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Hey everyone ! I am new to this site , don't know how to properly use it , but hope someone will help me ;)

As the topic says , I am trying to buy my first telescope , and am quite excited for it. I have been reading wuite a lot about astronomy , so I know most of the basics , but have many many unanswered questions ... xD

I was originally looking for a scope for viewing the planets , but well , after learning more , I thought that maybe a scope that can show only planets will eventually get a BIT boring , and will not be used much (although I still admire the planets and still will want to observe them).

Just a quick info on me : I live in a city , have no place to go / or car to transport my scope to a darker place , live in a building , hope to observe from the rooftop. My ONLY CONCERN about this is that from my balcony I can see Vega at night , and as depressing as it may sound , nothing more .It may be because there are buildings covering my view (I at least hope so that's the case) or light pollution , although the place I live is in the orange to red zone in many light pollution maps.

 

So originally I stumbled upon the Orion Starseeker IV 80mm GoTo refractor. 

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/GoTo-Computerized-Telescopes/Orion-StarSeeker-IV-80mm-GoTo-Refractor-Telescope/c/1/sc/15/p/113919.uts

Thought it was good for the GoTo and stuff , but after doing some research , got concerned about the sturdyness of the mount.Some said it was too shaky (I have almost constant winds of about 10mph at night here) . Plus after some while I discovered DeepSpace and got even more interested in it than the planets . So I started to seek for reflectors. After a while I discarded Dobsonians as an option , cause I do want to do astrophotography ( just amateur , not gonna spend money on expensive DSLR s or sth) . And maybe in the future I will want to do some more serious astrophotography , so it will be very sad , if I have to change the scope later , if I want to...

So after doing some research I am currently watching these scopes .

1. Orion 9827 AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope . 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000XMSR0/ref=psdc_499154_t1_B01N2HJBQC

2. SkyWatcher Explorer-150P EQ3-2 Reflector.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-150p-eq3-2.html

The only downside of these is that they're not GoTo (The second one has an option , but it's out of my price range) , but I think an additional RA motor drive will do the thing. At lease if I will be able to find anything in my sky ...

That's it ! If you own/have used any of these scopes tell me more about them ! ;) What you like/dont like etc. 

ANY GENERAL ADVICE IS APPERCIATED . 

Thanks !

 

 

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Hi. Both scopes and mounts are the same in different colors except the Sky-Watcher has a two-inch focuser which is better for widefield photo, but also presumably a larger secondary mirror that will lessen contrast on planets. I don't own one of these scopes per se, but I do own an EQ3-2 mount - for an 80mm apo - which is very stable and accurate in visual use after making it heavier with sand poured inside the legs.

I did own a 150mm f/5 that I mounted on a dobsonian box for my brother, the naked scope (with a 1.25" focuser) was very good in all respects except I had to add baffles in the main tube, and flock the focuser. The main mirror collimation system was uselessly complicated, I replaced it with 3 simple spring-and-screws. Optically it had a little bit more spherical aberration than my 130mm f/7 but no astigmatism, no zones and no roughness.

I might add that I and some others prefer a white paint job to better see the scope and its levers and knobs in the dark, this and other details have to be investigated before buying.

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I think that the first thing that we have to do is to temper your expectations. If the light pollution is so bad that you can only see Vega then I think that your idea of observing from the roof is not really going to work. Finding objects manually involves star hopping - starting with pointing your telescope at a star visible with the naked eye. If you can't see a suitable star to start your search from then it will be incredibly difficult to get your telescope pointed at the right section of sky. Even if you do manage it the light pollution is likely to wash out the views of any DSO to the point of invisibility. 

If the sight lines on the rooftop are good enough to see a couple of bright stars you might be able to get a Go-to mount aligned well enough for it to find things but again even if the telescope finds the object you may not be able to see it through the eyepiece. Polar alignment of an EQ mount might also be difficult as with Vega being the only star that you can currently see, there is no guarantee that you can see Polaris.

I'm not really sure what you are expecting with regards to Astrophotography. You say you don't want to spend money on an expensive DSLR but as far as I know the minimum spec for DSO photography is to own a suitable camera. Without that you're limited to holding up a compact camera or mobile phone to an eyepiece and taking an "instant" snap and hoping something comes out.

Moving onto the telescope packages suggested, I don't think any of these are going to be suitable for serious astrophotography down the line. I don't know if the telescopes themselves will actually come to focus with a camera and the mounts are going to struggle. The standard minimum beginner spec advised is usually a 130pds on HEQ5, a smaller telescope and bigger mount than the 150/EQ3 options above. 

If you're only considering instant afocal shots through an eyepiece you probably don't really need an EQ mount, which is good because my next suggestion is that you're really going to have to find somewhere darker to observe from and an alt/az mount without counterweights is going to be a lot easier to carry. A small scope that you can fit into a rucksack is probably going to be your best bet. I imagine that there is probably an astro society in your city. I suggest that you go along to a meeting or two to find out where people observe from, how they get there and what equipment they use.

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Welcome

If you could borrow a pair of binoculars this would help you see from your observing location just how bad the light pollution is by how many stars you see when using binoculars. Just a pair say 8*42. It will give an idea if you can see more than your own eye. If you can see more then there is hope you could use a finder telescope to align a telescope and then star hop. Observing from a balcony or is it roof top?

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Thanks to everyone who replied ;) It was faster than I expected to see replies ! Thanks for all your comments.

First of all yes I am going to observe from the rooftop , not the balcony ;) And I think I shouldnt have mentioned the Vega thing , because let me tell you again - I have VERY VERY small piece of sky to look at from my balcony, so by saying I only see Vega , it means I cannot see anything surrounding vega in a small area , not that I see Vega in the whole sky .Although I have not been under a clear sky late at night , so can't really say what exactly I can see.

 

So yea , as you mentioned , it will be hard to starhop , I know , but my hope is the smartphone apps like - Star chart , Sky map to be able to at least guess where the desired object is and what stars are around it , although yes , I am still VERY concerned about this situation. The thing is though that MOST of the lights of surrounding houses , buildings , shops are dhut off after 2-3am or so, so I think observing after that will be more beneficial.

I would LOVE to go for the Skywatcher Explorer 150P GoTo version , if I could, but I am not sure if it will fit my finances.Although it will save the 'trying to find objects" part, right ?

Also , if the finder scope won't show much , can I use the lowest power on the telescope to do some part of the starhopping ? (Considering I know that I am looking at the almost exact place of the sky , or al least near it)

By the way I have a little Canon camera from years ago ;) It can do up to 15 sec exposures , so maybe I will start with that ?

Also , if you happen to have some shots (any) taken from your scopes please share them with the specs used , so ai can get an idea of what I can get ! 

And before the 2 main scopes that I am looking at now , I got interested in Celestron Astromaster 130EQ MD 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0013Z42AK/ref=twister_B016RNBYVW?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

What do you think about that ?

Anyway do you have any suggestions of other scopes , models , brands ? If so , please let me know ! 

Thanks! :) 

Edited by Androri

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34 minutes ago, happy-kat said:

Welcome

If you could borrow a pair of binoculars this would help you see from your observing location just how bad the light pollution is by how many stars you see when using binoculars. Just a pair say 8*42. It will give an idea if you can see more than your own eye. If you can see more then there is hope you could use a finder telescope to align a telescope and then star hop. Observing from a balcony or is it roof top?

Oh do this!!

(Welcome to the forum by the way!)

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Without wishing to put you off, I'd avoid splashing out too much money on a scope as your views are going to be extremely limited. If you can only see Vega with the naked eye, and can't see any other parts of the sky, then a scope will let you see Vega and a handfull of other stars. Depending on how restricted your view is, you may only have the ring nebula (M57) in your field. I doubt that it will be visible at all, and if it is it will be borderline.

I think my main advice would be to try to find somewhere with a Southern view, and not on a rooftop - preferably a park or somewhere with a bit of grass, as that will help improve seeing at higher magnifications. That way you could use your scope on the moon and planets, which are likely to be best and most rewarding targets for your urban location - they are not really affected much by light pollution at all.

If that is absolutely not an option, I would start with binoculars from your rooftop location and see how you get on with them. Also, try to find some way to screen yourself from ambient and incidental light - even if the sky is poor, that will at least help your eyes to adjust a little. If having done this the binoculars are not able to get you pleasing views, I would not spend money on a scope that will give little, if any, improvement.

Billy.

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The concern with roof top observing is that buildings give a lot of heat off at night, and heat creates thermals and thermals make the view through a telescope wobble and wobble more as you increase the magnification.

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Aware that my first post may have been awfully negative sounding, so here's another thought. If you live in a city you might find that there is an astronomy club or society nearby. In your situation that could have lots of benefits, in particular you might be able to access some slightly better observing sites (even in a city, there will be better and worse areas). Worth a try maybe?

Billy.

 

Edited by billyharris72
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From what you have said you will really struggle to see more than a couple targets, I think your best option would be to get a small travel show or set of Bino's and see if you can get out and about somewhere with better views.

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Oh , first of all thank you for your comments and effort , but fortunately for me ,you got me wrong ;) 

I plan to observe from the top of my building , and from there there is NOTHING in the way to the stars - you can see ALL THE SKY , no limitations . (The only limiting factor is the light pollution ...)

Also , you said that even if I see only one or two bright stars unarmed , then with a telescope I will see more , right ? And so it will help me to starhop :) At least I hope it will ;) 

Although , are my chosen scopes good enough ? Maybe some amateur ap ? 

Any other scope suggestions ? 

Thank You All !

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I'm not too familiar with either of those scopes but the thing you remember is that by getting a goto then you are eating into your budget for size of scope and optic quality however it can be a good send at times for finding objects, you will of course need to know some stars to get it aligned properly. But with a goto then you will not need to do any start hoping. 

For ideas about what to look at and what you will see through the scope then the book 'turn left at iron' is regarded as a bit of a Bible on here!! 

As for apps then it tend to use 'skyfari' and if you do end up going for goto then 'synscanninnit' will be a great help.

 

P.s not sure your budget but this is the scope I started with and can highly recommend it.

 

Edited by popeye85
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2 hours ago, Androri said:

Oh , first of all thank you for your comments and effort , but fortunately for me ,you got me wrong ;) 

I plan to observe from the top of my building , and from there there is NOTHING in the way to the stars - you can see ALL THE SKY , no limitations . (The only limiting factor is the light pollution ...)

Also , you said that even if I see only one or two bright stars unarmed , then with a telescope I will see more , right ? And so it will help me to starhop :) At least I hope it will ;) 

Although , are my chosen scopes good enough ? Maybe some amateur ap ? 

Any other scope suggestions ? 

Thank You All !

Unfortunately, I was not at all concerned by the amount of sky visible from your balcony, but by the statement that you could only see Vega, and did not mention any of the other stars in the constellation Lyra. That level of light pollution suggests that only lunar and planetary observations will be possible, hence my suggestion that you must investigate alternate observing sites and a scope light enough for you to carry there given you do not have a car. 

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Astronomy is a great hobby to get into but as I've learned since starting you need patience as weather, light (even the moon!) will get in your way. 

I have tried to use a telescope in a city area and couldn't see much more than with the naked eye to be honest. Once the light pollution becomes brighter than the stars no matter how big the scope you just wont see anything.

Have you considered getting a second hand one? A quick search of ebay and gumtree throws up alot of small reflectors and refractors for under £100

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Hi from land down under

As an all round scope, I would go for a Skywatcher ED80 on a EQ5/6 mount

More stable for mounting a camera onto, then the discovery 150

Attached pic shows a couple of ED80's with camera and without camera, taken club outing Transit of Venus in 2012, on EQ5 and EQ6 mounts

ED80's also have solar filters attached

 

 

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

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Thanks for the suggestions . The ED80 Apo is out of my price range unfortunately , although I consider the SkyWatcher Star Discovery 150P a great option. The only concern is the Alt-Az mount , but I searched on youtube and found some people doing ap with the same model . They said the exposures were limited to 30-90 sec , but they had great pictures anwyway . Plus the GoTo will save my life basically ... Can the batteries be enough to run it ? Or the power tank is a must ?

Also why isn’t that model not in the skywatcher official website ? It is somewhat confusing why they wouldn’t advertise their product.

Anyay good option - thanks for suggesting !

And , yes, I have considered buying used scopes ,  but that is just TOO MUCH of a risk for me to take ... Without seeing the used one you can never know what defects it has , even if the site guarantees ... The return of the product will be a headache.

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You don't give a location, even just a country, so some suggestions will be unknowingly unsuitable.

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Oh :) Giving a location won’t change much ) But if you want to know I live in Armenia ;) City Yerevan , if you wanna check light pollution ;) I would be happy if did and told me if it is doable .

Edited by Androri

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I would suggest starting with something small and portable, rather than with a big scope that turns out to be unsuitable because of its size and weight, or other reasons. That will help you learn what is viewable from your location. Be prepared to buy another scope later. Most of us do.  :icon_biggrin: GoTo  is extremely useful provided that you can manage to set it up successfully, but if it is out of your budget, too bad.

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Too bad you can't get out to the southeast part of Armenia to observe.  It looks to have wonderfully dark skies.

Comparing Yerevan to where I observe from, the orange bordering red pollution level is similar.  Yerevan never reaches white levels of pollution on the map, so it's not as bad as it could be.

I can't observe toward the red direction, but I can observe upward and away from the red direction just fine.  The key is to block local light pollution to allow better dark adaptation.  It also depends on the level of humidity which increases local light scattering.  Drier is better.

Try observing naked eye from the roof on a few clear nights for at least an hour and report back on what you could see star-wise.

Edited by Louis D
Clarified a few points.
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After doing a bit of research I find that the SkyWatcher Star Discovery 150P may be the best option.It is quite expensive , but I think after all there is no way without GoTo , and the scope is good too ;) Considering it doesn’t need regular primary collimation as most Newts do , it is even better . I was against Alt Az mount for some time , but now that I consider this option I think it may be the best option for me .

1. It is (hopefully) lighter than an eq mount.

2.No counterweights , weighing as much as the mount ...

3.Not so good for very long exposures , but I am not planning to do those in the near future , so ... Even if I do want to do astrophotos I have seen videos about how to modify the focuser and get prime focus + there were some REALLY GREAT photos made with the same model Alt Az mount with 30-90 sec exposures .

4. GoTo ... Means that even if I see 2 bright stars in the sky I CAN successfully use the scope , which is GREAT !

And yea ,as you mentioned , my city is in the orange / red zone , which gives me hope ;) And actually if I can DIY some convinient suitcase for the scope I think i may be able to transpot it with a car to somewhere dark :) (Actually if someone gives me the weight of the scope and/or it’s length , it would be cool to know if transporting is an option or not )

So yea , for now I consider the best option SkyWatcher Star Discovery 150P .

If any of you own / have used this model , please comment on how good it is ;)

Thanks !

Edited by Androri

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I have used its Celestron clone once, some guy from our club brought it to the observing field on a good night. I did a quick star test as I always do with every scope I get my hands on, now. The diffraction patterns were very neat on both sides, can't say a thing about the electronics, I didn't operate them because the scope doesn't belong to me. Its owner didn't complain about anything, though. I don't remember any roughness in the focuser either, and the whole setup didn't shake when touching the focuser.

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@Peco4321 (sorry I can't remove the member link) I gather the total weight is 10kg. 6.5 for mount head and tripod then 3.5 for OTA.

Edited by happy-kat
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6 hours ago, Androri said:

3.Not so good for very long exposures , but I am not planning to do those in the near future , so ... Even if I do want to do astrophotos I have seen videos about how to modify the focuser and get prime focus + there were some REALLY GREAT photos made with the same model Alt Az mount with 30-90 sec exposures .

Technically, you could add a field derotator to the focuser to counteract the field rotation.  I doubt if that mount could control it natively, but you could probably find software to control all three motors from a tablet.

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Yes I have this scope which is one of the reasons I suggested it. Can't remember the dimensions of the top of my head but it is definitely portable. Having said that though I would definitely recommend getting a power bank as well, it is allot more reliable then using batteries.

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      I have just seen you have updated the Synscan app firmware to 1.19.  I have this installed on a Win PC and Android phone and use it to control a AZ GOTO mount running the latest firmware using the Synscan Wifi Dongle.
      There looks to be some new functionality under the utility menu called 'alignment sharing', but I can't find any documentation in the help files on this?
      Please can you detail how it can be used?  If both my phone and PC are connected to the SynScan WiFi hotspot and I perform an alignment on my phone will the app on the PC recognise this too (or vice versa)?
      Thank you,
      Gavin
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