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Ceph and Cass

compromise, problems, solutions


rowan46
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We all did it when we started out. At least those of us in the internet age. There is so much choice out there and a lot of it is now affordable compared to when I first wanted a scope. (Part of the reason is I now have a little more money than when I used to get a shilling a week pocket money part of the reason is that a lot more astro gear is affordable compared to way back when.)We look at the online shops we study we read reviews and if we have done the homework right we get a scope we can live with. My homework involved portability as the main criteria. An old nexstar5 came up on the classifieds here and I figured that would do.

Portability means different things to different people for some it means being able to carry it to the back garden or to and from the car to me it means carrying it from my house to my observing site which then was about 3/4 of a mile. As it happens I hadn't done my homework properly in my desire to buy a scope after all these years I had forgotten to fully take into account the weight of the mount, the protective case, battery, eyepieces etc. This took the weight to about 40lbs which although portable wasn't fun after about half a mile and after an initial burst of out every clear night the frequency dropped to once a week then once a fortnight less if the weather intervened. I reached that something must be done stage and a rethink ensued.

Obviously goto had to go it was too heavy and probably cassegrains the light pollution is too much for star hopping and a narrow field of view so I decided on a wide field scope on a photo tripod and obviously alt az mount as I didn't want to be carrying the weghts necessary for an eq mount. I toyed with the idea of a dob but decided that the base was too awkward for such a long distance and for a while my choice seemed good. Eventually I came up with my next problem boredom. The problem with small scopes in a light polluted sky is the difficulty in finding things this tends to leave you looking at the same objects and I was starting to miss goto at least with goto there is no problem if there are no reference stars. you just punch in the name and off it goes.My present solution has been setting circles they are light cheap and although not hugely accurate they put me in an area close enough to start searching. in fact with this setup starhopping becomes possible again As now I no longer have to do all the steps just a couple at the end. I am finding things and astronomy is fun again. Life and astronomy is about choice and if necessary compromise these are mine. I have sacrificed the better views of a larger scope for the ability to use my scope anywhere and anytime it's clear.

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Mods if you feel this post is too long please move to blog it does ramble a bit

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I think the size of sets up is what is most misleading.

When i ordered my 200p, i never gave it a thought to how big it was, i mean id seen pictures on the net, cant be that big right? Well i was shocked when a massive box arrived one day, and that was only the actual telescope, not the mount of the weights, or the tripod. But like you say, portability is different to different people, being fairly tall and strong means its not a problem, although it does sometimes put me off setting up.

Is why i think all beginners/people looking at another scope theyve not seen/used before, should try to see it in person before they place an order.

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Totally agree , I am lucky enough to have a range of scopes, for me the dob is portable to the end of the garden, (the ota weighs 75lbs) and the base 45lbs. And takes me two minutes to have operating, the eq6 10" is a 15 minute set up at least and only gets used once/ twice a month. The tal or the cg5 120mm combo are light by comparison, and a one stop pick up, At the moment I don't make it out to observe away from home very often so it all works ok. When I get more time, I will get a lighter scope or re adapt the 102mm currently on the dob to fit a tripod similar to yours.

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I think a grab and go is a great option to have. I use a HEQ5 with my 200p, and when i dont want to do AP. i just think, why bother setting all this up (electronics etc) when i dont really need it. Eventually (when i actually have money lol) i will get a 200 or 250 dob, so i can be out there pretty much instantly, plus when the camera is doing its thing, i can use the dob too. Just gotta convince myself to part with the best part of £300 lol.

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I totaly agree, and also set up time is a factor. While I can carry the 10" travelscope a mile or more on my back, the set up and hassle often make me reconsider going our observing...

So I now bought the Heritage, as it's as grab and go as they make them. BUT I wouldn't say no to a neat 102mm refractor some day, or perhaps a bino...

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you are quite right about compromise. it's either on price, weight, size, bulk or some other factor. we all have our limitations. I am very lucky to have three scopes and a set of eyepieces that works with them all (potentially at the same time) but I drive and can do at least some decent observing from the garden so can consider my 12" f4 dob as grab and go.

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Nice setup Rowan. I've long been of the opinion that the best scope is the one you use most. Although the views with a small scope are nothing like a big dob on planets or nebulae/galaxies, they can still be wonderful on open clusters and provide a different sort of challenge as you well know. Trying to get the best out of a small scope improves your observing technique, which is a skill which will always be of benefit in the future.

Most of my observing is done with 66mm or 76mm refractors, and sometimes a 106mm. I take them on holiday and have the benefit of lovely dark skies which I couldn't take a larger scope to.

Have fun, and enjoy your scope, looks great :-)

Stu

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The only compromise i made when buying my 8se was the price. It was more than i really wanted to spend,but it had everything else i wanted: large aperture,portability (house to garden in two moves) and the size and weight are great (i include those as part of the portability). The Go-To is neither here nor there for me. Nice to know i have it and can use it if i want.

The one scope i do own that i really didnt do my homework on is my 90EQ. The EP was in the right place for me to use the scope and thats all i was concerned about. The whole contraption weighs in at 28Lbs and the OTA alone is 3ft long. The mount and tripod are too bulky (in both weight and dimension) and difficult for me to carry. I struggled with it for 6 months before observing became a chore rather then a pleasure and i upgraded to 20x90 bins.

My Heritage is a little beaut. There's really nothing about that scope that i dont like (apart from focuser).

Its so easy to tell anyone who asks that a 8-10" Dob is the scope of choice for best value for money and that is true....................depending on certain other conditions like size,weigh,storage etc. For some people maybe the best choice is indeed a more modest 80-100mm refrac.

Nowt wrong with them. Just dont go buying a National Geographic one or something from ToysR'us.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Mods if you feel this post is too long please move to blog it does ramble a bit

I rather enjoyed reading your post so I have no reason to move anything.

I have several scopes and I do enjoy using my fracs or the Skywatcher 150 PDS on the Alt/Az mount for enjoyable quick or longer views. Star hopping to different objects in a pleasure and long may it continue.

When I go away on trips I often just take the William Optics SD66 with a 20mm Nagler and a Baader Hyperion zoom + barlow and if the sky is really dark it can be great fun.

So thanks again for the thread.

Mark

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I think the biggest thing I learnt in the last year in this amazing hobby was not about exit pupil etc., but if you want to have fun in this hobby, then make your hobby fit your life. Don't try to make your life fit your hobby!

I was having to cut back a lot on deep sky imaging.

After considering giving up on imaging, I thought, why not have a look at webcam imaging? I then started checking out solar images and was absolutely blown away by the images out there. I'm now having so much fun trying out solar imaging :laugh:

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that's the thing about this subject with the right choices and compromises there really is something for everyone. of course thats another compromise. Is something enough for you? Some people can be a little all or nothing

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