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#1 Curt B

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:18 PM

I have been thinking on and off recently about purchasing 3.5 inch Questar. Two things I have been wondering. How easy is it locating objects with the built in finder? Any tricks in how you find objects with it?

Secondly, if I got the field model, how easy would it be to use on a Telepod mount? Is it easy enough to track objects without slow motion controls?

#2 Les

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:00 PM

The finder is great for locating brighter objects. You will see more than visible with the naked eye.

I have a Telepod head, but never used it with my Q. I would say that tracking objects at 50x is certainly doable but tracking at your max of 160x would be a pain. You might want to consider the Televue balance aid for the Telepod. PM me if you are interested in purchasing mine.

#3 Curt B

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for the tip Les. How easy is it lining up an object so it can be found in the finder scope?

#4 ColoHank

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 09:18 PM

The Q 3.5 has excellent setting circles. After polar aligning the scope and synching the RA circle with sidereal time, (a task that takes five minutes or less), it's easy to dial in the celestial coordinates of any object in the night sky. That'll at least get you in the ballpark, after which you can use the finder to refine your aim.

If you don't have a particular target in mind, it's also fun to simply scan the heavens in finder mode using a lower powered eyepiece and look for bright spots against the dark backdrop of the night sky. When you find one, flip the lever and enjoy a closer look through the main tube.

#5 Curt B

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 12:28 AM

That sounds fun too, scanning the skies. Thanks!

#6 Erik Bakker

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:31 AM

Curt,

Great idea, buying a Q!

Finding brighter objects works well with the finder, as do some fainter objects who's whereabouts are findable in the finder FOV relative to brighter objects in the same FOV. Otherwise, the setting circles work well.

The Q is at it's best from say 50-200x, making an equatorial mount with drive a big plus. It is no surprise it is widely available with a great forkmount :)

My advice: if you want a Q 3 1/2, get the astro model with forkmount and PowerGuide II. It will serve you well.

#7 Michael Lomb

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 10:27 PM

My experience with the finder is that on a clear dark night, if you cannot see it up in the finder, it is not worth looking at through the telescope. Any open or globular clusters will “just be detectable,” in the finder. Even the smallest of clusters will be right on the edge of visibility in the finder. Faint stars are still sharp pinpoints of light. I sometimes supplement search location with the setting circles or Steiner 8 x 30 binoculars.

Manual tracking works well in the Questar. I use the AC motor plugged into an extension cord next to the garage if I want the clock drive to track. I did not get the power guide II as I am distrustful of all electronics.

#8 Erik Bakker

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 01:00 AM

Manual tracking works well in the Questar. I use the AC motor plugged into an extension cord next to the garage if I want the clock drive to track. I did not get the power guide II as I am distrustful of all electronics.


Interesting point. I used my Q7 often with manual tracking, as it indeed works well. I too had the AC drive on it, which worked very well and extremely quiet.

#9 JimK

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 05:21 PM

... How easy is it locating objects with the built in finder? Any tricks in how you find objects with it?

I have found Questar finder is like an f/6.6, 4x16 or 7x16 (depending on the eyepiece used) monocular/refractor finder, having a typical light grasp of about 5 times that of an eyeball (based on the ratio of optical areas), and should be able to see 8.7 magnitude stars (old CN post, click here).

I believe that the majority of Questar users are occasional "gentlemen/women observers" who primarily view SLAP (solar, lunar, and planetary) objects in the sky. For these objects, the finder, sometimes supplemented using the setting circles, is well suited for locating these bright objects to view. Some observers also view double stars, and for the brighter ones, again the finder/setting circles work well.

For those who venture to see faint double stars, asteroids, and DSOs (Deep-Sky objects), especially in an area with a bit of light pollution, the finder has a very hard time supporting these efforts. Setting circles get you in the general area with light pollution present, but I have found that a good atlas is needed to hunt down DSOs in finder and telescope modes. I personally find Taki's "8.5 Magnitude Star Atlas" (for free, at this link) works with the finder in my somewhat dark suburban skies to locate faint stuff (for my CN discussion, click here). I have also supplemented the finder with a GLP (green laser pointer) or red-dot finder that is rubber-banded to the dewshield, thus helping my star-hop efforts for faint fuzzies. I *have* tracked down over 100 carbon stars and a half dozen asteriods using the Questar and finder, but I absolutely needed other items to be successful. I hope this helps.

#10 Curt B

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 06:58 PM

Thanks again everybody for all your advice!

#11 Panotaker

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:04 PM

I don't have a telepod, but I do have a gibraltar mount and I mount my Questar field model on that all the time. It has the digital setting circles on it, so it's a piece of cake to find things, assuming I could see it through my light pollution in Austin Texas.

#12 Curt B

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 06:07 PM

How easy is it to track with your Gibraltar mount? Some day I plan on installing setting circles on my telepod.

#13 Panotaker

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 09:33 PM

It's pretty easy to track at low power. On planets I just put it on the edge, let it drift across the field, and move the mount. I have a Gibraltar 5 which is a super over kill, but it should work the same with the Telepod. I normally use the Gibraltar with my NP-101, but I like to put the Quastar field model on it too. I also have a Astro Questar that I mount on a Celestron wedge. The setting circles are very accurate, not as easy as the digital setting circles of the Gibraltar, but at least it tracks.

#14 Chris Greene

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:05 AM

I had an astro Q for a few years and much as I loved looking at it, I found it difficult to use on anything other than the brightest and most obvious targets. It gave me one of the best views of the Orion Nebula I'd ever had but when it came to finding doubles and such, I simply couldn't get it to work for me. Another issue for me was the narrow FOV. I am a refractor guy who likes to use alt-az and low power for easy wide field scanning. The Q was opposite of that for me.

I was glad to have been able to own one but I also don't miss it. Curt, with your TV-85 and a Starbeam (I've got one on my Pronto), I don't think you're going to gain anything with a Q but I certainly understand the desire to own one.

#15 Curt B

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 06:24 PM

I just LOVE my TV 85, it is such a joy star hopping with it. I also LOVE my 5" Intes with the Celestron SE mount. My AR 127 is alright too. I don't know how I would incorporate using a 3.5 Questar, probably don't need one, but I gotta have one!

#16 planetmalc

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:28 AM

The beauty of the Q - and anything else that's luggable and fork-mounted - is that you can hike/cycle to a darker site and just plonk it down on something of convenient height for observing. Try doing that with a TV85!

#17 Chris Greene

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 12:02 PM

It's the plonking it down on something of convenient height at a dark sky site that's a myth. You'll rarely find something like that to plonk it down on at a convenient location. That means you'll need a mount most of the time.

For me, the telescope I've kept, of all that I've owned, has been the TeleVue Pronto. Today's modern replacement is the TV-76. In practical use, set-up, and cool down, they beat the Questar hands down.

Point is, small, quality refractors on an alt-az mount are pretty dang portable too and you can put them where you please and not have to look for something of convenient height to plonk them down on.

But let's not kid ourselves, the Q is a beautiful thing with wonderful optics and very transportable, but it's, at best, a niche scope with rather limited uses IMO. I'd still like to have one to look at but to use, I prefer my refractor and TelePod.

#18 Michael Lomb

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 05:53 PM

The mounting requirements for use of the Televue 76 are the same as the Questar. For either one you will need a tripod and mount that weighs more and is larger than the telescope.

Televue recommends the Panormamic Mount for the Televue 76. Details can be found here Televue Site .

Reviews of the Televue mounts can be found here Scope Views UK .

Cool down with the Refractors is almost immediate, the Questar is 20 minutes based on the review I referred to in previous post here Scope Views UK .

This also includes a photo at the bottom of the page showing size of the complete set up of the Televue 76 refractor and mount.

With the Questar you have the option of equatorial tracking with a wedge, manual or electric. There will not be much difference in set up times. In my case it is 5 – 7 minutes to level a surveyor’s tripod, attach the wooden equatorial wedge, and roughly compass align to the celestial pole +/- attach a power cord to the garage for the AC clock drive, (so more involved than a Televue mount). I usually set up at dusk, so the scope is cooled prior to use.


#19 Chris Greene

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 08:55 PM

Dang, that review you linked sure makes me hot for one again. Not gonna do it but still...

#20 Michael Lomb

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:11 PM

Well oddly enough at times I think about getting a Televue 76 and the Panoramic mounting head to attach to the surveyors tripod I have. The rational here was that it would complement the Questar. I would a wide field telescope, something that cannot be reproduced in anything other than a short focus small aperture refractor or binoculars.

#21 Chris Greene

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:08 PM

See, when I bought my Q, my thinking was that I was done with any larger scopes. I had my Pronto and an NP101 which I was using for wide field and deep sky stuff. I decided on the Q with the rationalization that it would be a good planetary scope because of the PowerGuide. I used it for that purpose a few times and had a devil of a time using for anything else.

A lucky bloke bought it from me for about $1200 less than I'd paid for it a few years earlier.

#22 Erik Bakker

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:24 AM

Michael,
Have you considered a quality medium sized bino for your low power widefield observing?

A TV76 would be very close to a Q on many objects except the largest and lack tracking for high power work on a light alt-az mount..

For low power Deep Sky observing, my 18x70 binos get a lot of use. Not even my FS 102 matches them in low power performance. Observing comet PanStarrs clearly demonstrated that again recently.

#23 Michael Lomb

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 04:34 AM

Thanks Erik for the suggestion. I had thought of that, a larger aperture binocular with increased magnification. I checked my exit pupil while I was in the office. I have a hand held plastic strip used to measure this. Despite my age, 61 years, I still have a 7+ mm exit pupil, so my eyes would support binoculars in the 70 mm aperture range.

Though getting off topic in a Questar forum, more about exit pupils and binoculars can be found here. Binoculars and Exit Pupils

They would be quite heavy and once you get into magnifications of 15 x there will be a lot of movement. I have not used binoculars in this magnification range before.

The 8 x 30 pair I have is very light, and I can steady them by resting my elbow on the edge of the Questar base that is on the wedge and on the surveyor’s tripod. On balance binoculars supplement the Questar better than another small telescope (but not as steady).

#24 Erik Bakker

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 07:56 AM

Hi Michael,

My pupils still delate to >7mm too :)

For less than the weight of a TV76 on alt-az and tripod, you can mount an 18x70 bino very steady on a solid tripod and video head.

On deep sky, an 18x70 bino like my Nikons will leave any 70-80mm mono apo in the dust :D

And it would be a great compliment to your Q and likewise be very easy to carry around your observing ground. This bino is so brilliant and contrasty. With it's PanOptic sized AFOV, 2 eyed observing makes you feel like being IN the deep sky, rather than looking AT it!

#25 Curt B

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:35 PM

Well, I did it. Just purchased a field model 3.5" Questar. It is just a couple years old. Cannot wait to get it and try it out!






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