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Need advice for complete set up - please spend my money!!


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Change of circumstances a few years ago unfortunately meant that I had to let go of all my astro equipment - Paramount, Tak scope and my beautiful Pulsar dome

Now though, I'm back on track and I will be in a position soon to reacquire some if not all of the equipment back. Being able to do things second time round has also allowed me to really have a good think of what I want to get out of this hobby, so my thoughts will follow. But I would welcome feedback from you guys to ensure my thoughts aren't too way off the mark.

Mount - mainly visual but with a nod to possibly video and a little imaging, as they say repeatedly - mount first, mount second and mount third in order of priority!

Usual suspects - considering - EQ8 (at this price point I can't dismiss it), Mesu mount 200 (excellent feedback from Olly and others), 10 micron (again excellent feedback from Pers and others)

Observatory - thinking 8' x 8' roll off, either self build or one of the shelf, via Ian King Imaging - depending on time it may unfortunately be the latter

Scope - currently have a Celestron 100ED and a whole bunch of quality eyepieces / diagonals / filters etc, but ideally want a fast smallish frac so considering SW ED80 or something similar, keep the 100ed and then a light bucket considering Celestron c11 or 9.25 (hyper star compatibility would be good) - this may change depending on the final budget and obviously input from the CFO ('er indoors)

Total budget is looking at 8k, but this could be stretched to 9 or even 10k with valid persuasion ...... but we'll see - and I don't mind buying second hand equipment, have done in the past and will probably do again.

The sale of my beloved Ducati will help fund this as after a few 'near misses' I have realised life is better viewed through an eyepiece rather than looking up from the pavement!

Thoughts welcome guys - just need feedback I'm on the right track.

Oh and the whole lot will be bolted down in my back garden in Lincoln, small village, not overly light polluted and great views of all parts of the sky (as I live in a bungalow).

Thanks for reading,

Neil. 

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"please spend my money!!" That is a very, very dangerous statement to make to people you hardly know, other than that they like to spend other peoples money. Good luck with your astro revival / b

I'm thinking the same for the scope so we are on the same page, although I would be tempted to go for the F4 version, super fast! Well the Mesu is rated to carry 100Kgs, yes a 100Kgs I couldn't b

I have recently been in the position of getting a new mount....... The EQ8 wasn't in my sight, but the Mesu 200, Paramount MX+ and 10Micron 2000HMS were in the running. For me, I've come down on the s

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"please spend my money!!"

That is a very, very dangerous statement to make to people you hardly know, other than that they like to spend other peoples money. Good luck with your astro revival / bankrupcy

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36 minutes ago, Uplooker said:

"please spend my money!!"

That is a very, very dangerous statement to make to people you hardly know, other than that they like to spend other peoples money. Good luck with your astro revival / bankrupcy

Yes a dangerous statement indeed, and I know from experience how his hobby can swallow vast sums of money - the equivalent of several brand new small cars.

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I have recently been in the position of getting a new mount....... The EQ8 wasn't in my sight, but the Mesu 200, Paramount MX+ and 10Micron 2000HMS were in the running. For me, I've come down on the side of the Mesu 200. There were a couple of reasons for this....... 1) Being in the right place at the right time and getting a second hand one from a friend! 2) Thinking long and hard about whether I actually needed the 'easier setup' of the Paramount and the remote capabilities that it offered - I decided that I didn't need these things. 3) Whether I was so very against guiding, which would have led me to the 10Micron offerings. 

I suppose that my requirements are slightly different as I am solely into imaging....... 

I guess that bang for buck the Mesu wins hands down in the three I was considering. So far I am no regretting my purchase. I think that certainly with these mounts and the imaging requirements I have I will be limited by seeing long before the difference in guiding accuracy start to manifest themselves.

 

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Hi Sara,

Thank you for taking the time to reply and there are some fantastic images on your website, truly spectacular - so I guess the mount delivers!

I have no interest to go remote at this time, I'm kind of old fashioned and like being near the scope or a warm room as it hums away. Mu only concern would be my initial preference for visual only, would a Mesu mount be overkill as would a Micron, or am I better future proofing the purchase and using the old saying, buy once cry once!

Regarding the roll off - as stated above I have pretty good views in all directions as my observatory will be on a raised area at the rear of the garden which in height gives me about 4 feet (1 and a bit metre) above the ground floor. And as I live in a bungalow this helps even further - I will post pictures later on and give a perspective of what I am talking about.

Thank you for the opinions, please keep them coming.

Thanks for reading,

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I'd go for the Mesu and C9.25. I wouldn't bother with the C11 - unless you could stretch to the C14. For visual planets and planetary imaging the C9.25 and C14 hit the sweet spots.

I use my C9.25 on an EQ6 and it's perfect. Going for the Mesu will give you more comfort and future protection, especially if you decide to go down the ap route.

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10 minutes ago, nicks90 said:

Instead of a biiiig mount and a c9.25 along with imaging scopes, how about a big 18" dob and a slightly smaller mount like a 2nd hand neq6 for dabbling with imaging?

Hi Nick,

As much as I state my preference is for visual astronomy, I can feel the pull into imaging and video astronomy will be inevitable so hence the main reason for a permanent set up. I work away a lot and time is also limited so the idea of powering on, rolling roof back and observing / imaging within a short amount of time is very tempting. 

My skies are pretty good as well so this kind of negates the necessity to search out dark skies, my only fly in the ointment is Lincoln town centre which gets a little glow from a south / east aspect. Other than that and the odd stray neighbours light its pretty good.

I mentioned the C11 or C9.25 as they are very versatile when used with the hyper star system, its not set in stone regarding my scopes, first priority for me are the mount and then the observatory.

Hope that clarifies my thought process, thanks for your reply.

Neil. 

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8 minutes ago, Grotemobile said:

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/meade-lx600-acf-12-f8-goto-telescope.html faster than the

Ever thought about something like this. @ F8. Bit

faster than the Celestron.

 

Steve.

Hi Steve looks interesting and a possible but would prefer something like this once the mount and observatory is sorted out. Even faster f/l and a reputation amongst imagers and visual alike >

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/orion-optics-uk-optimized-dall-kirkham-12-ota.html

Regards,

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53 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

I'd go for the Mesu and C9.25. I wouldn't bother with the C11 - unless you could stretch to the C14. For visual planets and planetary imaging the C9.25 and C14 hit the sweet spots.

I use my C9.25 on an EQ6 and it's perfect. Going for the Mesu will give you more comfort and future protection, especially if you decide to go down the ap route.

It is what I'm leaning towards Michael, and the scope has a great reputation, compatible with hyper star and is easy to move on once alternatives present themselves.

Been reading up on all the mounts and looking at price, solidity of build and after sales support the Mesu is making a very good case for itself. ...... umm .... 

Appreciate the input Michael.

Regards,

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2 hours ago, nightfisher said:

Just to throw a bit of a curved ball, how about a really nice Dob say 12-16 inch for superb views and a Nano semi automated  obsy for the pics

A valid suggestion and one to ponder, best of both worlds as well.

Gut feeling is a roll of observatory with enough room to have a permanent mount and a selection of modest scopes.

Thanks for the input Jules.

Regards,

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Please see attached various views from the proposed observatory position.

First is East, then south, west and finally north - last one is the proposed observatory site, where the outside table is sat is probably not too far from the mount position.

Please excuse the giant washing line pegs :0)

IMG_2498.JPG

IMG_2499.JPG

IMG_2500.JPG

IMG_2501.JPG

IMG_2502.JPG

Edited by Neil27
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Have a google of the nano obsy`s that people have built, can be as small as 1 metre square, and a 12" decent dob can be portable to a dark site as a bonus, plus you could drop the budget by a large amount maybe down to 3k and worth every penny

 

 

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Hi Jules,

Yes I have read a good portion of the thread and admit it is an ingenious design for someone on a tight budget or short of usable space.

Fortunately I have neither issues, and will probably go the full size option, but its a great idea and one that I haven't totally closed my mind too yet - it is brilliant when people can come up with inventive solutions or look at the problem in a completely different way. That is why these forums are great at sharing some great ideas.

Once again appreciate the input Jules,

Regards,

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Only deep sky AP requires a very accurate mount and only high resolution AP at that. As for 'fast' and 'slow,' again only AP requires 'fast.'

I would find a big SCT frustrating because of the long FL and limited FOV. (I feel this about my 10 inch SCT. I prefer to observe with our 20 inch Dob which has a shorter FL.) About the Mesu mount I can only say this: most astrophographers find that the mount is their biggest problem. I find our Mesu 200 to be the most reliable, least problematic and most 'invisible' bit of kit in all of our four observatories. It just works, and has been doing so for several years.

If you maybe want to bring deep sky imaging into the story I think it has to be either 'you do' or 'you don't' because it imposes some very specific (and very expensive) constraints on the mount which do not apply if you are only into visual observing and planetary imaging.

The Mesu can knock out very accurate guiding at long FL (this is 0.66 arcsecs per pixel) till the cows come home (close crop) ...

https://ollypenrice.smugmug.com/Other/Best-of-Les-Granges/i-p5JCSFT/A

Olly

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For observational use, the Mesu is probably overkill but if you have any serious thoughts of taking the AP route then the mount will be your most important consideration so why buy twice? I can only echo the reports above - the Mesu simply works, end of!

I have had mine for three years and it has served me supremely well in that time.

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10 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

If you maybe want to bring deep sky imaging into the story I think it has to be either 'you do' or 'you don't' because it imposes some very specific (and very expensive) constraints on the mount which do not apply if you are only into visual observing and planetary imaging.

Olly

And I think that is the main driver amongst all these discussions Olly, I will most likely go down the imaging route so in many ways I have already answered my own question - a high quality mount will be an essential part of my set up, my main issue is deciding which one? Also the roll off design for my little piece of land that I wish to use - I feel this is the most effective solution to my circumstances without it being obviously an observatory and creating an issue with the CFO, after all she will also have to look at it each day along with myself, but some carefully placed planting and a sympathetic colour can make most things blend in.

Thanks for the input Olly appreciated, email already sent to Mesu!

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10 hours ago, steppenwolf said:

For observational use, the Mesu is probably overkill but if you have any serious thoughts of taking the AP route then the mount will be your most important consideration so why buy twice? I can only echo the reports above - the Mesu simply works, end of!

I have had mine for three years and it has served me supremely well in that time.

Again Stephen my exact thoughts, as per reply to Olly, email sent to Mesu.

Thanks for the input Stephen always good to receive comments from users of the equipment one is considering to purchase, after all these are not inexpensive trinkets!

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Thanks for this topic Neil - I'm having almost exactly the same conundrum - same budget and same as you in that visual will be my main activity but DSO imaging definitely going to happen in the near future - I'm not aiming to win any awards though, I hasten to add. I have an 8" SCT now and I wouldn't want to go with a longer focal length because of the limited fov, as Olly points out, but I would certainly like some more aperture...due to the f10 of the bigger Celestrons, I'd discounted these.

For that reason I was thinking about a newt - the OOUK vx-12l (f5) or even vx-14 (f4.6) look good, especially with one of the upgraded mirrors. Have you thought about this type of route and come to any views?

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37 minutes ago, Andymarrison said:

Thanks for this topic Neil - I'm having almost exactly the same conundrum - same budget and same as you in that visual will be my main activity but DSO imaging definitely going to happen in the near future - I'm not aiming to win any awards though, I hasten to add. I have an 8" SCT now and I wouldn't want to go with a longer focal length because of the limited fov, as Olly points out, but I would certainly like some more aperture...due to the f10 of the bigger Celestrons, I'd discounted these.

For that reason I was thinking about a newt - the OOUK vx-12l (f5) or even vx-14 (f4.6) look good, especially with one of the upgraded mirrors. Have you thought about this type of route and come to any views?

Hi Andy,

Yes it is a struggle to put all the pieces together, as they say this hobby can get very expensive, very quickly.

One of my main considerations is ensuring the mount will be my last mount, so after speaking to Bernard at Modern Astronomy and several other retailers that I don't want to mention, I will be ordering a Mesu Mount once my finances have cleared. Even with the recent price hike (over the weekend) it is still head and shoulders above anything else on the market for the price. Yes you can go a route which is cheaper, but I want my mount to work straight away not be bothered about tightening this up, replacing that because it is too fragile etc.

Like you Andy I'm not going to win any awards with my pursuit of astro photography, well not yet anyway - but my main interest will be EAA and an occasional 'dip the toe in the water' AP so for the first few months and possibly years my main interest is visual and EAA.

Regarding scopes, I currently have a celestron ED100, so I am starting from scratch which is probably a good thing as it is a blank sheet of paper with no other agenda. My thoughts on scopes are very similar in fact to yours, large aperture but fast optics to assist with my pursuit of EAA and also large wide field of views for picking out DSO. Amongst the choices you mention as well there are others on the Orion website, the CT range are highly thought of as well as well as is the ODK range but these are eventually turning more towards imaging rather than visual. For a compromise I am also considering the skywatcher MN190 - again not overly a big aperture at 7.5 inches but fast optics at just a tad over f5, so would yield some fine views - 'apo like' has been comments about it.

Again everyone is different and some would spend the budget in another way, but for me a permanent set up, with an observatory is a must, and a high quality mount is also a must. My budget will likely swallow up these two items but at least my humble celestron ED100 will not overload the mount!

Hope this helps and thanks for your input Andy, keep me informed on your decision as well.

 

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42 minutes ago, swag72 said:

I think you have made a wise choice Neil - I have been very impressed with the Mesu so far..... you can never have too much mount for your money :D

I agree Sara, it was an obvious choice for me. 

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Well, when you decide, could you change the delivery address to mine so I can quality check your shipment?

I offer that as a free service....

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