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What Observing Aid To Bring Overseas?

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#1 Peter Natscher

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

I'm contemplating a trip to Peru with a small group by Fall 2013 to offer one week's worth of donation work for a non-profit (Living Waters For The World) helping to set up a potable water system for a mountain town at 8,000-9,000 ft. elevation. I live in California. It will be my first trip south of the equator and I want to take advantage of it and get in some observing. The only transportable optic I have is my 7x50's. I know I can do better than this by bringing a telescope with me with enough aperture to resolve some of those southern hemisphere treasures I've only seen photos of -- 47 Tucanae, Tarantula Nebula, etc. Are there any of you who have made a trip overseas with a easyily transportable telescope? Which one did you bring?

#2 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:33 PM

I took the Orion 100-mm f/6 achromat mounted on a photo tripod to Chile. Very light for its aperture class, and capable of gloriously wide views, which is ideal for browsing unfamiliar skies. But not as compact as a 5-inch catadioptric.

A travel Dob would probably be ideal, but they're hard to come by unless you want to build your own.

#3 ZeroID

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:46 PM

You'll be surprised what you can see with just the 7 x 50's !!
But a good 80mm 0r 100mm and tripod would be better.
Welcome to the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE !!

#4 Peter Natscher

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:55 PM

Perhaps upgrading my binoc's to larger 15x70's is in order.


You'll be surprised what you can see with just the 7 x 50's !!
But a good 80mm 0r 100mm and tripod would be better.
Welcome to the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE !!



#5 GpB311

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:55 PM

For a hiking trip Im planning with my g/f, I posted asking for suggestions for small, light telescopes in which I could bring since my 8" dob just isnt going to be able to come.

Not sure if its exactly what youre looking for, but I got quite a few suggestions. Heres the link:

Going ultralight

#6 mountain monk

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:58 PM

Peter,

You are a lucky man. I spent eight months in Peru in the late 1970s, much of that time at high elevations, from Cusco to the Bolivian border (mountaineering treks), and the marvelous skies remained engraved in my memory. I had a pair of 10x binoculars. If I went back, I could carry my 16x70 Fujis or a small refractor and a couple of lenses, something you could put on a fair sized Bogen tripod. If someone just threw a blank check at me, I would probably get a TMB 92. Whatever you take will produce great memories.

Enjoy the night sky.

Jack

#7 davidmcgo

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:44 AM

I used the Canon 15x50 IS binos for a trip to New Zealand a few years back where I didn't have a car the entire time. These were sweet for light travel, they fit in a rucksack with other items, stash in a hotel room safe, and really showed things well.

Dave

#8 Tony Flanders

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:12 AM

You'll be surprised what you can see with just the 7 x 50's !!


Binoculars are wonderful, but they won't resolve 47 Tuc. And 47 Tuc is worth a trip to the Southern Hemisphere even if you saw nothing else.

#9 Peter Natscher

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

I figure it would take a 6" refractor or 8" reflector to start enjoying the stars of 47 Tuc. It's brightest stars at at mag. 12.5-13 and a lot more at mag 14. 70mm binoc's or a small refractor would still show it as a fuzzy ball. I see an 8" Uti listed for sale on AM. That's enough aperture for 47 Tuc!

You'll be surprised what you can see with just the 7 x 50's !!


Binoculars are wonderful, but they won't resolve 47 Tuc. And 47 Tuc is worth a trip to the Southern Hemisphere even if you saw nothing else.



#10 csrlice12

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:36 AM

Portability, power, easy to use....for traveling like this, This is the area a Mak or smaller SCT (I'd stick with 4-6") would excel. You can put the thing in a suitcase along with a tripod and small mount and have at it. While it may not be "widefield" It will give you good enough views and also allow you to crank up the power when necessary.

#11 Tony Flanders

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:00 AM

I figure it would take a 6" refractor or 8" reflector to start enjoying the stars of 47 Tuc.


As with any globular cluster, the more aperture the better. It's mind-boggling through a 16-inch scope. But don't underestimate what 100 mm can do. Here are some notes:

Unlike any other cluster I have ever seen. ... Some cluster stars easy with direct vision at 75X. ... Core very, very bright and very, very concentrated, even more so toward the center. ... Seems 3D, like an eye with the core as the pupil and dark veins outlining the iris. ... Can resolve at least 50 stars fairly easily in the halo at 75X, more at higher power.

#12 Peter Natscher

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

I'm wondering if I can manage bringing a C8? The mount and tripod would double the load -- not good ;(

#13 csrlice12

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:23 PM

C8's are getting to the point of not really being very portable. If weight isn't a problem though....

You would really have to pack that C8 in a Pelican Case or something.... A 4-6" Mak or SCT you could probably wrap up in a few towels and be ok (although a separate case would be best).

#14 Bill Weir

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

Are you any good with simple tools? http://www.garyseronik.com/?q=node/189

Or there's Gary's earlier and larger travel scope.
http://www.garyseronik.com/?q=node/37

I've used his 8" once from a dark site, Mt Kobau and it was very impressive. That little 4.5" looks very intriguing and easy to build.

Bill

#15 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:41 PM

A short-tube 80mm f/5 refractor and a camera tripod will work well enough as a lightweight set-up for DSO observing. I took my Orion ST80 with me the first time I went to Bolivia to observe. The second time I took a Celestron 20x80 binocular and a binocular mount.

Dave Mitsky

#16 DOTrevino

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

I have both, a ST80 and a FirstScope (76mm reflector) which I have taken in camping trips with the local scout troop. Both produce decent images at low and medium power, which are brighter than binoculars. Because of weight considerations, I bring smaller binoculars when camping (8x30 or 8x42). The binoculars help me scan a particular area and use the telescope to get a better view of specific objects. You'd be surprised how much small instruments can show under dark skies.

The problem with the ST80 is having a decent tripod. My lightweight tripod is easily bumped and takes a few seconds to settle down. I have a more sturdy mount tripod, but it is heavy. the FirstScope is much lighter than the tripod/ST80 combination and it is easy to pack, but requires a table or vehicle for comfortable viewing. (unless you don't mind getting on your knees). I believe Orion makes the FunScope, also a 76mm reflector, but it has larger siblings that are 100, 114 and 150 mm.

Looks like you have time, so perhaps you may want to get one of these inexpensive telescopes and take them for a spin. Since you are on a humanitarian trip you may even plan on donating the telescope to the local community at the end of your trip

You mileage may vary.

#17 Peter Natscher

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:02 PM

My big unknown is what the nighttime observing condition will be in the locale that I'll be traveling to. I don't know how dark the area will be or how safe it'll be outside in an unfamiliar area. Setting up an expensive looking telescope wouldn't be to smart. Perhaps, good binoc's with a low profile are a more practical way to go. I won't chance going out to a remote location alone in that part of the world.

#18 csrlice12

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:09 PM

Doesn't say a lot about the dominant species called man on this planet......like we're really no different, and probably worse, then any other creature on earth....very few kill their own kind for pure pleasure.....

#19 ZeroID

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 09:09 PM

Deleted by ZeroID, reply not relevant

#20 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:58 AM

My big unknown is what the nighttime observing condition will be in the locale that I'll be traveling to. I don't know how dark the area will be or how safe it'll be outside in an unfamiliar area.


I wouldn't worry about it. Compared to the United States, most places in the world are pretty safe. Lima has notoriously high crime, but I think you'd be just fine in a rural area.

Surely there's some way to find out, though. Isn't there someone you could ask?

#21 csa/montana

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:12 AM

First of all, congratulations on your volunteer work in this field! :bow:

One suggestion would be something such as the AstroTech AT72ED for around $400; or the AstroTech AT60EDT Triplet for around $600. You might be able to find one on the used market. They are compact for travel, and would give you great views.

#22 Peter Natscher

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:57 AM

I'm way ahead of the schedule. In a couple of months, I'll know more about exactly where I'll be headed -- which community I'll be traveling to. I can then ask detailed questions.

My big unknown is what the nighttime observing condition will be in the locale that I'll be traveling to. I don't know how dark the area will be or how safe it'll be outside in an unfamiliar area.


I wouldn't worry about it. Compared to the United States, most places in the world are pretty safe. Lima has notoriously high crime, but I think you'd be just fine in a rural area.

Surely there's some way to find out, though. Isn't there someone you could ask?



#23 daniel_h

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:00 PM

I'd either get a small/short doublet Ed refractor like the 72mm suggested or an 80...or get a 90mm mak-I took the latter to the US when I visited & it's a good complement to the binoculars I had with me.
The refractor will provide wide views so the binos aren't as necessary, but will set you back more






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