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If you could only choose one telescope for everything


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Chris what an excellent, informative video. I have owned so many telescopes over the years including a 6" f/5 Newt (which I still have) and a 4" APO f/6.9 frac ( which I wish I never sold). The frac with a Herschel Wedge and binoviewers gave me so much pleasure - I will not forget the views I had of the last Mercury Transit.

I undertake a great deal of outreach work and taking the 6" Newt is so easy to set up and will show a great deal. I suppose for all the convenience it gives I would agree with your findings. Last Thursday the Astro Society had a session nearby the SGL star party site with a sky reading of 21.2 and the views of DSOs in the 6" were very, very good.

However, like John, when I get the energy and a period of clear weather then the 12" Dob comes into its own.

Having enjoyed watching your video I am now really looking forward to the beginners scopes review.

PS - Last year, whilst in California, I had the opportunity of using a Questar and viewed Venus. It was excellent but not worth the $4995 asking price.

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If you have the opportunity the next time you are in California, Horseshoe Meadow a few miles east of Mt. Whitney is a fantastic location for observing, although you will have to acclimate as its above 9000 ft elevation; great fishing for golden brown trout also.

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1 hour ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Chris what an excellent, informative video. I have owned so many telescopes over the years including a 6" f/5 Newt (which I still have) and a 4" APO f/6.9 frac ( which I wish I never sold). The frac with a Herschel Wedge and binoviewers gave me so much pleasure - I will not forget the views I had of the last Mercury Transit.

I know who's got that 4" F6.9 frac that you wish you'd never sold Mark, and what a lovely frac it is too! :evil4:

Sorry, I can't help myself. It must be an illness or something!! :lol:

I'd suggest you could ply him with drink in the hope he'll hand it back, but that might cost more than buying a new one!

Edited by mikeDnight
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38 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

I know who's got that 4" F6.9 frac that you wish you'd never sold Mark, and what a lovely frac it is too! :evil4:

Sorry, I can't help myself. It must be an illness or something!! :lol:

I'd suggest you could ply him with drink in the hope he'll hand it back, but that might cost more than buying a new one!

Thank you Mike. At least I know its being looked after. Ply him with drink and get him during a weak moment!!!

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That's a great video Chris, I don't think I've got the all round experience with a wide enough number of scopes to fully comment but both options put forward make perfect sense, I sit either side of the 6" reflector having a 4" and an 8" so would certainly be comfortable if I could only have a 6".....now the question is I've never used a refractor...gasp...looks like some investigation is needed..........where's that credit card ?

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3 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Chris what an excellent, informative video. I have owned so many telescopes over the years including a 6" f/5 Newt (which I still have) and a 4" APO f/6.9 frac ( which I wish I never sold). The frac with a Herschel Wedge and binoviewers gave me so much pleasure - I will not forget the views I had of the last Mercury Transit.

 

Yes, it is a great refractor Mark, as you and Mike both know it's myself that is the current custodian of it - and I expect it will be  the last scope I will ever own prior to having to retire from active observing, if that should happen before I fall off my perch :smile:.  It's the telescope's 11th birthday on April 21st - and the date is on my calendar so I can buy myself  it a birthday present :laugh2:.  In fact I've been thinking of advertising for an Astro-Tech dielectric diagonal for it. 

It's funny you should mention  the Mercury transit you observed with it, that's exactly what I'm planning to do with it this November 11th!

I quite like Mike's idea of you plying me with drink to try and get me to hand it back.  If we should meet, please ply me with as much drink as you like, though I can't guarantee you will be successful ?

PS Forgot to mention, last night I was using the scope and observing in Gemeni and I saw the ISS coming toward my field of view.  Amazingly, I managed to lock onto it (using a 17.5 Morpheus) and managed to keep it place for 10 - 15 seconds,  I could see the shape of the ISS including the solar arrays either side of it.  Amazing, never done this before - though I've never really previously made an attempt, I had thought about trying it.

 

 

 

Edited by paulastro
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1 hour ago, L8-Nite said:

If you have the opportunity the next time you are in California, Horseshoe Meadow a few miles east of Mt. Whitney is a fantastic location for observing, although you will have to acclimate as its above 9000 ft elevation; great fishing for golden brown trout also.

Mike my Son lives with his family in Livermore just outside San Francisco. I used the Questar on Mount Diablo not far from the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. I checked that its about 400 miles to Mount Whitney from Livermore. Perhaps I should book a hotel in the area for a few night and take a look next time I am over.

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3 minutes ago, paulastro said:

Yes, it is a great refractor Mark, as you and Mike both know it's myself that is the current custodian of it - and I expect it will be  the last scope I will ever own prior to having to retire from active observing, if that should happen before I fall off my perch :smile:.  It's the telescope's 11th birthday on April 21st - and the date is on my calendar so I can buy myself  it a birthday present :laugh2:.  In fact I've been thinking of advertising for an Astro-Tech dielectric diagonal for it. 

It's funny you should mention  the Mercury transit you observed with it, that's exactly what I'm planning to do with it this November 11th!

I quite like Mike's idea of you plying me with drink to try and get me to hand it back.  If we should meet, please ply me with as much drink as you like, though I can't guarantee you will be successful ?

 

 

 

Paul I used a TeleVue 2" Everbrite Diagonal which was brilliant on the Astro Tech.

To be honest if I am ever in Yorkshire it would be great to meet up with you and Mike and have a few drinks and chat about scopes and observing.

 

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1 minute ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Paul I used a TeleVue 2" Everbrite Diagonal which was brilliant on the Astro Tech.

To be honest if I am ever in Yorkshire it would be great to meet up with you and Mike and have a few drinks and chat about scopes and observing.

 

Ditto Mark, and I'm sure Mike would be up for it if he's available.  Do get in touch if you're ever heading this way, and I'll do likewise if I'm in your neck of the woods. 

Thanks for your info re the TeleVue.  I know they are good, but pricey for me, even used, but I  just have the silly idea of matching it up with a AT diagonal to be in-keeping with the scope's appearance.  I've actually googled Astro-Tech diagonals and the information I found re the dielectric versions was that they performed well and about their weight so to speak.

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This is of course a personal, very subjective choice for all us, and my own choice was thus limited to refractors or Maks, as I just don't like reflectors or SCTs.

So my choice would be a 5" refractor or a 6" Russian Mak.

I've owned a 5" F15 US D&G achromat, a Japanese Tak FS128 and Lomo, Ylena and Intes 150mm Maks..all superb in their own ways.

I totally get the affection for premium 4" refractors, and share that, having owned several (still have one), but for me, a 5" just goes that bit deeper.

My current FS128 does all I want it to, is quite lightweight for a 5", and may very well become my only scope in retirement. And that will be just fine with me!:hello2::thumbsup:

Dave

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2 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Mike my Son lives with his family in Livermore just outside San Francisco. I used the Questar on Mount Diablo not far from the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. I checked that its about 400 miles to Mount Whitney from Livermore. Perhaps I should book a hotel in the area for a few night and take a look next time I am over.

Best time would be around September / early October when summer holidays are over and most people are back to work and the kids are in school. It takes a couple of days to get use to the elevation so camping would be a good option, and the small town of Lone Pine can provide the civilized comforts anyone might require.

Edited by L8-Nite
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7 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Chris what an excellent, informative video. I have owned so many telescopes over the years including a 6" f/5 Newt (which I still have) and a 4" APO f/6.9 frac ( which I wish I never sold). The frac with a Herschel Wedge and binoviewers gave me so much pleasure - I will not forget the views I had of the last Mercury Transit.

I undertake a great deal of outreach work and taking the 6" Newt is so easy to set up and will show a great deal. I suppose for all the convenience it gives I would agree with your findings. Last Thursday the Astro Society had a session nearby the SGL star party site with a sky reading of 21.2 and the views of DSOs in the 6" were very, very good.

However, like John, when I get the energy and a period of clear weather then the 12" Dob comes into its own.

Having enjoyed watching your video I am now really looking forward to the beginners scopes review.

PS - Last year, whilst in California, I had the opportunity of using a Questar and viewed Venus. It was excellent but not worth the $4995 asking price.

Thanks very much, Mark :) 

Yes I was trying to be practical with the two scopes I chose, I'm glad your observations back this up. 

I've never owned a scope bigger than 8", but I used big beasts up to 16" back in my Uni days. For pure visual the 12" Dob does sound amazing, I have a work colleague who swears by his 12" Dob, but he does say he rarely gets to use it, and I think this can be a problem with large scope unless they're in a obsy or a garage/shed acclimatised and ready to go.

I've received the first scope to review already! Very exciting! It's a Skymax 102mm Mak on a Pronto mount. I'll be doing an unboxing video which will include setting up the scope, and later on when I've had a decent amount of time under the stars, I'll put together a more considered review with pros and cons. I'm looking forward to it...that's my reserved answer ;) 

  

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5 hours ago, DavidJM said:

That's a great video Chris, I don't think I've got the all round experience with a wide enough number of scopes to fully comment but both options put forward make perfect sense, I sit either side of the 6" reflector having a 4" and an 8" so would certainly be comfortable if I could only have a 6".....now the question is I've never used a refractor...gasp...looks like some investigation is needed..........where's that credit card ?

David, you know what you need to do ;) Any help choosing just let us know :grin:

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2 hours ago, F15Rules said:

This is of course a personal, very subjective choice for all us, and my own choice was thus limited to refractors or Maks, as I just don't like reflectors or SCTs.

So my choice would be a 5" refractor or a 6" Russian Mak.

I've owned a 5" F15 US D&G achromat, a Japanese Tak FS128 and Lomo, Ylena and Intes 150mm Maks..all superb in their own ways.

I totally get the affection for premium 4" refractors, and share that, having owned several (still have one), but for me, a 5" just goes that bit deeper.

My current FS128 does all I want it to, is quite lightweight for a 5", and may very well become my only scope in retirement. And that will be just fine with me!:hello2::thumbsup:

Dave

I remember your excitement when you picked up your FS128. A wonderful telescope to own, the FS60 was fun even! How do you find the cool down compared to your 4"? 

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Hi Chris,

I'd say the 4" Vixen takes no more than 10-15minutes, often less (it's not going from a heated room). The Tak takes maybe 20-25minutes, again sometimes less.

The 4" is much more portable, no doubt about it, but not a problem for me as I mainly observe from home (I'm lucky to have Bortle 4 or better skies now). The FS128 is a MUCH bigger tube than the Vixen..

Dave

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11 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

I know who's got that 4" F6.9 frac that you wish you'd never sold Mark, and what a lovely frac it is too! :evil4:

Sorry, I can't help myself. It must be an illness or something!! :lol:

I'd suggest you could ply him with drink in the hope he'll hand it back, but that might cost more than buying a new one!

May I ask what brand refractor is it? 

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19 hours ago, Lockie said:

That 127Mak is defo the right scope for you, Jules. I know you've tried plenty of scopes to get to where you are (pot calling the kettle black here ;) ) 

Yep, when you consider its practically a 5" ED in a very compact form, its been very versatile scope, had it on an AZ goto mount for a while picking out fuzzies, but now its main use is Luna imaging with the cannon 1000D, hence why i sold my Antares ortho`s, just not being used no more.

I will go on record to say , if i replace it then it will be with another 127 skymax, but that will only happen if my one had an accident or such like. Cool down is not an issue as it lives in an outbuilding so is ready to go into action when needed, great scope very pleased with it

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I currently own only one telescope, Celestron CPC 800. I find a 8 inch SCT to be a great compromise. 

It has enough aperture to show a good amount of detail on deep sky objects and enough focal lenght for the planets. The mount is so sturdy that you can even lean on it while observing! ?

For planetary and lunar imaging the CPC is a beast and despite the alt-az mount, I’ve been able to capture some DSOs  with my Canon 60D. Tracking is fantastic and the Goto is always spot on.

The scope is quite big and bulky, but it’s easy to carry and fits well in the car. I have a pair of binoculars that function as my grab and go instrument, in case I don’t want to be carrying the CPC around.

 

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7 hours ago, Grumpy Martian said:

May I ask what brand refractor is it? 

It's an Astro Tech 102mm F6.9 manufactured about 10 years ago I think. Not too certain about the glass types used, but whatever they used they are very good. Paulastro is its current custodian, and I doubt he'll part with it anytime soon. At Kettering a few weeks ago, parallaxer (Jon), bought the more up to date version. It looked top class but everyone's still waiting for his first light report! 

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Edited by mikeDnight
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We usually have this discussion with newbies who think they can do everything including astrophotography with one budget scope. ? We know that  Lockie's not one of them though. So let's address the proposition.

Given that dilemma I'd probably elect to keep the C8 SE (most used, and does most tasks) or maybe the CPC800 if I ruled out trips to dark sky sites and could substitute with some EAA. 

Currently I'm retaining the rest of the collection because they all have something to offer.  Without the 203mm Newtonian I wouldn't have the option of big bright views of wide star clusters. Without the f5 Startravel, my experiments with EAA would be stalled, and it has been handy for comet hunting. The 127mm Mak is a favourite for grab'n go or daytime planet viewing.  I'd never consider selling it in the normal way, but I could manage without it.

So it's between C8 SE (great except that the mount is rubbish for imaging) and CPC800 (still too recent for a final verdict - superb mount so long as you don't have to carry it).

Another possibility (which I don't own) would be to have a C8 or C9.25 on the Evolution mount and the heavy-duty tripod (not the light one sold with the C8's).  This would break down into 3 manageable lumps.

IIRC Lockie used to own a CPC800 HD?

Edited by Cosmic Geoff
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39 minutes ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

IIRC Lockie used to own a CPC800 HD?

Yup, still got it as my avatar. I've just sold that one towards the house move. Wonderful scope, and I one day hope to have the larger C11 Edge in an obsy. 

I used to have the C8 Edge on an NEQ6 in an obsy at my old house. 

Edited by Lockie
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I think that what this thread has taught me is that there is no one choice! It should have been obvious to me before, but there are so many considerations and people have different priorities which lead to very different end results. Interesting to see people's choices, mind.

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