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Hi all

I first came on here when I bought my first telescope, a Meade LT6 ACF in 2014. Everything was great and then we moved and despite taking care with my precious LT6, I could not align the scope and it was left to one side. I have since sold it and sort of regretting it as I sold it for much, much less than I bought it for. Ah well, can’t do anything about it now.

so getting to the point, I’m on the lookout for another telescope and one that won’t get left in the corner.

It would need to be easy to move about and set up. I took some great photos of the moon with my LT6 and my iPhone and would want to do the same again with other planets. 


I’m not sure that the 200p skywatcher dob would be easy for me to move around as it is huge, although I think this would be the one I should get (when they are back in stock!). I know I haven’t got the patience or the time for what I would call proper AP. Or should I look at something different? I could stretch to £1000. I’m not right techy and I think that’s why I couldn’t figure out how to solve my go to problems on the LT6 and led to it becoming something to look at rather than look through and it has put me off goto’s. which makes me think that eq’s might be out of my ability range.

 

please can you give me some advice?

 

Edited by spanglysparkly
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I can't give advice, but I've recently borrowed an Altair 72ED and mounted it on a SkyWatcher AZ GTi and under dark skies it's the most fun I've had for a long time with a telescope. 

Once aligned, the GOTO has been spot-on, and using the app on my (android) phone has not caused any grief (the only thing, I guess is that you need to make sure you charge your phone early in the evening rather than overnight). 

It does need dark skies though. 

Edited by Gfamily
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I'm a big fan of dobsonians having owned them through 6, 8, 10 and now 12 inch apertures over the past couple of decades. I'm purely a visual observer and happy to find stuff myself and track by nudging. I've used up to 400x and more without particular problems and the large aperture at relatively a affordable price really opens up the deep sky. Not shabby on the planets either !

My 12 inch dob takes just a few minutes to pop outside and around 30 mins to cool down.

I do use wide field eyepieces which are nice when using a manually tracked scope.

Might not be what you want to hear though ?

 

 

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I think the bigness of dobs mainly comes into play when you're not using it. If you have a (relatively) dust free place you can store it then you'll have no worries. It might be a little faff to move outside on a clear night but once you've moved it.. that's it, it's ready for observing! There's a beautiful simplicity.

When setting up my kit I have to make around 8 trips back and forth with a bunch of awkward to carry stuff and then go through all the various rituals to get everything balanced and aligned. Sure, it's necessary for imaging but there are no real shortcuts for me if I just fancy having a quick look at the moon before the clouds roll in. It can often take me around an hour to start actually collecting data (although I am getting better at it).

Edit: If you do go for a dob then make sure (if you haven't already) to get a copy of Turn Left at Orion, it's an absolutely wonderful book for exploring the sky without the need for computer control and there is great reward in managing to find objects on your own.

Edited by randomic
Turn Left at Orion
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52 minutes ago, John said:

I'm a big fan of dobsonians having owned them through 6, 8, 10 and now 12 inch apertures over the past couple of decades. I'm purely a visual observer and happy to find stuff myself and track by nudging. I've used up to 400x and more without particular problems and the large aperture at relatively a affordable price really opens up the deep sky. Not shabby on the planets either !

My 12 inch dob takes just a few minutes to pop outside and around 30 mins to cool down.

I do use wide field eyepieces which are nice when using a manually tracked scope.

Might not be what you want to hear though ?

 

 

Thanks John.  every time I read a post where this is the discussion, I tend to find myself swing from a dob to something different. I'm just frightened that I have made a mistake selling my Meade which was small compared to the 200p I'm thinking of getting and whether I will be able to move it myself. Really appreciate the reply.

 

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Sounds to me as though you really want something that will help you find targets.  Whilst a manual Dob is great for sucking in the photons as John intimates it requires learning your way around the sky and manually nudging to star hop and keep objects centred.  That can be fun in itself so maybe think what your priorities are.  I've been through lots of scopes and mounts and still own various options.  I now do a lot of outreach and the setup I always fall back on with the public is an 80mm refractor, an AZ Gti mount and an EQ6 tripod, combined with a drill battery and an iPhone App.  It is highly portable, works all night, is easy to align can find anything and gives the punters views of all types of objects.  I have eyepieces ranging from 4.7mm to 24mm.

You didn't make a mistake selling the Meade; it took me two weeks to get one working and tracking for someone in the Dales just because the software support ran out years ago.

Edited by Owmuchonomy
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57 minutes ago, randomic said:

I think the bigness of dobs mainly comes into play when you're not using it. If you have a (relatively) dust free place you can store it then you'll have no worries. It might be a little faff to move outside on a clear night but once you've moved it.. that's it, it's ready for observing! There's a beautiful simplicity.

When setting up my kit I have to make around 8 trips back and forth with a bunch of awkward to carry stuff and then go through all the various rituals to get everything balanced and aligned. Sure, it's necessary for imaging but there are no real shortcuts for me if I just fancy having a quick look at the moon before the clouds roll in. It can often take me around an hour to start actually collecting data (although I am getting better at it).

Edit: If you do go for a dob then make sure (if you haven't already) to get a copy of Turn Left at Orion, it's an absolutely wonderful book for exploring the sky without the need for computer control and there is great reward in managing to find objects on your own.

I am really not technical and I just wished there was something that I could get that was in between, so I could set up quickly and be able to take photo's of what I'm seeing.  Not sure I want to be backwards and forwards with loads of stuff. I've got turn left at orion which is so easy to follow. I also have making every photon count but it was really above my level. I will go back to it at some point and have another go at it. Thank you randomic

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15 minutes ago, spanglysparkly said:

I am really not technical and I just wished there was something that I could get that was in between, so I could set up quickly and be able to take photo's of what I'm seeing.  Not sure I want to be backwards and forwards with loads of stuff. I've got turn left at orion which is so easy to follow. I also have making every photon count but it was really above my level. I will go back to it at some point and have another go at it. Thank you randomic

An alt-az goto scope like the Celestron Nexstar series might be that midpoint. They're quick to set up, you can get an accessory which allows it to align itself (although it's not difficult to do it yourself) and it's relatively easy to take pictures through the eyepiece using even just a smartphone.

The main limitation of alt-az is exposure length, due to the Earth's axis of rotation not matching either of the scope's axes the field rotates in the eyepiece over time. This can be solved to some extent using a wedge.

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1 hour ago, Owmuchonomy said:

Sounds to me as though you really want something that will help you find targets.  Whilst a manual Dob is great for sucking in the photons as John intimates it requires learning your way around the sky and manually nudging to star hop and keep objects centred.  That can be fun in itself so maybe think what your priorities are.  I've been through lots of scopes and mounts and still own various options.  I now do a lot of outreach and the setup I always fall back on with the public is an 80mm refractor, an AZ Gti mount and an EQ6 tripod, combined with a drill battery and an iPhone App.  It is highly portable, works all night, is easy to align can find anything and gives the punters views of all types of objects.  I have eyepieces ranging from 4.7mm to 24mm.

You didn't make a mistake selling the Meade; it took me two weeks to get one working and tracking for someone in the Dales just because the software support ran out years ago.

Thank your the reassurance with the Meade owmuchonomy. I've already got 9mm, 12mm, 18mm Xcel LX 1.25 eyepieces and a meade super plossal 24mm. I also have a seized mark 3 Baader Hyperion.  I don't really want stretch to £1000  and would prefer to spend half of that, which would easily get me a 200p Dob  - brand new, but if i  went down the refractor road, having read so much on this forum, that much would only cover the mount. why oh why is this choice so difficult!

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If you want to take pictures but do not want to make the effort of mastering imaging techniques, have a look into EEVA - taking images that are viewed at the telescope.  See the sub-section in this forum.  I have used a 102mm f5 refractor with a ZWO ASI224MC camera and Celestron SLT alt-az GoTo mount mounted on a wooden tripod for some EEVA. I managed to do some interesting things with it,  taking images that plainly included Pluto, imaging various comets, globular clusters,  and Messier objects M1 and M33.  Some of these objects could not be seen visually with any of my telescopes.

Note that this gear list is not a 'recommended' list - I had all that gear on hand anyway.

Dobsonians are not really suited for imaging. Sure, people have taken images with them, but you can also row across the Channel if you really try. Most people prefer the ferry. 🙂

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51 minutes ago, spanglysparkly said:

I am really not technical and I just wished there was something that I could get that was in between, so I could set up quickly and be able to take photo's of what I'm seeing.  Not sure I want to be backwards and forwards with loads of stuff. I've got turn left at orion which is so easy to follow. I also have making every photon count but it was really above my level. I will go back to it at some point and have another go at it....

I much prefer very simple, low tech setups that I can put out and bring in within minutes and also move around the garden reasonably easily. I have tried some GOTO / computerised setups in the past but they were not for me so that's why I've stuck with simple dobsonian or alt-azimuth mounted scopes with little or no setup up complexity / time.

It's also why I've not gone beyond mobile phone snapshots taken though the eyepiece or snaps of the sky with my DSLR on a tripod. When I've dabbled with imaging through scopes the accompanying power / setup requirements have not been the way I like to do things so I've not pursued that.

There is room for a wide range of preferences and approaches in the hobby thank goodness and endless equipment options to support this, budget allowing. The trick is to find the one that works best for you so you keep coming back for more :smiley:

 

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If you want to have just three trips or so out carring stuff and don't want to have to faff about with goto or other gizmos that could go wrong then I think there are three choices:

Dob, though I might stick to 150 aperture, 200 is getting a bit weighty if you're not keen on carrying; you'd likely need one trip for the base, one trip for the scope, and another for eyepieces etc (if you can fit them all in a single case).

EQ; you could quickly get the hang on plonking the tripod down with the N leg pointing to Polaris, no real need for detailed alignment if you're just doing visual or very short exposure photos at the eyepiece.  With an EQ3-2 you could easily use a 150P reflector or a 102mm refractor, and it should come in around your budget.  Add a single axis motor drive for basic tracking.  If you went for a 4" or maybe 6" SCT you might even find it easy enough to handle already mounted, saving setup time, though I'm not sure if 6" would be too much for an EQ3-2.

Alt-Az; I've never used an alt-az manual mount but from what I can gather there's zero alignment required, just put it down anywhere you like and away you go.  You may still need a counterweight, not sure, but otherwise probably similar number of trips to an EQ mount, maybe less if you can handle the scope already mounted to the tripod.  I don't know if there will be motorised tracking available on this kind of mount, so no different from a regular camera tripod in terms of imaging.

Personally I think the 150P reflector is a very good balance between potential and ease of handling.

Finding interesting targets shouldn't be a chore if you have the correct guide; I found Turn Left at Orion to be a decent enough starter, but their selection of targets was not the most inspiring for me after a while.  Take a look at the excellent Moore Winter Marathon, this forms the backbone for most of my winter observing sessions, I supplement this with a Planisphere, the current year's Stargazing Month-by-Month Guide to the Night Sky (currently available in The Works) and An Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders, though this last one is a bit technical and can be a tricky one to use out in the field, I use it mostly as inspiration for things to look at by season and constellation.

Edited by jonathan
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On 06/10/2020 at 19:25, jonathan said:

If you want to have just three trips or so out carring stuff and don't want to have to faff about with goto or other gizmos that could go wrong then I think there are three choices:

Dob, though I might stick to 150 aperture, 200 is getting a bit weighty if you're not keen on carrying; you'd likely need one trip for the base, one trip for the scope, and another for eyepieces etc (if you can fit them all in a single case).

EQ; you could quickly get the hang on plonking the tripod down with the N leg pointing to Polaris, no real need for detailed alignment if you're just doing visual or very short exposure photos at the eyepiece.  With an EQ3-2 you could easily use a 150P reflector or a 102mm refractor, and it should come in around your budget.  Add a single axis motor drive for basic tracking.  If you went for a 4" or maybe 6" SCT you might even find it easy enough to handle already mounted, saving setup time, though I'm not sure if 6" would be too much for an EQ3-2.

Alt-Az; I've never used an alt-az manual mount but from what I can gather there's zero alignment required, just put it down anywhere you like and away you go.  You may still need a counterweight, not sure, but otherwise probably similar number of trips to an EQ mount, maybe less if you can handle the scope already mounted to the tripod.  I don't know if there will be motorised tracking available on this kind of mount, so no different from a regular camera tripod in terms of imaging.

Personally I think the 150P reflector is a very good balance between potential and ease of handling.

Finding interesting targets shouldn't be a chore if you have the correct guide; I found Turn Left at Orion to be a decent enough starter, but their selection of targets was not the most inspiring for me after a while.  Take a look at the excellent Moore Winter Marathon, this forms the backbone for most of my winter observing sessions, I supplement this with a Planisphere, the current year's Stargazing Month-by-Month Guide to the Night Sky (currently available in The Works) and An Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders, though this last one is a bit technical and can be a tricky one to use out in the field, I use it mostly as inspiration for things to look at by season and constellation.

Jonathan, thank you so much for your detailed response and it has really given me something to think about. I just wish I was able to see these in the flesh, I’m rubbish at visualising objects 😂. From what you have said the 150p is sounding favourite. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to my question.

 

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