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I'm looking a bit of advice / opinions on a telescopes for a beginner, but useful, telescope.
I've gone through tonnes websites and now seem to find my self going round in circles.......
I've read that an 8inch dobsonian type will do pretty much everything I want without breaking the bank too much / me outgrowing it very quickly.
Main issue is that I'd like to be able to take imagery, whether thats with phone or camera to start I don't know. I understand tracking can be easier with something motorised rather than by hand.....
Budget wise, I don't want to spend a small fortune, or, get something I'll need to replace too soon. I'm based South in Manchester, UK, not sure if that has any bearing on choices.
It probably needs to be something with low maintenance requirements too.
My budget is low at around £300...... Not my decision on this one 😂
Cheers in advance
I almost hesitate to ask this but ahem, here goes...
My EBay white light filter turned up today & I scurried out into the garden like an excited child on Christmas morning.
After a bit of faffing I have it clamped to the ST80 and using the equally cheap but pleasingly effective SV-Bony pinhole projector finder (can’t believe it just slotted in and is aligned as there’s no way to adjust) there is a lovely big, crisp, solar disc.
Can’t see any sunspots though - and here’s the dumb question - is there just nothing doing today or am I missing a trick?
Any beginner tips on white light observation gratefully received...
I don't expect any replies - think I'm just braindumping for the mental wellbeing aspect of a frustrating night.
Having been ill through the week, Saturday found me feeling well enough to get outside and see if I could hook some things together and try to get FirstLight through some of my recent purchases. I've been using my Star Adventurer mini-rig [SA non-wifi, Canon 200D (unmodified), >30yr old Tamron 200mm f3.5] but knew things were going to be very different, and was keen to get going.
So the kit was all lined up:
> Laptop (Win10), Raspberry Pi4 with Astroberry
> EQ6-R Pro
> SW 80ED-DS Pro (Kit), SVBony SV106 190mm/50mm Guide Scope
> ZWO ASI 224MC, Canon 200D, SVBony SV205, 7TC ASI 120MC clone
> USB GPS Dongle (G72 G-Mouse Glonass Beidou GNSS) for location
and mains power for all via various PSUs with enough USB cables to circle the planet
Didn't take too long to get both Win10 (ASCOM) or Astroberry (INDI) talking to the mount and progress was being made - RA/DEC all seemed fine so onto the cameras. Found a distant object and SharpCap gave me images for all three USB devices once I had the SVBony as a Windows WebCam (RESULT!) and the same through INDI on the Astroberry, all three displayed images when enabling Streaming.
Settled on EQ6-R, SW 80ED, ASI224MC for imaging, SV106/SV205 for guiding
That's it (I thought!) and I broke down the rig and moved it to the lawn - I say lawn, more like a mossy bank but serves the purpose - and wait until dusk where a simple Polar Align and I'll be grabbing images of M51 Whirlpool in no time ...............
(I must cut the lawn, even if just to get rid of the blue from spray-painting a new table a couple of weekends ago)
(please ignore the middle dew heater, was there to remind me to put it on the guide scope later)
PA on the Star Adventurer, 30mins (5mins for the alignment, 5mins for remembering which phone app has a PA Clock and the obligatory 20mins to find the flamin' polar illuminator!) - this has been giving me consistent 5min exposures with no trailing.
PA on the EQ6-R is 'interesting' - I have a QHY PoleMaster but am waiting on the adapter from FLO (stock issues) so it was SharpCap alignment.
Wait for it to get dark enough, then get focus, then wait for platesolving in a "change exposure, gain, star threshold, black threshold, platesolve again" loop for over an hour. Woohoo, plate solved ..... oh, rotate around RA ..... and perform the same operation again ..... ARGHHH!
Over two hours later (probably more like 3hrs+) I've got polar alignment to within 12 seconds (wishing I'd screengrabbed that now). I really don't like the adjustment mechanism, the thread pitch is far too high for minute adjustments of alignment!
And onto guiding ........................ or maybe not.
PHD2, Nothing through it at all .... then remembered I'd not refocused the guide scope, then it was taking the Darks library. Still nothing. Opened the SV205 via SharpCap and got focus, switched back to PHD2, still nothing ...... hmm, is this just an unsupported camera (windows 'webcam'). So switched out for the 120MC copy - Amazon 7TC special.
Repeated the SharpCap for focus, then PHD2 Darks library and BOOM I have stars showing up in PHD2 - RESULT ...... I'll leave it at that for a moment and try looking at something, see what I get from the 224MC main camera and what PHD2 gives me in the guide scope.
So onto the next 'learning opportunity' - target selection
Erm, how do I select a target for goto with just two camera apps .... aha, Stellarium
No Telescope selected, easy - it went something like this:
"Open Stellarium, select telescope, select ASCOM ... there we go ... nope, it won't connect ... restart everything (twice) ... redo settings (twice) ... check ASCOM diagnostics (all passed) ... quick google search, aha I'm not the only one, you have to select the scope within the options pane ... what options pane .... oh, scroll down ..."
And I now have Stellarium control of the scope - again a RESULT - it's taking time but I think I'm making progress here .... hmm, it's getting bloody cold, wow, it's midnight!
So I now have an in focus 224MC, an in focus guide scope and control over the mount, here we go ... I'll be stacking images in the morning and making millions from selling prints online
Easy targets for testing were below the horizon (basically M42) so I'll just pick Vega and make sure slewing works, imaging works and can see how guiding works.
Nothing, no bright star at all - okay, bigger target - the moon.
Again nothing, no bright screen - so switched out the camera for a 26mm LER EP and a diagonal and manually aligned the moon - then, and here comes stupid, refocused (!) for the moon.
Stellarium wasn't syncing with the mount - I was 'off' on any selected target and by a lot
Quick google search and I'm no the only one - no sync points on my clean build so wasn't that, but use of the GPS dongle for location and TIME might be the problem.
And at this point it as 2:30am - prime viewing time last night with the moon disappearing in the West behind me - the garden slopes due-West to due-East so I only get Partial-North>East>Partial-South viewing.
Time to give up, have a small glass of Red and look for more things to buy on SGL/Astro B&S.
Today - well I had to break everything down to get it into the garage (too heavy to carry as one with current health) - I'll try to get the ASCOM/GPS element sorted out and maybe this evening try some targeting/lunar rate tracking so see if that major element is resolved.
And, if you've made it this far, please accept this for your perseverance🎖️, you've earned it.
I've been on these forums a couple of times for the last 2 weeks and ive found amazing advice, on telescopes, mounts and eyepiece. Besides reading countless of information on the internet about various equipments; pros and cons; and i got some queries about how to upgrade my setup.
My original purchase was a 15x70 Celestron Binoculars last year, and boy ive seen amazing things with it, specially globular clusters, Jupiter and Saturn and the Orion's Nebula; for me these were amazing; i still use them given how easy it is to look at the sky with them and how bright and full everything looks. A couple of months ago i got a 70x400mm Gskyer Telescope with an AZ mount (The cheap 99$ one that Amazon is displaying on all its adds for the last two months) it came with a 25mm and a 10mm eyepieces as well as a x3 barlows (which i didnt even count as part of my scope as it is too bad quality and i havent managed a single decent view with it).
Currently My Celestron Binoculars (x15) seem better for visualizing the sky than the 25mm eyepiece (x16) (things seem a very bit dimmer). And since the Barlow is a "no go", the 10mm (x40) eyepiece is what i really use, it has decent zoom and detailed views , it is my go to eyepiece most of the nights.
However from reading all around, ive read that most of the stuff that come with the Telescope (aside from the scope itself) are actually really bad quality, specially no name brands without even webpage, so if i were to maximise my telescope i should update some of those items.
-Recently i ordered a new Start diagonal to replace to default one (ive heard on Refractors its usually the weakest link next to eyepieces) as well as an economic x2 Barlow lens
Keep in mind i recognize my 70mm cheap telescope will not suddendly become the Hubble Telescope, and that it doesnt matter how hard i push it, in the end such a low scope will be bound to hit its limit pretty fast, thats why i avoid 70$+ eyepieces and barlows for now.
I expect to keep using this telescope for a good couple of months; at least until around August, when Jupiter and Saturn are more in the night sky, rather than morning.
Now, im very satisfied with my current telescope; while the phone mount is garbage and the phone weight and the sound of my heartbeats pretty much shake the telescope out of position, as well as how cheap the mount is; it still gets the job done for seeing interesting stuff in the sky and i have managed to do some AP for some of the globular clusters, bunch of 1-2s images (with the wrong lens), not the best, not even good pictures; but decent overall for my equipment. I am currently interested in stargazing in general and some minor AP (as i dont have a camera, currently an Iphone 7s with the mount) Buuut im interested in borrowing a camera for the low sky photos without a telescope.
I do most 97% of my Skywatching on my backyard, i live in a small country, there is some light pollution, but i can see the pleiades and the orion's nebula core on the naked eye most nights (so i guess its not that contaminated lol)
Now; currently i like finding stuff by myself and show it to the other people around me who cant be bothered to find the moon in the sky, so setting up, finding and seeing stuff is part of what i like.
With all the above in mind..... Id like to plan ahead for my next purchases.
First, im thinking a x3 barlow lens (to replace the original crappy one) and a 15mm lens (to have a bit better view than the 10mm, but less spread than the 25mm) in two or three months (with this id be able to check if my new eyepiece outperforms my default ones, but given the quality of the scope, i dont expect this to be noticeable).
And Afterwards id love to get a new Scope, but im not quite sure what i want... and i would like some advice and help in choosing my next Scope upgrade.
-I entered with and im liking the refractors; however i dont wanna spend 300-400$ on another refractor that is 20-30% better for triple the price
-Ive heard really long focal lenght might bring some distortions; and also make the scope much bulkier, annnd most importantly i know that magnification is not everything; so a 1000mm long tube would prob bring too much magnifications for me to use properly on my backyard skies. So i think id settle for a maximum of 600-700mm.
-Originally i was againts Newtonians in general, those inverted views scared me, i have a hard time of my own with my finderscope. Then i found out that Reflectors are the name of efficiency as they have more value per aperture than refractors; and as someone once mentioned "There is not really up and down in space, you will get used to it" annnd its true... save for references on the ground, like buildings, trees and mountains to help you locate where you are in the sky; once you are on it, you dont need right ups and downs.
-I did see some 90mm Orion's Refractors as well as 90-102 Celestron Astromaster Refractors (these are 350-400$)
-Im thinking a 130mm reflector is what im looking for; i think the 130mm aperture is a nice upgrade for my 70mm, and will keep me occupied for quite a long time; ive read about Orion SpaceProbe 130EQ and Celestron Astromaster 130EQ (ive also read, Power Seekers and Astromaster's are made out of pretty much garbage lol) Ive read that the main issue is the constant collimation required for them; but ive also read its something that can be learned and once you get used to it; its a pretty easy thing to do to keep getting amazing views.
-Ive also seen people recommending 6-8'' Dobsonians; i know the deal with them; if anything i could aim for a 6'' one i found a litter under 300$ ive read they are amazing values for their aperture
So, TL;DR: I have a 70x400mm Telescope, im new to stargazing, im really amazed and excited by what im seeing with my current scope, but would like an stable upgrade before the end of the year that will last me a year or two. I am interesteted both in regular and deep sky stargazing and astrophotography; im not currently interested in an motorized mount; could deal with a regular Equatorial mount. But overall i am looking for more aperture (100-150mm) to have clearer views; than focal lenght for zoom.
Im also open to the fact that at one point i might have to get a scope for stargazing and another for AP; but would like an upgrade that could help me all around for both while i get initiated.
Sorrry for the Huuuuuuuuge post, i was very excited while writing it; please let me know what you think and if there's anything else you'd want me to add to help understand my situation, thanks in advance!