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Seeing Amazing Things in an 80mm Scope

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#1 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 12:42 AM

I have had an Orion Short Tube 80 for a little while now, and have had fun using it lately. I have noticed that using it at low powers is mostly usefull for finding things, most objects require more power to see very well. Using a 10mm eyepiece for deep sky has taken a little getting used to, guess I'm not used to using short focal length scopes. But the views have been what I expected.... until last night.

It was dark and clear after a front moved thru (and a little breezy), not good for planets, but fine for deep sky. It was as dark as it ever gets in my somewhat light polluted skies (good transparency). I enjoyed using the 17 and 10mm Plossls on various objects, it was great to see some of my old Messier friends again in such a small, easy scope.

I noticed Orion coming up over my neighbor's roof, ahh, my favorite is back. I had to look at M42, of course. I tried various powers, and then I put on the light pollution filter. The stars suddenly turned green, but the nubula didn't seem to change much. At least the background was darker. But it did seem like the nubula had just a little bit of the greenish cast that was obvious in the stars.... But I don't know.... maybe not. So I took the filter off and took another look. And I kept looking. The stars looked more white, but the nubula still had a greenish shade that was now more obvious when compared with the stars in the nebula. It was subtle, but unmistakable to me now.

Before this, I would have said; "Impossible in a small scope!", but now I have seen it. Has anyone else been able to duplicate this?

It's amazing what you can do in a small scope!

#2 Blair

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 07:51 AM

I just recently bought Orion's new 80mm f/11.4 OTA from their clearance section for $101 plus shipping. I already had an AZ-3 mount, 6X30 RA finder, eyepieces, diagonal and 90mm tube rings. I found the Dumbell Nebula at 23X and it looked best in my Sirius 25mm Plossl (36X). The Ring Nebula was just noticeable in my 40mm eyepiece (23X) and it looked good to about 91X; the inner dark area noticeable. I took it to 182X (5mm UO ortho) on the Double Double and it split them very nicely. Of course all of these objects were about 60 degrees in altitude and higher. I could barely see with my eyes, using averted vision, a couple of the 4 mag stars in Ursa Minor which is usual here in Greensboro because of the humidity and light pollution. This OTA performed really well considering it is probably Chinese made and normally sells for $119 + shipping. Because of its light weight it works really well on the AZ-3 mount. Also, it has a wide enough field of view at 23X to see all of the Coathanger asterism, the Pleiades, and The Double Cluster. At 123X it did show some purple on the outer edges of Mars but still showed some of the dark markings on the surface. Seeing didn't allow a higher power on Mars as 152X didn't really help much. This is a nice scope that allows a quick setup in the backyard. Celestron has a setup like this as the Firstscope 80AZ (Astronomics sells it for $249 + shipping) and Orion sells a 90mm version for $299 (it is often in their clearance section for $249). These setups make great second scopes for those with those big dobs that need cooling and for quick looks. My version weighs in at about 15 pounds when setup with viewfinder, diagonal, mount, and 40mm eyepiece. :jump:

#3 Spyke

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 11:34 AM

I used to won a Konus Vista 80mm f5, and remember seeing M33 with it. It's a very low surface brightness galaxy, and never thought I'd find it, but did!

Have now got a Skywatcher 80mm f5 en route...Can't wait!
:rainbow:

#4 Blair

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 11:56 AM

I also found M33 last night though it was more like a featureless nebula. It faded in and out of view at 23X in my 80mm f/11.4. The only reason I found it was because of a detailed map printed from The Sky program. Under my seeing conditions, as stated in my other posting, it was amazing I could even detect it.

#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 07:56 PM

Well, it appears to me that I have underestimated 80mm scopes, as most people probably do! Blair, I have been watching your small refractor reviews and comments with interest. I may have to spring for a long refractor and try it on the same mount that my 127 Mak sits on. I don't want to spend 400 on a Stellarvue or Orion 80ED, maybe I could experiment with a long 80 or 90 Achro from the used market. Anybody know of anything?

#6 Blair

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:28 PM

There was a guy on Astromart that had a Vixen (for Orion) made 80mm for $225 plus shipping. They normally run $399 + shipping without tube rings when you can get one.

#7 Blair

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:31 PM

I was wrong it is $235 + shipping; AD# 223207

still available it seems

I would buy it but short of cash at the moment

#8 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:59 PM

Blair, why would I buy this scope? Is it truly a Vixen? see my tag line below...I'm looking for a small refractor.

#9 Blair

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 11:39 PM

It looks like a Vixen in the supplied photo beyond that I can not verify it. That is between you and the seller.

#10 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 11:42 PM

I would buy it but short of cash at the moment


So you have no special reason why you would buy this scope?

#11 jrcrilly

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 12:04 AM

You would notice a difference in fit and finish between a Vixen-sourced Orion and a Chinese product. Smoother focuser, heavier construction. I have two Orion/Vixen refractors and they have both proved to be very good investments, as the Orion name tends to hold the price down. Have the seller confirm that it's made in Japan and you'll be all set.

#12 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 06:55 PM

Thanks John, I did just that and he gaurantees that it is a Vixen manufactured Orion. What would be the optimum size mount for a scope this size? I can believe that it is a quality instrument, I just hope that the size of 80mm will be more than sufficient. I had a 60mm scope briefly and got rid of it as quickly as I could.

#13 jrcrilly

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:21 PM

Hi, Tom.

It won't show you everything the 8" Dob will, but some objects will be prettier in the refractor. It'll have more than double the light-gathering ability of the 60mm and that's very noticeable. It'll also handle magnification MUCH better than the 60mm did unless it was as good a quality unit.

I dunno what mount I'd choose for it but I'll give you a hint: Look at Orion's website for a similar telescope (if they still make one - I have an Orion Observer 80mm and it's the Chinese version of that one). Then see what mount it comes on and go one notch bigger!

#14 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 08:51 PM

Tom,
What do you want to see with your small refractor yet to be discovered? I have a 70mm Tele Vue Ranger. It is my small, patio scope, and I also take it out for deep-sky big fuzzies: M31, M33, Lagoon, Trifid, Orion Nebula, Dumbbell, the Double Cluster, Pleadies, etc. I don't much go above 100x with it, I have a 5" Mak for that (by Orion). A Vixen sourced product (Japanese) is going to have much better fit and finish than a Chinese product, and Vixen has quality-control as well. I like to use my Ranger as a variable-power monocular. Are you looking for a better planetary scope, or higher power?
Warpd

#15 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:36 PM

Hi Warpd,

Mainly looking for something that is easy to grab and head outside with, look at the planets, doubles, M57...that kind of thing. With the crazy weather and the effort to get the 8" outside and cooled, it might be raining again! I'm a big guy (6'3") and don't enjoy moving that thing unless I know it is going to stay clear for a while. I also believe that the view is probably different...crisper...with a good refractor (I could be wrong, I've never looked through a good refractor).

I feel I have 2 choices...a small refractor in the 80-102 (shoot, even a 5" if possible) range or a big pair of binocs like the Oberwerk 11 or 15x70's or possibly 20x80's. The refractor allows more options magnification-wise, and if it is exceptionally clear, I would hope you could push it past 200x easily.

Hope that answered the question...it was nice for me to actually put it down in writing. Something Big enough aperture-wise and small enough size-wise to be highly useable. I can't afford an APO anytime soon. I'm also torn between a short tube for the wide FOV (I like DSOs) and the longer f/ratio for the more detailed "up close and personal view" of the planets and moon. I sure would like to look through an Orion 80ED!

I like your description of a variable-powered monocular! That is a great way to describe it. I am forever popping outside with my little binocs to look at M31 or Vega or whatever I can look at, just to look at it.

#16 Echo

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:56 PM

Tom,
Warpd's Ranger is pretty cool. He can find some small, faint objects in it and the clarity is awesome. Setup takes about two minutes. He is kicked back and ready for sundown before I even get my tripod set up. (He gloats too!) It has very little false color due to the size. I am considering getting a Ranger or Pronto to piggy back and/or use as a quick look scope. I sympathize on the trouble of dragging a big scope out in iffy conditions. I bounced my 10" SCT off my leg the other night setting up and have a heck of a bruise and we only got three hours good viewing out of it. GRRR! :tonofbricks:

#17 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 06:26 PM

What about a Nexstar 80, 114, 130Gt?

#18 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 07:55 PM

Tom,
You'll probably have difficulty pushing an achromat past 200x, especially a short one. The Ranger has some false color, but takes magnification very well. I usually top out around 120x if only because the image gets dim (except on the moon) much beyond that. A longer achro will usually have less false color, but the field of view will be less (don't you hate those trade-offs?). I think the largest object you can see in a small scope (or just about any scope) would be the North American Nebula. It's several degrees across. The Andromeda Galaxy is about 3 degrees wide. The Veil Nebula is about 3 degrees in diameter, too. If you want to squeeze these into one field of view, you'll need low power and a wide-field eyepiece. Magnification equals scope f.l. divided by eyepiece f.l. True field of view equals apparent field divided by magnification. With a 24mm Panoptic (which I've only borrowed) at 68 degrees, the Ranger gives 20 power (480/24=20) and a field of view of just over 3 degrees. The Pronto (a Ranger with a 2" focuser) can give you (40mm/70 degree eyepiece) 12x and over 5 degrees of field. If I may suggest, to help you narrow things down, figure out how large the biggest thing you want to see is, and calculate what magnification/field of view will be required to see it. This will put an upper limit to the focal length of the scope you want. Keeping in mind that it is hard to push any achro over about 150x, this may be the most efficient way to narrow your choices. Now if you get a small APO, you CAN push the power pretty high, often to 75x per inch or more.

I have the small 127mm Mak. But it is not a grab-and-go scope because it takes too long to cool down. Small refractors cool quickly. Even small Newtonians take a while to cool off, but less time than their larger brethren.
Warpd

#19 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 08:24 PM

Warpd,

Great post and lots to think about. My first thought to myself is that I'm not trying to replace my 8" Dob. I got it so I could go deep and when the seeing is good, it does just that. Second thought is that I do like the big picture, as long as I can see it! I want to maximize the view for the object under consideration. The Dob requires planning and execution and does not lend itself to spur of the moment viewing (between the rain clouds...thank goodness for binoculars, but they are limited). A small refractor will allow me to be more spontaneous about viewing and in that situation I will not be out studying something, I will be out just for the enjoyment of looking or trying to find something new.

You've given me quite a bit to think about and I sincerely appreciate it. I will be re-reading this post several times and trying to answer those questions you pose.

Tom

#20 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 07:27 PM

I am still having fun with my little ST80! It was soooo easy to find M-objects last night with such a wide field of view! Simple scanning without the finder netted M36, 37, and 38. I found Saturn in Gemini (didn't realize it was there!), and was able to grab a very nice quick view of it at 60x. There was a little blue/violet haze around it, but not bad, and it was pretty sharp! I have noticed on Mars that the scope works better at that power with a yellow filter (to cut down the haze).

Between the extreme ease of setup and use, and the good views, I find that this is one good way to bring the fun back! I still like my 127 Mak, but for different reasons. Man, this is a great way to learn the sky and/or just grab casual views! Yea, I'm jazzed..... I'm having fun.....

#21 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 08:13 PM

Tom,
I'd really like to look through the new Orion 80mm ED too! It may prove to be a Ranger/Pronto killer. I assume you've read the reviews?
Warpd

#22 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 08:26 PM

SF Kent, That is the whole point, isn't..to enjoy its use. Sorry for sidetracking your thread and I appreciate you letting me rant on.

Warpd, hopefully Tom T. will give us his honest assessment of the scope (especially compared to a TV102!)

Clear skies! Tom

#23 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 09:40 PM

The thread can go where it wants..... it's all up to you. But I just wanted to throw more comments in about the fun I'm having. I may have to consider saving up for an ED80 myself, that's how impressed I am with small refractors now!

#24 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 09:42 PM

By the way, did I mention skies have been very clear with good transparency here in the Dallas area? And the temps at night have been near 70. Perfect weather! How could I not go out?

#25 jrcrilly

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 09:50 PM

One scope that keeps popping up on astromart for what seems a very low price is the optical tube (5" F9 achromat) from the LXD55-AR5. Folks are buying 'em for the mount and dumping the OTA. I've looked through several of these and they do an awfully nice job with very little false color. It'll require more mount than what's been discussed here so it's not really a grab-and-go scope - but for $225 or so it should be a bargain.


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