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SkyDave

Replacement of my old gear, your advice?

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Hi,

My 23 year old Meade 4500 4.5" reflector is end of life, so it's time to replace with some new equipment. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the following thoughts. I have a bit of spendable money ($1000-$1500), so I'd buy a new sturdy mount, and a Newton or SCT with larger aperture. Leave some room for decent oculars and other accessories.

 

Question 1: For the Mount, i have following requirements: 

  1. it should be portable,
  2. goto,
  3. fit for astrophotography,

so I was looking in the direction of the Meade LX85. Is it good, are there better alternatives for this or a lower price?

 

Question 2: For the OTA, I have some requirements as well:

  1. it should be portable
  2. multipurpose: fit for astrophotography, fit for normal observing, fit for lunar, planetary and a shot at AP of dso; 

would I be happy with a 8" reflector for a couple of years (compared to the 4.5" newton) or should I save some more and wait for an SCT? I'm not sure what I want/need here...
Put otherwise: what is the added value of the SCT at a higher cost, anyway? (and, which focal ratio?)

 

I have many other questions, but I'll save those for other topics once I have a clear view how to invest (or spend 😉 ) on my new mount and ota.

Reading suggestions welcome too !!!

 

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions!

 

 

 

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Your requirements are contradictory - I suggest refining your requirements or looking at multiple setups.

Re the mount: portable means lightweight while suitable for astrophotography means solid and heavy.

Nothing wrong with the Meade LX85 AFAIK but I would not have described it as 'lightweight'.  I don't have a full spec for it but with 33bs capacity I get the impression it is on the limit of what I would like to drag outdoors and assemble without assistance.

What kind of astrophotography? Planetary and deep space have totally different requirements.

Re the scope : portable is easily managed (buy a small one), but multipurpose does not work.  Deep space astrophotography points to a small high quality refractor, general observing, depending on who you listen to, means any sort of scope (within reason), planetary observing likewise, while planetary astrophotography seems to require the biggest SCT you can afford and get mounted up.  

The SCTs score on usability - they are shorter and lighter than the equivalent in other designs, the eyepiece remains in a convenient position regardless of where the scope is aimed, and they have a great depth of focal range facilitating the attachment of various accessories.

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Assuming the chosen mount is suitable you can image many DSO using a camera and lens. So what camera and lenses do you already own?

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Dave

Would go with a HEQ5 mount, with a ED120

Alternately Celestron alternate option

I have an ED80 on a EQ5pro mount

Recently also got the WiFi adapter

Makes life easier

Just download SynScan App to your mobile device

The App automatically sets your GPS location, date/time

Attached pic taken at a recent solar viewing day

John

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

Screenshot SynScan APP.jpg

SynScan wifi adaptor.jpg

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Hi everyone, thanks a lot for your advise. Here some answers so far...

 

Very helpful comments, @Cosmic Geofff. I like what you wrote, it gives me more insight in how I should refine my requirements... (and choosing is sometimes a bit of loosing...). Some answers/thoughts in colour in your message...

On 26/05/2019 at 12:47, Cosmic Geoff said:

Your requirements are contradictory - I suggest refining your requirements or looking at multiple setups. Thanks for putting my feed on the ground. I'll have to choose indeed and invest a bit more than what I was foreseeing (and convince my wife). 

Re the mount: portable means lightweight while suitable for astrophotography means solid and heavy. I need to start somewhere, and coming from nearly nowhere, I'm not aiming at the 20 hour illumination in 4 bands type of astrophotography (my free time is not that extensive anyway). That said, it is indeed a good thing to (re)consider what I really would "need" (well, rather a want if you know what I mean).

Nothing wrong with the Meade LX85 AFAIK but I would not have described it as 'lightweight'.  I don't have a full spec for it but with 33bs capacity I get the impression it is on the limit of what I would like to drag outdoors and assemble without assistance. Indeed, after reading a bit more this week, I took it of my longlist.

What kind of astrophotography? Planetary and deep space have totally different requirements. Very good point, I need to clear that out! Actually, I'd love 

Re the scope : portable is easily managed (buy a small one), but multipurpose does not work.  OK That is very clear. Deep space astrophotography points to a small high quality refractor, general observing, depending on who you listen to, means any sort of scope (within reason), planetary observing likewise, while planetary astrophotography seems to require the biggest SCT you can afford and get mounted up.  

The SCTs score on usability - they are shorter and lighter than the equivalent in other designs, the eyepiece remains in a convenient position regardless of where the scope is aimed, and they have a great depth of focal range facilitating the attachment of various accessories. OK, so in terms of quality and so, I'm convinced but my budget and wife may think otherwise... 

 

@happy-kat, I'm very modest in my gear: I have a (standard) EOS500D, a Sigma 17-50 mm f/2.8  and a 50-200 mm standard kit lens (quite slow).

On 26/05/2019 at 15:18, happy-kat said:

Assuming the chosen mount is suitable you can image many DSO using a camera and lens. So what camera and lenses do you already own?

 

@cletrac1922 Very nice setup you have. I'll have some deeper read into the "reflector" vs "refractor". As also suggested by Geoff, I'd might take a look itnto reflectors, which I have neglected so far, for no apparent reason. I thought they were no good for DSO...

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Hi again Dave,

when i started the hobby at the end of 2017, i bought a used 10" Skywatcher dobson, a very good telescope, unfortunately, not the right scope for me at the time.

My knowledge of the sky at the time was 0 so without a GoTo system i wasn't able to see much more than the moon and some of the easier objects like M42, M31 and M45.

It didn't take long that i bought the Skymax 127 AZGTI package from Skywatcher, and i have to say it still is the scope that i use the most, i find it very versatile, obviously great for moon and planets, but also for open and globular clusters, planetary photography is also possible with this combo.

My path took my towards astrophotography, so i expanded my gear with the EQ6-R Pro and the Skywatcher Evostar 80ED, haven't regretted it for a second, great mount and a great wide-field scope, both are trialed and tested by many among us stargazers (i find this a big plus when choosing gear).

So my advise would be get something light and portable and should you move towards astrophotography, look for a sturdy and proven mount with a wide-field scope.

The ED80 is also light enough to mount on the AZGTI mount, so that's a 600 and 1500mm focal point telescopes to be used on 1 lightweight mount.

What was very helpful for me was to join a local astronomy club, i learned a lot fast and off course sharing the experience is more fun than standing alone in the dark 🤜🤛

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Thank you @Miguel1983, very helpful, althought the AZGTI mount isn't very appealing to me, I'd prefer to stick with a decent Eq mount. The Skywatcher 127 you refer to, that ís a Mak, is it?  I live not too far from the Polderster group, so I might visit them next week when they have a public evening.

To sum up, I note the following (as I understood)

- Planets and small DSO: go for a Mak or something else that will give higher magnification. Planetary AP should be possible (film or photo?). Longer focal length. 
- Large DSO: go for wide-field scope (so short focal length). For AP purpose: sturdy, proven mount. 

More reading to do...

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24 minutes ago, SkyDave said:

Thank you @Miguel1983, very helpful, althought the AZGTI mount isn't very appealing to me, I'd prefer to stick with a decent Eq mount. The Skywatcher 127 you refer to, that ís a Mak, is it?  I live not too far from the Polderster group, so I might visit them next week when they have a public evening.

To sum up, I note the following (as I understood)

- Planets and small DSO: go for a Mak or something else that will give higher magnification. Planetary AP should be possible (film or photo?). Longer focal length. 
- Large DSO: go for wide-field scope (so short focal length). For AP purpose: sturdy, proven mount. 

More reading to do...

Yes, the 127 Skymax is a Maksutov.

the AZ GTI is a budget friendly second mount, as i see it.

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