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#1 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 12:40 AM

Hello all, First post here.Ive been lurking here for a couple of days looking for info for my telescope purchase,I admit I dont know much.I have a Meade eq 60 my wife bought me a year ago, its ok to look at the moon but the other planets look like all the other stars in the sky.Im very interested in this hobby but every time I look though this scope I get discouraged.I could find most of the planets in my area but when it comes to other objects I dont have a clue,So Ive been looking at the "go to" telescopes from different companies Ive narrowed my chioces to 3 different scopes. I want to be able to see the planets and most of all deep space objects.So if anyone would like to pick these apart or give suggestions to this astronamy newbie please feel free...
these are my chioces
1. http://www.telescope..._schmidt-n.html

2. http://www.telescope...r-5__achro.html

3. http://www.telescope...-_etx_90ec.html

I wish I had one of these tonight its a beautiful clear moonlit night here in Pa. :D

#2 jrcrilly

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:08 AM

Hmmm. I wish I remembered what a clear night looked like. And once you get serious about DSO's you won't be so pleased about moonlit nights! :roflmao:

I've used the telescopes you mention and will gladly give you some of my thoughts. I'll even make it worse by suggesting a couple more to check out. :foreheadslap:

ETX-90EC - most likely to work correctly out of the box of the scopes mentioned. Most portable of the scopes mentioned. Good optics. Unlikely to ever require collimation. Least suited for DSO's due to focal length (long) and aperture (small). Lots of plastic. Difficult to focus when viewing near zenith. I will probably always own one of these for quickie portable use. There are 4" and 5" versions of this scope available although the 4" isn't common and the 5" is pricier than the other scopes mentioned. :question:

LXD55-SN6 - on paper, this should be the best deepsky machine of those mentioned. Has the most potential for astrophotography (but no autoguide capability). At F5 collimation is very important and it'll need it from time to time (more often than an SCT in my experience). You can learn to do it well and it doesn't take long - you just can't neglect or ignore it and expect nice views. The equatorial mount will place the eyepiece in amazingly awkward positions at times. The mounts have generated a tremendous volume of internet traffic with problem reports and solutions; some of this is because it is a Chinese import with limited QC and lots of very soft aluminum parts while much of this is because it's a german equatoriual mount which is unfamiliar and unintuitive for many new users. The tripod is terrible. There's a Forum on this site for LXD55 users and you might take a look there. The weight of this scope is a good match for the mount so you can expect better performance and fewer problems than many users experience with the much heavier 10" version. I'll probably always own an LXD55 mount but I'm not in love with the SNT optical tube. Then again, sooner or later I know I'll try another one. :question:

LXD55-AR5 - shouldn't ever require collimation. Nice optics and very little chromatic aberration for an inexpensive refractor (mostly because it's F9). Prettiest (to me) of the group. For deep sky it's a little fast (F9) and a little small (5"). Mount and tripod are as described above. A good match for the mount but any refractor will put you on the ground sometimes unless the tripod is very tall. :question:

If I were gonna buy one all-purpose scope and those three were what was available I'd probably go for the SN-6. It's really a lot of scope for the money but be prepared for some truly cheap construction. If you don't want to ever have to tinker with it you should consider giving up on a goto scope in this price range. My favorite of the LXD55 optical tubes is the AR-6 but it's big and heavy to transport and set up - and more likely to stress the mount into problems. It also has more false color than the AR-5 and is outside the price range of the scopes initially mentioned. The best overall LXD55 setup is the 8" SCT but it's a little expensive.

Other possibilities include the Celestron N5i - comparable in price to the ETX-125 but a real Celestron SCT and seems to be of higher quality than everything else I've mentioned so far. Their new ASC line of equatorials will probably have similar quality to the LXD55 but they do have a GREAT tripod on 'em for about $100 more than the corresponding LXD55 - and they have autoguide inputs.

Good luck!



#3 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 06:15 AM

You've given us only half the pie to chew on. Got some questions;
- where do you observe mostly
- is portability an issue
- are you a casual observer

You've given us a wide range of different scop es to chose from; one fairly small and two larger ones which both have different 'specialities'...

You are discribing two drawbacks you are experiencing with your current scope;
- resolving/magnification power
- light gathering power
You are also telling us that the reason you want GoTo is that you have no clue where to look for deep sky objects.

By putting your issues and compliants together, may I be brutal and make you yet another suggestion? I am assuming by this that you have little knowledge about astronomy, prepared to invest some time to get to know things and that portability is no issue. If some of them are wrong, please do be offended.

Do you have a garden chair? (i do not know the correct English word but i hope you know what i mean; the one that you can adjust and lay back in) If not, get one

Buy yourself a decent binocular. For instance a 7x50 or 11x70 at www.bigbinocular.com. Maybe even a light or medium tripod to fix it on.

Buy yourself a book describing observing techniques, the constellations and some of the brighter deep-sky objects and try to find them with your bino.

You might of course already have done all of the above, then you already know that views with a bino can be very great!

The next suggestion is just as brutal; drop the idea of wanting GoTo. If deep sky objects is what you thnk you will like that get yourself a 8" or 10" Dobson and get yourself a decent program for your computer. (some companies deliver software with a scope, check it out) It's cheaper, it's a quick setup and most of the time good optics (read some reviews). Now you will have to learn the fine art of star hopping and preparing your observation night.

Even when you have to buy all of the items above (including chair :) ) you still have money to spare (assuming that you buy average quality Dobson) for accesoires like extra and better quality eyepieces, filters etc.

Why all of this? When I started out in astronomy, the telescope I wanted to buy was the LXD55 6". It said "I want results and i want it fast" if you catch my drift. I also tend towards GoTo for two reasons; 1. i like technology 2. why not use it when it's available?
After reading some articles dsicrbing that it's best to start with bino's i did just that. Now I own a telescope without GoTo and find it very much rewarding (and teaching patience ;) ) when I find the object "all" by meself with just the help of paper or laptop.

Hope to have helped
Think about it for a while......

#4 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 09:09 AM

Good morning, And thank you gentleman for the responses,And peppe kertens no offense taken...To answer some of your questions first,Right now I'm a casual user,(I have 2 small children ages 3 and 2 1/2 months) and they have most of my attention right now.Most of my viewing (for now) will be done from my back yard until we start camping again so portability will be some what of an issue so a 8" or 10" dobson would be out of the question.( I don't think it would fit in the mini van... :D )When I look up at the night sky I could pick out the different plants and constellations and that's where my knowledge ends.(I already own a pair of bino"s... :D )I figured if I bought a "go to" scope it would aid me in what part of the sky to look ( teach me per say).
because there are no clubs or anyone in my neiborhood that owns a scope.with that said I'm not in a hurry to purchase the first scope I see, I would like to get the best for my limited budget.

#5 rboe

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 09:41 AM

Shadows;

I started out with a Teleview Pronto. Didn't know what would strike my fancy, it was light (had back issues to deal with so a larger scope was iffy) and had great quality. A feature I wanted in case this hobby didn't hold my interest.

We usually call them Lawn Chairs and I second the binoculars notion. I have the 15X70 (be very careful here, I have found out the there are 15X70's and then there are 15X70's). The Oberwerks, found at bigbinoculars.com mentioned above are great for the price and Kevin maintains his own QC. You'll find better but at a much higher price point.

I found out I liked the faint fuzzies more than anything else which means aparture. If you do most of your looking from a light polluted back yard a GOTO can be a savior. That said, many faint fuzzies can't be seen very well if at all unless you get to a dark sky site.

Once I got a bigger scope I found I used the binoculars and smaller scope more often. The bino's give great wide field views and along with the small scope - very easy to grab and go. My problem; I start out with the Pronto and within 10-15 minutes I have the bino's out too. The two seem to work well together.

See if you can't find a club in your area so there are folks that:
A) Know more than you and can help you out.:help:

B) You can try their stuff and see what looks good to you.:lol:

C) When you get to yacking like old hens ideas get brought out that you never would have thought of just sitting there by yourself. Which helps your hobby grow.

Enjoy!

Ron

#6 Ron B[ee]

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 09:48 AM

I would say none of the above, as in not yet ;). You did well by asking first before you buy :waytogo:. First, I'd do more research. Get a book like Dickinson and Dyer's Backyard Astronomer or Phil Harrington's Star Ware and study the advantages and disadvantages of different telescopes. The Backyard Astronomer book also tells you about objects other than planets and the Moon. After this, you might have a better idea of you like. Your lifestyle may dictate the types of telescope as well.

Here are a few links that may help you get started.
Telescopes
Refractors
Newtonian
Compound

But don't wait too long; Mars is now prime to be observed.

Ron B[ee]


#7 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 10:21 AM

A Go-To scope will teach you nothing, except how to push a button.

If you don't already know the sky well enough to find your way around, Go-To will be useless. I am of the opinion (right or wrong) that these scopes are for the more intermediate to advanced amature that has the knowledge to use the full potential that the Go-To can offer.

They are not perfect. They need a precision alignment to be able to function as they were designed to. Too many people that own these scopes, particularly beginners, have no idea how to perform a proper polar alignment to get these scopes to function to the limits of their ability. I won't even get into polar scope, OTA, and mount alignment and collimation.

You can't just park the scope in your yard in the general direction of north and expect it to function properly.

Contrary to what Meade may advertise, they are not beginner scopes.

A better choice would be a 4" achro or 6"-8" Newt on a manual EQ mount until you learn your way around the sky and are more familiar with how to set up an EQ mounted telescope. Don't forget a good set of charts and a planishere.

As an analogy, when I learned to fly, they didn't give me the keys to a B747, I learned in little bug-smashers as we like to call them, and have progressively moved up through more complex aircraft.

#8 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 01:18 PM

After 27 years of amateur astronomy, all I can say is:

Knowledge is more important than equipment.

#9 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 01:25 PM

Oh, yea, one more thing, give serious consideration to something besides Meade. There is Celestron, and Orion Telescope at www.telescope.com

#10 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 06:15 PM

Thank you all for your input,very valuable to me and I will get a scope with manual controls until I learn the skies...On a side note,I was on my front porch about 3am est and I looked up and saw this red colored star coming across the sky and I thought Mars? so I brought out my 60eq and tried to get a look at this object after about a half hour of the scope sitting there getting acclamated.I tried all 5 of my eye peices and all that I could tell is there was this red colored star streaking across the VERY clear night sky,how dissapointing.Do you gentleman think that this scope would be to much for dare I say My FIRST scope.
http://www.telescope...&iProductID=371
I cant believe I cant even make out saturns rings when around.Im not asking you gentleman to "pick out" a scope for me, just input on what your veiws are. Thank you, your input is invaluable to a newbie.



#11 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 08:27 PM

Well Shadow, depends on what you want to do. But first, I can't believe that you can't see rings around Saturn in a mini-scope (60mm). If you focus carefully, you should see that as low as 40 times. Are you sure you were looking at the right star? You may want to double check what you're doing. Remember, planets will not appear huge in the eyepiece, and focusing is critical.

On the 4" Mak; I have always found Maksutov's to be above average performers in the commercial market place. They quite often exceed the performance of most reflectors of the same size. That's why I own their 127 (5") Mak. But, like most designs, they have their weakness. Mak's have a long focal length, so they are suited for moderate to high powers, not low powers. But if you're using it in town, low power viewing is almost useless anyway. I used a Celestron C90 (90mm Mak) for my first scope, and was pretty happy with it. So I agree with this choice.

But, if you set up your current scope correctly, you should be able to track Mars and see it look like a little ball at high power (like 60 to 100X). You might be able to see the southern polar cap too. I can see that easily at 100X in my scope.

#12 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 11:27 PM

Its true,I was unable to see the rings of saturn...And I did set the scope up properly I even tracked it using the manual controls and yes it was saturn.I figure In about 2 hours mars should be in view again tonight as its pretty clear right now.But if it goes like last night Im going to get another scope soon.

I was looking at the 127 5" mak I really like the design Im actually really trying to decide on the 102mm or the 127mm,Its do I want to spend $110 more for a better scope now that will probably bring enjoyment for years or get the 102mm and some more eye peices to give me a few more magnification options...

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 12:59 AM

Well I'm surprised..... I have seen it in a 60mm before, of course, you only see one big fat ring around the body of Saturn. Makes me wonder what's wrong with the scope. Hopefully, you will be able to focus on Mars and see a fairly sharp little orb with a white polar cap. When I say fairly sharp, I mean a little fuziness as a 60mm will usually get soft at it's higher magnifications. Come to think of it, that scope is fairly short, isn't it? It may may not do well at higher powers anyway.

With the 100mm Mak, you will have very sharp images up to 150X or so. And it will be a decent image up to 200X. The 127 will buy you a little more resolution; sharp up to about 200X, and I use it up to 250x. But as a casual observer, you may not notice a big difference. The mount for the 100 also has a cheaper drive that should work well, leaving more money for eyepieces. The mount for the 127 starts to get a little big and heavy, the 100 will be easier to move around. But don't let me discourage you from going for max Mak.

By the way, good eyepieces really make a difference here, don't buy the cheapo ones, the regular Sirius Plossl's work great. A 25 and a 10mm are the minimum. I also have the 17 and 6.3mm. Don't bother with the 40, the scope can't illuminate enough of the field. Also, I bought the large (50mm) finder, makes it easier to find things. I don't think you can go wrong there, unless you're really into chasing faint fuzzies in dark skies.

#14 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 06:31 AM

Shadows,

I'm wondering why your views are so poor, so;

Are you an eye-glass wearer? I am. I have a bad case of astagism. This also implies that i need to wear my eye-glasses to see any object. I wear glasses for about 7 years now, before that i never thought i needed them....until i had sore eyes and had it checked. Never new the world looked like this! So, i also need to wear my glasses while observing; with or without is a HUGE difference, resulting in...well...what you are describing. So...-this is not meant as a negative yoke- when was the last time you had your eye checked? Or, if you wear glasses, do you leave them on?

Your scope should do ok on high powers to, if i may believe it's specs (i checked Kent; NG-60: f11,7, so that's not it) So you also could just have an telescope with bad optics. I do not know where you live but find yourself a good dealer or specialised shop and have it checked as you probably have no reference yourself.


About observing generally;

I live in the suburbs of a medium city in Holland, light pollution in our country is one of the worst in the world. i do most of my observing in my backyard. This REALLY limits the amount of objects i can see!! When i travel about 10km (~6 miles i quess) away from it the views improve drastically even though light pollution is still an issue then.

About viewing Mars; it's been bad around here; nothing but clouds and/or very high temp's. The last two nights i had my first views of Mars.
The first night I started out watching the moon and there were high clouds. Few stars to see. When i got around to see Mars (~02:00) at x246 power i just saw a red ball with a halo around it. Few details, just vague outlines.
Like Kent said; good eye-pieces make a huge difference. Invest in Plossl or better; if you (must) wear eye glasses check out the Orion Epic ED's; long eye relief, views better then plossl, more contrast.
The second night (yesterday) the sky was very clear, it was later and darker (03:30) so i decided to give it a quick go; at the same power the view was worse! just a blob! i felt i couldn't even focus!

All viewing was done from the attic of my house, scope inside, window open.

This thought me the following; a clear night does not automatically mean that the view will be great, do not expect the same views from Mars as you can get from Jupiter or Saturnus and i probably should not watch with a 'warm' scope :)


About the scope;

Like Kent I own the 127mm (5") EQ Mak of Orion. I had the luxury to try the 90mm (3") EQ for a short while. Both perform very well but I would suggest that if you lean toward buying the 102mm then you would be better off buying the 127mm, because of the mount; the 102mm has the same mount as the 90mm. In my opinion the mount performs OK for the 90mm at low and medium power, but get's shaky on high power. i think it will be worse when the 102mm is mounted. As Kent said; the mount of the 127mm is more heavy, but I would want just that because it's also way more stable.

As you seem to have budget to buy an LXD55, this scope should not be a problem. Even leaves you money to spend on extra's. Like Kent i should warn you though; it is NOT a deep sky/wide view scope! But great for planets, moon and brighter objects (so better if you're watching mostly in your backyard in a city)

#15 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 10:45 AM

no Im not an eye glass wearer,matter of fact I just had my eyes checked about three weeks ago, 20/15 each eye the doc asked if I was going to donate them... :D ...Anyway, I took the scope out again last night and it was just as bad as all the other times.The best way I can explain what I see when I look at something is it looks like Im looking at a far away prism, reds greens and blues thats the best way I can explain it.even the moon had those colors last night.

You say its not suited for deep sky viewing (127 mak) for all around viewing I would want a reflecter or refractor? Is that correct...or would the 127mm mak be able to see deep sky If I left my back yard and hit the darker part of my area,Im looking for a scope that will do both and in my price range if thats possible.

I have searched my area for a dealer and the only one closed about 6 months ago, so my only options are department store or now that Im connected, the internet.I have found others in different states but by the time I paid to ship this to them, paid to correct what ever is wrong I thought it best just to get a new scope.

I'll keep reading reviews on different scopes to see what suits me...

#16 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 01:46 PM

glad to know that it aren't you eyes.

about that scope
i think someone has already said it before, to view deep sky objects you generally need large aperture and shorter focal lentgh of your scope (~f8 to f4.5). You also, generally use lower magnification power. This has to do with FOV (Field Of View). To be succesfull in deep sky observering you *need* dark skies.

More about FOV, apparent FOV etc, take a look at http://www.telescope...=91&CCNavIDs=19,21,91 for instance.

This is the reason why I suggested a 8" or 10"Dob in the first place. As you already stated you find this a bit on the big side and you intend to do your observing in your backyard (which is in the city???) which probably rules out really dark skies.

As portabillity is also a bit of an issue i think the 127 EQ MAK is a scope you will actually USE (and that's a very important factor for buying a scope).

But if you are very interested in deep sky onjects i could also suggest you:
http://www.telescope...iProductID=1610

or

http://www.telescope...&iProductID=287

They are relativly small, the first comes with a great mount, the second is even more for deep sky.

But keep in mind:
- short focal length is generally less fit for higher magnification (like foor the moon and planets)
- deep-sky; dark skies and aperture rules, so be honest to yourself about you're possibllities and surroundings.
- low power viewing in light polluted skies result in wash out of details and objects

I have never used these scopes, do not know anyone who has them; i can only give you an opinion about the 90mm and 127mm mak from orion, so if you want more info on these read some reviews or hope that someone else will comment about my suggestion.

#17 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 02:27 PM

I generally agree with Peppe, except I think the 100mm Mak does have a slightly larger mount; the EQ2 as opposed to the EQ1. I have seen the EQ2 used by another manufacturer, and it isn't bad, I think it would work pretty well.

As you can probably tell from Peppe's response, scopes are usually a compromise, often optimized for either low power dark skies or high power planetary viewing. Certain telescopes can do both, especially apo refractors or large Newtonians with very high quality optics. In the lower cost range, a good 6" f/8 Newtonian was a good compromise and excellent starter scope back when I got into astronomy. But those are big and bulky today. So you should decide what's important to you if you want to make the right choice. That's why visiting a club star party is a good idea, you can try them out and see what you like before you buy.

About the Orion refractors, they are not APO's so they have color fringing. Performance is not ideal for planetary. They do have a few in the f/9 range, and they will do better at higher powers. But they get big and bulky again. On the other hand, if you are just a casual observer, a simple 6" f/5 Newt may be just great. A quality scope of that size has good light grasp for going after the brighter galaxies and nebula (in dark skies), and will show a respectable view of planets; main belts on Jupiter, Cassini's division in Saturn's rings. I suspect you could be happy with that for quite a while if you start going out camping on a regular basis. Just an idea.

#18 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 02:41 PM

Oh yes, it is true that the Orion Mak is not a good low power scope. I do not use my 127 Mak below about 60X. A 6" f/5 can easily go down to 24x, giving very bright views of faint fuzzies. But don't plan to take it to 300x (unless it's an expensive APO), you'll only see fuzz balls. I would probably prefer the Orion 6" f/5 Newtonian over the short 5" refractor, if only because higher power views should be better. Color in those short refractors can get bad at high powers. Others may disagree.

#19 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 05:57 PM

Well, I think Kent and I are in harmony on this; mostly agree with the suggestions he's making :) No need to feed the differences anymore, this would not help you. Now it's up to you; you've seen the choices, the pro's and the con's. You probably know by now that choosing a telescope will always be a trade-off in aspect of portability, ligt gasp, magnification and al others mentioned before.

Now you have to decide what applies to you and make your choice; if you decide not to go to star parties and try things out first; i really hope you make the right one for you and start enyoiing astronomy more then you have so far..

Good luck!

#20 rboe

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 07:04 PM

Shadow;

Just for yucks, try viewing without the diagonal (assuming you are using one). Sounds like a lot of colour and the main lens may not be producing all of it.

It will be a pain in the neck to look straight through the scope (just like the old days before we bent the light path to ease the pain).

If can, use a higher quality eye piece too. You may find that an after market diagonal would improve your situation. Maybe not, but while you have the scope see if it can teach you something (like all those old cars I had!).

Ron

#21 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 03:32 PM

Gentleman again the information is in valueble,I havent decided on one yet but I have three That Im going to choose from the first is the Starmax 127mm EQ compact MAK and the second is the AstroView 120ST and the third is the SkyView Pro 6LT EQ Reflector,I know there is a wide range of differences between the three,like what was said by peppe is true I need to decide what I want to do and pick a scope.

And Rboe, I dont use a diagonal I look straight though I even used it with the same results ,Im ready to throw it off of my roof already... :D

#22 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 05:29 PM

Ron was giving some good trouble-shooting advice.... using the same substitution method, I found that one guy's 60mm had a bad diagonal, and it worked great with a new one. This is the first time I have heard of the main objective lens being bad, that seems to be rare. You just happened to get a real turkey there! Any possibility you could send it back?

If you have the money, you might consider getting the 127 Mak and then buying the 120ST tube with the mounting rings (using the Astroview mount that came with the Mak). That way, you have a great scope for in-town use, and a good "light bucket" for taking camping! (I have thought about doing this very thing)

#23 rboe

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 05:52 PM

Guys;

Now that makes me wonder if the lens is mis-collimated, pinched mismounted or a piece of fecal matter. I take it there is no chance to return the scope??

So far it sounds like you should cut your losses, add this up as a learning experience, drink three pints and start over.

The MAK Kent is talking about is getting quite the following. It has it's short comings (like all scopes) but if take the attitude that you will have several scopes and each will specialize in wide field, DSO's etc then you'll be just fine. I'm looking at it myself!

Ron

#24 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 02:42 AM

Ron, you took the words right out of my mouth. It's too bad that this had to be his first experience with an telescope...

Maybe he's got the scope from the same batch frankie442 was telling about in post 4540 (department store telescopes (maybe not so bad))....

Peppe

#25 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 03:16 AM

I use a 5" Mak with an 80mm Chinese short tube refractor to get high and low power views. I mount them side by side and, since they are both short and light, they don't overpower the mount. The 80mm works as a second finder as well.


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