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azathoth

Need help getting started with observing dso on a budget

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Hello, I'm very new to the practice of astronomy and my interest is with deep sky objects, I very much prefer "goto" type telescopes. Im just looking for a decent set up for visual observations of dso's and I have no idea where to start to look, please help!  

 

( 500$ budget )

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Hello and welcome to Stargazers lounge, knowing the country in which you reside will help current members suggest the best available options as distribution rights and other criteria limit what telescopes are sold where, for instance in the USA some dobsonian telescopes are not available in California but are available in all the other states. But by what you have shared so far I would suggest a dobsonian reflector of the (push to) or (goto) variety. Others will chime in soon I'm sure with more specific suggestions once they know your country of residence. But for now know that you have come to the right place...indeed 🙂

Edited by SIDO
Fudged it Again :-\

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52 minutes ago, SIDO said:

Hello and welcome to Stargazers lounge, knowing the country in which you reside will help current members suggest the best available options as distribution rights and other criteria limit what telescopes are sold where, for instance in the USA some dobsonian telescopes are not available in California but are available in all the other states. But by what you have shared so far I would suggest a dobsonian reflector of the (push to) or (goto) variety. Others will chime in soon I'm sure with more specific suggestions once they know your country of residence. But for now know that you have come to the right place...indeed 🙂

I updated my profile with my location, thank you!

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Hello and welcome to SGL, for deep space its all about aperture and nothing but, i'm not sure what your budget is, but if it were me, I would be looking for a dobsonian scope.

The issue may be finding a GOTO scope with enough aperture for your budget, DSO's are generally faint objects requiring as much aperture as possible to enjoy, adding goto significantly increases the price also.  The link below from B&H photo out of New York state is for a 10 inch Goto dobsonian which would be great, but at double your budget.

Honestly, for DSO's, the biggest possible scope trumps goto capability, when on a budget, I would gladly sacrifice goto for aperture, you may find it rewarding to have a larger scope, and learn your way around the sky, 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1141687-REG/sky_watcher_s11810_10_goto_collapsible_dobsonian.html

 

 

 

Edited by Sunshine
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500USD is not really enough to get a goto Dobsonian for instance, the largest aperture at the lowest price. At some point, most people will say you need the largest possible aperture you can carry with a good motivation to look at DSOs. Some people can handle 18" aperture easily, others have difficulty carrying a 6".

For instance the 8" Synscan from Skywatcher is 1050USD you have goto on that, but you still need a couple of decent eyepieces with it to fully enjoy the DSOs, has well has accessories such has an atlas, a star wheel, a dim red flashlight, perhaps a padded case for the tube, mirror collimation tools, etc.

... Maybe a bit of joy killing, sorry about that. The good news, once you have everything, the remaining cost is the gas to drive the car to a dark spot.

I use 8" aperture and under a medium or good sky the result  is very good for deep sky objects, 6", 8" 10" others will tell you, me I am still impressed after 3 years of observation.

 

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Welcome from land down under

A manual dob is good for visual viewing, not for AP, if that is your long term aim

Couple of options, which depending on your budget

ED80 on a HEQ5 mount, alternately Celestron Nexstar

John

 

 

 

 

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Like N3ptune I use an 8" aperture for dso without goto under a dark sky with very low levels of light pollution. You could purchase a very nice Apertura 8" dob first then as finances alow you could ad a kit to allow push to capabilities, some do ad homemade setting circles to their dobs as well and seem to do well with these. For me I use Stellarium and create cheat sheets containing the pre determined target's I have chosen for the nights observations.

Edited by SIDO
Fudge it Again :-\
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With the remaining cash get a Gso Superview 30mm 2" eyepiece eyepiece and laser collimatian tool download Stellarium and read Turn Left at Orion, then your up to bat 😉 

Edited by SIDO
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I fear that your wants don't add up unless you are lucky in the second hand market.  I believe that for looking at DSOs you want at least 8" aperture, and I concur with your preference for GoTo. Without it you could be struggling for ages to find anything, unless you know the sky very well and are skilled at 'star-hopping' etc.

My C8 SE does very well for looking at DSOs but is clearly out of your budget.

Things to consider:

Site - unless you have a dark skies site you are wasting your time.  I can see lots from darkest Devon, but from my backyard the other night my galaxy score was zero- not counting M31 which was behind a tree.

Portability - an issue if you have to transport the outfit to site.  Size limit is really down to you, but beyond 8" it becomes something of an issue.

Ease of use - affected by setup time, the range of eyepiece positions, quality of finders (or GoTo) etc. If you don't have GoTo,  a RACI finder plus a red-dot for the coarse aiming will make your observing much more pleasant.

Add-on digital setting circles: I looked into this a while ago for another telescope and found that it's not as easy as buying a kit and clipping it on and observing.  Seems that it might involve a special order, some DIY skills and no cost advantage over a shop-bought GoTo.  Most popular with large Dobsonians.

 

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Adding to what Cosmic said, even when you hit the coordinats dead on you may not see the object because of bad seeing or sky transparency,  too much moonlight, not dark adapted or not dark adapted for long enough = 45 minutes or more, wrong magification for the object, unfamiliarity with what the object actually looks like through your telescope and or at that specific magnification, so there is alot to learn even if you have goto to help ease the journey. 

Don't let all this intimidate you though, there is some low hanging fruit to be had and your first successes with those objects will be worthwhile and memorable.

 

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Don't discount buying used equipment either. I have found some excellent kit on the second hand market.

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12 hours ago, Sunshine said:

Hello and welcome to SGL, for deep space its all about aperture and nothing but, i'm not sure what your budget is, but if it were me, I would be looking for a dobsonian scope.

The issue may be finding a GOTO scope with enough aperture for your budget, DSO's are generally faint objects requiring as much aperture as possible to enjoy, adding goto significantly increases the price also.  The link below from B&H photo out of New York state is for a 10 inch Goto dobsonian which would be great, but at double your budget.

Honestly, for DSO's, the biggest possible scope trumps goto capability, when on a budget, I would gladly sacrifice goto for aperture, you may find it rewarding to have a larger scope, and learn your way around the sky, 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1141687-REG/sky_watcher_s11810_10_goto_collapsible_dobsonian.html

 

 

 

BHP seem to be the people to go to along the east coast. People from this side of the pond even go there if visiting NYC.

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3 hours ago, azathoth said:

 What does that do?

Digital Setting Circles

DSCs are little computers that show you where to point your telescope to locate your astronomical target. 

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It seems that the 8" dob is my best route, but my only difficulties will be manually finding objects, and I'm very inexperienced. I heard that it's possible to install a motor for finding dso' s or something related?

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2 minutes ago, azathoth said:

It seems that the 8" dob is my best route, but my only difficulties will be manually finding objects, and I'm very inexperienced. I heard that it's possible to install a motor for finding dso' s or something related?

Might not be the best route, but you wont know until you've tried, but considering what an 8" (200mm) aperture provides, under the right conditions, you wont go far wrong with a manual scope.
I use the software Stellarium, or guide books to find what I'm looking for, and believe me, my sky view is extremely limited, so in a way this is good,  less to learn in a hurry, but more to learn when away from my home site. Manually finding objects comes with practice, If you know where to look,  and I'm sure you could be on target quicker than a Go-To system, if you knew where to look. I honestly think some folk think that having a Go-To  makes all the difference, enabling them to see everything up there, but it doesn't work like that, conditions dictate, be that local light pollution, seeing conditions, user ability, equipment ability. For visual use only,  spend what you can afford on the largest objective ( lens or mirror )  you can handle. Like with any subject or hobby, it all comes with patience, practice and your own ability, the rest is down to luck and the weather.

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Finding objects manually is a source of great satisfaction in this hobby, the hardest path but very rewarding. An observation should not be done in a rush, I like to look at everything until I find the target, it's a very valuable trip TO the target where we can get in a state of deep concentration but, relaxing at the same time. 🙂

There is another thing you could ask yourself @azathoth do you need tracking? The ability of the mount to compensate for earth's rotation, holding the target in the middle of the eyepiece, with a motor device. For instance, looking at a small planetary nebula at a power of 125x with a manual telescope, earth is rotating and the object will drift out of view quickly, in a few seconds, you need to track it manually to keep it centered in the middle of the eyepiece, the sharpest place to look at an object. At lower power like 35x the object will remain in the field of view much longer.

Some people like do it manually and are very happy with it, personally I like tracking very much especially over 80x. I find it much easier to look carefully at the very faint small details of the object. Can't live without it now..

I learned about tracking when I bought my first high power eyepiece, a 5mm.  Fortunately, I had an equatorial mount and tracking is not much of a problem with these (you add an inexpensive RA clock drive motor), comfort at the eyepiece is the main problem.

On a manual Dobsonian mount you can add an equatorial platform to have some tracking. (Another kind of motorized device)

 

Edited by N3ptune
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I second Charic on this. I've never owned a Go-To and use Stellarium to find out where I roughly need to look to find a target. When (or more likely if) I do, the sudden "Wow, I found it!" factor is amazing.  Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't look a Go-To in the mouth, but the satisfaction you get from not having one and finding something yourself is extremely rewarding. 

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Howdy! How new are you to the hobby? Have you spent time with binoculars and a constellation book? I think that's one of the best ways to learn the sky. Binos can give some nice views. Once you're comfortable with the sky consider an equatorial. Once polar aligned there is an easy method for using the setting circles. For the budget you mentioned a Meade LX 70 6" newt falls around there. For just a little more the 8" is good. I've had one for a few years and have no complaints about it. If you want to do AP eventually then you can get axis drives for it. My buddy occasionally mounts his camera to the scope rings while I observe and track. Just a thought. Hope it helps.

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27 minutes ago, Kn4fty said:

Howdy! How new are you to the hobby? Have you spent time with binoculars and a constellation book? I think that's one of the best ways to learn the sky. Binos can give some nice views. Once you're comfortable with the sky consider an equatorial. Once polar aligned there is an easy method for using the setting circles. For the budget you mentioned a Meade LX 70 6" newt falls around there. For just a little more the 8" is good. I've had one for a few years and have no complaints about it. If you want to do AP eventually then you can get axis drives for it. My buddy occasionally mounts his camera to the scope rings while I observe and track. Just a thought. Hope it helps.

Very new, I only owned a telescope for a month or two on my teens but that's it, I don't even really know my sky all that well, I know a few constellations but that's it i can't navigate the sky at all 

 

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I use one of these, best value for an 8 inch dob on the market, got mine a couple years back and couldent be happier with it.

 

That $99 encoder kit works with this unit, it also comes with laser collimator, a 30mm 2" eyepiece, a 9mm 1.25 eyepiece and cooling fan and more. Cant beat the price for the aperture and accessories on this one...unless you go used that is 🙂

 

https://www.highpointscientific.com/apertura-ad8-8inch-dobsonian-telescope-ad8

Edited by SIDO

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I've never used the Nexstar, so I couldn't really say much about it. Being 5" you will be able to see some DSOs, but like someone said earlier, aperture is everything when it comes to DSOs. They are called faint fuzzies for a reason. The more aperture you have the easier they tend to be to see. If you're not dead set on motorized, here's one in your budget. https://www.highpointscientific.com/meade-8inch-newtonian-reflector-on-lx70-equatorial-mount-270012?gclid=CjwKCAjwqarbBRBtEiwArlfEINYkSsX1LhcQ5UD-Zeg_abspa8EwSj9hikRlxMrKKXeWCcP51NyOBxoC548QAvD_BwE

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