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Readers Choice: Gear of the Year 2008

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#1 Tom T

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:14 PM

link

#2 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:39 PM

I'm surprised that the Ritchey-Chretien scopes from Astro-Tech and
DeepSky Products made the list. Have any people actually received these scopes yet? Are we voting for the concept of an inexpensive R-C? Shouldn't the voting be for the performance of an actual product?

#3 Tom T

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 05:03 PM

Nope, they're out there. I've got one sitting here (which has not seen light yet), and a buddy has one as well.

I don't think they have been shipping for very long however, truth be told I was a bit surprised too - but hey - forum members did the nominations and forum members did the voting.

:shrug:

I think part of the excitement is the 6" and it's $800 price tag. Heck, I'm excited by that, and I'm not an imager. (At least not yet.)

T

#4 John Miele

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 06:11 PM

Hi Tom,

One thing I'm puzzled about. I keep hearing that these new AT RC scopes are "optimized for imaging". Are they really? How can an f9 focal ratio be said to be optimized for imaging? Planetary maybe. but it's tough to capture DSOs at f9! What am I missing? Thanks.

John

#5 Tom T

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 06:24 PM

I think it's not the focal ratio so much as the focal length (and chip size) that determines field size John.

As per optimization, it's the RC design that's optimized. It provides a very well corrected field (way better than an SCT) and small spot size, without the worry of color error. In addition they only have two surfaces for light loss, lower scatter than a refractor, and a flat field. The principal drawback has been the high cost and for visual observers anyway, the large secondary size. Many professional observatories use this design, and they are popular among advanced amateurs who have the bucks. And on that note, I'd say until now they were almost prohibitively expensive - consider a 12.5" RCOS (the smallest one they offer) runs around $21,000.

http://www.rcoptical...com/12inch.html

This is an entry into a sport where most folks couldn't afford the price of the ticket before.

T

#6 Project Galileo

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:47 PM

Congrats Tele Vue! Pretty nice stuff there. Another cool year in astronomy!

#7 John Miele

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 10:26 PM

Thanks Tom. I agree it's focal length and chip size that determine the field of view. But focal ratio also controls how long the exposure must be to build up adequate signal. I can't help but think f9 is not good for DSOs especially faint galaxies. But then again, I am very much an imaging novice and still have a lot to learn. Maybe the very flat field and small spot size more than make up for the longer exposure required by f9. I can't wait to see some images from them. It could be that focal reducers do the trick too.

#8 Tom T

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:01 AM

You're right a faster fr is easier to image through (if apertures are equal), but keep in mind too that Ccd is far more sensitive than film. Ultimately, I think it's just another option.

You might ask this in the regular forums to find out why people voted as they did, this is the readeers choice afterall.

#9 lineman_16735

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 12:41 PM

Size is what matters. Not F ratio. Most of the big RC's are F/8 or F/9.

#10 doctordub

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:19 PM

Thanks Tom, wish I had more money.
CS

#11 Herenomore

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:39 PM

How many members voted in this poll?

#12 Tom T

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:23 PM

Good question Tom. I don't have those stats handy.

#13 SkyscraperJim

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:16 PM

Well my 2008 best buy didn't make the list, so I figured I'd praise it here.

If you're in the market for a great alt-az mount, pick up a Half-Hitch. The mount is very well built, and the service from Charles has been excellent. Well worth the price.

A friend of mine has the Ethos 8mm, and its pretty sweet (he also has a 15" Obsession, but not the UC), and I'd love to pick up a Lunt solar scope. I'm trying to resist the urge to buy astro toys this year though, since I need to put more dollars into the "dark sky land" fund. :)

#14 J_D_Metzger

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 08:30 PM

Hi Tom,

Thanks for all the work you put into this. It's helpful and also a lot of fun to see what CN'ers think about all the new equipment.

I bought a CGEM a few weeks ago, and I think my long search for a moderately priced, sturdy GEM with a mature GOTO system may finally be over. I think Celestron has a real winner with the CGEM.

Do you have a CGEM for review? If so, I'm anxious to see what you think about it.

Clear skies,
J.D.

#15 electra225

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:20 PM

Any product from TeleVue is the best! Thank you for all the information.

#16 ome

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 02:25 PM

Very nice layout with a lot of good information.






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