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Question for the Grab-n-go croud

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#1 blamkin86

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:26 AM

Hi all!

 

I'm entirely visual, and entirely grab-n-go: we drive waaay back into the back country in Utah (look up where Hanksville is, then imagine driving 2 hours on a dirt road from there). I setup and observe for a couple hours before going to the camper and calling it a night. I have been known to get a few "honey, it's way past bedtime" calls from the camper, but generally an hour or two is about it.

 

I currently have a SW 100ED, and I just got an iOptron iEq30 pro (but have not used the mount in anger).

 

I have been observing for about a year now, and I realize I am hooked and ready to spend some more and either upgrade OTAs, or maybe buy some supporting OTAs to go with what I already have.

 

Basically, given a $2K budget, would you sell the 100ED and buy one scope to drag around, or would you instead buy two additional OTAs and take all three lower-quality ones with you?

 

More than anything, I'd like a little more reach. The planets are really small in the view. Additionally, I'd like to start looking at non-planets because I realize, there's a whole universe out there smile.gif

 

Would you

 

A) Keep the 100ED and add two $1k/each scopes to your arsenal? (C8 edge? SW 150 Mak? Mak-Newt of some kind?)

B) Dump the 100ED and get One Scope To Rule Them All, maybe a C9.25 edge? APM 140?

 

I'm really worried I won't like the SCT so I don't want to spend all that money only to sell it and lose $500. Also I think a Dob is out of the question, as the truss-tubes models will get sand in them where I'm setting up, and I think it's just too much to add to what I already have.)

 

What say you?

 

(Thanks to all who respond!)


Edited by blamkin86, 11 January 2019 - 10:57 AM.


#2 descott12

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:06 AM

I think an 8" SCT is great choice. Large aperture allows higher magnification in relatively compact space. Surprisingly portable compared to a similar-sized reflector/dob. Very low maintenance and alot of room for expansion if you want to get into EAA later.

 

I have a Evolution 8 and I think it about a perfect combination of performance, functionality, portability and cost.


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#3 rustynpp

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:11 AM

I don't think this is the answer you want, but I would try to push the capabilities of your 100ED a bit before spending money on a new OTA. You say the planets are small, but in good conditions you should be able to push 200x with your current scope. Unless you have truly fantastic skies (that is, extremely steady and transparent atmosphere), you won't get much better than that with ANY scope on the majority of nights. Yes, the image at 200x will be more detailed in a more capable scope, and occasionally you will be able to push to mags you won't be able to achieve with your 100ED, but those nights will be rare, especially if you observe relatively infrequently. It's very likely right now that you're most limited by your own observing skills, rather than your scope, which is a very capable planetary performer by all accounts.

 

I also see no reason why you wouldn't be able to observe DSOs with your 100ED, either. I do it all the time with my 4" refractor, as do many others. You won't be chasing down super faint galaxies, but there are literally hundreds of objects throughout the year that will look fantastic in a 4" scope. In this regard, more aperture will absolutely get you better views, but at a cost. A larger scope of any design will take longer to get to acclimate to the ambient temp, a reflector will require collimation prior to each observing session (especially since you'll be driving with it), and an SCT will require more equipment to stave off dew. These are things to consider when you only have a limited time to observe.

 

BUT if the cash is really burning a hole in your pocket, then I would probably get the AT130 if I were in your shoes.  

 

https://www.astronom...riplet-ota.html


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#4 cbwerner

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:13 AM

There is no such thing as One Scope To Rule Them All! :)

 

I'd keep the 100ED and get a CPC800 (non-Edge) or an Evolution 8 so you can have both scopes set up and going at the same time. That would make quite a nice combo in my book.


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#5 jeffreym

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:31 AM

I would keep the SW100 for now as there are lots of things that scope will see nicely.  I have an SV102ED and would not give that up.  You can sell it later if you come to a point where you just are not using it.  If you want to look deeper, the 9.25 is about the limit of what I would call grab and go.  An 8 would obviously be easier to move around but if you are just setting up next to your camper that probably is not a big deal.  I would just get the standard version of the 8 or 9.25. I have the 9.25 and like it very much.

 

You could also get an ST80 (add a 2" focuser if you want) and mount it for a "finder" (mount a cheep red dot on the ST80). I have this setup and just use a Synta finder shoe with a set of good guide scope rings.  I have a good quality CI 45 degree diagonal for the ST80. With a 32mm Q70 I have a 5.5 degree FOV.  I reach deep and see wide at the same time.

 

I have set this up on a Twilight 1 mount with an AVX tripod, it shakes but is usable and light.  I also have the Evolution and the CPC tripod which is nicely solid. 

 

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#6 CharlesP

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:53 AM

I would also go for the C8.  It's light (much lighter than the next one up) and costs less than $1000. 

 

I have had mine for a couple of years, and it's great for visual.  It will give you the extra reach for the planets, and a lot more light gathering power.  It is quick to acclimate, and as it's light it is easy to get on the mount and remove later (important when you are cold and tired).



#7 Sketcher

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:25 PM

More than anything, I'd like a little more reach. The planets are really small in the view. Additionally, I'd like to start looking at non-planets because I realize, there's a whole universe out there smile.gif

"planets are really small"  Are you using enough magnification?  Your telescope ought to be able to handle magnifications up to 200x or so.  Even then, one needs to look closely and be patient in order to see fine planetary detail.  Learn how to observe planets and their details using the telescope you have, and then, when you get a larger/better telescope you'll be able to see even more than you would by jumping to the bigger/better telescope right away.

 

"I'd like to start looking at non-planets"  You already have a great telescope for looking at non-planets!  Seriously, from a dark sky a 4-inch refractor is capable of showing at least several hundred deep-sky objects!  Start with the Messier objects, then go beyond -- using the telescope you have now.

 

I suggest spending more time getting to know the sky and gaining more experience as an observer before spending money .  on another telescope.

 

I would love to have a 4-inch refractor!  I have larger and smaller refractors, but I think a 4-inch refractor is an excellent size.  If I didn't already have too many telescopes, a 4-inch refractor would likely be the first telescope I would add to my "collection".

 

I have two (not one, but two -- by different authors) Messier books where an author provides visual descriptions and sketches of the Messier objects -- based on their observations using 4-inch refractors.  A 4-inch refractor is a very capable deep-sky telescope -- despite all those who will tell you otherwise.  I've even observed deep-sky objects using 1/2-inch and 1-inch telescopes.  More aperture has its advantages, but it's not everything.

 

Below are two sketches -- observations made using a 1-inch telescope.  The first is a Venus observation made in the daytime, when Venus was too close to the sun for a nighttime observation.  The M31-32-110 sketch exaggerates the brightness of the stars and galaxies a bit, yet it still provides a fair representation of how many stars could be seen and the extent of the three galaxies that could be seen -- using a 1-inch telescope -- from a dark sky.  A 4-inch telescope has 4-times the resolution and 16-times the light-grasp of a 1-inch telescope.

 

Venus 1 inch aperture 19 Oct 2018 67x Sketcher   Text
 
M31 32 110  1 inch aperture 5 Dec 2018 20x Sketcher   text 1

 


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#8 spaceoddity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 05:18 PM

If you have a nice dark spot like that, you NEED a 12" dob. Lay down a tarp so you don't get sand in anything. I got my first SCT last year(nexstar 8se) and I hate it. Don't wast your money. You can get more aperture and a much more enjoyable and simpler to use scope for less money. It's much simpler than an EQ or any go-to mount  If you have a decent size vehicle like a truck or SUV, even a solid tube 12" dob won't be too much trouble to transport. The views will wow you from a dark site.


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#9 blamkin86

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:53 PM

Wow so many great suggestions, thanks everybody. 

 

I think ive decided I still don’t know what I want. 

 

Since there’s nothing compelling on sale right now, my eyepiece collection could use a boost, and even the frac rustynpp suggested isn’t available, I’ll 

 

A) use my new mount a few times and get used to it. 

B) fill in some gaps in my eyepieces

C) observe some more 

 

I really need to find a star party in Denver so I can look at these things. 

 

Also the 12” dob I had ruled out but maybe a push to would be good. I could use the refractor when I’m not feeling like setting up a big scope. Hmm....


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#10 spaceoddity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:43 PM

Definitely keep the 100 mm ED, great portable little scope. Compliment it with a light bucket. JMO You don't mention which eyepieces you have but nice eyepieces are a good investment that definitely enhance the viewing experience. If you can go to a star party or join an astronomy club and experience different scopes, that would be a great idea. Many different opinions when it comes to telescopes, diff'rent scopes for diff'rent folks. Trial and error can be costly.



#11 blamkin86

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:32 PM

I have ES 100’s in 5.5 and 9 also the mongo ES 82 30mm. I love the last two but have not tried the 5.5 yet. 

 

I’m after the ES 100/14 and probably 82/18. May have to look at an ethos or the new APMs. 

 

Now you’ve got me looking at xx12g’s (and Obsessions and stargates for some day]

 

Honestly thanks for all the help!


Edited by blamkin86, 11 January 2019 - 09:35 PM.

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#12 MalVeauX

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:20 PM

Ultralight 12" reflector.

 

There's simply no substitution for aperture like that with visual. You will see more things, really see them, than just smudges and imagining they're there.

 

Very best,


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#13 kfiscus

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:21 PM

How about a collapsible 12" with DSCs?


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#14 jcj380

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:54 AM

Don't  forget to consider size, weight, and set-up time.  One might blow them off, thinking they're no big deal and set up and tear down is a small portion of time spent, but if any of those is even mildly irritating, it *will* add up. 

 

Like they say, the best scope is the one that gets used.


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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 08:09 AM

Also the 12” dob I had ruled out but maybe a push to would be good. I could use the refractor when I’m not feeling like setting up a big scope. Hmm....

 

 

Don't  forget to consider size, weight, and set-up time.  One might blow them off, thinking they're no big deal and set up and tear down is a small portion of time spent, but if any of those is even mildly irritating, it *will* add up. 

 

Like they say, the best scope is the one that gets used.

 

Two scopes are better than one.  A ~4 inch ED/apo along with 8 inch or larger reflector or SCT are good companions.  The refractor is an easy scope to deal with, offers a wider field of view and has essentially no collimation and thermal issues.  The larger scope is more capable, greater resolution, contrast, light gathering.  

 

"The best scope is the one that gets used"...  The implication there is that we're inherently lazy so a smaller scope is more likely to get used that a larger scope.  But the other side of the coin is that the larger scope is more capable, it shows more, the anticipation of the views a larger scope provides can easily make the relatively small added effort necessary more than worthwhile.

 

I am 70 years old. I haven't added up the numbers for 2018 but for 2017, my most used scopes were the 16 inch and the 22 inch.  My situation is somewhat unique and setup is not too much of an issue but I find that just thinking about the things I will be seeing in larger scope energize and excite me.  

 

And it is nice to have a smaller, easier scope like a 4 inch refractor for those nights when time and/or energy is in short supply.  

 

Two scopes.. 

 

Jon


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#16 SkyRanger

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 08:33 AM

I have owned several SCTs, but I personally prefer Newtonians. I think a 8-10” dob is the perfect companion to a 4” refractor.  The larger aperture will keep you busy for decades, esp from super dark skies.

 

BTW, two hours from Hanksville is really remote and dark.  I spent lots of time in that general area when I was astronomy ranger at Natural Bridges NM.


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#17 Spikey131

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:50 PM

Keep the refractor.

 

Get a C8 OTA (you don't need the Edge for visual).

 

Get an iOptron AZ Mount Pro, and you can use them both at once.

 

This is what I do.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_1858.jpeg


#18 NickWDavis

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:39 AM

I have ES 100’s in 5.5 and 9 also the mongo ES 82 30mm. I love the last two but have not tried the 5.5 yet. 

 

This is why the planets look small. Your 9mm gives about 163x, a little low for planets. You’ll see much more with the 5.5mm if the conditions allow for it.



#19 bobito

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 01:10 AM

You mentioned the APM 140, I have one and it's a great scope.  But this summer I took my first trip to a dark sky site and I spent about 90% of my time behind my 12" SCT and the 140 spent most of the night just sitting there.  There is no substitute for aperture.  Refractors are great for wide field views and quick views in the back yard since you don't need to worry about them cooling down, but a large reflector opens up so many more targets.

 

I'd suggest picking up a used C11, they go for about $1000, and it can be used on your existing mount.  Then pickup a manual Alt/AZ mount for your refractor for panning the sky.  I use a Stellavue M2 with the Nexus DSC and it is a perfect complement to the goto mount with the large SCT.

 

Edit:  a C11 may be pushing it on the iEQ30, a 9.25 would be better.


Edited by bobito, 13 January 2019 - 01:12 AM.


#20 Erik Bakker

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:01 AM

The ED100 should continue to serve you well for decades, so my advice is to keep that.

 

Perhaps the thing that shows you the most is increasing your time at the eyepiece, seated in a relaxed position, enjoying that great scope under those wonderful, super dark conditions.

 

You may want to add a good binocular for the amount of money you are considering and a comfortable reclining chair if you don't already have one. Consider a really good 10x50. It will open up your views of the deep sky tremendously under those dark skies and is great during the day for observing wildlife too.

 

Be very considerate about the amount of time and space required to transport and set-up additional scopes, is a new instrument will help you observe more instead of less.

 

That said, under those wonderful dark skies, a bigger scope will come into it's own on the deep sky. For the planets, you may have as good conditions around your home, but deep sky is where those wonderful skies really make a huge difference. Choose your scope accordingly. 

 

I like the idea of an 8" SCT side-by-side on the same mount with a 4" refractor. Do take the time to collimate your SCT properly, it will hugely improve it's views. These are relatively long focal length  instruments with corresponding narrow fields of vies, which can make it difficult to use their brightness on extended objects like the Milky Way, Pleiades or M31.

 

A top quality 10-12.5" Dob is also wonderful scope to have or consider, but with premium optics, these go new for upward of US $ 3.000 and are not easy to get. Perhaps a used one in great condition is a good option and will fit within your budget. It will show more on the deep sky and planets than either your 100 ED or 8" SCT once properly collimated and cooled. But is a very different scope than an ED APO or SCT altogether. 


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#21 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 05:05 PM

[quote name="bobito" post="9071696" timestamp="1547359801"]

You mentioned the APM 140, I have one and it's a great scope. But this summer I took my first trip to a dark sky site and I spent about 90% of my time behind my 12" SCT and the 140 snpent most of the night just sitting there. There is no substitute for aperture. Refractors are great for wide field views and quick views in the back yard since you don't need to worry about them cooling down, but a large reflector opens up so many more targets.

I'd suggest picking up a used C11, they go for about $1000, and it can be used on your existing mount. Then pickup a manual Alt/AZ mount for your refractor for panning the sky. I use a Stellavue M2 with the Nexus DSC and it is a perfect complement to the goto mount with the large SCT.

Edit: a C11 may be pushing it on the iEQ30, a 9.25 would be better.[/quote

My friends iEQ30 struggles with his C9.25. He was okay but it but I found the amount of vibrations annoying. And I mount a 10” reflector on a Sphinx, so I’m not exactly an over-mounter.

So a 9.25, maybe. Definitely not a C11.

Scott

#22 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 05:15 PM

If you want to utilize your iEQ30 for a larger aperture scope, you are pretty much looking at an SCT. You could get a 5” refractor but doesn’t seem like a life changing upgrade. You could get an 8” Newt but now you have balance issues and tube rotation to deal with. Which can be dealt with, but with your budget you can afford an SCT so you don’t need to. So 8” or maybe a 9.25” would work. Or get a 12” Dob, understanding you can’t utilize your mount with it.

Personally sand would make me lean towards a sealed scope like refractor or SCT. Tarps can help, but if there is any wind you are screwed.

Scott

#23 blamkin86

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:06 AM

Thanks for all the great advice.

 

I'm definitely heeding the 'spend time behind your current eyepieces' suggestions - I just bought a new case for my eyepieces, and am going to buy a couple more. I have a huge gap between 9 and 30, so I'm thinking I'll get the ES 14, and call it good for now.

 

I guess I need to find a 4.5 - I thought I saw another thread about a new ES eyepiece coming out? Haven't done a ton of research... Delos looks fantastic, but it's more than my scope, so, probably no.

 

I know the Edge probably isn't that much better than the non, but I think I'd have to have it anyway. I do think I'd prefer the 11, but as everyone has mentioned, that means another $X for a second mount. Also probably out for now. After pouring over all all the dozens of posts about the C8, I think it's a gamble whether I'd like it or not. 

 

I have spent the last several days looking at the amazing Dobs out there, reading about DSC and goto, and maybe getting my pennies together for something ridiculous.Not going to happen this year, but I've looked at Teeter (yeah, too expensive but wow), Obsession, AstroSystems, Discovery, and Hubble Optics. There's an AstroSystems 12.5" for sale in Denver too.

 

MakNewt sounds fantastic, but I may as well hold on for a dob, and set it up separately from my ED at the same time.

 

Finally, I've actually considered an MCT. It's so very different than what I have, and seems like it would be good for the moon and planets. There's a Meade 7" mak in the classified, but wow, 2800mm, I don't know. There's also a Skywatcher 6" in the classifieds, and I keep thinking I like the idea of the (rumak) iOptron MCT, but the reviews seemed to be very mixed on it. B&H has it on sale for $799, and it has a warranty, etc, and more reasonable FL at F/12 1800. I keep leaning that way, but then realize the Edge 8" is probably/maybe better, then my head starts spinning again.

 

Thanks all for the fantastic advice. The good news for me is that I'm getting weary of researching and really ready to get out and observe and 'focus' on that for a much longer time.


Edited by blamkin86, 15 January 2019 - 09:13 AM.

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#24 Jaimo!

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 07:07 PM

I think the Mak is an excellent idea!  As you already have figured out, it is such a different scope than the 4" refractor.  I do find they compliment each other well, the frac will give nice sweeping wide field views while the Mak will let you let you magnify with reasonably comfortable eyepieces.  When Planetary observing, I get better contrast with the 4" frac while my 6" Mak goes a little deeper...  And if your mount can support the weight I'd consider a 7" Maksutov.

 

IMG_20180608_230104-small.jpg

 

Jaimo!




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