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matty01

First Telescope help? (not starting small ;))

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Hi all

I've been into astronomy/star gazing for years and my uncle has a skywatcher 6" newtonian, sometimes ill go outside and just watch and see if anything catches my eye and im regularly tracking the satellites. I do have a Nikon dslr d3200 which i try to take full night sky shots and there not to bad but want to get more involved now and have decided to buy a telescope of my own and i am looking to us it for visual / astrophotography (Messier & DSO) but im not bias to one another. Aslong as it can do both and is a pretty decent quality image.

Like i said im a novice-intermediate at this but im not one to start small :D and i know before you say that some are BIG and weight alot but that doesn't put me off building it up and taking it down every night. It all part and parcel of the hobby.  

Im looking to spend around £2000 ($3000) for tube and mount. Ive already had a few comment that i should look at the "Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro & HEQ5 PRO" but dare i say it i want a bigger bucket haha. I might sound like another one of those people who just wants to go big but like i said im not one to start small and would like to go in in the deep end.

I have been looking at two which are listed below and they both have good comments for intermediate AP and viewing.

Celestron C11 SCT VX GOTO / http://www.firstlightoptics.com/advanced-vx-goto/celestron-c11-sct-vx-goto.html

                       or

Skywatcher Explorer 300P-DS NEQ6 PRO / http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-300p-ds-neq6-pro.html  

Even if one of these is just good for viewing, i may find my self buying another telescope purely for AP and it will most probably be the "Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro & HEQ5 PRO"

Please can you let me know if these two above are good choices and if not any recommendations. But remember i might get two telescopes in the coming year (1 for viewing & 1 for AP).

Thanks

Matty

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If you go for the 300P-DS a Skywatcher AZ-EQ6-GT would be a better mount and stay within your budget, this will also run EQMod at some later date should the AP Bug bite.....

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I'm going to be terribly boring and say buy yourself a copy of "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards, our own steppenwolf

Here: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

Read it twice at least, while asking any questions that arise here.

Beyond that, apperture counts for relativly little in AP, though more in visual, also I would say neither of your choices would be ideal for getting started.

If you want two 'scopes (Probably a good idea) then an 8" dob would give you good views without eating too much of your budget, then look for a future-proof mount (To the extent that any mount in your price-range is future-proof) which means NEQ6 or possibly, if you can stretch, an AZ-EQ6 which sorts a lot of the EQ6's niggles. If you are going to be using as DSLR then you want a fast 'scope.

But really do think about where you want to go, as AP could eat your budget without really trying.

Edited by DaveS
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You could end up with this sort of set-up, it will double you budget but doesn't need to do done in one swoop.....

DSC_0842.jpg

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Deep sky imaging is not about aperture. It is about a combination of aperture, focal length (therefore focal ratio) and pixel scale. Don't buy anything until you understand this complex relationship.

Start with focal length. This determines what will fit on your chip. Long FL means narrow field of view, short focal length means wide field of view. Which do you want? Three things to know before you decide. 1) Long focal lengths need very accurate autoguiding and in some cases this means so accurate that only a premium multi thousand dollar mount can do it. 2) If you are using a camera with small pixels the atmosphere (and possibly the autoguiding) will not allow you to capture the details theoretically possible and your long focal length will be a total waste of time. Use this calculator to find out how many arcsecs per pixel you'll get. http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm 2 Arcsecs per pixel is popular, 1 arcsec per pixel is getting tricky and less is probably best avoided, certainly by beginners and with budget mounts. 3) Many popular targets are too big for long focal lengths. (Good news!)

Once you have your focal length selected, think about focal ratio. Exposure time goes as the square of the F ratio so F10 = 10x10 = 100 minutes. F4 = 4X4 = 16 minutes. Read that twice! But note that the faster the scope the harder it usually is to get it working well. F5 to F6 is a good compromise.

85mm (3.5 inch) scope;

M42%20WIDE%202FLsV2%20plus%20FULL%20TEC%

106mm (4 inch) scope;

M31%20Outer%20Halo-L.jpg

Why not a small imaging refractor and a Dob for visual? Aperture is good for visual but brings a lot of complications to DS imaging.

Olly

Edit, crossed in the post with Tinker, there.  Similar thinking at work!

Edited by ollypenrice
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Olly just about summed it up, he works in the realms of awesomeness i just image Messier objects as the clouds permit.....

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Thats great olly!!!! Much appreciated. I have used the link in your comment and this is my findings, obviously im not expecting at good as these but some were close.

Do please take into concideration that i cant find the exact celectron telescope that i want but it is the nearest i can find. Im leaning more to visual as like fellow gazers have said it can cost ALOT so im looking at maybe a big visual for now and then a smaller AP later on in the year, most likley the 80ED PRO on a HEQ5.

post-43153-0-44213100-1426681994.jpg

post-43153-0-59170100-1426681996.jpg

post-43153-0-65172800-1426681998.jpg

post-43153-0-38338500-1426682000.jpg

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As happy-cat pointed out very nearly every thing is shades of grey, imagines done with DSLR's will have colour, as will CCD's with filters or one shot type....

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In visual there's a trade off. The SCT is large in aperture but compact in physical length. In focal length, though, it is long which means that it cannot open out the view to the extent of a shorter FL scope. This may or may not matter to you but you just need to be aware before deciding. They are very good at high powers.

Note that a focal reducer won't increase the field of view in an SCT other than for users limited to 1.25 eyepieces. If you have a two inch widefiled eyepiece that's as wide as the scope's baffle tube will allow so focal reducer plus 2 inch widefield EP doesn't get you anywhere useful.

I think your plan sounds good. The 'one scope for all' doesn't really exist.

Olly

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In visual there's a trade off. The SCT is large in aperture but compact in physical length. In focal length, though, it is long which means that it cannot open out the view to the extent of a shorter FL scope. This may or may not matter to you but you just need to be aware before deciding. They are very good at high powers.

Note that a focal reducer won't increase the field of view in an SCT other than for users limited to 1.25 eyepieces. If you have a two inch widefiled eyepiece that's as wide as the scope's baffle tube will allow so focal reducer plus 2 inch widefield EP doesn't get you anywhere useful.

I think your plan sounds good. The 'one scope for all' doesn't really exist.

Olly

Thanks thats a great view on those two. Just to pick your brains one more time, if it was you choosing between the orginal two in the first post which one would you go for? bearing mind that it will be for visual.

Thanks

Matty

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Thanks thats a great view on those two. Just to pick your brains one more time, if it was you choosing between the orginal two in the first post which one would you go for? bearing mind that it will be for visual.

Thanks

Matty

I wouldn't buy either because I think they are both under-mounted and I don't like visual observing on German EQ mounts. This applies especially to Newtonians which end up with odd eyepiece positions. I would much rather use a tracking alt azimuth mount. The fork mounted SCTs are particulary comfortable for this. So I'd be looking along these lines for the SCT ...

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/cpc-gps-series/celestron-cpc-1100-gps-xlt.html

and these for the Newtonian...

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-250px-flextube-goto.html

or even  :evil: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-400p-flextube-goto.html

It must be said the the SCT mount above is a more convincing piece of engineering made from better, more moisture resistant materials but the larger driven Dobs have the aperture and the shorter focal length if you like to see wider. (I do, I must say. I feel rather 'hemmed in' by my 10 inch SCT.)

If you like the planets a lot then it's easy. Go for the SCT.

When (if) I retire from here I can imagine having a CPC C11  under a little roll off somewhere and enjoying the ease and convenience. I'd have a small apo piggybacked on it as a superfinder/widefield alternative. And I wouldn't take pictures! Too much like hard work... Heheh.  :grin:

Sorry not to give a straight answer but I couldn't.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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Aaah yes, the 'do it all' telescope. I have three of those. With your budget I would aim for a second hand Dob 8" or bigger with a couple of nice EPs for wider field and a 9.25 SCT on an alt Az mount for planets and planetary nebulae. How dark are your skies though?

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I know this has been said but it's worth repeating, the visual views through a scope, even a large scope, will look nothing like the images you have posted above. The object is M1, the Crab Nebula and the image below is a more realisic impression of  what an 8" scope will show under really dark, desert skies with the aid of a filter. Under moderately light polluted skies my 12" struggles to get that much detail. The visual view is in shades of grey.

Sorry if you have realised this but I just wanted to ensure your expectations were realistic :smiley:

post-118-0-00511700-1426702745.jpg

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Okay guys thanks for the feed back.

Ive read up about more and spoke to a guy to flo and he said newtonians are awkward because you have to turn the tube to get the eye piece in position but SCT is a longer focal length. So each have a plus and minus.

Olly, would you suggest because i can stretch to it than i go for the Celestron CPC 1100 GPS (XLT)?

1. What would this be best for imaging or visual?

2. Is the FL to long to get a wide ish view of messiers and dso?

Thanks

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You only have to turn the newt tube if you mount it on an equatorial mount which for visual use is not needed many use a dobsonian mount for visual, much more plonk and go.

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You only have to turn the newt tube if you mount it on an equatorial mount which for visual use is not needed many use a dobsonian mount for visual, much more plonk and go.

Haha plonk and go :D Yeah i guess, for images do i need an equatorial mount as it will need to track the sky at the same angle for long exposures? Just for future reference when i get an AP setup, now im just focusing on visual so hopefully the Celestron CPC 1100 GPS (XLT) gets good feedback on the comments :)

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The Celestron CPC 1100 GPS has a GOTO alt-azimuth mount. It's not a wide angle scope but would be great for viewing and imaging lunar, planetary targets and for viewing small deep sky objects. I'm not an imager but I think deep sky imaging is best, to start with at least, with a small aperture scope on a large equatorial mount.

I tend to agree with Chris (Owmuchomoy) that there is no "one scope fits all" solution.

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Hi all

I've been into astronomy/star gazing for years and my uncle has a skywatcher 6" newtonian, sometimes ill go outside and just watch and see if anything catches my eye and im regularly tracking the satellites. I do have a Nikon dslr d3200 which i try to take full night sky shots and there not to bad but want to get more involved now and have decided to buy a telescope of my own and i am looking to us it for visual / astrophotography (Messier & DSO) but im not bias to one another. Aslong as it can do both and is a pretty decent quality image.

Like i said im a novice-intermediate at this but im not one to start small :D and i know before you say that some are BIG and weight alot but that doesn't put me off building it up and taking it down every night. It all part and parcel of the hobby.  

Im looking to spend around £2000 ($3000) for tube and mount. Ive already had a few comment that i should look at the "Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro & HEQ5 PRO" but dare i say it i want a bigger bucket haha. I might sound like another one of those people who just wants to go big but like i said im not one to start small and would like to go in in the deep end.

I have been looking at two which are listed below and they both have good comments for intermediate AP and viewing.

Celestron C11 SCT VX GOTO / http://www.firstlightoptics.com/advanced-vx-goto/celestron-c11-sct-vx-goto.html

                       or

Skywatcher Explorer 300P-DS NEQ6 PRO / http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-300p-ds-neq6-pro.html  

Even if one of these is just good for viewing, i may find my self buying another telescope purely for AP and it will most probably be the "Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro & HEQ5 PRO"

Please can you let me know if these two above are good choices and if not any recommendations. But remember i might get two telescopes in the coming year (1 for viewing & 1 for AP).

Thanks

Matty

The two problems as I see it with scopes you have picked are:

the C11 has a very long focal length 2800mm!! Taking astrophotos at long focal lengths is VERY demanding and not up to the mount supplied with it. Not only that it's optically very slow at F10- but a good visual scope for planets and the like.

the Skywatcher 300pds is a better proposition at 1500mm FL and F4.9 coming with EQ6 too. The only problem is the SIZE of these things- they are enormous and better suited to observatory mounting. Believe me your enthusiasm will wane quickly faced with nightly setup and dissasembly of of one these beasts. Best to look at one in the flesh to see what I mean there is an honest review here by an SGL owner.

Personally I'd be inclined to go for a 200mm (8") or 250mm (10") Newtonian if I had to move the thing every session (in a permanent oberservatory it's a different matter of course).

Keep the EQ6 as the mount option, for the money you won't get a better mount and it can be used as your visual or photographic platform.

Just in case you have any doubts about the size of the 12" scope- pictured is an 8" F6 scope beside a 12" F4 (the 300PDS is even longer!) . I hear the 300PDS scopes often get returned to the supplier in exchange for something smaller......

Dscf5201.jpg

Edited by laser_jock99
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Thanks  guys. :) appreciate it. 
 
 
I understand my enthusiasm will wear of in time but i honestly don't mind putting it up and taking it down every night :) its all apart of the night and i will have assistance as my dad is interested in astronomy too.  
 
 
Just to clarify then laser_jock99, okay so the skywatcher sounds a good choice for visual? mostly DSO and Messiers and the often planetary viewing? obviously every scope has a fault and i guess Newtonian is the awkward eye piece location. Like i said later in the year im going to look at a 3 or 4" refractor just for imaging alone as the pictures are amazing when stacked and so on.  
 
 
The only thing that is bugging me is the mount type, Equatorial or Alt-azimuth. obviously the SW comes with NEQ6 which will follow the sky in one moment rather than both axis like alt-azimuth. I was under the assumption that EQ is better as it keeps the object in view at the right angle rather than it moving clockwise over time, its just an eq makes it awkward to view sometimes? is this correct?   

Thanks

Matty

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The Newtonian does not have an awkward eye position if used on a AltAz mount, it is an equatorial mount that creates the awkward eye position as this mount causes the tube to rotate rather than just have up down left right.

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I understand my enthusiasm will wear of in time but i honestly don't mind putting it up and taking it down every night :) its all apart of the night and i will have assistance as my dad is interested in astronomy too.  

Sorry to sound a little negative but I've been on this forum for nearly 10 years and I've heard this many, many times. In most cases the scope ends up for sale and the owner decides to put something smaller on the same mount. Either that or the whole thing gets sold on.

At the very least see one of these for real before deciding. A 12" scope on a dob mount is relatively easy for one person but put the same scope on an equatorial mount and it is a really huge affair :shocked:

Given our weather you really need something like this in an observatory to make it practical.

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