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Hello all, 
I have come to you all with the "too much asked question". 
I have been using the telescopes from local Astronomy group since few years, and now during these Corona times, it is harder. So now I have decided to invest some money on getting myself a scope, and would so sooooo would love your inputs. My main concerns are:

  • I may use it only once a month or so, I wanted something that I can handle (maybe >10kg). 
    I don't own a car, usually I use a bicycle with a carrier to get around the city.
    (I had a look at the second-hand (5-7 yrs old) Skywatch MAK 127 Cassegrain that my friend was selling with its mount and accessories. I felt it was too massive for me. Especially if I am getting it to a park and setting it up alone).
     
  • I would like to have a look at celestial objects and also at deep space. 
    As far as I know for deep space, I would need a f5 or something with similar focal ratio, and for planetary object a higher focal length (f10 or more) is better.
    I looked into MAK 90-1250, but felt like it might have very narrow FOV. So I am lost here.
     
  • My budget is small (I know that is the biggest problem). I can spare maybe 200€ to 250€. I know its not enough, so I am hoping to start with a decent one (not awesome) and then work my way up.

I so need your advice on what might be good parameters to look for

- I was thinking Newtonian around f8 or so

- Since its my first scope, maybe get something small and something that I can get comfortable with and use with a bit of ease before getting expensive ones.

- Also definitely not a Dobsonian mount, I need something that I can set up on lawn or pavement. 

  1. https://www.bresser.de/en/Brand/Bresser/BRESSER-Venus-76-700-AZ-Reflector-telescope-with-Smartphone-Camera-Adapter.html 
    Is this a good one to start with? Look at planets and maybe some deep sky ones
     
  2. https://www.astroshop.de/teleskope/celestron-teleskop-n-127-1000-starsense-explorer-lt-127-az/p,65881#tab_bar_1_select
    I also has my eye on this, but I cant find much reviews 

Any other options are quite welcome.

I tried to setup and use the telescope in the picture, it was quite hard to do it alone and move it around.
Thanks a lot. Sorry for the saga... 
Hena

 

1417b25b-42c8-4909-b731-25c88c7dce42.jfif

Edited by Hena
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Hi and welcome to SGL

If you found 127mm Maksutov to be too much scope than your choices are really limited.

F/8 newtonian is going to be too bulky to carry yourself. Expect tube at least 80cm long (100mm model), although I don't know if you can find such scope?

There is 76mm F/9.2 and then there is this - 114mm F/7.9 (well, close enough to F/8), but this scope is heavier and larger than 127mm mak:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p684_TS-Optics-Newtonian-114-900mm-EQ3-1---complete-telescope-for-beginners-8-.html

Maybe not heavier as it weighs almost the same (3Kg for OTA) but is much longer.

I would personally skip those smaller newtonians as they:

- have very small light collecting power for their size. For example 76mm telescope sounds like solid 3" instrument, right? But it really gathers as much light as 64mm refractor. This is because there is at least 28mm of central obstruction (if not 30) and mirrors on these scopes reflect only 91% of light (and you have two of them)

- they are most certainly spherical mirrors. This does not matter much as at those aperture sizes and focal lengths it is not crucial - but still parabolic mirror offers better planetary performance than spherical

- short tubed versions - like second one you posted - is actually something called Bird Jones design - and you should stay clear of these as they are very poor performing.

You really want something like 102Mak on Az mount or perhaps small refractor - depending on your primary interests.

If you enjoy lower power / wider field views of star fields and open clusters and milky way then this would be good choice:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p12685_Skywatcher-Telescope-Refractor-Evostar-90-660-on-Mount-AZ-Pronto.html

If you are more interested in lunar and planetary, then this scope:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p10016_Skywatcher-Skymax-102-Maksutov-on-alt-azimuth-Mount-AZ-Pronto.html

 

 

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27 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Hi and welcome to SGL

If you found 127mm Maksutov to be too much scope than your choices are really limited.

F/8 newtonian is going to be too bulky to carry yourself. Expect tube at least 80cm long (100mm model), although I don't know if you can find such scope?

There is 76mm F/9.2 and then there is this - 114mm F/7.9 (well, close enough to F/8), but this scope is heavier and larger than 127mm mak:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p684_TS-Optics-Newtonian-114-900mm-EQ3-1---complete-telescope-for-beginners-8-.html

Maybe not heavier as it weighs almost the same (3Kg for OTA) but is much longer.

I would personally skip those smaller newtonians as they:

- have very small light collecting power for their size. For example 76mm telescope sounds like solid 3" instrument, right? But it really gathers as much light as 64mm refractor. This is because there is at least 28mm of central obstruction (if not 30) and mirrors on these scopes reflect only 91% of light (and you have two of them)

- they are most certainly spherical mirrors. This does not matter much as at those aperture sizes and focal lengths it is not crucial - but still parabolic mirror offers better planetary performance than spherical

- short tubed versions - like second one you posted - is actually something called Bird Jones design - and you should stay clear of these as they are very poor performing.

You really want something like 102Mak on Az mount or perhaps small refractor - depending on your primary interests.

If you enjoy lower power / wider field views of star fields and open clusters and milky way then this would be good choice:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p12685_Skywatcher-Telescope-Refractor-Evostar-90-660-on-Mount-AZ-Pronto.html

If you are more interested in lunar and planetary, then this scope:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p10016_Skywatcher-Skymax-102-Maksutov-on-alt-azimuth-Mount-AZ-Pronto.html

 

 

Hey, 
Thanks a lot. That does helps me to have a better idea. 
I like the MAK one (maybe I am biased towards it). 

Do you think we can see galaxies using the MAK 102 (not very clearly, but maybe soft images in scope) 

Also what might be a good finder scope for them, a Red dot finder or a 6x30 optical one

Edited by Hena
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For visual use, forget about F ratio. You can use an F5 Newtonian to look at planets and an F13 Mak to look at deep sky. The only things that matter are light gathering and resolution which both increase with aperture and aren’t influenced in any way by F ratio.

I would go for carbon fiber tripod, light mount like Skywatcher AZ5 or AZ GTi, and a small 70 mm ED scope. Instead of the ED scope you could save money and gain aperture with a 100 mm Heritage 100P. 

Both of these scope options would be lighter than the MAK 102 which is my main reason for suggesting them. I have had a Mak 102 for over 10 years and they are phenomenal scopes - great on double stars and planets and small DSOs like globular clusters. I have had bigger scopes but The Mak seems to have had the magic. The one downside of the Maks is the have long focal length, meaning they have a narrow field of view, so it can be hard to find things or star hop. To put it into context, the widest field the Mak 102 can show is just 10% of of the area the 100P can show.

Edited by Ags
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5 minutes ago, Hena said:

Hey, 
Thanks a lot. That does helps me to have a better idea. 
I like the MAK one (maybe I am biased towards it). 

Do you think we can see galaxies using the MAK 102 (not very clearly, but maybe soft images in scope) 

Also what might be a good finder scope for them, a Red dot finder or a 6x30 optical one

What you'll be able to see largely depends on your observing skill level but also on light pollution that you observe in.

In most scopes, deep sky objects are just faint ghosts really. Most of them require averted vision. Don't get discouraged - the longer you observe, more skillful you'll become and you'll see more.

Take a look at this video to get idea what you can expect to see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgIaInMde7s

I would rather use Red dot finder than 6x30 straight thru optical finder for small scope. Even for Maksutov although it is long focal length scope. I'd also recommend getting yourself a bit more quality star diagonal (rather than using stock one) and 32mm plossl eyepiece to serve as your lowest power eyepiece.

I have this diagonal and it's quite good:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1771_TS-Optics-1-25--TS-Optics-1-25--Star-Diagonal-with-ring-clamb---99----1-12-Lambda.html

Although people say that maks have narrow field of view - in this case it is not that narrow. It is comparable to 6" F/8 or 8" f/6 newtonians - both very popular general purpose amateur observing instruments (both have 1200mm FL and this scope has 1300mm).

With 32mm eyepiece you'll be able to fit almost whole Pleiades into FOV:

image.png.032e301d3e6e6bf1c2f1587b2e373e84.png

and here is Orion's nebula:

image.png.8e4950df30ddb2a2737e9494ff7dbc53.png

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8 minutes ago, Ags said:

I would go for carbon fiber tripod, light mount like Skywatcher AZ5 or AZ GTi, and a small 70 mm ED scope. Instead of the ED scope you could save money and gain aperture with a 100 mm Heritage 100P. 

Not sure that is going to be within budget. OP said something in range 200€ to 250€.

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4 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

What you'll be able to see largely depends on your observing skill level but also on light pollution that you observe in.

In most scopes, deep sky objects are just faint ghosts really. Most of them require averted vision. Don't get discouraged - the longer you observe, more skillful you'll become and you'll see more.

Take a look at this video to get idea what you can expect to see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgIaInMde7s

I would rather use Red dot finder than 6x30 straight thru optical finder for small scope. Even for Maksutov although it is long focal length scope. I'd also recommend getting yourself a bit more quality star diagonal (rather than using stock one) and 32mm plossl eyepiece to serve as your lowest power eyepiece.

I have this diagonal and it's quite good:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1771_TS-Optics-1-25--TS-Optics-1-25--Star-Diagonal-with-ring-clamb---99----1-12-Lambda.html

Although people say that maks have narrow field of view - in this case it is not that narrow. It is comparable to 6" F/8 or 8" f/6 newtonians - both very popular general purpose amateur observing instruments (both have 1200mm FL and this scope has 1300mm).

With 32mm eyepiece you'll be able to fit almost whole Pleiades into FOV:

image.png.032e301d3e6e6bf1c2f1587b2e373e84.png

and here is Orion's nebula:

image.png.8e4950df30ddb2a2737e9494ff7dbc53.png

Woah that is really helpful. 
Now I am really wondering if I should give the MAK 127 one more go and see. 
I will definitely need to get a better eye piece and I will have a look at the diagonal. 
Thanks again 🙂 

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7 minutes ago, Hena said:

Woah that is really helpful. 
Now I am really wondering if I should give the MAK 127 one more go and see. 
I will definitely need to get a better eye piece and I will have a look at the diagonal. 
Thanks again 🙂 

Mak127 will have more aperture but at 1500mm FL, it will also have narrower field of view. This is again not something that is very limiting - another popular telescope Celestron C6 has 1500mm of focal length and nobody is complaining of it having very small field of view.

Use this website to get the idea of what the field of view of different telescope / eyepiece combinations is:

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/

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10 minutes ago, Ags said:

Apologies - I missed that. Of my suggestions that only leaves the 100P.

Other thing that OP specified is - no Dobs :( so that pretty narrows down things. Btw, that 100mm newtonian has less light grasp than 90mm refractor.

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Well, I was expecting the 100P to by mounted on a tripod using the thread in its base. So not really a dob. 

Owning both a Mak 102 and a C6 I do find the narrower field of view to be an issue - not for looking at things but for finding them. Particularly from a city, a wider field that allows hunting for the target is invaluable. 

Having said that, Maks provide exceptional views when you can find the target. A Mak 102 was my only scope for an enjoyable 10 years.

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9 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Mak127 will have more aperture but at 1500mm FL, it will also have narrower field of view. This is again not something that is very limiting - another popular telescope Celestron C6 has 1500mm of focal length and nobody is complaining of it having very small field of view.

Use this website to get the idea of what the field of view of different telescope / eyepiece combinations is:

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/

That's a cool website, awesome. 
I think i am going to play on that for a while. Thanks for sharing

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Just now, Ags said:

Well, I was expecting the 100P to by mounted on a tripod using the thread in its base. So not really a dob. 

Indeed, that little scope has dove tail connection and although it comes with small dob mount - it can be used on a different mount/tripod. Totally overlooked that.

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Hena

I am also a beginner and was faced with the same dilemma. In the end I bought a Sky-Watcher MAK 102 - the same scope vlaiv recommends to you, although mine came on an EQ mount.

I think it is a very good starter scope, the planetary and lunar views (in my limited experience) are very good although I have not tried it yet on DSO. I did find the included eyepieces to be of very average quality and with poor eye relief. I have swapped them for a zoom lens https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ovl-eyepieces/hyperflex-72mm-215mm-eyepiece.html which is far better optical quality and saves me having to swap over the eyepieces. I also bought a 32mm  lens https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astro-essentials-eyepieces/astro-essentials-super-plossl-eyepiece.html which should help with the DSO finding and observing. I see that vlaiv also recommends changing the star diagonal, so it seems I will have to spend some more money!

Of course you will never meet all expectations in one scope but, given your requirements, I think a small MAK is a good place to begin.

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