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Posted (edited)

Good evening all

This is my first post here, so I hope It isn't impolite of me to make it a post asking for help?!

 

I have been doing astrophotography using my Sony A6000 and a 12mm lens and it's really set me off wanting to see deeper and clearer.

I'm looking for a telescope for 2 purposes. Firstly to observe and learn the sky, but also to potentially use with my A6000 to take images.

I have read a few of the similar posts here and will continue to do so to try glean as much information as possible, but, and specific suggestions you have would be great.

I have zero experience using a scope, so it would be starting from scratch. Ideally something I won't need to upgrade too soon.

Also, I live in the UK incase that influences any of the suggestions.

 

many thanks in advance for your help.

Edited by PaulConfused

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Paul, welcome to SGL...you are going to get plenty of good people tell you 2 scopes, one for observing....one for imaging, and you will need a decent mount aperture wins for observing but a nice ED80 is good starting scope for imaging, hope this helps

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Many thanks for your reply. Yes, I had thought 2 scopes might be the way. I'll settle for observing first I guess.

Queensbury eh? as in Bradford?

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As Jules says and the more intent you have to image using long exposures the deeper your pockets have to be for an equatorial mount. A starting point to match the ED80 Jules mentioned is the HEQ5 Pro.

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28 minutes ago, PaulConfused said:

Many thanks for your reply. Yes, I had thought 2 scopes might be the way. I'll settle for observing first I guess.

Queensbury eh? as in Bradford?

Yes near bradford, well spotted. An ED80 is a good starting point, it will do visual just will struggle at the feint stuff and more so if there is a bit of light pollution

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I'm just across the valley from you in Mytholmroyd. The LP isn't too bad, but, not ideal.

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Ha, nearly a neighbour

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No matter you are going for the "one scope for all" or "two scopes" appproach, I would suggest go for a portable short refractor (the ED80 mentioned in the replies) first. My point of view is a 80mm that got used a lot is better than an 8" sitting at home indoor. 

I have a short (f/5.7) refractor, a long (f/13) refractor, a light-weight alt-azimuth mount and an entry-level imaging equatorial mount. I found myself, using the short refractor more mainly because of its portability and ease of setup. For ocassional high magnification with the short refractor, I uses a Meade 3x barlow with my 10mm Plossl.

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Ok, have done more searching. So....If I went with an ED80 for travel and say a Skywatcher 200p DS on eq5goto for home...would they be considered decent setups that wouldn't require soonish upgrade?

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Hi paul, just my opinion but i think you would find 200P-DS on EQ5 a bit of a pain, its a big tube and newts on eq mounts are a pain because you are having to rotate the tube to get the eyepiece position right and if its windy the tube will be buffeted with wind

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I have the 200p Newtonian/EQ-5 combination but rarely use it.  I prefer the C8 SE.

Seems you want two different setups - a visual scope (about which one could discuss for ages - do you want large aperture, or something small and convenient, GoTo?), and an astrophotography setup - I know little about this but a small but expensive refractor (or a more affordable 130p Newtonian) and a heavy-duty and expensive equatorial mount with GoTo are indicated. 

You might be tempted to try combining the two, but consider that, provided you have the energy to haul out and setup two outfits, you can observe with one while exposures run on the other, or it's set up for a particular target.  I've felt this was a good idea while waiting with the planetary camera  for Jupiter to transit past an inconveniently placed clothes pole. :hmh:

As for not upgrading - check the equipment lists in some members' signatures. Maybe they did not intend to upgrade either. :happy11:   I know I had no intention of buying an 8" SCT when I started. Or, some beginners want to go straight to large, specialised and expensive instruments which might or might not fit their needs and interests once tried. 

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Thanks for your replies. A lot of interesting information in all.

I also had some advice from Martin at FLO today too, and that also proved useful.

 

So, my dilemma now is I actually don't know what to do.

 

The 200p seems great in some views, not in others, the ED80 seems great in some, not in others and a few other bits thrown in by Martin (SE8) for example. Then there seem to be 2 schools, one saying the 200p is crap fro astro, and another saying they managed just fine with it...

 

ee by gum, I've got a headache.

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If you're wanting the 200p for visual use I think the dobsonian mounted version would be a much better option. If you're thinking of astrophotography then you'll want the pds version and a more stable mount than the eq5. 

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ok, so....

If I got a Heq5pro goto mount...… Would a 200p and an ED80 both fit or would I need different mounts?

 

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You would have no difficulty fitting either to the mount. However, I will have to leave it to others to advise which specific mount is sufficient for the 200p(ds). 

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and if I got the 200pds...would I then even need an ed80 as both apparently do astro?

 

The first chap wasn't wrong about it being confusing!

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Paul, for astro imaging (assuming you want to do deep sky like nebula and galaxies) a smallish ED refractor is widely accepted as being very good and would be far easier to get started with, a large newt is going to be a pain to work with, dont get me wrong it will do it but the frac will just do it better.

I would suggest maybe getting a 200 dob for now, learn how to navigate the sky, there is no rush as we are into summer short nights already and imaging is better in the winter nights, with more darkness, you could even consider just getting a small goto mount like EQ3 goto and just mounting your DSLR with a nice lens on the mount

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18 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

As for not upgrading - check the equipment lists in some members' signatures. Maybe they did not intend to upgrade either. :happy11: 

Guilty as charged. I found my second telescope, the Astromaster 130EQ-MD, difficult to set up, get the motor tracking and found the Newtonian OTA's eyepiece often pointing in a difficult direction; so I "upgraded" to the Skymax 127, a 127mm Maksutov on an Az/Alt tripod mount, with full Synscan GoTo - much easier to use.

After a while, I wanted more aperture for the fainter objects, so I went for the Skyliner 250PX truss-tube Dobsonian, again with the full Synscan GoTo. It did not render the Skymax redundant, just gave me more options. My other 'scopes are lateral upgrades, each bringing a different gift to the party, and a mix-and-match option, as most of the OTAs are interchangeable on the different mounts, although restricted to about 70 degrees altitude on some mounts with the longer refractors.

Over the last few nights, I have, at different times, and with different atmospheric conditions, been looking at Jupiter with (1) the Skyliner Dob., (2) the Skymax 127 Mak., (3) the Skymax mount with ST120 refractor, and (4) last night, for a quickie & wearing indoor clothes, plonked my Virtuoso 90 (90mm Mak. on an Az/Alt tracking Dob. mount) on my glass-topped patio table, pointed the OTA at Polaris, turned ON, swung round to Jupiter and spent about a quarter of an hour looking through the thin haze, and using my 8-24mm zoom to get the best compromise between magnification and object clarity.

I think that my record is 3 mounts running simultaneously, with some swapping of OTAs between them. I do mostly visual observing, but find I can use my cameras on the Az/Alt mounts, as long as I restrict the capture duration to under 10 seconds per frame.

I also like to use my GPCAM2 for electronically assisted viewing of faint objects. The recent improvements in the associated software enable live stacking of short-duration "frames" so that my laptop's screen slowly builds more contrast, with colour (not available to the naked eye) - effectively visual observing of faint objects, with an enhanced eye.

As has been noted, many times on this forum, the "Best" 'scope is the one you use most often. If you are seriously interested in a particular setup, it is worth searching for a couple of YouTube and textual reviews of that setup, to see if it suits your expected needs (until you get the "need" to add to your equipment list :icon_biggrin:).

Geoff

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Do you intend doing your imaging and observing from your back garden or are you going to have to escape to a darker location?

Where will you store all this equipment down stairs or in an upstairs room. If it is too much effort doing several trips in and out or up and down any excuse or any patchy cloud and it won't happen.

Eyes benefit from aperture to see but imaging doesn't have quite the same need hence many use small refractors.

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Inevitably there will be some divergence of advice, but essentially you should decide what you want to do, and get kit that best does it. If you look in the deep-space imaging sections of this forum, you should be able to see images others have taken, and what kit they used to take them. (often amazing images with scopes of modest aperture.)

Having got an imaging rig, the cost of adding a capability for visual use could be small. Newtonian OTAs are inexpensive in the first place, and can be found used at 'accessory' prices. (I paid more for an atmospheric dispersion corrector than I did for my 8" Newtonian OTA). Likewise hopefully the smaller Dobsonian outfits, as a manual Dob mount costs almost nothing to manufacture. 

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I think the fog is clearing....

Let me explain a little more about my intentions. I would like a larger set I can use just at home as we have a large attic room with several velux, we also have a balcony. Then for our numerous camping trips to the lakes something more portable. I can't see myself doing huge data capture sessions, so the imaging will be less hardcore than that, perhaps just snapping what I'm seeing, or the odd deeper shot. 

Storage is no issue we have at least 2spare rooms. 

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ALt Az mounts move in tiny left right up down movements which is fien for visual as the object is kept in the field of view, but for imaging the object is still rotating as the mount is not equatorial. You will need to read up on how successful it really is to add a wedge to those mounts.

If you want a portable imaging rig and you already own the camera gear then a skywatcher star adventurer might hit the mark there.

The issue with observing or imaging from inside is thermal escape creating heat waves, basically image shimmer. If the attic space is not heated that would help.

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57 minutes ago, PaulConfused said:

I would like a larger set I can use just at home as we have a large attic room with several velux, we also have a balcony.

I think you need to reconsider this idea. Telescopes are outdoor equipment. Leaving aside the issues you will have with the quality of the glass in those windows, thermal currents and an extremely restricted field of view, I'm not sure an equatorially mounted 200p will even fit in the gap under a window if it's a normal converted attic you've got. If you want to observe from inside the attic I would suggest just getting a pair of binoculars. At a push a small scope on an alt-az mount might be ok for low power views.

1 hour ago, PaulConfused said:

I can't see myself doing huge data capture sessions, so the imaging will be less hardcore than that, perhaps just snapping what I'm seeing, or the odd deeper shot. 

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like normal photography. "Snapping what you're seeing" isn't really an option. You can hold a compact camera or smartphone up to the eyepiece to take a snap but this only works (poorly) for a few of the brightest objects. For everything else it is huge data capture sessions. The book "Making Every Photon Count" should be your first purchase if it is deep sky photography you are really after.

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