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The PERFECT telescope .. please help


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Hi everybody ... I am new to sky observing but I am not new to astronomy, I have a good background in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
I was searching for a good telescope to start with sky observing and I really spent more than 6 months doing that research and I go deeply in the field of scopes but... never knew the right telescope to purchase although of that frantically search!
So I decided to give up and ask you to help me with that hoping that someone can really help me to decide on a HUGE confidence.

Maybe it will help to know that I narrowed down the wish list and settled down with these high rated/ high-quality telescopes:

Meade Instruments ETX125 Observer Telescope with Tripod .. price at Amazon: $639.99
Meade LX70 6" f/12 Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope with German EQ Mount .. price at Amazon: $1,099.95
Omegon Telescope Pro Astrograph 304/1200 OTA .. price at Amazon: $890.00 (never rated but has a bad ass aperture!!)
Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope .. price at Amazon: $649.00
Orion 08296 10-Inch f/3.9 Newtonian Astrograph Reflector Telescope .. price at Amazon: $649.99
Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope .. price at Amazon: $999.00
SkyWatcher S11530 Maksutov-Cassegrain 150mm .. price at Amazon: $680.00
Well, it is not a narrowed list, but I am too confused LoL.

Ok, my requirements are simple (to me of course)


1- I am interested in planetary observing and some of famous DSO like Andromeda, I am not interested- for now at least- in DSO.
2- I want the best telescope for crystal sharp viewing and for good decent astrophotography (Yes I am also interested in astrophotography and yes I know there is no telescope excellent for both of the two aspects but.. compromising accepted.
3- I am not concerned about the cost and the price because I believe that a good view of a planet is worthing millions (or to be more humble, a $1200 at most LoL)
4- I am not concerned about the weight and the size of the telescope.
5- GoTo is good for the perfect telescope but not necessary to me.

What I really need is a view that makes me cry and a picture that makes me post it on my Instagram!
So I am asking: what is the perfect telescope for me?

Please help .. I am drowning in my confusion

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Based on what you said, a nextstar 8SE is the best compromise for both visual and astrophotography. The long focal ratio allows good views of planets. Most would agree, a 16in+ apeture SCT would be a "dream telescope" The 8in aperture allows good views of DSOs and Planets. And it is GoTo.

Edited by dundun92
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We tried for the best all-purpose scope, but DSOs were the most important category so we wanted some aperture for higher mags, and to build once. They're not for you so much, but somewhat, and you'll probably get sucked in anyway. While revisiting some things during the re-tune of our 5-year-old scope, 2 things stood out to me. First, how much I really wanted a richest field scope for those vistas and immersions, and secondly, what Clark was able to do with his 8" f/8 scope (cassegrain) at 188x in his "Visual Astronomy." O'Meara bagged the H400 w/ a 4" refractor, but I've read the list was compiled for an 8" Newt. 

Our 12.5" f/6 juuust squeaks in as a richest field capable scope, making about 1.4* of sky with our 36mm 72* EPs, but at f/4 it'd be over 2* (no uber-expensive 100* EPs).  That's 4 moons of sky. And aperture is handy for light pollution if you have much, something neither of those guys were contending with. For what you prefer, from what you list, man that 10" @f3.9 sounds sweet. With a 24mm 82* EP (very do-able cost-wise, we just weren't able to use them) you'd get that 2* of sky, about as good as that gets. My only concern would be the mirror quality at that speed and price. Otherwise, sounds like an Instagram moment, and with the right quality mirror you'd be able to do most things well. I'd spend your limit there (the mirror, so double that Astrograph's price on something better). But once you go over f/6 those wide fields go away. Otherwise, best of both worlds. And lotsa folk swear that 8"-10" is that sweet spot for cutting through bad seeing (tho I'm not buyin it). For planets (or DSOs) you can always get the less expensive orthoscopic EPs, which are just made for such. Itsa win-win.

Edited by laowhoo
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If you're interested primarily in planetary and lunar observing, then the SW 150 Maksutov or even the 127mm Maksutov are fine scopes. The SW 100ED is excellent as is the ED120, and both are easy to use, delivering sharp high definition images. Personally, I would suggest you avoid large aperture scopes as they are more cumbersom and less easy to use. The scopes above could each give a lifetime of enjoyment and are serious instruments for a serious observer, and will often outperform many larger instruments where definition and contrast is concerned.

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6 hours ago, rocambol said:

1- I am interested in planetary observing and some of famous DSO like Andromeda, I am not interested- for now at least- in DSO.
2- I want the best telescope for crystal sharp viewing and for good decent astrophotography (Yes I am also interested in astrophotography and yes I know there is no telescope excellent for both of the two aspects but.. compromising accepted.
3- I am not concerned about the cost and the price because I believe that a good view of a planet is worthing millions (or to be more humble, a $1200 at most LoL)
4- I am not concerned about the weight and the size of the telescope.
5- GoTo is good for the perfect telescope but not necessary to me.

1: Yes you are interested in DSO. Reason is there are 3 planets and they are not there all the time, what are you expecting to do when not there? The underside of the clouds are boring, eventually.

2: Immaterial of everything a good refractor will give the best planetary views. They are also likely the best for AP. AP requirements are differnt to visual.

3: Don't say that. A good refractor can be 5x the maximum you have indicated, and that is just the refractor.

4: No idea,

5: Goto you will require. It is very useful and it has tracking as a default and the tracking is about 400% relevant to virewing and 1000% relevant to AP.

Dump the packages you list, all packages are aimed at visual, although I will say have a look at the ETX for another reason.

I would say go get a good mount, equitorial and goto. Not sure whose however. Get a mount equal to the Sky Watcher HEQ5 - not sure of the equivalent in the US. Scope - if ES do a 102ED (triplet) then consider one of those. The FCD models are good the FCD-100's are better. Think ES do a 125 ED FCD-100 but cost leaps but it has had excellent reviews.

With the mount you have the option to use mount and say  a less costly Achro for visual, Bresser 102 or 120 maybe, and later get a smaller AP scope - ES 80ED maybe. That way you spread the purchasing cost and can do either.

The ETX 125: I read somewhere that the OTA can be removed easily and so another put in its place. Must be a design change as on the old models this was not simple. If this is possible then you could use the supplied scope for visual and planetary imaging and then swap to, say, a 72mm ED for some AP.

A lot will depend on how serious the AP will get. But the HEQ5 match should cover about it all for a long time. Other mounts are the iOptron, but their reviews are mixed.

Add a location as I guess you are US based and people will point you at UK retailers and equipment.

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When you say astrophotography do you mean planets? The requirements for imaging planets and stars/galaxies etc are very different.

My best planetary visual views (I am solely a visual observer)  have been with large newtonians but my most used scope currently is my 120mm Equinox. For solar system imaging, aperture matters but you can get decent results with around 130-150mm. If you decide to go for a refractor I would urge you to buy an ED or alternatively a reflector.

Do manage your expectations. The largest planet visually is Jupiter. Even this is about the size of a penny held between finger and thumb at arm's length. With imaging you are sampling the best few frames over a longish period so you can use more magnification.

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You are crossing too many borders on the perfect scope for you..and the most important thing is cost..

If mainly looking to image planets which the 2 main brutes of the solar system aren't in the best of positions for a number of years then a 8 inch sct on a az  mount will be a good choice..or a mak...

If looking to for dso imaging then a 80mm refractor on a avx or eq5 sized mount is a fantastic combo but I assume it to be over the $1200 for both these items new..thats without the camera and accessories also needed..secondhand then yes

If purely visual then you can get a decent sized dob for easy that figure..but will have to forget the astrophography part...

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There is no such thing as the perfect scope. You need to define what you want to do with it.  Planetary observing, deep sky observing, planetary photography and deep sky photography all have different requirements. Maybe you should think of acquiring multiple items, as many of the Forum members seem to have done. :icon_biggrin:

Spending a large amount of money will get you nearer perfection, but this is not guaranteed.

I can confirm that the Celestron C8 SE works well on planets, the moon, and (small) deep sky objects, and the GoTo works well. It's my #1 performing scope. But I have not tried to photograph anything with it.

Another astrophotography hint: NONE of my scopes would give a whole-Moon image with a planetary USB camera.

Tonight, planetary observing will comprise the Moon (near full) Uranus and Neptune (small and not very interesting, probably needs a GoTo), and in the early morning Jupiter (good!) and Mars (very small).  

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12 hours ago, rocambol said:

I really spent more than 6 months doing that research and I go deeply in the field of scopes but... never knew the right telescope to purchase although of that frantically search!

Rocambol,

a lot of theoretical research - but have you ever looked at and through one or more of the scopes you've listed? Telescopes are, IMHO, a rather personal thing; and you might be disappointed having purchased a scope just on ground of positive experiences other stargazers have made.

I'd suggest, that you should take yourself some more time, and visit a star party to get "hands on" different scope types of different sizes on different mounts; and, of course, to look through the scopes appealing to you. Stargazers are a very helpful bunch of people; so don't hesitate to ask. I bought my 18" dob only having seen and used it "in the flesh"; and I'm glad I did so.

The "perfect scope", IMO, doesn't exist; there are always tradeoffs, as Cosmic Geoff mentioned above. A useful set for astro observing might be composed of three elements: a binocular (8x40 to 10x50 size) for wide field; a "grab-and-go"  or travel scope, e.g a 3" to 5" refractor, also suited for AP on a GEM mount, or a 4" to 6" f/5 Dob; and finally the "big gun", with the largest aperture and weight you can handle comfortably; e.g. a Dobsonian, or SCT/Mak, perhaps located in an obsy.

Hope this helps; and keep on asking!

Stephan

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I can't thank you enough guys for your helpful replies, I really enjoyed reading them. I know I am asking a silly and impossible question and I know there is no perfect telescope and it is a personal choice but I can't take the risk of getting a telescope that has great reviews but will disappoint me and make me abandon my dream of watching the wonders of God's realm in person!

And I know that most of the telescopes that I mentioned need more money (on mounts, tripods, eyepieces, etc...) to become perfect (in my definition of perfection) and I can choose any one of them and try it then if it is not what my heart adore then I can upgrade or get another one but.. I am serious about astronomy and I can't deal with telescopes as they are shoes!

About DSO, well I am not uninterested in DSO at all but DSO is not a priority at the moment and I know I will turn my eyes deeper in the sky sooner or later but also I know there is NO TELESCOPE is great in either, so I am just sacrificing now for DSO to get the best of planets, then I will shoot the planets in the head and sacrifice them later.

I still learning from you guys and want more

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are serious about getting into ap over time, the best would be to invest in a good EQ mount like the HEQ6 or iOptron iEQ30 or 45. Those will serve you well for many years to come in all ways you may think of. As for a telescope, since I personally am a refractor fan, I would think of a f7-ish 80-120 mm apo refractor. These are quite versatile, for you can use a reducer/flattener for DSO AP or a PowerMate or Barlow for planetary. For visual this will be very sattisfying as well. In that way you would have quite a flexible combination. Downside:  a challenge to your budget... 

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How fickle are your clear skies? A setup that is quick and portable is likely to get used and give enjoyment. You do not need an equatorial mount to view or image planets. If you get into DSO ap later you may end up with more than one set of equipment but you may never not need a useable visual setup to get out there and have a visual session. If you can, get to a local club and get a feel for different equipment and how it is to use. Also the mount is important for imaging DSO but a telescope is not, you can create amazing DSO images using a DSLR and 135mm lens as plenty objects are quite big.

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