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The obvious "which telescope" from the newbie

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The A7 series has a very sensitive sensor and is great for sticking on a telescope...

The A7s sensor is actually a little more sensitive with lower noise, if I remember correctly, than the ASI224. However, the camera control is harder. I don't think (I may be wrong) SharpCap currently supports live stacking with DSLR, however that is coming according to the developer. Various combinations of other software will make this work. Have a look at Astrotoaster and DSSlive. It's not quite as elegant or user friendly as SharpCap, but plenty people use that and it works well.

Whether the image will cover the sensor fully or not depends on the scope, also you sometimes need to be careful of backfocus. As mentioned the easiest way to find out would be to just email FLO and ask them if the scopes will cover the full frame sensor. Having said that -- how much you care about coma and other unsightly stuff depends on what your doing, and your interest. Since the A7 is a high resolution full frame sensor, you could just crop in and cut off the edges. A full frame sensor is quite a large area of sky. Then again -- it does depend on what you are interested in imaging. Check out http://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/ with your camera and possible scopes to see what you are likely to get.  

You can also actually crank up the ISO on the Sony and look at the live view. It'll be super noisy, but you will be able to see things. There are some good examples on YouTube of this with the A7s -- not the A7r. Do remember when watching these that most are probably shot at f2 or so.  That's extremely fast for a telescope and getting to that fspeed is expensive. 

Here is one at f7: 


In terms of the ZWO ASI cameras and Mac... unfortunately Mac OS is limiting for astronomy stuff. It's not specifically the cameras in this case -- it's the lack of software. SharpCap is PC only.

I too am also Mac based though, and I ran my mount, SharpCap etc, on Windows 10 though Parallels on my MacBook Pro very happily. I did this for a while before getting a mobile solution. https://www.parallels.com/uk/ is an extra cost, but it's cheaper than buying a PC and you can even hide Windows 10 away in the background and never see it, making the PC software look like it's running natively on your Mac OS computer.

Edited by London_David

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I contact FLO and they suggested a Celestron SLT 127.  

Ultimately I will just have to chose one, like some previous posters have said it’ll be my first scope and I’ll love it as I’ll be doing something that I want to do. Visuals or AP I guess it doesn’t really matter. 

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That is a good compact scope that’s not too expensive. The thing to be aware with that scope is that it is a little heavy and it is f11.

That means that if you do want to try putting a camera on there (either your A7r or a future astronomy camera) you will need longer exposures than a scope faster f ratio (eg an f5).

I don’t know the scope well, but for any kind of imaging you should ask if they have focal reducers that work on it since ideally you want to get the f ratio down. Ideally f5 or lower but f6 is also okay. That means you can use faster exposures and not worry too much about star trails and blurring (since it is an alt az mount).

Of course you don’t need to buy any of this  now, but it’s good to future proof if your interests change. 

You may have done this already but the best advice given to me was to go to astronomy.tools once you have an equipment shortlist. Check out what different scopes do with different eyepieces and cameras on different targets. That way you really do get a sense of what you will see when you point it at the sky. You want to make sure you can see the things you are interested in.

The other thing that helped me was to take a long trip out of town and see them in person at a show room to get a sense of size and weight. Sometimes you just love or hate the thing itself, separate from the specifications!

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On 11 November 2017 at 23:42, Galen Gilmore said:

I agree with the above. I had a 4.5" scope as my first (real) scope, and it got me started, but after about 9 ish months it lost its magic. Now I crave the 8" dob, it would be better if you got one of those as your first. 

The lack of go-to isn't that big of deal, as the first objects you will be looking at are very easy to find. And by the time you start searching for some fainter stuff you will have gotten fairly good at star hopping.


For visual, eyes to low power binoculars to scope. Easier than eyes straight to guide scope. Red dot or target finders are a good instrument alongside a guide scope. 

6 inch Newtonians make cheaper starter mirror scopes than 8 inch. They are lighter, show the Messier objects, and can be transferred to an equatorial mount from a Dobsonian one more easily, should you wish. 


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I decided to follow FirstLightOptics advice over a telescope and it'll arrive tomorrow. 

Thanks again to everyone who commented, it was a great help.  

I'll no doubt be back in touch with recommendations over eyepieces next :)

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I have a Celestron SkyProdigy 130SLT and will never need to purchase any other one :) This one it's totally hassle free. It aligns itself, provides me great views, and with my Atik Infinity attached I can get some pretty decent images!

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