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$5 000 challenge! Build a system from scratch...

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#1 Cotts

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 01:41 PM

You have exactly $5000 to spend on a visual telescope system. You must buy new, from retailers, not used. You have NO equipment at the moment so you have to purchase the whole enchilada - scope, eyepieces, mount, finder, go-to ( or not, as you see fit), etc.

what would be the best visual only system you could put together for $5k and not a penny more. We'll ignore shipping as it varies with country, distance etc.

(imaging systems are a different beast and would have to be in a similar but parallel thread)

Let the games begin!!!!

Dave

#2 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:57 PM

$3,898 - New Moon Telescopes 12.5 f/4.93
$ 299 - Explore Scientific 20mm 100*
$ 349 - Explore Scientific 9mm 100*
$ 349 - Explore Scientific 5.5mm 100*
$ 40 - Rigel Quikfinder

$4,935

#3 Mr Greybush

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:00 PM

forgot 1 piece a laser collimator.

#4 Mark Costello

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:31 PM

Two rigs, one of them would be a 110mm class ED refractor and manual Gem for about $1,600. Another $2,500 for a Teeter 10" F5 Dob or maybe a C8HD-AVX rig. The rest would be for 4-5 eyepieces and a Barlows lens.

#5 WesC

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:15 PM

I'd have to go down in aperture a bit but... if we're buying all new.

CGEM 800HD (on sale, $2250), SV 80mm APO triplet ($1200) Telrad ($35) 30mm ES82 ($299) 14mm ES100 ($299 on sale) 9mm ES100 ($249 on sale) TV 2x Powermate ($299) Baader 2" clicklock diagonal ($329)

$4960. :)

I would still probably try to buy used eyepieces, and go TeleVue.

As it is I have a similar setup but larger aperture (Edge 11 and SV105) and I'm loving it!

#6 tomcody

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:28 PM

Leica 82mm spotting scope with Leica ASPH eyepiece $3,900
Leica 1.8 extender $ 400
Leica or similar quality tripod and head $700
total $ 5,000
or
Meade 8" LX200 ACF $ 2,600
Leica ASPH $ 950
Panoptic 24 mm $ 300
Total $ 3,850
And I may go this way as we speak.
Rex

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:31 PM

An acre or two of land in the middle of nowhere about an hour or so drive away...

#8 tomcody

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:37 PM

An acre or two of land in the middle of nowhere about an hour or so drive away...

Are you planning to lie on your back in the middle of the lot and look up?
:question: :shrug: :shrug:

#9 kfiscus

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:08 PM

Very impressive- followed the rules and came up with a nice set up.

My rig (breaking all of the rules of the OP) was bought used with the exception of the filter slide.

Z12 with refigured mirror, flockboard, springs, knobs $360
Atomic EQ Platform $300
Plywood, Teflon, Ebony Star, pro finish application for new dob mount $180
35 Pan $270
24 Pan $270
TV 13 T6 $220
TV 7 T6 $220
TV 5 T6 $220
TV 1.25" 2x Barlow $55
Telrad $35
Tublug and Glatter Collimator $190
Astrocrumb Filterslide $90
Four 2" Filters (Premium) $300

Total $2810. Obviously, much less expensive but it took a long time and lots of fun lurking here and on Astromart to pounce on good deals. You have to know what you want and be willing to wait.

#10 urassner

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 08:04 PM

ES 127 ED $1899 (OPT)
DM 4 with saddle, plate and tripod $1500 (OPT)
Pentax XW 10, 14 & 20 mm $825 (BHphotovideo)
ES 30 mm 82 deg $300 (OPT)
ES 2x focal extender 1.25'' $99 (OPT)
Baader OIII 2'' filter $119 (OPT)
DGM NPB filter $150 (DGM)
Astrozap Baader film solar filter $64 (OPT)


Total $4956

Love the ease and versatility of a refractor for all around scope. Short cool down times. Ready at a moments notice.

#11 dr.who

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:22 PM

Option 1 the refractor :
Celestron AVX $800
Explore Scientific 127ED carbon fiber $2,500
Explore Scientific finderscope $170
Explore Scientific 100* 20mm EP $300
Explore Scientific 100* 14mm EP $400
Explore Scientific 82* 11mm EP $140
Explore Scientific 82* 6.7mm EP $140

Total: $4,449

Option 2 Refractor & Dobsonian combination
Celestron AVX $800
Explore Scientific 102ED Essentials $1,400
Explore Scientific finderscope $170
Orion XX12i IntelliScope Truss Dobsonian $1,379
Hotech laser collimator $150
Explore Scientific 100* 20mm EP $300
Explore Scientific 100* 14mm EP $400
Explore Scientific 82* 6.7mm EP $140

Total: $4,738

Option 3 refractor & SCT combination
Celestron AVX $800
Explore Scientific 102ED Essentials $1,400
Explore Scientific finderscope $170
Celestron EdgeHD 800 $1,169
Explore Scientific 100* 25mm EP $600
Explore Scientific 100* 14mm EP $400
Explore Scientific 82* 6.7mm EP $140

Total: $4,678

I like the versatility of the APO refractor and reflector since it's different tools for different targets. If pressed for one general purpose it would have to be the 127 refractor.

Note: pricing was pulled from OPT and Orion websites.

#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:41 AM

Dave:

Fortunately your question is hypothetical, academic in nature. If I actually had lost all my equipment and had to start over, my first step would be to spend $15 on an Astromart subscription and go from there.

But under the rules of the game: 2 scopes, a faster 4 inch ED scope on an Vixen Portamount and truss Dob of some sort.

Lunt 102ED with a Vixen Portamount.. $1000

Biggest Dobstuff Dob available for $3000

Eyepieces and coma corrector: $850..

Starbound chair: $150.

Jon

#13 Pinbout

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 05:33 AM

lunt binos

a couple of eyepiece sets

some alt/az mount on wood legs.


and the lunt 50 ha solar scope

I can't believe I sound like a lunt-head... or would that be a lunt-nut :foreheadslap:

#14 obin robinson

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:12 AM

Purely visual? Here's what I would personally go for:

$4,000 for CGEM DX 1100 HD 11” with Edge HD SCT Optics
https://astronomics....-sct-telesco...

$135 for Gold Focus plus collimation for Cassegrains:
http://www.goldastro...usplus_cass.php

$300 for ASI120MC camera for collimation:
http://www.zwoptical...SI120/index.asp

$289 for Baader Zoom eyepiece:
http://agenaastro.co...m-eyepiece.html

The rest of the money goes to the best binoculars I could find. The above setup would keep me quite happy for visual only usage.

obin :)

#15 brave_ulysses

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:43 AM

i like how you think...

+ a pair of binoculars and you've got a winner

http://www.amazon.co...er/dp/B00008...



An acre or two of land in the middle of nowhere about an hour or so drive away...



#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:56 AM

i like how you think...

+ a pair of binoculars and you've got a winner

http://www.amazon.co...er/dp/B00008...



An acre or two of land in the middle of nowhere about an hour or so drive away...


Around here, an acre or two of land that's out in the middle of nowhere an hour or so from here Will cost you a lot more than $5000.

Fortunately, we are all part owners of the vast majority of the such land and it's open for us to use.

Jon

#17 hottr6

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:13 AM

I would have to agree that the ES 127ED ($1.9K Astronomics) is a great start to building a system that would best meet my observing program, and be sufficiently compact that would encourage me to use it.

I'd add:
Losmandy G8 with Gemini ($2.5K Astronomics)
ES 14/8.8/4.7mm 82* and 24mm 68* EPs and 1.25" 2x barlow ($660 Astronomics)

I'm counting on Astronomic's CN discount! If there is any left over, I'd include Baader solar film.

Yeah, we can dream. :)

#18 hottr6

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:23 AM

Around here, an acre or two of land that's out in the middle of nowhere an hour or so from here Will cost you a lot more than $5000.

It's always the improvements and legal issues that kill the price. In NM, it is possible to buy unimproved land with no water or mineral rights for $1K/acre. Our property, with house, grid-tied PV and underground cabling, 2 wells, fully fenced (goat and sheep), thinned forest, 60x40 workshop, 24x12 studio, stables, driveway, 3 calverts, 2 corrals, coop, equipment shed, 10-cord woodshed and miscellaneous other improvements runs at around $10K/acre. One day I'll add an observatory, but that will hardly alter the cost/acre.

#19 hottr6

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:00 AM

You have exactly $5000 to spend on a visual telescope system. You must buy new, from retailers, not used. You have NO equipment at the moment so you have to purchase the whole enchilada - scope, eyepieces, mount, finder, go-to ( or not, as you see fit), etc.

There was a relatively recent CN thread about the cost of equipment to enthusiastic users. Authors stated investments of $420-$50K+. I tallied these numbers and found a mean of around $15K, and a median of around $10K.

$5K may represent entry-level costs to the addicted (ouch!).

#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:03 AM


Around here, an acre or two of land that's out in the middle of nowhere an hour or so from here Will cost you a lot more than $5000.

It's always the improvements and legal issues that kill the price. In NM, it is possible to buy unimproved land with no water or mineral rights for $1K/acre. Our property, with house, grid-tied PV and underground cabling, 2 wells, fully fenced (goat and sheep), thinned forest, 60x40 workshop, 24x12 studio, stables, driveway, 3 calverts, 2 corrals, coop, equipment shed, 10-cord woodshed and miscellaneous other improvements runs at around $10K/acre. One day I'll add an observatory, but that will hardly alter the cost/acre.


One problem in San Diego is that even if land were available for $1K/acre, in rural areas, zoning laws do not allow small parcels, particularly where there is no development.

Jon

#21 jrbarnett

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:43 AM

As a sole scope, with a $5k budget, buying new, I think there's only one efficient solution for visual - a premium Dob. There are plenty of options within the $5k envelope. I think it would be hard to go wrong with any of them.

Examples:

12.5" Obsession with push-to
15" Obsession without push-to
11" Starmaster
12" Teeter Classic without push-to
10" Teeter Classic with push-to

The beautiful things about a Dob are the intuitive simplicity, user serviceability and, in the case of premium Dobs, some of the finest quality optics this side of a premium refractor.

Mi dos centavos,

Jim

#22 SpooPoker

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:17 AM

I would actually build my own. The only thing I would not tackle are the optics and a precision focuser (would be too dang difficult without the machining tools).

I would avoid a large refractor because mounting it would blow the budget to smithereens. Building a mount that is workable is entirely possible, building a precision mount that can move 1 arc second or less in any direction requires better tools than I have. Catch 22.

On a 5K budget, would build a 12" DOB and purchase a 4" ED refractor. Remainder of money would go on eyepieces.

12" f/6 DOB assembly requires:

Premium mirror (i.e. Karl, Terry, Robert, Mark). Would want it figured to at least 1/10pvw or better with smooth microfinish, cost about $100 per inch, approx, $1200 to $1500.

1.83" Secondary, figured to at least 1/10pvw or better - cost about $200 (Protostar maybe better deal at $90)

Moonlight Low Profile Crayford Focuser, $170

50mm correct image finderscope, $170

80mm short tube guidescope with 2" focuser + diagonal, $300+
<not compulsory, but I find guidescopes useful - 50mm finderscopes are horrible to look through - good at only finding a bright target. The 80mm will go where 50mm wont and it can be used for viewing pleasure while the big cannon is cooling down :)>

Mirror Cell, Baffles, End Caps, and curved vane spider would be built by myself out of scrap metal. Tube, Flocking Material, Rear fan system would be bought at retail, approx cost of $300.

Including all wood, metal parts, nuts and bolts accounted for, I reckon a DOB like this can be built for under 3grand. That leaves 2grand for eyepieces and another scope.

4" f/9 ED:
I do not believe I could, in good conscience, go without a small - medium sized refractor for observing pleasure. I would just go for the Skywatcher 100mm f/9 ED on a CG4 mount. Cost = $1050ish.

Have $950 left over for eyepieces. Purchasing new eyepieces only, I would avoid anything in the Nagler / Delos family since one eyepiece would smash that budget. I would go for a small set of Plossls - TV 8mm, Brandon 12mm, Brandon 16mm, and TV 32mm. Brandon is not a plossl, but it feels closer to a plossl than an ortho in my opinion. Remainder of money would go for a 5mm and 6mm orthoscopic. Could simplify matters with a Barlow, but my attitude is the less glass, the better.

I think i could live with those two scopes and accessories comfortably.

* 12" f/6 may seem like a strange choice given the f/6 makes it a pretty tall tube, 6' tall. I stand 6' 3" on a good day :). Good thing about f/6 is I do not need to bother with extra lenses to combat coma - particularly when I prefer to use eyepieces like plossls / orthoscopics. f/6 makes it relatively easy to use a 1.83" diagonal and fully illuminate a 0.5" field - the obstruction of 15% along with premium low scatter optics would make this scope an absolutely brilliant contrast beast. 12" f/5 is pretty much as good on axis - it is off axis that worries me. Having to own a Paracorr just puts more expense and more glass in the optical path.

#23 alrosm

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:59 AM

dobsonian obsession 12.5" $3695 (no servocat goto)
barlow laser collimator $165
shroud $179
jmi ev1 focuser $195
13 mm ethos eyepiece $600





#24 GordonCopestake

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 12:56 PM

16" Dob $2k
http://www.optcorp.c...pe-1645-05-0...

Synta ED100 $750
http://www.optcorp.c...-telescope.html

Synta HEQ5/Sirus $1200
http://www.optcorp.c...ount-24336.html

$1000 of ES eyepieces

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:36 PM

I'd just take the equipment I had and take a nice vacation to Australia or Chili just to see what the other half the universe looks like........that would be money well spent....






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