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Kronos831

Probably final faceoff! My first telescope :Skywatcher Skyliner 200p vs Skywatcher Heritage 130p

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So guys after lots of advice reaserching and reading for the last 2 months i ve decided that i m going to either get a Skywatcher 200P(DOB) or a Skywatcher Heritage 130p(DOB) 

If i get the Dobsonian i ll be using it about once or twice a week (if i have clear skies that is) i ll be taking a taxi to a semi dark sky location(atleast darker than my light polluted neighborhood) about 1.5 km away  so the transportation cost will be close to nothing.I ve heard lots of great reviews about this neat 8" telescope and am tempted to buy it !(its going to be for visual i am aware of the earth's rotation)

On the other hand the Smaller more portable Version the Heritage 130p is a very neat telescope for its price(i ve heard) Its half the price of the 200p! I ll be taking this out almost every time i get out of the house(for walks or meetings with friends etc) I ve read part of the thread in cloudy nights and it seems like a great telescope! I ve even seen some very nice  pictures with it (i know u need a mount). So what do you think guys? Should i go for the 200p or 130 p? I need the best value for money!

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I'm probably in the minority but I'd go for smaller. You'll use either one at the beginning but after a few weeks you'd feel so much less reluctant to take out the smaller one. You'll still see some great sights and you'll be happy to take it out more.  

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I think the 130ps on AZ5 might be a better option as it is tripod mounted and can be used standing. With the Heritage you either need something for the base to sit on or to come up with some other mount. With the Skyliner 200p I think requiring a taxi will get old pretty quickly and prevent you from using it. 

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Hi Kronos,

I had  Skywatcher 200P Flexitube GOTO DOB,
I cannot see myself using it somewhere else, - back garden ONLY... it is too big and way too heavy....

If you have no back garden or balcony.... I would suggest visiting any astronomy shop or even Astro Group to see the real sizes of the scopes.... 

In your case, you need something portable...

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Portability does seem to be an issue. A smaller scope that travels easily is what you need. An 8" Dob is a great visual instrument, but highly portable it is not.

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Thanks guys! I ll take your awnsers into consideration and make my choice!

Best wishes and clear skies!

Kronos

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I would go for 8" Dob myself, but that is because I have one, and am used to its size and bulk, but also appreciate the views it is giving me.

I did own 5" newtonian - it was actually my first scope Skywatcher 130/900 on Eq2 mount. I simply like 8" dob more in all aspects of observing - comfort, DSO views, planetary views ....

But having said that and if I remember correctly, your initial interest in doing both visual and photography on Eq5 mount, let me give you a food for thought:

How about getting 130PDS and using it on alt az mount for visual? It will be slightly less portable than Heritage 130p - tube is the about same size (well heritage does collapse, so it is shorter for transport and storage, but otherwise it is about the same scope - 130mm both). Alt-AZ mount will let you observe comfortably while standing, so you would not need to carry something to sit on, nor any sort of table to put scope on it.

130PDS will have 2" focuser so you can use 2" eyepieces for really wide field, and after all it can double as your imaging scope when you decide to go that way, if you are still interested in astro photography.

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Posted (edited)

Heritage 130p . The actual telescope had a standard fitment so can go on standard tripods and even mounted on a photo tripod using a ball head and even an eq clamp or drill some 3/8 tripods threads in the dove bar. (I haven't tried drilling threads in mine though).

Edited by happy-kat

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Posted (edited)

One more question guys ! Can you recommend  a good mount that will allow for long exposure photography for my heritage 130 and my future explore scientific 80ED?

Edited by Kronos831
Misspells

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I would not recommend Heritage 130p for astro photography. It has 1.25" focuser that probably won't be able to hold camera firmly, you will have vignetting due to small secondary, and whole truss design is not going to be stable enough to do long exposure - see my previous comment - you need to consider Skywatcher 130pds for this role - same scope for visual but much more suited for astro photography.

 

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2 minutes ago, happy-kat said:

Sorry but your question doesn't make sense?

I think @Kronos831 made a typo there, he is not thinking of a "good moon" for imaging, but rather of a good AP mount (at least that is what I've gathered based on recent topics)

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Yeah that's what i was trying to say XD i don't need a specific moon to make long exposure photos.

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I see that you are located in Greece, probably a large city like Athens or Thessaloniki? In that case moving 1.5 or even 5 kilometres from your home location, doesn't get you to a dark location. Perhaps darker surroundings but not really darker skies.

If that's the case go for the 8"dob to observe from home, and find a local astro club through the Greek astrovox forum. If you're a pleasant type, I am sure you'll find someone to share gas in his car to organise dark sky trips.

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Well i am 14 and live in chios! So not so polluted as Thessaloniki or Athens also we have an astronomy club in chios but on winter time they just go out and have drinks.They only do stuff like that on summertime  and i cant wait 6 months:(

 

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Still go for the 8". Your "light polluted" site would be considered dark sky location by British standards.

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44 minutes ago, Kronos831 said:

One more question guys ! Can you recommend  a good mount that will allow for long exposure photography for my heritage 130 and my future explore scientific 80ED?

A good mount for AP means a sturdy mount which means a heavy mount and then we're back to the issue of portability.  They are also expensive.  You can just about get away with a cheaper one but you are compromising your ability to take images significantly.  You really want to be looking at an Heq5 as a minimum:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-heq5-pro-synscan.html

 

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HEQ5 as a minimum for a 3.5 kg refractor?That s a bit obsurd... 1000£..?

I found a used for 450£ at astrobuysell but thats still a lot for a USED mount.Thanks for the suggestion tho. Anybody else have any suggestions? I m looking at a mount 350£  max for my future explore scientific 80ED thats used for long exposure photography if its not in my price range i understand

  

 

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3 minutes ago, Kronos831 said:

HEQ5 as a minimum for a 3.5 kg refractor?That s a bit obsurd... 1000£..?

I found a used for 450£ at astrobuysell but thats still a lot for a USED mount.Thanks for the suggestion tho. Anybody else have any suggestions? I m looking at a mount 350£  max for my future explore scientific 80ED thats used for long exposure photography if its not in my price range i understand

  

 

Thing is there is no such thing as a cheap mount for long exposure astrophotography - that's my point.  

This is about the cheapest mount that will do for AP but it is likely to present more problems than it solves:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq3-pro-synscan-goto.html

You then need the camera, guidescope and camera if you're going to take exposures of any serious lengths, a laptop etc.  If you are going to be using it away from mains power you'll need a large power tank also.  You're looking at a significant outlay so there is really no point skimping on the mount as you will not be getting the best out of the rest of your investment.

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Nope.... Heq5 is minimum! Save and wait for a good condition second hand. You should also consider second hand sw ed80. You can get them for 250-300 if you're patient.

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Really? I have found an Excellent quality 350£ one also why is it necessary to have a guidescope or laptop. Okay i think i can save up for that heq5.Also can someone explain bias,flat,dark etc. Frames? I have seen them a lot but don't know what it means

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2 minutes ago, Kronos831 said:

Really? I have found an Excellent quality 350£ one also why is it necessary to have a guidescope or laptop. Okay i think i can save up for that heq5.Also can someone explain bias,flat,dark etc. Frames? I have seen them a lot but don't know what it means

A £350 mount will not track sufficiently accurately to allow for exposures of any length - may be 20-30 seconds absolute max and assuming perfect polar alignment before star trails become apparent.  You need a guidescope to send very small corrections to keep it tracking accurately but with an EQ3 you'll struggle anyway.

If you could link to the £350 mount that would be useful so I can see which one it is.

If you do not have a laptop how are you going to control the camera?  You could use a dslr with a remote trigger but you would not be able to guide so again you're looking to cut corners which will lead to disappointment.

The best money you can spend right now on the imaging side of things is to buy a copy of a book called 'Making Every Photon Count'.  FLO stock it and it will save you from wasting money on unsuitable kit.  I am on my third read through and I am still yet to take a photo...

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Simple matter of fact is that astro photography is expensive hobby. Much more expensive than observing.

It can be relatively cheap, but you will not get great results out of it. Heq5 is recommended as a starting mount for astrophotograpy because it is suitable for it. Eq3 and Eq5 class mounts do have lower carry capacity than Heq5 but they also have other characteristics that make them less suitable for AP. You can use them for astrophotography but they will not be as good as Heq5. Besides carry capacity, you need good stiffness of the mount (to eliminate shake / flexing), you need good tracking and small periodic error of the mount, and ultimately all such entry level mounts need guiding for good results. Then there is issue whether mount can be guided well - does it respond to guide commands well. Their precision is simply not enough to take good long exposure images with telescope on their own. If you want a mount that is capable of doing that without auto guiding - you need to spend as much as 5 to 10 times more money than you would for Heq5. Seriously, such mounts cost from 5000 to 10000 euros and more.

You can image with Eq5, with just DSLR camera, without laptop and auto guiding (you need laptop to do auto guiding unless you invest in stand alone auto guider), and you will be limited in exposure length that you can take. Some frames will look good, others will have distorted stars (due to periodic error, wind, shake, whatever) - so you'll end up discarding quite a bit of your subs - this means less data per given imaging time - not something you want, you want all the photons that you capture to count.

That brings me to next recommendation. Maybe you should get yourself a book called "Making every photon count". I've not read that book myself, but I trust (based on how often is being recommended as a starting point) it is a good read and explains many aspects of astro imaging. You will probably find answers to many questions - like above about bias, flat and dark frames, and many more that you didn't even think to ask yet.

As for flats, darks and bias frames - those are frames that are used to correct for different aspects of camera signal. You want only light signal in your images (captured light). When data from sensor is read out it contains offset, which can be slightly different for each pixel - this is what bias is - it is taken on shortest exposure with lens/scope covered. For long exposure, sensor accumulates thermal noise/signal - this is also something you don't want in your image since it is not coming from target but rather from camera itself - this is what darks do - they are taken at exactly the same settings as your exposure with lens/scope covered (so there is no external light). Due to characteristics of lens / scope - not all parts of camera sensor are equally illuminated - there could be dust somewhere that blocks the light, there could be vignetting, etc ... you want to correct for this and this is what flats do - you shine uniform light at your lens/scope (flat box) and record such light and treat that image as percentage of light reaching sensor (somewhere it will be 80%, somewhere 90% but mostly 100%) - you divide your frame with this to "even out" light.

This of course is brief explanation of what these subs are and what they do.

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Posted (edited)

H130...

Last night ours was giving fantastic views of M42 and the Pleiades during a brief but fun session- the skies clouded up unfortunately.  You have some dark skies around you, so if you can realistically get a 200mm dob out to a dark site or your home is dark go for it.

I would still get the H130 though... and a 24mm ES 68/Astronomik OIII and one nice higher power eyepiece to start-an 8mm-9mm widefield maybe?

https://blue-marble.de/nightlights/2012

 

Edited by jetstream
forget the Blue Marble

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