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Hello,

It has been a while since I was last on this forum, and I have recently returned to Astronomy after a long break I have decided to try and get back into it (Stargazing Live always helps :-) ).  The main problem I have/had is being the owner an 8" dob I could never be bothered lugging it out of the shed and setting it as it is quite heavy, and not much fun in the freezing cold, so I have decided to buy a small grab and go scope instead - the Skywatcher Heritage range in particular.

I think I am more of a casual enthusiast so one of these would be ideal for me and quick and easy to set up.  I quite like the Heritage-76 or the 100p (I presume there is no option to upgrade this to a Goto system?!)

Any advice is most welcome.

Rick.

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In your signature you have listed the Skywatcher 102ST refractor.  Do you still have this? I mean, that's going to much better than the 100p and is the definition of a grab and go scope - I'd suggest perhaps getting a better manual alt/az tripod for it like the SW AZ-4.

Edited by Davesellars
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Freezing cold is still freezing no matter the size of your scope. Is your 8" dob really that bad to set up? I thought you just plunked it down...

:happy11:

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The Startravel 80 has been a great grab and go scope for me, useful in scanning constellations and open clusters.  It is less good on brighter objects, but I like it, nonethless.  Coupled with a decent photographic tripod and an Alt-Az mount, you have a fairly capable, lightweight setup.

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28 minutes ago, Davesellars said:

In your signature you have listed the Skywatcher 102ST refractor.  Do you still have this? I mean, that's going to much better than the 100p and is the definition of a grab and go scope - I'd suggest perhaps getting a better manual alt/az tripod for it like the SW AZ-4.

Agree totally.  I have an ST120 on an AZ4 and regard that as grab 'n' go.  Goes on the mount in no time, minimal cooling, and you're swinging it round the sky enjoying the widefield views!  And with the ST102, you'd be getting well over five degrees of field!

Doug.

 

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2 hours ago, Davesellars said:

In your signature you have listed the Skywatcher 102ST refractor.  Do you still have this? I mean, that's going to much better than the 100p and is the definition of a grab and go scope - I'd suggest perhaps getting a better manual alt/az tripod for it like the SW AZ-4.

Hi dave.

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I still have the st102, but I find the setup a bit complicated - the mount is not very stable. I would like a small scope I can travel with.

Thanks.

Rick.

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That's why I mentioned getting a different mount. :).  The 102ST is certainly light enough to sit happily on a good camera tripod and head or better still a specialised alt/az head like the mini Giro or the Altair mini Az.

 

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5 hours ago, milkyjoe said:

Any advice is most welcome

Buy a hat and some gloves and keep/use the 8".......it'll be far better, performance wise.
Mine is grab-and-go,  Its permanently setup in  its own  cupboard in the kitchen. I just gotta take off the robes and its ready to go, though a little cooling helps, but I can assist the cooling process with a fan, if I'm in a hurry!
Stored in the shed, as you do, it should be ready cooled (even better).

 

Edited by Charic

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Hello Rick,

I recently bought a Skywatcher Heritage 90P Virtuoso as a grab-and-go. It is a 90mm MCT on a powered, table-top, Dobsonian mount. I have not had it long enough to give it a thorough workout, but it is very quick to set up.

Alignment is simple; use the bubble level to set the base level, then point the 'scope to Polaris and cycle the power. The first time you need to set your latitude, starting alt level at zero and AZ at north (Polaris helps you set north more accurately than the little compass supplied by Skywatcher), cycle power, and move to Polaris again. Once you have done this, there is no need for additional alignment.

A couple of nights ago, I did this, then moved to Jupiter. Tracking held Jupiter in the 25mm eyepiece and there was slow movement with the 10mm. I have a Skywatcher Synscan 250P Dobsonian, so I borrowed its handset and lead. With the Virtuoso pointing at Jupiter, I powered down, plugged in the Synscan handset, powered up and set date and time, and, because I was already pointing close to Jupiter, it was quick to do a "Brightest Star" alignment, with manual slew to Jupiter, and automatic slews to Arcturus and Pollux. I used the Synscan's GOTO function to go back to Jupiter, visible in the 25mm eyepiece. Before the clouds rolled in, I tried M82, close to the zenith. Because the 90mm MCT has a short tube, there is no altitude restriction. M82 was easily visible as a "Fuzzy blob" with both supplied eyepieces.

Current consumption (without the Synscan handset) is about 120mA when tracking, rising to about 450mA with max slew in both axes. a set of alkaline batteries should be good for a couple of nights serious viewing, or a power lead from the car should not compromise the car battery startup for the journey home.

Because each axis of the mount has the dual encoders of the bigger Dobsonians, you can release the clutches, do a manual slew, tighten clutches, and then use the motors for final alignment, with continued good tracking.

I have yet to try the mount with the 127mm MCT OTA from my Skywatcher Skymax.

As a grab-and-go all you need is a reasonably level surface (2 of the 3 base feet are adjustable), and 360 degree access. The corner of a long patio table would give you about 270 degrees.

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12 hours ago, Charic said:

Buy a hat and some gloves and keep/use the 8".......it'll be far better, performance wise.
Mine is grab-and-go,  Its permanently setup in  its own  cupboard in the kitchen. I just gotta take off the robes and its ready to go, though a little cooling helps, but I can assist the cooling process with a fan, if I'm in a hurry!
Stored in the shed, as you do, it should be ready cooled (even better).

 

Hi Charic,

I have a hat and gloves, thanks. :p

The 8" dob is pretty heavy to lug around and fit to it's base (for me anyway as I am of a slender frame) and it can be a little awkward at times as depending on what you are looking at, one can get into some strange viewing positions, and can give me neck and back strain (I'm 6" 5' !) lol

Rick.

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2 hours ago, Geoff Lister said:

Hello Rick,

I recently bought a Skywatcher Heritage 90P Virtuoso as a grab-and-go. It is a 90mm MCT on a powered, table-top, Dobsonian mount. I have not had it long enough to give it a thorough workout, but it is very quick to set up.

Alignment is simple; use the bubble level to set the base level, then point the 'scope to Polaris and cycle the power. The first time you need to set your latitude, starting alt level at zero and AZ at north (Polaris helps you set north more accurately than the little compass supplied by Skywatcher), cycle power, and move to Polaris again. Once you have done this, there is no need for additional alignment.

A couple of nights ago, I did this, then moved to Jupiter. Tracking held Jupiter in the 25mm eyepiece and there was slow movement with the 10mm. I have a Skywatcher Synscan 250P Dobsonian, so I borrowed its handset and lead. With the Virtuoso pointing at Jupiter, I powered down, plugged in the Synscan handset, powered up and set date and time, and, because I was already pointing close to Jupiter, it was quick to do a "Brightest Star" alignment, with manual slew to Jupiter, and automatic slews to Arcturus and Pollux. I used the Synscan's GOTO function to go back to Jupiter, visible in the 25mm eyepiece. Before the clouds rolled in, I tried M82, close to the zenith. Because the 90mm MCT has a short tube, there is no altitude restriction. M82 was easily visible as a "Fuzzy blob" with both supplied eyepieces.

Current consumption (without the Synscan handset) is about 120mA when tracking, rising to about 450mA with max slew in both axes. a set of alkaline batteries should be good for a couple of nights serious viewing, or a power lead from the car should not compromise the car battery startup for the journey home.

Because each axis of the mount has the dual encoders of the bigger Dobsonians, you can release the clutches, do a manual slew, tighten clutches, and then use the motors for final alignment, with continued good tracking.

I have yet to try the mount with the 127mm MCT OTA from my Skywatcher Skymax.

As a grab-and-go all you need is a reasonably level surface (2 of the 3 base feet are adjustable), and 360 degree access. The corner of a long patio table would give you about 270 degrees.

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for your interesting reply. :-)

I was looking at maybe investing in one of these as a grab and go and with the added option of attaching my camera for a bit of astrophotography (with limitations), but if the Heritage 100p can be upgraded to a goto then fab :-)

Is the Heritage 76 any good? lol

Thanks,

Rick.

 

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Rick if you want a good, small grab and go scope I would recommend the Heritage 130P. Okay it does not have goto but over the last few nights I have enjoyed the views of Jupiter and some bright DSOs including the Sombrero galaxy.

If I am uncertain whether the sky will remain clear I don't set up my 12" Dob or Orion VX8 on the SkyTee 2 Mount but simply I leave the Heritage set up on its mount indoors. If its clear I carry the mount and scope (total 6kgs) and place it on a table. I use a 8-24 zoom.

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Sent from Bristol Airport, awaiting flight to S. France 

With the 90, you can release the clutches and run, powered-down, or use powered for photos.

Expect clear sky at my destination, so Skymax 127 will get Jupiter another 10 degrees higher than UK.

Regards,

Geoff

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2 hours ago, milkyjoe said:

Hi Charic,

I have a hat and gloves, thanks. :p

The 8" dob is pretty heavy to lug around and fit to it's base (for me anyway as I am of a slender frame) and it can be a little awkward at times as depending on what you are looking at, one can get into some strange viewing positions, and can give me neck and back strain (I'm 6" 5' !) lol

Rick.

At just under 27Kgs, its not for everyone. The biggest issue for me would be tripping over into the garden? so I negotiate the back door and any obstacles with caution but a forearm lift  is within my grasp ( excuse my attempt at the pun )

5' 8"  here, so you tower above me, but I can only observe from a seated position, using a drum stool, which is height adjustable too. For this who have higher chairs or stand at their scope, you can raise the scope to a suitable height, one method used is the water butt stand from the likes of Sankey, B&Q or build your own.

You'll find something to suit. 

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Mapstar lifts his 22" dob into the back of an Audi estate.....make them manageable and almost any size can be handled 

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Having both a heritage 130p and the Virtuoso the heritage 130p is instant to setup and use. The heritage 100p is fully manual wooden base it is not like the Virtuoso mount which can be powered and have goto, I picked a synscan handset up for mine quite cheaply but the handset is pricey new. Setting circles can be added to the heritage 130p and the actual telescope OTA has a proper mounting bar so with an adaptor can be used on a decent photo tripod reading a member's post. Regarding the Virtuoso mount it can do very basic astrophotography within altaz mount limitations I've used mine with a dslr and camera lens and managed to get an image of comet 41p. I do run mine of the celstron powertank the new light one as didn't get on too well with batteries they drained really quick in the cold I found.

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5 hours ago, milkyjoe said:

Hi Charic,

I have a hat and gloves, thanks. :p

The 8" dob is pretty heavy to lug around and fit to it's base (for me anyway as I am of a slender frame) and it can be a little awkward at times as depending on what you are looking at, one can get into some strange viewing positions, and can give me neck and back strain (I'm 6" 5' !) lol

Rick.

a lot of females struggle as well, your not on your own . do use a right angle view finder that might help

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