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skywatcher 102 mak for DSOs


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Struggling to find the right telescope. Dobs aren’t an option unfortunately.

Other than planets is there anything you can see with a 102 mak?

Just thinking that if Saturn and Jupiter are are low in the sky does this render the telescope somewhat useless?

 

Thanks!

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Maks have longer focal ratios and hence a narrower field of view than a fast reflector or refractor. A few DSOs have a large angular size and won't fit into the view, especially the larger galaxies and open clusters. Some emission nebulae are so extended that even a fast scope may struggle to show them in their entirety. Be aware also that a 102mm, while very portable, is quite a modest aperture, so it will struggle with the fainter DSOs (this will also depend on the light pollution at the location you will be observing from). A 127mm will show more and is not very unwieldy, if you can afford it and put it on a suitable mount.

Planets are the obvious targets for Maks, but by no means the only ones. Double stars, planetary nebulae and the brighter globular clusters are also good choices. Maks allow you to get the high magnifications you need without resorting to very high power eyepieces, though the image contrast will not be as good as for a nice refractor. You might find this comment useful, and the subsequent discussion.

I was going to suggest you posted a more general question stating your particular circumstances and aims, but I just searched and you have already done that. And then I found this that says you've just bought a refractor, so I'm a bit confused now about where you are in your journey.

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38 minutes ago, Zermelo said:

Maks have longer focal ratios and hence a narrower field of view than a fast reflector or refractor. A few DSOs have a large angular size and won't fit into the view, especially the larger galaxies and open clusters. Some emission nebulae are so extended that even a fast scope may struggle to show them in their entirety. Be aware also that a 102mm, while very portable, is quite a modest aperture, so it will struggle with the fainter DSOs (this will also depend on the light pollution at the location you will be observing from). A 127mm will show more and is not very unwieldy, if you can afford it and put it on a suitable mount.

Planets are the obvious targets for Maks, but by no means the only ones. Double stars, planetary nebulae and the brighter globular clusters are also good choices. Maks allow you to get the high magnifications you need without resorting to very high power eyepieces, though the image contrast will not be as good as for a nice refractor. You might find this comment useful, and the subsequent discussion.

I was going to suggest you posted a more general question stating your particular circumstances and aims, but I just searched and you have already done that. And then I found this that says you've just bought a refractor, so I'm a bit confused now about where you are in your journey.

Hey!

Thanks for your reply!

I’ve bought a refractor and I’m giving it to my partner as a present and buying myself a telescope too!

I’m finding choosing the right telescope extremely difficult as at my price range they all come with drawbacks.

I’m equally as interested in DSOs as I am the solar system. I want something nice and easy to use and relatively portable.

At the moment I torn between the Mak 102 AZ and the startravel 102 AZ3.

Which do you think is a better all rounder? 
 

Thanks!

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The ST102 is a decent Achromat that unfortunately will not be as good viewing bright objects such as planets and the moon , and even the brighter stars . Because of its short focal length the scope will show false colour aroung the outside of bright objects , at higher magnification ... and you will need to up the magnification to get decent views of planets . However it will show deep sky objects but don't expect galaxies to be any more than just grey smudges . The Mak will excel on the Moon , especially ( don't underestimate the joy of viewing the moon , there is loads to see ) . As for planetary well, with Jupiter ( along with the outer planets Neptune and Uranus) are the only planets with anything like a decent viewing angle as saturn is slipping lower and lower, you may have to concentrate on double stars . 

I have owned both scopes and i would say , go for the Mak but thats just my opinion . After all you still have a refractor close at hand ... best of both comes to mind 

38 minutes ago, Dakuwaqa said:

I’m finding choosing the right telescope extremely difficult as at my price range they all come with drawbacks.

There is NO perfect scope which really excels at everything . 

People favour the heritage series 130, and 150mm as they are both portable but offer enough light gathering power to be useful on both planets and DSO's. These are table top dobs but they can be mounted on a sturdy tripod , i believe. 

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1 hour ago, Dakuwaqa said:

Hey!

Thanks for your reply!

I’ve bought a refractor and I’m giving it to my partner as a present and buying myself a telescope too!

I’m finding choosing the right telescope extremely difficult as at my price range they all come with drawbacks.

I’m equally as interested in DSOs as I am the solar system. I want something nice and easy to use and relatively portable.

At the moment I torn between the Mak 102 AZ and the startravel 102 AZ3.

Which do you think is a better all rounder? 
 

Thanks!

Ah, OK.

I think @Stu1smartcookie has summed it up well. If it's a straight choice between the Mak and the ST, I'd go with the Mak too.

But I think a fast 150mm reflector will be more versatile as a first scope, and will let you see quite a bit more than a 102mm. The Heritage Dob version is the cheapest way to get that aperture, as you won't have to buy a mount/tripod as well. Yes, there are compromises, but as Stu said, there is no scope that has no drawbacks at all, however much you pay. It is possible to accessorize and mount the Heritage to improve it when you feel the need, and you'll find some discussions about that if you search the forum. Some would prefer to put the money towards their next scope, but that's an individual decision that only you can make. There are people on here that own many expensive scopes but hang on to their Heritage dob as it fulfils its (modest) role well.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

The ST102 is a decent Achromat that unfortunately will not be as good viewing bright objects such as planets and the moon , and even the brighter stars . Because of its short focal length the scope will show false colour aroung the outside of bright objects , at higher magnification ... and you will need to up the magnification to get decent views of planets . However it will show deep sky objects but don't expect galaxies to be any more than just grey smudges . The Mak will excel on the Moon , especially ( don't underestimate the joy of viewing the moon , there is loads to see ) . As for planetary well, with Jupiter ( along with the outer planets Neptune and Uranus) are the only planets with anything like a decent viewing angle as saturn is slipping lower and lower, you may have to concentrate on double stars . 

I have owned both scopes and i would say , go for the Mak but thats just my opinion . After all you still have a refractor close at hand ... best of both comes to mind 

There is NO perfect scope which really excels at everything . 

People favour the heritage series 130, and 150mm as they are both portable but offer enough light gathering power to be useful on both planets and DSO's. These are table top dobs but they can be mounted on a sturdy tripod , i believe. 

Really appreciate the reply!

The problem I have with dobs is viewing comfort (I need to stand) and not having access to a table when out and about.

You raised a good point about lack of observable planets. Is there much else other than double stars to that you can enjoy looking at and also did you find the narrow field of view a potential ‘hobby killer’?

 

Perhaps there’s some tech out there that would help with finding things other than a expensive goto

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I think a mak is complimented by a wide field scope . As you progress through the hobby you may realise you need more than one scope. As for finding things in the sky , download a program called Stellarium or Sky safari . Free apps that can point you in the right direction for your latitude and longitude . 

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