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Newbie Begs Advice: Replacement Refractor

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#1 pdxmoon

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:17 PM

Hello Friends:

I'll be passing off to my son his boyhood scope, a Celestron Firstscope 80 EQ, with these specs:
Achromat
f/11
80mm
Focal length 910
1.25 rack and pinion
exit pupil 2.2
189x highest uesful magnification

So, I'm gonna need a new scope for myself. I consider myself a beginner, and a lunar observer mostly. I do NOT like the EQ mount. I have my eye on this:

http://www.vixenopti...a II Mount.html

Any other suggestions for a refractor for lunar/planetary viewing? I plan on adding some Owl eyepieces to my set up, whatever I get.

Many thanks!

#2 Paco_Grande

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:42 PM

I bought that exact combo from Vixen and it's super for the moon. Good for other planets, too. A modern version of what you're used to. And the mount can be used with a lot of other scopes in the future. It will handle a 6" newt to a 6" SCT and most anything in between.

#3 pdxmoon

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:46 PM

Thanks Paco.

Moving up the foodchain a bit, anyone have opinions on this?

http://telescopes.ne...-refractor-t...

#4 Scott Beith

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:07 PM

Thanks Paco.

Moving up the foodchain a bit, anyone have opinions on this?

http://telescopes.ne...-refractor-t...


Outstanding combo! Same optics as the Orion ED80 I used to own. Very nice scope. :bow:

#5 pdxmoon

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:13 PM

Scott, on the ED80sf, can I still use my 1.25 eyepieces?

#6 Scott Beith

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:17 PM

Yes. Either 1 1/4" or 2" EPs will be fine.
That setup will last you a lifetime. Even if someday you buy a bigger scope, you will keep the ED80.
My sig is proof of that. ;)

#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:30 PM

I bought that exact combo from Vixen and it's super for the moon. Good for other planets, too. A modern version of what you're used to. And the mount can be used with a lot of other scopes in the future. It will handle a 6" newt to a 6" SCT and most anything in between.


I owned this combination for a while, I still own the mount.

The 80mm F/11 Vixen scope is the same scope as your (Barnum's) current scope. There is a certain irony to this. Originally the Celestron First scope 80mm was sourced by Vixen and made in Japan. Then Celestron had the Vixen scope cloned in China and the First scope 80mm in question is one of those. Now, this Vixen is made by Synta, the company that Celestron used to clone the original Vixen.. What goes around comes around.

If you are happy with your current scope, then this would be a reasonable choice. The Portamount mount itself is reasonable for an 80mm refractor, passable with a shorter focal length 4 inch refractor but in my judgment, a 6 inch Newtonian is too much for it.

I agree with Scott, an ED-80 is a step up from the 80mm F/11 but I would also be looking at 4 inch scopes, depending on the budget.

Jon

#8 pdxmoon

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:45 PM

Jon, which 4" would you be looking at?

#9 jrbarnett

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:31 PM

How much are you willing to spend?

For the moon and planets you'll be working at high magnification. High magnification is generally better with tracking. The moon and planets also can benefit from resolution. Resolution increases with aperture. Ergo, if you can swing it, I'd recommend a larger aperture scope with tracking.

The one I'd suggest is the Celestron Nexstar 6SE. It's on sale currently for $799, easy to use, light weight, stable, and big enough to do everything pretty well.

The Vixen achromat you linked is nice, but for the stuff you like, I think you'd love tracking and a bit more aperture. I would, however, choose it over the 80ED being suggested. For lunar and planetary, I think focal ratio matters. Any advantage you can garner over seeing on such targets is hugely beneficial. By the time you manage to mount the 80ED too, you'll be in the Nexstar C6SE price range, and the C6 will badda-boom, badda-bing the 80ED on the things you say you like to observe.

Regards,

Jim

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:35 PM

Jon, which 4" would you be looking at?


It depends on your budget, the skies the limit when it comes to 4 inch apochromats.

As a lunar-planetary scope that is affordable, I would start with the Skywatcher Pro 100ED. It has the same 900mm focal length as your current scope but it has a 100mm F/9 FPL-53 based objective (the good stuff) which provides essentially color free performance. It comes with all the needed accessories except for a mount. A 2 inch dielectric diagonal, a 50mm RACI finder, mounting rings and dovetail, a couple of eyepieces and a case.

The two speed focuser is actually quite nice. I recently purchased like new used one for another scope. It is smooth and handles my heavy (2 pound plus) eyepieces without a problem.

You can find bare bones ED-100s on Astromart for $400 but they won't have the dielectric diagonal, the rings, the two speed focuser, etc. By the time you buy those, you will be close what this scope costs. At $750, this is very good 4 inch refractor at a very good price.

Jon

#11 beanerds

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:42 PM

You cant really go past the ED100 , great scope for the price , these are in the CN classifieds all the time for a steal .
I had one many years ago and still regret selling it , very good scope . Mine was on an AT Voyager alt/az with extension pier , these 2 worked well together .
Oh yes , I still have the AT voyager .
Brian.

#12 pdxmoon

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:40 AM

Thanks for the info Jim. I want to stick with a refractor with this scope--perhaps the Celestron 6 down the road.

#13 SeattleScott

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:53 AM

The 100ED is not the most stable combo with the Portamount I hear. People say the mount is better with F7 4" refractors. Great scope for lunar work. I have one myself. But based on reviews I went with an AZ4 mount. AT Voyager is probably more ideal but they don't make them anymore.

#14 Eddgie

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:25 AM

I would also be looking at 4 inch scopes, depending on the budget.



I agree 100% with Jon.

The 100mm F/9 ED scopes are superb instruments and can often be bought used for $450 or less.

The biggest problem I have with 80mm scopes when turned towards the planets is that you run out of brightness before you run out of seeing.

Seeing often supports 200x, and I find that with 80mm scopes, the view of planets get very dim and grainy above about 120x to 140x of power. Sure, you can go higher, but the image seems to soften and many people will have serious problems with floaters.

A 100mm scope will usuallly be much brighter at 140x, but pushed to 180x, you still get a decently bright image before you run out of seeing.

A 110mm or even a 120mm ED scope would be even better because now you can use 200x and still have a decently bright image.

Why is 200x so important? It is typical of the limiting magnificaiton for seeing conditions for many of us.

If you are serious about planets, apeture is your friend. It increases contrast (design and quality being the same) and resolution and provides a brighter image for any given magnificaiton.

Doesn't mean you can't have fun observing planets with an 80mm achromat, but a 100ED f/9 is going to do a better job.

#15 BigC

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:45 AM

Aperture rules or the pros wouldn't build big scopes.My best view so far of Saturn has been in my Celestron 6" f8 refractor at 375x.Trying that much power in my 4" dimmed the image too much as you say.The 12" Dob might be better but manual az-el tracking at high power is a skill still being developed here.

#16 pdxmoon

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:36 AM

I appreciate this info.

In reading your posts, I can see that most of you have multiple scopes. I'll probably keep using my 80 for as long as I can before my son takes it--it really is superb for lunar views.( I used the kit 25mm lens with a 2x barlow last night between 3:30 and 4:15 and the moon put on quite a show!)

If I see something used in a 4" (or even an 80mm) I'll grab it; if not, I will probably go with Vixen 80mm port2 package combo just for lunar use, and plan on looking for a used 4" for planet observing. I MUST have a scope this summer :-) Right now I'm observing the moon exclusively.

Thanks again for your help. BTW, my son wants to remount my (son to be his) 80mm onto a porta2--what does he need to do that--it currently clamshells into the eq mount it has. Maybe this:

http://www.optcorp.c...90mm-tubes.html

..then right onto the Porta 2?

#17 pdxmoon

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:49 AM

Another question: if I'm going to be looking for a used 4", and need a scope just for lunar use in the interim, what do you thing of this deal:

http://www.ebay.com/...scope-Packag...

At $119 shipped the price seems right. I read a review here that points out its limitations, but makes a strong case for the scope. Opinions?

#18 Scott Beith

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:09 AM

It is better to wait and get what you actually want.

#19 KWB

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:16 AM

Another question: if I'm going to be looking for a used 4", and need a scope just for lunar use in the interim, what do you thing of this deal:

http://www.ebay.com/...scope-Packag...

At $119 shipped the price seems right. I read a review here that points out its limitations, but makes a strong case for the scope. Opinions?

You already have an 80mm F/11 refractor,so there is no point in redundancy. :scratchhead:

The EQ1 mount that comes with this package isn't sufficient to properly support the telescope and as to using it at higher magnifications,this becomes an exercise in frustration. Even though lighter is weight than your current mount,getting it outdoors fully assembled still presents a challenge so little is gained as to that aspect.

#20 pdxmoon

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:54 AM

No Kenny, the 80mm refractor is going to Seattle with my son, and I'll be left MOS--Mit Out Scope!

#21 Scott Beith

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:16 PM

It will put you $119.00 behind on affording the scope you actually want.

#22 pdxmoon

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:27 PM

Good point Scott. Getting either Vixen with a porta 2 would be a much better idea...

#23 SeattleScott

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 03:52 PM

Thanks again for your help. BTW, my son wants to remount my (son to be his) 80mm onto a porta2--what does he need to do that--it currently clamshells into the eq mount it has. Maybe this:

http://www.optcorp.c...90mm-tubes.html

..then right onto the Porta 2?


That clamshell is very expensive, designed for a premium refractor. You want two tube rings instead. The 90mm rings should fit the 80mm refractor tube.
http://www.telescope...Orion-Tube-R...

You will also need a Vixen style dovetail to go between the rings and the mount.
http://www.telescope...late/p/7383.uts

#24 Paco_Grande

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 05:51 PM

Thanks Paco.

Moving up the foodchain a bit, anyone have opinions on this?

http://telescopes.ne...-refractor-t...


In this price range, the Sky-Watcher ED80 is hard to beat, it has great glass (FPL-53). As Jon noted, the Sky-Watcher ED100 (also FPL-53 glass) is one heck of a nice scope, also.

Here's the ED80 on a Porta II

Attached Files



#25 pdxmoon

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 06:12 PM

Wow, Paco. That's a beauty. It looks like the scope

http://www.telescope...0edaporefrac...

..comes ready to mount o the Porta2?

Also, I can use 1.25 eyepieces, no?

And although not as compact, this

http://www.telescope...00edaporefra...

..is a big step up from the 80 for only $100 more?






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