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Purchasing telescope - seeking advice


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I had a ropey old 3'' with a wobbly mount as a child growing up in the UK; this first scope got me inspired but could hardly ever see anything accept a fleeting glimpse of Jupiter and the moon. Then a homemade 8'' on a dobby mount (purchased mirrors, did not do my own grinding). This was a wonderful telescope, and I have many great evenings looking at stuff, although spent most of the time looking at charts trying to figure out where it all was.  After leaving Arizona behind for the orange light pollution of the Hook of Holland, I now find myself in rural Suffolk England, with really dark skies (for the UK), and the funds to buy my next scope.  In british money I have about £1600 to spend in total.  I have decided I want an EQ mount with GoTo/tracking etc, as I would like to get into astophotography, and I have therefore settled in the Celestron advanced VX mount.  But for OTA, do I put a standard 8'' SCT on there, and then use my remaining budget for an eyepiece kit and power tank?  Or, do I get the 8'' edgeHD, and then wait to add on these other accessories (not to mention camera) in the future, as funds allow? 

Since my stargazing experience has actually been quite limited, I am inclined to go for the cheaper OTA and then also get the accessories now, since I will be mostly doing visual astronomy.  For AP, I will still be happy as to date I have yet to take a photograph of anything at all, not even the moon!

I would greatly appreciate some learned advice on this!

All the best

CountBorgula

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Finally! Order PLACED!    I have plumped for this in the end: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-300p-flextube-goto.html Decided to get the powertank now http://www.firs

I had a ropey old 3'' with a wobbly mount as a child growing up in the UK; this first scope got me inspired but could hardly ever see anything accept a fleeting glimpse of Jupiter and the moon. Then a

I have a 300P GoTo Dob and very please with the GoTo 2 star aligne and it gets anything you use the GoTo in a low power EP, leave it for 30 minutes and the DSO is still there, the other scope is a 250

Me, i would go for a Reflector, there cheaper to buy, faster F-ratio so shorter subs, guiding long FL Scopes isn't very easy.......I would also go for a EQMod compatible mount...:)

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Or maybe this, and then would be compatible with the EQMod you mentioned?

http://www.365astronomy.com/skywatcher-explorer200p-heq5-pro-synscan-goto-newton-telescope-p-2062.html

The HEQ-5 is a very capable mount, highly recommended, and will be useful if you decide to go imaging.  And the 200p is a very good visual instrument, however if you want to go down the photography route, maybe a refractor is to consider (on the same mount). I think the celestron kit is in the same ballpark.

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If your serious about AP, get a copy of Steve Richards book, making every photon count. It will save you much heartache and cash in the long run.

I'd advise to get the best mount you can afford and mabye a small frac. To take good AP the mount makes all the difference

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+1 for Steve Richards book Making Every Photon Count, essential reading.

+1 for Jim Steele buying the best mount you can, I used most of my budget on my Skywatcher AZ EQ6, well worth the extra money.  A bigger mount means payload isn't too much of an issue either. 

+1 for Tinker1947 for buying a reflector, cheaper & more cash for accessories.

Some things can be made DIY - power supply from leisure battery, usually in a carry box/toolbox with 12v sockets mounted on top.

Some good advice here.

Clear Skies

Fondofchips.

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So, I am thinking, based on the input here I shall go for this:

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

And use the additional money in the kitty to get a powertank, filters, and a camera to go with it.  So, is the Canon 1200d appropriate for this telescope?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-Digital-Camera-18-55mm-3-5-5-6/dp/B00IE3UR08/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1415197797&sr=8-2&keywords=canon+1100d

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So, I am thinking, based on the input here I shall go for this:

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

And use the additional money in the kitty to get a powertank, filters, and a camera to go with it. So, is the Canon 1200d appropriate for this telescope?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-Digital-Camera-18-55mm-3-5-5-6/dp/B00IE3UR08/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1415197797&sr=8-2&keywords=canon+1100d

I would consider the 200p-ds, but both are seriously good choices. The pds has a better focuser and shorter in length to allow prime focus photography :)
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So, if it was to be visual only, that I guess it would be to start looking again at Dobbies?  For almost a year, I had thought this would be what I would get.

http://www.scsastro.co.uk/catalogue/orion-skyquest-xx16g-goto-truss-tube-dobsonian-telescope-8963.htm

Or more realistically.  

http://www.scsastro.co.uk/catalogue/orion-skyquest-xx12i-intelliscope-truss-tube-dobsonian.htm

I already presume these are useless for AP?  I do wonder, given that I haven't done much visual observing that this is what I am really more interested, just getting out there and looking.  The choices really are bewildering!

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I've got the 250 P DS on an EQ6Pro mount.

It's a big piece of kit but I'm very pleased with it.

I'm visual only at present but would like to have a tinker with imaging some time. Time being the problem for me. When I do get the scope out I just want to look at things rather than spend time setting up for imaging.

Setting it up with reasonable polar alignment takes me about 20 mins including carrying everything from the garage.

Before I got the scope I ran it by the forum and got some great advice.

What I remember is that it's a bit of a big beast for imaging in so much as it catches the wind and is sensitive to knocking. The slightest tap on the tube will ruin an exposure.

Having said that, there are plenty of accounts on here of people doing some great imaging with that scope and mount. 

I seem to remember Steve Richards (Making every Photon count) using one very successfully for imaging.

The eyepiece can and will end up in some crazy positions and without good planning of what part of the sky you are going to be observing you will be constantly rotating the tube in the rings and possibly messing up the GOTO alignment.

For serious visual observations it's a good scope but for me imaging will have to wait until I have an observatory. And that will have to wait until we move house. And that isn't even on the books.... 

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I have a 300P GoTo Dob and very please with the GoTo 2 star aligne and it gets anything you use the GoTo in a low power EP, leave it for 30 minutes and the DSO is still there, the other scope is a 250P-DS on a NEQ6 , runs EQMod, PHD Guiding ect  

20140910_183017.jpg

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I come from the same exact background, crappy refractor on a flimsy mount in the beginning and a DIY 8" f/6 Dobsonian. Recently purchased a Celestron Advanced VX with the 8" EdgeHD OTA

and I am REALLY happy with it (mostly visually for now). Now what I would like to add is that I am a masochist, I like the challenge of trying to learn how to image at long focal lengths and I am very

well aware that my first astrophotos are probably gonna be Rubbish at best, but it is more of a long term investment / experiment to me. What I love about this combo is its portability considering its potential.

I couldn't imagine what a NEQ6 with a 300PDS + AP equipment on top of it would be like! Since you already have an 8" dobsonian for your visuals  just take the  biggest mount  you can afford / are

comfortable with its portability and a modded DSLR for some camera lens astrophotography and build upwards. A really cheap 6" f/5 newtonian with a coma corrector  can get some pretty amazing results 

photographically but you would still be better off with your dob for visual use... If you go for a 10+ " newtonian you are going for the more heavyweight mounts = more  money & less portability... 

What I am trying to say is that if you want to get into AP, forget about the scope, just get a very good mount and a camera and see what your budget allows you from there for the actual eyes of the system! 

An 8" dobsonian is still a great scope for visual observations, I know I will still be using mine when the other one is imaging! ;)

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if you are serious about visual, just get a big dobsonian, you can then decide which way to go. you can then hold out a bit and search the likes of astronomy buy and sell and get a secondhand eq mount and a small refractor for imaging. you can then search the heavens whilst you chip collects photons

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I like this last piece of advice Red Dwarf, I was starting to feel like what I really need is two scopes!  Indeed, I could get an AP scope next year, after exploring the heavens with a Dob this yeat.  So, for big Dobs the Orions look like amazing value for money.  Now the question is one of aperture, and Goto vs. push to.

The xx16g is the obvious top level one, and is very tempting, but breaks my original budget by miles (£2300!).  Could I be succumbing to aperture fever?

If i have to have Goto, then the xx12g looks more sensible at £1300

If I would be happy with pushto instead, then I could actually get the xx14i.

Given the biggest scope I have owned before was a homemade 8''. will I really regret not have the 16''?  Is the Goto/tracking worth more than an extra 2'' of aperture, questions, questions?

Then, if I just wanted to save loads of money, and run less risk of buyers remorse, I could just get the xt12i, since this scope is unlikely to travel much, we have good skies in my garden.

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if you are serious about visual, just get a big dobsonian, you can then decide which way to go. you can then hold out a bit and search the likes of astronomy buy and sell and get a secondhand eq mount and a small refractor for imaging. you can then search the heavens whilst you chip collects photons

This is very good advice I think.  So, ok leaning towards a big dob for now, and looking to buy something specifically for AP next year.  But how big, 10, 12, 14 or 16 inches (I at least want something bigger than my last dobby)?  And do I bother with goto/pushto, or do I just get the biggest aperture for my money?  The skies are good where I live but not "dark sky" like I used to see in Arizona, so thinking the bigger dobs might actually be wasted.  I'd rather find things more easily than I used to so some form of goto/push to would be welcome.  I'll be making a final decision this weekend.

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