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Gina

Scope Recommendations

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I'm thinking of branching out into planetary imaging and would appreciate recommendations for telescopes (preferably well under a grand).  I have an ASI 120MC-S which I'm planning too use.  I also have 2x and 3x Barlows.  Longest focal length scope I have ATM is 1000mm (SW NM190) and FOV calculator shows Jupiter as vanishingly small with that!

Thanks in advance.

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You may chance upon a  C9.25 or even a C11 for less tha £1000... it will sit nicely on your EQ8, but it isn't the best thing to be starting off with I'd say! Maybe 180 mak? Thetes a nice Russian 180mm mak f10 on Ebay at the minute.  

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Posted (edited)

Yes, I was looking at the Sky-Watcher Skymax 180 PRO as a possibility.  I wouldn't buy a telescope from ebay I'm afraid.

Edited by Gina

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Seeing images of Jupiter with a C14 costing the best part of 7 grand it looks like planetary imaging is way beyond my price range!  🙁

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50 minutes ago, Gina said:

Yes, I was looking at the Sky-Watcher Skymax 180 PRO as a possibility.  I wouldn't buy a telescope from ebay I'm afraid.

That's a possibility.  The older ones have a smaller effective aperture, I'm told.

You want a SCT (or the 180 Mak) as the focal range means you can hang all sorts of useful imaging accessories on it.  I use a Celestron 203mm SCT.  This is about the smallest really useful size and you might go bigger if your budget or other considerations permit. The results are strongly affected by the seeing and where I live only a minority of nights deliver really fine results.  Spending more on a camera helps, I've found - a ASI120MC is the minimum and does deliver pleasing results.

As for the mount, you don't need an equatorial but it does need to be something decently solid and well-behaved. And you need a good optical finder to recover the image should it wander off chip.  And an ADC is essential with the interesting planets so low.

 

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Posted (edited)

The EQ8 certainly seems solid and well behaved but I haven't had a really long focus scope on it.

Edited by Gina

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12 hours ago, Gina said:

The EQ8 certainly seems solid and well behaved but I haven't had a really long focus scope on it.

The EQ8 should serve well for the purpose.  The forgiving nature of the 'lucky image' process means it is possible to get good results with a light portable mount like the Celestron 6/8 SE, but a solid and heavier mount is much less trying to use. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Gina

Speaking from many years experience, the most cost effective way to go is either a C9.25 or C11 OTA on your EQ8. I have seen them on UK Astro buy and sell for £800-£1000.

Here are some Jupiter and Saturn images that I took with my C11 a few years back before I traded up to a C14.

Peter

Jupiter 2013-01-15-2147 PE.jpg

Jupiter 2012-12-11-2053 PE.jpg

 

Saturn 2012 May 22 2107 PE.jpg

Edited by astroman001
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They are superb images.

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The SCT is a versatile scope. The C9.25 is a more manageable scope than the C11 if you are swapping regularly. 

Good luck

Peter

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On 14/05/2019 at 21:59, Gina said:

Seeing images of Jupiter with a C14 costing the best part of 7 grand it looks like planetary imaging is way beyond my price range!  🙁

Noooooo.  The incomparable Mr Peach reckons that the 9.25 gets close to what's possible under UK skies and second hand SCTs come up cheaply because lots of people buy them ill-advisedly for long exposure imaging and sell them. They are easy to collimate with spherical primaries and make great planetary imaging scopes. There are bargains galore on the used market.

Olly

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A moderate sized SCT with the latest tech USB 3 high frame rate camera is actually a very good combination for Lunar or Planetary imaging, the camera probably being the most important component..

Alan

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One problem is of course that the nicest planets (Saturn and Jupiter) will be more or less out of reach from Northern Europe for the next few years if I got it right.......

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Yes, for that reason I'm not in any hurry.  In any case I have a lot of other things I want to do.  OTOH this could be a good time to buy a secondhand scope.  Alternatively, I could simply try a 3x Barlow with my MN190.  Of course, a C925 should give a significant increase in photons collected.

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39 minutes ago, gorann said:

One problem is of course that the nicest planets (Saturn and Jupiter) will be more or less out of reach from Northern Europe for the next few years if I got it right

I guess that is true if you live in Sweden.  It is not so bad from the southern UK but still not great, with Jupiter currently at an altitude of 15 deg or less.  An ADC is really essential for planets at an altitude of 15 deg or so.   At least one can get one's kit together and practice the techniques while waiting for a better opposition.

 

15 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

The incomparable Mr Peach reckons that the 9.25 gets close to what's possible under UK skies

I expect he's right. My results with a C8 usually seem limited by poor seeing.

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There's a bunch of trees to the south that rise to 15° above horizontal so I would really wants planets to be above that.

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I feel I have a scope here that would help you no end a 180mm Mak by SW, sadly in rarely gets used at all now shame I am not in the UK it would be a great scope for you.

Alan

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Yes, that's one I've looked at.

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On 20/05/2019 at 13:43, Gina said:

Yes, for that reason I'm not in any hurry.  In any case I have a lot of other things I want to do.  OTOH this could be a good time to buy a secondhand scope.  Alternatively, I could simply try a 3x Barlow with my MN190.  Of course, a C925 should give a significant increase in photons collected.

I think I would hesitate to put a 3 x Barlow on the MN190. But since you already have everything, I'd say: Go for it and test it.

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Only ever having taken a snap shot of Jupiter so know little, every one mentions C9.25 C 11 etc, surely Meade make just as good scopes 8-14 inch and these seem to fairly well priced and plenty of them, well the smaller ones anyway. I was even considering using my 12 inch on a AZEQ 6 to do a bit of planetary as cameras are much cheaper to start with, I would have thought one could start out with a decent camera for less than 600 quid.

Alan 

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Was reading a thread on CN recently on this very subject. Yes Meade make SCTs that are about as good as the Celestron but the Celestron are simply more popular among imagers. Think it’s down to the perception that Celestron SCTs are better for imaging rather than any real advantage although the Meade are a bit heavier and tend to be sold more as complete setups on fork mounts rather than seperate OTAs.

However was also reading comments by a seller of used SCTs in the US that said 9 out of 10 Meades needed repairs before they could be sold on wheras with the Celestrons it was the other way round with 9 out of 10 just needing a cleanup and no repairs. 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, johninderby said:

the Meade are a bit heavier

A Celestron Edge 11 inch weighs 12.7kg. Compared to a Meade ACF 10 inch that weighs 15kg and the 12 inch which is 25kg.
Price-wise a 12 inch Meade costs the same as the 11 inch Celestron, but you'd need a considerably heftier (more expensive) mount to support it. Though when you get to the next step up: both outfits offer a 14 inch. Here both OTAs weigh about the same and the Meade is significantly cheaper.

I reckon many people choose by looking at whether they want F/11 or F/8 native, plus what mount they have already and whether they want to spent €3k, €4k €6½k or €9k.

Edited by pete_l
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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

Was reading a thread on CN recently on this very subject. Yes Meade make SCTs that are about as good as the Celestron but the Celestron are simply more popular among imagers. Think it’s down to the perception that Celestron SCTs are better for imaging rather than any real advantage although the Meade are a bit heavier and tend to be sold more as complete setups on fork mounts rather than seperate OTAs.

However was also reading comments by a seller of used SCTs in the US that said 9 out of 10 Meades needed repairs before they could be sold on wheras with the Celestrons it was the other way round with 9 out of 10 just needing a cleanup and no repairs. 

I must have the 1 out of 10, not only is it in perfect working order, it's also spotless, I feel the figure quoted by Pete must include the fork because I can lift mine on and off the tripod with ease, I feel the tube only is about 17kg.

Alan

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28 minutes ago, alan potts said:

I feel the figure quoted by Pete must include the fork because I can lift mine on and off the tripod with ease, I feel the tube only is about 17kg.

Check it out for yourself Meade 12 inch ACF Optical Tube Net Weight 56 lb (25.4kg)

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Since you have the kit, I see no major issue using a 3x barlow with the MN190 to start with.  Yes, more aperture can give you better resolution, but I spent several years enjoying planetary imaging with a 127 Mak before getting my C9.25 and perhaps not having to swap scopes around would be quite convenient.

James

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