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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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Benson
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Reged: 05/22/10

Loc: -6 gmt
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: lamplight]
      #5827728 - 04/28/13 03:16 AM

I'm partial to the GM8 mount for a modest aperature [<10"] scope. My AP rig is an AT6RC with ST80 finder. Total investment [including GM8] was about $1800. It's not a great visual scope, but, excellent for AP.

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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: lamplight]
      #5828289 - 04/28/13 12:58 PM

Remember that within your budget you'll need more than just the mount and scope. You'll want eyepieces, a chair, camera mounting parts, and other goodies - it adds up fast.

Many of us agree that trying to consider both visual and AP for one's first scope is a mistake because the requirements are so different, and because as a newbie, you don't really know yet what you want. If you're like most of us, we bought the scope we thought we wanted at first, only to discover shortly thereafter that no, that's not really what I want; I want that instead. It happened to me. I thought I had to have an 8" SCT computerized scope and ended up enjoying manually operated Newtonians much more. lol

Ok, so. One option might be the Celestron 8SE, which is an awesome visual (and family) scope, and it's possible to do some basic AP with it. Plus it's easy to haul around. Then, when (and if) the AP itch really kicks in, you can use the 8SE's OTA on another mount, like the VX mount or something similar. And if you end up using just the new OTA/mount combo you've created, sell off the SE mount. The SE is hugely popular and holds its resale value very well compared to many others.

Seems like a good way to go.

http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes/catadioptric-telescopes/celestronnexstar...


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JoeStarPR
member


Reged: 08/08/12

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5830322 - 04/29/13 02:10 PM

thank you all !. I think im going for the 8SE after all.

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: geekgroupie]
      #5830454 - 04/29/13 03:00 PM

"I had an astrophysicist pick out my first scope and he chose a NexStar."

That's a little like saying you had an engineer who designs screens for LCD displays pick out your oil paints for you. Observational astronomy as a professional tool has been dead for almost a century. Amateur astronomy is an aesthetic pursuit. Modern astrophysics is all about theory, probes, data, experiments and articles. Unless the astro-physist in question is also a visual observer hobbyist, I would tend to put *less* weight in his opinion than the opinions of experienced, active visual observers.

That said, I don't think the Nexstar 8 SE is a bad choice. But it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a noob.

Regards,

Jim


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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5830470 - 04/29/13 03:09 PM

Quote:

"I had an astrophysicist pick out my first scope and he chose a NexStar."

That's a little like saying you had an engineer who designs screens for LCD displays pick out your oil paints for you. Observational astronomy as a professional tool has been dead for almost a century. Amateur astronomy is an aesthetic pursuit. Modern astrophysics is all about theory, probes, data, experiments and articles. Unless the astro-physist in question is also a visual observer hobbyist, I would tend to put *less* weight in his opinion than the opinions of experienced, active visual observers.

That said, I don't think the Nexstar 8 SE is a bad choice. But it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a noob.

Regards,

Jim




Yeah, argument from authority can be fallacious.

The 8SE might not be the best noob scope but it is a scope he can grow into nicely without the hassles of handling a big GEM.

BTW, I'm taking up your 60mm observation challenge. I'm looking forward to it!


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bluesteel
sage


Reged: 03/24/13

Loc: KILM
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5830932 - 04/29/13 07:10 PM

Do you have a camera and tripod already? If so I would recommend taking pictures of bright objects like moons and constellations with just a tripod camera combination to get your feet wet. Taking pictures is only 1/8th of the battle it seems with astrophotography. Processing and stacking the images to bring out the unseen pieces that the camera actually picks up is a very time consuming process with a steep learning curve at first. Registax is a program that is great for stacking pictures of the moon and planets. Deepskystacker is a program that is used to enhance stars, nebulae, etcetera. Both are free.

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JoeStarPR
member


Reged: 08/08/12

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: bluesteel]
      #5831749 - 04/30/13 08:18 AM

Quote:

Do you have a camera and tripod already? If so I would recommend taking pictures of bright objects like moons and constellations with just a tripod camera combination to get your feet wet. Taking pictures is only 1/8th of the battle it seems with astrophotography. Processing and stacking the images to bring out the unseen pieces that the camera actually picks up is a very time consuming process with a steep learning curve at first. Registax is a program that is great for stacking pictures of the moon and planets. Deepskystacker is a program that is used to enhance stars, nebulae, etcetera. Both are free.



I am doing just that this saturday at the next star party. Bringin my camera, wide lens and tele and sturdy tripod!


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JoeStarPR
member


Reged: 08/08/12

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5831750 - 04/30/13 08:18 AM

Quote:

"I had an astrophysicist pick out my first scope and he chose a NexStar."

That's a little like saying you had an engineer who designs screens for LCD displays pick out your oil paints for you. Observational astronomy as a professional tool has been dead for almost a century. Amateur astronomy is an aesthetic pursuit. Modern astrophysics is all about theory, probes, data, experiments and articles. Unless the astro-physist in question is also a visual observer hobbyist, I would tend to put *less* weight in his opinion than the opinions of experienced, active visual observers.

That said, I don't think the Nexstar 8 SE is a bad choice. But it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a noob.

Regards,

Jim




What would be your recommendation if I may ask?


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J. Barnes
super member


Reged: 04/11/09

Loc: Kalispell, Montana
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5832193 - 04/30/13 12:33 PM

That Edge 8 w/ AVX looks like a sweet rig. Even though it would blow your whole "jump in with both feet" budget, and leave no room for accessories, it would be a solid foundation for years worth of discovery. At the very least you could do some prime focus Solar system imaging and buy an inexpensive mount for your DSLR and do some long exposure wide-field stuff. Andromeda is easy pickings with a cheapy telephoto lens mounted on top of my old-school fork mounted C8. I think an 8" SCT is a "Jack of all Trades" scope and I use mine more than anything else besides my binoculars. Now I wouldn't recommend a C8 to a beginner who might be riding the fence, but your aggressive plan doesn't strike me as "not sure I'm ready."

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tedbnh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: J. Barnes]
      #5832264 - 04/30/13 12:55 PM

A used C8 with XLT coatings ($500) and a used iOptron MiniTower ($500) will put you where Galileo only wished he could be, with a grand to spend on accessories. If you don't like either one, you can sell them for close to what you paid.

XLT coatings are important for looking at bright objects like planets, and Saturn is coming up nicely now for summer. 8" will give you the aperture to see hundreds of DSOs. And the mount will give you the ability to track at high power, which is important for sharing those views with the family.

Just my $.02...


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JoeStarPR
member


Reged: 08/08/12

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5832299 - 04/30/13 01:08 PM

Thanks guys for all the suggestions !!. I do plan on doing a photo shoot at the site this Saturday. I have a tele zoom and a Wide angle, the mount is also a sturdy Manfroto ($350) mount, I bet i t can hold a Telescope too hehe.!

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JoeStarPR
member


Reged: 08/08/12

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5835374 - 05/01/13 10:51 PM

Ok, so now that I have decided on going for the NexStar 8SE I have a few questions:
What accessories do you recommend?
What adapters would I need to attach my camera (Nikon 5100) To the scope? does it attach to the front or the back?
I plan on buying the Piggyback mount as I want to take some wide shots with my 17-55 Lens and also have a 70-300 Lens I think it would be useful.
I think if I buy the 8SE I'll have enough money to spare for the accessories
can you offer any suggestions?

Again, thank you for all your help!
JoeStar


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SeattleScott
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/14/11

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5835450 - 05/01/13 11:42 PM

Good call, the scope just went on sale!

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BoldAxis1967
sage
*****

Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Kentucky
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5835481 - 05/02/13 12:12 AM

Congraulations! I think you made a fine choice.

I do not do astrophotography and I do not have an f10 scope so I cannot suggest anything. But if you or your wife wear glasses this would affect your choice of eyepieces (EP). In general eye relief and field of view are important considerations.

If possible try to get one EP that can frame clusters like the Double Cluster and the Pleiades. Of course they are really out of view now, but they will return in a few months! Don't worry, there are other star clusters that will benefit from an EP that provides a wide field of view.

Enjoy.


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Momerath
sage


Reged: 05/31/11

Loc: Upstate SC,
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5835722 - 05/02/13 07:26 AM

Quote:

Ok, so now that I have decided on going for the NexStar 8SE I have a few questions:
What accessories do you recommend?
What adapters would I need to attach my camera (Nikon 5100) To the scope? does it attach to the front or the back?
I plan on buying the Piggyback mount as I want to take some wide shots with my 17-55 Lens and also have a 70-300 Lens I think it would be useful.
I think if I buy the 8SE I'll have enough money to spare for the accessories
can you offer any suggestions?

Again, thank you for all your help!
JoeStar




I will just say this. The Nextstar 8Se is a good beginner scope for visual. the 1 arm bandit scopes are not that great for photography. the arm cannot really take the load of a camera hanging off the back. Not to mention the mount will not compensate for field rotation which means you are going to be limited to very very short exposures. I would still recomment getting the avx mount combo instead.

as far as your other question you will neeed a T-Ring, to attach to your camera. this converts the camera body twist connecter to a threaded female. you will then need a t adaptor which screws into the t-ring. the whole assemble then inserts into the visual back of the telescope. This si considered "Prime focus". to achieve a wider field you will most likely want to add a focal reducer.

For planets you will need a Barlow. you can buy these with threads to attach to the t-ring. this is then inserted into the visual back or diaganal.


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JoeStarPR
member


Reged: 08/08/12

Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: Momerath]
      #5835738 - 05/02/13 07:43 AM

I was also considering the SCT 8" Advanced VX Series (non-Edge HD) for $1,599 but that leaves little room for accessories. I was thinking on the 8SE then later on buy the VX mount, that way I have a cheap Alt Az for another OTA when the time comes

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Momerath
sage


Reged: 05/31/11

Loc: Upstate SC,
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5835817 - 05/02/13 08:47 AM

I will give this advice, and i give it to many people about many products. You should get what you WANT!. if you want 1 thing and then settle for another you are rarely ever happy.

Also you really dont need that many accessories. 2 or 3 decent EP's and a few adaptors for your camera is all you really need. and lateer you can grow your EP collection. There are a LOT of accessories you can live without, but make certain things easier. those are the things that add up fast. 30 dollars here and 65 there adds to a big check.


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MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5835837 - 05/02/13 09:08 AM

One important but often overlooked accessory for a fork mounted scope is a comfortable adjustable observing chair. I use a drummer's throne, but there are also several special astro chairs out there. Sitting comfortably while you tease out detail in Saturn's rings or a galaxy is much much easier than standing and leaning into the eyepiece.

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J. Barnes
super member


Reged: 04/11/09

Loc: Kalispell, Montana
Re: Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner) new [Re: JoeStarPR]
      #5836091 - 05/02/13 11:31 AM

Quote:

I was also considering the SCT 8" Advanced VX Series (non-Edge HD) for $1,599 but that leaves little room for accessories. I was thinking on the 8SE then later on buy the VX mount, that way I have a cheap Alt Az for another OTA when the time comes



I saw that one as well, and after shipping you would probably have enough for a x.63 focal reducer, barlow, t-adapter and just make it under your budget. I would have to say that I have my doubts about using the 8SE for anything other than visual. My old SCTs came with wedges, so basic AP was a little easier for me. I know that several of my fellow club members have alt/az fork mounted Meade LX200's and they are limited to mostly planetary AP. It wasn't until one of them got a wedge, that the DSO AP opened up to him.
I think that EQ mounting is the only way to get a decent exposure over 45 seconds. I was lucky one night and got a clean four minute exposure with my C11, but 2-3 minutes is more often the max. Even then, fork mounting is stressed with a DSLR hanging off the scope. I can't imagine losing one arm.
I know it sounds like I'm recklessly spending all your money, but if you want to do any AP then expect to hear cash registers ringing every time you Google astro-images and tell yourself "I want to take that picture!"


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