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Which scope for planetary observing and imaging

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I am really feeling the need to persue planetary observing and imaging, primarily the imaging.

My current setup of a 6" F5 newtonian reflector is not really suited.

I realise I need something a bit slower, around the F10 or greater, so have considered S/W Skymax 127, Celestron 127 or a TAL 100RS

So as you can tell from the options above my budget is £250 max

I would be mounting the scope on a NEQ6.

1) What other scopes would people suggest I consider?

2) What would make you pick one of my suggestions above over the others, other than the Maks being more compact than the TAL and the TAL being "built like a tank"

Thanks for looking

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Maks are very nice for lunar and planetary work, frequently from f/12 to f/15 or more, they excell at high magnification and crisp planetary views. Even so, they are very expensive per inch of aperture.

A long refractor can be lovely too, but the longer tube will make guiding and tracking without vibration much more difficult. I have an f/12 refractor myself - and it is lovely, but a beast to get mounted properly. :) For that reason alone, I might consider the mak.

Have you asked about at the local astronomy club? Just wondering!


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How about an F/8 150mm newtonian ?. One was on E.Bay a couple of days ago (a Skywatcher optical tube) for under £100, delivered !.

The SkyWatcher 150PL OTA is an excellent planetary scope, but for imaging I'd replace the standard 1.25" R&P focuser with a 2" low profile crayford. There are other mods that can be done as well but it's the focuser that is the weak point. The standard mirror though is actually very good.



My 150PL with a few mods which shows what can be done with this OTA :)


Edited by johninderby
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I can't see the point of trading a 6" newtonian for a 5" Mak. You would be giving up both light grasp and resolution. Sticking a 4x or 5x Televue Powermate in the 6" Newtonian makes more sense.

Keep saving and buy a 7" Mak or a long 8" Newtonian to achieve a real improvement.

Clear skies,


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Ad Astra (Dan) - I have not asked at my astro club (Bolton) yet.

jahmanson & Moonshane - had not really considered a newtonian, primarily because I reckonded most were still too fast @ F8.

johninderby - I had read your post previouly. a good read and admire you dedication. Obviously supporting the views already expressed by jahmanson and Moonshane to consider a slower newtonian.

neilmack - does light grasp really have an impact when looking at the brighter objects such as planets?? Not disagreeing with, just not sure.

Thank you everyone for your opinions.

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It's not so much light grasp but resolution with the larger apertures.

unless you can afford the scope and mount for a really nice decent aperture APO (I cannot) then a slow newt of 6" or more is a good start.

I see you live in Chorley - I am near Manchester and if you ever fancied looking through my scope(s) you'd be welcome. in the UK it's often seeing that dictates the view not magnification or aperture of course!

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(Used) C8 is quite ultimate planetary scope. It has the aperture to resolve a lot of details, and it's quite small and compact at the same time. Weights less than 150/750 Newtonian. 127 mak or 100 TAL achromat will give much less.

You have NEQ6 so also 8-10" Newtonians could be used. Just add 5x Powermate and a planetary camera / eyepiece and you can rock. :) with higher budget or nice bargain from USA second hand market - C11 or even C14 as you have NEQ6.

Cloudy Nights Classifieds (CNC) - Catadioptric - Powered by PhotoPost Classifieds - the source of "cheap" SCTs :(

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