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#1 organge

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:04 PM

Hi all,

 

I need a little help deciding on a new telescope. What I am looking for is a refractor from 60-100mm priced under 700 USD (500 GBP) that is easy to carry around - a grab&go.

 

After reading for a few days I realised that the mount is really important so I would appreciate if you can recommend me a telescope that comes with really, really sturdy mount. So, the main feature of my new telescope should be ease of carrying it around and a good mount. Aperture and price are the last things I am concerned with.

 

My current favourite is Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 (short f) which is on sale for 229 GBP here - any alternatives for this one?

 

Thanks all.


Edited by organge, 13 May 2018 - 04:05 PM.


#2 DLuders

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:17 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!  smile.gif ​  The Celestron f/6.5 Omni XLT AZ 102 refractor telescope  https://www.celestro...omni-xlt-az-102  uses a basic Altitude-Azimuth mount with slow-motion control knobs.  It's definitely portable.    



#3 organge

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 05:30 PM

DLuders, thank you for the welcome.

 

After browsing for a few hours I found this : https://www.altairas...l-eyepiece.html

 

It looks like it is very very portable and all I need to buy extra is a tripod. Any suggestions what tripod I should add to this?



#4 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 06:02 PM

I wouldn't go below an 80mm.  Treat yourself...

 

https://www.firstlig...s-pro-ota.html 

 

You can place it on this mount...  https://www.firstlig...t-az-mount.html

 

...this one... https://www.firstlig...muth-mount.html

 

...or this one... https://www.teleskop...and-tripod.html



#5 Luna-tic

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 10:15 PM

Hi all,

 

I need a little help deciding on a new telescope. What I am looking for is a refractor from 60-100mm priced under 700 USD (500 GBP) that is easy to carry around - a grab&go.

 

After reading for a few days I realised that the mount is really important so I would appreciate if you can recommend me a telescope that comes with really, really sturdy mount. So, the main feature of my new telescope should be ease of carrying it around and a good mount. Aperture and price are the last things I am concerned with.

 

My current favourite is Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 (short f) which is on sale for 229 GBP here - any alternatives for this one?

 

Thanks all.

Here's a very high quality shorty doublet APO  and an alt-az mount that will carry it easily. I can vouch for the telescope's quality, I have a WO scope slightly larger than this one. The ES Twilight mount has great reviews and is lightweight for its capacity. Together, they're slightly over your budget.

 

The scope aperture is toward the lower end of your specification, but it's lightweight, very short, and very high quality. Doesn't come with diagonal or EP's or finder scope, but does have (removable) rings for a finder.

https://www.highpoin...or-gold-a-z73gd

https://www.highpoin...tripod-maz01-00

 

Here's another nice refractor that would make a good grab-n-go, slightly longer focal length for a bit more magnification, and the price will stay within budget and allow for purchase of finder scope and a couple of EP's.

https://www.highpoin...efractor-s11180



#6 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:06 AM

Skywatcher AZ4 is 170 British pounds and is rock steady. A bit on heavy side at 18lb. A bit overkill for a 70-80mm but if you move up to a 4” it would do nicely,

I like the idea of at least 80mm too.

Scott

#7 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 07:35 AM

Your budget is only enough to buy an achromatic refractor or the 70mm ED refractor that you mention with the SW AZ4-2.

 

https://www.telescop...eel-tripod.html

 

Maybe you should take a look at the Bresser Messier AR-80/640mm of focal length. It already comes with a mount. 

 

https://www.bresser....-Telescope.html

 

Or maybe a 90mm f/5.5 can be of your interest:

 

https://www.bresser....e-assembly.html

 

You may get the same Bresser 90mm achromatic refractor with more focal length:

 

https://www.bresser....e-assembly.html

 

These Bresser 90mm refractors are available with EQ mounts but if you'd like to see it riding on an Alt-Az mount, the one below may be the one of your dreams:

 

https://www.teleskop...ck-Release.html

 

Let's say that what you'd like to own a 4" (102mm) achromatic refractor with 600mm of focal length and a 2.5" focuser. In that case, the Bresser Messier AR-102S may suit your needs. Check link below:

 

https://www.teleskop...00-mm--OTA.html

 

The OTA weighs 3.9kg. The Bresser Messier AR-102S plus TS Alt-Az mount is within your budget. The only problem is that there won't be enough money for eyepieces. 

 

I hope that helps.



#8 organge

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:51 AM

Guys, huge help. Thank you very much!

 

I am almost set on SW 80ed + AZ4 Mount but after seeing this one : https://www.bresser....-Telescope.html posted by rogeriomagellan it got me thinking. What if I get this one since it looks to be okish and by the looks of it capable mount and tripod and spend some money on some accessories and get myself into astro and then get the 80ED afterwards and just attach it to the same mount/tripod?

 

I can stretch the budget to 600 GBP (around 800 USD) for this if needed and if you guys convince me it's all good wink.gif


Edited by organge, 14 May 2018 - 11:51 AM.


#9 Sky Muse

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:15 PM

The Bresser could certainly tide one over, to kick and knock around.  It's an f/8, which will help reduce the amount of false-colour when viewing brighter objects.  You'll want a better star-diagonal for it...

 

Prism... https://www.rotherva...agonal-125.html

Mirror... https://www.rotherva...agonal-125.html

 

...for examples.

 

You could get away with using a prism at f/8.  I do know this, however: if I got that one, I'd take it all apart and fix it.  I expect that I would need to in any event.



#10 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:12 PM

Guys, huge help. Thank you very much!

I am almost set on SW 80ed + AZ4 Mount but after seeing this one : https://www.bresser....-Telescope.html posted by rogeriomagellan it got me thinking. What if I get this one since it looks to be okish and by the looks of it capable mount and tripod and spend some money on some accessories and get myself into astro and then get the 80ED afterwards and just attach it to the same mount/tripod?

I can stretch the budget to 600 GBP (around 800 USD) for this if needed and if you guys convince me it's all good wink.gif


Really cheap, a reasonably good quality scope and mount for that price seems to good to be true. Which means it probably is. Seems like I have heard Nano Mount is really shaky. If you are used to stargazing on the deck of a sailboat it should be fine. That being said I haven’t ever used the mount myself so maybe it would be ok. It doesn’t look terrible. But usually these bargain entry level scope packages skimp on the mount.

Scott
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#11 organge

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 09:13 AM

Thank you all for chiming in. I settled on my original favourite - Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 (short f). 80mm ED will have to wait.

 

If I can ask you guys for more recommendations. I now have quite a budget for eyepieces, diagonal and focuser(maybe??). What should I get that will get me years of use?


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#12 drneilmb

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:28 AM

If I can ask you guys for more recommendations. I now have quite a budget for eyepieces, diagonal and focuser(maybe??). What should I get that will get me years of use?

Can you be more specific about what "quite a budget" means? It'll help us give better recommendations. https://www.celestro...omni-xlt-az-102 suggests that you will have a 25mm Plossl eyepiece and an erect image diagonal.

 

The first thing you should get is a better "star" diagonal. Erect image diagonals have limited aperture and generally worse optical quality because of how many surfaces they have inside. A GSO mirror diagonal is totally adequate https://agenaastro.c...r-diagonal.html.

 

Then you will want more eyepieces for both lower and higher magnifications. Since you have a 25mm already, you might want to start with a higher magnification. Don Pensack (Starman1 here) has a solid recommendation for a simple set of eyepieces for beginners: https://www.cloudyni...oose-eyepieces/. For a 4" telescope, look for magnifications of 35x, 70x, 105x which in your telescope would be eyepiece focal lengths of 19mm, 9mm, 6mm. Eyepiece recommendations vary WIDELY with price, but the Agena Starguider Dual ED in 8mm and 5mm are very reasonable choices https://agenaastro.c...epiece-8mm.html and https://agenaastro.c...piece-5mm.html.

 

For lower magnifications/wider fields of view, the widest possible choices are 32mm Plossls or 24mm 68° widefields: https://agenaastro.c...l-eyepiece.html or https://agenaastro.c...iece-24mm.html. The Explore Scientific 24mm 68° is an absolutely classic eyepiece for the widest possible field of view in a 1.25" focuser.

 

If you want to spend more money, you could upgrade all of those eyepieces and the diagonal, but I would be quite content with that scope and a mirror diagonal, ES68 24mm and 8mm/5mm Dual ED eyepieces.



#13 sg6

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:34 AM

If you are in the UK, since you mentioned a budget that included £'s, then add UK at least to your signature. Otherwise what occurs is that you get recommendations for items that are mainly US and unavailable in the UK.

 

You will still get them but maybe a few more will be related to UK/EU purchases.

 

Scope should have a focuser, not sure if it will be a 2 speed oine however and 2 speed is very useful.

 

The Omni is f/6.5 so should be reasonable on CA, there will be some. Eyepieces maybe try Vixen NPL's - if the reduced eye relief at the shorter focal lengths are acceptable. Do you wear glasses ??

 

Otherwise Paradigms/BST's are likely the better. You may need, as I do, a seperate 6mm to fill the gap from 5mm to 8mm. If UK then look at the Altair items.

 

Bit confusing as Altair do 2 ranges of eyepieces called the same = Lightwave (if I recall right). Cost however is significantly different. Not sure why they did that. The 6mm I have is/was about £55. They are basically a rebrand of the Meade 6mm planetary.

 

Alternative may be the Meade 5000 HD's. Reasonable cost in US, plain expensive in UK.

 

Diagonal, get a 2" if you can. The 1.25" are a lot less however, but the 2" kind of "looks the part".

 

If UK and if you have not purchased then:

https://www.bresser..../Display-Items/

Might be useful to have a look through. I picked up a 102/600 at an extremely good prce a few years back.



#14 organge

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:25 PM

Hey guys, didn't expect so much response. Thanks again. I added my location.

 

Considering everything written I am currently set on :

 

Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102mm Refractor ( 229.00 GBP )

Antares 90° Erecting Prism 1.25" ( 39.99 GBP )

 

I do wear glasses ( as sg6 asked ) so I decided on these two eyepieces :

 

Explore Scientific 62° LER Eyepiece 9mm ( 80 GBP )

Explore Scientific 62° LER Eyepiece 5.5mm ( 80 GBP )

 

(Celestron 25mm plossl is already included in the kit)

 

Total : 428.99 GBP ( well within 500 GBP budget - stretchable to 600 GBP if really needed )

 

What do you guys think?



#15 drneilmb

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 01:58 PM

Hey guys, didn't expect so much response. Thanks again. I added my location.

 

Considering everything written I am currently set on :

 

Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102mm Refractor ( 229.00 GBP )

Antares 90° Erecting Prism 1.25" ( 39.99 GBP )

 

I do wear glasses ( as sg6 asked ) so I decided on these two eyepieces :

 

Explore Scientific 62° LER Eyepiece 9mm ( 80 GBP )

Explore Scientific 62° LER Eyepiece 5.5mm ( 80 GBP )

 

(Celestron 25mm plossl is already included in the kit)

 

Total : 428.99 GBP ( well within 500 GBP budget - stretchable to 600 GBP if really needed )

 

What do you guys think?

I think that you should not get the Antares erecting prism. You're limited to the 1.25" focuser, so you can't get a 2" diagonal like sg6 suggested, but for astronomical use, erecting diagonals are generally poor choices. If you just want to do daytime viewing, the erecting diagonal that comes with the kit should be acceptable. To upgrade for nighttime use, get a "star diagonal" either mirror or prism. https://www.teleskop...rror---90-.html should be reasonable in the EU.


Edited by drneilmb, 15 May 2018 - 01:59 PM.


#16 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 02:26 PM

There is something of a consensus among owners of faster achromats that a mirrored star-diagonal is best.  That Celestron achromat is an f/6.5.  I'd use a prism anyway, that's just me, but I just don't know about an erecting-prism in a diagonal however.  To accomplish an erect image, something's got to give; a narrower field-of-view, or a somewhat less-sharp image, perhaps?  I imagine you'd find out once it arrives.  On the plus side, anything's better than what comes with the kit, so you'll be ahead in any event.  

 

This is my own Celestron prism star-diagonal(left), that I had linked to in a previous post...

 

Celestron diagonals.jpg

 

...lovely, no?  On the right, the "diagonal" that came with my Celestron "Astromaster" kit, and the same one provided with the Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102mm kit.  That ball-shaped diagonal contains an Amici-prism, and is best for terrestrial use; land targets and what-not, and where you would definitely want an upright image.  Terrestrial observations are not as critical, not as demanding, as those astronomical.  I expect that the Antares erect-image diagonal also contains an Amici prism.  Conversely, the Celestron star-diagonal(left) contains a STAR-prism, and the ideal for observing the sky.  Note also that the opening of the star-diagonal(left) is much larger than that of the Amici-diagonal(right).  Your eye and eyepieces would appreciate the larger aperture.  Also note that the small opening of the Amici diagonal has a faint white line running vertically down its centre.  Look carefully.  That's known as the "Amici line", and it has the potential of degrading the image, particularly when viewing brighter objects.

 

Among the star-diagonals available at that price-point, it's a toss-up as to whether you choose a mirrored star-diagonal, or one with a prism.  At f/6.5 with the 102mm achromat, you can use a prism.  At f/6 and shorter, a mirror would perhaps be best.

 

I don't have an Antares Amici-diagonal, the one you're considering, but I do have a GSO(right); they're all made overseas...

 

Celestron-GSO diagonals.jpg  

 

Note that the GSO also has a smaller aperture, and an Amici line that's visible, too.  But the aperture of the GSO Amici is a bit larger than the Amici bundled with the kit, therefore that of the Antares might be as well.  Still, it's for terrestrial use, and the one I bought for that very thing.  I have used it at night, but it still can't compare to the astronomical performance of the Celestron star-diagonal, let alone the Zeiss-prism.

 

The Amici lines of the bundled diagonal, and that of the GSO, close up and enhanced...

 

Amici lines.jpg

 

The 102mm Celestron achromat sounds most promising.  I'm sure you'll enjoy it.


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#17 organge

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 03:01 PM

I knew I had to wait with Checkout smile.gif

 

Sky Muse thanks for the photos. Pretty clear to me now.

 

Cosnidering I have budget leftover I am now considering these two diagonals instead of not recommended erect one ( I went through BillP group test and both below seem a no brainer ):

 

https://www.rotherva...-nosepiece.html

 

https://www.rotherva...agonal-125.html

 

I presume Baader will fit the scope fine and doesn't have some obscure mount/thread?


Edited by organge, 15 May 2018 - 03:02 PM.


#18 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 04:13 PM

I knew I had to wait with Checkout smile.gif

 

Sky Muse thanks for the photos. Pretty clear to me now.

 

Cosnidering I have budget leftover I am now considering these two diagonals instead of not recommended erect one ( I went through BillP group test and both below seem a no brainer ):

 

https://www.rotherva...-nosepiece.html

 

https://www.rotherva...agonal-125.html

 

I presume Baader will fit the scope fine and doesn't have some obscure mount/thread?

I'd go with the Baader among those two.  I had one of those Takahashi diagonals, for about a day, and then returned it.  The plastic body had put me off of that one.  The prism was no doubt a quality one.

 

And no, you wouldn't have any problem integrating the Baader with the achromat.  It will slide into the visual-back like any other.


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#19 organge

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 04:53 PM

Telescope with Baader diagonal ordered and shoud be here Thursday. Yay!

 

Now on the eyepieces dillema. I was all set on ES 62 LER but upon further research I found that astro shop nearby stocks BST Explorer Dual ED eyepieces which are the same as Astro-Tech Paradigms and they offer similar eye relief and ES ones. I sent an inquiry out for a 5mm, 8mm and 18mm. They are 38 GBP each. Why not? I see these are regarded as capable and will see if I can pick them over the weekend.


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#20 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 09:26 PM

That Baader prism star-diagonal should be a good investment, and for any other telescopes you might acquire in future: a refractor, Maksutov or Schmidt.  Whilst bandying back and forth between telescopes, eyepieces and other accessories throughout the years, the decades, just one quality star-prism diagonal is for life...

 

Zeiss star-prism.jpg

 

Zeiss star-prism2.jpg



#21 SeattleScott

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:28 PM

Could be interesting. Prisms are known for causing chromatic abberation under F8, so the prism will distort the view in your scope. Particularly on bright objects. Now being an F6.5 your scope already has significant CA. I have heard some reports that the CA in a prism diagonal can actually offset the CA in a refractor, actually improving the view slightly. But not sure if that was just one particular scope or a good rule of thumb.

With a mirror diagonal you wouldn’t add any additional CA, but then you wouldn’t offset any either. Prisms are generally used for max contrast planetary viewing with premium Apos, or for minimizing backfocus on a SCT. Neither of which has any applicability to you. So the only reason to go prism would be if the CA actually does offset rather than add to. Or price may be the other reason, if the prism is cheaper.

Scott

#22 Sky Muse

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 01:51 AM

The non-Zeiss Baader prism would be a bit overkill for a budget achromat.  In the here and now, a mirrored diagonal would suffice, but then that refractor would be as a catadioptric, with light-scattering about the brighter objects.  I think I'd prefer the extra false-colour.   I do wonder, however, if the amount of false-colour contributed by the prism would be negligible, or considerable.  In any event, a better star-prism diagonal might be chosen in this instance, and for future-proofing.  It would be there when the need eventually or finally becomes advantageous.



#23 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 02:32 AM

Thank you all for chiming in. I settled on my original favourite - Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 (short f). 80mm ED will have to wait.

 

If I can ask you guys for more recommendations. I now have quite a budget for eyepieces, diagonal and focuser(maybe??). What should I get that will get me years of use?

 

A friend had one of these and i borrowed it for a month or so.  It was definitely not "the strudy thing." The "wobbly thing",  "the shaky thing..." 

 

A good view starts with a solid mount.  I found it a difficult scope to use.  The combination of the undersized mount and the stiff focuser meant i could never really get sharp focus. I do not recommend it. 

 

Jon



#24 organge

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:54 AM

Jon, I realise it is kind of a compromise and not exactly what I wanted (sturdy) but I don't have any issues with ordering sturdier mount and more capable telescope in the future if I see me using the telesope. I wanted a decent low-mid range to mid range telescope with decent eyepieces to make sure nothing is holding me back equipment wise and this looks to be quite decent and capable. I read a lot and got a feeling of mixed reviews on this AZ mount. Some found it sturdy and other not so. I'll have to see.

 

I sourced three double ED eyepieces as well and will be picking them up on Sunday. Telescope arrives on Friday - the vendor called earlier today.



#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 07:48 AM

Jon, I realise it is kind of a compromise and not exactly what I wanted (sturdy) but I don't have any issues with ordering sturdier mount and more capable telescope in the future if I see me using the telescope.

 

 

I dislike playing the role of nay-sayer,  the party pooper.  However,  it's very possible you will find yourself not using this telescope due to the seriously undersized mount.  On paperpaper,  looks reasonable but in the field, it's no fun.  

 

Many of us started out with such scopes,  my first scope was $5 at a garage sale and had about every issue one can imagine.  But it was enough to spark my interest . Buti would have to say I succeeded inspite of my telescope.  

 

In the case of the 102 mm F/6.5, the weakest point is the tripod, it's just to flimsy . If you are handy with tools , a sturdier tripod can be made for not much money that be a real help. The scope itself is quite decent with a metal focuser that responds nicely to cleanungcleaning and adjustment. 

 

Powerseeker 70.jpeg
 
A crude but effective tripod for a Powerseeker 70. The wood and hardware cost $6.
 
Jon



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