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I would value some advice. I'm a keen armchair astronomer and intermittent observer. Over the years I've had a number of Dobs. Latest is a 12 in Skywatcher Goto. I'm finding this more and more of an effort and want something more practical.

My interest is mainly visual and DS but when time allows I would like to move towards imaging. I have decided to release some of the children's inheritance and treat myself. Of course there is no stock available at any supplier at present but am happy to wait on back order.

I have sort of decided upon a Celestron 9.25 Edge HD. I was going to blow the budget and go for the CPC on a fork mount, accepting that even with a wedge this would probably not be good enough for imaging. However in a few yeas I could consider transferring the scope to an equatorial mount.

The reason for not going directly to an equatorial is the fuss around setting up when for the next few years all I want is a scope I can use visually and with quick set up.

I have never had a SCT before, always fast Newtonians and would be very grateful for any wisdom....

 

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If you are intent on going down the imaging route I would avoid the C9.25 unless its just planetary imaging you want to do. You would be better going for a smallish refractor like a Skywatcher ED80 IMO. It would also need an equitorial mount that can track.

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How do you mean more of an effort, is it getting a bit heavy setting up. I used to have one and grew tired of it, partially due to the weight but also the whole goto aspect.

I now use push to for the big dob but still use goto for other aspects of astronomy. 

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51 minutes ago, Simonsmith said:

The reason for not going directly to an equatorial is the fuss around setting up when for the next few years all I want is a scope I can use visually and with quick set up.

Gadgets like the Asiair Pro make setup much, much easier. On a good night I can go from sitting on the couch to imaging in about 15 min. 

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1 hour ago, SmokeyJoe said:

Gadgets like the Asiair Pro make setup much, much easier. On a good night I can go from sitting on the couch to imaging in about 15 min. 

15 minutes, that's longer than our visual allowance in these parts!    😀

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1 hour ago, SmokeyJoe said:

Gadgets like the Asiair Pro make setup much, much easier. On a good night I can go from sitting on the couch to imaging in about 15 min. 

Yup I've invested in an ipolar and plate solving and it's been a game changer in set up times tbh

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3 hours ago, Simonsmith said:

The reason for not going directly to an equatorial is the fuss around setting up when for the next few years all I want is a scope I can use visually and with quick set up

For purely visual use an equatorial doesn't require any 'setting up'.  

You put the mount down with the north leg facing north (ish) and bolt the scope on.  Job done.  

For visual there's no need to polar align or level it and objects will still remain within the field of view with either tracking motor or hand turned knob.  

Edited by almcl
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1 hour ago, Simonsmith said:

Thanks. Without accurate polar alignment will the GoTo work properly on an equatorial mount?

Short answer, yes.

The initial 1st star alignment (which you have to do with any sort of mount) may be off a bit - but that can happen with a very accurate polar alignment if the home position is out, but after a two or three star alignment, the goto will be fine.  If the polar alignment is massively out the tracking may not be wonderful but the object of interest should still stay in view.

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What is it about the 12 inch goto dob that you are finding takes more and more of an effort? Is it the size and weight?

I currently use a 10 inch solid tube dob and find that to be very low hassle, apart from it is manual, but I kinda like learning to find stuff anyhow, so it works okay for me.

I did try deep sky imaging with a C11 and focal reducer and I did find that a lot of hassle really, far more hassle than using a dob. With hindsight I wish I had started with a fast refractor for imaging, and with an SCT for deep sky I think an obervatory would be useful. I did tire of setting up an SCT for deep sky imaging from scratch every time.

I ended up switching to solar imaging and a bit of lunar, which I found to be less hassle for my situation. You only need to capture say 1 minute of video for a shot, and your alignment doesn't need to be as good. But ya need to like the sun! (and of course have the right solar safety filters).

Edited by Luke
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