Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


80 mm st alt az

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Rob55



  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 35
  • Joined: 15 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Fort Polk, LA USA

Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:06 AM

BLUF: I want a simple easy look at visible planets and brighter space objects for around $500.

Happy New Year. I'm a novice and the more I read the more I'm thinking about an 80 mm st on a solid altaz as my first scope. It will be portable and I can use it for terrestrial viewing too. Orion has the plain OTA for $119 and kit with ring mounts, diagonal and eyepieces for $50 more. I'm thinking of going with the kit because the cost of mount and rings make the eyepieces and diagonal a gift. With that I'll have some change to spend on a good mount. Are there eyepieces or diagonals out there that will significantly improve Performance. I've read reviews that say so, but they neglect to say what eyepieces. My thinking is this is a scope I will use and it leaves me room for a 8" dob in the future without too much duplication if the bug really bites. I'm thinking Universal Astronomics micro or uni, or vixen porta for a mount. I'll be looking at planets, the moon and bright stars and objects with my wife in the back yard for a while. Hoping I can find most of it with a low power ep without finder scope. I want the scope to stay put after locating an object so my wife can have a reliable look or I can swap an ep. We will probably attempt to find some dark sky out of the neighborhood on some nights. Then we will see where the interest goes.

Probably all new at this point as I have no confidence in my ability to cobble up a functional kit from used without much trial and error. I know I will dabble for improvement, but I want to be looking through a scope soon.

Oh, yes, are wooden legs that much better than metal? Does anyone here attach scope mounts to engineer tripods? what are the pitfalls there?

I'm still considering a vixen 80mf with porta II mount, but find the idea of a ST with wide angle attractive.

Thanks Rob :crazy:

#2 BSJ



  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2008
  • Loc: VT

Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:26 AM

Not bad for wide-field but the ST80 is rather underwellming on planets, with lots of false color thrown in.

#3 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs


  • *****
  • Posts: 54923
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:50 AM


I have an ST-80 type scope and have fun with it. However, I agree with Brian, it is not a good choice for viewing the planets, too much false color, I can make out the basics but the detail is lacking. Mine has a 2 inch focuser, its a good low power, widefield scope not well suited for high magnifications. It does its best work under dark skies.

I think that 8 inch Dob you have in the back of your mind would the better first scope. In comparison to even the best 80mm refractor, it will provide sharper, brighter, more detailed views of the planets and indeed most everything. In general, smaller scopes are ideal for a few larger objects but require more skill.


#4 Gary Riley

Gary Riley

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 343
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2011
  • Loc: White Bluff, TN

Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:18 PM

Hello Rob!
I agree with some of the others in that an 8 inch dob would give you far more capacity to see objects brighter and fainter than an 80mm short tube refractor will and for less than $500.

If, however, you still wish to go the 80mm short tube route, may I suggest the Sky Watcher Pro 80mm ED OTA. For $649 it comes with a pretty complete package such as: 2 inch dielectric diagonal, 8x50 RACI finder scope, tube rings, Vixen style dovetail, 2 speed Crayford style focuser, two fairly decent eyepieces (5mm & 20mm long eye relief type). Scope is 600mm fl (f/7.5). Saw this on Hayneedles website. Just thought I would mention it.


#5 StarStuff1



  • *****
  • Posts: 4155
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Posted 29 December 2012 - 03:59 AM

Yep, an 80mm ED in the f/7-ish range would be a better choice for this size refractor. Used, but not that expensive. Once I had an 80mm f/8 Celestron APO and I regret selling it.

Cripes, a 6-in f/8 dob would be a good choice, too. Much more aperture and not costly.

#6 Gary Z

Gary Z

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 216
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2012
  • Loc: New Mexico

Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

Bob, from your post, it is obvious that you are researching what you want. My advise, from personal experience is be patient. If you can, attend a star party where you can readily see the different scopes and ask questions. I think the next best thing would be to try www.nightskiesnetwork.com . If you are not familiar with this site, amateur astronomers use this to broadcast their live viewing of the planets, sun, etc, and you have a chat feature with which to ask your questions. Everyone is so helpful; it is a huge resource of information.

Also, I certainly agree with the answers you've been given, and I've seen what a Dobs can give you. It is a simple telescope and you will get a view that will really surprise you! Orion sells quite a few types. I've actually seen the push-to dobs in action and the owner really likes his. What I also like about the dobs is that due to it being so low, it can be somewhat more stable in some windy situations than other types of telescopes in its price range. Good hunting for your telescope, and clear skies!

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics