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Good all round scope ?


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Hi all

I'm sure this has been asked before..........

After a few years pottering around with my 114mm starter scope I want to upgrade. What I really want is a good 'all rounder'. Something I can do some planetary observing with and some meaningful DSO observing with the option for some photography.

I'm thinking along the lines of a 2nd hand Nexstar 8SE or similar. Would this meet my needs ?

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Hi,

The SE8 is not good for imaging. Its Ok for some short exposure piggyback or afocal stuff but the mount is not a good one for astrophotography.

You can buy a wedge for astro but adding a guidescope is difficult.

Its a great scope for visual observing. Big enough to be useful and light enough to carry about.

I love mine.

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What's a wedge and what does it do ? I get very lost with all the bits of kit available. What's an auto guider ?

What would be a better choice if the Nexstar is not up to the job ?

Thanks

ps, Bigwings, I used to do gliding at Kenley. It's been a few years but I'd love to get back in to it one day.

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A pretty good all rounder for what you have suggested would be an 8" reflector mounted on a HEQ5 mount. Something like a skywatcher 200/HEQ5 package would be a good setup. That'll give you plenty of opportunities for DSO viewing, planets will be pretty good as well and you could also have a go at imaging. New, they are about £800.00 but you probably won't have much trouble in picking up a second hand 8" reflector and HEQ5 for a lot less.:headbang:

Sam

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An 8" SCT on an equatorial mount is a good all rounder.

See here .....

Advanced Series GOTO - Celestron C8-SGT XLT GOTO

You can use it for low power DSO, high power planetary and imaging as it's on an equatorial mount. The mount has GOTO as well.

If you had not included imaging I would have suggested a 10" dob

See here ....

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian

HTH

Edited by dweller25
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What's a wedge and what does it do ? I get very lost with all the bits of kit available. What's an auto guider ?

Howdy,

A wedge is a bit of kit that you would bolt the SE mount onto. It allows you to tip the mount over to your lattitude there for it would behave like an equitorially mount scope. See here...... SE Series - Celestron Wedge for 6SE and 8SE It is a pricey bit of kit and IMO you would be better of buying a scope on a equitorial mount in the 1st place.

An Autoguider is a 2nd scope on a mount with a camera on it. So, you would have 2 scopes on the same mount, 1 with a camera for imaging and the other with a camera for guiding. The guider uses software to monitor a star in the field of view and as this star moves ever so slightly the guider software sends commands to the mount to keep the 'guide star' in the same position. This allows for longer exposures when imaging and therefor you can image fainter objects.

You can mount the 2nd scope in a couple of different ways, one is piggy back wheere the guide scope is on the back of the imaging scope and another is side by side. IMO piggy back would be better where the guide scope is good bit smaller than the imaging scope. Side by side is better where the guide scope is a similar size to the imaging scope. I haven't heard any comments as to one style performing better than the other.

If imaging is where you want to be going then I recomend you get the best mount you can afford, I recomend a HEQ5 Pro. I use a CG5GT and although I am making headway with it now it has been a struggle to get it guiding the way it should, maily due to carp grease and lesser build quality compared to a HEQ5 Pro. A HEQ5 should be capable of guiding right out of the box.

Here's my set up........

HTH,

Gary

post-13351-133877411074_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Gary. That's really helped me understand a little more about whats involved in astrophotography. All that kit looks expensive. Is it possible just to plug in a camera to the scope and take pics without guiders ? Isn't the point the point of a motorised mount..... that it compensates for the apparent movement of objects ?

Maybe I'd be better of with a Dob and look again at photography options when I have more money ? Re Dobs, do they come on motorised mounts or have fine movement control ?

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Maybe I'd be better of with a Dob and look again at photography options when I have more money ? Re Dobs, do they come on motorised mounts or have fine movement control ?

The idea of a dob was that the mount was a very simple affair which wasn't powered so that meant you having to 'nudge' the scope of keep the object you're observing in the view of the eyepiece. Recently though, Skywatcher introduced a range of dobs that have tracking mounts.

Tony..

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All that kit looks expensive. Is it possible just to plug in a camera to the scope and take pics without guiders ? Isn't the point the point of a motorised mount..... that it compensates for the apparent movement of objects ?

In my opinion the best scopes for starting images are small refractors with short focal lengths. The short focal length gives less maginification which is more forgiving of tracking and alignment errors. If you were to buy an 8" newtonian on an HEQ 5 mount you could could try imaging with it unguided and with a bit of effort could get some nice results. However, at the stage you wanted to do this you could get a small refractor and run this on the same mount, even mounted together if you wanted.

The tracking of the mount isn't precise enough for long focal length, long exposure images but, if well polar aligned, is likely to be good for 2 minute exposures.

3 years ago, no one on this forum was autoguiding, now nearly everyone is! You don't have to rush into doing that though.

The Newtonian and equatorial mount suggestion is a very good one. It gives you great flexibility for the future

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Thanks Gary. That's really helped me understand a little more about whats involved in astrophotography. All that kit looks expensive. Is it possible just to plug in a camera to the scope and take pics without guiders ? Isn't the point the point of a motorised mount..... that it compensates for the apparent movement of objects ?

Maybe I'd be better of with a Dob and look again at photography options when I have more money ? Re Dobs, do they come on motorised mounts or have fine movement control ?

You can just plug the camera in and start off that way. Even on a perfectly polar aligned scope you will be limited to just a few minutes exposure. This is due to errors in the drive train on the mount. Auto guiding eliminates this problem by, as I said above, sending correction commands to the mount thus it should track the star perfectly, which it cant without guiding, or a very expensive mount. There are a few guys on here imaging and they dont use guiding at all, and they are getting fantastic results, but for ease and repeatability guiding is IMO the way to go but tothers will argue that.

As for dobs, they were originally designed as a cheap and cheerful way of getting a big newt onto a mount. They were always pushed by hand to keep the object in the FOV, but as your mag. goes up this becomes increasingly difficult.

Recently Skywatcher introduced a series of motorised tracking Dobs and I believe they have either just about to or just have released a series of goto dobs. Orion Canada have also released a series of goto dobs, take a look at the scopes at the bottom of this link..... SCS Astro Ltd - Large Range of Telescopes

HTH,

Gary

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