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Backpacking Scope

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#26 GOLGO13

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 12:05 AM

It's certainly worth a try...the more aperture the better in general.  The mount is probably the most important thing.  I would not go any bigger than a C5. I have a 90mm mak Cass that would work well also. 

 

Still I a amazed at what the TV60 can do in such a small package.  Still can't make up for physics. 



#27 Sarkikos

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 07:51 PM

If anyone is going to backpack with the C5, the important point is the mount. IME, the C5 is a bit too heavy to work well mounted on top of the usual head that goes on a photo tripod. Any head that attaches the OTA directly over the mount will have a problem when the OTA is pointed toward zenith, or even much above 45 degrees.  The OTA will start to fall backwards.  You really need to upgrade to something like a DwarfStar or one of the DSV heads from Desert Sky.

 

Mike



#28 mrelliot

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:58 PM

Hmm... I think the C5 is a little chunky. Mostly because you have to pack the mount. Looking at what everyone has said I think a refractor is the best choice. Lots of aperture isn't needed when I'm in no mans land right? So something like an 80mm would be sufficient right?



#29 Hesiod

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 06:19 PM

You may think also what do you want from the little telescope. Huge nebulae or star fields are quite awful in the small fov of Cassegrain-based scopes.

Think of the Veil Loop, or the "black holes" from Aquila to Sagittarius, or the giant star cloud of M24.

Short refractors do not work quite well on planets, but what are the chances to have good seeing during a trekking? On the other hand the "darkness" could be quite predictable.

 

Larger aperture means however a deeper reach into the "deepsky", and Cassegrains have the largest aperture for a given "mass" (weight and size).

So, if the field of view is not so important to you, but want hunt for the faintest DSOs, the C5 will show more of them.

 

My preferences are towards the huge nebulae, so for me is a no-brain to leave at home our small 90/1250 (despite the fact that its aperture is probably less than 90mm, it is noticeably brighter than the 66mm); add that even this smallest sample of the Mak-Cass family could not ride the same feather-weighted photo tripod as pleasantly as the diminutive refractor.



#30 OrdinaryLight

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 01:45 PM

As others have alluded, "backpacking" can cover a range of different trips.  I have a C5 and DwarfStar and could see myself carrying it along on a sub-24 hour overnight trip to a dark observing site where observing was a primary goal.

A longer hike would mean giving priority to carrying food as well as prioritizing rest over observing time and I would stick with binoculars or possibly a 50-60mm scope.



#31 jrbarnett

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:36 PM

"Huge nebulae or star fields are quite awful in the small fov of Cassegrain-based scopes."

 

The C5 delivers a 1.3 degree TFOV with a garden variety 32mm Plossl.  Which huge nebulae or starfields are you observing that do not fit in a 1.3 degree FOV?

 

If you wanted to get crazy and mount up a 2" SCT diagonal on the C5, your TFOV can be over 2 degrees - Pleiades swallowing, but that would entail a heavy 2" wide field eyepiece, too.  Sticking with 1.25" eyepieces, the C5 is actually quite versatile in TFOV terms.  The 5" of light grasp, too, will pull in much dimmer nebulosity whisps (and also work better with light sucking narrow band filters) than a little refractor.

 

I've done both; backpacked in 60mm and 72mm refractors and 90mm MCTs and the C5.  There's almost nothing any of the three smaller scopes would do that the C5 didn't do a whole lot better.  The real issue is the extra diameter of the OTA and what else from the backpack it displaces.  Mountwise, I'd not use a refractor on anything lighter than a Dwarfstar, and the Dwarfstar works fine with a C5.  The DSV-1 is way to big for backpacking IMO.  Photo heads are way too feeble for astronomy with any of these scopes, IMO.  The C5 is as light and as short as a 70mm fast refractor.  It displaces approximately 2x the volume, though.  If you're carrying a Gregory Denali pack (100L), the difference between a C5 or 70mm refractor is pretty trivial.  On the other hand, if you're carrying a small 35L-45L light pack, the C5 would be prohibitive (as I suspect would a 70mm refractor), and binoculars would be your chum.

 

Small fast refractors are a lot bigger and heavier than most folks think.  The C5 is a lot smaller and lighter than most folks think.  I had to actually play with all of them to realize that.  The scopes I've experimented with thus far are the C90, C5, AT72ED and AT60EDT.  If I am doing a single night session, using a backpack, I actually skip the backpacking backpack and instead use a big photography backpack.  I can fit the OTA, mount head, a small stove, 1P tent or bivy and other accessories in the main compartment, and strap the tripod and a sleeping bag in compression sack on the outside of the pack.  I have a Mountainsmith Parallax for this purpose.

 

Regards,

 

Jim


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#32 SouthernOracle

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 04:03 PM

I haven't used one myself, but the Meade ETX80 (also comes in 70 or 60mm) comes to mind.  Very small and light and even comes in a backpack version for around $300.  It has goto and a 400mm focal length at f5 for great wide field views.  It may not have apo optics, but reviews I've read have been almost all positive, especially for wide field.



#33 stevenf

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:06 PM

Had a wonderful kayak trip this past weekend up to Hotham Sound here in BC. Launched Friday just around sunset for a night paddle which is usually an amazing experience and didn't let me down this time. The sky was clear and black and filled with stars, with the milky way stretching overhead and the bio-luminescence in the water was strong. Stars overhead and glowing jellyfish below, it was sublime. Saw about 12 shooting stars on the trip out. Camped on a tiny little island in the sound with a clear view south and right after setting up my tent my little 70mm GoScope II was set up. Was up to four a.m. both nights just soaking in the view. My most enjoyable hours at the telescope ever. Incredible views of the Pleiades and the Andromeda Galaxy.  I'm just so happy with this little 70mm travelscope. One of my best purchases ever. So small and light I never have to agonize about having room for a scope or not. It comes on every trip now.

 

The common thing we seem to all agree on for a backpacking scope is the Dwarf Star mount. It really is that good. Why bother with an expensive video fluid tripod head when you can just spend probably less and get the Dwarf Star? I'm going to pick up another one just in case they ever stop being made!


Edited by stevenf, 25 August 2014 - 07:08 PM.

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#34 Sarkikos

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:55 PM

IME, many small scopes will perform surprisingly well on a decent head like the 501HDV and a moderately sturdy tripod.  On this setup I've mounted an ST80 with 2" Crayford focuser, C90, C80ED, A70LF, Towa 60mm f/15 and even 25x100 binos with good success.  It was only when I mounted the C5 that I had real problems with the OTA slipping down and demanding tight detention when aimed toward zenith.  

 

On the other hand, if you wanted the versatility to use any of these scopes - including the C5 -  in a small, lightweight mount, I'd probably go for a DwarfStar, but one with a special order panhandle.  Got to have a panhandle. I use a 501HDV because I already have a 501HDV. I'm just saying that IME it can be used rather well with many small scopes. 

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 25 August 2014 - 07:58 PM.


#35 jrbarnett

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 03:15 PM

Hmm... I think the C5 is a little chunky. Mostly because you have to pack the mount. Looking at what everyone has said I think a refractor is the best choice. Lots of aperture isn't needed when I'm in no mans land right? So something like an 80mm would be sufficient right?

80mm under mag 7.5 skies is like having 127mm under mag 4.5 skies.  127mm under mag 7.5 skies is like having 200mm under mag 4.5 skies.  The sufficiency of any aperture depends on site conditions and what exactly it is you intend to observe.  Were I going to delve the galaxies of the Virgo cluster from the inky dark backwoods, 80mm wouldn't be enough.  On the other hand, if I wanted a nice contextual view of M11 with loads of rich surrounding Milky Way starclouds, 80mm would be perfect.

 

- Jim 



#36 davidmcgo

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:34 PM

For more holding power and a compact size tripod head, I really like the Boegen 410 geared head.  Advantage is you can still use it with a camera but it will handle a C5 quite well, or a Lunt LS60 or other fairly heavy small OTA.  It doesn't do as well with a TV85, probably due to the longer length and higher moment arm for that scope, however.

 

The geared motions are nice when using higher power, but not as enjoyable for sweeping as a fluid head but it doesn't have the creeping issue the fluid heads I've tried suffered from.

 

Dave 



#37 Hesiod

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:38 PM

The C5 delivers a 1.3 degree TFOV with a garden variety 32mm Plossl.  Which huge nebulae or starfields are you observing that do not fit in a 1.3 degree FOV?

 

The Veil, the North America, Aquila/Sagittarius dark clouds (some can go in 1.3°, but I found more pleasant to see at least some "brightness" around the cloud); Hyades; the "enlarged" Sagittarius Starcloud; Beehive or Double Cluster seems to me quite "claustrophobic". A small bunch (memory fails, but could be few more), but the ones I appreciate more.

 

Obviously all of them can be "fitted"  piece by piece in a 1.3° tfov, and as I said the C5 can go deeper in all the aforementioned DSOs (ex more filaments or vortices in the nebulae) : but it can not offer the Veil as a wonderful circle, nor "kindle" the Milky Way around the dark dust clouds as it looks in a 2 or 3° tfov.



#38 t.r.

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 09:37 AM

The common thing we seem to all agree on for a backpacking scope is the Dwarf Star mount. It really is that good. Why bother with an expensive video fluid tripod head when you can just spend probably less and get the Dwarf Star? I'm going to pick up another one just in case they ever stop being made!

 

Personally, I think the new DSV-M mount would trump the Drawfstar...

 

http://www.desertsky....com/DSV-M.html



#39 Sarkikos

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 10:04 AM

t.r.,

 

For myself, I'm still mulling which mount - actually only the "head" - to get for walk-about grab-n-go with small scopes.

 

DwarfStar? Only if I can order one with a panhandle.  

 

DSV-M?  I didn't like the head on my Orion SkyView AZ. The DSV-M looks too much like it.  Does it come with a panhandle as an option? If not, it's a no go.  

 

Maybe a DSV-1, even a dual one? It does have a panhandle. But the point has been made that it's a bit heavy and bulky for backpacking or a long-walk grab-n-go session.  Besides I've heard bad things about the delivery time for these Desert Sky mounts.  I refuse to wait six months or more for any astro gizmo.  

 

I've also looked at the plethora of other mounts besides DwarfStar offered by UA.  UniStar, MicroStar, MacroStar and each with half-a-dozen options.  I started loading it all into a spreadsheet to begin to make sense of it all.   I'm not at all certain which mount and which options would be best for me.  

 

I've put the acquisition of a new grab-n-go/backpacking/long-walk mount on the back burner.  So far much heat but very little light.  I suppose that for the time being I'll continue to make do with my 501HDV on Bogen tripod.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 28 August 2014 - 10:07 AM.


#40 jrbarnett

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 10:36 AM

 

The common thing we seem to all agree on for a backpacking scope is the Dwarf Star mount. It really is that good. Why bother with an expensive video fluid tripod head when you can just spend probably less and get the Dwarf Star? I'm going to pick up another one just in case they ever stop being made!

 

Personally, I think the new DSV-M mount would trump the Drawfstar...

 

http://www.desertsky....com/DSV-M.html

 

Why so?

 

It weighs 2.5x more (2.5# vs 1#).  For backpacking I'd guess the lightest head capable of doing the job is the better option.

 

Regards,

 

Jim



#41 jrbarnett

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 10:40 AM

t.r.,

 

For myself, I'm still mulling which mount - actually only the "head" - to get for walk-about grab-n-go with small scopes.

 

DwarfStar? Only if I can order one with a panhandle.  

 

DSV-M?  I didn't like the head on my Orion SkyView AZ. The DSV-M looks too much like it.  Does it come with a panhandle as an option? If not, it's a no go.  

 

Maybe a DSV-1, even a dual one? It does have a panhandle. But the point has been made that it's a bit heavy and bulky for backpacking or a long-walk grab-n-go session.  Besides I've heard bad things about the delivery time for these Desert Sky mounts.  I refuse to wait six months or more for any astro gizmo.  

 

I've also looked at the plethora of other mounts besides DwarfStar offered by UA.  UniStar, MicroStar, MacroStar and each with half-a-dozen options.  I started loading it all into a spreadsheet to begin to make sense of it all.   I'm not at all certain which mount and which options would be best for me.  

 

I've put the acquisition of a new grab-n-go/backpacking/long-walk mount on the back burner.  So far much heat but very little light.  I suppose that for the time being I'll continue to make do with my 501HDV on Bogen tripod.

 

Mike

Mike, check out the Stellarvue M2 mount with Vixen saddle.  It weighs 4#, handles up to 115mm APOs/26# payload, and does have a handle option.  Probably on the heavy side for backpacking, but for grab and go from your apartment, those are great capacity specs.

 

Regards,

 

Jim



#42 t.r.

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 10:48 AM

 

 

The common thing we seem to all agree on for a backpacking scope is the Dwarf Star mount. It really is that good. Why bother with an expensive video fluid tripod head when you can just spend probably less and get the Dwarf Star? I'm going to pick up another one just in case they ever stop being made!

 

Personally, I think the new DSV-M mount would trump the Drawfstar...

 

http://www.desertsky....com/DSV-M.html

 

Why so?

 

It weighs 2.5x more (2.5# vs 1#).  For backpacking I'd guess the lightest head capable of doing the job is the better option.

 

Regards,

 

Jim

 

 

One word...Quality. Are you really going to give up needle bearings for friction to save a pound and a half, for roughly the same money?



#43 stevenf

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 11:15 AM

If you're carrying it on a backpacking/hiking trip, a pound and a half can make a significant difference.



#44 Sarkikos

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 12:55 PM

What does not seem so heavy when moved from the porch to the side of the house can gradually seem to become very much heavier during the course of a mile trek to an observing site.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 28 August 2014 - 12:56 PM.


#45 t.r.

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 01:22 PM

Maybe if 1.5 Lbs is gonna make it or break it for ya, ya better stay on the couch, Nancy?!?! But, my perspective may be a bit off, I used to ruck twelve milers with a 70 lbs rucksack every six months, time limited.  Sorry, I don't buy your argument... :p


Edited by t.r., 28 August 2014 - 01:23 PM.


#46 stevenf

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 02:23 PM

Maybe if 1.5 Lbs is gonna make it or break it for ya, ya better stay on the couch, Nancy?!?! But, my perspective may be a bit off, I used to ruck twelve milers with a 70 lbs rucksack every six months, time limited.  Sorry, I don't buy your argument... :p

 

You used to hike with a 70lb backpack? But not any more? What a nancy! :)

 

I try to keep it under 35lbs in the pack while hiking. I like lighweight but I can't go ultralight and still be comfortable.

 

Anyway I looked at the DSV-M a couple years back and really regret not pouncing on a used one for $90 on Astrobuysell. It was the claims of waterproofness and the lighterweight that swayed me to the Dwarf Star.



#47 BillP

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 07:07 PM

Get this guy to make you one in a smaller size...maybe a 5" or 6" - http://litescope.net/index.html

 

Otherwise there is this, which will still get you 1.2 deg TFOV with no CA - http://www.telescope...yPriceAscending


Edited by BillP, 28 August 2014 - 07:20 PM.


#48 SpaceNetworks

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 08:48 PM

I bought this DSV-M, which is apparently the only one with slow-motion, on A-mart a couple months ago.  Works great!  Perhaps Raul at Desert Sky Astro could make more.

 

Attached File  DSV-M slo-mo2.jpg   70.39KB   1 downloads



#49 jrbarnett

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 11:04 PM

 

 

 

The common thing we seem to all agree on for a backpacking scope is the Dwarf Star mount. It really is that good. Why bother with an expensive video fluid tripod head when you can just spend probably less and get the Dwarf Star? I'm going to pick up another one just in case they ever stop being made!

 

Personally, I think the new DSV-M mount would trump the Drawfstar...

 

http://www.desertsky....com/DSV-M.html

 

Why so?

 

It weighs 2.5x more (2.5# vs 1#).  For backpacking I'd guess the lightest head capable of doing the job is the better option.

 

Regards,

 

Jim

 

 

One word...Quality. Are you really going to give up needle bearings for friction to save a pound and a half, for roughly the same money?

 

The DSV-M has no needle bearings, though, only ball bearings and a Teflon thrust bearing.  The DSV-1 and above have the needle thrust bearings.

 

Having done eight 20 mile consecutive days with up to 4k feet elevation change each day, which is what I'd consider "backpacking" rather than a jog or a walk or a hike, I would consider an extra 1.5# is HUGE.  Backpackers worry the grams, much less the pounds.  There's a reason they only had you do 12 miles with 70# twice a year rather than for a week straight.

 

- Jim



#50 Sarkikos

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:52 AM

Otherwise there is this, which will still get you 1.2 deg TFOV with no CA - http://www.telescope...yPriceAscending

 

The problem with these table top scopes is that you need to bring along a table. Not too good for backpacking. 

 

:grin:

Mike








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