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Littleguy80

Travel/Widefield/Solar in one.... can it be done?

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One of my hopes for 2019 is to get a a little travel set up. However, I'm trying to squeeze quite a few things into this! In a perfect world, here are the things I'd like to get out of this setup:

  • Small enough for airport hand luggage
  • 2 inch focuser so I can use existing eyepieces and filters
  • Could be used for wide field. I'm thinking of getting the Veil complex into a single field of view
  • Could be used for Solar

I'll need a travel mount and tripod. I do have a camera tripod which I guess could be used but I suspect I'll need something sturdier. Any and all advice appreciated. My dob will be my main scope still so I'm not looking to spend a huge amount on this. Say £1k total budget. Scope, mount, tripod and diagonal. 

I'm not sure if this is achievable but I'm guessing the secondhand market will be my friend on this quest! At this point, I'm trying to figure out exactly what I'm looking for rather than actually buy anything. Any and all advice appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

That sounds good Neil. I'll be interested to see what the more experienced observers recommend as I have been thinking about getting a tripod and mount for a grab and go set up. I'm sure you've read a bit about it already but with such a large amount written it can be difficult to sum up or bring to a decision point the best items. My sticking point so far has been deciding on a tripod that's light but also good at damping vibrations.

Edited by David Levi
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Posted (edited)

Something like this would do:

https://www.altairastro.com/Altair-72-EDF-Refractor-Deluxe-CNC.html

Add a baader solar filter, a 2" dielectric and a mini-AZ (or SW AZ Pronto. I have one with my Bresser AR102xs on a Manfrotto 055CL). These come under £1k easily and shouldn't have any issues fitting into a carry-on luggage.

Edited by KP82
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I have travelled with my APM 80 mm F/6 triplet, and used it for solar (Ca-K and white light) and wide-field observing. With the TMB 40mm Paragon (SW Aero 40mm is a clone) you get a whopping 5.55 deg true FOV. I use a 2" Amici prism for more comfortable views and use a carbon photo tripod with min-giro mount. Once I also put an EQ3-2 mount in the hold (spread out over a few suitcases of other family members), for imaging the eclipse.

 

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https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p8866_TS-Optics-Photoline-72mm-f-6-FPL53-und-Lanthanum-Apo---2-5--R-P-focuser.html

Herschel 1.25" prism, 3x Powermate / telecentric barlow, Daystar combo quark prominence, Baader BBHS sitall diagonal, TV Nagler 3-6mm zoom, a few Baader Morpheus for general observing and ES68 line for wide field.

Are we over budget yet? :D

Then just scope, add the rest as you see fit ...

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4 minutes ago, GavStar said:

I do like the look of these scopes, I just think the extra 8mm would be useful as a travel scope. I’d go for an az gti or vixen porta 2 Mount.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p3881_TS-Optics-Photoline-80mm-f-6-FPL53-Triplet-Apo-2-5--RPA-Zahnstangen-Auszug.html

Great minds Gavin ;)

I was just looking up 80mm scopes too as I think the extra aperture would be useful. I have a 72mm TS scope too which I really enjoy for its very compact size, but an extra 8mm is useful.

The triplet is a budget buster I think, so I would have a look at this option. Slightly slower but still has a 460mm tube length so will go in carry on luggage, plus will fit the whole Veil in with a suitable 2" eyepiece.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p8637_TS-Optics-PHOTOLINE-80-mm-f-7-FPL53-Apo---2-5--Focuser.html

Mount wise I would go for something like a mini giro on a decent photo tripod.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1541_Giro-GR-2-mini-alt-az-mount---up-to-4-kgs-load-per-side.html

The AZGTi is another option if you want to go with goto but obvious adds complexity.

A 1.25" Lunt Herschel Wedge gives you your solar option too, nice a lightweight.

I often just use a small set of orthos plus a 24mm Pan for widefield and a 3 to 6 Nag zoom for higher powers. This covers most bases. You could get away with the Pan and Nag, plus a wide afov one in the middle, around 13mm.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

One of my hopes for 2019 is to get a a little travel set up. However, I'm trying to squeeze quite a few things into this! In a perfect world, here are the things I'd like to get out of this setup:

  • Small enough for airport hand luggage
  • 2 inch focuser so I can use existing eyepieces and filters
  • Could be used for wide field. I'm thinking of getting the Veil complex into a single field of view
  • Could be used for Solar

I'll need a travel mount and tripod. I do have a camera tripod which I guess could be used but I suspect I'll need something sturdier. Any and all advice appreciated. My dob will be my main scope still so I'm not looking to spend a huge amount on this. Say £1k total budget. Scope, mount, tripod and diagonal. 

I'm not sure if this is achievable but I'm guessing the secondhand market will be my friend on this quest! At this point, I'm trying to figure out exactly what I'm looking for rather than actually buy anything. Any and all advice appreciated.

You could probably get a second hand Tak Sky 90 for 1K or just under. With a 40 Panoptic and 2" O3 filter or preferably UHC filter on a small aperture, you'll definitely get the whole Veil in the field. I've seen it and WOW! :icon_cyclops_ani:

Another superb scope and quite a bit cheaper second hand would be a Williams Optics Megrez 90mm. Similar in physical size to the Sky 90, it is a spankingly good scope! :blob7:

936573082_2019-01-0414_26_50.png.3cf3c16bd130258baa9919cbc4de529d.png320542942_2019-01-0414_26_24.png.c552ae7dc2483ef7097ddaceb9139ead.png

Edited by mikeDnight
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27 minutes ago, Stu said:

Great minds Gavin ;)

I was just looking up 80mm scopes too as I think the extra aperture would be useful. I have a 72mm TS scope too which I really enjoy for its very compact size, but an extra 8mm is useful.

The triplet is a budget buster I think, so I would have a look at this option. Slightly slower but still has a 460mm tube length so will go in carry on luggage, plus will fit the whole Veil in with a suitable 2" eyepiece.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p8637_TS-Optics-PHOTOLINE-80-mm-f-7-FPL53-Apo---2-5--Focuser.html

Mount wise I would go for something like a mini giro on a decent photo tripod.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1541_Giro-GR-2-mini-alt-az-mount---up-to-4-kgs-load-per-side.html

The AZGTi is another option if you want to go with goto but obvious adds complexity.

A 1.25" Lunt Herschel Wedge gives you your solar option too, nice a lightweight.

I often just use a small set of orthos plus a 24mm Pan for widefield and a 3 to 6 Nag zoom for higher powers. This covers most bases. You could get away with the Pan and Nag, plus a wide afov one in the middle, around 13mm.

Agreed Stu cheaper doublet is better option for visual observing. That’s of course the one I meant all along ?

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Just now, mikeDnight said:

You could probably get a second hand Tak Sky 90 for 1K or just under. With a 40 Panoptic and 2" O3 filter or preferably UHC filter on a small aperture, you'll definitely get the whole Veil in the field. I've seen it and WOW! :icon_cyclops_ani:

Another superb scope and quite a bit cheaper second hand would be a Williams Optics 90mm triplet. Similar in physical size to the Sky 90, it is a spankingly good scope! :blob7:

I tried a Sky 90 and was very disappointed with it. Maybe a collimation issue but I've heard mixed reports on them. I think their fast focal (f5) ratio can cause issues. Also quite a lump compared with other slightly smaller aperture scopes.

You do need pretty dark skies to get a decent view of the Veil with a smaller scope. I've enjoyed it in a Genesis (100mm) under reasonable skies in Dorset, but that's not an airline portable scope really. The Tak just about squeezes on with focuser and dewshield removed as you may have seen in my thread but is just a tad over budget ;)

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Stu said:

decent photo tripod

Thanks Stu. What would qualify as a decent photo tripod?

Edited by Littleguy80

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Thank you everyone who has replied so far. Extremely helpful and lots of food for thought! Much appreciated!

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2 hours ago, GavStar said:

I do like the look of these scopes, I just think the extra 8mm would be useful as a travel scope. I’d go for an az gti or vixen porta 2 Mount.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p3881_TS-Optics-Photoline-80mm-f-6-FPL53-Triplet-Apo-2-5--RPA-Zahnstangen-Auszug.html

That has essentially the same optics as my APM 80mm F/6, but mine has a 2" Crayford focuser. It got me this imageCa-KPelican2colour.thumb.jpg.a7d025601473dac1e52806f74d4284f2.jpg

in Wyoming, and is no slouch at DSO imaging either:

M42USM3expcropsat2curves.thumb.jpg.13932e16535b78ba0a86f3bc04665276.jpg

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8 hours ago, Stu said:

I tried a Sky 90 and was very disappointed with it. Maybe a collimation issue but I've heard mixed reports on them. I think their fast focal (f5) ratio can cause issues. Also quite a lump compared with other slightly smaller aperture scopes.

You do need pretty dark skies to get a decent view of the Veil with a smaller scope. I've enjoyed it in a Genesis (100mm) under reasonable skies in Dorset, but that's not an airline portable scope really. The Tak just about squeezes on with focuser and dewshield removed as you may have seen in my thread but is just a tad over budget ;)

 

I can only tell it as i saw it Stu. Of the four Sky 90's I've used, all were superb! The whole Veil was bright and detailed with room to spare. A couple of comets that I've seen through the Sky 90's were a joy to behold, and even at high power the lunar & planetary views have been impressive, even without an extender Q. I've read some complaints on cloudy nights regarding the collimation of the early, uncollimatable versions, and i cant remember if the ones ive used were collimatable or not, just that they were all great scopes. Despite the occasional complaint, the Sky 90 still has quite a faith full following in The US, and at least one here in the UK - my friend Derek. ⬇️

870135778_2017-03-2411_45_44.thumb.jpg.20d634ff29ed0e6c00f7695e41241b90.jpg

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11 hours ago, KP82 said:

Manfrotto 055CL

What are people’s thoughts on a tripod? Would the Manfrotto one suggested above stand up to an 80mm or even a 90mm scope? Is Manfrotto the brand of choice for photo tripods without getting into the pricier ones?

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

What are people’s thoughts on a tripod? Would the Manfrotto one suggested above stand up to an 80mm or even a 90mm scope? Is Manfrotto the brand of choice for photo tripods without getting into the pricier ones?

I don't know if Manfrotto is the brand of choice for photo tripods. I just happen to have the 055CL from my photography kit (I used to have a 141RC with my 5D + 70-200/2.8L II IS on it). It's solid and lightweight. The central column allows easy height adjustment which is very handy. It holds my AZ Pronto and Bresser AR102xs pretty well, so I suppose a smaller fast (< f/6) 80mm or 90mm would be ok too. The payload of the tripod is 7kg according to the official spec.

Edited by KP82
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11 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

I can only tell it as i saw it Stu. Of the four Sky 90's I've used, all were superb! The whole Veil was bright and detailed with room to spare. A couple of comets that I've seen through the Sky 90's were a joy to behold, and even at high power the lunar & planetary views have been impressive, even without an extender Q. I've read some complaints on cloudy nights regarding the collimation of the early, uncollimatable versions, and i cant remember if the ones ive used were collimatable or not, just that they were all great scopes. Despite the occasional complaint, the Sky 90 still has quite a faith full following in The US, and at least one here in the UK - my friend Derek. ⬇️

870135778_2017-03-2411_45_44.thumb.jpg.20d634ff29ed0e6c00f7695e41241b90.jpg

Mike, I would never think otherwise, no reason for you to say they are good if you didn't really think so.

I just thought the one I had never really stacked up against other scopes I had used. On axis and for planets it was good, but off axis the stars were just not very nice, and I didn't enjoy it. It was particularly galling as I sold my lovely FC-76DC to fund it, thinking it would be an upgrade. In my case I was very wrong. I'd love to look through one which proves me wrong though!

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14 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

If you are looking for cheaper photo tripod, maybe this one:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p8275_TS-Optics-Optics-A284FMO-Aluminium-Tripod---Height-145-mm-to-1670-mm.html

Have no idea about quality / rigidity, but it is quoted up to 15kg of load

2x the payload of the 055CL, hmm...looking at the pictures I doubt I could trust the claimed payload when the tripod legs are fully extended.

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14 hours ago, Stu said:

Mike, I would never think otherwise, no reason for you to say they are good if you didn't really think so.

I just thought the one I had never really stacked up against other scopes I had used. On axis and for planets it was good, but off axis the stars were just not very nice, and I didn't enjoy it. It was particularly galling as I sold my lovely FC-76DC to fund it, thinking it would be an upgrade. In my case I was very wrong. I'd love to look through one which proves me wrong though!

I'm pretty certain I'd prefer the FC76DC over the Sky 90 Stu, even if the Sky 90 was perfect. For me, the Sky 90 would have to have the extender Q attached to really float my boat, which would then bring it close to the FC100D price bracket, and there's no contest between the two. 

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1 hour ago, mikeDnight said:

I'm pretty certain I'd prefer the FC76DC over the Sky 90 Stu, even if the Sky 90 was perfect. For me, the Sky 90 would have to have the extender Q attached to really float my boat, which would then bring it close to the FC100D price bracket, and there's no contest between the two. 

That's interesting. My interest in the Sky 90 was the hope of lovely widefield views at 500mm focal length, with a reasonable aperture. Adding the extender loses that benefit so as you say, might as well stock with the 100DC, or the 76! Lesson learned.

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I'd be wary about a triplet for travel, Neil.  It would be heavier - both for carrying and mounting - and more likely to have collimation problems than a doublet.  When I bought my first refractor specifically for travel (to Africa) that was the advice Ian King gave me - so I got a WO 66 SD doublet he recommended.  It was/is lovely for widefield, but I would go with a bit more aperture if possible.  A Megrez 72 was my solar scope and travel scope for many years, but I got a Borg 71 FL as a lighterweight alternative for the eclipse (it also has the advantage of being modular, so you can carry just the lens in hand luggage and the other parts in the hold).  A Pan 24 is the perfect eyepiece for these if only taking a 1.25 diagonal due to weight.

On tripods, don't skimp as that is an exercise in frustration!  I've used a manfrotto carbon fibre 4 section one and my husband's gitzo.  A giro-wr works well with both, and has the advantage of not needing power.  If you want a driven mount then the azgti (head only, the tripod is too big for a suitacse) would be the obvious choice for me.

Helen

 

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5 minutes ago, Helen said:

I'd be wary about a triplet for travel, Neil.  It would be heavier - both for carrying and mounting - and more likely to have collimation problems than a doublet.  When I bought my first refractor specifically for travel (to Africa) that was the advice Ian King gave me - so I got a WO 66 SD doublet he recommended.  It was/is lovely for widefield, but I would go with a bit more aperture if possible.  A Megrez 72 was my solar scope and travel scope for many years, but I got a Borg 71 FL as a lighterweight alternative for the eclipse (it also has the advantage of being modular, so you can carry just the lens in hand luggage and the other parts in the hold).  A Pan 24 is the perfect eyepiece for these if only taking a 1.25 diagonal due to weight.

On tripods, don't skimp as that is an exercise in frustration!  I've used a manfrotto carbon fibre 4 section one and my husband's gitzo.  A giro-wr works well with both, and has the advantage of not needing power.  If you want a driven mount then the azgti (head only, the tripod is too big for a suitacse) would be the obvious choice for me.

Helen

 

Thanks Helen. The extra weight of a triplet hadn't even crossed my mind. I have an ES68 24mm which I believe is pretty close to the Pan 24. I was leaning towards a 2" diagonal so I could use my existing filters. I'm guessing my 2" eyepieces will probably be too heavy for it. Thanks for the tips on the tripod too. That definitely seems to be the element I'm least certain on. It's hard gauge stability from website specs!

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4 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

Just looking around on ABS and spotted this 80mm ES triplet. Seems like a good price. Any thoughts or experience with this scope? There seemed to be some positive reports on CN.

https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=144823

That would depend on whether this is an Essential FCD1 or Pro FCD100 version. If the latter, that would be a pretty good scope.

The seller hasn't posted any pictures, so can't tell which version he has. Try asking him to send you some hi-res pictures. If the scope comes with a 2.5" Hex focuser, it's the Pro FCD100. If the focuser is a 2" crayford, then it's the FCD1.

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