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Help me pick My First Goto Scope


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Howdy gang!

I would consider myself a somewhat experienced amateur, I've been doing this for 11 years, and during that time I've progressed through reflectors ranging from 4 to 16". I've always star-hopped, and I don't need Goto. But now... I want one!

My budget is about $1500 USD, and I'm looking for something in the 6 to 8" range. I don't need GPS, I don't mind manually aligning, my only other requirements are F/8 to F/10 give or take a few... and of course, the flattest field possible.

I have a couple options in mind, but I don't want to seed the discussion, just looking for suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

Clear Skies,

Gary

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Hmm... difficult one but if you'd like to say a bit more about what you'd like to do with a new scope it might help us to assist you? :(

Good point! :)

I would like to do two things - put some high power on the planets for a change, and I would like to take my astrophotography to the "next level." I'm also interested in something portable that can track. I host local star parties for non-astronomers, and with the 3 scopes all requiring careful manual attention, it's hard to keep anything (including my audience) centered for any length of time.

Specifically - I have had reflectors exclusively for the last ten years or so. A 4, an 8, and a 16" Dob, all in the f/4.5-ish range. I've spent a lot of time on DSOs, and not that I have a few good eyepieces, I'd like to blow up some planets. Not literally, of course.

My photo setup consists of an 8" Discovery Newt on an old wobbly GEQ mount, and the gears are finally beginning to slip. I have gotten pretty good at polar aligning the thing, but it's exceedingly rare for me to get an exposure longer than 20 to 30 seconds. (I pair this with a first generation Meade DSI, which I'll probably upgrade later this year... but that's another discussion all together!)

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