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I have mixed feelings about my 10” dob…


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I must admit it... I don't use my 10" dobsonian as much as I would like to, and I've had this feeling a couple of times before.

Short storytime

I purchased my 10" dob when I was 14 years old back in May of 2017 after a personal event of mine, and until August of last year it was the only telescope I had. During this time, I enjoyed the dob a lot!, but I eventually started considering some grab-and-go options since I was very limited by time and space (I live in an apartment in the capital of Denmark). Fast forward to August last year I purchased a Skywatcher Evostar 72ED and I am in love with the it!

The amount of detail and contrast on the planets despite its small aperture and DSO imaging capabilities on my Star Adventurer is simply so appealing to me. I can grab my Manfrotto tripod with an alt/az head and the scope in its case and I can easily carry/bring everything to a remote observing spot.

My thoughts

I turned 18 this month, have a spare time job each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening and attend my last year of High School. Although I sometimes meet at 10am in school, the only real opportunity I have to do serious observing is on Fridays and in the holidays whereas any other session will consist of some lunar/planetary observing or some brighter DSO’s (limited by light pollution).

I do sometimes attend some public events where I try to bring the dob, but the majority of the time I simply grab the small refractor to either do some imaging or visual observing on the Star adventurer or alt/az mount head.

I must admit I’ve become somewhat of a “frac-guy” when it comes to planetary observing, high contrast, not as affected by conditions and less cumbersome compared to a dob. Since I rarely focus on deep sky objects, because of the terrible light pollution and lack of time, I feel like I don’t need the 10” dob since the small refractor can often give very pleasing planetary views.

My question/search of advice

Based on my current situation, with regards to time and interest in planets and the moon, I have thoroughly considered selling the dob along to someone who’d use it more than I do myself and using the money to purchase something else. What keeps me from doing so however, is that I feel like the scope has become quite personal to me, and I would hate myself if I would ever regret selling/miss the features of the simple dob.

Selling the dob would also raise another question of which scope I should then look into? A larger refractor such as the Evostar 100? A Skymax 127/150? A Nexstar, the list goes on.

The purpose of this thread isn’t to discuss which scope I should purchase instead, but instead I seek your advice if you’ve ever been in a situation like mine, where you’re unsure whether to sell your kit in exchange of something else because of lack of use.

Here are the key features I miss from the dob:

  • Portability, a case/sturdy bag solution would be perfect
  • Consistency, the dob is very dependent on the conditions with regards to planetary and lunar observing.
  • Contrast, more contrast on the planets and the moon. I wasn’t aware of this before I tried the refractor.

Thanks in advance:hello2:

Victor

Edited by Victor Boesen
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I'm  old but you can store it here I don't mind 😂 Dave

Hi Victor, One of the refractors I attached as a potential alternative did use FPL53 and a Lanthanum mating element. I know that waiting until November is disappointing for you, but don't rush in

Hi Victor.  Yes, I've been in a similar situation.  I've always been a "frac-guy", and almost unbelievably it was a 152mm Takahashi refractor that I'd worked so hard to get that I found myself using t

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It's only natural to get attached to good pieces of kit and not want to let them go, but my advice is sell it and move on. You're only doing it a disservice by keeping it and not using it so if someone can make better use best to let it fulfill its destiny! 

If I was in your shoes I'd be looking hard at a Skymax 127, great planetary grab and go tool that will go on a small alt az head and may even work well with tracking on the star adventurer? Not sure about that though. 

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I'm with Craig. I'd sell it. A 10 inch Dob is quite a big beast if you're living in a city and want to travel to a darker site, and you seem to be happy with the ED72. Sure, a time may come in future when a larger scope makes sense, but that's not now. You might in future consider something like the Heritage Dobs (great scopes - ironically given the advice I'm giving I regret selling mine) on a simple alt az mount (portable, usable from a balcony, but decent light grasp) but for now I'd just stick with the frac.

The best scope is the one you use.

Billy.

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What an interesting article that raises some very valid questions. I personally tend to keep hold of old scopes (I have a 6” Newtonian in the loft I bought when I was your age) but I do understand Craig’s point of view. 
 

if you haven’t got the space and you love the refractor maybe it makes sense to sell it to someone who will be able to make better use of it. 
 

Decisions, decisions...

 

Edited by Jarvo
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Hi Victor.  Yes, I've been in a similar situation.  I've always been a "frac-guy", and almost unbelievably it was a 152mm Takahashi refractor that I'd worked so hard to get that I found myself using the least. I'd even look for excuses why I shouldn't observe, just so I didn't have to set up the scope, and more importantly carry everything back into the house when I was cold and tired and the tube was covered in ice. One night as I lifted the scope above my head to mount it on its pier mounted G11, my back gave way and I slid down the pier desperately trying not to drop my £10,000.00 refractor. It was a difficult decision as I knew that if I ever let the 152 go, I'd never be able to afford to buy another.  Still, the scope that is used most is the best scope to own, and for me that had to be a refractor. I bought a Televue NP101 and a whole armoury of Naglers and Ethos after selling the Takahashi, but sold it within a year after a friend's Vixen 102mm ED thrashed it on planetary. For the next six years I very happily enjoyed using numerous SW 120, 100 and 80mm ED's. But when I heard that Takahashi had again started making a 100mm fluorite apo, I sold my SW refractors and bought a 100mm Tak. It has proved to be my most used scope, and so the best choice for my personal needs. I regret having to let the 152mm Tak go, but it would have been a sin to own it and not use it. Unlike me with my 152mm Tak, you will always be able to buy a 10" Dob again if you really wanted to, but I really understand your love of the 72ED. 

Edited by mikeDnight
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It seems that you are about to embark on a great journey. The journey, or should I say odyssey, of getting the "there can be only one scope", only to return after a long time to your Ithaca. A 10" dob coupled with an eq mounted ed frac covers all the bases of astronomy - visually & photographically.

Of course YMMV...

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Very interesting read Victor. I just read your post after being out setting up to observe Mars later tonight. I have been using an ED 120 the last few nights, but tonight I decided to setup my 8 inch Dob. One reason for this is that I have an equatorial platform to sit it on which will keep Mars in view for about 1/2 an hour, but after reading your post I checked my logs and I have not used the Dob since last December. I now much prefer the views through a frac. I have an ED 72 and like you I really love it. My circumstances are different from you of course. I am under no pressure to sell the Dob and do t think I ever will. However the advice that your best scope is the one you will use is much more appropriate to your circumstances. I think you should sell it and get a bigger frac.

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1 hour ago, CraigT82 said:

It's only natural to get attached to good pieces of kit and not want to let them go, but my advice is sell it and move on. You're only doing it a disservice by keeping it and not using it so if someone can make better use best to let it fulfill its destiny! 

If I was in your shoes I'd be looking hard at a Skymax 127, great planetary grab and go tool that will go on a small alt az head and may even work well with tracking on the star adventurer? Not sure about that though. 

Thank you very much! This was exactly the advise I'd hoped for:))

With regards to the skymax 127 -  The only thing that puts me off about it is the cool-down time. Because of its design I could imagine it'd take quite some time compared to a refractor, or is it roughly the same? But yes, it'd be a great match for my star adventure, and I wouldn't immediately need any new tripod/mount.

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50 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

Hi Victor.  Yes, I've been in a similar situation.  I've always been a "frac-guy", and almost unbelievably it was a 152mm Takahashi refractor that I'd worked so hard to get that I found myself using the least. I'd even look for excuses why I shouldn't observe, just so I didn't have to set up the scope, and more importantly carry everything back into the house when I was cold and tired and the tube was covered in ice. One night as I lifted the scope above my head to mount it on its pier mounted G11, my back gave way and I slid down the pier desperately trying not to drop my £10,000.00 refractor. It was a difficult decision as I knew that if I ever let the 152 go, I'd never be able to afford to buy another.  Still, the scope that is used most is the best scope to own, and for me that had to be a refractor. I bought a Televue NP101 and a whole armoury of Naglers and Ethos after selling the Takahashi, but sold it within a year after a friend's Vixen 102mm ED thrashed it on planetary. For the next six years I very happily enjoyed using numerous SW 120, 100 and 80mm ED's. But when I heard that Takahashi had again started making a 100mm fluorite apo, I sold my SW refractors and bought a 100mm Tak. It has proved to be my most used scope, and so the best choice for my personal needs. I regret having to let the 152mm Tak go, but it would have been a sin to own it and not use it. Unlike me with my 152mm Tak, you will always be able to buy a 10" Dob again if you really wanted to, but I really understand your love of the 72ED. 

Thank you for your advice! With regards to finding excuses I can actually see myself having done the same without thinking about it.

The FC-100DC is very high on my bucket list, specially because of your amazing sketches and reports!

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39 minutes ago, laudropb said:

Very interesting read Victor. I just read your post after being out setting up to observe Mars later tonight. I have been using an ED 120 the last few nights, but tonight I decided to setup my 8 inch Dob. One reason for this is that I have an equatorial platform to sit it on which will keep Mars in view for about 1/2 an hour, but after reading your post I checked my logs and I have not used the Dob since last December. I now much prefer the views through a frac. I have an ED 72 and like you I really love it. My circumstances are different from you of course. I am under no pressure to sell the Dob and do t think I ever will. However the advice that your best scope is the one you will use is much more appropriate to your circumstances. I think you should sell it and get a bigger frac.

Your opinion/experience is highly useful! The 72ED is just so versatile but I don feel like I want some more magnification on the planets and the moon so a larger frac is very appealing. The only thing I fear about buying a larger frac is well.... the size:)) I will do some research around the forum. I also know someone who owns the skywatcher evostar 100 which I'm sure he'd let me try out!!

Thanks!!

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Hi Victor,

Firstly, many congratulations on your excellent English! I used to work for a Danish company (based on the mainland in Aabenraa), and was constantly impressed by how many Danes speak and write in perfect English.

I can't add much to the great advice  above..the standout phrase is "the best scope is the one you use most": I'm lucky enough to own a 5" (128mm) Takahashi, but before that my main scope for a good while was a 4"/103mm Vixen ED103s, and it really was a perfect combination of performance and portability..I often used it on a Porta II altaz mount, so easy to carry about, or on a Vixen GP equatorial, ideal for tracking planets at high power. It really was an ideal all round scope.

You mention an Evostar 100mm ED, and they really are very good performers at a very good price.

Then, at some time in the future and when funds permit, you might want to go the whole hog and get a 100mm Takahashi..what could be better for a Dane than a scope whose abbreviated nickname is the same as the Danish word for "Thanks" - "Tak!"

Good luck to you Victor👍😊

Dave

Edited by F15Rules
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1 minute ago, F15Rules said:

Firstly, many congratulations on your excellent English! I used to work for a Danish company (based on the mainland in Aabenraa), and was constantly impressed by how many Danes speak and write in perfect English.

Thank you very much! Hanging around on this forum for a long time is probably one of the reasons why:rolleyes2:

2 minutes ago, F15Rules said:

Then, at some time in the future and funds permit, you might want to go the whole hog and get a 100mm Takahashi..what could be better for a Dane than a scope whose abbreviated nickname is the same as the Danish word for "Thanks" - "Tak!"

I've never thought about that🤣 Well what better excuse!!! The Evostar 100 would probably come first though... and stay for some time😅

Victor

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Victor - I have come to the conclusion that fracs are the best all-round instruments, but I use my 10" Dob when I want to go for fuzzies and faint stars.  Even in polluted skies, the Dob can draw out detail.  If you don't feel you'd use it much - and you could do with the funds for something else - then sell up.  Otherwise, it's a good 'scope to have in reserve.

Doug.

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4 minutes ago, cloudsweeper said:

Victor - I have come to the conclusion that fracs are the best all-round instruments, but I use my 10" Dob when I want to go for fuzzies and faint stars.  Even in polluted skies, the Dob can draw out detail.  If you don't feel you'd use it much - and you could do with the funds for something else - then sell up.  Otherwise, it's a good 'scope to have in reserve.

Doug.

I can definitely see myself purchasing a new, and perhaps larger, dob in the future(very future😅) at some point because of its unbeatable performance on deep sky. With that said, I just don't do as much deep sky as I have previously done because of lack of time so I don't "need" the extra aperture as much.

Thank you very much:)

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2 hours ago, Jarvo said:

What an interesting article that raises some very valid questions. I personally tend to keep hold of old scopes (I have a 6” Newtonian in the loft I bought when I was your age) but I do understand Craig’s point of view. 
 

if you haven’t got the space and you love the refractor maybe it makes sense to sell it to someone who will be able to make better use of it. 
 

Decisions, decisions...

 

If I had the space for it, it's very likely I wouldn't have even thought about selling it but looking at it standing in the corner of my room reach day probably contributes to my idea of selling it...

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I would go for a compact Maksutov, they pack a lot of planetary performance in a portable package. The Skymax 127 is a good choice, although I am also intrigued by the Vixen VMC110L. The Skymax 150 is a much heavier beast, as heavy as my Celestron C8 OTA, which is a really good portable scope, but considerably bigger than the Skymax 125

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7 hours ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

I would go for a compact Maksutov, they pack a lot of planetary performance in a portable package. The Skymax 127 is a good choice, although I am also intrigued by the Vixen VMC110L. The Skymax 150 is a much heavier beast, as heavy as my Celestron C8 OTA, which is a really good portable scope, but considerably bigger than the Skymax 125

A maksutov seems like a very portable solution. Since you mention the Celestron C OTA's, do you know how their SCT design would compared to the maksutov with regards to cool down, sharpness and etc?? The Celestron C5 looks to be the same weight as the skymax 127, but it has a shorter focal length.

EDIT: Doing a little reading myself, it doesn't seem like the Celestron C5 would be a better option than the skymax 127.

Edited by Victor Boesen
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i’ve owned the C5, SCT  Skymax127 Mak and the Bresser127 Mak.

The C5 will cool down a bit quicker than a Mak as the corrector plate on the front is thinner. However all three don’t take that long to cool down though. The Mak should never need collimating whereas the SCT will need occasional collimating.

I found little difference in image sharpness and contrast. The Maks longer focal length makes them a bit more suitable for lunar / planetary but the tradeoff with the longer focal length is a bit narrower field of view. The C5 with it’s shorter focal length will be a bit better at all round use than the Mak. 

My favourite of the three was the Bresser127 Mak for lunar / planetary observing as it has the longest focal length. One thing to note is that the Bresser is a full 127mm aperture whereas the Skymax is actually about 119mm aperture so it should really be called the Skymax119. 

BTW the diagonals suppied with all three are poor quality and should be upgraded

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p11501_Bresser-Messier-MC-127-1900-Maksutov-Cassegrain---Optical-Tube-Assembly.html

Edited by johninderby
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I'd second that Mak idea. I think the normal SCT's are a bit overkill - as stated above, you will do a lot of transport and you'll need to check collimation often. Not fun when you are just going out for a quick view, you want to spend the time observing, not collimating. 

The mak packs a great punch! They are good for planetary and if you're a fan: the Moon. But the long focal length makes them good on DSO too (you'll miss the aperture though). 

BUT: living in a suburban area myself, I have switched the type of targets I observe: faint DSO are for dark skies on vacation. At home, I keep to double stars, star clusters and planets. And maybe the odd Messier or bright planetary. 

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Dear Victor,

I have a Skymax 127 and have used it extensively for more than a year on an EQ2-3. I never found cooldown time a problem: of course it depends on the difference of starting temperature, in my case the scope was ready within 20 mins and this is only if you need its maximal magnification (about 250x), if you observe at 100x before that, no problem. Excellent planetary and moon scope but I've observed a lot of galaxies and planetary nebulae with it. It is small (3kg I believe) , comes with a bag and easy to take with you anywhere. 

Nikolay

 

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If it is the ease of use that most refractors seem to provide then get another refractor, and so then I suppose the 10" would have to be sold.

A 127 Mak is a good scope however like all scopes has what may be termed negative aspects. The relatively long focal lengths will mean narrow fields of view and so would need to really be on a goto mount. A Mak will take some set up time compared to a refractor, it would seem to require a more careful set up as the final accuracy has to be better or higher, both of which means a longer time spent doing so.

Most talk includes the terms "good on planets", I gather they are, however as I have read elsewhere there are 3 planets. Jupiter and Saturn are disappearing out of viewing for the next 8-10 months and Mars is coming up, will be around and then that will swing around the sun and not be available for around the next 2 years. So may be good on planets, however we do not seem to have a great array of planets to select every night to observe.

The idea of a 100ED seems good, have you seen one? Only asking in case they are bigger then expected. It partially reads that size is or could be an influencing factor. I have a 102mm and it is at the biggest I would like to suggest is grab and go. However it is dependant on more the the scope.

And add in that a 100mm refractor would require a new mount so more then just scope to think about. If it fitted an EQ5 then mount and scope and accessories is not grab and go. Each would be a separate trip to load into a car and I guess you don't drive.

Why is the 10" not used? If size alone will you be in a position in say 2 or 3 years to make use of it more? Thinking potential University and therefore possible University astronomy clubs, or one in a local town? Astronomy equipment seems to be rising rapidly in cost, so holding on to it may be advantageous in the long term. More extreme is could you convert it to an Ultra Portable ? One high end scope maker in the states is ceasing the "standard" dobsonians and is only producing UP scopes now. Seems the soild tube versions are out of favour.

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