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Parabola66

First Telescope help & New to the Forum

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Hello Everyone,

This is my first time post to this site, just found you guys last night. I am from the Jersey Shore so there is always a medium level of light - pollution, though I can find some nice dark spots around town.. I am looking at purchasing my first telescope. I have been on some adventures with my friend and his  2" reflector, but I want to get my own now.

My main objective is DSO such as: Andromeda, Sombrero Galaxy, Nebulae  and the like. Also would like to see details of the planets, but this is not as much a requirement as the viewing of DSO.

So I understand a large aperture reflector with fast f / ratio is best for DSO, but I have heard of great results with a Refractor. What specs would qualify a Refractor for being good with DSO? Are Reflectors the usual tool for DSO? I think I understand for DSO I would require a large aperture and a large aperture Reflector would do me more harm than good in NJ with the light pollution.

What would be a good scope for me? I am looking the $500 range for OTA or with stand, not including additonal eyepieces or collimator (if I purchase a Reflector).

So far I have my eyes on the Celestron Omni XLT 150 Reflector, but I wanted to get some opinions from some more experienced stargazers.

I have also found https://www.telescopes.com/collections/telescopes/products/meade-lx70-r8-8-inch-reflector-ota

Thanks!!!        P.S. If you are going to recommend a different scope, please explain the benefits of the scope over the Omni XLT 150.

Edited by Parabola66

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Hi and welcome to SGL :smile:

You have clearly done your research and I think you are going along the right lines for what you want to see.

The biggest difference you will find between reflectors and refractors at this level is that the reflectors give you much more bang for your bucks. The second difference is that entry level achromatic refractors all suffer from a degree of chromatic aberration, which gives some distracting false colour around bright objects.

A 150 reflector would be an excellent place to start but I would recommend that you look at the Skywatcher equivalent of the Celestron Omni 150. They are basically the same scope (both made by the same manufacturer, Synta) but the Celestron is much more expensive. It does have XLT coatings and a nice paint job but neither of those things will significantly affect what you see through the eyepiece, particularly if you are battling light pollution. I have owned the Celestron Omni 150 and a few Skywatcher reflectors and can honestly say there is no performance advantage from the extra cost of the Celestron.

If your budget extends to the Clestron 150, consider a Skywatcher 200 - the extra aperture and a better mount for roughly the same price will make a big difference :wink:

Good luck.

Derek

 

Edited by DRT
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I'm not so sure Sky-Watcher scopes are marketed Stateside. Synta no doubt market similar scopes under other names. The Orion Apex/Sky-Watcher Skymax are basically the same thing, although AFAIK there is no direct Celestron equivalent. The Apex 102mm is marketed here and I believe it's at least 50 quid more expensive than the Skymax version. I believe Orion give you a couple of GSO Plossls with their version as opposed to the standard 10 and 25mm MA's given away with the Skymax.

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For a lot of the fainter DSOs, the light gathering ability of extra aperture is really critical. But prices of refractors above 150mm do get seriously astronomical! I think this is the main reason why reflectors are preferred, rather than any inherent optical benefit.

The absence of a secondary mirror obstruction means that refractors can perform better than reflectors of the same aperture - some people claim that a 150mm frac is as good as a 200mm reflector. However if you were able to jump up to 250mm, the difference would be very notable.

A 250mm reflector on a manual Dobsonian mount will cost US$600 - 700 which I would suggest would be much better value.

 

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20 minutes ago, Mak the Night said:

I'm not so sure Sky-Watcher scopes are marketed Stateside.

I think you are right about this. I can only find a hand full of scopes online that aren't on Canadian and European.

But the Orion Apex 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain has a f/12.1

How would something like that perform well with DSO?

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6 minutes ago, Parabola66 said:

But the Orion Apex 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain has a f/12.1

How would something like that perform well with DSO?

Not nearly so well as the Newtonian - less aperture (by far the most important thing) and a higher focal ratio, which is great for high magnification (lunar / planets) but less good for DSOs. It's a good enough scope, but not (in my view) a good first scope or a good all rounder / DSO scope. A 150mm reflector like the one you mentioned (or even better a 200mm Dobsonian) would likely be better suited to what you say you want to achieve.

Best of luck!

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31 minutes ago, Parabola66 said:

I think you are right about this. I can only find a hand full of scopes online that aren't on Canadian and European.

But the Orion Apex 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain has a f/12.1

How would something like that perform well with DSO?

Mak's are good for high magnification, but not so good for field of view and low magnifications. I needed a huge 40mm focal length eyepiece to get a low enough magnification to use a nebula filter for viewing the Orion Nebula at around 30x magnification with my 102mm Skymax. It's the lowest magnification I can get with it!

As you probably won't need massive magnification for most DSO's a Newtonian type telescope would be a better option.

I have a Sky-Watcher 130mm Newtonian that is similar to this almost certainly Synta-manufactured Orion reflector.

If you can get an Orion like this but 150mm or 200mm it would be good for DSO's. I don't know whether it would be cheaper than the Celestron equivalent though.

There are Canadian Sky-Watcher distributors that export to the States probably.

 

Edited by Mak the Night

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For most DSOs, you'll probably find you'll need to drive to a dark site (maybe the Pine Barrens area?) to be able to pick them out from the background skyglow.  Keep that in mind when purchasing a scope.  It will need to be able to easily fit in your car.  Also keep your expectations in check because unless you jump up to around 12 to 16 inches of aperture, most galaxies look like fuzzy smudges except from the darkest of sites.  As for the Andromeda galaxy, only its core and satellite galaxies will be visible from your backyard.

For the moon, planets, and most Messier open clusters, you're good to go from your backyard. Some globular clusters are also a good target with enough aperture and magnification.  M15 in particular this time of year.  Bright nebulae like Orion, Omega, and Ring are also easily visible from your backyard. 

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I believe Meade and Bresser are ultimately owned by the same company, Sunny Optics Inc, a subsidiary of the Chinese Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co Ltd. Historically Meade was a US company which started by importing Japanese scope and accessories, Bresser did much the same in Germany and at some point the two merged.

The Bresser you link is probably as good as anything similar in this price range - and not to be confused with very cheap scopes branded Bresser for National Geographic.

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6 minutes ago, Putaendo Patrick said:

Historically Meade was a US company which started by importing Japanese scope and accessories, Bresser did much the same in Germany and at some point the two merged.

Meade, like Celestron, used to make all of their SCTs in the US.  Now, I think only the largest are still assembled in the US at either company from mostly foreign made components (China or Mexico).

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Joes Diebel, founder of Meade, actually started with a mail order operation selling astronomy accessories made to his specifications in Japan in 1973 (and ended up marrying the daughter of one of the major Japanese telescope manufacturers, Towa I think). Meade started production in the USA in 1976 with reflectors, then came the famous SCTs - probably when Meade were at their best! It's an interesting history :icon_biggrin:

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Anyone have experience with First Light Optics website? How are they? I am new so I don't know the reliable sites from the scams.

They seem pretty well put together and have international shipping which is good, plus the Dollar to Euro exchange will save me some money.

I was looking at https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-eq5.html

Any thoughts?

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13 minutes ago, Parabola66 said:

Anyone have experience with First Light Optics website? How are they? I am new so I don't know the reliable sites from the scams.

They seem pretty well put together and have international shipping which is good, plus the Dollar to Euro exchange will save me some money.

I was looking at https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-eq5.html

Any thoughts?

FLO are excellent, I've bought a lot of astro gear from them.

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27 minutes ago, Mak the Night said:

FLO are excellent, I've bought a lot of astro gear from them.

Absolutely agree. FLO are great. I use them often.

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11 hours ago, Parabola66 said:

 

So I found this.. I am new so I don't know if it is a quality brand... Bresser?

 

I've actually got this scope and have been very happy with it. It would be a good choice for DSOs. Also works well for lunar and planetary, so a good all rounder. Pretty sure the optics are standard Synta, but the Bresser focuser is a step up. The red dot finder is not great (though usable); I replaced with a Skywatcher RACI and Rigel Quickfinder.

Edited by billyharris72
Typo

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Personally, for visual observations I would choose a Dobsonian mount over an equatorial mount for a Newtonian telescope every time. In fact I posted my thoughts on the 200p/Eq5 only yesterday.

Also, although FLO are excellent, it doesn't look like they will ship to the USA. 

Edited by Ricochet

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5 hours ago, Ricochet said:

Also, although FLO are excellent, it doesn't look like they will ship to the USA. 

True.  I inquired recently about shipping an eyepiece to the US to take advantage of a UK only sale, but they wouldn't do it.

I buy most of my astro stuff from Astronomics (and Cloudy Nights Classifieds), Agena Astro, OPT Telescopes, Telescopes.com, B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon, and ebay, in that order.

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Hi. I have both a DOB of 14" aperture OOuk and a 120 apo refractor. So can see the positives and negatives of both reflector and refractor. For DSO i would say that aperture is king (a light bucket as some say) and in general as refractors are more expensive than reflectors for the given size of aperture then the best bang for your buck would IMO be a reflector. As for size a DOB something around 250mm would be OK and handy if you need to transport to a dark sight. As from my experience a dark site does really help in location of the faint fuzzy DSO. But the larger the aperture the better IMO and a 14" I find ideal ,but keep in mind I do not transport my scope as at these sizes it is just impractical. As for makes or suggestions around your budget ,I have not owned or used one but the skywatcher DOBs seem to be popular in the UK to which is an indication what may be worth considering .Also keep in mind that the scope is only half of the equation in my opinion and eyepiece selection is just as important if you wish to get the best out of your chosen scope, so have some sensible budget for some decent eyepieces as if you buy cheap you will usually regret it and end up spending more in the long run up grading. I hope this is of some help from the UK with cloudy skies at present.

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8 hours ago, Timebandit said:

As for size a DOB something around 250mm would be OK and handy if you need to transport to a dark site.

I keep seeing the term OK referring to a large aperture DOB. Since aperture is king with DSO what are the downsides making it OK compared to a newtonian?

What are quality EPs for DSO?

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6 minutes ago, Parabola66 said:

I keep seeing the term OK referring to a large aperture DOB. Since aperture is king with DSO what are the downsides making it OK compared to a newtonian?

What are quality EPs for DSO?

Remember that a dob IS a Newtonian. The benefits are simply the convenience of the dob mount, and the relative cheapness compared with say an EQ mount.

Larger dobs tend to be fast in order to keep the size manageable and the field of view wide enough. That means they are generally tough on eyepieces. Televue Ethos 100 degree afov would be the best you could get, with ES eyepieces being a cheaper alternative for a small decrease in performance.

You will also benefit from a coma corrector such as a paracorr in order to maintain pinpoint stars across the field of view in those widefield eyepieces.

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36 minutes ago, Parabola66 said:

 I like the collapsible feature on the Truss DOB.. a nice 10" Sky-Watcher.  What would I need to get started, just a Collimator?

What should I look for in an eyepiece considering it being paired with this:  f4.7, 1200mm FL, 10in Dob?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/735539-REG/Sky_Watcher_S11720_10_Dobsonian_Telescope.html

A collimator would be a good start, followed by a light shroud to cover the open truss when in use to avoid stray light entering the scope and to protect your primary mirror in case you drop something inside the scope.

What is your budget for eyepieces?

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That Skywatcher 10" kept getting my attention when I was shopping.  I'm kind of a big fellow and I can move my Z10 which for something like $500 came with few goodies from telescopes.com which you had a link to earlier.  The Z10 is everything I can move in my Aurora or MarkVIII.  I'm not even trying in the Mustang.

That Skywatcher or something real similar with a two speed focuser would be more portable for many.

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