Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

Grumpy Martian

What is the better "grab and go" telescope ?

Recommended Posts

I have a Skywatcher ED 120mm refractor and mount it on an AZ4 mount. It has given me some good observing.But the refractor is too long to take it when travelling in a car. I have been considering a  six inch SCT which would be more compact when packing it in a car when visiting other parts of the country. I would also like to use the SCT for terrestial observing.

My main telescope is an Orion Optics 200mm F6 Newtonian.So I get my apature kick from that.

Another option would be to keep what I have and buy a five inch maksutov or five inch SCT.

What do others think?I would be grateful for your opinions.

Martin.

Edited by Grumpy Martian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you hope to observe with your grab and go. And is it speed of observing or speed of setup?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used 5/6 inch SCs and a number of refractors.  I now use an Equinox 80, either on an AZ4 (light tripod) or on my Manrotto 393 head on a photo tripod - though the latter is boarder line at higher powers.  It also doubles as a telephoto lens and spotter.   As the person before said it does depend on what you want to observe but also what you mean by grab and go.  I tend to use it refer to a setup I can literally take anywhere, and also carry out in one go on it's mount.  By anywhere I also include on a bus, plane or even walking from my home onto the moors.  If you only mean grab and go for use at home it's a different matter.  I could carry out my 152mm f5.9 refractor on the fork mount if I needed to at home, but I wouldn't want to  carry it very far or take it on a bus.

It might be worth taking a look at  Neil English's book on grab and go astronomy, he may mention some options you may not have considered.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I have a Horizon type videa camera tripod which folds down quick conveniently.So I am thinking more along the lines of a 100 or 125 maksutov which can be transported easily.It would give reasoable views in astro and terrestial.But I will take a look at the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I should have mentioned in my previous post is that I do like  wide field views of many objects, so this may affect the choice for some folks between a short focal length refractor or the rather longer focal lengths of most SCs and Maks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul,

When I go camping I use a SW ED80 on my HEQ5. It's perfect although you could easily get a smaller mount and still support AP equipment.

I find than when I get to a dark sky location the widefield views with the 80 are fantastic.

I think the 6" SCT's or MAK's are really quite portable but the restricted FOV would drive me nuts under a dark sky!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Short refractor + 4-6"l mak or similar on dual alt-az mount. Someone at my astronomy club has a setup like this and I'm convinced it's genius!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can certainly confirm the compactness of SCTs, easy to pack and transport. My C8 is probably a bit heavy to be considered grab and go but i would think the 6" would be spot on. I wouldn't discount a decent small refractor - i purchased a Williams Optics Megrez 72 for imaging and was amazed at how good it was for visual; lovely sharp, contrasty, colourful, wide field views. So when i'm in a rush i use the Megrez72 (scope plus eyepieces fit into Lowepro Flipside rucksack) on the Horizon tripod, and when i have more time i put the Megrez on the Skytee 2 with the C8 on the other side - it's great fun viewing objects through both scopes.

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a c8 and a 127mak on an az4.

The 127mak does get more use purely because of how portable it is and these 2 make a great combo as a grab and go setup.

Edited by hobsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used 5/6 inch SCs and a number of refractors.  I now use an Equinox 80, either on an AZ4 (light tripod) or on my Manrotto 393 head on a photo tripod - though the latter is boarder line at higher powers. 

Sorry, off topic, but I'm interested by this, Paul - I've been wondering about an Equinox 80 to put on an AZ4, but am a bit worried that it's a bit of a step down in aperture from the 5" newtonian that's my current grab and go. It would be more portable and flexible, though. How do you find it? How do you find the reduction in aperture from the Cassegrains?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have recently switched back from an 80mm apo to a 5"sct as I missed the apparture I use a reducer in my c5 which brightens up the dso's  though it doesn't give me the wide views of the 80. i use home made setting circles  on my tecnosky mount  which will at least get me close enough to find things and with the reducer and a 70 degree eyepiece it doen't feel like looking through a straw. the reducer definitely makes a difference on a small sc tI hear it doesnt have the same effect on the bigger ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Andy.

For me having 80mm instead of a  5inch scope for my grab and go would not be an issue.  Bear in mind though that I refer to grab  and go as meaning a go anywhere scope, which in my view a 5inch Newt isn't.  Whilst I'd happily travel with my equinox in a shoulder bag, I wouldn't want to do this with a newt which is more bulky and less robust.

If you only want to grab and go as far as the garden the newt may be a better bet for you, it will give a better deep sky performance for many objects if that is important to you.  In terms of the planetary and Lunar views I'd be more than happy with the Equinox.  It gives good detailed sharp images of the Moon and planets on almost any nights being hardly ever affected by poor seeing compared with a larger scope.  For these purposes I usually use my Pentax XW 3.5mm which gives x143 and is well within the scopes capacity.  In terms of deep sky the Equinox is superb at wide field views and very good on most of the brighter deep sky objects - all be it not perhaps as good as the newt.  It's stellar images are excellent and I do use it at home for deep sky if I can't be bothered to get out a bigger scope or my observatory is snowed in as it has been recently!

If I wanted only to grab and go as far as the garden I'd probably go for a SW 6inch f8 or 6inch f5 newt on the AZ4 IF I didn't have a bigger scope to use at home and didn't need to travel any further than the garden.  I have the alternative of taking out a 152mm f5.9 refractor on a fork mount if it's a portable instrument rather than a true grab and go that is needed.  This is easily put in the car and easily set up, but is not a go anywhere scope.

Please feel free to PM me if I can be of any further help.  Regards, Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Skywatcher ED 120mm refractor and mount it on an AZ4 mount. It has given me some good observing.But the refractor is too long to take it when travelling in a car. I have been considering a  six inch SCT which would be more compact when packing it in a car when visiting other parts of the country. I would also like to use the SCT for terrestial observing.

My main telescope is an Orion Optics 200mm F6 Newtonian.So I get my apature kick from that.

Another option would be to keep what I have and buy a five inch maksutov or five inch SCT.

What do others think?I would be grateful for your opinions.

Martin.

I have just bought the AZ4 mount as I wanted a grab and go planetary solution.

So far I have tried a 127mm Mak on the AZ4 with very lightweight Vixen aluminium legs - this is a good combo, very light and stable but I only go to around x130.

I have also tried a 4" F/8 refractor weighing 6.4kgs on the AZ4. I had to use the 2" legs from a CG5 but it was very stable up to x194. Its grab and go slowly as it's getting a bit heavy and awkward.

Whilst I have not tried it I think the C6 on the AZ4 would be a great combo, a 32mm Plossl will give x47 for wide views and an 8mm eyepiece will give x188 for the planets - giving a 0.8mm exit pupil which is just about right. I am almost talking my self into buying a C6 here  :smiley:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another vote for the Equinox 80 it is light and very portable, nice crisp views of the planets and moon and none too shabby on the brighter DSOs, seems to barlow up well and it not too hard on my BSTs. I used mine on an AZ4 until recent times and that is a good light combo. As mentioned it might depend on where you observe from and what transport you use. I did use my 100ED on the AZ4 as well but that was pushing it a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it really is a grab and go scope you're after, a scope that's ready at a moments notice and will perform from the moment you set it up, you could do a lot worse than an equinox 80. Its a stunning little scope to say the least.

If its aperture you want then a 127 Mak Cass is another great choice.

The 80mm lacks aperture but packs a punch that more than compensates for its diminutive size, and works from the moment you set it up. The mak will gather more light, but if you're planning on driving any distance with the heater on, it may take some time for the image to settle down. Even though both scopes will likely have similar internal temperatures, the Mak uses an amplifying secondary mirror as do Schmidts, which means that any residual heat within the tube will also be amplified. Its a bit of a monkey, but a beautiful telescope if you have the time. The refractor on the other hand has zero amplification, so internal heat isn't as much of a problem.

Mike :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.