm depending on targets for imaging

d) F15 Large Refractor for Luna and Planetary at least 6"

e) Mak Newtonian to also play with imaging

f) Grab and go scope small mak probably for nights when its all to much effort

And im sure plenty will disagree with my choices :D

Oh and of course 4 of each scope used for imaging and 4 mounts to do 4 filters at once... if your going to do it, do it LOL

Edited by Earl
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Just have a browse for some Borg or APM scopes as an example, you will quickly find that "top end" comes with a top price. Seriously expensive stuff, and thats before you get to the mount and all the other gubbins.

You dont need to spend loads (ie: over 3 or 4k) to have a complete imaging setup that would last many years (if not a lifetime). Sometimes, less is more.

Edited by Uranium235
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This is what you need:

PlaneWave Instruments - PRODUCTS

Well you did say it was fantasy lol :D

I believe now stocked by Ian King...:)

don't forget the AstroPhysics lineup...

The 3600GTO mount looks line the lunar lander. I don't think they are making any more 170's, but the 130 Starfire gets great reviews.

...and also then you would finally be listened to if you post on cloudynights...:D

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It'll go on one of these:

PlaneWave Instruments - PRODUCTS

And it's a bargain cos you get a free dovetail clamp lol :D

10 inch-diameter Renishaw high resolution encoders fully integrated into each axis, with approximately 14 million ticks per rotation (0.07 arc seconds per tick)

Couple of empty washing up bottle tops..

So take a 10 pence piece, divide it by 14, then place the 14th of a ten pence piece three miles away.. Also that 4m focal length is droolworthy until you realise that you really should have active secondary mirror to undo the effects of the atmosphere! Now, if I won £150M then I wouldn't feel bad about it..

Edited by NickK
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Well I guess my first question is does something like a 12" Meade LX200 do everything?

No, it does very little.

A good mount is the base and not cheap. From 5K upwards.

In visual use aperture matters a great deal. In imaging it does not matter much. In essence you are asking what is the best camera lens and there is no answer. Do you want fisheye, wide, fairly wide, medium telephoto, telephoto? It depends on your target.

Given a blank cheque the DS imagers on the forum would go for at least three scopes of different FL to suit different targets. All would have very fast f ratios, flat fields and sharp, colour corrected optics.

The visual enthusiasts would probably go for a big driven Obsession, 20 or 25 inch, but that won't do much imaging.

The planetary imagers would likely opt for a C14 on the grounds that if it's good enough for Damian Peach...

There is no One Scope Fits All but a great mount is a great mount.

I have just one bit of 'perfect' kit, a Takahashi FSQ85ED astrograph. I can't fault it and would just like five on a Paramount, each with an 11 meg camera in the back, as in L,R,G,B,Ha. Five hours data in an hour at f3.9. Note the considerable economy in dispensing with filter wheels! Mosaic heaven. (Can I have two secretaries to help with the processing in the moringing though?)

The Plane Wave ad reads well but so does the ASA direct drive ad, and that mount has serious problems.


PS The only person I have ever met who has actually owned some of this fantasy kit is robotically based near me and has not found that all was necessarily well with it. The Dream Telescope (the brand) got a big thumbs up though.

Edited by ollypenrice
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PS The only person I have ever met who has actually owned some of this fantasy kit is my (robotic) neighbour Karel Teuwen and he says his Dream Telescope (the brand) is the one that did what it claimed to do from the outset and works superbly. Some expensive stuff has not impressed him.

Hell yeah! If I had $117,500 I get one too:

Newtonian Astrographs - Cellular Optics, Cellular Mirrors, Cellular Elliptical, Carbon Fiber OTA, Carbon Fiber Optical Tube Assembly, Lightweight Optics, Lightweight Mirrors, Light Weight Mirror, Light Weight Optic

btw, I'm assuming that's the secondary he has in his hands!

I think I might sell the house and buy two!


in fact that's got me thinking....a scope like that need's more than a roll off shed...time to start thinking about moving into the warm room! :D

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..in fact that's got me thinking....a scope like that need's more than a roll off shed...time to start thinking about moving into the warm room!

An 81 meter mirror, with the house wrapped around it in a mountain evil hideaway..

The RC was the other one I drool at. What gets me is the trailer mount with the two RCs on (soon to be three as a larger scope is being added in the centre). Perfect for star parties! It's one of those things really - you wouldn't spend that amount without talking to owners and previous owners to get a real lowdown on the equipment.

To be honest, everytime I use the pentax it surprises me. I really can't wait to get a better camera strapped to it!

Edited by NickK
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I presume by top end equipment without going to large observatory types, you would be looking at refractors, the Starfire range by Astro-Physics, top end Meade,Celestron or Japanese reflectors, and then your mount would be typical of the Losmandy range etc, then there is eye pieces, top end range of Tel-vue, all together these items will run you into thousands of pounds :D

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I think Olly is right a good mount first ( i.e. Paramount ME, AP1200 ) then either a selection of scopes or...

Well I have long thought, if you have the room room, a top quality 300 to 400 mm Newtonian at about F4 say Orion Optics but with 3"focuser. You can then add an ASA corrector to get a widefield astrograph, a normal coma corrector for medium field work and then a series of powermates for planetary or small galaxy imaging. Off axis mask & filters for white light solar or Ha.


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LOL for the contributions!!

OK so can I suggest that I get advice on something like an EQ6 Pro Goto Mount and then a mak newt, refractor and dob (i.e. all three) to cover me for a while. What would a kit list look like roughly and what actual scopes would you lovely people recommend please?

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