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I was lucky enough to get a 12" Skywatcher Dobsonian (305mm/1500mm) for Christmas. It shipped with a 10mm Plossl and a 25mm Plossl, both 52° AFOV. Finally had a clear enough night to try it out and I absolutely loved it. I researched a bunch over the last year so I knew this was the scope I wanted should someone want to get me a really sweet gift before I grabbed it myself. What I didn't research at the time was accessories and equipment, something I've been doing relentlessly over the past few days.
I'll primarily be viewing in the backyard until I find a great viewing spot (and a good way to safely transport). Light pollution isn't terrible but I haven't fully gauged its impact on seeing fainter objects. I'm not interested in imagery/photography at the moment. Not foreclosing on the idea by any means but everything I'm looking to add is purely for visual gratification at this point. Hoping the experts out there can lead me in the right direction. Here's what I'm trying to figure out:
1. What eyepieces should I pick up?
I've read that, generally speaking, you want 2-3 premium pieces in over to cover low, medium, and high magnification. I'm currently looking at the following "sets": 5mm Nagler, 13mm Ethos, 35mm Panoptic or 6mm Ethos, 13mm Ethos, 21mm Ethos. I'm not overly concerned about price. I recognize that there's going to be a premium associated with a brand like TeleVue and with squeezing out that last drop of performance; however, I don't want to throw away money unnecessarily if I'm not going to see a benefit from pulling out the stops. I'm not beholden to TV by any stretch but everyone says they're the gold standard so I figured I'd look there first. I'm not looking to grab everything at once either. Was thinking of starting with the 13mm Ethos since it would fill the mid-range gap between my 10mm and 25mm.
2. Should I grab a Paracorr?
I've read many comments that go back and forth on this but the consensus seems to be that, while it's not crucial at f/4.9 like it would be with a faster scope, it's something I should probably have in the arsenal if I'm using wide field eyepieces, which the ones I'm contemplating are. I couldn't detect any coma with the two eyepieces I currently have but I suspect I probably wouldn't given the FOV and my beginner status. I also think that once I see it I'm not going to be able to unsee it.
3. Should I pick up a Barlow?
This question assumes I'm not getting a Paracorr. I like the idea of essentially doubling the number of eyepieces I have but I'm not too sure of the ultimate utility/necessity of it.
4. Any other crucial accessories I should have?
I'm looking at a Cheshire collimator for when the time comes. Aside from that, is there anything else I should absolutely have?
5. Finally, any suggestions on transporting?
It goes without saying but this baby is heavy. I don't have a garage, and I'm hesitant to store it in the shed, so what I've been doing is removing the OTA from the base and transporting them separately to the backyard for setup. It's not bad but I can see it getting old after awhile, especially with numerous viewing sessions in a row. After all, I didn't get this scope so it could collect dust; I want to use it as often as the weather lets me. I do plan on replacing the feet with wheels so I can at least roll it, but I'm trying to figure out a good solution to getting it in and out of the house (down 3 small steps) to the backyard without damaging it or breaking my back.
I think that's all I have for now. I appreciate any help you all can provide. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can so I can have a great experience and eventually show my little guy all about the joys of astronomy. Thanks everyone!
Like many I think Telrads are great scope sites. And want to use mine with different scopes. But I don't want to stick a base to a nice looking OTA.
All base types seem to be curved so sticking to a flat surface such as an accessory plate is not possible.
The only option seems to be using two holes in its base, if they line up with those on a plate. Are there any ideas out there, or aftermarket Telrad bases apart from the company ones?
This is a quick review of the initial impressions of my just received W&W Astro 20cm large 2" eyepiece heater tape.
My existing Astrozap 2" eyepiece heater tape failed while in use on Thursday morning . Luckily I use a fused heater system so only this was taken out and all other electrics were unaffected. The tape was two years old (so I had decent but not great service from it). It failed at the single most weak point in the wiring (obvious really), where it exits from the back of the tape you can now see exposed copper wire.
Yesterday, I scoured the market and found this W&W Astro heater tape that has an alternative route for the wiring as it exits the heater tape (removing my perceived weakness from the previous tape). The wire comes out at 90 degrees to the tape rather than straight out the back. Here are some pictures
First, lets compare the two eyepiece heater tapes side by side...
Pay attention to where the wire exits the tape, particularly the angle. When the Astrozap tape is wrapped on a 2" eyepiece (smaller than the Ethos21) then it overlaps as you wrap it around and this puts pressure on the tape/wire joint at the back (this is where the wire has eventually broken)
Second, look at the wire thickness. The W&W Astro uses a thicker wire that feels more flexible. We will see...
Here is the new tape fitted on an Ethos21. The new tape is slightly shorter than the Astrozap. The W&W Astro large 2" eyepiece tape is 20cm. (They do two versions, a 15cm and a 20cm, make sure you get the right one!)
Both tapes fit the Ethos21 (my biggest EP) but the heating element does not quite make it all around, the velcro tab however does easily pass over to stick to the other side (you can see the gap if you look carefully at the first photo below).
Hopefully, this new exit angle of the tape and lack of overlap (of the wire) on smaller EPs (than the Ethos21) will result in a longer life for this tape...
I just wanted to tell my story and highlight the area that I see as a problem with the Astrozap 2" eyepiece heater tape.
Here is a link to the W&W Astro heater tape...