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Only One Telescope!?


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Reading the above some love EQ mounts, some an Alt-az.  When I bought my first scope in 1979, an Alt-az was regarded as very second class, a beginners’ mount if you couldn’t afford an EQ.

Thankfully times have changed and the Alt-az is preferred by many including myself.

If any new folks are reading this, please don’t take it that the EQ mount is not worth having. For many, EQ is the way to go, it’s simply a case of finding out what suits YOU, not someone else.

Ed.

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Interesting and enjoyable video from Ed as always. Hard to argue with logic of an 8” dob, especially when price and convenience is taken into consideration. 
 

I’ve only used a limited range of scopes (basically those in my sig). They all have their pros and cons. The SCT is not so good on tight doubles (due to ‘hairy’ stars), wide field or solar.  The 4” refractor is not so good on faint fuzzies and globs. The 6” Newt is not ideal for solar, wide field and theoretically not very flexible for binoviewing, which is a must for me when solar system viewing now. So none of them are the perfect all rounders. So what would I choose as my only scope out of my meagre collection? Given that my skies rarely get dark enough to see really faint fuzzies, and rarely get stable enough to allow larger apertures to outperform on planets, then the 4” frac is probably the winner in most situations, but to be honest, I would also be fine with either of the other two as my only scope, I would adapt my viewing to suit.  🙂
 

Edited by RobertI
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4 minutes ago, NGC 1502 said:

Reading the above some love EQ mounts, some an Alt-az.  When I bought my first scope in 1979, an Alt-az was regarded as very second class, a beginners’ mount if you couldn’t afford an EQ.

Very true! I also bought my first scope in 1979 - it was a  6” Newt on an EQ mount and I used it happily for many years. But I have really come to love alt-az mounts over recent years and rarely use EQs for visual observing now. 

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Its a difficult question, I like my ZS71 but wish it had a much shorter focal length so I could get single figure magnifications but get round that by having my DSLR attached and do all my viewing with the flippy live view screen....the 56x5 gun scope I have also gives great views.

Alan

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Having owned alt az mounted 130mm & 150mm newtonians, an 8" dob, a 120mm f5 achro refractor, a 102mm Maksutov and an EQ(and alt az) mounted 102mm ED refractor I'd have to choose the 102ED & EQ goto mount as my favourite 'do all' combination considering the urban environment I observe in. However, in the future I'll highly likely pick up a 120mm f7.5 apo doublet. Not crackers expensive, easy to mount on my existing kit and that little bit extra light grasp.

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4 hours ago, JeremyS said:

Great video by Ed Ting.

Was surprised to find I own 2 of his top 3 scopes.

I've owned his number 1 scope - but sold it a few years back !

At least getting another isn't too difficult (normally :rolleyes2:)

 

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One of the Lunt 130mm double stacked solar scopes makes a pretty good case as a single instrument solution, if you’re fortunate to get top performing etalons: also doubles up as a 130mm triplet nighttime scope. Just add night vision and a Herschel wedge and you’re all set! 

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On 19/09/2021 at 11:22, F15Rules said:

When I bought the Tak 4.5 years ago, after many years of buying and selling various scopes, I knew I had  bought my personal "Forever Scope" - and I feel just the same now.  

 

I'm leaning towards a fast 90mm triplet for my forever scope, but not completely sure yet.  Maybe a 102ED - a little more grasp and definitely cheaper.

Edited by jjohnson3803
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40 minutes ago, jjohnson3803 said:

I'm leaning towards a fast 90mm triplet for my forever scope, but not completely sure yet.  Maybe a 102ED - a little more grasp and definitely cheaper.

I tried a "lifetime / forever / just one scope" 90mm refractor a few years back. It was a 90mm William Optics Megrez ED doublet. Nice scope but I found that 90mm aperture was just not enough to keep me satisfied for long on either planetary viewing or the deeper sky. Now my smallest scope is 100mm for this reason.

 

Edited by John
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If I could just have one telescope, it would be my Skywatcher 120ED. I've had it now for over 8 years and I've slowly upgraded the focuser, tube rings, dove tail bracket, added a Astrotech Vixen  handle, even added a new tripod to the mix, with a 12" Losmandy pier. Coupled with my Celestron AVx smart mount with Starsense, its a very easy system to use and enjoy.

I've sold a few smaller Takahashi's for this size refractor because its very light weight and the optics are incredible. ( 10.8 pound OTA only ) As a lifetime telescope, I'll have to be able to manage it throughout the rest of my life and this one is light enough with enough aperture to keep me happy for back yard observing.  I have larger APO refractors and some large SCT's, but I think in the end, this is the one that will keep me happy when everything else starts getting too heavy.

The happy backyard astronomer,

...Ralph

SW120ED_AVx_Tpod_s.jpg

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58 minutes ago, John said:

I tried a "lifetime / forever / just one scope" 90mm refractor a few years back. It was a 90mm William Optics Megrez ED doublet. Nice scope but I found that 90mm aperture was just not enough to keep me satisfied for long on either planetary viewing or the deeper sky. Now my smallest scope is 100mm for this reason.

 

I'd tend to agree..unless you are an imager, and therefore want a Triplet specifically for that use, a good used modern doublet of 100 - 120mm will give you largely false colour free observing and show you a good deal more. And it probably won't weigh much more - especially at the front end..and will be less likely to get out of alignment..and will take less time to cool down...and will look more like a "proper" scope..and..and..and..

😊😂👍

Dave

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My 8" f/4 Hofheim Instruments traveldob, here shown on the recently released equatorial platform, without the shroud, to show the construction details (and John L. Dobson's signature on one of the trusses!). Very compact, lightweight (8 kgs in toto), can be carried out of the shed in a single haul, Excellent optics, that hold collimation well, a smoothly operating Dob mount. At the moment, in a permanently setup situation - I hope, that one day I will be able to collapse it and to travel with it to view the southern skies.

I guess, it will follow me some day into the nursing home....;-)

DSC_0042.thumb.JPG.b1a8e969ffc9ae5fecd9aa5b1d8cf03c.JPG

Still valid up to this moment...

Stephan

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On 19/09/2021 at 21:24, NGC 1502 said:

Thankfully times have changed and the Alt-az is preferred by many including myself.

Hyper wide-field modern eyepiece designs have contributed to this Alt-az revival. As noted above, star-hopping is much easier, intuitive and at higher powers the wider FOVs allow more drift time to observe. Plus there is much less faff setting up, just point and look. Time is of the essence under UK skies!

4" refractor for me.

Edited by Franklin
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I can't imagine any telescope ever again giving me the same thrill that my circa 1976 Tascoesque 60mm refractor gave me. So everything else is a compromise.

If I had to down size to just one of the scopes I've owned, and therefore have experience of, it would be Ye Olde 6.25 in Fullerscopes Newt. Utilitarian, manageable and a great optics. 

Yeah, star hopping with an EQ mount is *fun* but luckily I can recognise star patterns better than I can remember members of my own family.

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2 hours ago, Paul M said:

I can't imagine any telescope ever again giving me the same thrill that my circa 1976 Tascoesque 60mm refractor gave me. So everything else is a compromise.

If I had to down size to just one of the scopes I've owned, and therefore have experience of, it would be Ye Olde 6.25 in Fullerscopes Newt. Utilitarian, manageable and a great optics. 

Yeah, star hopping with an EQ mount is *fun* but luckily I can recognise star patterns better than I can remember members of my own family.

Yes the thrill of those first views stay with you, regardless of how small the scope was.

Edited by RobertI
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11 hours ago, aa6ww said:

If I could just have one telescope, it would be my Skywatcher 120ED. I've had it now for over 8 years and I've slowly upgraded the focuser, tube rings, dove tail bracket, added a Astrotech Vixen  handle, even added a new tripod to the mix, with a 12" Losmandy pier. Coupled with my Celestron AVx smart mount with Starsense, its a very easy system to use and enjoy.

I've sold a few smaller Takahashi's for this size refractor because its very light weight and the optics are incredible. ( 10.8 pound OTA only ) As a lifetime telescope, I'll have to be able to manage it throughout the rest of my life and this one is light enough with enough aperture to keep me happy for back yard observing.  I have larger APO refractors and some large SCT's, but I think in the end, this is the one that will keep me happy when everything else starts getting too heavy.

The happy backyard astronomer,

...Ralph

SW120ED_AVx_Tpod_s.jpg

That is my dream scope with a Ioptron AZ pro 

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I made a video with the same title a few years back and concluded that "if you could only own one scope" it would be an ED100 f/7 refractor.  I also gave a budget option of a 150p f/5 Newtonian because the refractor might price some people out. 

I'll watch Ed's video after work and see what he came up with, cheers :)

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Chris said:

I made a video with the same title a few years back and concluded that "if you could only own one scope" it would be an ED100 f/7 refractor.  I also gave a budget option of a 150p f/5 Newtonian because the refractor might price some people out. 

I'll watch Ed's video after work and see what he came up with, cheers :)

 

 

I recommend this video! 👍

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I reckon that I am still searching for my forever 'scope, but even after only 12 months in the game  I have a better idea of what that might look like - and tend to agree with aa6ww above - needs to find that sweet spot between light grab and portability/ease of set up. I am erring towards 4" apo refractor, probably a double rather than triple as i sense imaging is unlikely to be something I will stick with. I love my Photoline 130, but it is damned heavy and in time will become too heavy for my aging frame to lunk outside. My Tak 76 is a joy to use, but I am conscious of its small aperture being a little limiting. Time will tell where I leap, but I probably need to do some side by side comparisons to see what the real differences are with something that sits between the two.

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15 hours ago, aa6ww said:

If I could just have one telescope, it would be my Skywatcher 120ED. I've had it now for over 8 years and I've slowly upgraded the focuser, tube rings, dove tail bracket, added a Astrotech Vixen  handle, even added a new tripod to the mix, with a 12" Losmandy pier. Coupled with my Celestron AVx smart mount with Starsense, its a very easy system to use and enjoy.

I've sold a few smaller Takahashi's for this size refractor because its very light weight and the optics are incredible. ( 10.8 pound OTA only ) As a lifetime telescope, I'll have to be able to manage it throughout the rest of my life and this one is light enough with enough aperture to keep me happy for back yard observing.  I have larger APO refractors and some large SCT's, but I think in the end, this is the one that will keep me happy when everything else starts getting too heavy.

The happy backyard astronomer,

...Ralph

SW120ED_AVx_Tpod_s.jpg

Lovely setup you have there, Ralph😊.. and a very tidy back yard (or garden, as we say over here 😊).

As you say, that could easily be a lifetime scope.

Dave

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