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Yes - but what about a bit of visual?


gnomus
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I got back into this hobby a few months ago.  My primary intention was to do visual observing.  I then made the terrible mistake of sticking a camera on the end of my scope......

I have two scopes - an Edge HD 800 which I use for lunar and planetary; and an ED-80 which I use for imaging DSOs.  I have one mount (a CGEM).

When doing planetary imaging, I am pretty much occupied full time.  When doing DSO work, however, whilst there is quite a bit of set up time, there follows long periods when the hardware and software is 'doing its thing', and I am really just monitoring everything.  Indeed, sometimes once all seems good, I will pop back inside and plunk myself down in front of the tragic lantern.

This seems a little wasteful of good nights.  Indeed, my wife asked me the other day if we could not find a set up that would allow us to continue our Messier quest, whilst the camera was taking its 30 x 5 minute exposures.

So, what to do?  I thought at first of getting another mount so that I can set up the Edge whilst the ED-80 is imaging.  But mounts ain't cheap.  Also, if I get another GEM, then this is going to add significantly to the overall set up and take-down time (I would have to contend with two 'rigs'). Then I thought - for the price of a semi-decent mount, I could buy one of those Dobsonian thingies - indeed I could get a Dob with a larger aperture than the Edge.  Something like - http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-250px-dobsonian.html or even http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-300p-flextube-dobsonian.html.  I have some reservations though.  I am one of those Johnny-come-lately chaps who has only ever had GOTO scopes.  Would I be able to manage one of these scopes where I have to do all the work?  Should I get a GOTO Dob?

Have I lost the plot?  Is this an issue that other folks face?  If so, what do they do about it?

Quick nurse .... the screens.....

  

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Big dob, right angle correct image finder and a laser... And some good charts (Jose Torres triatlas or other). Will drop you on the object every time (as long as you don't live in centrL london where yiu won't be able to make out enough stars to find anything!)

I warn you, you'll start collecting expensive eyepieces next....!!!

Cheers

Peter

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Practical big... 12". Proper big 20".... Lottery win.... 30". Even 40" is portable.... There's one on Germany that lives in a garage! Storage space, doorways, general fitness and wallet depth are the key factors. Aperture fever is a bad disease, even I am not fully cured.

Peer

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A decent sized dob is certainly a good complement to the kit you have. Big binoculars would be too.

BTW, for star-hopping and visual, setting up an EQ mount is quick: polar alignment consist of pointing the polar axis north (assuming the elevation has been set reasonably well). This is enough to keep objects in the FOV for a long time.

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I have a 250px for the visual side of things and it is a blessed relief from the electronics. It is easy to take apart into base/ota if you don't fancy lugging it all out together, although I simply carry the whole thing out in one go and only take it apart to transport in the car if I am off somewhere else. It fits in my A1 easily. Plonk it down, make a cup of tea, open Turn Left at Orion, and with the addition of the dew loving Telrad, you are all set for the evening. I bought a cover for it, so if I am done and feeling lazy, I just put the cover on and have left it outside for a few days on occasion.

What I like about it most is that it makes me appreciate different types of objects. Not so great imaging targets are fantastic in my Dob. Double stars and open clusters are simply glorious when seen with one's own eyes, something which imaging simply does not deliver.

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The cheapest option would be an EQ5 for the C8 whilst imaging with the ED80 on the CGEM. 

BUT, if you think you have a case of aperture fever? you could get a big Dob. I personally only think that's worth while over the C8 if you have reasonably dark skies? I find that fast Dob's give bright sky bacground, my C8 cuts through LP quite nicely :)

Not that any of this stops me from occasionally feeling the urge to buy a big Dob ;)

Edited by Chris Lock
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I've bought a 12" Explore scientific dob to compliment my imaging setup.  also an az4 mount for grab and go for the refractor thats not being used at the time...

Been getting back into visual recently after a long spell of pretty much all imaging...

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Big dob, right angle correct image finder and a laser... And some good charts (Jose Torres triatlas or other). Will drop you on the object every time (as long as you don't live in centrL london where yiu won't be able to make out enough stars to find anything!)

I warn you, you'll start collecting expensive eyepieces next....!!!

Cheers

Peter

Laser is a no-no if you're imaging alongside though...!

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One consideration might be length. My wife is only 5 ft 4". Would she be tall enough to use the 12" Dobsonian?

my dob EP is only 1.4m off the ground at zenith :)

I'm 5'7" and have to bend slightly.  usually use an observing chair if i can...

Edited by AstroAdam
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Just another thought, if both you and your wife will be taking turns at the eyepiece, maybe some kind of tracking would be a good idea?

e,g an EQ5 with RA motor or a Dob with tracking or Goto

This is an especially good idea if you have to take time to refocus for different eye prescriptions. 

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.... Only if you want to look at what you are imaging and have a dangerous laser. I live near an airport.... lasers are fine if you are careful.

I prefer my optics fast, wide field and best for nebulae. Eq mounts limit your aperture, you want quality or quantity?

I do like the colourful "gemlike" quality of naked eyeballing objects, which aperture gives.

PeterW

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That is a good point. Maybe we do need GOTO after all.

I think (??) the Goto Dobs by Skywatcher have dual encoders so you can push them around where you want, and once settled they will just track and wont lose the goto info from the initial alligment.

If you use your C8 for visual, I would say some kind of tracking would be a must due to the relatively narrow field of view.

You might get away with not having tracking with fast Newts or fracs, but it is still nice not to need to place the object at the edge of the FOV so it will appear somewhere near the middle by the time the next person is viewing.

This is what I've found when wanting to show my wife objects through various scopes anyway.  

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Maybe you'll do better than me, but I had a dob for visual and a goto setup for imaging, planning to do both, but I didn't really manage it that well, I ended up doing lots of imaging and very little observing. I just found, after all the setup time, checking the lappy screen, fixing problems, switching to next target, I wasn't really in the mood for observing. That's just me, you might fare better.

The dob I think might be your best bet, if it was me I'd maybe go for a 10 inch solid tube dob, manual, the less setup time the better, and it doesn't get much less setup time for the aperture than that. Although some targets can take a little while to find at first, you should soon build up a memory of the best targets that you can find quickly. Some sessions when I am tired the big obstacle is just to get going. Those easy targets usually whet my appetite, then I am ready to spend a bit longer looking for less obvious jewels once I have the taste!

Goto/tracking can be handy if you take a while to swap over at the eyepiece, but if you are both out and ready to swap over, manual is not too much of a problem. Unless you have a huuuuge dob and have to allow time for climbing up and down the ladder/using a parachute :grin:

So I think I am saying I found one area tends to dominate, but if you are to try both, I suggest keep it as simple/quick/easy as poss. Good luck!

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