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#1 paulr57

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

Hey Everyone!

I'm new to this forum, and while I've owned a telescope for over 10 years, I'm a newbie! I came here originally to explore the possibility of buying another Telescope and wanted to research the choices and from the moment I logged in here I am totally overwhelmed!

There are so many threads and so many articles I just don't know where to begin. For the moment I've confined myself to the newbie forums (and looking at the wondrous images members have posted)but my basic goal remains in researching for a new Telescope.

I just don't know where to go from here. I don't even know what questions to ask!

I have a 10" Dobsonian and for years have enjoyed lunar, plantetary, and brighter DSO observing. I'm blessed with some pretty dark skies right in my backyard and no major cities within 50 miles.

I need a guide to help point me in the right direction. I don't need someone to do my "research" but need more of a pointer to the areas of this forum that can best help me.

Thanks!
Paul

#2 NeilMac

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:26 AM

Whats wrong with your 10" Dob?
Or do u want to get into AP?

#3 paulr57

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:30 AM

Oh there's nothing wrong with it at all. I'm just getting older and wanted more of a goto scope to save time start hopping so I can spend more time observing and less nudging the scope.

I have some interest in AP but it's not a burning desire. I saw a post from someone who said "How many pictures can you take of the same object" and that makes sense so I'm not planning to make a huge investment in AP quality equipment.

The 10" Dob is a great telescope but it's harder to for my broken body to lug around the tube.

#4 kenrenard

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

Whats wrong with your 10" Dob?
Or do u want to get into AP?


Agreed a 10 inch Dob is a very potent instrument. Do you want something smaller or bigger?

Give us all some more details and we will be happy to give our 2 cents. :)

#5 NeilMac

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

A GOTO is going to be heavier and requires a power supply.

#6 kenrenard

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:36 AM

Maybe a small refractor or SCT on a goto would be a good choice. My 72mm refractor is under 5 lbs. However if you are use to 10 inch views its going to be a letdown. I have a friend with a C6 and enjoys it quite a bit.

One option is a hand truck for your dob. I use one for my 8 inch and its no effort at all to take it out. This depends if you have no steps.

#7 paulr57

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

Power supply is not an issue. I have no less than 6 outlets spread out across my backyard. Weight is not too much of an issue provided of course it's not obsessive. It's the length and bulk of the tube. I have to carry it down a flight of stairs to set it up outside.

I don't live anywhere near a store or outlet where I can actually look at setups. At the moment I'm hedging toward a 8" SCT and from what I can see the weight and compact tube assemblies might be a good fit but since I can't physically see one I'm not sure :(

#8 NeilMac

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:45 AM

Maybe look at building a observing shed so you dont have to move the scope.

#9 dpwoos

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

I think that you would learn a lot by observing with your local astro club, where you can see how folks get setup and how the various scopes perform. Really, no one can tell you what you will enjoy - you will have to figure that out for yourself. There is no better place to do this than out observing.

#10 paulr57

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

Let me describe my viewing area. I have 1.5 acres cleared and fenced which provides me with a variety of places to setup depending upon my target for the night. I have another 5 acres with low lying trees which give me access to the sky closer to the horizon. The fenced area is ringed with power outlets so I don't have to rely on batteries or battery packs.

I am lucky in that I have a pretty unobstructed view to the south and no light pollution to speak of. The nearest major city to the south is Atlanta and that's several hundred miles away. When I purchased the land and built the house I had backyard observing in mind so hence the abundant power supplies and unobstructed views.

#11 NeilMac

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:57 AM

SO you have a Haven that we would all drool over :)

Building a small observatory might be your best bet, would be nice not have to setup each time and just slide the roof off.

#12 mjs

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

If portability is your primary concern then recognize that the new scope will be considerably smaller than your dob. A dob like yours is considered to be quite portable, all things considered, so something noticeably lighter and less bulky will have to be smaller. Is that acceptable to you?

Is there an astronomy club near you where you could check out alternatives yourself? Nothing like hands on experience to help settle the question!

Mike

#13 paulr57

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:02 AM

Yes I am fortunate! If it were up to me I'd have the hubble on a pier! Unfortunately life got in the way and my issues are mobility. I'm a retired Firefighter and my body took a serious beating. I have considered a "building" but I've always been concerned with the long hot summers of burning heat and the effects of leaving a scope setup in the warmer months.

#14 paul hart

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:05 AM

SO you have a Haven that we would all drool over :)

Building a small observatory might be your best bet, would be nice not have to setup each time and just slide the roof off.


I agree, If I had a site like yours I would build a roll off roof observatory. An 8 inch SCT would be a step down from what you observe with presently. You might consider getting DSC's like a Sky Commander, an equatorial table that would let you track for around an hour.

#15 paulr57

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:07 AM

I've identified a couple of clubs but the closest one is about 50miles north. I guess living in rural America has it's drawbacks.

I will attempt to get to a meeting but the distance in all reality will be a deterrent. I'm willing to travel to a storefront that has display models but I'm not sure how to locate one. If anyone knows of one in North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia I'd love to have that info!

#16 NeilMac

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:08 AM

Air vents are not hard to do (if your a handy man). If the scopes can take -30c then high heat should not be a problem, best to ask the manufacturer on the specs. The electronics would be the only thing I would worry about at 100F.

#17 howard929

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

Creeping up in age myself with some pains that don't seem to want to go away, I understand your concerns. If it's between not using that 10" dob because hauling it is too much or buying a shed and storing it outside, I'd go with the shed idea and keep it covered while it's resting. Also, there's a thread in Reflectors dedicated to putting a dob on wheels that you may find helpful.

#18 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

If you like your 10" dob, but want GoTo, have you considered Orion's GoTo Dobs?
Orion XT10G

Or for less weight, $ and smaller batteries the Push to XT10i?
XT10i

Or heck, go big! build the roll-off roof shed the other guys are talking about and put a XX16g in it! :grin:

#19 kenrenard

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:25 AM

Another option one person does in our club was cement a pier and then only have to move out the tube to go observing. An 8 inch Celestron says 12.5 lbs on their site.


You might want to check in the Observatory forum. Those folks all have some good ideas. There is always one of the skyshedpods if you don't want to build anything.


http://www.skyshedpod.com/

There are two problems with all these things
Time and Money.

Good Luck finding what you are looking for. Hope this is of some help. There are some very helpful and experienced folks in the forums so you should get some good advice.

Ken

#20 Seldom

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:26 AM

If you had on grade storage, many bigger dobs come with wheelbarrow handles. Moving a 90 pound dob with wheelbarrow handles is no big deal.

#21 Maverick199

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

You could get a Nextar 6se or 8se which is not heavy like a GEM but has goTo features.

#22 jerwin

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:31 AM

Paul, I have a CPC1100 that is a very nice goto scope. More costly than your dob by far but very stable in any wind I've faced to date. The Celestron 8se's with the single arm are a little shaky in the wind, and I think the weight pushes the mount they are on to the limit.

Not sure how bad the beating your body took, but it's a little heavy to setup and take down. My setup time is maybe 15-20 minutes. I have a power pack underneath, do a 2 star alignment and I'm basically dead on the rest of the night. I do have the 6.3 focal reducer that is nice, and I've been using 82 degree explore scientific eyepieces with it giving me a very nice experience.

This is not the best choice for DSO AP. Planets and the moon it's fine, but you really do want a nice GEM mount if you want AP on DSO's. Doesn't sound like that is a big focus for you.

If a new or used one is in your price range I'd give it a strong thumbs up.

Good luck
Jim

#23 jerwin

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

Not trying to bash a 8se either, it is a very nice scope, but I've seen a few guys with them get chased out of the astronomy clubs dark site because the wind was too bad while I was able to keep going for several more hours.

Jim

#24 csrlice12

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

I'd find a small TuffShed (or similar clone), put some handles and wheels on the Dob you have, and put it close to where you'll do most of your viewing. While not a "GrabnGo", a good 4" refractor makes a great companion scope to a dob. The refractor will give you better contrast on the planets and moon; the dob, well, you know the views you get from it for DSOs. I decided on the Omni 102XLT, which is a little long (1000mm) for some folks, but overall, is a really nice scope (achromat) and the coloring is minimal. The scope with a CG4 EQ mount is under $500.

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:46 AM

Yes I am fortunate! If it were up to me I'd have the hubble on a pier! Unfortunately life got in the way and my issues are mobility. I'm a retired Firefighter and my body took a serious beating. I have considered a "building" but I've always been concerned with the long hot summers of burning heat and the effects of leaving a scope setup in the warmer months.


I keep mine in the shed all the time, so far no problems. It is a dryer climate here though. In a humid climate, maybe keep the base inside?? The OTA should be fine, expecially if you make a "stand" to keep it horizontal to prevent moisture buildup on the mirror. If you are in a dryer climate like Denver, CO; I'd just store the whole scope in the shed. If possible, I'd keep that 10" Dob. A shed can also be used for other things as well (just don't store gasoline or other caustic chemicals in the shed with the scope). With Power, you could set up that shed with some red lighting, etc...and have a really nice "observatory", even if you do have to move the scope outside.






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