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Binos or telescope for high light pollution area?

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#26 Tony Flanders

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:46 PM

Since you are familiar with the Starblast, what do you think of it as scope intended primarily for planetary and other high magnification viewing?


It works surprisingly well, but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice. I find that the biggest problem is focusing. At f/4, with a characteristically coarse and somewhat sticky Chinese focuser, getting precise focus is a bit of a hit-or-miss affair. For that reason, I rarely use mine above 90X.

The XT-4.5 is a wonderful planetary scope, but significantly more expensive.

#27 Bugsi

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:23 PM

Lots of good advice here. I'd just add the following: The moon & galaxies, and the planets have kind of opposite needs. The moon is really big, and low magnification provides plenty to look at. Galaxies require dark skies and lots of aperture. A Dob would be a good choice if you hadn't mentioned planets. Planets are small, and you'll want more magnification. (As noted, they will still be frustratingly small.) -That kind of rules out a Dob.

The Orion Starmax 90 on an EQ-1 that has been suggested is a reasonable choice. Long focal length, and the German Equatorial Mount will allow you to rotate one axis with a slo-mo control to keep planets in view. I wouldn't recommend an Alt-Az mount if you're going to be looking at planets. A small Mak like the Starmax 90 can also be used with a correct-image 45-degree prism for terrestrial use.

I found the Starmax 90 to be particular about eyepieces, with some of my favorites exhibiting intolerable kidney-beaning. If you get one of these scopes, it will come with at least a 25mm Plossl. I'd recommend joining a club and trying out other people's eyepieces, or lacking that, ask on here which eyepieces other Starmax 90 owners prefer.

#28 Tony Flanders

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:29 PM

A Dob would be a good choice if you hadn't mentioned planets. Planets are small, and you'll want more magnification. That kind of rules out a Dob.


Why does it rule out a Dob? Even the smallest Dobs deliver better high-power images than the Starmax 90 -- which is itself no slouch.

Granted, it's nice to have motor tracking at high magnifications. But in all other ways Dobs make superb planetary telescopes.

#29 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:08 PM

Galaxies require dark skies and lots of aperture. A Dob would be a good choice if you hadn't mentioned planets. Planets are small, and you'll want more magnification. (As noted, they will still be frustratingly small.) -That kind of rules out a Dob.



Tony commented on this, I also think it needs a comment.

The planets are small, Jupiter is about 40 arc-seconds across, so to see the details, magnifications of 150x or more are desirable, generally somewhere between 150x and 250x possible. This is primarily determined by the stability of the atmosphere, the "seeing."

The amount of detail that can be seen also depends on the quality and size of the telescope. Larger apertures provide better resolution and better planetary contrast. In general, this favors a scope in the 8-12 inch range. A 10 inch Newtonian can provide more detailed and better resolved planetary views than even the best 4 inch scope.

The only issue I can see that might be of concern is the need to manually track most Dobsonians. I don't consider this an issue, it does take a short while to learn to manually track a Dobsonian but what I find is that people seem to learn it quickly, tracking at 200x without much difficulty within a few minutes. To feel confident, it takes longer but it's not difficult for most.

When I want the best planetary viewing, when I want to split the tightest double stars, I almost always choose a Dobsonian. Granted I am skilled at tracking by hand but planetary views are at relatively low magnifications compared to what is possible..

Jon

#30 kenrenard

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:07 AM

Jon,
I want to add the small knob on most dobs now make tracking even easier. After reading your post a few months ago I added a knob to my XT8. Your recommendation was to keep one hand on the knob and the other hand on the side support. This is a great way to view at higher powers. I was able to show my brother-in-law to track in one try.

Once you get your hands in the right spot it becomes natural.

Ken

#31 Wordslinger

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

I decided to go with a pair of Garrett Gemini 10x50 LW binoculars for the time being. I also purchased the Guide to the Stars chart and NightWatch. I'm going to take some time to read about astronomy and learn the stars.

I want to know more about scopes before I buy one, this way I'll know what I'm buying and which scope truly meets my needs. If the hobby sticks, I can justify raising my budget.

Thanks again for all the helpful replies. This forum is an immense resource.

Update: I received an email from Garrett. They ran out of the 10x50s and upgraded me to the 12x60s at no extra cost. Is that size manageable handheld?

#32 Radom

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

Manageable as can be. I have those exact binos and love them. Even though I have since obtained a couple of considerably more 'serious' binoculars I still keep the Garretts close at hand all the time. However, the single most bestest thing I have to enhance bino use is a parallelogram mount. The difference between with & without is HUGE.

#33 Wordslinger

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:11 PM

I ordered the metal L-mount with them. My tripod isn't the best though. It holds a Canon Digital Rebel okay, but it can be kind of shaky.

http://www.bestbuy.c...l Tripod/824...

#34 Radom

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:38 PM

You're gonna like the Garretts. And any mount at all is quite worth it. ;)

#35 GeneT

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:05 PM

I use both binoculars and a telescope for viewing. I enjoyed the view of Panstarr better in my binos than my telescope. This is not an either or situation--but both. It would be fine to begin with binoculars, then segway to a telescope. Even if you buy a telescope, you will use the binoculars.






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