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Considering a 12" scope - what to expect


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I currently own a 4.5" Skywatcher Skymax 127. I've had this for several years and its been a super scope. I've recently been presented with the opportunity to by a second hand Skywatcher 12 inch Dobsonian with goto system. I've checked it over and it's in perfect condition, but still pricey.

I don't want to spend so much money on an item to be disappointed. How Will the views through a 12 inch compare with my current scope? I tend to be more interested in DSO's (planetary nebulae in particular) and viewing the odd planet. I'm not bothered by the moon so much.

Also, for those that own this scope, will I be able to move it around on my own? I didn't get the chance to test the weight if it.

Any other helpful info regarding this scope or any accessories I may need would be greatly appreciated.

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In my experience I jumped from a 10" to the 12" and the difference was noticable in DSO's, I could see dust lanes in galaxies I couldn't make out before from the same locations

Is it the flextube model you are buying? The weight shouldn't be an issue if you are as it splits into 2 - but I put my base on wheels for ease of set up between my garage and the garden.

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I Don't have a 12", but everything over 8" will be a noticable difference to 4-5", but of course, Seeing, dark location and patience will still be an issue.

http://clarkvision.com/visastro/m51-apert/

Note that multiple magnifications and observing durations have been used, but I find it representing the subjectively seen amount of Details you see after observing for a while rather good.

Even with the first few seconds of observing, details on star clusters and nebulae are quite obvious.

The weight... Well, as you can take the base seperatly, sure. But at 10-20kg for each part that really depends on how far you need to cary it. From the shed to the back yard, wheelbarrow-style wheels help, but from a car/road to a field, it depends on your back ;-)

Anyway, good luck finding the right telescope, and have fun with it!

I'd keep the smaller one though, even though I have a 10" that weighs 10kg, the little heritage 130p gets a lot of use due to the quick setup and portability... A 4-5" is nice to have.

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Apart from a lot of grief from your wife?

I had the 10" flex tube which was easy enough to transport, although I always split the scope from the base to move it. Prior to buying the 10" I saw a 12" flex tube in a shop, to say that it was big was a little understatement, to say it dominated a room full of 6, 8, 10" scopes was more like the phrase that springs to mind.

The 12" dobs are very capable and you will notice a huge difference in the views. There is practically no difference in weight between the flex tubes and the solid tubes so apart from the fact that a flex tube is easier to store either is fine. I had to make a light shield for my flex tube as stray light entered through the truss tubes.

I hope this helps?

Robin

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A 12" scope will provide substantially better views of almost all objects (possibly double stars will be a little cleaner with the 127) and is for me the perfect balance of size and aperture for a main scope. it is a heavy tool but worth the effort. do be realistic about your expectastions though. with any light pollution even a larger scope than the 12" will suffer and not provide full potential. at a dark site though the views will be very good. I have seen spiral arms in M51 and M33 from a dark site with a 12". the views won't be like photos though of most objects other than some globulars and planetaries.

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Hi

I went from a 4.5" newt to a 10" the difference in performance was massive, so to a 12" it will be even more dramatic still.

A 12" is more bulky than a 10" but not massively so. If you can handle the weight/bulk and storage.....go for it. The views certainly won't disappoint you.

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Like Naemeth I went from a 5.1 to a 6" and noticed a difference so you'll be in for a treat. I'm also looking to get a 12" Flextube this autumn although the manual version.

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Thank you all for your input. You have all convinced me to get it

It is the Skywatcher Flextube version. I've looked at accessories and was wondering about the light shroud. Should I invest in one or even improvise and make my own?

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I made my own. I bought a thin sleeping/yoga mat from one of the cheap shops, it is about 6mm foam, cut it to size and glued some velco on to the edge, worked really well and if you can find a black one even better.

I have recently made a couple of dew shields from thin black ABS (about 1.0mm), again just cut to size and glue some velcro on. You can buy the ABS sheet on eBay or on-line.

I would try it first though, you might not need one. I have some stray light from neighbours houses which caused a few problems.

Robin

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Yes, go for it. I went from 6" to 10" and it was....WOW! Then went to 16" and that was dramatic but maybe not as much. Smudges in the 6" became beautifully clear in the 10". The Hercules cluster went from a pretty smudge to a mass of individual stars to the centre. Mind you, it's simply gorgeous in the 16"

You'll make small involuntary noises when you visit familiar objects with that 12"

Good luck

Barry

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That's a massive jump in aperture. Expect to be happy :) It can perform superbly on planets as well. I had a 12 inch flextube, and one morning at 3am under superb conditions, Jupiter was like a photo at 300x mag. It was astonishing :)

re: accessories, definitely something to collimate it with. A Cheshire or, if you are feeling rich, perhaps a HoTech laser collimator (easy to use in the dark).

Edited by Luke
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When the opportunity to buy a 10"sct I felt obliged to buy it.. The only thing I can say is WOW. If you can get a 12" then you will be impressed.

The best scope you have is the one that gets used most, so keep your Mak for when you want a quick session!!

Good luck.

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The only downside with 12" dobs that I've found is that they can be pretty heavy beasts. I had a Meade Lightbridge 12" and it weighed around 80lbs in total I reckon. Too much to move in one piece which did not suit me as I need to move the scope around th garden during a session to avoid trees, streetlights etc.

In terms of performance though you will certainly not be disappointed and it will be a really significant step up from your current scope.

If possible try and see and handle one "in the flesh" if you can. If you feel it's OK then go for it :smiley:

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Well I collected the telescope last night. It's in perfect mint condition with no blemishes scratches or rust on any parts and the mirrors look fantastic.

It actually came with a number of unexpected accessories so I was extremely pleased. It came with an Astrozap light shroud, Baader lazer collimator, cooling fan and a large cover. The only think I've had to purchase is a power pack for the tracking system.

It is a heavy beast, but I managed it on my own. The mirrors needing collimating, and it took a while to do. I can't reach the screws whilst looking through the eyepiece on this one! Conditions weren't fantastic last night but I pointed it towards the ring nebula. An object I'm very familiar with so a good starting point to see the difference. Even though the sky was bright with moonlight, it was clearly visible. Smaller than I expected it to appear, but it was a clear bright RING! I could actually see a hole in the middle.

I've found moving it around a little tricky as I'm used to an equatorial mount. As I had no power pack last night I had to move it by hand. It was very hard to get items centred in the eyepiece as it would always 'bounce' off the item when I took my hands off the tube. Hopefully that will be eliminated when I use the hand controls.

All in all I'm extremely pleased and look forward to some proper dark sky views.

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