Jump to content


Photo

Suggestions on what to telescope to buy

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 whizkidcat

whizkidcat

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2013
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:26 PM

I'm probably opening up pandora's box by asking this question but..
Our eyes are old, our backs ache, we need to sit down to look up or fall down, and we don't have an unlimited money supply.
So with that said, we do own a Meade 6" Dobsonian but it is too hard to bend the old body to line things up and standing and constantly having to adjust for motion is tedious.
We have had this for years and hardly ever take it out!

We are thinking that a Go To telescope with GPS would be more enjoyable for us.

Can someone please give us some suggestions as to Brand, model, best tripod, best deal, a list of the most desireable accesoriess for this type of telescope?

Thinking about a Maksutov-Cassegrain type?
Equatorial fork mount, Go to with GPS??
:D

We really are Newbies!

#2 faltered

faltered

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 617
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2005

Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

I would go with any of the Celestron NexStar SE models. You dont need GPS with Celestron's Sky Align technology. Alignment is super easy.

That would give you a great telescope that you could sit-down and view from.

The only tough decision is what size model to get.

#3 Escher

Escher

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1065
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Fenton, MI

Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:31 PM

Give us a budget range please...

I would avoid a Mak for now... They are great scopes, but are high F ratio, i.e. narrow field of view... you also pay a serious premium for any decent aperture...

#4 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20641
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:52 PM

Skip the Mak-Cass, you don't get as much aperture for your buck. If you want the ultimate in cush, you have a couple of options. First off, I'd stick with Celestron. They've continued to invest in making their stuff push-button easy to use. Second, what I'd suggest depends on your budget, but let me give you a couple of examples:

C6 Nexstar SE - no GPS, but easy to use GOTO and tracking and excellent seated observing. You want to make it even easier? Check out Celestron's upcoming "StarSense" doo-hickey. Plug it into your mount, turn 'em on, come back in 5 minutes and the darned thing has the scope aligned for you.

The Celestron CPC and CPC Deluxe scopes come with GPS, but you still need to do a 2-star alignment. StarSense should work with those too. Again, the fork mount (dual forks in this case) makes for easy seated observing. These come in many different flavors for different budgets - 8", 9.25" and 11", in standard or Edge HD (flat field, coma free) versions.

For an idea of price ranges, a C6 Nexstar SE system runs $800 and a full-pony CPC 1100 Deluxe with the Edge HD optics runs about $3800.

With such scopes, you will need a power suply (usually a large rechargeable battery), some form of dew control (at least a shade or if in a moist climate probably electric heater strips). After you experience the joys of wire farms "all the bells and whistles" scopes entail, your old 6" Dob may not look so bad. :lol:

Regards,

Jim

#5 MikeBOKC

MikeBOKC

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4667
  • Joined: 10 May 2010
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:08 PM

Given back/age/decrepitude. two obvious choices here: Nexstar 8 or CPC 800. Same optical tubes, but more stability with the CPC. You don't list a location, but if there is an astronomy club within range, someone there is likely to have one ro both of those scopes so you could eyeball and test drive them.

#6 whizkidcat

whizkidcat

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2013
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:01 PM

Thank you all so much for the input
so far... :)

I was looking at spending at the very MOST around $1500 all said and done WITH accessories.

After reading more I don't think the GPS is really all that necessary.

Jim
regarding your post
With such scopes, you will need a power suply (usually a large rechargeable battery), some form of dew control (at least a shade or if in a moist climate probably electric heater strips). After you experience the joys of wire farms "all the bells and whistles" scopes entail, your old 6" Dob may not look so bad.

I think I need a little more of an explanation! :)

I've never been to a star party to see all the different telescopes in action!

What would make my Dob so appealing? Would my back agree? :)


How much of a difference will I see between a 4, 6, 8, 10 "
in the quality of what I can see?
For example, if I am trying to look at a specific galaxy
How will the galaxy look in each of the different telescopes?

At what point does the cost verses the crispness and brightness become too costly? "More bang for the buck"

I can't find a site that shows me this or gives a list of pictures to show the difference!

Where can I find a list of all the major things we can see in the sky by the month?

Thanks!

#7 Patrick

Patrick

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11439
  • Joined: 15 May 2003
  • Loc: Franklin, Ohio

Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:28 PM

With such scopes, you will need a power suply (usually a large rechargeable battery), some form of dew control (at least a shade or if in a moist climate probably electric heater strips). After you experience the joys of wire farms "all the bells and whistles" scopes entail, your old 6" Dob may not look so bad.

I think I need a little more of an explanation!



I think he's trying to say that the simplicity of your 6" Dobsonian is one of it's virtues, compared to what you may encounter with a more sophisticated setup.

How much of a difference will I see between a 4, 6, 8, 10 "
in the quality of what I can see?
For example, if I am trying to look at a specific galaxy
How will the galaxy look in each of the different telescopes?




You already know what the 6" can show you. The general rule of thumb is to go up at least 1 magnitude of light gathering to get a noticeable 'wow' factor. In this case that would be going with a 10" scope. However, on the down side, that's a big increase in the weight and setup difficulty.

I'd also steer clear of any GEM mounted scope. The GEM mount adds a layer of complexity you just don't need for visual observing. It has to be 'assembled' every time you use it, and the counterweights and mount head can get fairly heavy.

I think an 8" SCT is nicely positioned between aperture and portability. The Celestron NexStar 8SE is a lightweight, easy to use goto setup. Yes, you will need some kind of battery or AC power available to use it, but that will be true for any scope you get that has drive motors on it.

One more plus for the 8SE is that it's under your stated max budget. Total weight of the 8SE is about 24 lbs.


Patrick

#8 whizkidcat

whizkidcat

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2013
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:27 AM

Thank you all!

Can you tell me if the Celestron 8 se is easy to polar align?
Two things that concern me about this telescope;
The poor power connection (loose and is easily unplugged)
and the vibration I've read about (it can't be much fun if you're seeing blurry images!)

Any other suggestions for an 8" go to telescope?

#9 beammeup

beammeup

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Straight of Gibraltar

Posted 22 March 2013 - 05:52 AM

I had a celestron 8 SE, I sold it because, as you point out, one arm is just not steady enough. I have recently bought an 8 inch HD with VX mount, so far so good... :fingerscrossed:
Fork mounted 8 inch CPC was also an option, but more expensive and needs a wedge (more money) to do any astrophoto or video.

#10 whizkidcat

whizkidcat

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2013
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:27 AM

Thanks everyone for your advice!

I think we are still leaning toward the NexStar 8 SE because of price (we need money for all those EP's we are going to need!)
The capability to track is a nice option. We want to spend more time viewing instead of adjusting the view :)

I sure could use some suggestions as to what EP's would be best for this telescope.

Mostly interested in Deep sky. Not too much interest in AP although who knows!

Looking forward to your replies!

#11 andysea

andysea

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1623
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted 31 March 2013 - 12:16 PM

If you decide to try AP I strongly recommend using a much shorter focal length telescope. DSO photography at 1000+ FL can be extremely frustrating unless you have a more than capable mount. On the other hand wide field work can be very rewarding and much less demanding on the mount with respect to accuracy.

Andy

#12 Eddgie

Eddgie

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13221
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:44 PM

How will the galaxy look in each of the different telescopes?


The brightness of Galaxies is less a funcion of apeture than you may realize. It is more about exit pupil than aperture.

Extended targets will appear just as bright in you 6" scope at 50x as they would in a 12" scope if you use the same exit pupil (100x).


The differences though are that you would of course see the galaxy as being twice as large in the 12" scope, but not really any brighter if the exit pupil is the same in each scope.

The point to this post is that don't expect to see a lot more galactic targets in a bigger scope. You can see them more magnified in the field, but perhaps not much brighter than you can see them today.

Bottom line.. Don't expect to see a lot of galaxies you can't already see using the lowest power your scope can show.

Their is of course this exceptoin. If your current scope is a 6" f/8 and only eqipped with 1.25" eyepiece, then the largetst exit pupil you can get would be using a 40mm Plossl and this would only give you a 5mm exit pupil.

If you are using an eyepeice like a 32mm Plossl, your exit pupil is only 4mm. In this case, you are not seeing galaxies as brightly as your scope is capable of showing them.

But lets say you got an f/10 SCT.

f your scope only has a 1.25" eyepeice holder, I suggest you buy a used 40mm Plossl.

Get your astromony program or catalog and pick some galaxies you want to see.

Drive your car out of town about 50 miles and put the 1.25" 40mm Plossl in your scope and look at those galaxies.

That will tell you about what you would get out of an 8" SCT with a 55mm Plossl. It will be a bit bigger in the 8" SCT, but only a bit.

And it would be the same for any telescope used with a 5mm exit pupil.

Bottom line.. With a larger aperture, for a given exit pupil, what you get is not a big increase in brightness, but rather an increase in image scale.

Suppose your current scope is a 6" f/8 reflector with a focal lenght of 1216mm, and your lowest power eyepiece now is a 32mm Plossl.

This will give you an exit pupil of 4mm.

If you by a C8 and use a 40mm 2" widefield eyepeice, the exit pupil will only be 3.7mm. (The C8 has a focal lenght of about 2175mm when used with 2" eyepieces).

In other words, the image would actually be slightly brighter in your current scope, though about 50% larger in size.

But if you are looking at the Andromeda Galaxy, neither of these will fit into the field of either of these scope when used in these configurations.

There are a lot of big galaxies out there. What you need to see them well are dark skies an big exit pupils.

I love aperture. It is the single most important differentiator in what I have been able to see with telescopes.

But of all the targets in the sky, they actually respond less to apeture than the others. For star clusters, the more aperture, the more you see. Globulars in particular get better and better as apeture goes up.


Planets take on more detail.

But Galaxies are galaxies. You can get them a bit bigger, with a small increase in apeture, but not much brighger.

To see them really well, what works best is a very large, very fast telescopes.

I would not recommend that you upgrade to 8" or even 10" from where you are today if galaxies are high on your list of observing targets.

You may be better off buying a 40mm Plossl and some gasoline to get you out of town.

But if the scope comfort and convenience is important to you, consider a mid size (10") Go-To Dob.

Here is one I recommend:

10" Go-TO dob for less than $1000

This scope for example, when used with a 27mm Panopic would give you an exit pupil of about 5.65mm, which is quite a bit bigger than you are getting now if you are using a 32mm Plossl in a 6? f/8 scope.

And the field would be larger because of the apparend field of the Panoptic vs the narrow field of a 32mm Plossl.

It would be Go-To, but can still use Push To to save battery power.

It would be comfortable to use and on one piece is all that heavy that it would be hard to bring out.

And for less than $1200, you could have a 10" Go-To dob with a used 27mm Panoptic.

#13 MarshallCrenshaw

MarshallCrenshaw

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 20
  • Joined: 18 Mar 2013

Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:17 PM

"Where can I find a list of all the major things we can see in the sky by the month?"

You might want to look at Weasner's Guides and References at http://www.weasner.c...guides/toc.html

He has some guides by constellation with 10-15 suggested objects in each, from P. Clay Sherrod at the Arkansas Sky Observatory. They are called GoTo guides and are setup for use with GoTo telescopes. He lists each object, location, and gives a description, history, sometimes photos.

website also has a lot of other informative articles for beginning and intermediate telescope users.

Attached Files



#14 whizkidcat

whizkidcat

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2013
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:46 PM

Wow! That's a lot of good information! Thank you all!

Since I already have a 6" Meade Starfinder dob I am VERY shy to buy another since this one is really not good quality.
The finder scope is terrible (I realize we could have updated it to a better one but when it was new we expected it to be usable not to mention having to put out more $$$ on a new scope!) and the EP's it came with even worse. I got frustrated the other day and took apart one of the eye pieces just to see what they look like and found the glass inside had chips on the side of the glass. Very poor quality!

Anyone out there have an Orion Dob? Maybe someone can pipe in here and share with me your experience?

I'm not sure how to compare the comfort of a dob to the NexStar 8SE as far as the viewing time while sitting since I have never had the chance to see a Dob and a SCT side by side! (up close and personal)
It's the physical strain on the body while viewing that seems to be the concern with us as I have a "bad back".
That is why we thought the goto would give us more time "viewing" before the physical issues drove us back into the house or car.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics