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ericleo1

modest scope for occasional use

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Ive just bought the wonderful book Turn Left At Orion which has rekindled an old interest in astronomy. I live in a city and am toying with the idea of buying a scope under £150 for occasional use. What I like about the star drawings in the book are they are 'the right way up.' So I thought of smth like Sky Watcher Evostar 90AZ? (It comes with diagonal lens) The tripod looks a bit light, otherwise wd you say it wd fit my bill? Ant other hints wd be gratefully received!

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With the  way the weathers been last season, just about ANY scope can become occasional !

I've got TLAO close to hand, now that the Winter stars are nearing. Want to see if I can improve upon last years observations?

 

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Some versions of the SW Evo90AZ come with a 45 deg diagonal which is a neck breaker for high angle targets,

and in a light polluted city  the clearest views are high angle.

You can get a 90 deg diagonal version which avoids this problem but not sure if this would be within your budget.

I see you prefer upright views but have you ruled out a mini dobsonian like the SW Heritage 130p.

You get a lot of aperture for your money, and a simple but sturdy base rather than a light-weight tripod.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

 

 

 

Edited by lenscap
link added
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The Heritage 130p already mentioned  sounds ideal for your needs.  Good quality views for minimum outlay, and greatly recommended.

HTH, Ed.

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Thanks for info - I think the Evo Star 90az comes with a right angle eyepiece givin g a mirror image (north at top)?

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Hi there Eric, welcome to the Lounge.  I think the Sky Watcher Evostar 90AZ would be a good start, my wife and I started with a Meade 90mm AZ and had lots of fun.  Yes, the image will be back to front but right way up (north at the top).  You will need to travel to a dark site to see some of the DSO's in TLAO.  Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Thanks Robin - I have since found out that Cassegrain scopes also have north-on-top - I am tempted by sky watcher skymax 102 (EQ2) which has diagonal eyepiece. Do you think the mount is sturdy enough? It has 4" mirror.

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8 minutes ago, ericleo1 said:

Thanks Robin - I have since found out that Cassegrain scopes also have north-on-top - I am tempted by sky watcher skymax 102 (EQ2) which has diagonal eyepiece. Do you think the mount is sturdy enough? It has 4" mirror.

I'd say avoid an EQ (equatorial) mount, particularly if you're looking for right way up views.  You'll find an alt az (az) mount much more intuitive as your view moves up and down, and side to side, rather than in arcs.  

I too think the Heritage 130 is a great option.

Helen

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On 12/10/2018 at 15:47, ericleo1 said:

Thanks Robin - I have since found out that Cassegrain scopes also have north-on-top - I am tempted by sky watcher skymax 102 (EQ2) which has diagonal eyepiece. Do you think the mount is sturdy enough? It has 4" mirror.

I used to attach my Meade ETX105, (before it had an accident, (damaged two mounting points of the plastic rear end), and 're-mod'), on a table-top EQ mount that Astro-Engineering produced a few years ago on a Manfrotto tripod and found the whole setup a bit wobbly, (unless I spread out the legs to cover a wider area and then it becomes a bit of trip hazard), before I purchased my Giro and Vixen mounts. Photo below showing my 're-modded' ETX105 and Vixen GP/DX, (and very stable).   


PIC021.JPG.317e3ab5bc2a32848d576782c9caf3ab.JPG

Edited by Philip R
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I’d avoid the Sky max 102 as a first scope personally unless it’s on a computerised mount. I’m the worlds biggest maksutov fan but they have a very narrow field of view (FOV) that makes finding stuff a bit of a nightmare. I speak from bitter experience! 

+1 for the heritage 130p for me, crazy amount of scope for the money 

Edited by Mr niall
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Yes, go for the larger diameter simple compact dob, 130mm. No tripod, no loss of contrast due to chromatism, no long tube with large eyepiece swing when you aim somewhere else. Less storage volume, no knobs. More resolution and more brightness, as a lunar scope a 130mm reflector shows very sharp details (I know for sure cause I have the 130mm f/7 tube). 

For 10€ I got a green laser that I rest alongside a telescope for aiming. No need to bend your back and your neck like with a finder, just switch the laser on, where the beam ends is where the scope aims. Then you can briefly look inside the optical finder to fine-tune the aiming but you'll be looking for a briefer moment, that'll save some neck fatigue.

Or use the laser only, that depends on how accurately the laser is set up, and the field width in your eyepiece. In either case the cheap laser makes aiming more convenient. 

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3 hours ago, Helen said:

I'd say avoid an EQ (equatorial) mount, particularly if you're looking for right way up views.  You'll find an alt az (az) mount much more intuitive as your view moves up and down, and side to side, rather than in arcs.  

I too think the Heritage 130 is a great option.

Helen

Thanks Helen that is a very good point. Actually Im pretty limited in only being able to view the North Sky from my back yard. Maybe do a little splitting stars and looking at nebulae - I still wd prefer a scope that has north up (mirror image) so I can use Turn Left at Orion (which I wont see from my back yard!) PS. The Heritage scope wont have north up will it?

Edited by ericleo1
PS afterthought

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Alongside each sketch in TLAO for a Star Diagonal which (usually) has North up, there is a corresponding sketch for a Dobsonian scope (like the Heritage 130p)

which is (usually) South up.

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On 11/10/2018 at 23:31, NGC 1502 said:

 

The Heritage 130p already mentioned  sounds ideal for your needs.  Good quality views for minimum outlay, and greatly recommended.

HTH, Ed.

Thanks - Im coming round to opting for the Heritage130! Will check out my yard 1st (on a clear night) to see if it is worth getting any scope as it is fairly light-polluted!

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3 hours ago, ericleo1 said:

Thanks - Im coming round to opting for the Heritage130! Will check out my yard 1st (on a clear night) to see if it is worth getting any scope as it is fairly light-polluted!

Of course light pollution is definitely a problem.  If you have very bright lighting at where you intend to observe, that needs to be dealt with.

On the other hand there’s loads of good astronomy that can be done under a light polluted sky, moon, planets, double stars and brighter deep sky objects - lots to look at 👍

Ed.

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On 12/10/2018 at 15:47, ericleo1 said:

Thanks Robin - I have since found out that Cassegrain scopes also have north-on-top - I am tempted by sky watcher skymax 102 (EQ2) which has diagonal eyepiece. Do you think the mount is sturdy enough? It has 4" mirror.

It's actually 'up' on top, but be aware that diagonals will flip the view left-right. I find this incredibly difficult to deal with, I suspect for the same reason I can't read music and give people bad road directions...

A special RACI (right angle correct image) diagonal will use up much of your budget.

45-degree prisms give a correct image, but as mentioned they are hard to use straight up.

I prefer the view through a Newtonian reflector for the comfort of viewing. Although the image is 'flipped' up down and left right in practice this means it is rotated a half turn. My brain find s this easy to understand as I just turn the star atlas upside down. Knowing which way to push is easy -  just imagine you are pushing the view rather than the scope!

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Thanks Neil - if I decide to go ahead members have kindly convinced me the Heritage 130 wd be best - I can live with inverted images!

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I'm going to agree with the 130 dob, a friend at work has one and he easily split the double double the other night with the stock eyepieces with his first "proper" as in "knowing where to look" viewing session from a very light polluted sky.

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On 13/10/2018 at 13:29, ericleo1 said:

worth getting any scope as it is fairly light-polluted!

Hello

It *is* worth IMO ! There are still plenty Deep Sky objects to view from a light polluted sky, such as open or globular clusters and a few bright nebulas or galaxies. Not speaking of planets of course (but you may need a barlow).

And  if you have some budget left, buy a cheap 1.25" light pollution filter (look for "dydimium" or "moon and skyglow"). It won't do miracles, but will help with contrast and extend your visual possibilities. Examples: https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p324_TS-Optics-Optics-Universal-Contrast-Filter-1-25-.html, https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B01CP0LJ5W.

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Thanks to all for your great help. I will let you know if I get one for Xmas (my daughter may ask me what I want!)

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