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Hello

I am looking for a telescope that can fit in my backpack. I found two 1. Startravel 80 (Refractor) tabletop 2. Skymax 90 tabletop (MC). I will be looking at planets and bright deep sky objects. with a small telescope i will not be expecting too much. However i would like to have the option to attach a DSLR and take photos (not a must, but would be nice to have). I have Heritage 130p and i am happy with it but i can't carry it on my shoulder bag or a backpack. 

The two scopes i mentioned seems good but i am concerned about the table top tripod. I haven't read good reviews about it in general. I have two concerns about the tripod 1. stability, 2. i may find equitorial mount to be a mess to setup (i dont have one, so i dont know how much time it will take to assemble the mount). 

So guys, i am looking for suggestions on ultra-portable scope, Should i go for above mentioned telescopes or something like  Celestron Travel Scope 70? 

Edited by rizwanahmed24
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I used my 80mm F/6 triplet (which handles wide field brilliantly, and is pretty good on planets) on a carbon photo tripod with a mini-giro mount at a star party in France this summer, and with a 2" Am

I would forget the small table-top EQ mount - I'm sure you're right that you won't have the stability you need in the field. Both telescopes you suggest would be good, and have their following. I

I agree with Patrick on not wanting to weigh yourself down with a GoTo. But a good AltAz mount & tripod - like the Skywatcher AZ-4 - is what I'd be inclined to get. As for a scope, I'd take a Maks

I would forget the small table-top EQ mount - I'm sure you're right that you won't have the stability you need in the field.

Both telescopes you suggest would be good, and have their following. In general a short-tube refractor will be better for wide views at lower magnifications, while the Maksutov with more focal length will be better for higher magnifications for lunar and planetary observations. There is quite a large offer of short-tube refractors as these are popular for astrophotography, and a wide range of prices including more expensive apochromatic options.

Do you already have a backpack that you intend to use? If not, there is again a considerable offer of backpacks for photography which include options to carry a tripod. Similarly there are so called modular backpacks, used by the military (and often available surplus) but now with many civilian versions, which use the M.O.L.L.E system which allows you to strap on all sorts of additional bags onto the basic backpack. I've no idea how good these particular Beretta ones are, but to give you an idea have a look at the main backpack and the options at the bottom (including a tripod bag): http://www.armeriarinaldi.it/shop/clothing-new-arrivals/beretta-modular-backpack-65-liters.html

Your main problem is the choice of mount and tripod. In general for astrophotography you will want a solid and heavy tripod and an equally solid and precise mount with go-to or precise motors. And these are NOT light weight! You will probably also need a power supply (think sort of throwing a car battery into the backpack).

If you remove the AP requirement, I would go with a simpler and lighter Alt-Az mount, or a good photographic tripod with an Alt-Az head. This for example will apparently support a telescope of up to 2 kg: http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p725_TS-Geared-Head-and-Alt-azimuth-Mount-for-photo-tripods.html

If you want to take photographs, you might also look at tracking mounts for specifically cameras such as https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-star-adventurer/skywatcher-star-adventurer-astronomy-bundle.html  But this isn't so cheap!

 

 

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I agree with Patrick on not wanting to weigh yourself down with a GoTo. But a good AltAz mount & tripod - like the Skywatcher AZ-4 - is what I'd be inclined to get. As for a scope, I'd take a Maksutov, maybe a 90mm. These pack a hefty punch in a minuature size. Sort of like a Bonsai-Telescope! :p

Happy hunting -

Dave

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I used my 80mm F/6 triplet (which handles wide field brilliantly, and is pretty good on planets) on a carbon photo tripod with a mini-giro mount at a star party in France this summer, and with a 2" Amici prism and wide field EP it is a killer portable scope. I use the same tripod for my portable solar scope, shown below.IMAG0720.jpg

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The telescope is the easy bit, it's the tripod that needs more attention. Budget springs to mind. If you already have a decent photo tripod then you might consider adding a pan head unto a ball head. Put the ball head into 90 degrees then add the pan head and fix telescope to the pan head. Or someone posted about a video head tripod they were using this might be an option.

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thanks guys for the suggestions. 

@Putaendo PatricI don't have a backpack or tripod.

I surely got good advices but most of them are expensive choices. My Heritage 130p is sitting unused and i wanted to buy something more portable so that i can start using it. I would like to further explore my interest than would buy a much better equipment. 

I did some more homework and getting more interested in Celestron travelscope 70. Again the problem is the tripod. I am wondering how unstable it is, May be its good enough if not fully streched? or it is something i should forget about?

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If budget allows the ST80 is that bit better than the travel scope I think. I have used my ST80 hand held for brief moments. Is there no one you could borrow a phototripod off or any second hand shops you could search. My ST80 has the photo tripod mount though that did mean it came with a 45° diagonal, 90° is more comfortable for night use..

If handy with DIY could you fabricate a portable stand for your heritage 130p tube.

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8 hours ago, happy-kat said:

If budget allows the ST80 is that bit better than the travel scope I think. I have used my ST80 hand held for brief moments. Is there no one you could borrow a phototripod off or any second hand shops you could search. My ST80 has the photo tripod mount though that did mean it came with a 45° diagonal, 90° is more comfortable for night use..

If handy with DIY could you fabricate a portable stand for your heritage 130p tube.

thanks for the advice. would you suggest a stable tripod that can handle this scope? i am quite naive in these things. If i can put this scope and the tripod in a backpack then i would be happy 

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Hi,

You could do worse than get a SkyWatcher Synscan Alt-Az mount and 80 or 102 mm Startravel refractor. You could then carry out some imaging with a DSLR. See the 'No EQ Challenge thread for ideas :-)

Good luck with whatever you try.

BTW Joseph Ashley author of, 'Astrophotography on the Go Using Short Exposures with Light Mounts' gets his gear into a rucksack. The book is a must and available from FLO.

Best regards,

Steve

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so after hours and hours, days of searching the battle came down to Skymax Startravel 80 and Celestron travelscope 70. I really wanted to buy Startravel 80 but it was only available with EQ mount and i found travelscope to be more 'ready to use'. Since portability and ready to use was top on my priority list i bought Celestron travelscope 70. It will take a week to deliver. I will update this post when i get a chance to use it. 

Thanks everyone for the help

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Guess too late now as it reads you have ordered something. A while back (about a year) there was an "offer" of a WO ZS71 with an iOptron SmartEQ mount.

The WO ZS71 is a nice small scope and the iOptron SmartEQ is actually a small mount. So small that although it says 5Kg I took one look and thought it was too small to handle a 3.5Kg scope I have, the standard tripod also looks a bit too lightweight for anything serious. However as a "unit" it might well fit your earlier requirements, small scope, small mount, not sure on how well the tripod collapses down. Power not sure of, I have a 12v Li battery for a small goto, likely OK for the iOptron. iOptreon did a counterweight that was also a battery pack but they were not inexpensive.

It is about the only setup I can think of that could result in some visual and some imaging and migh fit in a reasonable backpack. Actually try a trolly bag with shoulder straps as per a backpack, they tend to be a bit longer, I have 2 for assorted ueses.

However seems too late now, perhaps for future ideas. Also you would really need to visit a retailer with the items in to measure them up.

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thanks Ronin for the suggestion. I will most probably by my third scope and then i will consider your suggestion

Regarding visiting a shop, unfortunately where i live (in Stockholm) there is no astronomy shop. Thats a big negative as i have to play with my measurements. 

 

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10 hours ago, rizwanahmed24 said:

thanks Ronin for the suggestion. I will most probably by my third scope and then i will consider your suggestion

Regarding visiting a shop, unfortunately where i live (in Stockholm) there is no astronomy shop. Thats a big negative as i have to play with my measurements. 

 

I happened to be in Stockholm a while ago and walked past a telescope/camera shop on hornsgatan on soldermalm. It was closed, so no idea how good it is, but may be worth checking out, or at least tracking down. I also have the Orion star as 90mm dob, and find it a great scope. Good compromise between performance and size. Not ideal for DSO as the focal length is very long, but  it is portable, it easily fits (with no adaptor needed) on any sturdy camera tripod, and is light enough to mean that It settles fairly quickly.  I am pretty pleased with mine, but a good quality refractor will probably give better views as other have said.

 

Hope that helps! 

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11 hours ago, Sotr2016 said:

I happened to be in Stockholm a while ago and walked past a telescope/camera shop on hornsgatan on soldermalm.

yes i was there last week and been there before as well, they are very limited in telescopes. i think they have in total 6 or 7 mostly large ones. They do have variety of spotting scopes and cameras. Anyways, @Orion dob. Dobsonian mounts are not backpack portable. 

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I would contact Bresser there in Europe...

http://www.bresser.de/en/Astronomy/Telescopes/

...and inquire into the possibility of landing this rather novel kit...

http://explorescientificusa.com/collections/bresser-telescopes/products/products-package-deal-bresser-comet-edition-102mm-refractor-kit-variant-2221347844?variant=2221347844

It's available in the States, but I've not seen it listed by European vendors.  Still, it might be worth the effort.

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No, I have not.  There are not many reviews of the kit, but here are two...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1124708-REG/bresser_br_ar102s_00_rich_field_ar_102mm_for.html#customerReview

...and a third... https://telescopes.net/store/review/product/list/id/14658/

In any event, when you made mention of a backpack, that kit came to mind.  I'd venture to say that its main advantage is its exquisite portability.

 

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Ok here i am again and this with the review of Celestron travelscope 70. As mentioned earlier in this thread i bought this scope because portability was on top of my priority list. I wanted a backpack solution that i can carry anywhere. So yesterday i had a chance to try it out. 

At around 11 in the night i went out of my apartment easily carrying the telescope on my back, i was super excited. I unpacked it, set it up, took couple of minutes, wow, thats really a 'ready to use scope'. I decided to start with andromeda galaxy (because i wanted to). I tried to locate it from the finder scope and soon realized that i need to replace this with a red dot finder. I expanded the tripod on full length and it immediately made the scope wobbly. Unfortunately the andromeda galaxy was right above my head so i had to point the telescope straight up and then before i could look in to the eyepiece i realized the tripod just simply can't hold the scope in this position. I though i am missing some screw to tightenup but there was none, it just can't hold it. So my one hand was on the handle to hold the scope. Then probably the most awkward part, to look in to a diagonal. Unless you have a backbone made up on silicon it is impossible to get in to a position to look at zenith thought the diagonal that comes with this scope. I got switched off. 

Whats next: This scope costed me around 700SEK (i.e 800$). i bought this thinking of a complete solution that i can take anywhere with me. Now i need to buy a mount which may require me to buy another backpack, 90 degree diagonal and a red dot finder (i may live without it, not super important). If i knew earlier what i know now, i wouldn't have bought this scope. 

Verdict: This doesn't make a good travel scope. It is super light and portable but just doesn't get the job done for stargazing. The OTA, 20mm and the bag is good but rest is crap. 

Edited by rizwanahmed24
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I provided a link in earlier post to a tripod idea another member had identified as useable for smallish telescope and packed quite small for their requirement. That might help with ideas for a different tripod.

As everything does move position in sky throughout the year you could just plan to wait until targets are in a favorable position rather then try to look when they are at zenith.

Edited by happy-kat
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2 hours ago, rizwanahmed24 said:

 This scope costed me around 700SEK (i.e 800$).

You meant US$80.  I almost had a heart attack.  Incidentally, I got that same tripod mount thrown in for free with the purchase of a C90 a few months ago.  It is indeed terrible, but I may be able to make it a little smoother with some work.  At present, I'm using it indoors with a small camera, and that's about all it's good for.

I'd recommend returning that one.  The only decent compact Celestron refractor I've seen in my travels online is this one...

http://www.microglobe.co.uk/celestron-omni-xlt-alt-az-4-f65-refractor-telescope-p-12484.html

But it may be a bit too large for your purposes, although it is considered a grab-and-go, and would probably fit into a larger backpack once disassembled.

One of these kits may also be considered...

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3331_Skywatcher-Mercury-705-on-AZ3---Beginner-Refractor-70-500mm.html

I would prefer this combination myself, but at a higher cost...

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3553_Skywatcher-Startravel-80-OTA-Rich-Field-Refractor-80-400mm.html

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p2933_Vixen-MINI-PORTA---Azimutal-Mount-with-tripod---friction-control---slow-movement.html

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Let's do a level set.  Where exactly are you planning to hike to and observe using a "backpack" telescope?  The sky is the same at the trailhead unless it's covered in trees or light pollution or is thousands of feet lower.  If you're carrying a telescope on a backpacking trip, how much space and weight can you afford to devote to it?  You'll still need to carry food, water, utensils, a tent, sleeping bag, ground pad, a change of clothes, etc.  If you just want to scan the skies from your campsite, drop some big bucks and get a pair of stabilized Canon binoculars.  Describe what you hope to accomplish with a backpack telescope and maybe we can make better recommendations.

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@Alan64 thanks for the suggestions, i am thinking to return travelscope and buy ST80, i read really good reviews about ST80. All the pictures i have seen of ST80 are with tube rings, i am wondering if it can sit on a photo tripod

@happy-kat i looked at the links you shared (i probably missed those earlier or didn't look closely). I really liked the idea and thinking to go for it

@Louis D I am not going to any hiking trip or a anything along those lines. I live in a apartment without not good view to the sky. To observe the night sky i need to go out and to be in a place where its dark (at least around 1.5 km away). In Stockholm the days become very short (in december the sun sets at 1430) so i get plenty of 'day' time as well. The want to backpack solution because then i can carry it anytime i like, for me more portable means more usage. I dont have a set limit on weight and size, the smaller the better. What i want to accomplish is to see bright DSOs. It is very likely that i get more involved and want to see more and probably become interested in some basic astrophotography. 

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" All the pictures i have seen of ST80 are with tube rings, i am wondering if it can sit on a photo tripod. "

The photo-tripod might need to be a bit more robust than the one you may be considering: a Bogen perhaps, or similar, as you wouldn't want excessive vibrations whilst observing.  I'd take another hard look at the Vixen Mini Porta alt-azimuth.

An 80mm f/5 achromat, like the Sky-Watcher/Orion/et al, will be for wide-field deep-sky observing only, and the Moon perhaps.  When aiming it at brighter objects, the false colour will be quite evident. 

The 70mm f/7.1 achromat, on the other hand, will allow for better correction for false colour when viewing the Moon, and the brighter planets and stars.

You also have the choice of a long-focal 90mm Maksutov...

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3304_Skywatcher-Maksutov-90-1250mm-spotting-scope---Black-Line.html

It's the most compact of the three, and would be essentially false-colour free.  It would favour moderate to high magnifications, primarily for lunar and planetary, along with double-stars and the smaller of deep-sky objects.

It all boils down to your observing preferences.

Edited by Alan64
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