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Another newbie here,

i've found myself here after spending weeks trying to understand what scope to get.

 

I've been promising to show my daughter and nephew Mars and the other planets but also want to see deep space objects and would like to do so astrophotography.  I'd also like a mount that will point the scope in the right direction controlled from my iphone.

 

I'm still researching but understand that some scopes are better at DSO, others at solar system objects and i could spend thousands on stuff.

 

i'm thinking a Catadioptric Cassegrains would be a good choice to start, key attributes being the shorter lengths and performance.

 

The Celestron Astro Fi range appears to fulfil my "control by iPhone" requirement, so i've been looking at a couple of their scopes, specifically:

 

Celestron Astro Fi 125mm (5") Schmidt-Cassegrain (SCT)

Celestron Astro Fi 127mm (5") Maksutov

would i get away with this?

Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain

 

I'm hoping that if i get into this more seriously i can upgrade the OTA with a more capable unit, reusing the iPhone controlled mount.

 

Is this a sensible approach?

 

field of view calculator shows me this comparison to what is i believe the closest specs of the scopes i've chosen

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=1945|283|||1||&fov[]=4562|283|||1||&fov[]=70|283|||1||&messier=31

Any advice and help welcome.

 

 

 

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The trouble is that a scope which is good for planetary will not be good for DSO astrophotography and visa versa. A Cat would let you view planets/moon but would be far from ideal if you wanted to do any DSO astrophotography. Therefore you need to think what you really want to do. Lots of people start with a big scope like a Dob. and do observation for a while before moving into astrophotography which can be a money pit.

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The problem with any scope chsen for all round use is that it will not be the best at anything. Not that there is anything wrong with choosing a scope that can do a bit of everything but you just have to accept it will be a comprimise. 

That’s why most wanting to do all round observing and AP end up with two or three scopes. A mak or SCT can be great for lunar / planetary but a refractor can be better for DSOs or AP if it isn’t a long focal length.

Many here own a mak or SCT, a refractor and a dob.

A dob is a great first choice as it can do planets and DSOs quite well depending on which particular one is chosen but not for AP. 

 

Edited by johninderby
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Thanks Peter,

any advice on an app controlled Dobson? Would dobson's be better at viewing DSO's?

i was thinking for DSO the Cat's would let me at least see some and that would perhaps generate interest in me to look at more capable scopes for DSO and then onwards to AP.

saving space and portability is a consideration at the moment.

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, chris-star said:

I'm hoping that if i get into this more seriously i can upgrade the OTA with a more capable unit, reusing the iPhone controlled mount.

 

Is this a sensible approach?

In a word, no. The sets you are looking at are limited by the stability of the mount and the scope options listed are probably right at the capability of the mount, if not over it, so there is no possibility of putting a larger telescope on it. However, the telescopes in that set are good quality and could happily be used on a better mount in future. I think most people here would look at the Skywatcher GTI mount over the Astro fi for these types of scopes, as it at least has the possibility of upgrading to a high quality photo-tripod or 3/8" fitting astronomy tripod to increase stability.

As for astrophotography, you might be able to use the Astrofi series for planetary photography but for DSOs you will require a substantially beefier and more expensive EQ-mounted setup.

 

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7 minutes ago, chris-star said:

Thanks Peter,

any advice on an app controlled Dobson? Would dobson's be better at viewing DSO's?

i was thinking for DSO the Cat's would let me at least see some and that would perhaps generate interest in me to look at more capable scopes for DSO and then onwards to AP.

saving space and portability is a consideration at the moment.

 

 

 

I cannot advise I'm afraid. I keep my set ups simple and use the handset to control - never used an App.

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Thanks johninderby, Riccochet,

 

really great info.

i'm not expecting a Hubble like experience & i fully expect i'll need to buy additional scopes etc but first i need to get into it, hence the app controlled scope so i can at least get it to show me stuff & maybe astrophotography was a bit of a stretch, but i'm expecting to take snaps of stuff for my own reference and perhaps comparison as i develop and buy new kit.

i've been looking at the skywatcher stuff and wondered how capable it is.

being able to reuse mounts when buying a new OTA will help spread the cost of upgrades

 

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Perhaps something like the AZ-GTi 127 mak to start and then later on something like an Evostar 72ED OTA for DSOs and some AP and small and light enough to suit the AZ-GTi mount. You can fit a small wedge to the mount and use it in EQ mode which you would want for AP.

A smartphone can be used for some basic AP and a cheap way to start. 👍🏻

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/sky-watcher-evostar-72ed-ds-pro-ota.html

Edited by johninderby
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The AZ-GTi with 127mm mak would give you tracking (useful with children observing) and longer focal length for -planets,. the Moon and smaller DSO objects, though DSO for observing it is the thrill or the object even if visually it is a grey smudge. The Moon and planets tend to be imaged  using video, either a DSLR that supports video crop mode like Canon 550d or 600d (no idea what you have) or webcam or astro camera and  there is also a forum section on smart phone imaging too to see what members are managing with phones.

The AZ-GTi has the potential with a fireware update to be used in EQ mode better for DSO phytography but I would swap the telescope off the mount and use a camera lens or small refractor as the smaller lighter the better plus many DSO are quite large.

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/348979-imaging-with-an-az-gti/

.

Edited by happy-kat
I forgot to mention webcam
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37 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Perhaps something like the AZ-GTi 127 mak to start and then later on something like an Evostar 72ED OTA for DSOs and some AP and small and light enough to suit the AZ-GTi mount. You can fit a small wedge to the mount and use it in EQ mode which you would want for AP.

A smartphone can be used for some basic AP and a cheap way to start. 👍🏻

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/sky-watcher-evostar-72ed-ds-pro-ota.html

 

this is very much what i had in mind thankyou.

 

 

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1 hour ago, happy-kat said:

The AZ-GTi with 127mm mak would give you tracking (useful with children observing) and longer focal length for -planets,. the Moon and smaller DSO objects, though DSO for observing it is the thrill or the object even if visually it is a grey smudge. The Moon and planets tend to be imaged  using video, either a DSLR that supports video crop mode like Canon 550d or 600d (no idea what you have) or webcam or astro camera and  there is also a forum section on smart phone imaging too to see what members are managing with phones.

The AZ-GTi has the potential with a fireware update to be used in EQ mode better for DSO phytography but I would swap the telescope off the mount and use a camera lens or small refractor as the smaller lighter the better plus many DSO are quite large.

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/348979-imaging-with-an-az-gti/

.

those photos look amazing. I do have a lot to learn about this but then that is half the fun!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

so thinking about it, losing out on a celestron astro fi 102 mak and thinking/researching some more i think i understand more now about the great advice i have received re the AZ GTI.

 

I can't find a wedge for the astro fi & even if 1 existed i've not seen any mention of operating the astrofi mount in eq mode. I see the nextstar looks similar & has a wedge but they start at £349 as opposed to the £51 for the sky watcher GTi wedge. I do wonder if the skywatcher wedge could be used with nextstar but appreciate given the price difference the GTi wedge is likely very little comparison to the celestron wedge for some technical reason. 

If i want an app controlled GoTo mount that i can potentially do some EQ Astro Photography with a cost effective wedge then the SkyWatcher gets me the best bang per pound. Obviously bearing in mind this is all entry level kit to wet my appetite and i should expect to pay far more if i get into it. The cost of the nextstar wedge alone (if i went down the nextstar route) would buy me the skywatcher wedge, better tripod, camera adapter, filters, battery pack & a some other stuff i don't even know i need yet if i went sky watcher, and of course if i want to take photo's i'll likely get a new scope or camera lens's to go with the eq modded mount

Now if only someone had a AZ-GTi with 127mm mak for sale!

its looking like at least march before the next shipment arrives, i wonder if there is a reason they don't air freight them in this time of high demand.

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I think the important phrase you used was “get into it”. The learning and gradual approach is the one that I believe makes perfect sense.

The pretty pictures don’t help because (as you realise), they don’t tell you the whole story.

Observing a fuzzy blob in my Dobsonian might not be as sexy as a recording of beautiful coloured ellipse. However it is just that, a recording.

Seeing a live view with nothing between that galaxy and my eye apart from a bit of glass, two mirrors and Earths atmosphere is just as big a hit as the pretty picture for me.

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On 19/01/2021 at 07:53, Spile said:

I think the important phrase you used was “get into it”. The learning and gradual approach is the one that I believe makes perfect sense.

The pretty pictures don’t help because (as you realise), they don’t tell you the whole story.

Observing a fuzzy blob in my Dobsonian might not be as sexy as a recording of beautiful coloured ellipse. However it is just that, a recording.

Seeing a live view with nothing between that galaxy and my eye apart from a bit of glass, two mirrors and Earths atmosphere is just as big a hit as the pretty picture for me.

That is so totally true!

 

As literally no one has any telescopes for sale I found an astro fi 5" sct on amazon for £500 with delivery in mid feb so put in an order as a banker.

Yesterday morning i saw they had the same scope for next day delivery but at £550.

i changed my delivery method and it said i'd get it today (Thursday) instead with no extra cost!!

 

Super cloudy here in Farnborough early evening tonight so after assembly and checking the mount worked with my app etc i parked the OTA  in the shed. Need to have a look out my windows tomorrow to find a suitable thing to align the red dot against

~9pm the skies had cleared so i had a play in the garden.

The app is fiddly but i managed to point the telescope at the Moon.

Seeing the moon in the detail i saw tonight was simply amazing, I tried aligning on Mars but gave up, saw plenty of stars between the Moon and Mars though.

 

 

Now need to find a good powerbank, am i best off paying the £70 for the celestron tank or one of the cheaper things on amazon?

 

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This thread has been an interesting read and I have to say confirms what I thought - no one scope does all, choose an area to focus on and make the leap! I myself have decide to add the 127 azi GTI to my arsenal- sounds a superb set up for what it does and offers the capability to expand further 

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On 22/01/2021 at 12:23, Beardy30 said:

choose an area to focus on

Now that really is the challenge. Child in a sweety shop - Pick n Mix or do I just go for the box of Thornton Continentals?

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