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Decesions decesions...


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Oh Mighty Sages of SGL,

Please can you offer some wise wisdom my way... :glasses1:

Anyhow, back to English. For Christmas my girlfriend bought me this telescope on ebay (clicky linky). Admitted she didn't know anything about telescopes so she picked this one, don't worry she didn't pay that much for it.

Now I have seen the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn with this scope, but the mount is a wobbly little [removed word], so when I move the scope to get Saturn/Jupiter back in view. I have to wait about 30 seconds for the scope to stop wobbling. Also the eyepieces don't seem that great either. I have an H2O, H12.5 and SR4 EP with an plastic 1.5X "Erecting Lens" and a plastic x3 barlow lens.

I've been looking at the Celestron Eye Piece & Filter Kit: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics to replace the EP's I was supplied with. There is a thread on the welcome section that states that anything to do with an SR or H should be binned immediately. Hence me looking at the EP kit. However... would this be considered a complete waste of time and should I just upgrade the scope first, as in get a completely new one, then get the EP's for it? I have been looking at this one : Celestron Astromaster 130EQ-MD: Amazon.co.uk: Electronicsjust because it has an motor drive. :) Or this one, well actually any of the 130 series (the SupaTrak looks cool) Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130 I would like a decent mount and scope to get some decent pics with an SPC900 which still needs to be used.

Basically if my waffling has confused you, would you stick with the current scope and upgrade the EP's or just ditch that idea and start with a decent scope and then go from there? I think I know the answers already, it's the why I'm interested in.

Thanking you in advance for your time.

Dazz

please excuse the very very bad spelling, was never my forte...

Edited by Dazzio
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To be honest, I'd ditch the scope at risk of offending your OH:eek:

It's okay, I have already spoken to my Girlfriend and she isn't offended at all. She didn't want to spend too much money incase I didn't like it.

As far as I can tell, and I have only literally just thought about this as I found out we are supposed to be getting a good bonus at work, the 130M and 130P both come on EQ2 mounts. Don't know what that is in idiots speak to. Computers I can strip, clean, rebuild and fix with my eyes closed, but add a bit of glass into the equation and I am lost...

Dazz

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First I would suggest that you consider imaging and observing as 2 separate areas.

From what you say the envisaged mount is an EQ2. Not good for any form of imaging. Too light and unstable. Think of getting a scope on an EQ3-2 at least and preferably an EQ5 or bigger.

The reason for the EQ3-2 as a minimum is that you can fit dual motors to it. This makes life a lot easier, and you need motors for tracking whatever you intend to get a picture of. Be aware that an EQ3-2 is not substantial either, so will still be unstable.

Search for a club in your area and give them a visit. It pays dividends to see what is available and exactly what the aspects involve. A good astro imaging setup is not what many expect, normally a very large and solid mount with a relatively small scope for the imaging. The scope will be an apo and probably £1500, the mount being as much also.

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Thanks for help Ronin, I see what you are suggesting. Would the EQ3-2 (sounds like a blumming train tbh...) advice still be applicable towards the SPC900? I am not looking to get a DSLR yet... and thats a massive "yet"! I guess the main focus is to be able to see something and not have to move the scope every 30 seconds to get it back in view. The SPC900/imaging is just a thing I can do on the side when I have the time/energy.

Dazz

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Well the motors you are talking about will be a massive help and go hand in hand with the webcam Daz. With just a lappy at your scopes side and everything set up properly on the scope you would be able to stack some video files of say saturn to something I am sure you would be proud of.

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Hi Dazz!

Looking at your 76mm, yes, I would definitely replace the scope before the eyepieces. Most very small reflectors don't even have a proper parabolic mirror (spherical shaped mirrors are much easier/cheaper to produce, but don't focus properly). Spending so much on an eyepiece kit would be a waste of time.

I would seriously consider a scope like this --> Link

It is a 6" dob with a proper mirror and very rugged & easy to use. You can put a camera or web cam on it for lunar photos, but more importantly, you can really learn a lot about the sky.

Big enough to see thousands of targets from double stars to Messier objects - it has enough to keep you going for quite awhile and it is in the range of the 76mm scope you have plus the eyepiece kit you were considering.

You've seen my equipment list on the Join My Astronomy Class forum - this is the workhorse scope I've trained thousands of people on for 25 years. Excellent value, easy to use, rugged and accurate, holds its value quite well. All together - an excellent choice for a beginner.

Let the photography wait a bit - go to the local astro club and hang out with the photographers for awhile - you'll get all the thrill without the heartburn and expense. :glasses1:

Dan

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Dazz,

I agree with whats been said,certainly you will have to consider another scope for some more serious viewing.

I can vouch for the Skywatcher Explorer 130 RA driven its an exellent scope to start of with but the mount isn't the best out there.An EQ3-2 would do it justice.

A 150mm dob should also be considered if imaging can wait a while.

Jon

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Thanks for the advice Adz, Dan and Jon. I'll be honest, the imaging is just a little side project to do when I have the time. I'm not really looking to take images of DSOs yet, although I am lead to believe that the SPC900 can with an mod? If I do go down that route, it won't be for a while yet.

As much as I like the look of the dob, it looks like a right old beast. But storage is a consideration too, however it looks like about the same dimensions as the Newtonian scopes I was looking at.

I can see Jupiter and 3 moons with my current scope, admitted the moons looked like nothing but little bits of light. But to be able to see them in better detail would rock my boat muchly :glasses1:

Thank you for the advice guys, much appreciated.

Dazz

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The 6" (150mm) dob isn't quite the big fellow it appears - at least to store. Because it has a small footprint (about a 16-inch circle), it really stores in less floor space than almost any tripod mounted scope. It also has the advantage of effectively being a one piece unit - a huge advantage for quick and easy set-up and put away.

You can do photos - with a small point-n-shoot camera (not too heavy, yeah?) and a 'through the eyepiece' camera adapter - you can shoot bright things: sun (with solar filter, of course!), moon, some clusters, bright nebula, Jupiter, etc. Quality of photos will vary, of course, and you won't be able to do exposures of more than 10-15 seconds, but even at that, you can do more than you might think with a modern camera!

The big advantage of a 150mm is that the increased amount of detail on Jupiter, Saturn, Luna will be huge. Ring structure (cassini gap, A,B, &C rings) becomes visible, multiple surface bands & red spot on Jupiter become visible, contrast on lunar features improves. Also on Deep Sky Objects, the 150mm brings in 400% the light compared to the 76mm - a HUGE difference both in the amount of detail you can see in existing targets, and in the TOTAL NUMBER of targets you can see. A 76mm will get you a few dozen of the best, a 150mm will put literally thousands of targets within your optical grasp.

Don't look for detail on Jovian moons, though! You need a MUCH bigger scope (and a mountaintop in Chile to put it on) to do that! Saturn's moons will surprise you, though - with a 76mm you may get one (Titan) - if that. With a 150 mm, we can regularly get 4-5 moons on Saturn, although they are more scattered (farther away from the planet) than the Jovian moons.

Dan

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Hi Dan,

Well you have really sold me on the 6" dob. I've found one for £185 on first light optics, so I'm gonna add about another £30 for postage on top of that. I can't put a link on the one (because im on the iphone) but it's a SkyWatcher Skyliner 150P. If you follow the link on the top of the website you'll find it, if you are interested.

If I do go down the imaging route it will be with an webcam, so not really heavy. However the description for the 150p says you can mount an SLR on it, but I'll have to get one first. So about a years time. I'd never thought about taking pictures of the sun. That'll be really cool to do :) to be able to see Titan and the rings would be really sweet.

I'm guessing that having a decent scope will also be great for learning what's out there. :o I can always upgrade at an extremely later date.

Thank you for the great advice, much appreciated. :(

Dazz

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The F8 6" Dob should be perfect for you. It's a huge upgrade on the scope that your girlfriend bought you and will show you a great deal of interesting things beyond even the planets such as globular star clusters and nebula (look for "Orion's sword" and you'll be hooked :) )

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Ah - but the thing is Dan, here in the UK, Orion stuff is overpriced, so folks are at least £90 better off going for the Sky-Watcher equivalent.

I had to figure that buying from an American dealer and shipping would be ridiculous, as would the reverse be for me buying a UK product when there was a local one available.

I knew that there would be others here who could recommend a local alternative at a reasonable price - as I've said elsewhere before, much of the Asian made stuff is available world wide from your friendly local optical dealer!

Dazz, the 6" and your webcam will be a brilliant combo! You are going to have a blast with this - it is fun, sets up in an instant, and the views will be fabulous! Isaac Newton's rival Christian Huygens made a 6" reflector (based on Newton's design, of course) in the l670's or so and used it to discover the rings of Saturn (Galileo had seen them, but did not resolve them into a proper ring.) At the time - it was the biggest telescope in the world~!

You're not just getting a new scope, mate! You're getting world beating 17th century technology made with 21st century materials! ;):):(

Looking forward to your first light report. Bet I can hear your jaw hit the ground from here! :o

Dan

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I had to figure that buying from an American dealer and shipping would be ridiculous, as would the reverse be for me buying a UK product when there was a local one available.

That's not what I meant Dan - we do indeed have Orion dealers who are based in the UK - but the prices are simply not competitive with Sky-Watcher stuff - compared to the situation in the USA.

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That's not what I meant Dan - we do indeed have Orion dealers who are based in the UK - but the prices are simply not competitive with Sky-Watcher stuff - compared to the situation in the USA.

Ah, sorry to hear that! Orion is one of my consistent favorites here in the States, they make/stock a wide variety of goods and have decent prices and excellent customer service. Most of my kit for my astronomy classes is from Orion - they are even our primary Celestron dealer.

I would never presume to advise someone where to buy overseas! :) I'm glad you folks have a good source for your goods though - tough hearing from some folks where there is NO local option at any price. :o

Dan

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Thanks again people, I'll be defiantly going for the Dob, however I'll have to wait a bit longer now. My car has had an MOT (road legality test for our friends across the pond) and failed, it's going to cost me £500 to sort out. :( so I've gotta wait to get the funds. I've spoken to my girlfriend and family, so hopefully ill get some money for my birthday. I live in hope. :o really looking forward to seeing the rings of Saturn as more than just a funny White shape. :)

Thank you once again.

Dazz

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Arrrgh! My car also has the feature that it can detect my bank balance and fail in exact proportion to what I have + 5% to make sure that not only am I out of cash, but I have to waste a favor and scrape up money by borrowing from family and friends. :(

I sympathize with you. I also have "astro-porno" ads (as my love calls them) taped up in the garage of mounts and scopes I probably cannot afford... not and stay married anyway. :) I have almost bought the big new mount for my refractor at least half-a-dozen times, but something always seems to come up, and I never get it. :o

Still, I have faith that it will happen for both of us... and that our family will still be speaking to us after the delivery man leaves the boxes on the doorstep. ;)

Let us know how it comes out... and how you do without a car after you decide that astronomy is the most important thing in your LIFE!!!! :p

Dan

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Let us know how it comes out... and how you do without a car after you decide that astronomy is the most important thing in your LIFE!!!!

Ha-ha wish it was that easy, the mechanic I took it to, fixed the car straight away. So I had to pay him regardless. On the plus side I'm paying less tax on my wages at work now and I'm gonna sell some stuff to raise some funds. So fingers crossed :rolleyes: oh yeah, I was looking at Saturn tonight (still looks amazing!) and I noticed a faint dot to the right of it (in the eye piece) I assume that's Titan. Was a wee bit far away from Saturn tho.

Like the quality on that video, but pardon my ignorance, but why wouldn't the scope be that stable?

Dazz

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