Questar vs ETX - Perspective of an ETX owner...
Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:22 PM
Heh, heh, I use my iPod Touch (running Sky Voyager) to look up SAO numbers and then punch them into my Autostar. Durn right handy fer comits and asteroids as well.
Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:33 PM
Especially important if you've driven a long way to a dark site.
Posted 20 April 2010 - 05:07 PM
Posted 20 April 2010 - 05:31 PM
Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:12 PM
*$3,000+ (thousand per inch)
Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:46 PM
I saw one once! Then I saw the price tag. Then I saw the ground hurtling up at me as I fell to the floor...
Heck, I'd feel privileged just to "see" a Questar.
Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:34 PM
I own an older Questar and also an ETX-125.
I really like either scope and can see how they appeal to both camps of owners.
Sometimes one group can get a little prickly and put down "the other guys" for whatever reason. It happens all the time.
Ford vs. Chevy.
Mac vs. PC.
Cable vs. Satellite.
As long as the discussion doesn't get insulting, heck, it's just good-natured ribbing.
If anyone in the ETX club wants to own a Questar at some point in the future, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for used ones. They can sometimes be had in very good condition for a fraction of what a new unit sells for. That's how I got mine.
Hope everyone keeps enjoying their scopes.
Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:40 PM
Posted 21 April 2010 - 01:17 PM
Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:12 PM
Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:51 PM
Just curious, what Kind of setup do you have to do with the Q to have the setting circle's so close?
To use setting circles, you must first polar-align the scope. This requires either the use of a wedge or the little tripod legs that screw into the base of the telescope (I believe some early ETX scopes came equipped like that).
1. If you use a wedge, level the tripod and then elevate the mounting plate on the wedge until it is offset the same number of degrees from vertical as the latitude of your observing site. If you observe at 40 degrees north latitude, for example, elevate the mounting plate until it's 40 degrees from vertical .
2. Position the optical tube of the telescope at 90 degrees declination. In that position, it points straight up relative to the telescope's base. Find and center Polaris in the field of view. The higher the power of the eyepiece for this step, the greater the accuracy of your alignment.
3. Once Polaris is properly centered, the Right Ascension axis of your telescope will be very nearly parallel with the Earth's axis of rotation. At this point, I'd turn on my RA drive, but I don't have a clue what protocol you'd follow to prep your ETX for RA drive only.
Now, without changing the orientation of the tripod and wedge, swing the optical tube scope around in its mount and select and center any star near the south celestial equator whose coordinates you know (from an atlas or software application). At this time of year, Regulus might be a good candidate. Once that star is centered in the field of view, adjust the Right Ascension setting circle so that the RA coordinate for Regulus aligns with the pointer on the scope base. The RA setting circle should rotate right along with the optical tube so that the scope's pointer remains fixed on the appropriate RA coordinate for the selected object.
After completing those steps, you should be able to dial-in the Right Ascension and Declination coordinates of any other object you wish to observe. Of course, you could be off as much as 3/4 of a degree (but usually less), since Polaris is offset that much from the celestial north pole, but this method will suffice for observing. If you need more accuracy, there are various other strategies, including the "Kochab Clock" and "Alkaid/Epsilon Cassiopeiae" methods that will get you a lot closer in a matter of minutes. And if you plan to do any longer-exposure astrophotography with your scope, the use of a wedge and drift alignment are the way to go, since they offer the greatest alignment accuracy and eliminate field rotation issues.
That's all there is to it. Though it may sound complicated, it takes only a couple of minutes, and in fact I'm usually up and running much quicker than my friends who have go-to scopes. My home-built adjustable wedge is always set to match my latitude, and the whole process just becomes second nature after a while.
Hope this helps.
Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:29 PM
Looking back, I wouldn't be as lost with a Questar as I originally thought.
Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:34 PM
On the ETX the alignment procedure in R.A. mode is similar to altaz, just a different home position. Operationally, the telescope only drives in R.A. when configured in the R.A. mode whereas it drives both axis when in the altaz mode.
My little ETX-60BB on a 'wedge' borrowed from an old pipe mount...
Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:58 PM
Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:22 PM
Interesting. I don't think I've ever seen an R.A. circle that stays synched with the scope as the telescope tracks. Neat. Usually either the setting circle is fixed and the pointer moves or vice versa. We used to be careful to set the R.A. on the setting circle for the object we were currently looking at before moving the telescope to the next target. It as pretty easy.
On my scope, the RA setting circle rotates at the same rate as the yoke, optical tube and hairline pointer when the tracking drive is on, so as long as I'm tracking an object, the hairline stays centered over that object's RA coordinate. I can also rotate the RA setting circle independently (against a friction clutch), so that I can set it where I need to when calibrating the system to the second reference star (Regulus in my previous post's example) and synchronizing it with sidereal time. Perhaps it would have been more accurate for me to say that the RA circle rotates at the same rate as the pointer when the drive is on. I wouldn't be surprised if other manufacturers used alternative schemes.
Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:45 PM
Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:53 PM
Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:00 AM
Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:50 PM
I welcome the input from one and all. I know when I bought the ETX, one of the first things I did was search "ETX" in the Questar forum, and "Questar" in the ETX forum. Fun reading. I just love reading anything that connects the ETX to the Questar, but I also love investigating what is different about them as well. Different tools for different people.
Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:55 PM
Posted 20 May 2010 - 11:33 PM
I once told my wife that I wished I had enough money for an elephant, to which she inquired as to what I'd possibly want with an elephant. My answer was that I just would like to have the money. Tim
Posted 21 May 2010 - 08:53 AM
So the difference between a ETX and the Q is about $7500 ...
Posted 22 May 2010 - 09:26 AM
Looking at the photos here of the Questar and the Meade, another analogy popped into my head which fits: the Questar is like the MG Roadster Convertible from 1920s-- so terribly cool "looking" you want it and don't care if it goes over 90mph or not! It speaks class, engineering, history, style and performance that's too much fun to ignore. You see it, you want it -- and if it were the same price as a Ford Taurus, you'd get it for sure.
The Meade reminds me of the new Ford. OK modern design with big bulky looking plastic dash parts and trim - nothing fancy, but it works and will go faster than the MG, will get better mileage, is far more economical in every way, but it's pretty much point A to point B and owning one will never be as exciting as the old MG which is a classic of beauty and grace -- a real head turner.
No-one is going to look at my ETX-125AT UHTC and say: WOW, that's a thing of beauty! They may look through it and say WOW now and then, but not looking AT it.
All that said, I just sold my second Questar to a supremely happy new owner -- I'm genuinely happy for him, too!
Why didn't I keep it? It just doesn't fit in with the way I live, just now. I also sold my Breitling Chronomat Vitesse (for even more than the Q). See, they kind of go together along with fine jewelry. Those with little appreciation for such look at a Questar pricetag and wonder who could want it. Those who choose to own one do so because they appreciate beauty and fine engineering more than most and don't want to be without it!
Me, I've got enough fancy stuff for now. My APM/LOMO 80mm apo puts up a slightly better image (more contrast richness, similar resolution) than the Questar and has a nicer focuser, but it doesn't come with a case, mount, barlow, eyepieces or anything and the lens cap lost its inner lining of what looks like nothing more than electrical tape (duct tape engineering) and same for the dewcap (more duct tape engineering). I can fix these things myself, and I'll keep the scope because it performs well for my needs otherwise -- but it's no Q in quality for missing such attention to important details. Incredibly annoying, like a wrong clamshell clamp being sent, not even a super-cheap foam case - just a plastic bag and a bit of foam to protect it all the way from Germany. I was lucky it got here with just a fleck of paint missing from the tubing. A Questar is simply in a different quality control league - call it Major league, vs minor league vs bush league.
With a Q, you do enter a slightly different world and most of us wouldn't feel too comfortable there. Q owners are not usually, but the ones who post the most tend to be a bit neurotic about their scopes, perhaps because they feel the need to justify spending $4-$7K for a 3.5" scope with accessories. Those who can actually afford a Q feel no need to justify the expense and the expense is the ONLY negative to ownership - period.
No need to justify spending whatever on the MG Roadster -- most would say "crazy" to it's pricetag, too, but there are worse things one can do with money.
Buy it used, enjoy the heck out of it and sell it for a small profit, perhaps -- that's what you can do with a Q. Try getting back what you pay for a new Meade... -- I normally wouldn't buy a used Meade because way too much chance it's a lemon. I only bought used Q's because they never made a lemon -- all are about perfect if cared for. I made a slight profit on each Questar I owned, too.
Posted 22 May 2010 - 11:34 AM
The lack of GoTo is another HUGE negative in my book. Setting circles are somewhat of a chore for me.
Those who can actually afford a Q feel no need to justify the expense and the expense is the ONLY negative to ownership - period.
It's not entirely a matter of not being able to afford a Questar. In part, I felt that more enjoyment could be had by buying the ETX-125 AND a CPC 1100 for the same money as a little non-GoTo Questar!