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So I have decided to purchase my first telescope. After narrowing it down to the options in below, I cannot decide so I am putting it up for the Lounge to offer your opinions.

If you vote for #3, what type of mount would you recommend. I am looking for manual EQ.

1) http://agenaastro.com/meade-lx70-r8-8-eq-reflector-telescope-270012.html

2) http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1124690-REG/bresser_br_nt203exos2_messier_203mm_for_5.html

3) http://www.adorama.com/BRN20839.html

Edited by Parabola66

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any reason you've settled on a manual EQ?

the last one is very fast, and would probably be better suited for AP of DSOs, in which case you will need a motorised tracking mount.

the other two look like they are pretty similar, so probably not much different in the optics.

I had a manual EQ with a Newtonian, and it was a pretty miserable experience, when I changed it to Alt-Az I started to enjoy myself much more, and eventually sold it and changed to a Dob - for me it was a great decision.

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1 minute ago, rockystar said:

any reason you've settled on a manual EQ?

Mainly because of the cost of manual vs tracking. My girlfriend is interested in astrophotography so computerized tracking would be the smarter choice in future proofing.

What auto tracking mount would you recommend?

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Depends what you want to do with it, visual or imaging ? planets or deepsky. The faster 3.9 will give wider felids of view, better for deepsky. The F5 will be a more all round good on planets and the moon, as well as deepsky, but with narrower fields of view, with any given eyepiece. The F3.9 will require more precise collimation As far as I am aware all the scopes are

Chinese optics, don't overlook skywatcher scopes

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1 hour ago, Parabola66 said:

 

What auto tracking mount would you recommend?

I'm no expert in tracking mounts, but from what others say, you need at least a HEQ5 with an 8" scope to do any sensible AP.

The EQ5 (which I think came with the first 2 mounts) can have motors attached to track, and can also be converted into Alt-Az to give (in my opinion) a better visual experience. But I believe it won't be stable enough to do long exposure AP.

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Hi. As its your first scope. Make sure you are not trying to run before you can walk. Maybe look at a DOB at around the 250mm aperture which would be generally OK for DSO as well as p!anets. As a first scope you want something that is simple enough to use but gets good results. If you start going with the high tech end items you may spend numerous time setting it up and then if its not set up correctly being disappointed with the results , which may lead to you getting discouraged with the hobby .  If it was me get a simple mount DOB at a reasonable aperture and enjoy the skys . If at a later date you really wish to get into AP then from my limited knowledge expect to have deep pockets as from what I know to get good results you can spend a lot of money. I hope this is of some help.

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I don't see any significant difference between the Meade and the first Bresser. Agena have the Meade at a very good price - over at B&H Photos, it's a hundred bucks more! I'd go with the Meade and put the $100 towards a decent EP. The Bresser also makes no mention of EPs, while the Meade comes with 26mm and 9mm Plossls - perhaps not the best, but better than nothing!

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For what it's worth, Agena have great service.

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1 hour ago, Putaendo Patrick said:

it's a hundred bucks more! I'd go with the Meade and put the $100 towards a decent EP.

I did notice that. I can also get it ota. Would you recommend the Meade mount? Which is eq. Or buy a separate alt-az mount?

What brand and size ep would you recommend for dso? Something like a 32mm?

Do dobs need to be put on a stand or something like a table?

Thanks,

Collin

Edited by Parabola66

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Another thing to consider is the faster the scope the better the eyepieces will need to be for visual use! That will put you in the upper price bracket for eyepieces.  Lower cost  and mid price range eyepieces work much better in slower scopes. At F/5 most medium priced eyepieces should work fairly well. At F/3.9 you'll be looking at top tier eyepieces and a Paracorr.

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If you're going to go for a manual EQ mount, the one that comes with the Meade is probably as good as anything else you'll get at a similar price, and generally buying the bundle is cheaper than buying the OTA and mount apart. You should, however, be sure that this is what you really want. If you or your girlfriend want to get into serious astrophotography, this mount will not cut it, even with motors, and what you will need will be considerably more expensive. I would however suggest you don't worry too much about this for the moment, and ultimately an 8" reflector might not necessarily be the best scope - there's a big difference between AP and visual observing.

But my doubt is whether you really need an EQ - price-wise you could get an 8" Dob for much less, or even a 10" for the same money. I'm sure many of us have started out in astronomy quite uncertain of where it will eventually take us - and have made major changes to our equipment along the way. And this can be an expensively painful experience if we've invested too much in specialised gear which we eventually find we don't need.

Although there are smaller table-top Dobs, any of 6" or bigger Dobs are free-standing. All you need is a flat-ish, smooth-ish bit of land, plonk the Dob down (carefully though!) and you're pretty much ready to go! EQs need to be leveled and aligned, ideally with a Polar scope to get maximum precision. Then you'll find the telescope tube doesn't want to point where you want it to, and when it does you'll end up in positions best left to a yoga master! And for what?

As for eyepieces, you have a lot of options - perhaps firstly whether to go for 1.25" or 2" EPs. But before you make any decisions, I would recommend using the supplied EPs. If you do go with the Meade, the 26mm and 9mm supplied Plossls will allow you to see a considerable number of DSOs. You might, for example, begin to tick off objects from the Messier list - all of which should be well within reach! As you progress, you will form a much better idea of what you personally want out of an EP and can make your selection accordingly. After Messier you can continue with the Caldwell list, and if you're brave try your luck with the Herschel 400.

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some really good advice from Putaendo Patrick. If AP is something for the future, then leave it in the future and consider your immediate requirements. Photography can get very expressive.

I place my 8" dob straight on the floor, but some people like to raise it up a bit with something like the stand from a water butt. I then sit on a chair. With an EQ, one minute you will be up on your tip toes, next you will be on your knees underneath the scope.

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If you decide to stick with an EQ mount it would be worth enquiring whether the Bresser (2) is the old model with the focuser shown in the photo or the new model with the Hexafoc focuser. That and the illuminated polar scope would probably go some way to explaining the price difference over the Meade.

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So I know I am going all over the map here.. but what about something like the Nexstar 6se as a beginner scope?

I know its a slow focal ratio f/10, but it has a nice GoTo and tracking Alt-az mount, which I think will be good for my GF (she isnt too mechanically inclined and would probably lose interest in the hobby needing constant adjustments)

Why are slow scopes bad for DSO?  All this being asked with AP out of the equation..

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15 minutes ago, Parabola66 said:

So I know I am going all over the map here.. but what about something like the Nexstar 6se as a beginner scope?

I know its a slow focal ratio f/10, but it has a nice GoTo and tracking Alt-az mount, which I think will be good for my GF (she isnt too mechanically inclined and would probably lose interest in the hobby needing constant adjustments)

Why are slow scopes bad for DSO?  All this being asked with AP out of the equation..

I almost bought the 6 or 8se because it comes highly recommended by pretty much everyone I spoke with. Those look like great beginner scopes. You might want to do a search on these forums for both and just read some general opinions / experiences.

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