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Should I Downsize?


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Definitely get a az gti mount and a doublet refractor, extremely lightweight set up that can get you up and running in minutes, I have a AzGti now in EQ mode with my sw 72ed and now I image instead of visual but before I started imaging I could be set up and aligned in 5 mins, like they say the best scope is the one you use the most. 

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On 23/07/2021 at 06:45, Cosmic Geoff said:

The Celestron C8 SE outfit (same aperture as a 8" Meade SCT) is light enough to be picked up as one lump and carried through a standard doorway.  I have mine as a quick-deploy outfit with the addition of a Starsense kit.

I easily do the same, even though I am 61 years old, 5' 4'' tall, and weigh 130 pounds. I keep mine set up in a shed, so I do not have to wait for it to cool down, I do the star alignment, as I don't have Starsense. About 5 minutes after I go out my door, I am aligned and observing.

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7 hours ago, AstroNebulee said:

Definitely get a az gti mount and a doublet refractor, extremely lightweight set up that can get you up and running in minutes, I have a AzGti now in EQ mode with my sw 72ed and now I image instead of visual but before I started imaging I could be set up and aligned in 5 mins, like they say the best scope is the one you use the most. 

A lot (an awful lot) depends on your skies. 

I have an AZ GTi that have used at home (Bortle 7/8) for planetary with a 127mak, but at our summer place in a Bortle 4 sky, it's just amazing with a 70mm refractor. 

Literally, with the darker skies, this (with the 70mm refractor) is the most fun with a scope that I've had, I think because:

Nice wide field of view - so Open Clusters look great against the background

High Contrast  - because using a refractor with no central obstruction

I am sure if I am finding my target - with a nice wide field of view, and a nice high contrast - not too expanded area, you can be pretty sure if your 'target' can be seen. 

I also have an 8" SCT, but I wouldn't bother taking it out unless I wanted to go to a specific dark sky area for a star party or similar. 

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I am a great believer in small telescopes. That's why I own the biggest small telescope you can get - a C6 SCT! At only 3.3 kgs the tube is light but 150 mm aperture is pretty good. That's enough aperture for many deep sky objects and also enough for decent magnification on the Moon and planets. I have an AZ-GTi that can handle the weight pretty well. I can also do some fun stuff with photography with the AZ-GTi - planetary and lunar imaging and even DSOs.

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Was just out with my 66mm ED scope. Nice dark night but clouds came along. I was impressed by the views of Saturn and Jupiter, M31 and some doubles.

Edited by Ags
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Agree with much of the great advice already given. Broadly it's just about what fits your situation best. Of course we'd all love a permanently installed, 12in scope in a back garden observatory, but for most that's unlikely. Convenience of setting up, breaking down etc in whatever your circumstances allow will usually play a big part in how often you observe. 

Since getting back into astronomy after a few years break, I have pretty much downsized as far as makes sense for normal visual observation; a 73mm semi-apo refractor (William Optics  ZS73), a Skywatcher AZ-GTi mount and a small selection of quality EPs. This means I can be up and running in a short time, easily take my kit away somewhere if I want, and the views are remarkably good for such a small aperture. 

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I started out thinking that bacause I can't get away from light pollution, I needed GOTO to help me find stuff, but when GOTO works it simply takes me straight to a dim object that's often not very impressive because of the light pollution. I now prefer completely manual setups with a big right angle, correct image finder for visual sessions, and take pleasure from finding the objects. The struggle to find them also makes me appreciate the objects more! 

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16 minutes ago, Ags said:

I started out thinking that bacause I can't get away from light pollution, I needed GOTO to help me find stuff, but when GOTO works it simply takes me straight to a dim object that's often not very impressive because of the light pollution. I now prefer completely manual setups with a big right angle, correct image finder for visual sessions, and take pleasure from finding the objects. The struggle to find them also makes me appreciate the objects more! 

I must admit the pleasure of first finding an object on your own is like nothing else. When I first found M13 in a 6“ newt under Bortle 9 skies I was overjoyed, despite it looking like nothing more than a faint grey smudge!

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On 23/07/2021 at 16:00, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Cosmic Geoff probably hit the nail on the head. Not much of a downsize, easier to move around and no polar aligning. Alt az goto alignment is quick once you know a few bright stars or have a planetarium app handy (guilty secret!)

Tbh I don't miss my 8" dob. Living in a light polluted urban area I couldn't really observe DSOs anyway. 

A 4" ed refractor with the option of quickly mounting it on a manual alt-az mount or a ten minute set up goto mount with good tracking for extended sessions is incredibly convenient and easy to use. All but the brightest DSOs are out of reach from home but widefield, double stars, lunar, planets and occasionally solar keeps me busy.

Don't be afraid to downsize if your skies are poor or you're not using that big scope, just adjust your observing habits and get out more. 😀

I agree about not missing a dob ... i have had a few of thewm and whilst they are great under dark skies they are not under skies of say bortle 5+ ( imo) ... i bought a widefield achromat and plan on getting a manual az mount . Easy to set up , easy to transport , easy to use ! No messing with polar alignment . Having had a Nexstar mount i found it underwhelming as it wasn't able to be used manually ( i know it wasn't designed for it ) cos sometimes you just want to swing a scope around , without worrying about powering the mount . The star discovery or the az gti would be my choices for powered alt az mounts .

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1 hour ago, badhex said:

I must admit the pleasure of first finding an object on your own is like nothing else. When I first found M13 in a 6“ newt under Bortle 9 skies I was overjoyed, despite it looking like nothing more than a faint grey smudge!

Absolutely agree ... i know its meant to be an easy target but when i found the ring nebula ( M57) by co-ordinates rather than a goto i felt great . I had actually seen this target already using goto , but the thrill of finding it later the same week manually was brilliant .

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44 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

I agree about not missing a dob ... i have had a few of thewm and whilst they are great under dark skies they are not under skies of say bortle 5+ ( imo) ... i bought a widefield achromat and plan on getting a manual az mount . Easy to set up , easy to transport , easy to use ! No messing with polar alignment . Having had a Nexstar mount i found it underwhelming as it wasn't able to be used manually ( i know it wasn't designed for it ) cos sometimes you just want to swing a scope around , without worrying about powering the mount . The star discovery or the az gti would be my choices for powered alt az mounts .

As probably seen elsewhere I've gone the other way slightly and picked up an AVX EQ goto mount... Being unable to justify the expense of a decent weight capacity alt az goto mount a used AVX dropping into my lap for much less than a new EQ5 was too good to pass up.

Despite anecdotes suggesting otherwise a 102mm f7 frac imho is too heavy and long for extended use on the fantastic little AZGTI. A 127mm Maksutov or 80mm f7 frac would be a max recommendation for that mount.

However the AZ5 and steel tripod will be kept for those short sessions or occasions like brief lunar observation between clouds. Low tech is great but it's also nice to have options.

 

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Thankyou for all the advice, although probably more unsure now.lol🙉

I think if i do change scopes I will keep the 10 inch dob then if iv made a big mistake i still have it and just move the new scope on again.

 

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Hi,

I think keeping the dob until you’re sure is a very good idea. Once it’s gone it’s gone and rather expensive these days to replace.

I am fortunate to have a few scopes, all second hand purchases.

Personally for a long time I thought I’d never want a dob, hated the thought of nudging, big and cumbersome and had used basic eq mounts with motor drives for most of my life.

I bought the 12” dob last year from another SGL member almost on a whim and with a big dose of aperture fever.

If your best scope is the one you use the most then I’ve got to eat a lot of humble pie over my prejudice towards dobs and nudging.

I’ve put mine on a base with locking wheels and it’s ready for use in seconds without the need to break it down.

At home, the other scopes hardly get a look in these days and going from max 8” aperture to 12” revealed more for me.

For traveling (and we’re hardly doing much of that lately) I use an EQ5 or AZ5 with the smaller scopes.

In conclusion, I was adamant for many years that I’d only ever get on with an eq mounted smaller scope but in the end, and very much to my surprise, at home it’s the dob I’m actually using the most.

Steve

 

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1 hour ago, Damien420 said:

Thankyou for all the advice, although probably more unsure now.lol🙉

I think if i do change scopes I will keep the 10 inch dob then if iv made a big mistake i still have it and just move the new scope on again.

 

Having preached on  and on about using small scopes and not missing my dob , last night i bought a 12" dob off another SGL  member .. it was a fantastic opportunity that i didnt want to miss ... so , next saturday  i will be the owner of said scope which will compliment my st120 on a manual mount ... just one thing ... im not sure where i will be sleeping when the wife sees the size of it lol :)

I think you are right to keep the dob as i have too many mistakes to remember about selling on scopes and regretting it 

Stu

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Thankyou for all the advice,

It left me thinking for a while for sure. 

Since the last post iv been and bought a LX90 8inch ACF with gps & LNT. 

Id like to say, I have had more enjoyment over the last two nights with this new  scope than I have ever had over 10 years with the big dob. No its not the lightest but the tripod is for me, a doddle to get out side and the ota although heavy, far easier to move arround. Plus its been out in the car twice which was impossible with the dob. 

I also set it off doing its thing while Iam waiting for it all to cool down so its set up time with the gps etc is not a problem or at least not one that bothers me.

I still have the dob for now and will at some point get them out side by side to view something and compare but up to now I feel it was a good choice.

Bring on more  clear skys 🌠

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, If you live in the UK then its nigh on difficult if not impossible to learn the night sky with naked eye or binoculars due to our yearly Cloud cover.

Get a goto, learn some major stars, you only need to know half dozen, you will pick up more names and recognise more stars as you go along.

I f you are wanting to progress into imaging at later date, get a reasoable EQ mount and use Sharpcap pro for all your needs including Polar Alignment whilst outdoor.

There are lots of processing software out there, some free to enhance and save your captured images.

Eric

 

 

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