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Need advice on where to continue


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Hellow, fellow astronomers.

I have recently bought a 90x900 Levenhuk Refractor on EQ, for two months I have had some nice planet views (got Saturn, Jupiter and Mars - they were magnificent), but last two weekends were clear skies and I managed to have nice stargazing nights in a suburb area and they blew me away. Deepsky was like magic. The reason I registered and made this post is that I have been thinking where to go on, and my fellow astronomers responses from my country were a bit strange, or so I saw them, so I've decided to make this post. But, first things first.

What I have:

90x900 EQ mounted Refractor, with 25mm, 12mm, 10mm and 8mm Plossl eyepieces and 15mm 58 degrees wide Levenhuk eyepiece, and a 2x Barlow.

What I want:

I have been planning to go slowly. first to buy some top-notch eyepieces - Televue - been thinking about 32mm Plossl, 17.3mm Delos, 13mm Ethos, and 5 and 7mm Naglers - that, I reckon, would cover all my magnification needs. And will be of use later on. While I'm getting them I was planning to do the most out of my 90mm lenses - to see all that is possible on my sky... Then, when I can, to go further under even darker sky to enjoy new experiences... Only then I've been thinking to get a new scope - I thought about getting a 5' APO with good motorized mount, to be able to use it later for astrophoto as well. Since 5' is larger than 90mm, I am expecting a lot of new and interesting experiences in the night sky. Only when I start feeling that I have got enough of that aperture, I hoped to get myself a really large piece - something like a quality reflector, probably from a quality brand. I understand that this is a long shot after all, but I don't want to jump ahead of my experience, and to get the full joy of the aperture increase with quality accessories...

What I was recommended to do:

To stop the TV rubbish, to buy what is easy to get, forget about 5' APO and to get myself a 10' Dob to start seeing the most and right now - this is cheaper and faster, in their point of view. The reason I thought it was strange is that I don't want to get everything and right now, I want to fully enjoy the experience of the aperture increase. And to make it best, I was planning to get good accessories for that.

Therefore, I would like to hear your opinions about what I should do.

Thank you in advance!

Clear skies to everyone!

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The 10 or 12 inch dob is the way to go.Lots of aperture for not to much money unless you were ever thinking of doing imaging.Enjoy the large aperture then maybe think about those green and black things

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Hello Nick, welcome to this forum. I actually think your fellow astronomers are right. The step up from a 90mm to a 127mm is not going to be as much of an improvement as you might hope. I would also advise a Dobsonian in the 8" to 10" range as it will give you far more performance over a wide range of objects. It will also be a lot cheaper allowing you to take up the expensive world of astrophotography with a better budget in due course. Good luck with whatever you decide. :smiley:

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Your stargazing buddies gave you good advice. Get the biggest Dobsonian you can manage; they're a great all-rounder and you get a lot of mirror for your money. There'll be very little chance that you'll be disappointed.

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whilst I broadly agree with the posts above in that you will get a more impressive improvement in the view at the eyepiece with a larger dobsonian than a slightly larger refractor (even an APO), if I understand you correctly then I am not sure this is what you actually want at this point.

good quality eyepieces will always be useful on any scope you ever own and I tend to buy televue also.

as good as a 5" apo would be for visual it would need a seriously large (possibly not very portable) mount to get the best from it as an imaging scope. a more plausible solution may be a smaller 80mm apo as the results from these are often staggeringly good. this may be for the longer term.

for visual observing a 8"-12" dobsonian would provide a large increase in aperture for less than the cost of one or two of the eyepieces you mentioned.

all that said, I would also enjoy your current scope to the full and add one or two eyepieces as you go but consider the above comment the cost of a scope vs the cost of an eyepiece.

I have a good collection of eyepieces and now tend to buy another cope than another eyepiece as this is often cheaper!

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get an 8" dob, they are usually about a 1000mm in focal length and they will be able to use about the same eyepieces as your refractor. 8" dob is affordable , easy to resell and easy to lug around. It will also open up a ton of deep sky. You will get used to handling a dob and if you keep getting more hungry , the natural step up is a 12" dob. BUT 10 and 12 inch dobs are already quite big and heavy. So IF you decide to jump straight into a 10/12 inch , please find someone who has one and set it up once so you can see if it is manageable or not. My 12" barely fits in the car with my family for example. 

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also the rule seems to be that to get a proper increase in visible stuff, you want to raise the aperture by 4 inches. So you are now operating at about 4 inches, next step would be 8 , then 12. 

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Thank you very much guys, these were a very thorough and nice advice. I guess I will do just as you recommend, get several good eyepieces then aim for 8" Dob. Thanks again and clear skies!

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Thanks again, I will get myself a 8' DOB as soon as I feel the need of a larger aperture. Right now I'm still enjoying my 90mm refractor, the views are great for me - unexperienced noob :)

Just two more questions.

1) I have still been planning to get for my current scope a 32mm EP for searching and something like 17-18mm quality wide EP for nebulas and galaxies. Thinking about getting a TV 32mm Plossl and 17.3mm Delos for that, so that I would have really good EP for now and for future as well. This should also help me to see the difference between ordinary EP and really good ones in respect to my modest aperture.

2) Is it important what DOB to get? Will I be ok with like SW brand or if I get a quality one - like Orion Optics - I will feel the difference? Or it is so marginal that it's better to save money? 

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Some good advise has been given. From my experience there are two important things to consider. Firstly where will you be mainly observing from. I mainly observe from home with moderate light pollution & sometimes travel out to a dark sky location. Secondly cost versus usability. If you rush & buy a larger scope but seldom use it because it may be bigger or heavier than you realised or it takes too long to set up or cool down & you only have limited time to observe or many other reasons it does not get used then it may be a false economy. I started with an 8" reflector but in less than a year bought a 4" refractor which got more use because I could have a quick half hour session before the clouds rolled in with no waiting for the optics to cool. I upgraded eyepieces only after I had enough experience at observing to appreciate the better view.

My advise would be to enjoy the scope you have & build up your experience & skills. When you begin to recognise the limits of your equipment then consider upgrading. As an example with my 4" refractor (ST102 achro) from a good dark sky site I have had stunning views of many deep sky objects including M33, M32, M13, M1, M42, M81 & M82. Great on clusters & Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon & double stars. Often I will have observed several targets long before my friends have set up their dobs & goto cats, done their alignments or waited for the optics to stabilise. Realistically though only the brighter DSOs can been seen at this aperture but there is plenty to see..

If you can borrow some bodies eyepieces to try in your scope that would be better than spending a lot of money on a delos or other expensive occular which you may not get on with any way. Also as your experience grows & you can remember what things look like in your scope see how they compare in other peoples scopes. Be careful though. The views in my 12" dob are very satisfying until one of my observing buddies shows me the same target in his 24" dob :smiley:

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Thanks, I am planning to go on this weekend to stargazing with some fellow astronomers, if the weather is good, and will try some of their EP.

What about my second question, about what kind of Dob to get?

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The Skyliner 200p and the Orion Skyquest XT8 seem to be the main contenders but they both basically use the same components.  I've got only used the Skyliner 200p but I've no complaints at all with it. The Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic is well thought of too; it's got a better focuser than the Skyliner (I upgraded the manual focuser in my 200p with an after-market motor focuser which made it a lot nicer to use) and you can get the Orion with a 'push to' option i.e. you carry out a star alignment then select a target from the controller and move the scope in the direction indicated by the arrows on the controller display.  Like I said, I've not used this scope myself but it looks pretty good.  However, I'm still very pleased with my Skyliner and would recommend having a look into into it as well as the Orion.  I might have a look at the Orion if I ever decide to upgrade to a 12" dob.

If you do a bit of digging using the SGL Search function, you'll get plenty of threads on both scopes. Here's a few to get you started:

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/124581-advice-on-a-new-telescope/

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/209906-skywatcher-skyliner-200p-by-a-reflector-newb-for-reflector-newbs/

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/113631-the-skyliner-200p-f6-dobsonian/

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/186926-orion-skyquest-xt8/

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/111466-orion-xt8-classic-vs-skywatcher-8-dob/

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