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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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stratocaster
sage
*****

Reged: 10/27/11

Re: More newbie questions new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5859817 - 05/14/13 12:33 PM

I have a 10" dob and love it. Occasionally I will struggle trying to find a faint object. Some friends with push-to dobs just hone right in on them and I'm still putzing around. This is a two-sword in my view, though. When you've got to find something you tend to learn the sky better. With push-to or go-to, there is really no need to learn. I also find "the hunt" part of the enjoyment of the hobby...to a point. I've actually looked at some after-market push-to equipment for my dob, but it's a bit expensive.

Having said that, I've seen fellow club members say they could never find anything before they got a push-to. Now they say they spend more time viewing and less time searching.

To the OP, you mention you may be able to engage your kids more because you will spend less time searching. So it sounds like the go-to feature (or perhaps a push-to feature on a dob) is where your primary value is.


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pftarch
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/21/07

Re: More newbie questions new [Re: stratocaster]
      #5860473 - 05/14/13 05:16 PM

As far as push to/goto to find things, I'll leave that up to you. (There are times I wish I had push to on my Z10, but those times are rare). I love the simplicity of not relying on electronics and not having to align/set up one more thing.

As far as tracking, I may be in the minority here, but smooth dob motion makes up for tracking 99% of the time in my opinion. I have an EQ platform that I used to use most of the time with my old (spring bearing like the Orion XT) Z10. On the old dob, powers much over about 100X were difficult to hand track. With my new(er) Z10 with the friction bearings, hand tracking at 300X is not a big deal due to the smooth motion. Typically I don't even bother with the platform because it's one more thing to carry out, set up, and fuss with. (In addition, I have a cheap platform that introduces a fair amount of additional vibration to the setup.) With what my usually miserable NH skies allow for magnification, the platform really isn't necessary. (I also have an SVP GEM, but the biggest scope that I own that it will handle is a 5" MAK, and the views through my Z10 are much better. The SVP tracks fine, but I LOVE my dob.)

I've never looked through an 8" SCT, so I can't compare it to my 10" reflector, but, the 10" gives you over 50% more light gathering ability due to aperture alone, (and the CO is smaller) and, with the SCT and a mirror diagonal you are going through one piece of glass and 3 mirrors before you hit the eyepiece vs two mirrors with a reflector. My guess is that the 10" will offer up quite a bit more, but I need someone who owns both to confirm that. (I know my Z10 is a HUGE jump over my 5"MAK or 80mm refractors.) If possible I would recommend the 8" over the 6" if you are going the SCT route.

The 8" SCT offers advantages of size, tracking, and GOTO. The dob offers the advantages of light gathering, simplicity, and much less cost.

Either way you win. For ME, I would go with the dob, but that is an EXTREMELY subjective personal decision. I usually recommend the DOB to people starting out, but that is largely because they want to stay under $500. If you have that limit, the dob beats most other scopes hands down. If your budget is more flexible, then it becomes more of a horse race.


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Kevdog
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: js1976]
      #5860479 - 05/14/13 05:17 PM

Quote:

Ok, sounds like I can't go wrong with either choice. A 10 inch Zhumell or a Nexstar 8. The Celestron is certainly a much larger investment, but I might be able to keep my kids interested longer since I won't be spending as much time searching the skies.




If you have kids in the equation, then there is no doubt in my mind.... get the 8SE. I had (briefly) an XT12i. I'd get a good view of Saturn in the eyepiece and then it was like mission impossible with both my wife and son.... "You have 20 seconds to view Saturn... go go go!!!!!". The tracking is the thing you will want. The goto is also great for finding lots of stuff quickly. Even though my son is interested in the stars and planets, being 6 his mind wanders quickly!

My Meade LT8 was much better for us, even though I gave up a lot of aperture. Now I have a C11, which blends both. Of course the money is a lot more but IMO it is worth it.


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geekgroupie
sage


Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: Puebo, CO
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5860887 - 05/14/13 08:26 PM

Quote:

When people ask me about a first scope, unless they have very specific needs that would point in an equally specific direction, I tell them that IMO the best value on the market for a combination of aperture, versatility, user friendliness and portability is the 8SE. There's a reason Celestron has sold a ton of these scopes in their various models and configurations for many years now They just work, for a quite reasonable investment.




It's what was picked out for me when I pinned an astrophysicist down and said, "if you were going to give a scope as a gift, what would you choose". It was the only way I could get a straight answer out of him, hee hee


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pjensen
super member


Reged: 04/08/12

Loc: Highland Village, Tx
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: stratocaster]
      #5861256 - 05/14/13 11:49 PM

Quote:

Having said that, I've seen fellow club members say they could never find anything before they got a push-to. Now they say they spend more time viewing and less time searching.

To the OP, you mention you may be able to engage your kids more because you will spend less time searching. So it sounds like the go-to feature (or perhaps a push-to feature on a dob) is where your primary value is.




Just to add on here - for a newbie to find something can be an exercise in frustration. Even if the telescope is dead on an object, a newbie may not even see it. Getting the scope to the right place is difficult (at first) - craning your head to look through a finder scope, trying to figure which star is which (with light pollution) and then moving the telescope in the right direction. To add in complexity, once the object is found - it won't stay in the eyepiece for long.

The goto not only solves all these issues (finding and tracking) - it helps with the object identification. Just press the info button, and then page down for all the details.

It also trains a newbie what objects look like. Many times I have not been able to see the object at first, but I know it's there (if all the gotos are dead on with nearby stars). So I put a sweat shirt over my head and eyepiece, close my eyes for a couple of seconds - then open them. There it is. I can track that object for 30 minutes, and try to make it show up better (changing eyepieces, moving the object off center).

What's really cool is to sequence through dozens of objects - and come back to the ones that were no-shows earlier. Many times an object will be visible later on.

All I can say is I'll never go back to a non-goto. To observe so effortlessly is simply amazing - and with no neck muscle aches afterwards!


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pogobbler
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: Central Indiana, USA
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: pjensen]
      #5861328 - 05/15/13 01:12 AM

I think the Nexstar 8 would be a great scope for a motivated beginner. I think many advocate dobs partly because they're the least expensive way to dip your toe into astronomy with a decent aperture to hopefully keep you hooked. If you can swing the Nexstar and a few decent eyepieces, something like a powertank to power it, and perhaps an observing chair (trust me, sitting down to view will help you see much more at the eyepiece), then you'd have a great starting point. Much better than I had for the first dozen or so years of my observing career.

As several people have pointed out, for higher power observing, a driven scope like the Nexstar will make things much easier. And here's a little secret... high powers aren't just for planets. The view of, say, the Ring Nebula (M57), the Hercules Globular Cluster (M13), or the Wild Duck Cluster (M11) at 250x, 300x or more will instantly change your mind about that! SCTs such as the Nexstar 8 may not be able to capture large deep sky objects in their entirety, such as the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) or the Pinhweel Galaxy (M33) or the Veil Nebula, the majority of deep sky objects fit just fine in an 8" SCTs field of view... of course, the majority are also pretty dim, but there are plenty of smaller bright or reasonably bright objects that'll fit into the "narrow" SCT field of view.

Even with a goto telescope, you should make some effort to learn the night sky a big with just your naked eye. I think it gives a more complete experience having some idea of where what you're looking at is and it's always fun to surprise people with being able to point out where this or that is in the night sky.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: pogobbler]
      #5861850 - 05/15/13 10:48 AM

I've started going out to the park on those (few) clear nights we have when the atmosphere is still unstable, or even with a moon, taking my star charts and learning the major constellations. I also just broke out my copy of "The Backyard Astronomer" as TV is really starting to get old...I'm so tired of "reality" TV......

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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: pogobbler]
      #5862210 - 05/15/13 01:24 PM

I like your "little secret" comment. I remeber last year when I had the scope up at 200x for Jupiter one night and didn't change EP's to go look at M13 at first. Wow, it filled up the whole FOV and then some!

I need to start using more high power on some of these objects on nights of good transparency!


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js1976
member


Reged: 12/27/12

Loc: Madison, MS
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: REC]
      #5862525 - 05/15/13 04:06 PM

Ok, it's now just a matter of budget then. I can understand why so many people direct newbies to Dobs, but I have a very impatient 7 and 5 year old that will lose interest quick. I want to take them camping some and have the ability to keep them engaged instead of griping because I can't find what i'm looking for.

The tracking ability is actually something I didn't even think about until now. I was thinking more about the Goto convenience.

Edited by js1976 (05/15/13 04:06 PM)


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: js1976]
      #5862618 - 05/15/13 05:08 PM

Too bad Costco doesn't carry the Celestron 102Gt year round.

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Kevdog
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: More newbie questions new [Re: pjensen]
      #5862701 - 05/15/13 05:35 PM

Quote:


It also trains a newbie what objects look like. Many times I have not been able to see the object at first, but I know it's there (if all the gotos are dead on with nearby stars). So I put a sweat shirt over my head and eyepiece, close my eyes for a couple of seconds - then open them. There it is. I can track that object for 30 minutes, and try to make it show up better (changing eyepieces, moving the object off center).





What has really really helped me is the Android App "StarLog Free". You enter your telescope info and your eyepieces and you can select any of the messier objects and many of the NGC objects, plus the planets and it will give you an approximate picture of what the object should look like with the eyepiece you are using.

I can tell what I'm looking for, what magnification I should try for if I can and generally if I'm looking at the right thing.

Plus, you can then also log your observation with notes too!


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