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Begining research for next years purchase

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I have decided i will spend about 600 on a new telescope next year, so i am starting the research now,  I was looking at what 600 in a Cassigrain style VS a Dob  could get me,  looking exclusivly at Telescope.com for now i found  two scopes that caught my eye

http://www.telescope.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=9944 Nexstar 5SE GoTo


http://www.telescope.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=102006 Orion SkyQuest XT10

If yall had a choice between those two what would you chose and why

I plan to atempt some DSO finds, with possible imaging using my logicam

Also if yall think both of these scopes are rubbish what would you Sugest that can be purchased and shipped in the US withoout having to crod the pond,  i dont think the extra shipping and custom fees would suit me

thank yall

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The first thing to mention is that neither of these scopes will be of much use for imaging. You might get some results with the 5SE as it has the ability to track. You will be limited to images of the Moon and planets. Imaging with a Dob while not impossible........is a bit of an art form. 

For purely observing, the 10" Dob is the clear winner. Dobs are just big ole light gathering buckets at really good prices for aperture.

Hope this helps.

p.s.~~~Just a thought. The 10" Dob you linked to costs $600. Not sure of currency conversion rates between the Dollar and Sterling, but i do know that $600 is pretty much the same as 600 euros (i live in Ireland and we use euros here). I think $600 = £400 (just about). So that would be a fair price for a 10" Dob. I thought it was a bit expensive but i worked it out and its about right for what you would pay on this side of the pond for a Skywatcher Skyliner 10" Dob (probably the most popular Dob over this side of the pond).

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I'd go for the 10" dob. It'll knock spots off the 5" Nexstar. The jump between 5 and 10" was particularly pronounced (for me) on Globular clusters, which ceased being 'fuzzy' and now mostly resolve into sprays of stars - beautiful. I hadn't expected that change.

There are a few other points to consider:

  • The Dob won't need electricity, which if you're heading somewhere remote can be a bit plus.
  • The Nexstar can track, the dob won't. However, you quickly get used to nudging ( and I find I often don't use that high a power magnification, so less nudging is needed)
  • The Nexstar is much smaller. The 10" dob is quite bulky. I'm a fairly average lad (5'11"), and still youngish and healthy, so it isn't a problem - but it might be worth considering.
  • If you're observing somewhere light polluted, the difference between the 2 scopes will be less. If there's no contrast between the sky and what you're looking at, no scope can fix that.

Also, neither is particularly suited to astrophotography, though web cam imaging of the planets should be possible. That would be much easier with the tracking of the nexstar. For proper AP, though, you need to be looking at equatorial mounts - and they're quite different setups to visual.

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There are also other aspects which you should also consider: 

- how much time do you have to dedicate to this hobby. The larger the mirror is the longer the time to cool down properly and use it at high power. This is important if you are interested in seeing planets or if you observe from a severe light polluted sky area where planets might be one of the few things you can observe. A 10" takes more than 30-40 min to cool down.

- your size and strength. A 10" is not really light and for some people can be at the very limit of what they find acceptable. It would be good if you have a look at the specifications and see one to make sure that for you it is not a problem to lift it and carry it around, particularly if you cannot observe from your garden.

- cost. You mentioned that 600 is the amount you intend to spend. Although 10" is within the limit for this scope, you will then need to add eyepieces too. Three or four eyepieces will be enough, but as this scope is "fast" (its focal ratio is F5) you will need to buy good eyepieces to avoid introducing and viewing bad aberrations. Even buying them second hand, you might spend other 600. Personally, I prefer to save and then spend my money in excellent eyepieces (buy one time and then use it), but this strategy is far from being optimal for many people, and if it does not work, you might end up spending a little fortune.

Another telescope that you might consider is a Dobson 200 F6. This is "kinder" with eyepieces than the Dob 250 F5 you mentioned, it is more portable in terms of weight and will still show you *A LOT* of things. Plus it is cheaper, and might allow you to spend just 600 for telescope and 3-4 good plossl or BST, particularly if you buy second hand.

As mentioned before, dobsons are not really suitable for astrophotography, but before entering in that field, I believe you should spend some time just observing and learning the sky, your preferred targets etc. Imaging is a great thing to me and I always love to see pics taken by other members. However, it is also important to be aware that these come out from hard work and not necessarily cheap equipment. You might find that you do not intend or have time to take shots for several hours and just have one or two hours in which you want simply to observe. Plus, before doing imaging you need to know the sky, where the targets are and the requirements for imaging those targets. All these things add a fair amount of complexity. I suggest you to go step by step, starting from purely observing the sky and later, after reading the requirements for AP, decide if you want to make that step. AP has very different requirements from visual astronomy, and for this reason, you will likely need another setup.

Good luck and looking forward to reading your reports!  :rolleyes:


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