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Orion 80mm ShortTube advice

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#1 Astrohat

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:21 PM

The only place where I can do sky-watching is in my backyard, which is limited by houses and trees on the south side, and houses on the sides. On the north side of the house, there are street lights that are really strong, so the visibility is poor. I can hardly see the Polar Star...

I don't own a car and my place is not an appropriate place to do astronomy, so I will have to take the bus and find a more friendly place. I don't feel either like walking 5 minutes to the bus stop, and carry around 35-pound of weight of equipment. Portability is my top criteria at this time. That's why I am going to purchase the very light 80mm shorttube (4 pounds). With the EQ1 tripod, the total weight is 16 pounds.

The model I am looking at is equipped with an EQ 1 tripod.

I have a few questions to you:

1. I read the tripod is wobbly. Do you know if it wobbles? If it does, what EQ tripod prevents the wobbling?

2. If I have to add weight to the tripod, how much would I need? I have to account for that before I head to the bus.

3. Does a cheap digital camera ($100) will give me pretty much the same quality image than a $600?

4. What adapter do I need to use a camera on it? I guess it depends on the camera that I use as well.

4. What filter should I buy right away? Moon filter?

5. Is it realistic to consider long exposure astrophotography? I'm thinking of galaxies, nebulae.

If you want to take a look at it and read the reviews, it may help you to answer my questions or bring up more points:

http://www.amazon.co...ope/dp/B000O...

Thanks in advance for your answer!!!

#2 RussL

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:31 PM

I put mine on an Orion EQ2 tripod, and it is very stable with no more weight than the ST80 weighs. I even put my 120ST on it, and it works, though a bit wobbly. The EQ2 is much more stable than the EQ1.

#3 StarmanDan

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:40 PM

1. I read the tripod is wobbly. Do you know if it wobbles? If it does, what EQ tripod prevents the wobbling?

All tripods will wobble if the scope on it is close or exceeds the tripods weight rating. You can stiffen the tripod up some by fabricating a stronger spreader plate or hanging a weight from the hub where the tripod legs come together. But in most forms, with these lesser expensive mounts, the mount head itself will eventually become loose as it gets used. If you have the cash, go with the next size mount up from what comes stock and you should be ok.

2. If I have to add weight to the tripod, how much would I need? I have to account for that before I head to the bus.

This will likely be a trial and error process as the mount and tripod have weight limits that if exceeded can cause failure of the mount or tripod legs.

3. Does a cheap digital camera ($100) will give me pretty much the same quality image than a $600?

The mounts and scope you are considering are not very compatible with photography. I've got an ST80 and have used it as a wide field imager and the scope is plagued by false color due to its fast f ratio. You could do afocal photography by holding the camera up to the eyepiece and capture the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn, but anything else would require a better mount that has tracking capability. Then there is the learning curve of being able to polar align the mount and process the images.

4. What adapter do I need to use a camera on it? I guess it depends on the camera that I use as well.

Any SLR camera would work (cameras that have removable lenses). The adapter would depend on the camera you get as not all camera makers use the same lens mount. For instance, I have a Canon EOS camera and got mine from here. You may also need extension tubes as the focus point might be outside the travel of the focuser. These are listed farther down the page mentioned above.

4. What filter should I buy right away? Moon filter?

Probably, I find I can get better contrast with mine. Especially when the moon is close to full.

5. Is it realistic to consider long exposure astrophotography? I'm thinking of galaxies, nebulae.

Not with the mount you are considering. See #3.

I love my ST80. It's a great visual scope and provides some nice wide fields. You might want to invest in a barlow as this will help zoom in on the planets but again, the mount would be your limiting factor as to if you would be successful using it.

#4 Astrohat

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:07 PM

I will buy the EQ-2, then. I see it for $200 on Amazon. None is for sale on Ebay. Do you know a place where I could pay much less? Will the shorttube fit perfectly on it, or do I need an adapter? Thank you.

#5 jezz

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:09 PM

If your not going to use the setting circles on an eq tripod I would suggest spending the money on a good heavy duty photo tripod. This would be easier to transport and set up also. With the ST80 its not a problem keeping your target in the field of veiw.
I use a photo tripod and star hop to what I want to see but mostly just cruise the milky way with mine.

#6 Phil Sherman

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:13 PM

I'd try attending a star party sponsored by a local astronomy group. Ask around and see if you can arrange to spend some time with a member who has a variety of light pollution filters that you can try with your eyepieces. You might find that there's a specific filter that will give you enough improvement that you can use the scope from home.

When I started back into this hobby shortly after 2000, I purchased a Celestron C114 reflector on an alt-az goto mount. This was a $160 (new) bargain from a local warehouse store. I discovered that the entire unit, with the exception of the tripod legs could be disassembled and packed into an airline carry-on bag. Similar scopes are still available and the beauty of the alt-az mount is that it doesn't require counterweights, which will lighten your load. Of course, you won't be doing any long exposure imaging with this type of mount. You'll be very hard pressed to find a GEM mount that's good for AP that weighs less than 40 lbs assembled.

The only mounts that are super portable and allow AP are camera only mounts (ie the Polarie and others) and the AstroTrack mount. The AstroTrack can be purchased with a pier which will hold the pier's feet and the mount inside it when disassembled for transport. It even comes with a carry bag that has a shoulder strap.

Long exposure imaging requires very very accurate polar alignment. It also usually requires periodic error correction (PEC) to account for irregularities in gear manufacturing. I don't know of any mounts in the less than $10k class that will reliably give you 2-5 minute exposures using a scope without active guiding, another load of gear for you to carry. Polar alignment accurate enough for two minute imaging with a telescope will most likely take you an hour to do, drastically reducing your imaging time if you're planning on using public transportation for the return trip home and aren't planning on staying the night. (If your buses run all night then this may not be a problem.) Local parks and school yards can offer a "darker" site but you'll need to check local restrictions on their use. My community prohibits use of the school yards and parks later than an hour or so after sunset.

Phil

#7 Astrohat

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:22 PM

If I pay $200 for the EQ-2, I may as well look for inexpensive telescopes that come with the EQ-2. For a few more dollars, I may get the EQ-2 with a second telescope.

#8 Tony Flanders

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:18 PM

If I pay $200 for the EQ-2, I may as well look for inexpensive telescopes that come with the EQ-2. For a few more dollars, I may get the EQ-2 with a second telescope.


The problem with that reasoning is that in this price range most manufacturers tend to under-mount their telescopes. So while the EQ-2 would work just fine with the ShortTube 80, which is just about as small and light as a telescope can get, it would probably be inadequate for whatever larger scope you bought with it as a package.

I think you can manage with an EQ-1, especially if you use it in alt-az mode and don't attempt to use it as an equatorial mount. As for weights -- don't fret. Just buy a few feet of solid string and hang a sturdy bag under the tripod. Then you can fill it up with rocks, sand, or other "found objects."

A good photo tripod would be more portable but probably also cost significantly more.

#9 Astrohat

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:20 PM

Will a camera tripod be appropriate to view Saturn? Will I have to keep adjusting, causing a lot of vibrations?

#10 Tony Flanders

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:28 PM

Does a cheap digital camera ($100) will give me pretty much the same quality image than a $600?


No, of course not. The biggest problem is that low-cost cameras are fully automatic. That severely limits what you can do with them.

If you want to take pictures using the telescope as the main lens, you need a camera with a detachable lens -- i.e. a DSLR.

Is it realistic to consider long exposure astrophotography? I'm thinking of galaxies, nebulae.


Absolutely not. Not with that optical tube, and certainly not with that mount -- or anything else in that price and/or portability range.

Realistically, you're restricted to taking pictures of the Moon, very small pictures of the planets, and maybe a few super-bright star scenes or objects, such as the Orion Nebula.

For the Moon, which is by far the easiest subject, just about any camera will do. In fact, people take startlingly good Moon photos by holding cell phones to the eyepiece of their telescopes.

#11 Paco_Grande

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:55 PM

I think you can manage with an EQ-1, especially if you use it in alt-az mode and don't attempt to use it as an equatorial mount.


I agree with Tony about the EQ1. I have one, use it with a 90mm MAK and the ST80 and it works fine. In EQ mode, you'll get a little bit of movement when making adjustments but it settles down quickly. Some tweaking and you can improve this a bit. It works well enough as long as you don't overload it.

Another possible route. Buy the ST80 used and then pick up a Vixen Mini-Porta. $100 for the scope, $160 for the Mini-porta and you have a nice grab and go for not much money, and a good little mount to boot.


#12 Achernar

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:30 PM

This telescope is not a good one at all for astronomical photography, the focuser is too small and the chromatic abberation will be annoying around bright stars. What it is good for is low-power, wide field viewing of large objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Veil Nebula. At high power the chromatic abberation is very noticeable, and it cripples it when it comes to lunar and planetary observing. In reality, Short Tube 80's bridge the gap between binoculars and telescope, and that is the role it fills admirably. It can also be used as a large aperture finderscope and guide scope, and it certainly will do okay for a grab n' go telescope as long as you keep the mangification below 50 or 60X. Any more and the limitations of a classical achromat at F/5 becomes apparent. It's not a good choice for imaging galaxies and nebulae for this reason, but a small apochromatic refractor that is suited to imaging can be a very good imaging telescope. Honestly, if this is your first telescope and your budget is limited, a 6-inch Dob is a better choice, and a Short Tube 80 is a good companion telescope for it. Since you indicated you don't have a car, then I would get this telescope and use it until your living situation allows for a more general purpose telescope. You could mount it by the way on a sturdy camera tripod. Moreover, you can get a solar filter for it, and use it during the day to observe the Sun too.

Taras

#13 obin robinson

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:52 PM

Portability is my top criteria at this time.


Stellarvue SV50 APO (2.5 lbs)
http://www.stellarvue.com/sv50.html

Orion tabletop EQ:
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B0000XMX8O

It will work for photography and viewing as well. It even accepts a little sidereal rate motor. All you need to add is your camera. Worst case scenario for a full sky photo just put your regular digital camera on the EQ1 and omit the scope entirely. For a quick grab-and-go you can just use the SV50 with a regular camera tripod.

obin :jump:

#14 Astrohat

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:37 PM

How about the Orion 09798 StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial? It costs $219 and weights 21 pounds compared to $380 and 22 lbs with the Orion 80mm with the EQ-2 tripod. And the Starblast is 1.5 inches larger. A person photographed Jupiter, M42 and M45 with it.

https://www.youtube....h?v=Licdjw1DJyE

And Saturn:

https://www.youtube....h?v=AfxXvm-wrUE

#15 Astrohat

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:39 PM

Just noticed the model they sell has an EQ-1, so I would need the telescope without the EQ-1, and then get the EQ-2.

#16 Widespread

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:15 AM

I think a simple tripod will work with the ST80 also. Or, for slo-mo controls, I am pretty sure that something like Orion AZ-4 would work, and you could probably achieve zenith.
http://www.telescope.../Orion-AZ-4-...

A 4 Lb scope on a 7 Lb tripod/mount? Can't beat that for portability. It is certainly not a no-compromise system, but for carrying on a bus, something like this would probably get the most use from me.


#17 obin robinson

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:17 AM

Just noticed the model they sell has an EQ-1, so I would need the telescope without the EQ-1, and then get the EQ-2.


Just remember there is a tabletop version of the EQ1. I put a link to it in my first reply. As long as you have access to a table you can mount the little SV50 (or for that matter the ST80) to it. The total weight of the SV50 and the EQ1 is UNDER 10 lbs. The EQ1 is rated for a scope 3x heavier than the SV50. This whole setup would fit in a backpack and it would work for astrophotography.

obin :cool:

#18 REC

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:30 AM

I have a EQ2 that I picked up on the CN classifieds for $100. I have a heavier 80ED on it that weighs 8lbs and it works fine. I use it in both the EQ mode and the AZ mode. You can leave the counter weight at home if you want to just want to use it in the AZ mode.

Bob

#19 REC

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:33 AM

Hey, just looked at the used list and there is a nice Celestron AZ tripod with slow motion controls for $75!

Check it out!

#20 tedbnh

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:01 AM

Someone mentioned using an ST80 to observe the Sun. If you ever attempt to use an ST80 with filter to observe the sun, there is one important caveat: THE DEW SHIELD COMES OFF THE ST80 SCOPE EASILY. DO NOT MOUNT YOUR FILTER TO THE DEW SHIELD WITHOUT SOMEHOW PERMANENTLY AFFIXING THE DEW SHIELD TO THE BODY OF THE TELESCOPE. YOU COULD BE BLINDED IF THE DEW SHIELD WITH FILTER ATTACHED TO IT FALLS OFF.

Sorry for the caps, but sometimes it's not apparent how easily the dew shield can come off this scope.

#21 RussL

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:05 AM

I will buy the EQ-2, then. I see it for $200 on Amazon. None is for sale on Ebay. Do you know a place where I could pay much less? Will the shorttube fit perfectly on it, or do I need an adapter? Thank you.


You can bolt the rings to the EQ2. I found mine used for about half price right here in the CN classifieds. It was in new condition.

#22 galexand

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:07 AM

When I was shopping around for a more portable rig (which I didn't buy, because I realized in winter, I have to go *very* far to get a decent sky), I was torn between getting an ~80mm refractor (ST80 was high on the list, due to its price and 'rich field' wide viewing potential) or something more like Orion's SkyScanner 100.

Once I started looking at the refractors, I realized I might need to spend more on the tripod than the scope...I was thinking something along the lines of Vixen's mini porta mount. Nice tripods are expensive :( On the other hand, tripods are not single use, you may re-use your tripod with binocs or a camera or an upgraded scope.

On the other extreme, the SkyScanner 100 is a toy. But it has a real advantage in that it comes with a table-top alt-az mount. My much larger StarBlast 6 has a similar mount, and I like it. It is stable and durable and easy to use. Of course with the SkyScanner 100, it is so small that having a table or something to set it on isn't really optional. So it is kind of a much less expensive way to be assured that you will get a mount that is up to the duty, and is definitely very portable. Downside is that it is more toy-like, and when you upgrade you will not be able to re-use any part of the SkyScanner except for any EPs you buy.

Of course, if you're set on equatorial, then disregard this message. :)

#23 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:40 AM

Just noticed the model they sell has an EQ-1, so I would need the telescope without the EQ-1, and then get the EQ-2.


Just remember there is a tabletop version of the EQ1. I put a link to it in my first reply. As long as you have access to a table you can mount the little SV50 (or for that matter the ST80) to it. The total weight of the SV50 and the EQ1 is UNDER 10 lbs. The EQ1 is rated for a scope 3x heavier than the SV50. This whole setup would fit in a backpack and it would work for astrophotography.

obin :cool:


Humm..

The ST-80 weighs almost exactly 3 lbs and is much more capable than a 50mm scope. If one is going to go with a 50mm scope, a pair of binoculars is probably a better choice.

In terms of portability, the mount is the important factor.

I have owned several scopes with tabletop mounts. In concept they seem nice but in practice, I have always found them awkward to use. The table has to be very solid and then it's always getting in the way of a comfortable viewing position.

I think the ST-80 on an EQ-1 used in the alt-az mode is a good solution. I had an Celestron ST-80 on an EQ-1 which I gave to a friend, it was reasonable rig.

A solid photo tripod is also viable, I use my ST-80 on a Bogen 3040. Bogen class photo tripods are nice because they are designed to setup quickly and are robust. New, they are expensive but used they can be quite cheap...

(My ST-80 on the Bogen. It has been modified with a 2 inch focuser)

Jon

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#24 BigC

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:04 AM

You'll get much less false color and abilty to use higher magnification with a 90mm Mak.

Orion sells one and of course Meade and Bushnell have their Mak and Mount.

AMeade DSX-90 (may not be availavable new?) is not that heavy and show up on ebay used for $150-$200

Or mount a 90 or 100mm Mak on a manual tripod .

But for anything more than snapshots of the Moon you need some kind of tracking.

Visual only will be less frustrating .
I have viewed Saturn as a small but sharp object in a Meade DSX-90.

#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:13 AM

You'll get much less false color and abilty to use higher magnification with a 90mm Mak.


The Mak will be better at the higher magnifications on planets and double stars.

The downside is that it has a relatively narrow field of view which makes finding objects more difficult. The ST-80 is basically a super finder, with a 32mm Plossl, it provides a 4 degree TFoV. By comparison, the 90mm Mak has a maximum possible field of view of about 1.25 degrees and finding objects is more problematic.

Jon






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