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4-5” reflector recommendation

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#1 Mick Christopher

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 10:45 AM

Can any of you recommend a quality 4 to 5 inch small reflector? I’ve looked at the Celestron’s and Meade’s etc... but all the reviews say they’re terrible. This telescope would just be to view the moon and possibly double stars with the little ones (and for me of course), and perhaps do the AL lunar observing program. I already have an 8” and 10” but this would be to keep on the back deck for when I want a quick peek at something notable. Thanks for the time 🙂
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#2 Augustus

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 10:48 AM

AWB OneSky.


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#3 Ken Watts

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 11:04 AM

I have a couple of older Meade 114mm f/8's.  For less than $100 for both, I can't complain.  The mounts however are the real limiting factor.


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#4 petert913

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 11:05 AM

Yes, the "Astronomers Without Borders" reflector is a surprisingly good little scope. And some of the

proceeds benefit charity.


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#5 havasman

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 11:28 AM

+1 on the AWB OneSky.

 

I was surprised at how well it works. At 14 pounds total, it might be just what you're looking for.


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#6 Spikey131

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 11:44 AM

Budget?  

 

What mount will you use?



#7 Binojunky

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 12:11 PM

The AWB One Sky is fine for the money but its burdened with an very poor helical focuser, preferable is the Lightbridge 130 , discontinued but still available from some dealers, the Zhumell 130, the best of the bunch IMHO or the slightly smaller  Zhumell 114 , very similar to the Orion Starblast but less money, the Zhumell is also sold as the Edmund Astroscan Millenium, D.


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#8 dmgriff

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 03:07 PM

The Orion 4.5 in f/8 dobsonian could be an option. Seems to get good reviews on the optics here on CN. Lightwieght. I believe the focuser is plastic, but, it should be ok with normal weight 1.25in eps. 

 

If the moon with a 4 -5 in reflector is the ojective, this little scope should do a decent job. 

 

I have not used the Orion, however, I do have a 4.5in f/8, and I think they are capable little scopes.

 

Good viewing,

 

Dave


Edited by dmgriff, 15 June 2019 - 03:09 PM.

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#9 Magnetic Field

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 03:42 PM

AWB OneSky.

Had to google it your recommendation.

 

But do you really think a $199 reflector will have good optics?

 

One of the requirements of the OP is optical quality:

 

"’I've looked at the Celestron’s and Meade’s etc... but all the reviews say they’re terrible"


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#10 Magnetic Field

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 03:45 PM

Can any of you recommend a quality 4 to 5 inch small reflector? I’ve looked at the Celestron’s and Meade’s etc... but all the reviews say they’re terrible. This telescope would just be to view the moon and possibly double stars with the little ones (and for me of course), and perhaps do the AL lunar observing program. I already have an 8” and 10” but this would be to keep on the back deck for when I want a quick peek at something notable. Thanks for the time

 

I would go with a 5" Maksutov if you only want the moon an double stars.

 

Yes, I know you did not post your inquiry in the Cats&Casses forum. Still, the Maksutov would be your best option.


Edited by Magnetic Field, 15 June 2019 - 03:54 PM.

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#11 Mick Christopher

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 04:41 PM

It looks like the AWB OneSky will be the way to go given what I'll be using it for. I'm surprised it didn't turn up in any of my searches so thank you for the recommendations. I have the perfect stool to clamp it down on, and it will be a good height for my viewing chair. Cheers!


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 05:50 PM

If you are willing to buy used and willing to wait patiently..

 

The Celestron C4.5.  It a 114 mm F/8 manufactured by Vixen in the 1990s.  The mount is the Vixen Polaris, one of the best small mounts ever built., 

 

3762931-c4point5 CN.jpg
 
Jon

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#13 clearwaterdave

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 06:48 PM

The Onesky is a fine scope. I have no problem with the focuser.,and the mount is quite stable.,Some of my best spent astro money.,cheers.,

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#14 Magnetic Field

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 05:14 AM

The Onesky is a fine scope. I have no problem with the focuser.,and the mount is quite stable.,Some of my best spent astro money.,cheers.,

How easy it is to track objects at high magnifications?

 

Is this knob an eyepiece or slow motion control knob?



#15 clearwaterdave

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 06:19 AM

It's plenty easy to track at higher power.,at least no harder than any manual ALT/AZ mounted scope.,and probably easier than most $200 tripod mounted scopes.,There is no other scope in the $200 price range that has gotten any where near as much attention as the Onesky on this forum., This alone speaks volumes.,

  I read many times of folks buying $1000 scopes and replacing the stock focuser right away.,We all have or own opinion as to what is exceptable and what is not.,cheers


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#16 Magnetic Field

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 06:28 AM

It's plenty easy to track at higher power.,at least no harder than any manual ALT/AZ mounted scope.,and probably easier than most $200 tripod mounted scopes.,There is no other scope in the $200 price range that has gotten any where near as much attention as the Onesky on this forum., This alone speaks volumes.,

  I read many times of folks buying $1000 scopes and replacing the stock focuser right away.,We all have or own opinion as to what is exceptable and what is not.,cheers

I think Jon had the best advice although I still think the Maksutov would be better because of no collimation fear hassles.

 

The only caveat: as a buyer I don't want to wait 10 years until the Polaris mount 114mm reflector combo comes up on the market place.

 

I don't know if the OP has a veranda or driveway. But what would be different between his 8" Dob and the mini Dob? Cool down? Both are set up in no time. And both require collimation. Why settle for less?



#17 clearwaterdave

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 06:53 AM

Collimation is no harder than tying your shoe.,Why it is always portraited as a hassle is beyond me.,As for ease of set up.,I can carry the OS out with one hand.,I can't do that with my dob.,We don't know the OP's circumstances so we can't say why they may wish to "settle for less".,cheers


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 07:16 AM

Collimation is no harder than tying your shoe.,Why it is always portraited as a hassle is beyond me.,As for ease of set up.,I can carry the OS out with one hand.,I can't do that with my dob.,We don't know the OP's circumstances so we can't say why they may wish to "settle for less".,cheers

A few thoughts:

 

- For me, it's one trip versus two trips. Except that something to mount the OneSky is at least a second trip, if I actually own something stable enough.  A normal table just doesn't work.  It's got to be stable enough for 300x plus (double stars) and it's got to allow comfortable access to all parts of the sky.  

 

- Collimation is relatively easy for scope as short as the Onesky if you have the right tools and are not sure critical about perfect collimation.   Being able to look through the collimation cap and adjust the primary is a major advantage.  

 

- The Onesky focuser is marginal, especially compared to the GSO two speed that is stock on many Dobs. The upper cage assembly is plastic and not as rigid as is ought to be.  Furthermore, the focuser and the upper cage cannot be replaced without a serious effort.  

 

- I have owned two Onesky's and numerous 130mm F/5 Newtonians.  My favorite was my first, an Orion SpaceProbe 130ST that had a 2 inch GSO focuser.  It did a good job on doubles and the planets but I don't think it would be my choice if I wanted a 4-5 inch Planetary Double star scope.  Doubles and planets require a scope that is fully cooled down and these scopes, even in a mild climate like San Diego, take most of an hour to thermally stabilize.  

 

One night, I wanted to compare a Orion 127 mm Starmax with an Orion 120mm Eon, a 120mm F/7.5 ED refractor.  I was trying to figure out what was going on with the Mak.. Since I had a 130mm F/5 Newtonian OTA, I thought I would add it to the mix.  Unfortunately, it's cooling issue took it out of the mix.  

 

In a 4 inch for the doubles and the planets, a 4 inch or 5 inch refractor is about ideal.  If it's not an ed/apo, then a longer focal length achromat is the way to go.  A Mak would probably be the second choice, as much as it hurts to say that.

 

Jon


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#19 clearwaterdave

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 08:15 AM

To me.,.the only problem with the O.S. is that the birdies are upside down.,cheers.,cool.gif ,,

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#20 aeajr

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 08:29 AM

Can any of you recommend a quality 4 to 5 inch small reflector? I’ve looked at the Celestron’s and Meade’s etc... but all the reviews say they’re terrible. This telescope would just be to view the moon and possibly double stars with the little ones (and for me of course), and perhaps do the AL lunar observing program. I already have an 8” and 10” but this would be to keep on the back deck for when I want a quick peek at something notable. Thanks for the time

Just curious why you want a reflector.   A 90 mm to 102 mm (4") refractor would be my choice for the use you describe.

 

  • No cool down or warm up. 
  • No collimation. 
  • No central obstruction. 
  • Can be used day or night
  • More intuitive for young ones.
  • Also travels well in the car for quick hops to the park or vacation.  

 

I would have thought more to something like this Celestron 102.  

 

Celestron Omni XLT 102mm AltAz refractor - all up around 14 pounds -  $289
Includes a 25 mm eyepiece,  Red dot finder, slow motion controls, correct image focuser for day or night use
You would want to add a second eyepiece, perhaps a 10 mm, and a 2X barlow which I presume you have.
https://www.amazon.c...actor telescope
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=2oiPcZy2SQc

 

 

Or perhaps a small Dob that the kids can eventually takeover.  You have no signature with your equipment and you don't say what kind of 8" and 10" you have but I am guessing they are Dobs. 

 

You don't say how little the little ones are but if they feel this is their scope they may like it even more.  Let them put stickers on it or put their names on it.   A smaller version of yours.  Leave it on the floor for them or put it up on a box for you.   Maybe set it up next to one of yours for shared viewing. 

 

 

Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Kit - Classic Dobsonian Telescope with extras.  - 18 pounds – $279 –
Includes more than the basic scope which has 4.5”/114 mm, 2 eyepieces, finder scope.  To this they add a 2X barlow for higher magnification, Planisphere, red flashlight, moon map and an observers guide. 
All things to help you get started right.  The mount sits on the floor or a short table and is VERY stable and very easy to use.
https://www.telescop...s?keyword=XT4.5
Review
http://www.thetelesc...skyquest-xt4-5/
https://www.cloudyni...xt45/?p=5671360
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=-SAnFX8IKPY
https://www.telescop...yPriceAscending


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#21 Eddgie

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:06 AM

I would not recommend a 4"  Newtonian reflector.  These generally have very small secondary mirrors which limit them to 1.25" eyepieces, so you get very narrow field of view.  Once you go below 5", I recommend a refractor.

 

The best (in my opinion of course) 5" reflector money can buy is the Intes Micro MN56.   While mass produced scopes will have optics that range across the quality spectrum, the MN56 will have excellent optics and will match the performance of many 5" refractors and beat all of the 5" MCTs on planets and have a decently wide field of view that is quite sharp out to the edge of the eyepiece field of view.

 

At 5",  I don't think you will find another reflector or CAT that is going to perform better than the MN56.

 

Use the Wanted function on CN Classifieds and sooner or later, one will turn up.

 

Another good 5", if you can find one, is the Skywatcher 130PDS.   This scope has a nice size secondary and a good 2", 2 speed Crayford focuser.  Again, since most smaller reflectors have a very small secondary, the field illumination will fall off is you use very long focal lenght wide field eyepieces.  If you are in brighter skies, this will give view a slightly vignetted look if the secondary mirror is not big enough.  Many of these inexpensive 5" scopes will use a diagonal that only illuminates a 4mm or 5mm image circle.   The 130PDS illuminates a 14mm or so image circle and works well with very low power eyepieces under dark skies.  These are somewhat rare, but I found an excellent used one recently on CN Classifieds.


Edited by Eddgie, 16 June 2019 - 09:08 AM.

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#22 Magnetic Field

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:23 AM

Just curious why you want a reflector.   A 90 mm to 102 mm (4") refractor would be my choice for the use you describe.

 

  • No cool down or warm up. 
  • No collimation. 
  • No central obstruction. 
  • Can be used day or night
  • More intuitive for young ones.
  • Also travels well in the car for quick hops to the park or vacation.  

 

I would have thought more to something like this Celestron 102.  

 

Celestron Omni XLT 102mm AltAz refractor - all up around 14 pounds -  $289
Includes a 25 mm eyepiece,  Red dot finder, slow motion controls, correct image focuser for day or night use
You would want to add a second eyepiece, perhaps a 10 mm, and a 2X barlow which I presume you have.
https://www.amazon.c...actor telescope
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=2oiPcZy2SQc

 

 

Or perhaps a small Dob that the kids can eventually takeover.  You have no signature with your equipment and you don't say what kind of 8" and 10" you have but I am guessing they are Dobs. 

 

You don't say how little the little ones are but if they feel this is their scope they may like it even more.  Let them put stickers on it or put their names on it.   A smaller version of yours.  Leave it on the floor for them or put it up on a box for you.   Maybe set it up next to one of yours for shared viewing. 

 

 

Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Kit - Classic Dobsonian Telescope with extras.  - 18 pounds – $279 –
Includes more than the basic scope which has 4.5”/114 mm, 2 eyepieces, finder scope.  To this they add a 2X barlow for higher magnification, Planisphere, red flashlight, moon map and an observers guide. 
All things to help you get started right.  The mount sits on the floor or a short table and is VERY stable and very easy to use.
https://www.telescop...s?keyword=XT4.5
Review
http://www.thetelesc...skyquest-xt4-5/
https://www.cloudyni...xt45/?p=5671360
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=-SAnFX8IKPY
https://www.telescop...yPriceAscending

I think there is an implied limit on funds in the OP's original post.

 

This rules out a refractor. An achromat should be a thing of the past especially (as the OP requires) for moon and (lesser degree) double stars.

 

If money is not an issue OP how about a 90mm ED apochromat? Or even a 4" ED apo? 

 

(In the past I often recommended the Vixen VMC 110L,  but I cannot recommend that crap any more and thread will follow in the next few weeks).


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#23 Magnetic Field

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:25 AM

I would not recommend a 4"  Newtonian reflector.  These generally have very small secondary mirrors which limit them to 1.25" eyepieces, so you get very narrow field of view.  Once you go below 5", I recommend a refractor.

 

The best (in my opinion of course) 5" reflector money can buy is the Intes Micro MN56.   While mass produced scopes will have optics that range across the quality spectrum, the MN56 will have excellent optics and will match the performance of many 5" refractors and beat all of the 5" MCTs on planets and have a decently wide field of view that is quite sharp out to the edge of the eyepiece field of view.

 

At 5",  I don't think you will find another reflector or CAT that is going to perform better than the MN56.

 

Use the Wanted function on CN Classifieds and sooner or later, one will turn up.

 

Another good 5", if you can find one, is the Skywatcher 130PDS.   This scope has a nice size secondary and a good 2", 2 speed Crayford focuser.  Again, since most smaller reflectors have a very small secondary, the field illumination will fall off is you use very long focal lenght wide field eyepieces.  If you are in brighter skies, this will give view a slightly vignetted look if the secondary mirror is not big enough.  Many of these inexpensive 5" scopes will use a diagonal that only illuminates a 4mm or 5mm image circle.   The 130PDS illuminates a 14mm or so image circle and works well with very low power eyepieces under dark skies.  These are somewhat rare, but I found an excellent used one recently on CN Classifieds.

The OP wants a telescope for high power moon and double stars.


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#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:48 AM

This rules out a refractor. An achromat should be a thing of the past especially (as the OP requires) for moon and (lesser degree) double stars.

 

If money is not an issue OP how about a 90mm ED apochromat? Or even a 4" ED apo?

 

This is how I see it:  

 

An 102mm F/10 achromat does a good job on the moon and a good job on doubles.  It is thermally stable, and has the advantages of no central obstruction.  When actually measured, the CO of small, affordable Maks is around 40%... (ETX-125, Starmax 127 for example.)  There is chromatic aberration but a 4 inch F/10 achromat is not far from the Sidgwick limit and any scope in this price range is a compromise.  

 

A 4 inch apo/ed is the ideal solution but very likely beyond the budget, certainly more expensive than the other scopes under discussion.

 

Jon


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#25 Magnetic Field

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:58 AM

This is how I see it:  

 

An 102mm F/10 achromat does a good job on the moon and a good job on doubles.  It is thermally stable, and has the advantages of no central obstruction.  When actually measured, the CO of small, affordable Maks is around 40%... (ETX-125, Starmax 127 for example.)  There is chromatic aberration but a 4 inch F/10 achromat is not far from the Sidgwick limit and any scope in this price range is a compromise.  

 

A 4 inch apo/ed is the ideal solution but very likely beyond the budget, certainly more expensive than the other scopes under discussion.

 

Jon

Long time ago I owned a Vixen 4" f/10 achromat made in Japan.

 

Never liked the strong blue fringe around moon and the planets.

 

I shortly owned a 5" Meade ETX UHTC Maksutov. Features on planets really started to show.  No comparison to a crappy false colour ladden 4" achromat.

 

And I wish to add: It was impossible to observe Mars with the Vixen 4" f/10 achromat. Post #175 and the link therein that confirms my experience: https://www.cloudyni...teed-fan/page-7


Edited by Magnetic Field, 16 June 2019 - 10:03 AM.



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