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#1 TheMadHatter

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:54 PM

So, first and foremost this is my first post here,so im a newb. I already feel at home reading through the post, and exploring the other perks of the website(classified ads and the discount for being a member!).

Well Ive been thinking for a long time now that id like to get a refractor type telescope. One reason for this is i already own a 130 orion space probe on an eq-2 mount. Its a really nice scope and last night i took it out and saw m42,m43, m78, m35,36,37, and m38, all crystal clear and with just amazing clarity over the entire fov, i also took a look at jupiter and was able to see the cloud bands and 5 of the bigger moons in the fov. I did clean the optics and re-collimated it not to long ago so im sure this helps.

The main reason id like a refractor is, 1) im not getting the detail with galaxies and close views with planets as id like anymore. and 2) most importantly its gotten to be a pain to lug that huge case around with me and maneuver through door ways and up the stairs and so on. 3) I'd also like to travel with it overseas when i visit family.

So I've been thinking getting a 70-80mm refractor i don't really want to break the bank getting one of those televue's or tashka's(maybe further down the road) i was looking at the astro tech 72mm ed f/6, or the orion 80st. a few others came up to but I'm pretty much narrowed it down to these to and leaning more towards the astro-tech, but have heard the orion has better optics in it.

Ill break it down for ya, tell you what i have and what i plan to acquire in my arsenal of equipment.
As of now i have
-- Orion space probe 130
-- An EQ-2 mount and tripod-will a refractor telescope work on this mount?
-- A set of the Orion 1.25” eyepieces, planetary filters, and 2x barlow in a hard carrying case.
-- sky safari pro, and skygazer 4, on Macbook pro

Now that I have a foot in the door and have an idea of what to expect (somewhat), i feel that i would like to view as well as be able to capture what i see(lunar, planets, and DSO such as the Messier ones).

So do you guys think the astro tech refractor telescope is a decent one? and would it be similar to the 130mm’s reflectors seeing ability? i hear its a grab and go type but yet gives great views, so its small enough where i can travel with it yet use it for viewing the night sky good. My future setup for taking pictures would include this refractor, as a finder/guiding scope, a 10”+ reflector, a color camera(one able to take pictures with out the use of color wheels), and a motorized mount.


tell me your thoughts, ive been hunting and digging up info here and at other websites about these telescopes. Its seems the reviews all come out the same as far as they are all happy with the telescope. If i can start to piece my setup together now than id like to do so obviously saving time and money.

Another thing, ive noticed with my mount it is quite shaky if i bump it or walk around it. If i upgrade the mount as well are any motorized mounts capable of tracking the stars or is it only certain ones?

Thanks folks,
Aaron

#2 CJK

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:06 PM

Welcome to CN!

While I realize it's a far different scope from the ST80, I have both the Orion ED80 (a doublet apochromat) as well as the Astro-Tech AT72ED (an achromat doublet). Both are brand new, so I don't have a lot of experience with either, but I can tell you both are high quality scopes.

The Orion came with a pretty poor focuser, but after replacing it with a better one, it is a wonderful scope for visual use (and I am just beginning to experiment with photography through it).

The AT72ED hasn't had its first light yet, but I was absolutely blown away by the build quality of this little scope. If you're looking for an eminently portable refractor, it's a package that's hard to beat.

-- Chris

#3 GeneT

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

The main reason id like a refractor is, 1) im not getting the detail with galaxies and close views with planets as id like anymore.


To solve that problem, you need both more aperture and more magnification.

#4 Dennis_S253

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:28 PM

If you saw 5 moons on Jupiter I'd keep that scope for life.
Of all the objects you mentioned none were galaxy's. I have heard that people use refractors for AP though. I think I'd keep doing research.

#5 CJK

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

I'm not sure a small refractor is the answer to your goal of improving on the views from your present scope. The short focal length of both scopes you mention will reduce rather than increase magnification, and the smaller apertures of those scopes will make DSOs dimmer than they are in your current scope.

A small refractor is great in many ways, but for the goals you list, you might want to look at something with a longer focal length and larger aperture -- perhaps a SCT or Mak-Cas.

No doubt more experienced voices will comment here as well. That's the great thing about this site!

-- Chris

#6 TheMadHatter

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:49 AM

I didnt know the focal length had any thing todo with magnification?

*I may have gone on a tangent here, let me try to clean it up.
i was thinking of getting a 10" reflector to replace the 130mm one, simply because its like a pain or chore to move it around, at least with the 10" reflector id be moving something that i could really examine stuff with.

Since i already have a reflector i was thinking a refractor. I wouldn't mind doing astrophotos, in fact i already have done a few holding my phone up and have built a make shift piggyback rig. As i realize AP gets really complex and a lot of work goes into it, i would like to ease my way into it.

Here was my thoughts though, as i was doing research it seemed the "AP" group preferred to have a refractor as a guide scope mounted to a bigger scope. I thought since i already own a decent reflector id get a refractor, then all id have to do is upgrade my reflector or use as is and get a tracking mount, and some other accessories for astrophotography.

While having the small refractor id be able to travel around with it, overseas to europe from the US. Also id feel that id use it more, cause it'd be easy to pack into the car and go to a dark spot with. Ill keep doing some research on this subject matter, I've been thinking about this now since the summer when their where plenty of times i could have gotten the "cannon" out and used it but was just to exhausted from the days work i didn't bother.

Maybe I'm also looking at this from the wrong angle to? i do plan on going to the local astronomy club, i went to the universities star party this summer and was asking about refractors and such, nobody knew much about them and none had one to look through. So i turned to the web for some help. I know some are real connoisseurs here and reading through some of the post i will be able to learn quite a bit of material on this site!

#7 Maverick199

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:46 AM

A 8" or 10" Dobsonian might be what you are looking for.
While the 80mm Refractor will be good for a guidescope or even imaging, it will not have enough aperture to show you details as you want.

There are many choices for astro equipment but how deep you intend to go with it may very well decide the type of scope / mount that you will need.

#8 CJK

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

I didnt know the focal length had any thing todo with magnification?



Magnification is calculated by dividing your scope's focal length by the focal length of your eyepiece. Thus, a 5mm EP in my ED80 (600 mm focal length) yields a magnification of 120x, while in an Orion XT8 (1200 mm focal length), it would give you 240x.

*I may have gone on a tangent here, let me try to clean it up.
i was thinking of getting a 10" reflector to replace the 130mm one, simply because its like a pain or chore to move it around, at least with the 10" reflector id be moving something that i could really examine stuff with.

Since i already have a reflector i was thinking a refractor. I wouldn't mind doing astrophotos, in fact i already have done a few holding my phone up and have built a make shift piggyback rig. As i realize AP gets really complex and a lot of work goes into it, i would like to ease my way into it.

Here was my thoughts though, as i was doing research it seemed the "AP" group preferred to have a refractor as a guide scope mounted to a bigger scope. I thought since i already own a decent reflector id get a refractor, then all id have to do is upgrade my reflector or use as is and get a tracking mount, and some other accessories for astrophotography.

While having the small refractor id be able to travel around with it, overseas to europe from the US. Also id feel that id use it more, cause it'd be easy to pack into the car and go to a dark spot with. Ill keep doing some research on this subject matter, I've been thinking about this now since the summer when their where plenty of times i could have gotten the "cannon" out and used it but was just to exhausted from the days work i didn't bother.


Ah, that's clearer. It's tough to beat a small refractor on an alt/az mount for "grab and go" ease, but your targets will be quite different from the ones you'd aim for with something like a small catadioptric. Something to think about.

Refractors are often used for AP because of their short focal lengths, which yield nice, wide fields for big DSOs. A good mount is essential, though, as you're going to have much longer exposures with a small aperture refractor than with a reflector or cat.

Maybe I'm also looking at this from the wrong angle to? i do plan on going to the local astronomy club, i went to the universities star party this summer and was asking about refractors and such, nobody knew much about them and none had one to look through. So i turned to the web for some help. I know some are real connoisseurs here and reading through some of the post i will be able to learn quite a bit of material on this site!


I suspect (but don't know this for a fact) that refractors are less popular these days because of their high "cost per inch" of aperture in comparison to cats or certainly reflectors. However, because there are a lot of folks here on CN who are AP enthusiasts/experts, there are a lot of refractor fans also. The Refractors forum and the imaging forums are the place to meet them. (I read those forums too -- don't know enough to actually post anything there, though!) :)

Anyway, please don't take anything I've said as gospel -- I'm a newbie myself, and I am learning too! If you don't already have it, you might want to pick up "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" which is a really wonderful reference I've found tremendously helpful.

Best,
-- Chris

#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

Well Ive been thinking for a long time now that id like to get a refractor type telescope. One reason for this is i already own a 130 orion space probe on an eq-2 mount. ...
The main reason id like a refractor is, 1) im not getting the detail with galaxies and close views with planets as id like anymore ...

So I've been thinking getting a 70-80mm refractor


That would be moving in the wrong direction. An 80-mm refractor will show you significantly less detail on the planets and dramatically worse views of galaxies.

The only answer is a scope with more aperture. To get a significant improvement on 5 inches, you need to jump to 8 -- either an 8-inch Dob or SCT.

I assume that like most stargazers you're working from a suburban backyard. In that case, by far the biggest improvement for galaxies would come from observing under darker skies.

#10 newtoskies

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:30 AM

Like the others have said, you'll need to go bigger with a Dob/Newt or SCT. I plan on getting an 80-102 refractor but know I will not see as much detail or DSO's with it compared to my 6" Dob ( later a 10"). I will use the refractor for a quick viewing session and mainly for Clusters.
Using different scope together is also fun. I use my 10x50 with my Dob. later I'll add the refractor. Different viewing experience with each piece of equipment.
I think what you need is what has been mentioned above, 8" or bigger Dob or an SCT also bigger. If the Newt on the EQ is what is bothering you, then a Dob is much easier. 6-8" can be carried easily with one hand, but 10" is a bit heavier and bulkier.
Dark skies will be best for those DSO's.

#11 csrlice12

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

Keep you 130mm, they're pretty decent scopes. Small enough for grabngo, big enough to see the major objects in the sky. I did a lot of research on this web site, other web sites, and talking to people in the local astronomy clubs before deciding on my 10XTi.....and I love that scope. For DSOs its big enough to bring in those fuzzies, yet still light enough to carry in two pieces. I was also recommended to get a 4"-5" refractor for planetary, cluster, lunar viewing, which I did for Christmas (glad I did too). Truthfully, in the long run, (as you are finding out), one scope will not do everything you want, you will want more than one scope. A scope is just another tool and does what it is designed to do. Your "normal" f8 and above refractor is great for planetary, lunar, double star, and clusters, but not so great for faint DSOs. The larger dobs are light buckets, while they might not give the contrast on planets like a refractor, you'll see things with the larger dob that your refractor will only see on the box it came in. Smaller, wide-field refractors are good wide-field and great for AP, but they are not really good for planetary and high power (and unless you get an apochromatic, you will notice coloring at the edges on brighter objecs at < f8 or 9). For AP, the mount is actually more important than the scope. You'll need a really good stable mount (probablly &650 and up), a CG5 at a very minimum; or an Orion Atlas or Losmundy 8; especially if you plan on using that 130mm for AP (I'd go the small refractor/SCT route to save going bald). A small mak or triplet on a CG5 or better mount would get you a start. I'd also recommed an APO. You can use these scopes visually as well on the EQ2 mount for visual, which would be pretty portable (you may want to brace up your tripod or consider another, more sturdy one. Someone on another thread here talked about the one they built themselves for about $40 in parts. Next, not any old camera will do, for digital, the chip size is important, for film....good luck with that. I know I'm rambling, just got up, haven't finished coffee yet. But, bottom line is, in astronomy, like any other field, you need the proper tool for the job. Regardless what Toyota says, you couldn't give me that pickup truck that towed the space shuttle, bet the clutches and drive train on that truck was a mess after that....

#12 TheMadHatter

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

Chris, i completely forgot about this f/ratio i whence made a little note card of the magnifications that i have. Looking at this now it looked like i use about 53x or a 17mm EP on the 130mm which is 900mm f/7 focal length on most object and then put the 2x barlow on for higher power.

im not a fan of Dobs, i know they can be great telescopes but i prefer not to have one. The SCT look really nice, but if i get anything like a reflector i will get something 10"+ in size.

The first image i saw with a telescope was saturn with the old Jason 60mm refractor on the wooden mount, i remember the rings and clarity as i tried to focus and control the wobble of the mount in the dead of winter after work at like 2 in the a.m!

#13 Mike4242

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:26 AM

An 8"-10" SCT would probably fit the bill nicely. You get lots of aperture and the ability to do AP. As was already mentioned, you will also need a very sturdy mount to do AP such as the Orion Atlas or Celestron CGEM.

Also the SCT design has several disadvantages that you should be aware of: 1) Narrower field of view 2) Prone to dew (dew countermeasures are a must) 3) Longer cool down time.

#14 newtoskies

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

But, bottom line is, in astronomy, like any other field, you need the proper tool for the job.



LOL I'm still trying to explain that to the missus and why I need a refractor. She says it's like why I needed different saws or nail guns....but I guess with scopes it may be different in her eyes. :lol: :roflmao: :roflmao:

#15 CJK

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:36 AM

BTW, if you consider a cat at some point, you need to check out Rod Mollise's web site and/or books. He's a regular on CN also. (Yet another benefit of hanging out around here: the experts do too!)

-- Chris

#16 BigC

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

A small refractor will show LESS detail to your eye;APers use those refractors with exposure times far exceeding the fracvtion of a second exposure of the human eye and brain.Longer exposures mean more light and detail.

You would need at least a 10omm class refractor to equal your 130 reflector visually,preferably a 120mm.A 150mm f8 will show you more of what you want to see but is pretty big setup.

A 10" 0r 12" Newtonian on a really good mount is an effective AP set. My Meade SN10 was used for film AP by the previou owner.

AsatroTech has large Newts designed for AP .

#17 CJK

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

Chris, i completely forgot about this f/ratio i whence made a little note card of the magnifications that i have. Looking at this now it looked like i use about 53x or a 17mm EP on the 130mm which is 900mm f/7 focal length on most object and then put the 2x barlow on for higher power.


Don't confuse f-ratio with the equation for magnification -- the f-ratio of your telescope is computed by dividing the focal length of the OTA by the aperture of the primary lens or mirror. It's independent of the eyepiece.

Wow, five comments in one thread. I think I need to switch to decaf.

-- Chris

#18 TheMadHatter

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:51 PM

Im still a newbie, i used the correct equation i think for the magnification. divide the focal length by the eye piece size. In this case it was 900mm/17mm to give roughly 53x. this seems to be my preferred magnification with the space probe, it gives a great deal of detail and am able to see the object close enough.

Ive been trying to restore my love for this telescope recently. So ive bought it out in the cold (usually its between 4-10 degrees fahrenheit). It really does show quite a bit, and is a great telescope. I tighten the mount up and re grease everything, including the focuser on the telescope. I was able to bring jupiter up 290x and resolved about 9 cloud bands and still see 4 of its moons passing by.

I will take everyones advise so far on this subject, more so when i upgrade to a bigger size scope( i was thinking a 10-14") ill get a SCT-Cass, but as of right now i still feel that i need something smaller to get a quick fix even if i wont see as much. I always have the Space Probe if i want to get a better view of something too.

Thanks for the input guys and hope to see you all around here more!

#19 CJK

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

:waytogo:

-- Chris

#20 Startraffic

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:41 PM

Hatter,
Something that seems to have been overlooked is your mount. You "can" put a slightly lager scope on it, but you will not be able to put a 10" reflector on it. It will collapse. Your mount "should" be able to handle something around a 6" short tube reflector or up to 5" (your 130mm) for visual. Not to bash your hopes or be negative, I'm trying to be realistic. In no case would I consider it for AP. It doesn't have a motorized drive for tracking, & won't be able to hold your OTA steady enough, long enough for AP unless your shooting the Sun, Moon or the larger, brighter planets. Forget Uranus, Pluto, & asteroids, they'll just be too dim to image. You might get them visually, but keeping them in the EP will be a challenge. The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view.
You've got a good setup, use it learn the sky, learn what you love/hate about it. Start a "Scope fund" that you put a few $$ into on a regular basis & save for the next mount. Try not to take a loan for your gear, SWMBO may not be happy about that.
If you want to do AP put your $$$ into the mount. As a general rule of thumb, 1/2 the rated limit for AP, max load including counterweights. So if your mount were rated at 30lbs load, then 15lbs of gear including your CWs so you'd be looking at around 10lbs for your optical train, OTA, Guidescope, Camera, dew heater, dew shields, etc. It doesn't take long to add up.
You can put a 30mmf4 scope of a gianormous mount & take images at the limit of the OTA abilities. You can't put a gianormous OTA on a tiny mount & get images worth keeping. Big mounts can be $$$, keep an eye on S&S, AMart, & CL. Deals can be had, a good condition used mount will cost less than new & if the previous owner upgraded then the old mount gets the axe.

Clear Dark Skies
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#21 TheMadHatter

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:41 AM

Startraffic, I figured i would need a better tripod to stabilize it,and a mount with computerized tracking and such. Ive taken a step back right now, it seems overwhelming.

Im not discourage, I'm actually very enthused. I am still an amateur that needs to learn the basics, before jumping to the big guns and have realistic exceptions of what ill see. As nothing is going to be Hubble type images/views.

But since we are on the mount now, what is a vixen style mount and dovetails, it seems every mount has this, except the smaller camera tripods that mount the small refractors i have been looking at.

TheMadHatter :looney:

#22 CJK

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:51 AM

But since we are on the mount now, what is a vixen style mount and dovetails, it seems every mount has this, except the smaller camera tripods that mount the small refractors i have been looking at.

TheMadHatter :looney:


There are two common sizes of dovetail plates, one significantly larger than the other. Both serve the same function, which is to provide a very secure, but easily adjustable way to attach something to a matching saddle on a mount. Vixen style plates are smaller than Losmandy style plates. Generally, with heavier loads, you'll see the Losmandy type plates used.

-- Chris

#23 TheMadHatter

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

okay this is what i thought, So say on the Orion Eq-2 mount i have, it has a vixen style dove plate but its not flat the bottom is shaped a certain way on the mount and dove plate, so in order to use another telescope on it i would get the correct dove plate with the same matching pattern on it as the EQ-2 mount, tube rings, etc for it. Or is this the basic setup for the vixen style mounting unit?

#24 csrlice12

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:11 PM

The main reason id like a refractor is, 1) im not getting the detail with galaxies and close views with planets as id like anymore.


To solve that problem, you need both more aperture and more magnification.


This just screams out " Bigger Dob".....






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