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Quote:just about any scope you buy will be good for visual estimates.
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Quote:What would make an amazing telescope for variable star observing? Also, one for astrophotography of variable stars, and one for both? I'm more interested in viewing/imaging variable stars/novae/comets/asteroids than anything else. Thank you. Forgot to mention that I have a budget of let's say the price of a SCT 11"
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Quote:Over the years having employed instruments ranging from large binoculars to a 20" reflector, I've found that the most efficient VSO scopes tend to be 10"-14" Dobs. If you know the sky well (as ALL amateurs once did before the advent of GoTo) one can move around the sky quickly and easily while very accurately covering up to 45-50 variables per hour.
Quote:Visual measures of variables can be made with binoculars, it all depends on what kind of variables you wish to observe visually. Imaging of variables can be done with a DSLR and a tripod. Again, it all depends on what kind of variable you what to study. To get into imaging, have a look athttp://www.citizensky.org/To get into visual, download the AAVSO visual manual.http://www.aavso.org/visual-observing-manualIf you are looking at CCD imaging and measuring you are in another circle of observing. For example, I do my variable work with a Meade 8" Schmidt-Newtonian on a Losmandy G-11 with a SBIG 402ME fitted with BVI filter wheel. Total investment in excess of 3K as I bought all used. Minimally you need a mono-CCD camera and a V-filter and a decent mount. With that kind of rig almost any scope will gather useful data, including telephoto lenses.Hope this helps,Ed
Quote:I agree that either push-to or go-to is a major advantage, both in urban (finding something) and dark skies (more targets/time) environments. I also agree with others that just about any scope you buy will be good for visual estimates. And you don't need tracking when doing visual measures. BTW, many variables are too bright at maximum for CCDs, which is one reason visual observations are essential and valuable.
Quote:If you're interested in visual observation of faint variables (dwarf novae, BL LAc objects etc) then you need aperture & realistically the best scope for you will be the biggest you can handle, unless you have the money to build a proper observatory. I found the CPC 1100 was a good choice for me when I got mine three or four years ago but recent health issues means it doesn't get out as often as I'd like to use it. A 12" - 14" Newtonian on a computerised tracking mount, or at least with digital setting circles, would be as good provided you can shround the top of the tube properly (light leaking in to the "tube" end of the focuser tube can wreck the effective light grasp unless you have a moonless, jet black observing site).
Quote:Good quality triplet apo or ED doublet refractors with focal ratios around f/7 are ideal in many ways but, unless your pockets are very deep indeed, the relatively small aperture will result in seriously restricted light grasp.
Quote:For CCD work there is a great deal of useful work that needs to be done on the brighter variables - often unsuited to visual work because of small range - this probably doesn't need much more than a "standard" lens; I found I needed a neutral density filter to get good measures of epsilon Aurigae with a 50mm focal length lens (working at f/2) on a DSLR, with exposures short enough that a motorized drive wasn't necessary. (5 sec)
Quote:Well I use a Nextar SE8 for my observing, so of course I am going to agree it is a good scope. I specialize in long period variables, and with my rig I will do 20 to 30 estimates an hour.
What I did was connect my scope to my laptop and using a commercial program have my entire list of stars pre-loaded. So I basically sit there, click the button, make the estimate, click the button again and so on and so forth
Quote:Well I use a Nextar SE8 for my observing, so of course I am going to agree it is a good scope. I specialize in long period variables, and with my rig I will do 20 to 30 estimates an hour.What I did was connect my scope to my laptop and using a commercial program have my entire list of stars pre-loaded. So I basically sit there, click the button, make the estimate, click the button again and so on and so forth
Time spent looking at the stars is added to your life
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Quote:Good to Great nights are very limited in these parts
Quote:We have done many exoplanet transit measurements with the C8, typically done using the 0.63 reducer with the H9 camera. I can say with certainty, that setup is quite capable of the millimag type measurements required for this application.
Quote: So where I'm leading with this, is fairly simple and strait forward. When choosing your ideal telescope, first you have to determine what kind of variables you want to measure. If you are intending to monitor stuff in the mag 8 to 12 range at 0.1 mag precision, it's a completely different set of equipment than if you want to do 0.01 mag precision in the mag 15+ range. When we did the upgrade, our goal was to increase the capability on a number of fronts, which brought a very specific set of requirements. Getting a large field, with a long focal length, is a difficult combination to combine, and very few amateur telescopes can offer essentially both, without stepping into 'second mortgage' price ranges. We found one that we think will fit the bill, but, wont know definitively for some time yet, it's going to be another month or two before it sees first light with cameras attached.
Quote:Quote:Good to Great nights are very limited in these parts
The profile says 'Canada', pretty big place. What part of Canada ? We are on Vancouver Island, and at this time of year, good nights are close to non-existant. But, that usually changes by February, and we have had at least one week of good clear nights during Feb for the last few years.
Quote:Good to Great nights are very limited in these parts