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It hasn't been made clear enough in the above posts, but a push-to scope will require you to periodically nudge your scope to allow your object to drift across the field of view of your chosen eyepiece.  At higher powers, this nudging happens more often.  To get more "hang-time", you'll soon be upgrading from simple 50 degree Plossls to super/ultra/hyper wide eyepieces to get longer "hang-time" between nudges.  To get well corrected wide field eyepieces that work well at f/4.7 gets expensive in a hurry.  The goto scope's tracking will allow you to use narrower field of view eyepieces because it will keep the object centered on axis where even simple eyepieces have very good performance.

The goto scope may come with its own host of issues.  Being mass produced, it may require some tweaking to get the tension between the drives and axes perfected.  There are even reports of having to have parts replaced or rebuilt to get them to operate properly.

The collapsible tube has the advantage that you can do prime focus DSLR photography of solar system objects by not extending the struts all the way, and the goto tracking will keep the object centered for short exposures that can be derotated and stacked later.

To add tracking to a push-to scope later, an equatorial platform can be added underneath it and the push-to system put into a tracking mode.  The goto system is a more integrated solution.

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Being a newbie myself, I have realised that one important bit that you need to factor in (if you havent already) is set aside some budget for eyepieces & telrad (optional). Hope this helps :)

 

Edited by M55_uk
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8 hours ago, M55_uk said:

Being a newbie myself, I have realised that one important bit that you need to factor in (if you havent already) is set aside some budget for eyepieces & telrad (optional). Hope this helps :)

 

Add in collimation tools for Newts in particular.  A well collimated Newt is beaten only by an APO refractor in my experience.

While learning the skies, an old fashioned planisphere is handy to have.  Sure you can use phone apps, but the older method helps you to understand the progression of the sky night by night and hour by hour.

For older newbies with presbyopia and strong astigmatism like myself, they might also want to invest in a dedicated pair of distance only eyeglasses to correct their astigmatism across the entire field of view.  This isn't possible with bifocals or progressive lenses.  Luckily, there are plenty of online places that make quality eyeglasses for very reasonable prices.

Other good accessories to invest in are a high quality OIII filter first and a quality UHC filter second, especially if you observe under light polluted skies.

Edited by Louis D
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On 05/08/2019 at 03:03, M55_uk said:

older newbies also need a stool /chair, I can confirm :)

 

I can also confirm that an observing chair is important even for the younger set.  I started observing in my early 30s, and I used a chair from the first day.  It makes observing so much more relaxing.

Now, my older back aches after 4+ hours of being hunched over eyepieces during observing.  It can take several days for it to recover.  Anybody else have similar bback issues?

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Well I went to a stargazing club today and I am quite puzzled again. A Schmidt cassegrain is suddenly interesting again since its very portable and I can do astrophotography with it. And I found a celestron 8SE on sale at optcorp. Anyone here has some experience with them? 

 

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12 hours ago, Wavseeker said:

Well I went to a stargazing club today and I am quite puzzled again. A Schmidt cassegrain is suddenly interesting again since its very portable and I can do astrophotography with it. And I found a celestron 8SE on sale at optcorp. Anyone here has some experience with them? 

 

Hahaha, I'm amazed how the evolution of your dilemmas matches mine , I was just looking at Cassegrains an hour ago

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14 hours ago, Wavseeker said:

Well I went to a stargazing club today and I am quite puzzled again. A Schmidt cassegrain is suddenly interesting again since its very portable and I can do astrophotography with it. And I found a celestron 8SE on sale at optcorp. Anyone here has some experience with them? 

Quite a few people on this forum have a C8 or C8SE, and Celestron have been making them in some form or other for over 40 years. What in particular did you want to know?

The C8 SE package is a good visual scope and quite portable (you can pick up the whole assembly and carry it outside.)  You can do planetary astrophotography with it, though the exercise would be much less trying with a proper imaging mount like that bundled with the CPC800, or a German equatorial.  As for deep-space astrophotography, it's useless unless you are going to re-mount the OTA on a heavy duty German equatorial mount.

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Your 550d with a camera lens on a suitable mount like the star adventurer may well suit you for astrophotography as many deep space objects are quite large. Could then use a sct for visual and imaging planets.

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Or did you mean do we have experience of Optcorp? They don't disclose their location. That's enough reason not to buy from them.  They appear to be based in the USA, so you should add international shipping, taxes and duties to the price they quote. I'd advise you to buy in Belgium or the EU.

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i went to a local telescope shop and i have my eye on the celestron nexstar 6 evolution. my budget has increased to around 1700 euros

benefits of this scope

- portability, i can even take it with me on a plane in hand baggage!

- integrated wifi so i can connect with my phone

- long lasting battery

- go to system

- astrophotography becomes real accessible now

downsides:

- small aperture compared to the XT12i or XT10i

for my first telescope should i buy the XT10i, xt12i, celestron nexstar 6 evolution or maybe the nexstar 8SE?

Edited by Wavseeker

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5 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

Or did you mean do we have experience of Optcorp? They don't disclose their location. That's enough reason not to buy from them.  They appear to be based in the USA, so you should add international shipping, taxes and duties to the price they quote. I'd advise you to buy in Belgium or the EU.

Optcorp is OPT, Oceanside Photo and Telescope.  They're one of the oldest and best astro retailers in the US.  The recently closed their retail store, so now they only do in person visits by appointment only.  They list their new address as 2245 Camino Vida Roble, Suite 102, Carlsbad, CA 92011.

They are now no different from Agena Astro and FLO in having no physical retail presence, so I don't understand why that makes them shady.  You might as well lump Amazon in that group.

As far as taxes and duties, I'm glad Texas doesn't collect sales tax on international sales and the US federal government exempts imports under $800 from tariffs.  What with the current weakness of the GBP relative to the USD, there are quite a few bargains for Americans to be had cross-importing from the UK.  For instance, if I were to buy all 7 BST Starguider eyepieces from FLO, they work out to $40 each with international shipping compared to $60 each bought locally from Agena Astro with free shipping.  Vixen SLVs are also considerable cheaper from the UK.  They're $109 each shipped to the US from FLO compared to $169 each shipped from Agena.

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In the U.S., Adorama and Focus Camera warrant some caution.  Amazon has been known to ship out returns and seconds as new stock, but given their presence in the marketplace there's always recourse.

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7 hours ago, Louis D said:

They are now no different from Agena Astro and FLO in having no physical retail presence, so I don't understand why that makes them shady. 

Unlike Optcorp, FLO give their full physical trading address at the bottom of their opening webpage.

Thanks for the info on Optcorp - I have not heard of them before. 

Destination countries may also charge duties and handling fees on incoming telescope gear, and hold the goods till the fees are paid.

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Large Dobsonians are great instruments and fantastic value for money, however, big Dobs tend to get used less than smaller Dobs. It is hard to beat an 8" dob for portability and that grab and go quality. Don't underestimate the size and weight as you go up in size, especially if children are involved.

If I had £1000 to spend from scratch I would invest about £600 on the scope and the rest on some decent wide field eyepieces and a  telrad finder. That would put you in the territory of a 10" flextube dob. Don't bother with the goto feature, its just another thing to go wrong eventually. If you can spend more money later on good eyepieces then by all means go for a 12". I bought a 12" Meade lightbridge and then started collecting Televue eyepieces (mainly used) over a year or two. Its a great combination.

You could also get say a 10" dob  and a smaller grab and go instrument like a 127 maksutov (great scopes) or small refractor (for imaging later on).

 

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20 hours ago, Wavseeker said:

- astrophotography becomes real accessible now

No, please don't go that route. I started with this exact system. You will then have to buy a wedge, which will get you to work, but it just doesn't work as well for photography as you will ever want it to. The evolution is the perfect compromise between visual and AP and thus it is equally useless for both. 😞

If you ever want to do photography, you have to get a decent eq mount whose precision matches your focal length. Longer LF, more precision, more expensive.

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6 minutes ago, Wavseeker said:

so in terms of portability and price per aperture which is best?

yes?

The question sadly makes no sense. Again, it comes down to what you want to achieve. Easy entry to the stars and visual? go for the dob. Affordable astrophotography? Small refractor and an eq mount. Those two things are not easily compatible.

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what about schmidt cassegrains? i mean refractors are super expensive if you want good ones. dobsonians are cheap but less portable and i want to be able to take it with me to places

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If you can get to a dark sky site then you will be amazed at how many faint and distant objects, unobservable from a light polluted city site, become visible.  This is as true for any size of visual telescope as it is for naked eye observing.  The less light pollution, the darker the sky, allowing fainter, more distant  objects and detail to stand out.

If you are going to observe from your back yard and there is little light pollution then you are indeed fortunate.  If however you are like most of us then getting a scope to a dark site needs factoring in. 

A schmidt cassegrain is one way to combine aperture with reduced overall size (although it often means more expense and can be as heavy as a comparable dob).  A truss dob can be another way of reducing size while obtaining the maximum portable aperture.

As with life, compromises, compromises. 😎

John

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well i live in Belgium which is extremely light polluted and i have to drive at least 1 to 2 hours to find a place with reasonable light pollution. i don't own a car so i have to rely on other people for transport. i do however go to Sweden for the past two years now where it is very dark but this is either by car (family) or plane. they say that the best telescope is one you use the most. if i buy a Orion XT12i it will probably not be transported by car very often and it will be used from my small backyard with alot of light pollution. a celestron nexstar 6 evo or 8se i will be able to take with me on the plane or in the car on holidays. i've never owned a telescope so i wonder which one will give me the most joy and usability. ive been told Schmidt cassegrains are more suitable for AF than dobsonians. 

i could go for the xx12i trusstube design... a little bit more portable than a XT10i with a truckload of aperture

Edited by Wavseeker

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 As has been said previously, dobs are not really suitable for AP.  

In visual astronomy you compensate for the faintness of an object by increasing the aperture - this collects more light and focuses it on your retina, thereby making it appear brighter.  You see in real time the photons being collected.

In AP the camera sensor simply collects light for longer through long exposure - aperture is therefore less critical.  This long collection of photons is averaged into an image with software. To do this, you need to track the movement of the object incredibly accurately or it will be blurred.  This is why in AP the mount is so important and it usually needs a secondary guide telescope to aid in tracking .

I would echo what others have said and advise you to go to a local astronomy club viewing session.  You will often get a chance to try out different scopes in local sky conditions and get a chance to make a more informed choice between types of scopes if not actual models.

John

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i visited an astronomy club this week but the weather was bad so no stargazing. i think all things considered its going to be either the celestron 6 evo or orion xx12i. 

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Then go wirh celestron 6.

You can't replace sky quality with appeture, and dark skys matters most of all, if you will be able to easily take Celesteon to dark place buy it since from light poluted place you will be able to observe moon, planets and double stars if you can even find them ( I can't see Albireo with naked eye) even clusters are troublesome.

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3 hours ago, Wavseeker said:

i've never owned a telescope so i wonder which one will give me the most joy and usability

I've read through your own concerns, enquiries and responses to the outstanding advice you've received and I can't help thinking that the best thing to do would be to go and check out some scopes yourself. If there was no stargazing at the local club you visited this week, don't be disheartened. Go back and back again and get a real feel for what might be best for you. Seriously, it's better to 'lose' a little time checking up on what you want, than putting money into something you're not sure about, that may not be suitable or hold your interest for long. Save your money until you learn more of what you want your scope and you to do. 

I really don't want this to come across as harsh :undecided:. I don't want to disenhearten you. I just feel that you've expressed a number compromises (heavy light pollution, astro-photography, large aperture, light or decent size for getting lifts by others, suitable plane carry-on etc) that ought to be addressed before purchasing pricey astro-gear.

For what's it worth, I've been in a very similar situation to yourself. I didn't drive, lived in cities and had a load of compromises to deal with. My first ever astro purchase was a relatively decent but cheap set of binos. They can go everywhere and you can learn an awful lot by them :bino2:. After a good year or so, I bought myself a 4" achro and an AZ-mount (the whole thing weighed no more than about 10kg) that I carried around in a single canvas bag. The upshot to all this is that it might be better to hold on, start small, learn a little about the skies and what exactly you're after and if your interest remains it's never too late to go bigger and spend more :).

 

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