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Scope ideas

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Hi All,

My first post so be gentle with me! icon_smile.gif

I was 'into' astronomy as a youngster and even made my own 6" Newtonian as a science project. (ground mirrors etc,). Followed up by doing Astrophysics for part of my Undergrad studies.

In intervening years I have always potted about but never seriously.

Now with a company bonus (not from the Finance sector) I am finally able to aspire to buy a pretty decent scope. Scope I am after will need to do for a long time as I will not likely change it.

My requirements for a scope are;

1) Portability (I really mean luggability as it will be transported via a car not a backpack!).

2) Ease of set up as it will be in a variety of Dark sites ranging from Cornwall to John o'Groats via Norfolk etc.)

3) Minimum of 8" but (see 1)

4) Viewing tasks, Mixture I require as much versatility. So a good all rounder. (hence SCT)

5) Astrophotography, I will be experimenting with both prime focal and eyepiece projection using, probably, my canon DSLR (20D)

6) Mount, I am open on this as I guess I can use a A-Az with a wedge if need be.

Considering the above I have come up with following options;

1) Celestron CPC800XLT; Ticks all the boxes but as an Alt-Az. I'm a little concerned about the astrophotography side. I have heard that even with a wedge some form of de-rotation is needed. Though I can't figure out why?

2) Celestron Advanced C8 with a CG-5 mount. The EQ mount requires a bit more setting up and I would probably buy the GPS add on. I'm not sure of the portability of this compared to (1). Still it would be cheaper allowing more for 'extras'.

Reason for Celestron is two fold; a) They seem to come out very consistently in Sky@Night etc. reviews :D I'm not far from the importer so any issues require only a short trip!

I think either will give great viewing but the GPS is handy for setting up.

I would quite like to go for a 9.25 but I am wary on the portability/luggability issue.

Anyone care to chip in and assist

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Hello,

I aren't vastly experienced with different scopes but I can tell you what I know from my own knowledge:

If your after a portable scope, good for imaging, good performance then I would head for either a Schmidt-Cassegrain or an Astrograph (Short-tube newtonian). Especilaly if your wanting an aperture of greater than 8", if you get a newtonian larger than 8" then size will be an issue as the tube length is vastly longer.

Your biggest issue is money, it depends on what you want to spend. You are quite right about Celestron, they are a good make, I have had 2 scopes by them and both have been good. I am sure most people on here will support Skywatcher but I don't rate them that much, the optics aren't as good I don't think (just my opinion) however your choice of the CG-5 mount may be questioned (even by myself). If you have enough money then I would aim for a HEQ-5 Pro or HEQ-6, given what you are wanting (scope+image setup) then you will need a solid mount, don't ge me wrong the CG-5 will do the job, but an 8" scope is about its limit, whereas a HEQ-6 will hold a larger Schmidt or Newtonian. Also, the Synta HEQ-5/6 is vastly quieter than the Coffee Grinder CG-5! However the goto 3-star align capability of the CG-5 is prety easy to use, so setup may be quicker than the Synta mounts.

Like I said, if money is no object then maybe look at a better quality optical setup, a Dall Kirkham or Maksutov from Orion Optics on one of the Vixen mounts may be of use, Pentax are also very good (but also expensive).

Just my opinion...

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Ahem,

Skywatcher now own Celestron and they make all of the smaller Schmidt scopes, such as the 6" and 8", over in China and I suspect the larger ones will follow them over. They have a great reputation as shown by all the good reviews they have been getting of late.

--

Martyn

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This is exactly what I have come to dislike about this forum..........people mis-interpreting what has been said. 'ringz' if you read my post you will see that they are all my own opinions. I never said Skywatcher wasn't good, all I said was that on the Celestron scopes the mirror coatings for Schmidts and Maksutovs are very good. I have not used a Skywatcher scope with further coatings, only the basic newtonian ones (presumably BK7 glass). Like I said, there are many supporters of Skywatcher, I just aren't one of their biggest fans.

Just because SPM may endorse them doesn't mean other scopes should be overlooked. Manufacturers such as Takahashi, Pentax and Orion Optics provide far superior coatings.

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EA2007,

The forum is for some debate and differences in opinion, especially when it comes to equipment. I agree, you didn't say they weren't any good. What you did say was:

"I am sure most people on here will support Skywatcher but I don't rate them that much, the optics aren't as good I don't think (just my opinion)"

that you don't rate them. Thats fine, but others must be able to disagree with your rating system!!!

John

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I know...it always gets like this though. I am not imposing my view on anyone, but for some reason certain members always pick up on something and blow it completely out of proportion.

Take the Neil Bone issue......loads of people slated his article and that was before he had chance to reply...then when he did reply everyone who was annoyed at him was like 'oh, sorry, yeh, I'd love to see you at the next astrofest or whatever'.......its so hypocritical!!

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Actually, the reason I replied was because you said that Celestron was a good make then almost in the same breath berated Skywatcher when in fact they are the same company.

there was no malice intended, it was just a straight forward statement of fact.

--

Martyn

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Actually I was looking for advice not trying to initiate world war 3.

I enjoy differences of opinion and respect everyones right to have one.

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Bon,

You will get advice; sometimes not straight away. One suggestion would be to go to the Picture (image) of the Week thread. Look at the signatures at the foot of their posts. It will give you an idea just what the top imagers are using. For example, Rog (CELESCOPE) recently changed his whole set up to a 120mm and 80mm refractors - one imaging the other guiding.

An other thought might be to start another thread on the Equipment Help board.

Anyway, welcome to SGL. Sometimes the discussion does go a bit off track - I think the Equipment Help board might be the way to go.

Also, under the thread "The Golden Age" where FLO (Steve) the retailer is warning us that price increases are likely in the new year. Another reason to keep your thread focussed.

John

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Bon discussions do not often go of on one as quick as this, this is indeed very rare for this forum.

I don't want you to get a bad impression of this forum. What you have to remember is we all have our own opinions and it is finally up to you to decide which way to go.

Put up a new topic in the Equipment help board and I'm sure you will get lots of answers.

Btw welcome to SGL.

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I appologise.... my second batch of comments wasn't particularly progressive.

The others are correct in that you should browse the equipment / imaging sections; however ultimatly its your choice and you should go for what is closest to your requirements.

Happy hunting.

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Okay I realise I may have put this in the wrong section and I will repost. Who knows maybe start another fracas :D

I do know threads sometimes 'ignite' so no worries.

Thanks for the POW suggestion, I have been doing this and it is instructive to see what people are using to image. Though this says nothing about the visual experience nor the transportability of a specific scope.

BTW Thanks for the welcome. :cheers:

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Hi,

Welcome..,

Hi All,

<snipped>

My requirements for a scope are;

1) Portability (I really mean luggability as it will be transported via a car not a backpack!).

2) Ease of set up as it will be in a variety of Dark sites ranging from Cornwall to John o'Groats via Norfolk etc.)

3) Minimum of 8" but (see 1)

4) Viewing tasks, Mixture I require as much versatility. So a good all rounder. (hence SCT)

5) Astrophotography, I will be experimenting with both prime focal and eyepiece projection using, probably, my canon DSLR (20D)

6) Mount, I am open on this as I guess I can use a A-Az with a wedge if need be.

So.., whilst your listing of the above is useful, the most important factor that would assist members in coming up with appropriate responses would be an idea of the budget you had in mind here.

Considering the above I have come up with following options;

<snipped>

Reason for Celestron is two fold; a) They seem to come out very consistently in Sky@Night etc. reviews :hello2: I'm not far from the importer so any issues require only a short trip!

So.., are you saying that the requirements of the reviewers in those articles you read are the same as yours?

In MY experience, distance to importer has not been a factor - but quality and repuatable support are - hence my own preference in shopping from abroad - but that's me, and your mileage may well vary.

That said, looking at your (numbered) list of requirements, you mentioned portability, ease of setup - including the option of astrophotography, but somehow ended up with an SCT as a candidate. I'd suggest your reviewing your premise here. To consider: -

a] Given the importance of colllimation to SCTs, portability (especially in a car) isn't normally high on most SCT owners' priorities

b] Staying with portability, SCTs at 8" and up introduce you to the joys of "cool-down times" which does not lend itself to the concept of portability - as you've described

c] Whilst I would strongly urge anyone just starting out to resist the urge to think of astrophotography even before you've even looked through your own scope, I'll indulge you here.

Whilst astrophotography with an SCT is certainly an option, IN MY OPINION.., unless you're using a GEM, you're wasting your time - and more than likely, your money as well. But that's me.., others may well have other views on this.

As such, I'd suggest you spend a bit more time reviewing your requirements - to include your budget, and that you research optical design options for your purposes at the end.

I think either will give great viewing but the GPS is handy for setting up.

MY opinon is that GPS somewhat a bit of a waste of money - most folks find that its far quicker for them to enter location coordinates by hand.

Have a think about what sort of budget you've got and the sort of targets you're inclined to view and let us know.

<snipped>

Hope this helps somewhat..,

Regards,

astro84

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