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Grab n go


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Hi all,

I need to get out to some dark sites, the light pollution and air pollution is a real pain. I need a scope that I can throw in the boot of the car with some luggage (for when I take the dogs and girlfriend too). It needs to be a reasonable aperture as the whole point will be to see DSO's not possible with an 8" reflector from my location, and I already have some 70mm bins that I use.

I was thinking of a ST102. The only thing that I am cautious of is the CA, after reading Astroboys review of an evostar. I assume a short tube would be worse. An apo is way over budget. Under dark skies looking for faint and fuzzies would this be an issue? Anybody out there got one? Thanks.

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CA is only an issue for lunar, planetary and brightish stars. It does not really seem to effect deep sky viewing. The F/5 achro's are good as portable "rich field" type scopes (thats probably an out of fashion term now !).

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Hi Bish, although I've never used an ST102, my ST90 (90mm/500mm focal length)

is great for low power wide views, up to about 60x. Used for it's intended purpose,

CA is not an issue. All of the Veil SNR in the same field of view ( O111 filter ) is

just brilliant.

HTH, Ed.

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I'd agree with the above. Keep the power down, and the ST range are great little DSO travel scopes. what about a 127 Mak for more aperture and better planetary views- just as good as 102 or 120ST on deep sky IMO

stephen

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I bought my Skywatcher Startravel 120 with the same intentions as you; grab n go.

You won't be disapointed with a 102/120. If used for their purpose (real nice wide field views), then you won't be let down.

Regarding DSO, I have seen 16 Messier Objects with it in 2 weeks, and some were incredibly impressive from a relatively dark site.

Chromatic Abberation isn't really a problem unless looking at bright stars (double stars), the moon (moon filter and/or 85mm aperture mask kills it off though), and planets (again, I've found that an 85mm aperture mask kills the CA off).

Aperture masks are easy to make. Just measure the diameter of the dew sheild on the end of the telescope (mine doesn't come off), then cut a circle of card using a compass (stationary compass, not a navigational compass :D) so that you leave a bit of overlap. Then use a compass from the centre point of your circle of card, and draw a circle with 85mm diameter (42.5mm radius), and cut it out with a penknife/compass. Then, just fold the overlap you left on the circle of card around the dew sheild, and use some masking tape to make it stronger. Done.

I've found it to be a great telescope, and have not been dissapointed.

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what about a 127 Mak for more aperture and better planetary views- just as good as 102 or 120ST on deep sky IMO

stephen

This was also a strong consideration, but I wasn't sure if it would need a sturdier mount than the ST102. Price was also an issue. Looks like a great scope though.

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Hi Bish,

I tried for ages to get a grab & go setup that I could easily walk with out into a field a mile or so away in a single trip. The only way I found was a small (72mm) refractor on a photo tripod with a giro mini mount head. If you're driving then obviously compactness is less of an issue, but remember you'll need to get away from the road to avoid passing cars ruining your night vision.

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Hi Bish,

I was looking for a grab n go and ended up getting a Mak 102 (Skywatcher), great for the moon and planets as well as giving me good DSO performance from my back garden which does have light pollution, can't wait to get it to a dark site. I've used it loads, basically every night there is a clear patch of sky as it's so easy to lift and nip out for a while. Cool down and dewing have never presented a problem to date, long may it continue, Good luck with your choice,

Cheers

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You could also consider a Celestron SLT102, it's not too dissimilar to the ST102, but it has a slightly longer focal length. I have one and I've found the CA is only really noticable when looking at the moon. I bought a Baader fringe-killer at the same time as the scope, but I've never really needed it. The OTA shouldn't be too much bigger than the ST102 either.

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I find my Celestron C6S OTA on a SkyWatcher SynScan AZ goto mount is highly portable. I can pack the OTA, mount, eyepiece case, and other accessories in a large briefcase (will fit underneath the seat in front for air travel). My observation site is about a kilometer up around the mountain side from my house. I can easily carry my telescope, mount, tripod, viewing chair and other accessories to my observation site in one trip.

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I was considering a grab and go set-up some time back, and steering towards an ST102 or 120. Ultimately I saved up for an 80mm APO from APM (same as the Telescop Service). It has excellent performance on planets, and can do wide field beautifully, 3.76 deg FOV with the Nagler, 5.6 deg FOV with the Paragon 40mm. I did consider getting a small mak, but that does not do wide field as well, which is my main use when traveling. The maks do not support 2" EPs either, which means getting a new set of lower power EPs.

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What about a NexStar 5 or 6? Lots of aperture, easy to setup and transport, and you can use them "solo" on a regular camera tripod. With a focal reducer, you have f/6.3, f/10 standard, and f/20 with a barlow before the diagonal for killer planetary and lunar work. The whole rig is on a NexStar 5 is less than 15 Kg, and batteries can be internal, reducing the entire rig to two pieces - tube and tripod. Add an eyepiece case and you are ready to go.

Not to mention the GoTo - very nice scopes.

Just a thought,

Dan

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