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What is your limit?

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#1 treadmarks



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 12:53 PM

If there's one thing CN is good for, it's a debate about telescopes. Consensus agreement is hardly ever reached, threads die, new ones start, and the cycle continues. To me, an ignorant newbie astronomer, I am incapable of understanding the passion behind these opinions. I'm pretty happy with almost any telescope I'm looking through.


So to understand these positions better, and to maybe put a bottom-line on the opinions held, I have a question and it's maybe not the one you're expecting.  No, this is actually a diabolical, underhanded attempt to push you to your breaking point and question your very existence as an amateur astronomer. Be warned, some may find this topic unsettling.


And now, the question: if someone took away your APOs, your Dobs the size of grain silos, your Ethos eyepieces, your night-vision goggles never to be seen again forever, would you up and quit? What is the "worst" equipment you would use without majorly impacting your interest in the hobby?


If you're a Big Dob fan, could you amuse yourself night after night with a 3" refractor or 5" OneSky? If you're a super deluxe premium APO fan, could you lower yourself all the way to a plebian achromat or an SCT? If you're a CAT fancier, would you sleep in the doghouse or would you get a divorce from amateur astronomy?

#2 rustynpp


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

The single biggest limiting variable for me is the opportunity to observe. If you told me I could trade in all my scopes, EPs, etc for a pair of 10x50 binocs, dark skies, and unlimited observing time, I'd do it in a heartbeat.


But because I live in the real world and have strict restrictions on how much I can observe and the skies under which I live, I make the most of this hobby by making sure my gear doesn't hold me back on the rare occasions I can get out under a dark, moonless, cloudless sky. Not to say I have the best of everything, but I have the best of what I can afford right now.

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#3 msl615


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:06 PM

I would go back to how this all started years ago for me in Boy Scouts and dark skies while camping: A decent 7x50 bino and away we go.



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#4 Slartibartfast


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:07 PM

If my lost my dobs, I think I would go into a funk for a few months, maybe even a year.  I'd be depressed and mope about.  But, eventually, I think the night sky would call to me and I wouldn't be able to take it anymore and I'd find myself out observing with anything I could get my hands on.

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#5 StrStrck



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:14 PM

I would finally resort to a reclining chair, a cold beer, and a contact lense for my left astigmatic eye.

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#6 bobito


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:15 PM

I don't think quality is a big problem for me (not that I have much ultra high end equipment).  But I could never go without having a large (12"+) scope.  Take all the rest of it and leave me with some Orthos and a 12+ scope and I'd be happy.  I have actually been thinking about doing this since my smaller Apo is easy to setup so I use it more often.  If I only had the one big scope I wouldn't be out as often, but I would be out more often with the big scope.  

When I go out with just my Apo I always end up thinking how much better most things I'm looking at would be with my 12" scope.

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#7 Luca Brasi

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:17 PM

I would say my 16x80 binoculars, but I feel they fall into the "great piece of equipment" category. I would have to say a 6" Newtonian would be my minimum requirement. Just enough scope to pick up the messier list and give nice views of Saturn.
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#8 Binojunky


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:21 PM

Considering the decline in my eyesight, my ability  to handle cold weather and the never ending light pollution I would gladly go back to the day when I stood out in a football field with a new pair of 7-15x35 Chinon zoom binoculars and zoomed in on the stars, it was 1972 in Suffolk UK while stationed at RAF Wattisham, happy days drinking the local beer, smoking like a chimney and chasing the local girls, waytogo.gif Dave.

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#9 Barlowbill



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:29 PM

Last night I looked at the extreme crescent moon just before it set with an ETX 90.  Later I took a look at Jupiter.  Blah!  I did see two moons but could barely perceive colors on Jup.  It reminded me why I don't ever bother with that scope.  I sure like the light weight though.  I could live with binoculars but I would miss my Dob.  I would say a 6" Dob would keep me wholly entertained.  Anything less than that and I would have to try to get rid of all the stuff I have.   

#10 scngc7317



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:31 PM

I would be ready for the Big Dirt Nap flowerred.gif



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#11 Ishtim


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:52 PM

To quote my neighbor some years ago:

"Why do you need all this stuff when you can just look at it on the internet?"


Minimally speaking, I am just one of those folks that likes to be outside day or night.  Quite often I'll just lie down in the driveway and gaze into the heavens and wish upon shooting stars. 


After I have my imaging rigs going of course. lol.gif

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#12 Sketcher


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 01:53 PM

No limit!


The equipment doesn't matter.  It's all about getting outside and seeing what one can see using whatever one happens to have available to use.


My worst telescope has to be a 42mm singlet (that's right, a single-element objective -- not even an achromat) refractor.  At f/14.3 the chromatic aberration is still extremely severe.  So much so that noticeably more detail can be seen on the moon when the scope is stopped down to a 1/2-inch aperture.  But even at 1/2-inch (f/47) the CA remains very obvious.


I've had enjoyable sessions with that scope (even observing galaxies!).  If that was the only telescope I could use, I would still retain my interest and get out to see just how much I could see.  After all, I've kept that telescope -- and even gave it a name!


Worse case scenerio -- I would retain my interest even if I were restricted to naked-eye astronomy.

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#13 Mattimac


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 02:11 PM

I've been happy with just my eyeballs under a Bortle 1 sky.

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#14 wrvond



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 02:18 PM

The reason all the varieties of scopes exists, and the one thing everybody can agree on, is that no single scope "does it all". I use different scopes for different situations, different goals, and different targets. If the scopes that allow me to easily view DSO's were taken away, then obviously I would no longer look at DSO's. That wouldn't stop me from planetary views though.

So as each type of telescope was removed, I'd drop back to the next level of skyward gazing until I arrived at the Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball. Which I still occasionally use when the situation warrants.

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#15 bobzeq25



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 02:21 PM

For visual, I have no limit.


If I'm going to invest many hours in a single image, I want the equipment to be at least decent.  No ST80s.  <grin>

#16 Astrojensen


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Posted 05 June 2019 - 02:22 PM

I spend quite a bit of time just looking at the naked eye sky, so even a pair of binoculars could keep me occupied for years - as they did, when I was a kid. And I still use my 63mm Zeiss Telemator (achromat) all the time, also for deep-sky observing to about mag. 12, so a decent binocular and my 63mm Zeiss and a set of good orthos and I'm golden. Even a 50mm achromat (of good quality) could keep me happy for a long time, if it was all I could get my hands on. I used a 50mm Zeiss as my main scope for some years and never seemed to run out of things to look at. 



Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

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#17 rowdy388



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 03:21 PM

The fancy equipment comes after the desire to observe. Take equipment away and the desire is still there.

For me anyway. May not be true for anyone obsessed with equipment instead of observing.

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#18 jgraham



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Posted 05 June 2019 - 05:42 PM

Quit?!? Heck no! If I had to I'd just pull up a chair in my backyard and enjoy the view! I recently did just that on a trip to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I brought some gear with me, but to be honest I thoroughly enjoyed observing the wonderfully dark skies with just my eyes. Also, with all that new found space in my garage I could restart my gear collection. :)


Have fun!

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#19 starman876


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Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:46 AM

I would use the 120mm binoculars if I had to give up everything else.

#20 buddy ny

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 08:12 AM

Push comes to shove
All else fails.
The Astrocan

#21 OldManSky



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Posted 06 June 2019 - 08:32 AM

Oh, I think you *do* understand the passion, OP.

I mean, come on...Ford vs. Chevy, Mac vs. PC, chocolate vs. vanilla, and so on.  People like the things they like, they're passionate about them, and they don't like it when other people like something else. :)


And that applies to all of us, myself included.  Even if/when we try to give what we think is a logical, reasonable argument for our position, it's colored by bias and emotion and irrationality.

Which is fine.

And all we can really do is offer up our opinions, try to back them up with at least a few facts, and then try to remember not to get upset when somebody doesn't agree with us...because they're not us.


Anyway, as to the last part of your post...


I got "excited" about astronomy, despite having been exposed to cool telescopes as a kid (granfather had a 6" Criterion Newt on a motorized mount back in the 60's, and took pictures with it!) from my wife getting me a cheap-as-dirt, lousy-optics, shaky-tripod Tasco 60mm refractor.  Because I'd mostly forgotten my exposure as a kid, and even with the cheap, murky, shaky, lousy view through the Tasco, when I saw Jupiter and Saturn through it, I knew then and there I wanted more.


I still have the Tasco OTA.  It's pretty much useless -- I'd have to come up with some way to mount it, I don't have any .965" eyepieces, the focuser slips like crazy, etc.  But I keep it.  And, hell, I might just do the work to be able to look through it one of these days.  Because it's not just the thing that got me into a pastime I dearly love, it's simply a telescope.  And I love telescopes.  I'll take a lousy, plasticky, murky view through a cheap 60mm Tasco over no view of the stars *any day.*  


No limit.  Just lemme look. :)

#22 Asbytec


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Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:00 AM

I've been happy with just my eyeballs under a Bortle 1 sky.

You know, there is a lot of truth to that. My best ever view of an edge on galaxy was our own Milky Way naked eye. Laying under it one very early morning, I felt I could perceive 3D depth between nearby resolved stars and the bright star clouds beyond. Stunning and memorable.

As for the debates, I actually enjoy them. Lot of good info. I think learning about our equipment and our observing physiology is as interesting as it is natural.

Minimum limit? I guess a 6" reflector or CAT with descent optics. I had a blast with one (a MCT) that spanned a decade. I have not worn it out. If limited to a minimum scope, I'd keep at it until I wear it or myself out. I could live with that.

#23 Sarkikos



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Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:01 AM

As long as the optics and mechanics of the telescope are decent - not perfect, just decent - I can have a happy time with just about any telescope.  I've seen thousands of objects in my telescopes, but I haven't seen all the objects that each telescope can see through each telescope.  So there's always something else to sustain my interest.  


... and then there's the binoculars!  :grin:



Edited by Sarkikos, 06 June 2019 - 09:02 AM.

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#24 treadmarks



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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:27 AM

I've been happy with just my eyeballs under a Bortle 1 sky.

Absolutely, a dark starry sky is impressive. It amazes me how many people say their activity level would be the same even if they only had binoculars. I don't doubt there are a lot of people on CN who would be out looking at the stars every clear night.


But honestly from my POV, without a telescope then things like planets and globular clusters become a lot less interesting and I wouldn't spend as much time observing as I do currently. I would probably be cutting most of the planetary sessions, and for me spring is globular season, so my spring observing would be lessened considerably as well.

#25 SeaBee1



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Posted 06 June 2019 - 11:22 AM

While I certainly agree with all the postings that say even just the Mk I eyeball observing is enough to get them out, and it would me if that's all I had, I do like the equipment I own... it ain't the best or most glamorous, but I use it when I can, and they know they are loved...

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