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Shopping list advice for set-up


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After much deliberating and head-scratching, I think I've reached a sensible decision about my first scope to buy. Had dreams of a computer controlled AP rig but in all honesty I think this set-up will be more suitable until I'm back in the swing of things (studied Astronomy at Uni briefly and knew my way round pretty well, but that was many moons ago). Just wondering if there is anything else I'm missing off this shopping list that I should be considering or if anything isn't needed, like the filters? Should I get another EP too? Don't mind spending a bit more if alternative products are suggested. Would like to cover most of the basics now before the kids eat away at my bank account!

Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

Skywatcher 2x Deluxe Achromatic 1.25" Barlow

BST Starguider 8mm EP

Baader Neutral Density Moon Filter

Baader Neodymium Filter

T-ring for Canon EOS for my DSLR (know the mount limitations)

Do I need a T-mount as well or does this Barlow cover that need? Will be looking into a modded webcam or other CCD device but got to check out compatibility issues as I'm a mac user.

Many thanks, I'm finding SGL an amazing resource and very friendly forum!

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T-ring for Canon EOS for my DSLR (know the mount limitations)

Sorry but it really sounds as if you don't.

You are not going to do DSO imaging which is what a DSLR is used for, and as there is no tracking then no planetary imaging with a webcam.

That leaves the moon, for which you don't really need the scope. The camera and a decent zoom will give shots of the moon easily.

Only saying it this strong as in the last week there have been I think posts from 4 people who having bought a dobsonian found that imaging is simply a no-no.

I have seen the dobsonian referred to as a "Specialist visual only scope."

If you are going to use a DSLR then you need a remote timer for it - Amazon made by Shoot, cost about £25.

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Two things I would suggest are a 2" 30mm eyepiece and a collimation tool. But as above - I think the T-ring will be an unnecessary expense cos it won't get used. The 200P dob is primarily an observing scope - and a good one too - use it to get to know the sky for a year or so.

If you have an urge for astro photography then get a copy of "Making Every Photon Count" from FLO to read in the meantime - it'll help speed up the huge learning curve before you start emptying the bank on imaging kit lol :)

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Cheers for the advice, really appreciate it. I was reading http://www.iceinspace.com.au/63-201-0-0-1-0.html which would suggest basic snaps of the planets might be possible hence the T-ring bits, but you're saying it's not possible? Know deep space stuff well off the menu. Was thinking that I could use the DSLR in video mode until getting a mac compatible webcam modded? Any suggestions brantuk on which makes/model of 2" 30mm to look at?

Is it worth getting a telrad for this scope?

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That's a great article on iceinspace and I now understand where you're coming from lol :)

As it suggests - ap with a dob isn't totally impossible - but it takes a lot of time and patience and is a heck of a lot to take on for a complete beginner. It would make it much easier if you purchased a tracking dob. But if you're ambitious then try by all means - and do get the book anyway - it's very good and aimed at all levels of experience.

A Telrad is a great idea for a dob - makes finding stuff a doddle. Dobs excel at low power wide field views of larger objects like galaxies, large clusters, and nebulae. I suggested 2" 30mm eyepiece simply cos it ain't on your shopping list and with a dob it ought to be. A lot of folks use BST's and TMB's and speak highly of their value for money (around £40-£50). I like the William Optics 33mm which is a little more.

But I now use televue eyepieces for all my wide field views - they're amongst the best - but don't look them up unless you want a heart attack lol. :)

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I am a complete doboholic but agree that they are not useful for imaging. that said, I am no imager but do know that if you are determined, resourceful and clever enough, you can achieve great results with anything - you can remove a tight nut with a sharp, small chisel and a hammer but it's not the best tool for the job.

if serious about AP you need a decent tracking equatorial mount. for planets you'll need a slow focal ratio and long focal length, for deep space, a fast focal ratio and short focal length.

I have four scopes, 16 eyepieces, five filters, five finders and two coma correctors and that's just for visual! although I am greedy.

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I think my original post is misleading, I was trying to say I had dreams of buying a AP set-up but have decided to get a dob for visual, with a bit of planetary snapping for fun on the side, until I'm back in the swing of things, then I'll get a dedicated AP rig(s).

Moonshine, love your Bruce Lee sig quote, I've quoted that plenty of time to karate students myself!

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in that case, have a go. visual is my preferred route. I have tried very basic moon imaging http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/66251-mustresistimaginglunar-shots/I took these with a refractor though but it could have been a dob - same sort of process. it's never gripped me though.

others have got decent planetary images with manual tracking on a dob but they are not anything like serious planetary images with the right tools.

yeah, I love the Bruce Lee quite. it sums up a lot of things in life I think.

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One avenue you might like to explore is to use the dob purely for visual observing - and once you've raised the funds to get a tracking equatorial platform you can mount your dob's tube on that. All you'd need is a dovetail bar and a couple of tube rings. Many folks have done that to make the transition to astro imaging. :)

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I would definitely get a collimation tool because the mirrors were rather much misaligned when my 200P Dob arrived. I would forget about astrophotography for the time being at least and just enjoy the great visuals that your scope will give. Can also recommend getting a copy of Turn Left At Orion which will give you a good mix of easy-to-find objects for beginners and more challenging objects when you become more experienced. Also download Stellarium which is a really handy piece of software which will model the sky as you will see it from your location.

Lastly, I bought a Skywatcher 32mm 2" PanaView and was wowed the first time I used it. Here's the link if you want a look.
http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-eyepieces/skywatcher-panaview-2-eyepieces.html

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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Consider switching that skywatcher barlow to a televue one. Cost difference is a few tens of euros and the quality difference is huge. also I would switch the moon filter to a variable polarizer filter, it will give you the option to tune the brightness however you want. Great for visuals of bright targets. Of eyepieces i would pick a trio of BSTs for starters, one for maximum magnification (200x) , one medium and one for maximum exit pupil. 

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I have a 200p in my lineup and its a great scope but I often fit my raci finder in place of the straight through to make finding things much easier .... so id add one of these to the shopping list.

a telrad or red dot would be good but it doesnt let you see any more than what you can with the naked eye.

cheers

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Consider switching that skywatcher barlow to a televue one. Cost difference is a few tens of euros and the quality difference is huge. also I would switch the moon filter to a variable polarizer filter, it will give you the option to tune the brightness however you want. Great for visuals of bright targets. Of eyepieces i would pick a trio of BSTs for starters, one for maximum magnification (200x) , one medium and one for maximum exit pupil. 

The Televue Barlow will set you back an additional £50-60 at least. You can always upgrade in the future. For a beginner, I would stick to the SW 2x Barlow at £30, which is good value. Agree with switching to a variable filter. I have the 8mm, 12mm, 15mm and 18mm BST Starguiders. All good pieces worth adding to your collection when you can. If you start with the 8mm, you will get some great views of Jupiter when Barlowed, and it will bring out a lot of detail on the moon.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I was uncertain about the filters to be honest, might have these on a future wish list and put the extra money towards other BST EPs, or should I get at least one filter?

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Moox........Hi, I`d leave of the filters for now and buy an extra BST, either the 18mm or maybe as brantuk mentions a wide angle 32mm (BST's stop at 25mm) I chose the Panaview, but GSO Superviews get a good report too. That was nearly my choice, but more folk have the Panaview. Sunglasses will help with the diffusion of the Moon, as will the dust cover aperture cap ( with a slight reduction in aperture - but kills some of the brightness ) As for photography, its not impossible, take a peek at my Gallery. The HTC Android ones are are slightly fuzzy, but nonetheless show great detail. The DSLR images of the Moon are just too small. I think if I had a 2" Barlow to get a higher magnification during prime focal use,  it should increase the image size. I don't expect to take other planetary images  without tracking? 

I've got a Telrad. I need to wear glasses to use it, but don't wear glasses for the rest of my astronomy, either telescope or binoculars. Plus it's mounted further away so is harder to reach? I also have to be quite close to the finder, to align the image. Its ok, but I'm having second thoughts at the moment. It will be excellent at dark sites, but where I am,  I get on great with the standard 9x50 finder. I also bought a laser to align the scope. I thought that would be easier, sat at the end of the telescope for final adjustment using the Barlowed method of alignment. 

I dropped out the mirror today( not damage dropped) just removed. I tried to put in my own newer M5 bolts to make manual adjustments easier. I cant see how Bobs Knobs? can charge me £17+ for 6 bolts? The only problem is that the actual adjuster bolt has to use a countersunk recess as a stop! This requires a small tube modification over the  bolt and a washer, and I should be sorted for about less than £5.

I then used the Laser  followed by the Barlow, and due to the sloppiness of the focuser, isn't the best option when first using the Laser ( If you take your time, you will find the best position for the laser, but once its locked in place, its still possible to get some movement, due to the focuser assembly) I really do favour the 35mm Film Cap method to align my mirrors. Lots of folk recommend the Cheshire collimator, I may change my option to one of those. I'm  careful with my scope, and rarely collimate, as it seems to be true all the time. But I have no qualms about dropping the mirror out. It got the puffer bulb treatment, to be honest, but looked just as dusty  when back in the scope? The mirror enlarges everything if illuminated from a bright torch. But nothing to worry about, the optical images will  still be good. 

So possibly 2 BST's,  and something to Collimate your Telescope. 

Edited by Charic
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Big thanks to everyone who helped me, I've just ordered the 200p dob, plus 32mm EP, Barlow, collimation thingy and BST 8mm, plus "Making Every Photon Count" book. The rest of the stuff, filters, telrad etc, can wait for another day. Just need the sky to clear up now! Giddy as a school kid!

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Moox..........On order: SW 200p Dob, SW 10mm, 25mm, BST 8mm, WO Swan 33mm, SW 2x Barlow

Got: Canon 550D, optimism, enthusiasm, wooly jumpers and a bobble hat  :)

Have you ordered an SW 10mm? That should come with the telescope, and the 8mmBST will be its replacement!

Edited by Charic
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nice one, just want to keep you right.

Your 8mm BST will be very good on the Moon, and Barlowed  on the Moon will blow you away. The supplied 25mm is good to go  for your medium power and the SWAN 32 is a good choice. I purchased my BST's in the order of listing in my signature. no regrets as yet, just the 15mm to go.

Edited by Charic
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