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What telescope do you use for planetary observing.


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I have been looking for a small to medium size telescope to add to my armoury of scopes.This one specifically to observe the planets.

 Stu of Bishops Stortford put his Celestron Nexstar SE 102 Maksutov up for sale. There was my opportunity, thanks Stu.

I have posted an image of it on my AZ GTi mount. Getting it ready to look at the planets this Summer. I have changed the standard red dot finder and bracket. Hoping to find an 1 1/4 inch visual back with a brass securing ring.

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  • Guest changed the title to What telescope do you use for planetary observing.

I use my Fullerscope 8” f8 but yours looks much more compact ;) It gave me great views of Mars last year and one really crisp view of Jupiter and Saturn so far this year. We need some good steady clear skies!

Mark

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Grumpy that's a capable little setup, similar to my Skymax 102/AZGTI and Skywatcher steel tripod. While planetary observing, the AZGTI Point and Track is incredibly simple to use. No messing with alignment. About as quick to set up as using a manual mount with none of the faff of using slomos or nudging. Walk away, come back later and the planet is still in the fov. It's amazing tech we have at our fingertips!

Although tbh I prefer the 4" f7 ed scope. The image just about has the edge over the Skymax without the temperamental focusing.

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1 hour ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Grumpy that's a capable little setup, similar to my Skymax 102/AZGTI and Skywatcher steel tripod. While planetary observing, the AZGTI Point and Track is incredibly simple to use. No messing with alignment. About as quick to set up as using a manual mount with none of the faff of using slomos or nudging. Walk away, come back later and the planet is still in the fov. It's amazing tech we have at our fingertips!

Although tbh I prefer the 4" f7 ed scope. The image just about has the edge over the Skymax without the temperamental focusing.

I to would like to get the 100 mm ED f7 some day.

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I use the same telescope i use for everything else, my jack of all trades and master of none: OOUK VX8. With the Native focal ratio of F4.4 it is not optimal for planetary observations having a 30% or so linear obstruction, but so far i have no complaints. Not that i would know even if it could be better since this is the best scope i have looked through.

But Jupiter shows nice detail in multiple distinct bands and some noticeable "swirls" between them. The Moon is always a joy to look at. Sharp as a knife views guaranteed at reasonable altitudes.

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10 hours ago, Grumpy Martian said:

I to would like to get the 100 mm ED f7 some day.

These seem to get good reviews and are well priced. 

https://www.altairastro.com/starwave-ascent-102ed-f7-refractor-telescope-geared-focuser-468-p.asp

Thing is though Martin, you’ve had some lovely scopes and don’t seem satisfied with them so it’s hard to know what might work for you.

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For planetary viewing I use a 4” F/8 refractor for grab and go and a 5” F/8 refractor if the weather is steady.

The best planetary scope I owned was a Skywatcher 250P Newtonian, it was very sharp and had great contrast but my bad back did not like it’s weight 😕

Edited by dweller25
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The Celestron XLT102ED, your old Skywatcher 120ED and the Altair Starwave 102 f/11 I own have all given excellent views over the years.

The thing is with planetary that the seeing plays such a large part.

You know my armoury of scopes only too well and whilst I've had what I considered to be excellent views of Jupiter through all of them the view that I had of Jupiter in the small hours of 22nd July with the ED100 far surpassed and views I'd had previously so I can only put that down to excellent seeing conditions at that time.

Ade

 

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21 minutes ago, dweller25 said:

Which gives the best planetary views ?

 

Have to say the Quad Astreya TMB APM classic is hard to beat I find it as good as the TOA150 I had  not had a lot of chance to try out the C9.25 on planets yet so that may well be up there obviously the TSA 120 is excellent the 150 ED is one of the best Doublets I’ve tried in that size range but the TMB edges it even giving an inch away

The WO TEC 110 is sweet too gives a wider field of view also 

 

 

 

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In the main I use a 16" SCT and occasionally a SW150ED being as it is piggybacked on the same mount.  Anything smaller gives too dim an image for my ageing eyesight at the magnifications I now need to see planetary detail.     :happy72:

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7 hours ago, Stu said:

These seem to get good reviews and are well priced. 

https://www.altairastro.com/starwave-ascent-102ed-f7-refractor-telescope-geared-focuser-468-p.asp

Thing is though Martin, you’ve had some lovely scopes and don’t seem satisfied with them so it’s hard to know what might work for you.

You're absolutely right Stu. I have owned and sold some lovely telescopes. I still enjoy my 8 inch Orion.

I now have some small to medium size telescopes and look forward to keeping and enjoying them.

Thanks for your help.

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7 hours ago, AdeKing said:

The Celestron XLT102ED, your old Skywatcher 120ED and the Altair Starwave 102 f/11 I own have all given excellent views over the years.

The thing is with planetary that the seeing plays such a large part.

You know my armoury of scopes only too well and whilst I've had what I considered to be excellent views of Jupiter through all of them the view that I had of Jupiter in the small hours of 22nd July with the ED100 far surpassed and views I'd had previously so I can only put that down to excellent seeing conditions at that time.

Ade

 

Ade, I think that you are well equipped when it comes to refractors lol. I once had an ED 100 mm. It did give sharp and high contrast views of the planets. At the time I mistakenly thought that you could improve on that.By getting a larger image of the planets (larger image scale) with a larger apature telescope. You probably can, but not with the sharpness of a quality refractor.

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11 minutes ago, badhex said:

Usually this one:

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But recently also this one:

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Lovely setup indeed.

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To answer the original question in the title, I would say my Vixen FL102S and Orion Optics 8” f8 are my two favourite planetary scopes currently. The Vixen has a longer focal length (900mm) vs the 740mm of my FC100DC so is just that bit easier to get to high power. It is quite happy up to x300 when conditions allow.

When the seeing is good, the 8” f8 can really stretch its legs, taking me up to x360 and would probably manage more if pushed. It does show noticeably more detail due to the increased resolution. It is quite unwieldy compared with the Vixen though, and requires an EQ Platform to provide tracking and make observing more relaxed. Still quite quick to  setup though. 

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The 102 Mak should be pretty darn good for planetary. Amazing what you can see with 102mm of aperture. I really enjoyed using my new 102ED-R on Mars last year, some amazing views with bino-viewers. Can’t wait to give it a go on Jupiter and Saturn. I will try and give a proper  comparison with my 8” SCT and 150PL newt, as in theory they should all be really good for planetary. The 102ED-R is so easy to mount and use though, with such a crisp image, I suspect it will be my scope of choice for planetary. 

Edited by RobertI
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