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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5540384 - 11/26/12 02:13 PM

Quote:

"I would like a goto mount. Uses will be for planetary, doubles, star clusters."

...hence, an equatorial combined with either ...




In a later post, Sniperpride also asks this question:

"As far as sturdy manual control eq mounts go, what are my options?"

It seems that GOTO is not a requirement. If one is open to manually tracked mounts, certainly alt-az mounts are worthy of serious consideration.

In any event, the world of alt-az mounts has come some distance from the old yoke mounts...

Jon


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5540387 - 11/26/12 02:14 PM

You might be right Jim, but the reason I said grab and go is because outside of that requirement, for visual use only, I really, honestly, see absolutely no need to have a second scope, except as a grab and go to get out and observe on those nights when you can't get the big scope out. If that's not the case here, then I recommend he save his money and that it be better spent on other accessories.

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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5540392 - 11/26/12 02:17 PM

"The Astro-Tech Voyager..."

I have said "Voyager", and, putting it mildly, it leaves more to be desired. Also, I've searched the galaxy for a slo-mo cable for the declination, but to no avail. Thirdly, in that dude is wanting a refractor for visual only, like me...

...what "awkwardness"? It's no more awkward than a large Dobson-Newtonian utilised for visual, let alone for snapping photos.

Cheers,

Alan


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csrlice12
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5540427 - 11/26/12 02:35 PM

You can also always lay an EQ mount on it's side and use it as Alt/Az...

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cloud_cover
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/17/10

Loc: Restaurant at the End of the U...
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5540457 - 11/26/12 02:51 PM

I agree that setting up a GEM is cumbersome. In fact, one fo the reasons why I hardly use my 8" SCT although it performs better overall in my urban skies is the set up time: Its far, far easier to grab the NP-101 and Portamount than to mount the 8" on a Vixen SXD...
Sniperpride: Have you ever thought about mounting the refractor on your Obsession? I seem to recall one Obsession review where the finderscope was an NP-101. Unusual, but effective...


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Mark Costello
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Reged: 03/08/05

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Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5540518 - 11/26/12 03:27 PM

Quote:

To accompany my 14.5 dob, I recently acquired an EON 120ED on a CG-5. With a diagonal and finder this great combo is under your budget. EONs are now only available used, and there were two on a-mart a week or so ago. The Skywatcher version which is available new contains the same fine optics. Highly recommended!





I second the motion....


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5540543 - 11/26/12 03:40 PM

Quote:

...what "awkwardness"? It's no more awkward than a large Dobson-Newtonian utilised for visual, let alone for snapping photos.

Cheers,

Alan




Hummm...

"No more awkward than a large Dobsonian-Newtonian" is not much of an endorsement for a 4 or 5 inch telescope. A 4 or 5 inch on a decent Alt-az mount is significantly less hassle getting it up and running than a 15 inch Dob...

Jon


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5540622 - 11/26/12 04:31 PM

"...not much of an endorsement for a 4 or 5 inch telescope."

It is if it's a fine refractor on a motorised equatorial mounting, for visual only, and far more enjoyable than carpal tunnel syndrome and ascending/descending a ladder.

Additionally, a telescope motorised in right ascension will help ensure that one never misses that elusive binary companion during fleeting moments of good seeing, instead of fumbling with knobs in the dark.

Alan


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5540642 - 11/26/12 04:45 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Vixen's old "Super Polaris" doubled as both.

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5540717 - 11/26/12 05:44 PM

Quote:

"...not much of an endorsement for a 4 or 5 inch telescope."

It is if it's a fine refractor on a motorised equatorial mounting, for visual only, and far more enjoyable than carpal tunnel syndrome and ascending/descending a ladder.

Additionally, a telescope motorised in right ascension will help ensure that one never misses that elusive binary companion during fleeting moments of good seeing, instead of fumbling with knobs in the dark.

Alan




Again, these are very personal choices. A refractor on a Gem is a fine instrument. However, as a companion to a larger, more capable scope, there are certainly good reasons to consider a modern alt-az mount.

I am glad that at 64 years of age that the effort required to turn a slow-motion control is still does not represent any sort of physical challenge. And too, I am glad my dexterity and experience is such that I am not fumbling around in the dark to find slow motion controls... with a bit of experience, they are right there when I reach.

The point here is that a refractor on an alt-az mount is more manageable and therefore more likely to get out under the night sky than one on a GEM... If it really takes as a similar amount of effort to setup the 4 or 5 inch refractor as it does a 15 inch Dob then one of the major advantages of the smaller scope is lost.

Jon


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5540863 - 11/26/12 07:27 PM

Serious study of planets and binaries almost certainly requires an equatorial, especially when motorised. The gentleman clearly stated that those were his interests, including open and globular star clusters. If one has to travel to a suitable dark site, then there are several suitable GEMs from which to choose that are not that much more trouble to set up, especially if they're used to setting up a large Dobson-Newtonian in addition. Observing with an equatorial, especially with moderate-to-long focal-lengthed refractors, is simply a superior experience, if a bit more cumbersome, granted.

Also, if one balks at the idea of pouring money into a mount over the optics, like me, they'd get a cheap alt-az, like the aforementioned "Voyager", and later, wish they hadn't. If I considered another alt-az, I'd get a "Gibraltar", but at over $1500 a pop, I'd rather a Losmandy G-11 GEM.

"...then one of the major advantages of the smaller scope is lost."

I'd exchange the cumbersomeness in attempting serious study with an inadequate alt-azimuth for same in setting up an equatorial, any day.

Cheers,

Alan


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: sniperpride]
      #5540895 - 11/26/12 07:43 PM

A Celestron CG-4 equatorial is less than $300 and will hold a four-inch refractor. Adding the 16" pier sold by Orion for $90 will allow for clearing the tripod, accessing the zenith and improved stability. The dual-axis motor drive set with hand controller is only another $100 or so, and will track whatever you're viewing without ever touching the mount. Mine was $106. That's the minimum for a suitable, serious equatorial setup. The setup will also allow for an introduction to astrophotography, if you ever choose to go that route. From there on up it gets more and more expensive. Researching the GEMs prior to purchasing will help ensure the best choice.

Cheers,

Alan


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5541043 - 11/26/12 09:02 PM

Quote:

Serious study of planets and binaries almost certainly requires an equatorial, especially when motorised.




Having personal experience otherwise, I have to disagree. I've used dobs with VERY good and smooth tracking, along with well-balanced refractors on good smooth and sturdy alt-az mounts (not just the Voyager or Portamount), while tracking effortlessly with orthos at the 250-400x range. Serious study of detail is easily possible, it just depends on the mount. Like you I considered the Gibraltar once and I like it, but ultimately passed based on lack of slow motion and the big hole at zenith.

One thing I might've overlooked but haven't seen yet; what about one of the iOptron Minitowers? One of them could fill the OP's requirements while keeping things simple and relatively lightweight.


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5541065 - 11/26/12 09:15 PM

I did write, "...almost certainly..."...

I thought about the iOptrons, and recently for myself, but then I decided on a GEM in the end. Besides, half the fun is in the hunting, no?

Cheers,

Alan


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sniperpride
super member


Reged: 01/04/12

Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5541343 - 11/26/12 11:43 PM

Ok guys, I have ordered a SV105 in stardust blue, and a CG5 GT
Thanks for all of the advice, it helped me narrow down my options.
Also, I may have slightly went beyond my initial budget


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: sniperpride]
      #5541371 - 11/27/12 12:06 AM

If that SV105 is new, indeed you did, but over time the shock and cost of ownership will decrease. The focal ratio sounds perfect at f/7...not too fast, not too slow.

Now all you need is Orion's 16" pier extension for the mount and you'll be set, and you won't have to paint it, as I will have to for my white CG-4.

Congratulations!

Cheers,

Alan


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5541385 - 11/27/12 12:16 AM

That is going to be a sweet combo, I'll admit that having used it. Congrats.

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rockethead26
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/21/09

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: sniperpride]
      #5541601 - 11/27/12 07:28 AM

Quote:

Ok guys, I have ordered a SV105 in stardust blue, and a CG5 GT
Thanks for all of the advice, it helped me narrow down my options.
Also, I may have slightly went beyond my initial budget




I think you'll be quite happy with that combo, regardless of the budget. Congrats!


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BDS316
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/16/09

Loc: Sol 3
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: sniperpride]
      #5541706 - 11/27/12 09:20 AM

I am pretty happy with my SV 80mm F/7 on an M1 with grab and go tripod, easily in your budget. An observing buddy of mine uses an SV102ED f/7 on an Ioptron MiniTower for go-to and tracking. Not sure if this would be within your budget but maybe consider an SV102ED with one of the Universal Astronomics mount and tripod combinations.

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: 15inch dob needs a friend new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5541975 - 11/27/12 12:04 PM

Quote:

Serious study of planets and binaries almost certainly requires an equatorial, especially when motorised.




First, let me congratulate Sniperpride on his new scope and mount, I am sure he will have some fun...

Second: In my experience, "serious study of the planets and binaries" requires excellent seeing and enough aperture to take advantage of that seeing. A stable mount and good optics that are thermally stable are also important. Getting the good image to the focal plane of number one importance. Motorized tracking is nice but not necessary. In my experience a 4 inch telescope is just not sufficient aperture to "seriously study" the planets, particularly in the presence of a good quality 15 inch Dobsonian.

That's how it works around here...

'nuff said

Jon Isaacs


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