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Schnoblsilver

Deep space scope recommendations

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I know nothing about telescopes, my wife is the astronomy nut.  She has had inexpensive telescopes in the past.  Her latest purchase was $250 binoculars which she uses 4-5 times a week to look at stars.  She turns 40 in a few weeks and has been saving for a deep space telescope.  I know she would like to see the rings on saturn and as much deep space stuff as possible.  I would like to purchase this item for her but have no idea what to buy.  Ive looked at Celestron 6se & 8se but still have no clue.  My budget is $700 to $1500 but dont want to spend my max budget for a slight improvement that is barely noticable.  Please help me with what telescope to buy and include any must accessories for the scope.  Help me make my wifes 40th birthday special. Thank you.

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My personal recommendation (seeing that your interest is in visual) the 8SE is a really good visual scope for it's price. 

Along with the 8SE if you can (i know this might be a little on the expensive side but trust me it's totally worth the cost) is a Televue Powermate 2.5x ... This combination will wow your wife and you :)

You can always buy a cheap 2x barlow but the Televue Powermate (because i've got one too) is just a superb piece of glass.

Hope this helps and whichever scope you decide to go for, i'm sure she'll love it.

 

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It is always such a difficult one to answer but in terms of type of scope to concentrate on, either the Schmidt cassegrain type like the 8se or an 8 - 10 inch Dobsonian.  There are pros and cons of both but both will give good all round deep space and planetary detail.  The 8se will probably be goto mount which means easier to find deep space faint objects from light polluted  observing sites.  If the Dob is not goto, you lose that ability but in terms of spend you will be at the lower end of your budget and so have money left for good eyepieces and the televue power mate etc. Refractors are great scopes too but for your budget and bearing in mind your deep space targets, I think you would be better with a reflecting telescope with more aperture.  

Good luck with the search and I'm sure others here will offer you a wealth of advice too.

Steve 

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Can’t go wrong with a Celestron Nexstar 8SE on it’s goto mount. The scope will show loads of stuff from planets, galaxies, nebula, globular clusters, planetary nebulas galore, and the goto mount makes it much easier to see then rather than having to star hop from star to star to track them down with a manual dob type scope. 

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Where would the scope be stored? Bigger scopes bigger cooldown times. If she is already outside 4-5 times a week with binos you need to think about ease of setting up regularly, weight etc.

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Although there are "better" telescopes, I think for your purpose and with respect to your wife's interest, either the 6se or 8se would be a good choice. The 6se would be very manageable, have goto which would introduce her to many objects without having to have much previous experience and the drives would keep objects in view at higher magnifications. I have the 8se which offers even more performance albeit with increased weight and cost.   😀

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How strong is your wife?  If she's the one who will be carrying it outside (assuming it's stored inside), weight and bulkiness could be the deciding factor.  Will she be good with assembling a setup each time from pieces or will she want grab and go capability in a single unit?

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I had an 8SE for quite a few years. It's very easy to set up, tripod, mount head and telescope are all light. I often used to keep the telescope on the mount head and move it as one. I'm sure your wife would handle it easily.

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You can't go wrong with the 6 or 8SE. I started with a 6SE. It can't be understated how important GOTO was for me as a novice. When I hand held binoculars, or used a manual telescope, I hardly ever saw anything. I would mostly view the moon, maybe a planet, because they were easy to find. Though it sounds like your wife might already know the sky. But having the GOTO, and the ability to just tell it to point at an object, and there it was for me to see...wow, it was amazing. Now I own 4 telescopes, two mounts, and tons of expensive gear! It's a slippery slope to be sure. Enjoy!

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I'd say get a 12" Dobsonian and make many more days special for her by getting into the hobby along side her by helping her with her new scope and supporting her in the hobby. Its a good scope for deep space, I really enjoyed mine for many years up until a work related injury took out my right side which caused me to downsize to an 8" Dob that is not as often used because its still a little too heavy for me but my wife knows I love this hobby and she is the reason I still get out with the 8". A 12" Dob is the best bang for your buck aperture wise no one here will disagree. For your budget you should have about 1/3 left over for accessories - a laser collimation tool uhc and 0 lll filters and a couple eyepieces some package deals come with and eyepiece or two and even a collimation tool so choosing wisely can get you more. Man I miss my 12"...

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Your first

13 hours ago, Schnoblsilver said:

 I would like to purchase this item for her but have no idea what to buy.  Ive looked at Celestron 6se & 8se but still have no clue.  My budget is $700 to $1500 but dont want to spend my max budget for a slight improvement that is barely noticable.  Please help me with what telescope to buy and include any must accessories for the scope.

Your first task (in collaboration with your wife, I hope) is to decide whether to stick with your original idea or to heed the Dobsonian enthusiasts.  You can tell from my signature which I favour. 😀 

To summarise, a manual Dobsonian outfit will give you the most aperture for your buck, but at the cost of making it difficult and time-consuming to find faint objects, awkward to track objects, and ill-suited to tasks that can easily be carried out with a more capable mount.

Some consider that "learning the sky' and 'star-hopping' as a means of finding objects to be desirable exercises.  I can only relate my personal experience - I tried to locate two of the brightest galaxies in the sky with a manual, non-GoTo 8" telescope - and failed in several attempts, concluding the exercise was a total waste of time. ( I also found the equatorially mounted 8" Newtonian quite difficult to operate.)

The C8SE is very popular and has enough aperture to impress, whether used on deep-space or planets, but is one of the smallest and lightest outfits you can buy at this aperture. It is primarily aimed at visual users, but can be used successfully for planetary imaging. 

I don't own a Powermate and don't use a Barlow with my C8.

There are cheaper things you can buy than a C6 or C8, but the C6SE & C8SE are versatile, compact and easy to operate outfits compared with most other designs. The 6/8 SE mount is highly portable. 

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I'm a really big dobsonian fan but, in this case, as the owner of a 12 inch dobsonian, and given the little I have read on your and your wifes interests, experience and background, I'd recommend either a 6 or 8 inch GOTO schmidt-cassegrain such as Celestron 6SE or 8SE. Essential "extras" would include a dew shield (mandatory with this scope design really) and I'd probably splash out on a Baader 8-24mm zoom eyepiece plus a 32mm plossl eyepiece which will give you both a good range of magnification choices with the scope.

A good introduction to finding things in the night sky such as "Turn Left at Orion" will prove rewarding as well.

I hope your wife has a great 40th birthday and that you and your wife enjoy whatever scope you do get :icon_biggrin:

 

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I tend to agree, an 8SE seems like a good plan, provided you understand the setup requirements and cooling times.

I would NOT get a Televue powermate for this scope. It already has a long focal length and so you just don't need any further extension of this.  An 8 to 24mm zoom as suggested by John would give x84 to x254 which is excellent for a range of observing requirements including planetary.

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18 hours ago, Schnoblsilver said:

I know nothing about telescopes, my wife is the astronomy nut.  She has had inexpensive telescopes in the past.  Her latest purchase was $250 binoculars which she uses 4-5 times a week to look at stars.  She turns 40 in a few weeks and has been saving for a deep space telescope.  I know she would like to see the rings on saturn and as much deep space stuff as possible.  I would like to purchase this item for her but have no idea what to buy.  Ive looked at Celestron 6se & 8se but still have no clue.  My budget is $700 to $1500 but dont want to spend my max budget for a slight improvement that is barely noticable.  Please help me with what telescope to buy and include any must accessories for the scope.  Help me make my wifes 40th birthday special. Thank you.

It would help to know which types of telescopes were had in the past, so that we may better advise. 

Was the Schmidt telescope of a 6SE or 8SE Schmidt considered for its short, compact and portable optical-tube?  Is that what had drawn you towards the type?  Schmidts are the easiest to collimate, to align the optical system, and among all telescopic designs that employ mirrors.  This is the interior of a Schmidt-Cassegrain...

 sct_scope.jpg  

Note how the light-path travels through the telescope, and in three sections before it reaches the eyepiece,  As a result, an 8" Schmidt has a focal-length of 2032mm, which is quite long.  A, not the, major portion of deep-sky observations are at low powers, with wide fields-of-view, and wide areas of the sky to be seen.  You cannot get that with an 8" Schmidt, nor with a 6" for that matter; although a focal reducer can help remedy that, some.

This is a view of the Moon, for example,  with an 8" Schmidt and through a 32mm Plossl and a 40mm Plossl...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=110|105|||1||&fov[]=110|210|||1||&solar_system=moon

That's the lowest power to be had with an 8SE upon its arrival at the home.  The galaxy in Andromeda(M31) at the same settings...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=110|105|||1||&fov[]=110|210|||1||&messier=31

...and a very poor view indeed.

This is an 8" "Dobsonian", or rather an 8" Newtonian mounted on a Dobson alt-azimuth...

https://explorescientificusa.com/products/firstlight-8-dobsonian

The Moon through it, and with the same eyepieces as before...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=316|105|||1||&fov[]=316|210|||1||&solar_system=moon

As you can see, the view of the sky had widened there quite a bit.  An 8" f/6 Newtonian has a focal-length of only 1200mm; that's why.  The galaxy in Andromeda...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=316|105|||1||&fov[]=316|210|||1||&messier=31

There, more of the galaxy is seen, yet still not in its entirety. 

Now, an 8" or 10" "Dobsonian would come with a 2" focusser, and for using 2" eyepieces.  Let's see those same objects with a 2" 38mm 70° eyepiece, and superimposed onto the field-of-view of the 32mm Plossl...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=316|210|||1||&fov[]=316|251|||1||&messier=31

...a considerable widening of the view there, eh?

Incidentally, a 10" f/5 "Dobsonian" is especially good for deep-sky observations...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1291502-REG/explore_scientific_fl_dob1005_01_254mm_f_5_alt_az_dobsonian.html/?c3ch=CSE&c3nid=98

...as a 10" gathers more light than an 8"...

1016623270_10-8comparison.thumb.jpg.37954e906edf25cb239a3a323613d108.jpg

...yet the focal-length of a 10" "Dobsonian is practically the same length as that of the 8".  It's just that the tube of the 10" is a little larger in diameter; same tube-length, however.

Deep-sky objects are dim, and dimmer still, therefore more aperture is required to see them well, to see them brightly enough so as not to disappoint.  "Dobsonians", however, are manually operated, and for those who enjoy the hunt, with star charts and maps at hand.  Would go-to be preferred instead, and so to flit from one object to another, automatically, and in much less time?  In addition, there is the collimation, the alignment procedure of the optical system, to learn and master, and for best image quality.  Would that be a problem?  The interior of a Newtonian...

newtonian_scope.jpg

Then, we have the refractor; the refractor is the simplest and oldest of all telescopic designs.  It can also be the most expensive, per inch of aperture...

refractor_scope.jpg

This would be a fun pairing for deep-sky observations, and very easy to operate and maintain...

https://www.amazon.com/Orion-9836-Refractor-Telescope-Assembly/dp/B0000XMTF6

It would require tube-rings(to be measured) and a dovetail-bar, and both to be purchased separately...

https://agenaastro.com/parts-accessories/mounts-tripods-accessories/telescope-tube-rings.html

https://agenaastro.com/agena-13-anodized-dovetail-bar-eq5.html

...and then mounted onto this alt-azimuth in seconds, for example...

https://agenaastro.com/gso-skyview-deluxe-altaz-mount.html

...or upon an equatorial... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/681852-REG/Celestron_91509_Omni_CG_4_Mount.html?ap=y&gclid=CjwKCAjwuO3cBRAyEiwAzOxKsiGqDH2Lo6FAUsCDYFikinnhvfBRoCcuSMUSbmapy9POZ4OgLF0jvRoCsIUQAvD_BwE&smp=y

An equatorial can be motorised, and for automatic, hands-free tracking of any object.

Let's see what the views would be with it, and with the same eyepieces as before.  It has a 4.7" aperture, and a focal-length of only 600mm.  It , too, has a 2" focusser...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=1971|251|||1||&fov[]=1971|210|||1||&messier=31

Now, that is an ultra-wide view, and the widest of them all.

Edited by Alan64
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1 hour ago, Alan64 said:

That's the lowest power to be had with an 8SE upon its arrival at the home.  The galaxy in Andromeda(M31) at the same settings...

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=110|105|||1||&fov[]=110|210|||1||&messier=31

...and a very poor view indeed.

This is somewhat misleading in that it's a photographic view.  M31 is big, but, particularly from an urban location, all I can see visually is the bright centre of the nucleus, which fits very easily into the FOV of a C8.

I mostly don't use my C8 to look at objects that require a wide FOV.  If I did wish to look at one, I could fetch out the 8" Newtonian or the 102mm Startravel.  There really aren't that many objects, other than the Perseus double cluster,  Pleiades, and a few others, that would make me reach for a widefield instrument.

Here's another point worth making: you can't buy a telescope that does everything well. If I wanted a widefield 8" GoTo telescope, it would be much bigger and heavier than the C8, and probably not so easy to use. Or much good for imaging planets at low altitude.

Edited by Cosmic Geoff

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10 hours ago, SIDO said:

Its a good scope for deep space, I really enjoyed mine for many years up until a work related injury took out my right side which caused me to downsize to an 8" Dob that is not as often used because its still a little too heavy for me but my wife knows I love this hobby and she is the reason I still get out with the 8".

Have you considered getting a Hubble Optics UP12?  It's only 30 pounds.  I'm thinking about selling my old 15" Dob that weighs over 100 pounds fully assembled because my back can't lug the mirror box at 65 pounds any longer.  I might keep it if I can find a nice mountain home for it in retirement where I can just wheel it out of the garage or shed to observe.

Edited by Louis D
typo
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2 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

This is somewhat misleading in that it's a photographic view.  M31 is big, but, particularly from an urban location, all I can see visually is the bright centre of the nucleus, which fits very easily into the FOV of a C8.

I mostly don't use my C8 to look at objects that require a wide FOV.  If I did wish to look at one, I could fetch out the 8" Newtonian or the 102mm Startravel.  There really aren't that many objects, other than the Perseus double cluster,  Pleiades, and a few others, that would make me reach for a widefield instrument.

Here's another point worth making: you can't buy a telescope that does everything well. If I wanted a widefield 8" GoTo telescope, it would be much bigger and heavier than the C8, and probably not so easy to use. Or much good for imaging planets at low altitude.

At this point, we do not know the OP's exact whereabouts, whether urban, suburban, semi-rural, or rural.  I reside in a semi-rural location.

Actually, a 150mm f/5 Newtonian comes closest if not actually being an all-rounder, from 22x to 200x and beyond; wide-field views, and a smidgen of the sky at high power.  Also, there's more to low-power, wide-field viewing than objects; scanning the Milky Way for example; scanning any part of the sky; framing more than one object in the field-of-view.

 

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My wife seems very knowledgeable about the stars.  We live in the country so light does not effect visability.  She will stay outside with the tripod and binoculars for 2-3 hours each time outside.  Not sure if that helps with recommendations.  The telescopes from the past were inexpensive and unimpressive.  I want her to be wowed by what she can see.

I want the telescope to far surpass the high powered binoculars.

Edited by Schnoblsilver

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23 hours ago, Trikeflyer said:

IThe 8se will probably be goto mount which means easier to find deep space faint objects from light polluted  observing sites.  If the Dob is not goto, you lose that ability but in terms of spend you will be at the lower end of your budget and so have money left for good eyepieces and the televue power mate etc.

An option might be to get a 10" Intelliscope. This combines the aperture and 'reach' of a Dob with some of the ease of use of a GOTO. 

Rather than having motors, it has "encoders", a means of  keeping track of where you're moving it. Once you've aligned it with a couple of stars, you can select a target from the handset and it tells you where to point it to reach your target. It does this by showing you arrows to indicate whether you need to move up/down and left/right to reach your target. 

https://uk.telescope.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=109949

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22 hours ago, Anne S said:

I had an 8SE for quite a few years. It's very easy to set up, tripod, mount head and telescope are all light. I often used to keep the telescope on the mount head and move it as one. I'm sure your wife would handle it easily.

I have the 8se and i also move the mount and scope as one piece. Then the tripod separately. Im in a wheelchair, so if i can do it, almost anyone can.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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I live in the country and even in not so great seeing M31, M32, M110 can be viewed in my 8" Dob with M31, M110 appearing as galaxy shapes most nights viewed, the field of view in my 8" dob using a 30mm 68° eyepiece is enough to see all three galaxies in the fov and only a slight scan left to right to see all of M31 out to it's edges with dust lanes seen often. To look at M31 a C6 or C8 is just the wrong tool imho. The scope design does indeed have a very restrictive field and many more objects than M31 don't fit it's maximum fov, I wouldent use one for dso for this reason some do though and the restrictive fov does adversely effect some but not all of their observations. 

Edited by SIDO

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5 hours ago, Louis D said:

Have you considered getting a Hubble Optics UP12?  It's only 30 pounds.  I'm thinking about selling my old 15" Dob that weighs over 100 pounds fully assembled because my back can't lug the mirror box at 65 pounds any longer.  I might keep it if I can find a nice mountain home for it in retirement where I can just wheel it out of the garage or shed to observe.

Thanks, I have been looking out for options, I see the neurologists again next month and remain hopeful they can eventually fix me as I am only 54 and would love to get a back in to some bigger glass again and back to work too 🙂

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9 minutes ago, SIDO said:

To look at M31 a C6 or C8 is just the wrong tool imho

You are, of course, completely right that M31 is not best viewed through a scope with a narrow field of view like the C8.

That said, there are only a few visual objects which are significantly larger than 1 degree, and so a C8 with a long focal length 2” eyepiece is more than capable of showing a very wide range of objects. When I had a C8 Edge, I found it excellent as a compact scope which I could take away camping with me, and which gave very rewarding views. I’m a bit of a widefield junkie though, so had a decent refractor side by side with it for when I needed extra. For Globs, Planetary nebulae, most galaxies apart from M31, and most nebulae apart from the Veil and NAN a C8 will do a fine job.

No scope does everything, and the dob options are well worthy of consideration, I’m not saying otherwise.

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