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Which Of Your 'Scopes Do You Use Most, And Why?


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I just mated my 10" collapsible newt (formerly a Skywatcher 250P GOTO) with an Skywatcher EQ6R Pro.  I call the new creature, "Franken-Newt."   It is a bit on the heavy side, but well within the mount's tolerance abilities.

It required machining an aluminum losmandy-ish plate to attach to the front of the lower tube and a ring for the rear of the plate lower down the tube.  The contraption is a bit of a chore to setup, but I works well.  I have been imaging during nebula season with a very light Raptor rig that I can setup and tear down in a couple of minutes.  But, it just doesn't have the juice for distant galaxies. After setting Franken-Newt  up a few times now, I can see me missing nebula season in the fairly near future.

Now I have the bones of an Alt/Az SynScan GOTO mount.  I wonder if there is a market for that.  It could attach to any 10" OTA if someone wanted Alt/Az performance and really marginal tracking with no real guiding option.

Oh...and +1 for the lightweight stuff!

Edited by JonCarleton
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My 102ED refractor is definitely my most used scope since I bought it 18 months ago. Simple, quick to set up, no quirks, perfect optics, great focuser, versatile and lovely views. Maximum viewing pleasure, minimum fuss. Binoviewers are the icing in the cake. I still get the C8 out for DSOs and often run them side by side. 

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My 127 Maksutov on AZ synscan go to mount for speed of set up and easy alignment. For wider fields it’s my 120/1000 Evostar on an EQ5 pro go to mount or my 8” Stella Lyra Dobsonian. For nights when the clouds are dubious I whip out my Pentax 20x60 binoculars on a pistol grip tripod.🪐 🔭👀

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9 hours ago, cloudsweeper said:

I've thought the same, Paul.  The AR 127L is perhaps the least used of my 'scopes.  Bear in mind that big Dobs can be cumbersome.  My 10" solid tube Bresser is OK, but I might struggle with anything bulkier unless it was on wheels!

Doug.

Yes I have thought about that I was going to buy a shed just to put it in and wheel it out when I am using it.

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I use all my scopes over time and they all have good points but I use a 102mm f7 refractor the most by quite a margin.

It can do everything competently, solar white light and Ha, lunar, planets, doubles, dsos etc. It's very easy to set up and use.

So that is my default scope unless there's a specific reason to take something else out.

Smaller scopes come out for travel (or for full disk solar Ha). The 102mm is as fast to set up as smaller scopes, and quick to cool down, so nothing smaller beats it for grab and go.

Larger scopes come out if I have time for longer sessions where it's worth the effort, or if I have a specialist objective, for example the Maksutov if it's a lunar only session, or the big reflector if it's globular clusters.

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For imaging it's evenly split between my 80 and 115 triplets depending on the targets. But for visual I've found myself using the 107 frac much more often than the 200 dob these days. I suppose the top reason is that I'm lazy. GOTO with the help of my self-made plate-solving finder makes locating the targets so much easier especially when searching for double/multi stars. Also tracking for me is a must have when observing the moon and planets at high powers.

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Well all my scopes get used. But generally the Astro-Physics Star12 ED gets the most time.

Reasons: Image quality, Very light weight for its size, Focal length of 1000mm

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For me the 200P is edging the Skymax 127. It just feels more grab and go - I literally just move it to where I'm observing, pop in an eyepiece and I'm away. It does depend on conditions though - murky or poor transparency I'll take the Mak to hit some double stars and brighter DSOs, the moon too if it is out.I

had both set up the other night and never even touched the Mak. I was out to catch the sun set and try to lay eyes on mercury and the 200P gave me a very respectable view of an approx 45% cresent. That was special for me as I'd never seen Mercury through a telescope before, and it was only a week ago is managed to see it for the first time with naked eyes. The Mak sat there idly all night. I have a feeling that later in the year the Mak will start to muscle in past the 200P to set sights on the solar system 😎

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Defo my LS50DS gets the most use... small, light, observing in less than 5 mins, and no electronics involved ;)

Great for a quick peep to see what's going on 😎.  I'll often leave it out if it's a sunny day and have a few looks over the course of a day working from home for a few mins break here and there!  Cool to see active regions and proms evolve - so dynamic.

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Great responses everyone, thanks!  Got me thinking about a 102ED f/7 frac as an upgrade from the AR102S f/5.9 - isn't there always something else to fancy?!

Re no electronics: yes, a valid point.  But I've set GoTo up so many times now that it only takes a couple of minutes, even after the GPS module packed up.  Again.

Doug.

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Posted (edited)

Have been favouring my TS102 F7 ED since getting in December last year, but my ZS73 will come into its own during various travels later this year 🙂

I do also need to spend a bit of time with my C5 when the planets are back properly, I feel I've perhaps never given it a fair chance. 

Edited by badhex
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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I have a skyline 10 inch dob and a Stellina and the one that gets used the most ..... The Skyline.  It's on a cart and lives in my garage so it is always within a couple degrees of ambient air temp.  While the Stellina is nice and easy to use I am a visual kinda guy at heart and will always go that way given the choice

Edited by Mike Q
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Another dob fan here.

I have two: a SW Heritage Flextube 150 and a StellaLyra 8". The Heritage is incredibly convenient to store and carry but unless I'm travelling, it's the 8" every time. It's a quality scope with great optics and easy enough to get out and set up: base first then OTA. I wouldn't have anything larger and heavier, though, unless like Mike's, it could live in a garage/shed on a trolley

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This year RedCat 51 on AVX. Why? I can lift OSC camera, fouler, RedCat and ASIPro off with one hand, and only two cables, power and data to hand controller (and SWMBO bought as a present Sao have to be seen to use :))

Last year Celestron 8" SCT on CGEM-DX. I plan to do the same type of configuration with ASIPro as above mono camera, OAG added and filter wheel. 

I really want to get the 10" Quattro CF out, but too much wind even on a pier and CGX-L. 

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Most used scope: 14" Dob. Take a deep breath, keep the back straight, just plonk it down and go. No flat batteries, no software, no tripping over cables. Just the occasional collimation to worry about.

And that's from an astrophotographer who has a choice of small apos..

Most versatile scope: 8" Newt on an AZ-EQ6; the proverbial jack-of-all trades. Easily car portable and makes a decent fist of everything from visual through spectroscopy to photography.

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Posted (edited)

My solar scopes by far, 185 day's last year and in the UK. I'm running at 49 day's so far, below last year (health reasons)  hopefully the summer months will bring more opportunities. Including my CaT making a rookie mistake of looking down the wrong end of a refractor, lol.

IMG_20220227_115246~2.jpg

Edited by Nigella Bryant
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The 8" dob for me. It's kept by the back door, so relatively cool.  Take it out to start cooling, set up the finders, etc. then check collimation. By the time I have the eyepiece case sorted, it's 30 minutes and ready to go. I'll leave it another 15 mins for any high magnification.

During the light skies of summer, it'll be the Vixen 80M. It's on an EQ mount, but I'm getting an old hand at setting that up now. 

Once the planets are about, it'll be interesting to se what gets used the most.

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