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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
It's all your fault, CN
      #5831464 - 04/30/13 01:16 AM

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

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.

This will sound like it's another which-scope-should-I-get post. But really I think I just want sympathy at this point.

I'd like a scope I can use from my LP'd (red zone, yo) driveway and also pack in an overloaded minivan on camping trips. I'm also a father of two kids just old enough to be curious about the stars and knock over large tubes. Eventually I'd like to get a light bucket for now I need something smaller.

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.
* 8" Dob - I said CAMPING.
* Omni XLT 102 - intriguing. Perhaps too big/long though?
* C6 Advanced VX - Nice. Like the idea of an EQ mount and maybe some AP (much later). VX might be overkill. What happened to the C6 XLT?
* Orion StarMax 127 - Nice. Half the price of the C6 VX. Not as flexible though. Narrow FOV might be annoying.
* About 6.022e23 other options.

I've been reading CN pretty much non-stop for the last two weeks and have come to the conclusion that there's simply too much valuable information here.

As part of the helpful, informative CN community, I feel YOU are responsible (in part) for my inability stop needlessly combing forums and just BUY something. I'm not asking much, really. A kind word. A quick anecdote about how maybe you were once like me...


Edited by kraberus (04/30/13 01:22 AM)


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5831488 - 04/30/13 01:56 AM

Sounds like a good problem to have

I think it's a tough call. Sounds like you want something portable, yet has some good aperture. I'd agree the 8 inch dob is not very portable in a packed minivan.

The celestron SE scopes wouldn't be a bad choice. Maybe the 5 or 6 SE vice the 8...save you a little money for other stuff which you will want to get eventually.

The C6 advanced VX would be nice, but EQ mounts like that can be a little heavy. I guess it's portable if you take it apart a bit. What I like about this option is you could use the same mount for another telescope. Maybe something like a smaller refractor for a wide field of view.

I'd take the 5SE over the Orion Starmax myself. Not saying the starmax is bad...but seems a little high in price when you can get for just a little more the 5SE with go to capability. Although since "go to" isn't much of an issue to you, you may be able to get a little more scope without it. I will say the kids may get bored if it takes awhile to find stuff. Go to is certainly a nice to have feature...but you also want to have a scope that you don't need to use the electronics in case there are issues.

A refractor would also be a good choice. They cool down quick, are normally pre setup for optical allignment (collimation). The Omni 102mm is a great starter scope. But it is a fairly long scope.

I guess if it were me, I'd probably lean toward the SE series. I had the Celestron 5i (the predecessor to the 5SE) and I thought it was a great scope. It was pretty portable. But like any scope, there are pluses and minuses. These scopes need to cool down to the outside temp to perform their best. That can take some time with a closed tube setup like this. Collimation (lining up optics) is something to at least understand. It's pretty much electronics driven, which you stated a desire to learn it yourself. I personally think it's nice to have go to...and tracking is especially nice when showing the objects to others (especially kids).

After reading my post, not sure I helped much...but you already have been hit with too much info I can tell.

A really good book for explaining scopes is Star Ware by Phillip Harrington. Might be able to find that on Amazon. It's a little out of date for some of it's content. but I think it's great for learning about what scope to choose.

Good luck!


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David Ault
sage


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: Georgetown, TX
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5831500 - 04/30/13 02:17 AM

Nick,

Welcome to Cloudy Nights! I certainly feel your pain. My draw to astronomy has come and gone over the years, starting when I was in Scouts. A few years ago I found this forum, got some good advice and have been hooked ever since.

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.

I certainly understand the temptation to just go ahead and purchase a scope and I don't think you would be disappointed with anything on your list. I started with a C6 CG-5 Goto (the precursor to the VX) and loved the views and it worked quite well for me right up until I got hooked on astrophotography. The whole thing was fairly light and I could pick it up assembled (minus the counterweights) and move it to the backyard.

The dob will require frequent collimation to get the most out of it. The SCTs need this too, but I've found the smaller scopes like the C6 and C8 don't require it very frequently. The Maksutovs and Refractors don't require this at all, which is one less thing to worry about as a beginner. I tend to recommend the latter two types of scopes for this reason, but it really depends on your personality.

Hope this helps. Oh, and just to make things a bit more confusing and open up a whole other can of worms, don't forget to include the selection (and cost) of eyepieces

Regards,
David


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Maverick199
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5831526 - 04/30/13 03:00 AM

Quote:

I'd like a scope I can use from my LP'd (red zone, yo) driveway and also pack in an overloaded minivan on camping trips. I'm also a father of two kids just old enough to be curious about the stars and knock over large tubes. Eventually I'd like to get a light bucket for now I need something smaller.

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.
* 8" Dob - I said CAMPING.





Simply put, the 8" Dob. Light gathering, you like star charts, camping, portability ( though this may vary from person to person ). Best bang for aperture and easy on collimation. In fact, once collimated, you only need to tweak a bit. Eyepieces are forgiving on this F/6 and you will have enough to get a Telrad to help with star hopping as well as a couple of decent eyepieces and barlow. You will still have some funds left over with this keeper.

Another option in case you find star hopping difficult is to get an intelli scope.


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Startraffic
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5831593 - 04/30/13 05:25 AM

Nick,
Welcome to the Zoo! Camping, smallish kids, packed minivan = ETX90. I have one & take it on Boy/Cub scouts trips. The OTA is fairly durable, you are doing AP, enough aperture to go semi-deep from a darkish site, light enough to carry with one hand. Be careful with the tripod otherwise have at it.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898


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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5831616 - 04/30/13 06:00 AM

Quote:

* 8" Dob - I said CAMPING.




I don't see the problem. The Dob's tube is just 4 feet long, and can easily pack in any corner of a minivan. And the base doesn't really take up any space at all, since you can pack stuff inside it.

I sometimes go camping with my wife and daughter taking my 7-inch Dob in a compact station wagon (Elantra Touring). Two kids is more than one, and an 8-inch f/6 Dob is significantly bigger than a 7-inch f/5.4. But even the smallest minivan has twice the storage space my car.


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Gert K A
sage


Reged: 07/16/12

Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5831618 - 04/30/13 06:02 AM

Quote:

-Nick

But really I think I just want sympathy at this point.



Hi Nick Welcome to CN and you got it


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Momerath
sage


Reged: 05/31/11

Loc: Upstate SC,
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Gert K A]
      #5831657 - 04/30/13 07:10 AM

+1 on the 8se

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howard929
Member
*****

Reged: 01/02/11

Loc: Low End of High Ground
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5831663 - 04/30/13 07:14 AM

Have you considered a 6" Star Blast?

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Momerath]
      #5831681 - 04/30/13 07:33 AM

Welcome.. You can put a sleeping bag or two in the DOB tube.
Seriously.. Tough choice.. A compromise has to be made somewhere .. My opinion would be the xlt but in red zone you will be limited in what you see.. So up in aperture...the SCT 's are nice but then , as you said yourself, are now looking at a computer setup, need to add space for batteries, dew protection.. It's a whole new can of worms as soon as you consider powered scopes. Certainly not to say impractical as the ETX person points out.. I did not know about maksutovs not needing collimation.. Hmm... Still with your budget and situation I might buy a used DOB, cheap yo, and give it a go.. You can't guarantee the wife and kids will maintain interest longer than one or two sessions (trust me) , so maybe get what works for you. 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.


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: lamplight]
      #5831696 - 04/30/13 07:49 AM

For what it's worth, I really don't understand how a SCT is substantially more compact than a dobsonian. Once you add a tripod, a SCT is really not much more compact.

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JLovell
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/12/10

Loc: Georgia
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5831704 - 04/30/13 07:55 AM

I've taken my 8" Dob camping a number of times. I have a long, skinny roof top box the tube rides in, along with some other similarly long and skinny gear that keeps it from rolling around. As Tony said, stuff gets packed inside the base (very carefully, in my case, with the wires and the alt sensor circuit board being in there). I've never had a problem.

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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5831709 - 04/30/13 07:58 AM

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.


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RussL
Music Maker
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Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5831729 - 04/30/13 08:07 AM

I hear ya. It's like going to the paint store and looking at a wall of varying shades and not being able to decide because there are too many to choose from.

Get an ST80 rig for the camping trips, and you'll be surprised how well it does for other things, too. Then, an 8" SCT can cover the rest.


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5831774 - 04/30/13 08:38 AM

Quote:

For what it's worth, I really don't understand how a SCT is substantially more compact than a dobsonian. Once you add a tripod, a SCT is really not much more compact.




When I think back to the 5SE I had, it was pretty compact. The tripod wasn't as big as an 8 inch dob tube.

The ETX70 I had was super compact. I'd suggest the ETX90 though over the 70. The 70 was a short tube refractor. It had a very wide field of view, but wasn't really good for getting close up on objects.

The ETX90 would be another good choice. Something we didn't mention is a dew shield. You can add one to an SCT or MCT (Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope). It doesn't have to be fancy, but if there is a lot of dew out, you'll want one.


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CharlesW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5831861 - 04/30/13 09:44 AM

This is a dangerous road you have found yourself on. I bought an 8" Celestron back in October. The fever hit hard and I sold it in February so I could get the stuff below. There is no turning back once you've seen the stars.

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Silver Bear
member


Reged: 04/02/13

Loc: Brazos Valley in Texas
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5832056 - 04/30/13 11:33 AM

Quote:

This is a dangerous road you have found yourself on. I bought an 8" Celestron back in October. The fever hit hard and I sold it in February so I could get the stuff below. There is no turning back once you've seen the stars.




Truer words could not be spoken.

I cannot "blame" CN for my current star addiction, it certainly hasn't helped me to recuperate from this fever. Between info and friendly folks here, I get anxious for the weather to clear out so I can get back under the skies.

I thought I would be happy with my little 4" 'scope, but to see what others are seeing in the night skies, I realize I do need a bigger scope.

If one thinks it's now too late to turn back...you've got a lot of good company.


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Silver Bear]
      #5832062 - 04/30/13 11:35 AM

Quote:


...I realize I do need a bigger scope.





I think that says it all for ALL of us.


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5832064 - 04/30/13 11:36 AM

Quote:

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





Thank you, Mr. Montoya!


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5832080 - 04/30/13 11:47 AM

Quote:


Sounds like a good problem to have





Yes a good problem to have indeed. Thanks for the perspective

Edited by kraberus (04/30/13 11:56 AM)


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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
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Reged: 05/18/06

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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
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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
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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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JerryK
sage


Reged: 09/25/05

Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: UncleMossy]
      #5832684 - 04/30/13 04:21 PM

I agree with UncleMossy--just get the 8SE. It disassembles into separate parts that can fit their way in your vehicle. Save up for the add-ons. You'll love the convenience of the GoTo; it save time finding stuff. The 8" aperture will keep you interested for life. Lunar, Planets,bright and dim deep sky objects are within your grasp. Don't forget, the moon and planets will change constantly in subtle ways that always require another and another visit!

All the Best,
Jerry


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JerryK
sage


Reged: 09/25/05

Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: UncleMossy]
      #5832710 - 04/30/13 04:30 PM

I vote for the 8SE. You won't regret the extra aperture for going deep. It can keep you happy for many years. Budget for the extras for next year.

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Kevdog
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: JerryK]
      #5832729 - 04/30/13 04:40 PM

Don't forget to check your local craigslist... you can find some good deals (and a lot of overpriced *BLEEP*).

C130 - $250
http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/for/3721250978.html

Meade ETX-105EC $525
http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/spo/3745899690.html

Celestron 102GT - $99
http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/fod/3765753430.html

Orion 120ST - $450
http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/for/3758046982.html

Not sure on the price of the ETX-105EC as I don't think they are sold anymore.... Also not sure on the Orion 120ST but it looks intriguing.

Buying used can often get you started without a big outlay of cash. Then you can figure out more what you want and usually resell your first scope for about what you paid or often just keep it as a 2nd scope.

But the 8SE is a pretty good deal too. I had the Meade LT8 (Meade's equivalent of the 8SE) before I got my C11 and it is quite light and portable, yet has good reach and does make it easy to find things.

Good luck and good views (whatever you end up with)


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Widespread
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: JerryK]
      #5832762 - 04/30/13 04:58 PM

Quote:

Get an ST80 rig for the camping trips, and you'll be surprised how well it does for other things, too. Then, an 8" SCT can cover the rest.




+1

The ST80 isn't very good for planetary, and it's particularly atrocious on Jupiter. But I will not part with mine; it's small, light, and inexpensive enough to use in situations I'd shudder to use my apo or 8SE.

That said, I LOVE JUPITER, and it wasn't long before I had to get my 90mm apo so that I could have good performance for both widefield and planetary observing.

If you're going to get one scope, I'd say get either the 6SE or 8SE. I have the 8", and it's great. There are times when I wish for a 6", though. The 6SE only weighs a bit less, but is considerably less bulky. Also, it uses the same mount as the 8SE, which is stable for the 6" but a bit marginal for the 8".

The main downside of the 6SE, IMHO, is that its true field of view is even more limited than the 8SE's. The smaller aperture internal baffle tube really limits the FOV. I think the consensus is that with the 6SE, one can use either 2" EPs or a focal reducer, but not both. In contrast, an 8SE equipped with a 6.3 focal reducer for wider, brighter views can still use a 35mm Panoptic eyepiece without objectionable vignetting.

FWIW, my own experience is that when summer camping, I get up early, and by the time it's dark I'm pretty beat. Also, I often go to Colorado, which has a lot of thunderstorms that time of year. The ST80 is perfect: it's tiny, so that if I can't use it much, it's not a huge waste of space; it has virtually no cool-down time, so you can take it from a warm car and start using it immediately; it's a refractor, so you can generally just take it out and use it without collimating; and it's inexpensive, so if something bad happens in rugged field use, you won't have a heart attack.



David


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orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: howard929]
      #5832810 - 04/30/13 05:21 PM

Quote:

Have you considered a 6" Star Blast?



6" StarBlast is a fun little scope but nowhere close to the
quality of optics or versitile ans the NexStar 6/8se.
Dont forget the Meade versions of the LightSwitch 6 and 8.
I love my Celestron 127SLT MAK. dont be fooled the FOV os fine it is faster than the typical F15 Intes and ETX MAKs
I would suggest the Orion 8" Dob with the computer.
Planetary viewing is stunning through them easily as good as an 8" SCT.


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hytham
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Reged: 12/25/12

Loc: Canadian in the US
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: orion61]
      #5832844 - 04/30/13 05:39 PM

A lot of great advice in here.

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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: hytham]
      #5833118 - 04/30/13 08:07 PM

Quote:


A lot of great advice in here.





I could not agree more. Thank you all so much for indulging my utter analysis paralysis - it helps. Not sure what I'll do yet, other than check out the local astronomy club in mid-May. That said, the frontrunners right now are
1.) Orion ST80 w/EQ-2 or VX mount
2.) Celestron 6SE

Of course this could all change by dinner time...

CalSky says clear skies and moderate seeing tonight in Seattle. Can't say it looks good right now, but here's hoping.

Nick


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5833173 - 04/30/13 08:34 PM

Quote:

* 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.
* 8" Dob - I said CAMPING.




Any on your list would be good, I recommend one of the two above. I bought 8 inch NexStars for my grandchildren, and they are nice telescopes. Also, an 8 inch Dob would be a good place to begin. The NexStar would be a little more portable, if that is a consideration.


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Widespread
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5833186 - 04/30/13 08:44 PM

The ST80 works great on altaz mounts, also. I use mine on a Vixen Porta with wood legs, or NexStar SLT tripod/mount. The latter has a built-in bubble level, so a quick 1-star alignment often suffices, thanks to the huge FOV of the ST80.

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Smittty692k4
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/05/11

Loc: East Bernard, TX
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Widespread]
      #5833227 - 04/30/13 09:16 PM

The 8 SE IS A FANTASTIC scope, but not to use with star charts. The 12" dob I got was 20% less expensive for 4 more inches.

I take the ST80 with me to work (south TX oil field) and while the views pale in comparison, it still is nice to just be able to use and show others Juptier and Saturn.

My advice would be along with others and get a 6-8" dob. Save on computer driven mounts now so you can splurge later!!

For instance, I found a Celestron 11" GPS on craigslist about 50 miles from me for $1700 WITH THE JMI case included. A ridiculous value... But I think I gotta buy a new water heater for the house, so I GUESS that will have to wait. I told my wife I didnt mind cold showers. She gave me "the" look.

Good luck man.


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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #5833261 - 04/30/13 09:36 PM

Quote:

... But I think I gotta buy a new water heater for the house, so I GUESS that will have to wait. I told my wife I didnt mind cold showers. She gave me "the" look.







Awesome


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David Ault
sage


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: Georgetown, TX
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5833475 - 04/30/13 11:46 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.





Thanks Nick. I'm glad you like the pics and I hope you have a good time at the star party. I try to do as much outreach in my area as I can and find that it's just as fun whether you're the person behind the telescope or the one asking questions and it's almost impossible to not learn anything either way.

Regards,
David


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jchaller
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/29/08

Loc: Tenino, WA.
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5833481 - 04/30/13 11:51 PM

You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never to get involved in a land
war in Asia. And only slightly less well known is this: never buy a pair of binoculars for viewing the night
sky and think that will be the end of it.

Welcome to Cloudy Nights and good luck in your quest.

The 6SE has been mentioned a couple of times. I have one, which I take camping/fishing and it works fine.

Edited by jchaller (05/01/13 12:03 AM)


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David Ault
sage


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: Georgetown, TX
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5833498 - 05/01/13 12:05 AM

Quote:


"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.





csrlice12, you are quite right. Looking back at what I typed, my statement looks definitive rather than what I was thinking in my head, which was that from a practical perspective Maksutovs and Refractors rarely require collimation. I've never owned a refractor or Maksutov that I've had to collimate, nor known anyone that has, even with some heavy abuse (i.e. bumping around in the back of a car on horrible dirt roads for miles). Sorry for the confusion.

Regards,
David


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5833692 - 05/01/13 05:53 AM

Quote:

The frontrunners right now are
1.) Orion ST80 w/EQ-2 or VX mount
2.) Celestron 6SE




Wow! They're both fine packages, but two telescopes more different are hard to imagine.

The 6SE has vastly more light grasp and resolution, a vastly narrower field of view, can only be used in electronic mode, and is highly prone to dew. It's great for viewing individual objects, especially small ones, and virtually worthless for browsing the sky.

The ST80 has an enormous field of view but is mediocre at high power. It's fully manual, a great instrument for browsing the sky but not so great for zeroing in on specific objects -- especially not on planets.


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5833745 - 05/01/13 07:05 AM

A 5" or 6" F5 Newtonian would do both

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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: Eric63]
      #5834233 - 05/01/13 12:14 PM Attachment (5 downloads)

Quote:

A 5" or 6" F5 Newtonian would do both






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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5836148 - 05/02/13 12:05 PM

Well, it is done. I decided to go "short" and relatively low-tech for my first scope. Orion ST80-A with the EQ-1 plus a pile of eyepieces, filters and a dielectric star diagonal...and still enough left over to consider a NexStar or Dob before too long...

Thanks everyone for helping me.


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David Ault
sage


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: Georgetown, TX
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: kraberus]
      #5836263 - 05/02/13 01:08 PM

Congratulations Nick! I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with that setup. Hopefully you don't get hit with the new equipment curse and you have clear skies when all those boxes come in!

Regards,
David


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kraberus
member


Reged: 04/27/13

Loc: Spokane, WA
Re: It's all your fault, CN new [Re: David Ault]
      #5845403 - 05/07/13 12:06 PM

Well, the ST80 w/ EQ-1 arrived yesterday. It is a wonderful instrument. I cobbled it together and enjoyed probably the best seeing conditions so far this year.

Some notes on the scope itself - Well built, though the tube is easily scuffed up by the tube rings. The inside of the dew shield is already flocked to a nice flat black. From what I can tell, this is recent improvement - I was expecting to have to do this myself.

The rack-and-pinion focuser is stiff, but not overly so.

The EQ-1 is just fine (not that I have much to compare it to :P). It wobbles a bit while focusing but it damps out within a few seconds.

Targets from red-zone LP'd driveway:

Saturn - Just a dot with the 20mm eyepiece (20x), Startlingly beautiful with the 9mm Expanse (44x). Rings clearly distinct with a small dot below, possibly Titan? Some features visible on the surface.
M13 - I was very pleased to be able to find this. No individual starts visible, just a hazy snowball. Still pretty cool though.
Epsilone Lyrae - Split the double next to Vega.

No luck with M81 or M82. Not sure if it's realistic to see these in a red zone, plus I'm still getting used to the finder being upside down :P

Chromatic aberrations were minor and not distracting at all. Next time I will try the v-block filter and see what that does.

Hopefully tonight I can try the Barlow plus the short Plossls.

Memorable moment of the night - a minor coronary event caused by the 737 that flew thru my FOV while I was mesmerized by Saturn's rings.

Thanks again everyone...


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