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Newbie Lunatic Needs Advice

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#1 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hi Friends:

I currently have an old Celestron Firstscope 80 which was great when my kids were little for general stargazing (24 mm lens, and a Barlow 2z, 1.25").

I also have two pairs of Bushnell binoculars that I somehow accumulated along the way. (10x50; 7x21)

I find myself wanting to get back into lunar gazing and set up the Celestron and was unhappy at the clunkiness of it all. So I grabbed the Bushnell 10x50s, although my shaking hands were no fun.

So; I wonder if I could get your advice? Is there a more compact telescope option you'd suggest? Should I go with a field scope on a tripod (I do a bit of birding too.)

I really appreciate your advice. Budget in the $300 range would be ideal. :bow:

#2 Jay_Bird

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:59 PM

You might like a 90mm Maksutov Cassegrain (ETX-90 by Meade or Celestron 90 or Vixen 95) for lunar observing with a more compact scope. A 90 mak and a STEADY tripod like the Vixen mini-porta mount might set you back closer to $400 however.

Remounting your first scope on a Porta or Mini-Porta or similar, plus the right eyepiece if needed, might be another option?

Also look at monopod or other lightweight, not restrictive options for steadying your 10x50. Bushnell makes a lot of 10x50 from better (Legend, Legacy) to made for low cost (sportview, etc.) so let us know which you have.

#3 kfiscus

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:00 PM

You can easily mount your binos on a tripod as you consider more gear. L-brackets are available for many binos. If yours won't mount that way, you can simply get a clipboard-sized chunk of 1/4" plywood or similar and sink a 1/4-20 t-nut in its center. T-nuts are available at ANY hardware seller. Drill a 5/16" hole in the wood's center. Mount the t-nut in the hole with its flat part on the top surface of your wood and bungee the binos to the wood. You now have an adjustable, super-cheap way to hold your binos. This will have used less than $3 of your $300 budget- assuming you have a tripod already.

#4 hawk

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:01 PM

Welcome!

What, specifically, bugged you about the Firstscope? I don't know much about the Firstscope 80, but pictures from a web search show it as a long refractor on an equatorial mount. I notice the only thing called Firstscope sold by Celestron now is now a tabletop reflector, if that tells you anything.....

What types of celestial objects are you hoping to look at? Planets? Wide-field views of stars? (I can't help much with the birding aspects.)

Are you interested in something like a tabletop scope? You'd get away from the tripod, equatorial mount, and could get something with more comfortable viewing positions. I don't know much about them, but Orion sells a 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain "StarMax" that very compact, available in that price range in either tabletop form or with the optional tripod. And if you want high-power views for birding, the Mak-Cass design makes that easier. Or, if you want wider angles, the reflector design of the StarBlast 4.5 can also support a table top and would work well, and the extra aperture would help on fainter deep sky objects.

#5 csrlice12

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:16 PM

The ST80 is a birding/astro scope. It's good for wide-field astro work. Not all that great for plantets as you'll have some CA (the ST80 is an achromat). It's also pretty affordable, and down the road, if you decide to go on, the ST80 makes a nice finder for a big dob, as a wide-field AP scope, and as a guide scope for larger aperature AP scopes. It's probably one of the most versitile scopes out there; but it's probably not going to show you much more then the tabletop reflector you have. Celestron makes a similar 102mm one with a 2" focuser that might just do though......I believe it's at f6+ish

#6 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:04 PM

Hi Friends:

I'm looking for equipment specifically for lunar observation. I'm not that interested in deep or even near space star observing--it's the moon I want to see :-)

That said, I just find the long scope clunky to adjust. It's probably user error, since I'm not at all deeply experienced.

I find myself grabbing the binoculars--I love looking through them. Since I need a pair for birding as well, perhaps I should first try some 8 x 42s, and lean back in a lounge chair like many do? I also may try mounting the Bushnell 10x50s on a tripod (BTW, can't tell what line. All it says is 10x50 WIDE ANGLE.)

The Celestron came with the 25mm and I bought the barlow. Perhaps I should try a more powerful lens? Lashes are getting in the way with the barlow, which indicates to me that I may not have all the right hardware for the eyepiece.

I'd love to be able to achieve steady, detailed, easy to set up viewing of the moon. That's the main goal.

I appreciate your advice!

#7 Connor Walls

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:06 PM

Post deleted by WaterMaster

#8 tim57064

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:16 PM

looks like someone needs to be barred from this site when they make a comment like this last one to a new commer to the hobbie. Moderator can anything be done about this type of comment?

#9 hawk

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:20 PM

If you look at Connor's posting history, these type of posts all started showing up within the last day, and are unrelated to his past communication. I suspect a hacked account. I've PM'd a moderator.

#10 AstroTatDad

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:42 PM

For the OP, what is your top budget? Do you want tracking? There is a lot of ways you can go if you were only going to do lunar observing. But also really think more about it, there is a lot of us that started with just lunar observing and wanted to see more. :) If your looking for small compact, I can only think of a small SCT. Budget will really help out a lot on helping you.

The NexStar sale ends on the 30th of this month, there great scopes. You can get a 4, 5 or 6se. I use my 6se for everything but it's great for the moon too. When I look at the moon I like using my 8-24 zoom.

Think Connors account was hacked too, seen a comment last night by him that had a RAP spammed 3 times. idk him or seen his past comments but I was like what the???

#11 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 05:21 PM

I can probably squeeze to $500. Being able to track would be nice, but not absolutely essential. I want good magnification for lunar viewing, and of course, I'll probably wander off eventually for some planet gazing.:-) I need ease of use, light weight, ez to set up, no hassle. Eventually, I'll want to take pictures of the moon--eventually. But for now, I want to see details.

So that's the wish list. Nothing beats the hassle free grabbing of binoculars, but there's only so much I can see with my 10x50s :-)

You folks are very kind in your responses: I know nothing, but I'm a fast learner!

#12 *skyguy*

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:06 PM

With a $300 budget and an interest in lunar/planetary observing with some bird watching ... I'd get the Orion StarMax 90mm Mak-Cass Telescope and Tripod Bundle ($299) including free shipping:

StarMax 90mm

Orion Telescope has a very helpful customer service department that's always available to assist a buyer with questions on their new telescope. Good Luck with your new scope!

#13 AstroTatDad

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:22 PM

that's a good start budget. :) I would say get a Dob, like a 8" great for the price very easy to use but little heavy and little big. But you can't beat the views in the price range.

Here is a link to the Nexstar 4se, so you can get ideas on prices. the prices goes up to 710 for the 6se. 4se is in your price range.
http://m.bhphotovide...xStar 4 SE 4...

But you would need a power supple, and it has a little learning curve but it's simple. You wouldn't really have to worry much on collimation with SCT's

Here is the Dob I own, I use it for Deep Space, Planets and the Moon. Very simple to use, but they need collimated a lot.. but it's simple to do as well. It comes with a cooling fan which is great with it on you can start viewing a lot quicker then a SCT, SCT takes longer to cool down.

anyhow here is the link to the dob, it's a great price and you can get a extra Eyepiece or 2 in your budget.


http://www.telescope...z8deluxedobs...

#14 AstroTatDad

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:27 PM

With a $300 budget and an interest in lunar/planetary observing with some bird watching ... I'd get the Orion StarMax 90mm Mak-Cass Telescope and Tripod Bundle ($299) including free shipping:

StarMax 90mm

Orion Telescope has a very helpful customer service department that's always available to assist a buyer with questions on their new telescope. Good Luck with your new scope!


this would be a good way too, small compact and no goto. can always get a barlow and some extra eyepieces. :)

#15 AstroTatDad

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:31 PM

sorry I didn't see the 300 budget.. oops.

#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:34 PM

That said, I just find the long scope clunky to adjust. It's probably user error, since I'm not at all deeply experienced.



Barnum:

First let me say hello and welcome to Cloudy Nights.. :whee:

On to your scope. There have been several versions of the Celestron 80 mm F/11 achromat. I have owned different versions but all a quite good as planetary and moon scopes. I am guessing yours has dark, wood legs and an open gear equatorial mount, probably a CG-3.

Rather than trying to help you find a new scope, I would like to try to help you make this one work. I suspect that with a little help, you could enjoy viewing the moon with this scope.

My first question is whether you are viewing standing or seated? Seated is preferred but unless the scope and the chair a properly matched, it is likely to be awkward and uncomfortable.

That said, enjoying any scope does require understanding the ergonomics so it's a pleasant experience. May you could tell me what you dislike about the current situation?

Jon

#17 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:38 PM

Skyguy, would you think the Orion mentioned would be an improvement in optics/magnification, etc, over the starter Celestron that I have now? It looks like it may fit the bill nicely.

#18 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:40 PM

Friends, will my old Meade #126 2x Barlow (1.25") Telenegative lens work with the Orion? Are they interchangeable?

#19 AstroTatDad

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:46 PM

I'm sorry. I'm out of it today. yes your 2x will work in any 1.25 even your eyepieces.

#20 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:47 PM

Jon, Thanks for your questions!

Yes, it's the old black wooden leg variety!

Here's my dislikes:
The up/down adjustment wheel seems not to be working--I have to manually unlock the mount to move up/down.

The image is very bumpy. Almost as if I was hand holding.

Viewing through the 25mm is pleasing. But through the barlow, eyelashes get in the way, I'm just not using it correctly. Binoculars I don't have a problem with this.

It's rather clunky to move around the yard and to go from back patio to front driveway.

I'd like higher magnification view of the moon than I am getting at present.

I am sitting whilst using it.

That's it, basically. I appreciate you trying to help me with the old before I go down the path of the new! :foreheadslap:

#21 Jay_Bird

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:20 PM

While it doesn't track, the Vixen PortaMount and others like it work well with 10 pounds of 80mm f/6 refractor and almost as well with about 6-7 pounds of 100mm f/10 refractor. A used Porta Mount or similar sturdy Alt-Az mount might be one under-budget option for a better "grab and go" lunar experience with your 80mm.

You might like one new eyepiece more than your Barlow. Maybe in the range of 8mm to 12mm with good eye relief, for higher power views of the moon. If the image with your Barlow is usually bright enough and seems sharp (steady seeing), go shorter (higher power) within that range.

Finally, lots of people think the metal tripod older EQ mounts are even more frustration than the wooden leg versions. A teacher's 4.5-inch f/10 newtonian EQ, probably similar to your mount, with metal legs was much more steady after cleaning the equatorial head and tightening both axes to remove play, finding the right tightness just short of binding either axis.

Based on your up-down wheel comment, do you have an equatorial or alt-az mount? A photo would help suggest fine tuning ideas for the mount.

The other key to stability is use of a tripod spreader to brace the legs outward, if you don't have a tray a plywood disk or triangle shape works well.

#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:26 PM

#5945471 - 06/28/13 07:47 PM Edit Reply Quote Quick Reply

Jon, Thanks for yourquestions!

Yes, it's the old black woodenlegvariety!

Here's my dislikes: The up/down adjustment wheel seems notto be working--I have to manually unlock the mounttomove up/down.



Is this an alt-az mount or an equatorial mount? Do you have a picture of it you can post?

The 25mm should provide 36x magnification. The scope itself should provide good views of the moon up to about 200x. In terms of the quality of the the view, a 90mm Mak like the Orion would not be a step up...

Jon

#23 pdxmoon

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:18 PM

Something like this, perhaps, instead of the barlow?
http://www.telescope...n-Expanse-Te...

I'll post some pictures of the set up later. Many thanks for your help!

#24 pdxmoon

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:20 AM

Here's some pics of the set-up. I've also been looking at some lens kits and would like your opinion:

http://www.telescope...on-Madness-V...

http://www.telescope...5-Premium-Te...

http://www.telescope...n-125-Telesc...

Attached Files



#25 pdxmoon

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:20 AM

another pic

Attached Files








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