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Portable / Travel Scope recommendation?


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Hi All, 

I currently use a celestron 130 reflector as my scope at home and after booking a holiday in southern Scotland decided I'd take it with me in the hope of some clear and dark skies. Anyway, long story short, I didn't have enough room to take it and then had the best skies I've seen in ages so I've decided I want a scope I can travel with.

I'm thinking about a slokey 50080 as it comes with the tripod and a travel bag. Does anyone have any experience with slokey scopes or can recommend something similar.  I'm thinking a 500/80 refractor is about right for portability?

Cheers

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Never heard of that brand before. Lot of these off brands are poor quality and poor value.

The scope you mention is very overpriced. Would expect to pay less than £100.00 for it.Would advise sticking to name brands such as Skywatcher or Celestron.

In that price range something like this will be of far higher quality and comes with a decent mount.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-evostar-90-660-az-pronto.html

Edited by johninderby
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No mention of budget so a little guesswork, but since you already are used to a reflector https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/sky-watcher-heritage-150p-flextube-dobsonian-telescope.html

Packs up small, so portable and many many people love it and it's little brother the 130

Or if you want to go a little more electronic, there is also this version - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/sky-watcher-heritage-150p-flextube-virtuoso-gti.html

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Thanks both for the advice.  Liking the look of the evostar.  Not used a Dobsonian before and always wondered how easy they are to keep stable on uneven ground but the fact it's a 150 might sway me in that direction.

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I'm a bit confused.  The Celestron 130 doesn't appear to be that big of a scope relative to something like a solid tube 8" Dobsonian.  How small of a car do you drive to Scotland?  How much other luggage goes with you to Scotland?  My daughter takes her Chevy Equinox camping.  It has plenty of room for her, her fiance, her dog, their camping gear, their clothing, a 127 Mak, tripod, and alt-az mount.  It's considered a rather compact SUV by American standards (as compared to a Chevy Traverse or Suburban).  I take my old Chevy Astro van camping, and I can pack my 15" truss Dob in back fully collapsed with plenty of room to spare for gear for the entire family with the third seat removed.

It would help to understand exactly how you're getting to Scotland, and how much space you have to spare before making travel scope recommendations.

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Equinox would be a pretty big car by UK standards!

As I intimated in my thread, whatever space you have in a UK car WILL be filled on a camping trip. Even my mate who drives a Ford Ranger uses a roof box too and complains about lack of space. 

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7 hours ago, johninderby said:

Yep, my father-in-law downsized to a Chevy Suburban a couple of decades ago from a full size 1990s Chevy Van like the one below after empty nesting.  He absolutely loves it.

spacer.png

Suburbans are referred to as Texas station wagons (estate cars) around here.  However, full sized pickups are more popular due to their utility.

7 hours ago, DhamR said:

Equinox would be a pretty big car by UK standards!

Interesting, they're considered a compact SUV by Texas standards.

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On 13/11/2021 at 03:52, Louis D said:

I'm a bit confused.  The Celestron 130 doesn't appear to be that big of a scope relative to something like a solid tube 8" Dobsonian.  How small of a car do you drive to Scotland?  How much other luggage goes with you to Scotland?  My daughter takes her Chevy Equinox camping.  It has plenty of room for her, her fiance, her dog, their camping gear, their clothing, a 127 Mak, tripod, and alt-az mount.  It's considered a rather compact SUV by American standards (as compared to a Chevy Traverse or Suburban).  I take my old Chevy Astro van camping, and I can pack my 15" truss Dob in back fully collapsed with plenty of room to spare for gear for the entire family with the third seat removed.

It would help to understand exactly how you're getting to Scotland, and how much space you have to spare before making travel scope recommendations.

One of these....(I'm not joking)

OIP.jpg

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On 14/11/2021 at 01:31, Louis D said:

Yep, my father-in-law downsized to a Chevy Suburban a couple of decades ago from a full size 1990s Chevy Van like the one below after empty nesting.  He absolutely loves it.

spacer.png

Suburbans are referred to as Texas station wagons (estate cars) around here.  However, full sized pickups are more popular due to their utility.

Interesting, they're considered a compact SUV by Texas standards.

Or the British van. Wouldn’t want to pay the fuel bill though.  🙂

46445CAC-C32F-4CCE-9748-A9D89A82E434.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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On 11/11/2021 at 11:22, WatcherF said:

I didn't have enough room to take it

What part of it was it that caused you the most trouble? Was it the OTA itself or the EQ mount and tripod? I would be inclined to look at alt/az mount options that use a 3/8" threaded mount so that you can pack a much smaller photographic tripod. The Skywatcher Pronto, AZ5 and AZGti ranges all fit the bill.

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I too have never heard of the 'Stokey' brand either and would stick to a well known one, i.e. Celestron, Meade, SkyWatcher, etc.

One of my most used travel 'scopes is my 're-modded' Meade ETX105, as shown in the images below, mounted on a Universal Astronomics DwarfStar mount and Manfrotto PROB tripod.

IMG_0660.thumb.JPG.c0cda8510acd51b8dccf7f8596e13ace.JPGA5057402-94DE-4E35-A2DE-D8A6BDEFB67B.thumb.jpeg.2165097e2282e5347993d6249a14bd74.jpeg

 

For additional stability and long time viewing and comfort, etc., the mounts I use are either a AOK-AYO* [left] or Tele-Optic Giro* [right]...

IMG_0580.thumb.JPG.fc6f227bf7e974dd59c6c96ea3f25fe2.JPG

 

* these mounts can also be aatached to the Manfrotto [or any photo/video tripod] with 3/8" thread. 

Edited by Philip R
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Joking aside, a 102mm Maksutov and accessories (diagonal, 6x30 finderscope, 32mm plossl and zoom eyepiece) fits in a camera bag. The tripod and mount are chucked in the boot willy nilly.

56733342_IMG_20210424_1959036812.thumb.jpg.50fdac1f603057676165336eb65851aa.jpg

Although I do tend to leave the kit in the boot. During the last five trips, I've been quite happy using those 10x50s. Only using the telescope once...

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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3 hours ago, WatcherF said:

One of these....(I'm not joking)

OIP.jpg

My apologies.  I could almost fit that in the back of my Astro Van with the seats removed.

That's basically a commuter-only car here in the States.  Generally, we would have a larger vehicle for weekends and family trips that sits idle during the work week.

I have no idea how much space you'd have left for a scope and mount/tripod after putting your normal luggage in it.  Maybe an image of it fully loaded for a trip would help.

1 hour ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

10x50 binoculars should fit in the boot.

Or possibly 15x70mm binos.  Heck, I was quite happy scanning the skies around the eclipsed moon with my 8x42mm binos Friday morning.

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3 hours ago, johninderby said:

Or the British van. Wouldn’t want to pay the fuel bill though.  🙂

46445CAC-C32F-4CCE-9748-A9D89A82E434.jpeg

As I said above, these big gas guzzlers are reserved for weekend and family duty here in the States.  They do become the commuter vehicle when the normal commuter car is in the shop for repairs.  I can attest they are expensive to fill up even in the States for daily driving duty.  However, they are great for hauling the family on weekend outings and weeks long road trips.

According to the web, the average number of cars per Brit (1.2/household) is lower than in the US (1.9/household).  Thus, it's less common to have extra vehicles for leisure trips in the UK.  I know our household peaked at 5 vehicles when we had 5 drivers for a time living at home, all going different directions at the same time.  We're down to 3 vehicles for 2 drivers now that we're working empty nesters.

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That UK Transit will do more than 40 MPG if Diesel, which it liekly is.
Even my 14 years old REnault Master turns in 34 MPG and thats a lump of a Camper Van.

As to the OP, if space really is tight and in a Fiat 500 it is, how about a decent pair of Binoculars,
can be very pleasing on dark skies while away, it's what I often do when away in the Camper Van.

 

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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

In my area average is two cars per household which is typical of the suburbs. Lower in the cities where people avoid driving if they can. In London it’s 0.8 cars.

 

1 hour ago, Louis D said:

As I said above, these big gas guzzlers are reserved for weekend and family duty here in the States.  They do become the commuter vehicle when the normal commuter car is in the shop for repairs.  I can attest they are expensive to fill up even in the States for daily driving duty.  However, they are great for hauling the family on weekend outings and weeks long road trips.

According to the web, the average number of cars per Brit (1.2/household) is lower than in the US (1.9/household).  Thus, it's less common to have extra vehicles for leisure trips in the UK.  I know our household peaked at 5 vehicles when we had 5 drivers for a time living at home, all going different directions at the same time.  We're down to 3 vehicles for 2 drivers now that we're working empty nesters.

It's very common in this country for families living on the outer urban or suburban areas to have two cars. It's very rare to leave one standing for weekends only. That is the preserve of the very well off or car enthusiasts. We're in the two car bracket,  a commuting car - 45mpg and an AWD SUV - 35mpg... Although the smaller hatchback hardly gets used, so we *may* go down to one car to save money.

The Fiat 500 is common sight on UK roads, although I believe the most common type is the slightly larger sub-compact/hatchback.If ever giving advice to UK members there's a good chance they will own one of those.

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/best-selling-cars-uk

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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OK so firstly, thanks for the advice (and the chuckles about what Americans call a small car).

After a bit more looking and keeping in mind some of tbe commemts I've settled on an Acuter Mak80 and an Alt/AZ mount and tripod. Not only will it fit into to the car but also into my backpack when wild camping in tbe Cairngorms.  Seems like a good allrounder. 

@Louis D at this point there is no car...everything I need for 5 days is on my back. 😀

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