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Ash_Man

Thought I knew what I wanted to buy, now I need advice

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I have posted once before, asking for advice on a craigslist SCT that turned out not to be the deal I thought it was.  I have since been reading and researching but am still as lost as I was before and I am hoping that some of you fine folks can help set me straight.  

Primary purpose of the scope will be for my son and I to observe planets and possibly some DSOs.  If at all possible I would like the ability to do some AP but it is not a deal breaker if not.  I would like to stay around $1500 for mount and scope but there may be a touch of wiggle room in there.

Size, portability etc is not overly important.  I keeping bouncing between dobs, SCTs and APO triplets and never seem to get any closer to "the one".   Trying to find the balance between a good GEM and good scope has me pulling my hair out.  

Orion ED80T CF Triplet APO at telescope.com seems like a pretty good deal at $899 and leaves me a decent amount of money left over for a good mount.  A 10" dob with goto seems like the easy way out but not ideal for AP.  

I appreciate any and all advice and am happy to provide any more details that may assist with a recommendation.

Cheers,

David

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With one scope / mount isn't really possible to do all things astro, a 10" Dob is a great scope for browsing around the sky visually but that's about it.

Something like a Celestron 8SE is similar but more portable and on an alt / az mount with the possibility of some planetary imaging.

For any serious imaging you need a decent equatorial mount plus all the other associated paraphernalia which get expensive very quickly.

Not sure that there's anything to be gained spending out on a triplet when a decent doublet will do fine.

Dave

 

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1 hour ago, Davey-T said:

With one scope / mount isn't really possible to do all things astro, a 10" Dob is a great scope for browsing around the sky visually but that's about it.

Something like a Celestron 8SE is similar but more portable and on an alt / az mount with the possibility of some planetary imaging.

For any serious imaging you need a decent equatorial mount plus all the other associated paraphernalia which get expensive very quickly.

Not sure that there's anything to be gained spending out on a triplet when a decent doublet will do fine.

Dave

 

So can I assume from this that a larger aperture doublet would be a better investment that the 80 triplet?  I was leaning towards saving up a bit more and going with something like the 9.25 SCT (https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-Advanced-VX-Schmidt-Cassegrain-Telescope/dp/B00AZDDBYO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495412338&sr=8-1) but have read mediocre reviews on the mount.  Again, maybe better to step down to the 8" and upgrade the mount?  Priority is visual (and this is where I am lost as to refractor, dob, sct) as I am hesitant to descend into the AP money pit but damn it looks fun.  I have to keep telling myself that even with a 14" DOB I don't have a ground based hubble and won't be seeing little green men on the surface of mars no matter how much money I spend.

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I'll 2nd. the Celestron 8SE. It will give you good views of the planets and other solar-system objects (comets, asteroid-hunting, etc.), and has the aperture to hunt-down many DSO's as well. It's GoTo-feature will help you find your way throughout the cosmos with ease.

An 80mm refractor would be left in the weeds by this.

Just be certain to buy from a reputable dealer who will stand by you before, during, and AFTER you buy. Here's one I've known and like - and the price is excellent!

https://www.optcorp.com/celestron-nexstar-8se-computerized-telescope.html

Hope this helps!

Dave

Edited by Dave In Vermont

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Welcome from land down under

Few of our club members have a Celestron 8SE,

Not sure mount would be heavier enough once mount a camera on the Celestron 8SE

Would go for a Skywatcher ED80 on a EQ5 mount

Enjoy your time viewing with your family

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello David,

I see that you're surrounded by a good bit of light pollution there, courtesy of Austin and Round Rock.  I have Memphis and its suburbs about 20 miles to the north, and the third largest gambling complex in the States about 10 miles away to the west; similar to your situation.

You'll want at least 6" to 8" of aperture there at home, for visual; 6" would be satisfying enough, at first at least.  An SCT has the largest secondary obstruction of all other designs, which will reduce brightness, contrast and sharpness.  Shorter, faster Newtonians are second worst in that; and of course a refractor is best in that regard, being unobstructed, but very expensive at 5" and up, notwithstanding the large mount required to support one.

The desire to image in future is apparent, therefore I'd get the mount out the way...

http://www.telescope.com/Orion-Sirius-EQ-G-Computerized-GoTo-Telescope-Mount/p/116276.uts?keyword=orion sirius telescope&sortByColumnName=SortByPriceDescending

You can consider this as well, the same mount, and with an 8" f/5 Newtonian for little more...

http://www.telescope.com/Orion-Sirius-8-EQ-G-GoTo-Reflector-Telescope/p/24729.uts?keyword=orion sirius telescope&sortByColumnName=SortByPriceDescending

Orion states within that listing, "The Sirius 8 EQ-G's large 8" aperture and short focal length reflector make it an ideal telescope for astrophotography".  That's not true.  Such applies only to the mount itself, and with either an 80mm f/6 refractor or a 5" f/5 Newtonian mounted instead, for prime-focus astrophotography.

More work is required with a Newtonian, in collimating and observing with one; not as ergonomic as an 8" SCT, but an 8" SCT would be over $600 more.  The images would be cleaner, sharper, a little more contrasty with the Newtonian, but the Newtonian would require you to work for them.  2" oculars, with their wider fields-of-view, work best, ideally, with a Newtonian.

DSOs are an f/5 Newtonian's forte.  Very good if not excellent planetary performance is possible, too.  The focal-length of an 8" SCT is slightly over twice as long; low-power wide-field views are very hard to come by.  The SCT is designed for moderate-to-high powers, like a microscope; a Maksutov even moreso.  Eyepieces generally range from 4mm to 40mm.  Let's look at a 32mm...

An 8" f/5 Newtonian, with a 1000mm focal-length: 1000mm ÷ 32mm = 31x

An 8" f/10 Schmidt, with a 2032mm focal-length: 2032mm ÷ 32mm = 64x

The focal-length of a single eyepiece does not change, but single telescopes come in all sorts of varying focal-lengths.  You would see a smaller, narrower portion of the sky with the Schmidt; one object at a higher power, rather than two or more at a lower power with the Newtonian, there in the eyepiece.

This 6" f/5 would be more manageable mounted on the Orion Sirius...

http://www.highpointscientific.com/celestron-omni-xlt-150-newtonian-reflector-optical-tube-assembly-ota-31057ota?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse&utm_term=CEL-31057-OTA&gclid=Cj0KEQjw9YTJBRD0vKClruOsuOwBEiQAGkQjP1Nhukz4PpiOALprw2G5aMpyEgveBLe7M5bXOx52eN0aAixT8P8HAQ

Success in imaging with that pairing would be more forthcoming, and it would give respectable visual performance as well; more of an all-around instrument; most versatile.

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The Celestron should be fine for learning basic AP with. But for finding DSO's and getting a decent view of them, a 200mm ( 8 inches) is also known as a "lifetime telescope" as it can show you new and interesting objects every night for the rest of one's life. An 80mm ( 3.1 inch) refractor is great for wide views of brighter objects, but simply can't go 'deep' enough for serious DSO-hunting.

My 2¢ -

Dave

P.S. - For AP with an SCT, a 6.3 Focal Reducer is a simple and good investment. Here's an article written around the MallinCam Video-Cameras, but the info is valid across the field. And it's very well written & illustrated:

Focal Reduction For Dummies.pdf

 

Edited by Dave In Vermont
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The classic answer is there is nothing that does (more or less) everything. Problem is that people naturally, want everything, they want the aperture of a simple Newtonian, they want the magnifications of an SCT and they want the ease and clarity of an APO.

If AP is going to come into it then that is possible useful a it removes or restricts the options. In terms of mounts it removes Alt/Az and in terms of scopes it removes "slow" scopes. To an extent although you can work around it it is only sensible to exclude those. So decision time = Is AP going to figure in it all ?

One option for AP is oddly forget it for now but get a decent equitorial mount, then drop an inexpensive scope on it and go visual observing, when you decide to go for AP get another smaller scope that is more suited to AP. For visual now you could simply drop a 150P reflector on or a 102 Achro - thinking ES 102 here.

Think carefully as aperture shows more but I would say shows more in a way, Those galaxies like M60, M86, M87 are never going to be big, what you get is a brighter small disk.

Difficult to suggest a mount as there is a different set in the US compared to here, although they may more or less be the same the naming and details differ, EQ5 here is an option but may be a bit lightweight in load capability, the HEQ5 is a good all rounder but as I have one I really do not like the haul the weight around. It is meant to be fun.

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A wise-man said the other day here (somewhere...) - "AP on planets will work with most any mount. The planets are bright so they don't require long exposures." - or close to that! So even with a rather poor mount - even an AltAz one - you can get some good images without spending Buddy & Sally's College-Fund.

Thanks for jogging my memory, Ronin!

Dave

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9 hours ago, Ash_Man said:

Primary purpose of the scope will be for my son and I to observe planets and possibly some DSOs.  If at all possible I would like the ability to do some AP but it is not a deal breaker if not.  I would like to stay around $1500 for mount and scope but there may be a touch of wiggle room in there.

David

Celestron 8SE gets you exactly that on a GoTo mount, quickly and easily set up for observing most things, it won't show astro photography image views but nor will any scope.

It's also quite portable should you want to escape light pollution.

There will be a good demand for it if you decide to sell it and move into astro photography.

Dave

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You seem to be floundering, as evidenced by your consideration of totally unrelated designs of scope which have different functions.

"Best for planets" is different from "best for DSOs" and these are again totally different from "best for AP". I would suggest that, rather than spending all your budget on an expensive telescope that may turn out not to suit your interests, you start with a small and easy to manage instrument and check out at first hand what you and your son enjoy observing, and what kind of bigger scope you want to buy to pursue these interests. For instance, do you want GoTo, or are you one of those who don't want it or can't get along with it? Or are you going to gravitate to doing mostly AP?

As you can see from my signature I have a Celestron C8 SE, which is a good general purpose scope outfit. There are things it does not do well, but I am not pursuing AP and have other scopes that do wide-field. It's good for looking at (smaller) DSO's and does planets about as well as anything else I am likely to buy. I could have got a bigger Dobsonian for the same money but I like GoTo and consider it essential for my #1 instrument.

That said I had three telescopes out last night: the SCT, also the 102mm f5 refractor to look at a variable star field, and the 127mm Mak to look briefly at the rising Saturn from another position on the property, because shifting the heavier and electronically aligned  SCT would have been a bother. 

If you buy a small, good quality instrument to get a feel of things, I'm sure you will find another use for it later.

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2 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I could have got a bigger Dobsonian for the same money but I like GoTo and consider it essential

A Dobsonian doesn't mean you can't have Goto as well.  I own a GoTo Dobsonain.

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I'm just renewing my interest, and as such, don't have a wealth of experience to help, but from a 'beginner' aspect I'd mention the following (this is my experience, your mileage may vary based on budget, space, time & motivation etc.):

Make sure you know how big/cumbersome your intended purchase really is and whether you have somewhere convenient (for frequent observing) to keep it. I have a 4.5"  f=900 newt and the box it came in was much bigger than I anticipated, storing it for frequent observing was such a pain I put it back in the attic for a couple of years. I know someone who bought an 8" SCT + power tank but hadn't taken it out of the box for months - he bought it for visiting 'dark sites' but never found the time (or had the  motivation). I'm looking for a lighter, more portable (and easier to store) package to re-boot my enthusiasm and understand my preferences so I'm better informed about a bigger, more serious set-up later.

Remember that 'set-up' (and packing away) time eats into your observing time, the more critical it gets the longer it takes. I have drastically improved mine in the last week or so (10 mins last night for ten mins of Jupiter before thick cloud rolled in). I originally thought I needed an EQ-5 & pole finder as a minimum but that would be bigger, heavier and take longer for me to set-up - my approximate alignment with Polaris centred in the field of view seems to work for me. My mount has problems (gear slop, clamps loosening etc.) but they're not as critical as I first thought - and expecting the next mount up to be significantly better & precise might be a mistake.

I'm a serious photo enthusiast and envy the excellent images the AP guys achieve, but I realise that requires another level of everything - knowledge, experience, scope, mount, alignment, guiding, filtering, tweaking, shooting, stacking, processing & time etc. etc. You could start with top-spec mount suitable for that but it would likely be much heavier, cumbersome and awkward until you're able to put it to that use.

I've been thinking round the newt, dob, Mak, refractor loop several times, each time there's a problem. I set my newt up Alt-Az style with unlocked clamps to get the feel for how a dob might feel but didn't really get on with it. A 6" or 8" newt would be bigger than my 4.5" (if I'm struggling with motivation to set that up - a bigger one is a bigger problem). SCTs are outside my budget but I'm looking at a small Mak (OK for planetary but not good for DSOs - how often are the planets favourable?). A refractor appeals but I'd be limited in aperture by cost.

What I have enjoyed is making more use of the newt I have, learning to align the mount reasonably well, learning what works and what doesn't and where its limitations leave me wanting. I've learn't that for light polluted skies an f/8 newt with spherical mirror is not necessarily a massive disadvantage (for me, at my current level and luck with the weather). I still want a smaller more portable set-up (and looking at a 4"-5" Mak on a GOTO AZ) for when I can get to darker skies without filling the car with gear, but I'm enjoying the learning experience with my old scope far more than I expected. I'm sure it's been discussed many times here, but keeping a diary has helped me enormously.

I hope this helps - being a newbie to Astronomy (& SGL) I'm conscious this might seem too opinionated for one so inexperienced, if you feel this is the case please ignore it and excuse my ignorance - it has been posted with the best of intentions to try and explain (partly to myself) what is working for me and how things have improved.

Regards,

John.

 

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Ok, let's see

How about one of the following:

1. Mount

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-az-eq5-gt-geq-alt-az-mount.html

or

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-heq5-pro-synscan.html

2. Telescope

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-ota.html

or

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/optical-tube-assemblies/celestron-nexstar-evolution-6-ota.html

or

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-150-pro.html  Or the 180mm one

The scopes above are good for AP or for visual not both, 80ED is wide-field a bit and great for DSO imaging and visual i think, the other two reflectors are better for Visual and planets or moon imaging, not sure about DSO.

 

Or, you can go for the combo package, but i can't be sure it will be great either for DSO AP only or planets visual only, one of them can be good for both but not that perfect for each, but it can as start and you may love it for long term until you can afford something else, and here are the combo options:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-pro-heq5-pro.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/advanced-vx-goto/celestron-c6sct-vx-goto.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/advanced-vx-goto/celestron-c8-n-newtonian-vx-goto.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200pds-heq5-pro.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-250p-ds-ota.html + one of the mounts above

 

You can go with this mount for little better capacity load then choose cheap good enough scope to go with it

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-neq6-pro-synscan.html

The prices are VAT, if you are out of UK then it will exclude the VAT for you then you can use that exclusion for shipping.

If i were you then i will choose AZ-EQ mount so i can have both mode regardless the limited capacity weight then i can try to buy 2 scopes one by one, one for imaging and the other for visual, and with AZ-EQ you can use both of them together if within the capacity limitation, and that is why i went with AZ-EQ6 and now i can choose the scopes wisely on time without rush.

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