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Jarrod
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/20/13

Loc: SE USA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Silver Bear]
      #5832084 - 04/30/13 11:50 AM

I'm in the "just buy something" camp. A few months back, Avogadro was working against me as well, causing me to seize up with all the options. I wanted to learn how an EQ mount works so, almost out of frustration, I purchased an inexpensive Orion Observer EQ (70mm refractor on on EQ mount) right here on the CN classifieds. It was possibly the absolute best way I could have spent $100 at that point. I learned a huge amount from owning that little scope for a couple of months. Not only about using the mount and scope itself, but also about my personal preferences. For example, I learned that tracking was something that I'd have to have in my next scope. Even with an aligned EQ mount, adjusting the slow motion control every minute or two, to track the object I was observing, significantly detracted from the experience for me.

And the scope itself, while extremely inexpensive, was not half bad. In fact, I'd have kept it for camping and travel, but agreeing to sell it was part of the negotiations that took place with the spouse before I purchased an 8" Goto Dob. I guess I'll have to settle for binoculars when camping, which we don't do that often anyhow.

Edited by Jarrod (04/30/13 11:51 AM)


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: David Ault]
      #5832092 - 04/30/13 11:55 AM

Quote:


I think the best suggestion I can make is to join your local astronomy club. You don't need your own scope and frequently clubs have loner scopes and will give you some lessons on how to use them. Also, a lot of clubs have star parties and outreach events and these are great opportunities to ask questions, see what types of equipment people are using and get to peek through their eyepieces. This will really help you form an opinion about what you want to view and what equipment might work best for you.





Wise words! I'm checking out the local club, looks like they have a star party in May.

Also, your astrophotos are awesome.


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RussL
Music Maker
*****

Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Jarrod]
      #5832113 - 04/30/13 12:03 PM

Just for info, I have a 1999 model Celestron Celestar 8 (8" SCT) that uses just one 9v battery for tracking, and provides about 50 hours of operation. There is only one motor on one axis. The scope rests on a U-mount that is mounted on a wedge, making it equitorial. Yes, I have to tweak the other axis once in awhile, but I also don't ever have to use two or three stars for alignment before viewing. Just set latitude and plop the whole thing down generally aiming north, and I'm good all night. They don't make the scope anymore, but I see them for sale often for around $500.

Just something more to think about.


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: howard929]
      #5832126 - 04/30/13 12:10 PM

Quote:

Have you considered a 6" Star Blast?




I had not...looks interesting, though I wonder about the lack of a tripod...

Thanks for the suggestion!


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: lamplight]
      #5832138 - 04/30/13 12:16 PM

Quote:


If a used DOB isn't your cup of tea you will lose practically nothing and can try the next option, without using them you just don't know what's going to work for you. You may end up really preferring one of the bulkier setups and have to get a roof rack for one of the kids to ride on.





Ha! Yeah the Dob is definitely on my wishlist. Along with a roof rack for the kids. That's totally legal, right?


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832161 - 04/30/13 12:23 PM

+1 on the Starblast

Lost to see in a 6" scope. Nice and compact at F5, very portable and collimation is quite easy with a cheshire/Sight Tube combo. You will get both nice wide field views and high magnification (don't let anyone tell you that an F5Newt is lousy at high magnification ). Simply place the base on a pinic table when camping and use a stool at home!.

Eric


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5832173 - 04/30/13 12:27 PM

Quote:

Welcome Nick. I was in the same place you are now...um, I still am..lol
Lots of good choices. I'd go with either an ETX,SE or even an Orion 80st with vixon alt-az mount. All would give good views if the camp site is dark. Then the money saved can go toward the lightbucket for at home.




Thanks Rob (and RussL). I hadn't considered an ST...I love the wide views from my binos (15x70s) and I imagine an ST80 would only improve upon them.

One question though...can an ST80 resolve Saturn's rings? I can _almost_ get there with the binos.


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tedbnh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832206 - 04/30/13 12:38 PM

An 80mm APO refractor on the Vixen Portamount (you want slow-motion controls) is a nice combo, and very compact. I'm a big fan of the William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED Apo. Small, light, and the highest quality images you could ask for. Saturns rings? Easy as pie, and with no false color you'll get the views you are looking for. Can't say that about the ST80, got one of those too.

Stellarvue makes some nice 80mm Apos too I believe.


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832210 - 04/30/13 12:38 PM

You will see Saturn's rings in an ST80. I have an ST100 and I can push it to 150X on Saturn. On Jupiter it's another story as the CA get pretty bad, but I then cut the aperture down with a mask and it's fine.

Eric


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Eric63]
      #5832217 - 04/30/13 12:40 PM

P.S. seeing the rings is not the same as seeing detail. An ED scope like the ED80 would be sharper with no CA, but for a Starter scope, the ST80 should be good (The ST100 was my starter scope).

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stargazer424
sage


Reged: 10/03/05

Loc: Central NJ
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Eric63]
      #5832279 - 04/30/13 01:02 PM

Quote:

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.




By the way nice Princess Bride reference.

I plan on taking my 8" Dob camping this weekend. The tube fits in the back seat of my car, the base in the trunk. I can even put my sleeping bag in the inside of the base to save room.

That being said, I am camping within walking distance of my car. No hiking camping trip...


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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832321 - 04/30/13 01:16 PM

Quote:

Quote:


I think the best suggestion I can make is to join your local astronomy club. You don't need your own scope and frequently clubs have loner scopes and will give you some lessons on how to use them. Also, a lot of clubs have star parties and outreach events and these are great opportunities to ask questions, see what types of equipment people are using and get to peek through their eyepieces. This will really help you form an opinion about what you want to view and what equipment might work best for you.





Wise words! I'm checking out the local club, looks like they have a star party in May.

Also, your astrophotos are awesome.





Definitely "test drive" telescopes at star parties before you buy. I've done that, and although I don't have a telescope, if I were to buy myself one, it would be a 6-inch Dob (I would love an 8-incher, but I have to consider that I live in a small second-story apartment some distance away from the car and with limited storage space, plus my back isn't the greatest). In the meantime, while you're deciding on your scope, take your binoculars camping! You'd be amazed at how much more they'll show, especially away from city lights! (And they'll take up next to no room in the car.)

By the way, welcome to cloudynights!


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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832337 - 04/30/13 01:26 PM

Quote:

...also pack in an overloaded minivan on camping trips.




I know how this goes. When committed you can add the scope. lol

Do you think observing will be the main activity of a camping trip or just one aspect amongst many others? Probably the latter if you have kids. Sooooo, my first thought is an Orion ST80 on a quality photo tripod. That will always be a good grab and go setup. Simple and basically zero maintenance. Inexpensive if it gets knocked over, too.

A larger package, which is one of my favorites, is this:

http://www.optcorp.com/vx-39954-r130sf-130mm-newtonian-reflector-w-porta-ii-m...

Next up might be a 6 or 8" dob. But stuffing these into an already stuffed van??

Remember if you get an SE or other computerized scope, you'll need a power pack - another piece to pack in the van.


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katie
sage


Reged: 11/06/11

Loc: Southern Maryland
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832348 - 04/30/13 01:31 PM

Quote:

...Here's what I've considered so far.
* C8 NexStar SE - Top end of my budget. Seems too automatic for me. I like star charts and want to teach my wife and kids....





I note that the 6SE is not on your list. For a camping scope it is just wonderful. Kids can set it up (young or old).

As to star charts, I use electronic versions - SkySafari - when camping. You can, with an iPad for example, learn the sky AND drive the SE. Kids love to point at the sky, then take the iPad and point it at the sky (SkySafari follows the movement), then tap the screen and the scope slews to the object. Then, for many objects, there is a screen to read with info about that object.

I had an 8SE and tried using that as a camp scope after purchasing the CPC1100. Sold it and got the much more manageable (for me anyway) 6SE. It's been knocked down (in the grass), bumped around (in the back of the RV), and kid-used...it keeps on working.
Good luck with whatever you finally purchase.


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832357 - 04/30/13 01:36 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Have you considered a 6" Star Blast?




I had not...looks interesting, though I wonder about the lack of a tripod...




Works fine if you don't mind sitting on the ground. Otherwise, it will end up taking up more space than a conventional Dob due to the need to transport some kind of table or other support.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832365 - 04/30/13 01:39 PM

"The Maksutovs and Refractors don't require this (collimation) at all"

Actually, this is not true. ALL scopes, regardless of make, model, and type of glass/mirrors used, require collimation. That being said,most refractors are collimated at the factory and won't need touched ever again, but they are initially collimatted, and some have collimateable objective lenses.

Overall though, that 8" dob will keep the family happy for a long time. Also, consider that your kids, while young now, will grow, and the dob's eyepiece is at a more convenient level then any EQ scope will give.


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: katie]
      #5832370 - 04/30/13 01:42 PM

Quote:


You can, with an iPad for example, learn the sky AND drive the SE. Kids love to point at the sky, then take the iPad and point it at the sky (SkySafari follows the movement), then tap the screen and the scope slews to the object. Then, for many objects, there is a screen to read with info about that object.





That sounds really cool Katie...thanks for the suggestion.

Edited by kraberus (04/30/13 01:44 PM)


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JKoelman
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832409 - 04/30/13 01:56 PM

Quote:

Three weeks ago I bought a pair 15x70 binoculars. You know, the cheap ones from Celestron. All it took was Jupiter's moons and M44 and I haven't been the same since. I'm hooked and I'm convinced I need a telescope. To live.




Great to hear this. I keep arguing on the binoculars forum that this despicable bino has done more for amateur astronomy than any other type of binocular. One more case (and counting) of the SkyMasters getting yet another person hooked. Enjoy your new hobby!

By the way: another vote for the ST-80. It will provide a natural transition from binoculars to telescopes, and later when you have bought more scopes (believe me, you will) the humble ST-80 will continue to be your ultra-compact travel scope.


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Jarrod
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/20/13

Loc: SE USA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5832519 - 04/30/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

One more case (and counting) of the SkyMasters getting yet another person hooked. Enjoy your new hobby!




Yes, I'm another "victim" of the cheap Celstron Skymasters. The $95 20x80 is the one that got me hooked. Although that binocular didn't stick around for long (I sent it back due to problems), I have.


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UncleMossy
super member


Reged: 02/08/12

Loc: Downtown Toronto
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Jarrod]
      #5832675 - 04/30/13 04:11 PM

My vote is for the 8SE.
With the iPad and SkySafari it is a beautiful setup.
Beware of all the add on costs though (power tank, dew control, WiFi connection and so on) this can easily add up to half the cost of the scope itself.
The 6SE might be a good choice to keep you in your budget after all the add-ons.
As for GoTo vs Manual, I think you'll see many more objects per session with GoTo, helps to keep everybody interested.
I still get a kick out of "magically" slewing my scope with the iPad.

Cheers
Jim


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