Jump to content


Photo

Which 90mm Mak for tiny Apartment and travel?

  • Please log in to reply
192 replies to this topic

#1 RafaelP

RafaelP

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 101
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2012
  • Loc: NYC

Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

Hello all! I live in midtown Manhattan which probably has some of the worst light pollution in the world. I am limited as to what I can see, the planets and the moon mostly (I did see the Orion nebula and the Jovian moons last night with 10x40b Zeiss binoculars on the roof of my apartment building.)

I want something small and portable which I can take the roof or walk to Central Park with. A 90mm Mak might fit the bill!

I am trying to decide between the two common ones. The Celestron C90 and the Orion StarMax 90 tabletop.
I have read good things about the Celestron, but not as much out there about the StarMax. The StarMax is $50 more, but comes with an extra eyepiece and a simple mount.

Any opinions on choosing between the two? Any other diminutive ones I should be looking at?

Thanks!
Rafael

#2 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15408
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:28 PM

Celestron C90 on an alt-az mount like one of the Orion Versa go mounts. I believe B&H Photo has the C90...

#3 orion61

orion61

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4503
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk

Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:11 PM

A 127mm 5" Celestron SLT NexStar Mac weighs only 18 lbs with the tripod, has computer go To, can be aligned on 1 Planet
and is as good on Land or Shore. AND THEY ARE CHEAP.

#4 rg55

rg55

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 998
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2008
  • Loc: western US

Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:18 PM

+1

#5 LateViewer

LateViewer

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1208
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Pelham NY

Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:31 PM

Call me we'll go out together!

#6 mjt24073

mjt24073

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 111
  • Joined: 29 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:33 PM

I would be cautious of buying any tabletop telescope. They are limited in where they can be used, and if the table isn't very steady, you will get a lot of vibration. My first telescope as a kid was a tabletop model, and even as a kid, I found it useless in nearly every way.

Mike

#7 DoctorNoodle

DoctorNoodle

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1281
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2007
  • Loc: Lawn Guyland, NY

Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:41 PM

The best thing about the Starmax tabletop is that it's cheaper than the OTA and it already has a dovetail adapter to put it on a better mount.

#8 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 19863
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:47 PM

The two scopes have identical Synta optics. Buy on price IMO.

Nice write up on the scope here:

http://www.scoperevi.../page1ac.html#1

I like mine.

Will you be using it for astronomical observing, terrestrial observing, or a combination of those?

Regards,

Jim

#9 stevenf

stevenf

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 382
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Vancouver, BC

Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:05 PM

The tabletop mount on the Starmax is surprisingly sturdy, especially mounted on a half decent photo tripod. I'd go for the Starmax solely for the mount and additional eyepiece. Plus it has the 90 degree diagonal rather than the 45 the Celestron does.

#10 JohnH

JohnH

    Vanguard

  • ****-
  • Posts: 2135
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Squamish BC Moved!!!!!

Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:44 PM

There is still around old Ad Astra Maksutovs.

I got one on eBay for $120 as the coating on the primary had scratches.

Focuses by turning the front barrel and has very good baffling inside. The rear cell features a T Mount for attaching almost any camera and came with a prism diagonal

#11 coz

coz

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 236
  • Joined: 25 Aug 2010

Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:03 PM

Maybe a used Questar?

#12 idealistic

idealistic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 980
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2010
  • Loc: massachusetts

Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

I wouldnt take a Questar to central park in the middle of the night. Just saying....

#13 DigitalFox

DigitalFox

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Riverside, CA

Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:29 PM

I just bought a Celestron C90 and love the views it provides me, especially of the moon, some very, very sharp images. I have it mounted on Universal Astronomics DwarfStar mount on top of my Slik photo tripod legs. The whole setup is light but solid and is easy to grab for a quick trip outside.

#14 RafaelP

RafaelP

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 101
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2012
  • Loc: NYC

Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:22 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far!
I will be using the scope mostly for astronomy. I will be traveling to the mountains in Colorado then on the Los Angeles, and would like to take it with me.

I was considering the DwarfStar, the DSV-M or DSV-1(Desert Sky Astro Products) as a mount head. I have a nice heavy duty tripod for the city, but will probably get something lighter for travel. On the other hand I can get a Vixen Mini Porta for the same price... or don't worry about the mount get a StarMax 90.

Perhaps in the future I will be allowed more space in the apartment for a 5" Mak when the girlfriend realizes how fun it is! ;)
R

#15 Ducky62

Ducky62

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 672
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2010
  • Loc: The ATL

Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:28 AM

A 90mm Mak is the best choice for a first telescope in an urban location, IMHO. You're on the right track ;)

Take Uncle Rod's advice on the mount. I use a Vixen Porta-II because I got it cheap.

#16 Wmacky

Wmacky

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1933
  • Joined: 24 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:56 AM

Hmmm, a $150 compact scope with near Questar performance? Interesting..... I Don't know what I would do with one, but thats never stopped me before!

#17 bsim

bsim

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1871
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Miskatonic

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:00 AM

I wouldnt take a Questar to central park in the middle of the night. Just saying....


If you're planning on observing in Central Park you should check out this blog. It hasn't been updated since 2010 but the blogger has lots of info on where to observe in the various parks around the city.

As for observing on the rooftop. Most NYC buildings have liability issues with anyone using the rooftop. I don't know if you already have access to your rooftop, but you should make the building Super aware of what you're doing.

The light pollution in New York City isn't as bad as you think. It really depends where you're observing from and how much local light pollution you have. From the city I've seen Mag 4.5 stars at zenith. I've seen the Pleiades and Orion Nebula with naked eyes. I've found binoculars to be very useful because of their wide field. It's easy to find star clusters with either a 15x70 or Canon 10x30is binos. Binos also help with starhopping since you will see few reference stars. A 90mm Mak is going to have a very narrow field of view and it will be difficult finding anything other than bright objects like the Moon and planets. I wouldn't use a 90mm Mak. My first choice would be an Orion Starblast 4.5 or an 80mm refractor on a photo tripod with a Universal Astronomics Dwarfstar mount. It wouldn't take up much more room than the 90mm Mak.

#18 Tim2723

Tim2723

    The Moon Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 5765
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2004
  • Loc: Northern New Jersey

Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:24 AM

I've had the Orion 90mm for a couple of months now and am simply delighted with it. Solidly constructed (no plastic at all) and the optics are remarkable for a telescope that sells for less than the price of any number of eyepieces. An especially nice feature is the case it comes with. Lots of pockets for accessories. Put the case over your shoulder, grab your mount in one hand and go out the door.

The only poor bit of the kit is the little straight-through finder. Do get a model that has one of the better finders or replace the straight-through.

#19 RafaelP

RafaelP

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 101
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2012
  • Loc: NYC

Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:10 PM

Bsim:
Yes, I do have access to the roof and few people use it. I will let my super know for sure. I am a more worried about people from neighboring buildings reporting "possible terrorist activity with a missile launcher type device."
I am a little worried about the small aperture on the 90mm may make objects difficult to find. Maybe I should think about a goto mount instead for home use. That Celestron 5" 127 is a great deal

Lateviewer:
Where do you go viewing in the city?

#20 stevenf

stevenf

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 382
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Vancouver, BC

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:07 PM

I use my 90mm Mak on a dwarfstar as well, and it's excellent. I have it mounted on a medium duty camera tripod and it makes for an extremely portable solution. Even if you go this route the Starmax might be a better choice, due to the included 90 degree diagonal and the fact that the dovetail is on the side of the tube. Much easier to mount on a side saddle mount like the dwarfstar.

I have the 127 as well and it is excellent. It's just a little on the not portable side for me so it doesn't leave home as often. The 90mm works a lot better for me for travel and camping. Same with goto mounts and the extra batteries etc. required.

#21 JJK

JJK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1873
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2008

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:41 PM

I wouldnt take a Questar to central park in the middle of the night. Just saying....


How could you, living in Massachetts? :)

#22 JJK

JJK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1873
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2008

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:55 PM

I've had a Meade 90 Mak (I gave it away) and have a Questar (which I'll likely sell). I prefer refractors in that size.

Have you ever observed from areas about 2.5 hours West of Manhattan (e.g., just East of Hancock, NY off Rte. 17)? Are the skies clear enough there to be a useful observing location?

#23 JJK

JJK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1873
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2008

Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:17 AM

Hello all! I live in midtown Manhattan which probably has some of the worst light pollution in the world. I am limited as to what I can see, the planets and the moon mostly (I did see the Orion nebula and the Jovian moons last night with 10x40b Zeiss binoculars on the roof of my apartment building.)

I want something small and portable which I can take the roof or walk to Central Park with. A 90mm Mak might fit the bill!

I am trying to decide between the two common ones. The Celestron C90 and the Orion StarMax 90 tabletop.
I have read good things about the Celestron, but not as much out there about the StarMax. The StarMax is $50 more, but comes with an extra eyepiece and a simple mount.

Any opinions on choosing between the two? Any other diminutive ones I should be looking at?

Thanks!
Rafael


I just sent you a PM.

#24 RafaelP

RafaelP

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 101
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2012
  • Loc: NYC

Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

John-(return PM sent)
The only observing I have done so far is through my binoculars, this will be my first experience with a telescope. The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York is having viewings in Central Park on December 20 and 21st. I hope to go, talk to some people to find how they deal with the city!
~R

#25 RafaelP

RafaelP

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 101
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2012
  • Loc: NYC

Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:12 PM

Does anyone know if there have been side to side comparisons between the Orion SkyMax 90mm and the Celestron C90? I know they have same Chinese manufacturer, but I assume they could have slightly different specs...






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics