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ST80 as a grab 'n go


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Hi all,

I'm wondering what the opinion is on the Startravel 80 as a "grab 'n go" observing 'scope?

A bit of background to this question, I'm after something small to quickly take outside when opportunity presents/sling in the car for trips away, BUT will also eventually double up as a guide scope for AP. Primary "grab 'n go" viewing interests - lunar and planetary... I've no expectations of faint-fuzzies from it!

I have considered the Startravel 102, but I'm wondering if I'll be pushing my luck weight-wise for AP when coupled with a (planned) 150PDS on an HEQ5.

Not sure it's relevant to the original question but to cover all bases: I'd probably look to buy a second hand EQ3-2 for the ST's grab 'n go duties.

All advice gratefully received

~Keith

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From what I've read of the ST80, it would be far better as a widefield scope (i.e. one to use just to sweep the skies, and see things that are a struggle to fit in the FOV in most scopes, such as M31 from a dark sky).

The big plus with the ST80 is the portability, the ability to take it to really dark skies. You don't need dark skies for lunar or planetary viewing, so (at least for me), you should drop this requirement. In doing so, the ST80 is a very good candidate for a grab-n-go scope.

HTH

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As long as you are not expecting too much it will be fine planetary work will be limited and you are going to need high power eyepieces for it I would suggest , 8, 7,6,5 and a good barlow because really you want 4, 3.5,3,2.5 but the eye relief will be terribleon those. I would suggest televue plossl because cheap ones will show up your optics. It's not a good planetary scope it's more for rich field but it's portable and it's a great guidescope and you are probably right if you are using plossl at those focal lengths for planetary having a mount with at least ra tracking will be useful

Edited by rowan46
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I use an ST80 - and it serves me well. It's been a great way to get back in to astronomy and is perfect for my needs - with no car and no garden I can carry it the five minutes down the road to the park with no trouble whatsoever. As has been said it's best on wide-field views but from a dark site will show plenty of Messier objects - I managed to find M101 with it from dark skies in Pembrokeshire. While it won't ever show spiral arms or fine structure in nebulae, it's really easy to find stuff with it because the FOV is so huge.

For planets it's less good, but it will show cloud belts on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn with no bother whatsoever, even from outside the front door, under the glare of the sodium lights. I've been wanting to try it out properly on the moon but the weather and my social / work life hasn't played ball. If the skies stay clear I'm going to try and split the double-double with it this evening but my efforts so far have been in vain... Wish me luck!

DD

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I'm encouraged by the widefield reports, I have to say this isn't something I had thought about.

As long as you are not expecting too much it will be fine planetary work will be limited and you are going to need high power eyepieces for it I would suggest , 8, 7,6,5 and a good barlow because really you want 4, 3.5,3,2.5 but the eye relief will be terribleon those. I would suggest televue plossl because cheap ones will show up your optics. It's not a good planetary scope it's more for rich field but it's portable and it's a great guidescope and you are probably right if you are using plossl at those focal lengths for planetary having a mount with at least ra tracking will be useful

Thanks for the EP advice Rowan46, you've preempted a question.

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Good thread, thanks for the link. Your comments really stack up with my thoughts. Eventually I do want to get into imaging DSO's; I'm currently working my way through Making Every Photon Count". But for observing, I really want something I'm going to use as frequently as I can (the weather and my life let me!) This leads me towards something that is as grab 'n go as possible.

Like most I'm not in a position where money is no object, so, although it's never going to perfectly fit dual purposes if I can get something that will serve observing and guide-scope needs that's great.

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  • 10 months later...

A bit late but I love my ST80 as well and more than happy using it on a AZ3 and as it has a mounting plate (I got the Orion one) I am going to see if it will fit my heritage 130p dob base.

I wrote up my findings on using it.

Did you get one?

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