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stardad

Scope upgrade thoughts.....Cloudy Sky warning.....

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We've been using a Celstron 130 scope much the same as a the Skywatcher Explorer 130P with EQ mount for the last few years. 

While the scope is great for moon shots and general night sky ob'sing its in my opinion not giving us the best views at night. 

Sowhat would be the sensible upgrade from this type of scope? We're not into camera's and photography (yet) so your thought would be appreciated. 

Cheers

Stardad.

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A 200mm newt would give you more light capture, and could be easily mounted on an equatorial mount, if you like your scope mounted like that.

And you could use that set up to image in the future if you get a good mount, like the HEQ5 or NEQ6 or equivalents.

James

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For visual observing:

10" Dob is the upgrade I would look at.

I went from a 4.5" newt to a 10" and the difference is quite stunning.

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Since you are visual only a 250mm Dob.  Failing that a 200mm Dob.  Quite wonderful scopes.  You don't need all this computer, goto, whizz-bang for visual.

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A 200mm newt would give you more light capture, and could be easily mounted on an equatorial mount, if you like your scope mounted like that.

And you could use that set up to image in the future if you get a good mount, like the HEQ5 or NEQ6 or equivalents.

James

So something like this then...

 www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-eq5.html

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That is the sort of thing i was thinking about, but there are hundreds of options and other types of scope; a big dob like kirkster suggested for instance. Don't buy anything without waiting for lots of opinions and arguments :)

If you do want to do any imaging, you'll need a motorised mount, like this:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200pds-heq5-pro.html

This is the fanciest version with dual speed focuser and GOTO.

It depends on your budget and plans for the next 5-10 years or so.

James

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I have a 200p on an EQ5 mount. I also, later on, got dual axis motors for it. It's great for visual and I can also do quite reasonable imaging with a DSLR. The packge isn't all that heavy and I can get it all set up, including the polar alignment, within about ten minutes. Most of this time is actually me lugging things down from upstairs into the back garden.

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Besides the equipment upgrade what are your expectant upgrades?

The 200P on the EQ5 is about as big a scope as that mount will take and be steady. OK if just visual but if imaging may be a future option then you are chancing your luck.

With the new shiny equipment do you want dual motors or a full goto.

If you go for the manual dobsonian then most points above are irrelevant, until the day arrives when you want to try imaging and find a manual dobsonian is unsuited to imaging. Amazing how many get told this, say Yes they understand, then later ask how they can do DSO imaging with a manual dobsonian :BangHead:

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Yes some good idea so keep them coming. 

We've got a motor mounted on our EQ but it never works properly (bad design of the unit.)

I've not thought of budget yet so I'm open to just see what's out there. When we were at SGL6 we used a dob and although it was easy to use it wasnt to easy to get in and out of the car and its size was well......BIG. 

Getting just a newt tube and fitting it to our EQ mount is an idea and a cheaper option but then upgrading all the lenses will be expensive too. 

Originally I thought of the GOTO types....  

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Besides the equipment upgrade what are your expectant upgrades?

The 200P on the EQ5 is about as big a scope as that mount will take and be steady. OK if just visual but if imaging may be a future option then you are chancing your luck.

With the new shiny equipment do you want dual motors or a full goto.

If you go for the manual dobsonian then most points above are irrelevant, until the day arrives when you want to try imaging and find a manual dobsonian is unsuited to imaging. Amazing how many get told this, say Yes they understand, then later ask how they can do DSO imaging with a manual dobsonian :BangHead:

Expectant upgrades....interesting question and one I cant answer. 

Thanks for the tip on the 200, wasnt aware of that and the dob I was.... :grin:

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stardad.........Great value here http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians.html and here http://www.pulsar-optical.co.uk/prod/telescopes/sky-watcher/dobsonians/skyliner-200.html  where mine came from?  Also note, I started with a Celestron 127EQ in October. All that messing with setup, alignment, re-alignment, was j ust a waste of time,  and the views were not spectacular with the Bird-Jones type telescope?  You can put a better lens in the Celestron, but my upgrade was worth it.  I`ve still yet to see from a real Dark Sky site to really appreciate what I have here, but its ok, so far,  from a light polluted back yard. I can see Jupiter well enough to define the cloud belts and see its Moons with an 8mm, and that is fine for me,and like I said, much light pollution here. If you need to be portable, the 200mm is a good size and weight. Bigger is better, but  even bigger is costlier, heavier.

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When we were at SGL6 we used a dob and although it was easy to use it wasnt to easy to get in and out of the car and its size was well......BIG

very true, but consider this - you are only paying for a bit of plywood for the mount. The rest of the money is going on a whacking big mirror! A 200mm newt on an eq5 - half your money (if not more) is going on a tripod and eq head - that will cause you to pray on your knees to polaris, get all twisted up trying to get to the eye peice at awkward angles, not intuitive to move about on target (unless you have goto) and just as heavy! Ok the mount, head and tube can be broken down - but for visual only, is it worth the compromise and a smaller mirror?

get a 10" flextube dob, takes up lots less space and easy enough to shift about. If you decide to get in to photography at a later date, you wont lose much money on its resale if you have looked after it.

edited to add: I went from a celestron 130 to a second hand 12" flextube dob. it was cheaper than a eq5/200 combo and the light grasp is massive in comparison. as a step up from a 130, its immense and brilliant!!!

Edited by nicks90
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There is sort of a reason why amateurs have more then one scope.  You set up your 6 inch reflector and you look at the same things and for the most part they look just like they did the last time and the time before that.....oh and the time before that.

I have a 5 inch refractor.  Everytime I set it up.....dark site, darker site or at my moderately not so dark home everything looks pretty much like it did the last time.

IF your a visual observer aperture is king if you really want to dig into seeing stuff.....I looked thru a friends 18 inch Obsession ultra light Dob and the views were mind blowing.   I looked at the same views thru my 5 inch refractor and yeah....they were the white smudges I had been seeing for quite some time.....with the 18 inch obsession I could count individual stars....with my really nice refractor I could see a smudge.

Okay having said that.....I have set up my 5 inch refractor outside my friends observatory.  I have put MY eyepieces in his 10 inche Meade SCT and compared the views....the difference was so subtle as to be a head scratcher.....in short do I want to spend 2500 dollars for a sct of 10 inches to improve my viewing only slightly?

In short I have spent quite some time looking thru all sorts of peoples scopes to find out just what it is that makes me go wow........and to still be able to MOVE the thing around, set it up and use it without having a permanent observatory.

For me that is a 15 or 18 inch Aperture dobsonian with strehl of .95 or better.....anything less and while the seeing improves somewhat over what I have.....the cost in upgrading is questionable for me....While you will see some improvement to viewing going from 6 inches to 10 inches I honestly would advise you to find some friends who have 10 inches of aperture and see if you are satisfied with the views it gives you....otherwise you might just still be looking at the same white smudges you were seeing in your 6 inch.

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