Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Any ex-refractor guys here?

  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

#26 Dave Ponder

Dave Ponder

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 453
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Greenville, SC

Posted 09 April 2019 - 09:30 PM

I always wanted a nice refractor.  Now that I have had a few over the years, I finally decided that aperture rules.  Not bashing refractors, I just have decided that I don’t need an APO or need to feel like SCTs are somehow inferior or feel that I must own a refractor.  I am visual only and SCTs do all I need without the need to break the bank.  I actually love refractors, but they are not a must have for me any more.  


  • Bean614 likes this

#27 macdonjh

macdonjh

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4348
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posted 09 April 2019 - 09:33 PM

. Everyone points to the wide fields but I still have my 660mm FL refractor for that and it only applies to maybe a dozen objects. While I still own and occasionally use a refractor I don't think I'm primarily a "refractor guy" anymore.

This is why I like my long focal length Cassegrains.  I find I don't sweep those Milky Way star fields when I'm observing; I zoom in on individual objects for close looks.

 

Well, I have an fsq106 but during galaxy season it is limited.  So I am looking at an AG Optical 10" to satisfy those needs.  Howard at AP said my Mach 1 will handle that fine so I am just saving my $ to get the scope hopefully next winter/spring.

Exactly why I got aperture fever all those years ago: to see galaxies.  The C11 I bought satisfied that itch for several years.  I'm sure that 10" AG Optical will be just the ticket for you, too.

 

Actually the reason to own scopes of different designs is exactly because all things are not equal. If everyone could own and manage to use a 16” apo refractor for the cost of say a 16” dob then it would be a no brainer to buy the refractor due to its unobstructed design. The problem is that the refractor design has serious limitations with respect to how it scales with aperture. There is just no way for me to compare a 16” refractor to a 16” dob.

 

Generally I prefer refractors in <5” of aperture, SCTs in 6-9.25” of aperture and Dobs for >10” of aperture. Others will likely have their own breakpoints.

Perhaps not.  To make a 16" refractor apochromatic, it might have to be f/12 or slower, as compared to f/4 (or even f/3 these days) for the Newtonian.  Imagine trying to travel to dark skies with a 16" f/12 refractor and suitable mount, as compared to a Sky Watcher or Explore Scientific 16" f/4 Dobsonian.



#28 macdonjh

macdonjh

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4348
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posted 09 April 2019 - 09:40 PM

ok i was just wondering what would get me to purchase a reflector. if maybe somehow looking at a planet or dso would look better visually in a reflector i would buy one but just not to have one. the view of the particular object would have to show detail that would otherwise not be seen in an sct or refract. just my opinion  though

Here's my experience:

 

I've owned a 6" f/12 achromatic refractor for years.  I used it at home even after buying my C11 for trips to my club's dark site.  That refractor gives wonderful, satisfying views of the moon and planets, which is what I observe from my driveway.  However, it required my G11 mount, which is enough work to set up that I didn't get the scope out often.

 

I assembled an 8" f/20 classical Cassegrain, which I mounted on an Orion Sirius mount (on a SkyView Pro first, but the scope was too much for that mount, sadly).  The extra 2" of aperture made the outer planets bright enough to excite my lazy color receptors so suddenly the Great Red Spot is red instead of tan, and Saturn is black, tan, yellow and white instead of tan and yellow.  Since I've had my Driveway Scope working, I've also had a couple of nights of near-perfect seeing when I was able to view Saturn at 560x (70x per inch) and the details and image scale were absolutely amazing.

 

I won't be able to afford an 8" refractor until my lottery numbers come in, so I'm glad I have my 8" classical Cassegrain.



#29 starcruiser

starcruiser

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: 04 Jun 2018

Posted 09 April 2019 - 09:49 PM

I always wanted a nice refractor.  Now that I have had a few over the years, I finally decided that aperture rules.  Not bashing refractors, I just have decided that I don’t need an APO or need to feel like SCTs are somehow inferior or feel that I must own a refractor.  I am visual only and SCTs do all I need without the need to break the bank.  I actually love refractors, but they are not a must have for me any more.  

What stuff did you observe (compared with the SCT) that caused you to eventually change your mind about refractors?



#30 Dave Ponder

Dave Ponder

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 453
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Greenville, SC

Posted 09 April 2019 - 10:01 PM

Simple, DSOs.  My C8 provides much brighter views than any refractor I have owned.  Now if I had an AP 6 inch APO, I might not feel the same, lol.


  • Procyon likes this

#31 Astrojedi

Astrojedi

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4027
  • Joined: 27 May 2015
  • Loc: SoCal

Posted 09 April 2019 - 10:04 PM

I don’t want speak for Dave but in my experience everything looks better with more aperture. For me the minimum aperture that satisfies is 8”. Globulars start resolving nicely. Open clusters have more stars and faint ones start to come to life. Galaxies look much better and you see more of them. Planetary nebulae start to show detail and distinct features. Then there and many objects that are simply invisible in smaller apertures. 


  • Dave Ponder likes this

#32 Traveler

Traveler

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3175
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2007
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 09 April 2019 - 10:52 PM

I am  refractor guy, always been.

A couple of months ago i bought a C8 after many years (20y) thinking about it. The reason buying a C8 in the end, was because i would like to have more aperture on DSO. The views on DSO are really ok with the C8 and all the SCT's i have used.

But collimating and dew for example,makes me not a SCT guy and i think i never will. It is more that I tolerate these somewhat more negative aspects of an insturment like my SCT during usage. The relationship I have with the C8 is of a different order than what I "feel" when owning and using my refractors. The C8 is more a thing/dead instrument/tool, my refractors are more like persons with individual qualities that gives me a deeper sense of emotional value...


  • ghostboo likes this

#33 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 78948
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 10 April 2019 - 09:53 AM

Generally I prefer refractors in <5” of aperture, SCTs in 6-9.25” of aperture and Dobs for >10” of aperture. Others will likely have their own breakpoints.

 

 

 

That's basically how it works for except that I have not been able to figure out anything a 6"-9.25" SCT does for me that a 10 inch plus Dob doesn't do better.. No SCTs, just refractors and reflectors.

 

There's lots to seen in a faster 4 inch refractor that's just not well suited for an SCT or reflector. Barnard's loop is one example. Objects like that are lifelong projects, something to observe and learn with more and more being seen each year.

 

Jon

 

 

Jon


  • Jaimo! likes this

#34 Astrojedi

Astrojedi

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4027
  • Joined: 27 May 2015
  • Loc: SoCal

Posted 10 April 2019 - 06:35 PM

That's basically how it works for except that I have not been able to figure out anything a 6"-9.25" SCT does for me that a 10 inch plus Dob doesn't do better.. No SCTs, just refractors and reflectors.

 

There's lots to seen in a faster 4 inch refractor that's just not well suited for an SCT or reflector. Barnard's loop is one example. Objects like that are lifelong projects, something to observe and learn with more and more being seen each year.

 

Jon

 

 

Jon

Jon,

 

Yes, I agree if you are going by optical performance alone. But the C8 offers very "portable aperture" for camping and stargazing trips as well as the ability to put on a tracking mount for high magnification work and for outreach. And contrary to the misconceptions on these forums it actually makes for a superb planetary scope on a tracking mount if properly collimated and cooled. My 10" and 14" dobs show more but the C8 is just so much easier for me with tracking. I also do imaging hence it also does double duty in that context. 

 

Hiten


  • memento and jjack's like this

#35 Spikey131

Spikey131

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 919
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2017

Posted 11 April 2019 - 09:34 PM

That's basically how it works for except that I have not been able to figure out anything a 6"-9.25" SCT does for me that a 10 inch plus Dob doesn't do better.. No SCTs, just refractors and reflectors.

 

There's lots to seen in a faster 4 inch refractor that's just not well suited for an SCT or reflector. Barnard's loop is one example. Objects like that are lifelong projects, something to observe and learn with more and more being seen each year.

 

Jon

 

 

Jon

For me, an SCT fits nicely on a GOTO mount that tracks.

 

Don't you get tired of crawling around and craning your neck to find stuff?grin.gif


  • memento likes this

#36 Jaimo!

Jaimo!

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3308
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Exit 135 / 40° North

Posted 11 April 2019 - 10:01 PM

That's basically how it works for except that I have not been able to figure out anything a 6"-9.25" SCT does for me that a 10 inch plus Dob doesn't do better.. No SCTs, just refractors and reflectors.

 

There's lots to seen in a faster 4 inch refractor that's just not well suited for an SCT or reflector. Barnard's loop is one example. Objects like that are lifelong projects, something to observe and learn with more and more being seen each year.

 

Jon

 

 

Jon

My SCT tracks and go-to's MUCH, MUCH better than my Dob...  The thought has crossed my mind to ditch the 12" Dob and get a C11.

poke.gif

 

Jaimo!


  • Scott Beith and bbqediguana like this

#37 Cajundaddy

Cajundaddy

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2016
  • Loc: Cucamonga CA

Posted 11 April 2019 - 10:28 PM

I like each scope design for different reasons.  My C8 is the workhorse that does DSO and planetary pretty well and I do appreciate a tracking drive.  My C90 is mostly for quick looks at moon and planets when I only have an hour or so.  The AT72 ED is a specialty scope that I use for birding, travel, Space X launches, and casual observing when I am away from home.  It is not quite enough scope for satisfying planetary views but at lower power it is crisp and beautiful.


  • memento, ghostboo and mrsjeff like this

#38 Gary Riley

Gary Riley

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 647
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2011
  • Loc: White Bluff, TN

Posted 11 April 2019 - 10:39 PM

I’ve debated back and forth over the past few years about adding an SCT to my telescope family that presently consists of a Z12 dob, SW 120 ED Pro Refractor, and a small Meade 70mm AZ Refractor. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to spend the money for one when I think that for all practical purposes my SW 120 ED frac could probably give an 8 inch SCT a run for it’s money for most average seeing nights that I have. And the Z12 dob would surpass it greatly when it comes to going deeper and resolving more. Soooo! 😐

#39 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 78948
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 11 April 2019 - 11:30 PM

For me, an SCT fits nicely on a GOTO mount that tracks.

 

Don't you get tired of crawling around and craning your neck to find stuff?grin.gif

 

My SCT tracks and go-to's MUCH, MUCH better than my Dob...  The thought has crossed my mind to ditch the 12" Dob and get a C11.

poke.gif

 

Jaimo!

 

A few thoughts:

 

I have owned a few GO-TO mounts but only used their tracking ability. I did use my GC-5 ASGT to find NGC 2301 for the first time but other than that, I'm 100% star hopper. There's no other reason that I star hop other than the fact that I just truly enjoying star hopping. Bright urban skies or dark skies, I star hop. 

 

My scopes are optimized for star hopping and based on m experiences with SCTs and Dobs, Dobs are really much better for star hopping.  Part of this is the stable manual alt-az mount that's easy to move about the night sky, part of this is the fast focal ratio that allows for a wide field of view, and part of it just is.  One thing about star hopping, the more you do it, the better you get. 

 

As far as tracking, I do have a high quality Equatorial platform that will handle scopes up to 18 inches, it weighs less than 30 pounds, about 6 inches tall, has dual axis drives and autoguiding. But the reality is that for most purposes I prefer manual tracking.  There's an intimate relationship with the scope. I can track quite easily at magnifications up to about 500x, it gets trickier at higher mags but doable. With larger scopes, because of the longer length and lever arm, higher mags are easier. 

 

6344666-10 inch Dob on EQ platform.jpg

 

As far as craning my neck.. This is not a problem for me. I spend time setting up my finders so they're comfortable to use. The RACI is mounted so the eyepiece is within a short but comfortable distance from the main eyepiece, easy to work back and forth.  When one is star hopping, good finders that are optimized for comfort and effectiveness are very important. I may be the owner of the only 24 mm TeleVue Widefield with cross hairs.

 

If I wanted a medium sized GOTO scope, it would probably be an SCT, Dob GOTOs are pretty clunky.

 

I am not saying Dobs are the be all and end all. There's lots of reasons to own and use the many varied scopes designs and mounts. The most important things an amateur astronomer can discover are what and how they prefer to observe and the right equipment to do it with.. 

 

Jon


  • Sarkikos, gfstallin and Spikey131 like this

#40 Brent Campbell

Brent Campbell

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 786
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Olympia, WA

Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:02 AM

For awhile I gave up my refractor and I only used my SCT.  I don’t regret those years but my life is better with a refractor and an sct.  No one Scope can do it all.  I currently own two nice refractors (was going to sell my express 80 but I just don’t want to right now even though I just purchased the Stellarvue).  One Scope fills in the gaps where the other one falls down.

 

i agree about the impracticality of a large refractor.  I have no interest in getting a refractor larger than my 4 inch.  It would require too much mount.  If I had that kind of money it would be better spent purchasing an even larger sct mak or reflector. These options are way cheaper than a 6 inch apo and I could at least load them into my truck without a crane.


  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#41 PXR-5

PXR-5

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 32276
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2008
  • Loc: NC

Posted 13 April 2019 - 07:43 PM

I like all scopes, but I like short tubes because the EP does not move dramatically.
So, that basically only gives me two choices, the SCT/MCT and a short tube frac.

So SCTs, MCTs go deep and are good for planetary, they do everything for me except wide field, the ST80 and binoculars cover that.

I love Newts, but my back no longer does :(

Edited by PXR-5, 13 April 2019 - 08:26 PM.


#42 Classic8

Classic8

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1097
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Naperville, IL, USA

Posted 23 April 2019 - 03:53 PM

I started with an SCT, tried a few refractors and went back to Cats. The 80mm refractors were convenient but no more so than the 4" mak, with less aperture and more weight/length. The 4" refractor was okay but was at best on a par with the more convenient fork-mounted and driven 8" SCT.  The 120mm refractor was no better than the easier to handle 7" mak (not the heavy Meade one) and didn't show any more in general, and showed less on fainter objects. So when I use a scope it's either a 10" SCT, a 7" mak, or my grab and go 4" mak on a small mount. If I had the money to buy an Astrophysics or Takahashi maybe I would change my mind.



#43 Migwan

Migwan

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1424
  • Joined: 24 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Meeechigan

Posted 23 April 2019 - 08:10 PM

Wouldn't think of being without both of them.  jd


Edited by Migwan, 23 April 2019 - 08:11 PM.


#44 Migwan

Migwan

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1424
  • Joined: 24 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Meeechigan

Posted 23 April 2019 - 08:12 PM

Failed attachment. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1100.jpg


#45 Scott Beith

Scott Beith

    SRF

  • *****
  • Posts: 47401
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Frederick, MD

Posted 23 April 2019 - 09:15 PM

As a hardcore refractor freak I can tell all of you that my retirement "observatory scope" will be a C14 Edge HD.  For observing globs and planetary nebulae you can't beat quality aperture.


  • John O'Grady, JMKarian, Tyson M and 1 other like this

#46 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3650
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: 53 degrees North

Posted 23 April 2019 - 09:33 PM

As a hardcore refractor freak I can tell all of you that my retirement "observatory scope" will be a C14 Edge HD.  For observing globs and planetary nebulae you can't beat quality aperture.

I bet that scope will absolutely blow you away.  It will be interesting to hear your reports once your acquire one.


Edited by Tyson M, 23 April 2019 - 09:33 PM.

  • Scott Beith likes this

#47 Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1640
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posted 23 April 2019 - 11:18 PM

Had my C8 since 2000 and my ES 102 triplet since 2018. I do mostly EAA now and find value in both scope types. I often EAA same time with both scopes on my AZEQ 5.

#48 luxo II

luxo II

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1075
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 24 April 2019 - 04:58 AM

IMHO choose the right scope for the task - and there are three or four different ones.

- imaging DSOs - small fast refractors, some RCs...
- imaging moon and planets - long focal lengths reign supreme;
- visual observing of DSOs - assuming one has dark skies - aperture is king and extreme magnification is not required - a big dob is the usual answer;
- visual observing moon and planets (dark skies not required) - excellent seeing and extreme magnification are key, ie long focal length - long focal ratio newtonians, classical xassegrains, premium maksutovs reign though most will be using an SCT.

Edited by luxo II, 24 April 2019 - 05:00 AM.

  • mrsjeff likes this

#49 schmeah

schmeah

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5247
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Morristown, NJ

Posted 24 April 2019 - 05:31 AM

IMHO choose the right scope for the task - and there are three or four different ones.

- imaging DSOs - small fast refractors, some RCs...
 

Except that more than 90% (a guess) of all targets accessible to amateurs are better captured with long FL scopes than refractors.

 

I am curious. For  astrophotographers who have years of experience with both refractors and long FL scopes, what percentage of the time do they image with each?

 

Derek



#50 luxo II

luxo II

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1075
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:38 AM

Mmm.. most images seem to be from small refractors 70-130mm f/5 to f/7.


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics