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Upgrade Telescope Suggestions?

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#1 Bambham

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 12:42 AM

Good Evening All,

 

My daughter and I are thinking of upgrading our scope! YAY! we have been using an Orion Space Probe 130ST reflector for quite a while now and we have the upgrade bug! Here is a list of our current setup...

 

Orion Space Probe 130ST Reflector: https://www.telescop...S&keyword=130ST

 

25mm, 12.5mm, 10mm, 7.5mm Sirius Plossl Eyepieces: https://www.telescop.../sc/47/e/51.uts

 

Orion Tri-Mag 3x Barlow Lens: https://www.telescop...c/41/p/8704.uts

 

Orion 80A Filter: https://www.telescop.../48/p/99590.uts

 

Orion 13% transmission Moon Filter: https://www.telescop.../sc/48/e/13.uts

 

We would LOVE to get ideas of what to upgrade to next! There is nothing wrong with the scope we have now and will most likely continue to use it, I think we both have a touch of the upgrade bug lol! My budget for upgrading is approximately $1000 - $1300 or so... give or take. We are just really sky travelers and look at any and everything we can. We have started writing down things we find and have actually collected quite a list of stuff. We have not tried astrophotography yet and honestly it seems like it would be quite the hassle and take the fun away.

 

Anyways,... what's a good suggestion you guys are thinking for a upgrade from our current scope? Cant wait to see what you guys suggest! Thanks in advance and Clear Skies!

 

 

 


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#2 Taosmath

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 01:06 AM

I think we need more information.  Like:

  • What do you want to look at - Planets & Moon? Double Stars ? Deep sky Objects(Galaxies, clusters, Nebulae)? Widefield?
  • Do you want to have computerized system or is manual OK?
  • Is a used system OK or do you have to have a new unit?
  • Can you leave your scope set up?  Can you wheel it out from your garage into your Yard?  Do you need to pack it in the car to take somewhere?
  • How old is your daughter - i.e. How tall is she?  Can she Observe with an eyepiece that's 5' off the ground?

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#3 db2005

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 01:07 AM

From the top of my head:

  • A laser collimator might make the collimation process easier but is not strictly necessary if you are used to collimating under the stars. Since the 130ST is a fast scope, it's sensitive to poor collimation.
  • A sturdier mount and tripod (like an EQ-3 or even an EQ-5 or an Orion Skyview Pro mount) will add significantly to the stability of the scope at the cost of also adding some weight. The importance of a sturdy mount cannot be overstated, as a vibration-free view will allow you to observe much more challenging targets more easily. Some targets that I find challenging in a 100 mm scope on a wobbly mount are dead-easy in my 81mm on a sturdy mount. That's how important a sturdy mount is, IME. The added benefit of upgrading the mount is that can also be used for another scope later.
  • One or two high-quality wide-field eyepieces, preferably with long eye relief. They add so much to making observations comfortable so one can concentrate on observing rather than having to fiddle with one's eye position. Since it's a fast scope it's worthwhile to spend some extra $ on the eyepieces.

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#4 Bambham

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 01:13 AM

•What do you want to look at - Planets & Moon? Double Stars ? Deep sky Objects(Galaxies, clusters, Nebulae)? Widefield?

-- We tend to look at anything and everything. A lot of times we will just cruise around and find something and try to identify it. Its a fun game we play and it helps us learn all sorts of different things. We are not fixated on one thing or another, just look for what the night lets us see.

•Do you want to have computerized system or is manual OK?

-- Manual is ok. We have been doing it manual all this time anyways, and honestly, I think it would kind of take some of the fun away if it just went to thing for you.

•Is a used system OK or do you have to have a new unit?

-- Used is fine, New is fine too. I am not that great with used things to be able to tell if its worth its salt or not,... Were both still kind of new in that department, as all we really have used is our scope.

•Can you leave your scope set up?  Can you wheel it out from your garage into your Yard?  Do you need to pack it in the car to take somewhere?

-- Yup we can leave it set up in the garage. I can build a stand or something for it if needed, I have ample room to store it and I have a large truck so transporting it should not be an issue.

•How old is your daughter - i.e. How tall is she?  Can she Observe with an eyepiece that's 5' off the ground?

-- my daughters 14. She's grown enough to be tall enough for 5' easily.

 

 

Any Good Scope Ideas?


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#5 Bambham

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 01:49 AM

 

From the top of my head:

  • A laser collimator might make the collimation process easier but is not strictly necessary if you are used to collimating under the stars. Since the 130ST is a fast scope, it's sensitive to poor collimation.
  • A sturdier mount and tripod (like an EQ-3 or even an EQ-5 or an Orion Skyview Pro mount) will add significantly to the stability of the scope at the cost of also adding some weight. The importance of a sturdy mount cannot be overstated, as a vibration-free view will allow you to observe much more challenging targets more easily. Some targets that I find challenging in a 100 mm scope on a wobbly mount are dead-easy in my 81mm on a sturdy mount. That's how important a sturdy mount is, IME. The added benefit of upgrading the mount is that can also be used for another scope later.
  • One or two high-quality wide-field eyepieces, preferably with long eye relief. They add so much to making observations comfortable so one can concentrate on observing rather than having to fiddle with one's eye position. Since it's a fast scope it's worthwhile to spend some extra $ on the eyepieces.

 

I was hoping to get suggestions on an upgrade of the telescope itself. Like what would be a good scope to go to next after the Orion Space Probe 130ST reflector, but I like the suggestion of a better mount,... the mount we have is kind of a pain in the ****! I actually filled the legs with sand to help give it some weight and sturdiness.


Edited by Bambham, 19 June 2019 - 01:49 AM.

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#6 db2005

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 01:58 AM

Since you write you will likely still be using your 130ST it makes good sense to look for a complimentary scope, i.e. either something significantly larger or significantly smaller than the one you already own. If going for a significantly larger scope, an 8-10" dob might be an option. If going smaller, an 3"-class ED refractor on a good alt-az mount is a great grab-and-go option, and will be great for wide-field observation too. Alt-az mounts are great for "sky-surfing" because it's easy to simply point them at something. EQ-mounts requires the observer to do a meridian flip every time you cross the sky's meridian, making sky surfing a bit more complicated.

 

Still, I'd strongly consider upgrading your current mount/tripod combination for your current scope. Not only will that allow you to utilize the scope to its full potential, it will also be a useful upgrade if/when you decide to upgrade your OTA later.


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#7 db2005

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 02:07 AM

I was hoping to get suggestions on an upgrade of the telescope itself. Like what would be a good scope to go to next after the Orion Space Probe 130ST reflector, but I like the suggestion of a better mount,... the mount we have is kind of a pain in the ****! I actually filled the legs with sand to help give it some weight and sturdiness.

Getting my first truly sturdy mount, an EQ-5 mount, was an eye-opener to me. Using a sturdy mount makes observing come to life in an almost entirely new way. It's probably the some of the best money I have spent in this hobby.



#8 Jond105

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 02:30 AM

If AP is something out the question, a nice size dob. 10-12”. More or less 10” and possible upgrade a few eyepieces. I think with a budget as yours, you could do a mount and refractor, but the 130mm is still good for use as your smaller scope. 

 

As mentioned a better mount mount for the 130 could go a long way as well Incase you ever want a refractor. But that said, I think you guys seem ready for bigger aperture and some wider field eyepieces. 


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#9 mrsjeff

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:54 AM

I think you guys seem ready for bigger aperture and some wider field eyepieces.


I think something like a 10” dob plus some EPs sounds like a great fit for you two.
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#10 kurbs

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 05:20 AM

This subject will bring tons of replies!  smile.gif I went through the same thing with my kids. Starting with an ETX90.

 

I like portability and fast setup and use.

 

I also like GOTO because Im older and lazier and kids like them much more than manually operated scopes. Nothing against big DOBS they view great. Portability is not always as easy in my opinion and storing them takes more space.

 

I have 2 5" MAKs, a 130 Newton like yours, ETX70 refractors, a Meade 102 Refractor, and a 8" SCT.

 

Coming off a 6" reflector I would say depending how often you will transport it and how easy you like setup and or ease of use, Dob is an easy setup. You will notice a large difference on the 10" as mentioned earlier. You will also notice a very nice difference with a 8" SCT. Its  a great aperture for most objects and can be easily reduced or used with any eyepiece.

 

None of my scopes are fully AP usable,  but they CAN and are used for short term pics and snapshots that come out fine. My suggestion would be a 8" SCT as a great compromise. The difference and sharpness these days are excellent.

 

Easy to store, set up, use and great optics these days. So depending on your room, car, and portability, I would suggest those 2.

 

If your budget is less, than a nice 10" Dob will show you quite a bit. They are always a blast to look through. In which case for the money, step up to a 10" and that aperture fever will be satisfied for a long time.


Edited by kurbs, 19 June 2019 - 05:26 AM.


#11 vdog

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:36 AM

+1 on the 10" dob.

 

This was my upgrade from an Orion 114mm reflector, and I've never regretted it.



#12 cuzimthedad

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 09:21 AM

+2 on the 10" dob. With the experience you already have, upgrading to 10" of aperture will be like seeing a small map of the Hawaiian Islands and then actually going there...well, almost. But you get the idea. Objects will really pop for you and with a UHC or OIII filter, you will be able to see detail in nebula that were only a hint in the 130. BTW, I think it's wonderful that you and your daughter are experiencing this together. Very cool yeah?



#13 Mitrovarr

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 10:46 AM

Yep, 8-12" dobsonian for sure. It's more powerful than your current scope by a level that will surprise you. Since you don't want goto a dob makes the most sense (otherwise you'd want to consider a SCT).

#14 vtornado

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:50 PM

I would probably go with an 8 inch dob, it will more than double your light grasp.

The mount although manual is rock stable compared to the 130

 

The only draw back I see is if you want to pack it up for a vacation, it might not fit in the car, if the car is also filled with kids,

luggage, golf clubs, beach toys ....

 

8 inches is very common and you could save a lot of money if you can find one on craig's list, or local pickup from this

site.

 

10 inches is better than 8, but of course larger maybe 50% larger, and if you go used it is hard to find locally.

I have a 10, and like it better than the 8 I had.  I had to wait a year before finding one locally.



#15 PPPPPP42

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 09:03 PM

On sale until 6/30 (I think) from our board sponsor:

 

https://www.astronom...-go-to-sct.html

And you will want this with it:

https://www.astronom...assegrains.html

 

That leaves some wiggle room in your budget for more stuff and gives you a scope that is good by itself  (no second scope needed) for everything except photography.

Anything really better than that setup costs something like $1000 more.

 

The 8se is also available on sale for less than $1000 but it would use up all your budget and the SE mount is really loaded up with that OTA, it fits the 6" much better.

Having used both the difference it what you can see is not huge unless you have good dark skies to see fainter stuff or want a lot more magnification for planetary.  The 8 can handle wider view eyepieces but then you are getting into 2" eyepieces which shoots the cost way up. You only use 1.25" eyepieces like you have already with the 6.

 

The other accessory you will need for the SE mount is one of the cords to plug it into a good 12v power source (unless you have a 110v outlet close enough) don't even bother trying to run it off its AA batteries.  I have the celestron power tank but a you could just get the 12v lighter plug in and use a car jumper box (or a car plugin) or pretty much anything you have lying around that's a reliable 12v.

 

Edit: In thinking about it I am not sure you would see a massive difference optically between your current scope and this one.  The 8SE might be a better choice and you could still get the extras under your $1300 max limit.  If you wanted a better mount down the road you can take the OTA off the mount with the 8SE and put it on basically anything.  The 8" OTA on the 8SE is the same one they use on the high end stuff, its not a low end starter optic at all so you won't outgrow it.  All your 1.25" stuff will also work on the 8" but it leaves the future option of 2" stuff for wide views.

$200 off from board sponsor:

https://www.astronom...-go-to-sct.html

And youll want one of these too https://www.astronom...with-notch.html


Edited by PPPPPP42, 19 June 2019 - 09:34 PM.


#16 N3p

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 09:32 PM

I would get something 8" minimum aperture with tracking. I think precise tracking is more then just an option, to be able to look at a target that is not moving, the telescope is not shaking, you only look at the target, at whatever the power. I highly appreciate that.

 

A telescope with a good quality dual speed focuser also, I think that's mandatory for planetary observation.

 

The tracking and the dual speed focuser, 2 very very useful and valuable expenditures, you appreciate the superior precision like driving a quality car.


Edited by N3p, 19 June 2019 - 09:34 PM.

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#17 hherbson

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 09:36 PM

I had the 8SE, sent it back because it was so shaky.  Every time I bumped it or touched the focuser, let out a sigh and wait for the image to stop shaking.  Good optics, but as others have said, the 8 inch really taxes that mount.   If you're like me, you probably want to mix it up.  Not get something close to what you already have, but something of a different flavor, with a totally different experience.   SCT's also may have more zoom than you are expecting.  This means the zoom comes at the expense of brightness, and the field of view is much narrower.  You can offset that somewhat with a $100 focal reducer (6.3) to widen the field of view and brighten things up a bit though.

 

Where do you live?  Is there much light pollution?  Do you primarily just want something to use at your house?    If you don't care about hauling it to different locations often, I would also recommend an 8 or 10 inch dob, preferably a 10.  SCT's are gee-whiz gadgets the way the fold the light and fit into a housing the size of a bucket, but they are also more demanding.  If your in a humid area, the front lens fogs up at the drop of a hat, requiring a dew shield, and either a heated collar with adjustable thermostat, (read wires, money, and hassle), or in my case I just use a hair dryer......   My car inverter can run it too.

Then you have the cool down factor.  The 8SE cools pretty well, but still not nearly as well as a Dob.  The lens end radiates heat into space, while the big heavy mirror in the back end causes a temp differential.  This makes the images shaky, like looking at a mirage down a long hot highway.   

 

I think simple tech can lead to less hassle, and more enjoyment.  Kids don't like watching dad fiddle with this and that till he's satisfied, saying "one more minute....."   

 

Refractors are as simple and reliable as a rock.   The problem is, to get a big one of decent quality will quickly squander your budget, and may not brighten things up more than what you already have.  Quality will be higher, but when you and your daughter are just trying to have fun and see cool new things, I think a large aperture scope like a dob will really make things pop.  What looked like a fuzzy smudge on you eyepiece before will be a much brighter more defined object.  Hey, that's not a fingerprint, thats a galaxy!   

 

I admire your purist attitude, regarding finding things manually, (thats the way I used to be), but here in Ohio (The Cloud Factory) I have so little time to observe, I love my goto scope.  I spend a lot more time seeing interesting things than futzing around the sky trying to find them.  My long focal length SCT would make that even more difficult.    I sometimes just wish I had a simple, user friendly 10" dob or Newtonian (I just had to double check and make sure I wasn't posting in the SCT forum before I said that)    I'm not trying to talk you out of one at all, I love mine, but it would be good if you could try one before you plunk your dunkets.  

 

If you want to see nebula's from light polluted skies, a big dob with narrow band filters is the way to go IMO.  Good filters are expensive, but it's a nice change from just looking at stars and star clusters.   Not to blaspheme, but I never really found stars and double stars that interesting.  I want to see the Las Vegas of objects (relatively speaking when doing visual).  Bright, colorful and gaudy.  A nice wide field eyepiece can make you feel like your swimming among the stars.  If you get something with tracking, you can use a good cell phone or your digital camera with adapter to take short exposures (less than 15 seconds) to then see even more detail and color.  Your daughter might enjoy playing with digital images, enhancing color and contrast.  If you decide to go that route, GIMP is a powerful and free photo editor.  I like it because I can still do astronomy stuff, while it's cloudy, which around here is 99% of the time.

 

If you get a scope that eats up most of your budget, but you really LOVE it, you may find the motivation to eek out a little more cash for accessories.  Feeding your kids store brand food can help offset that ;-)  

 

Anyway, that's my advice from relative newb to relative newb.  I gaze with my daughter, and have had a lot of the same thoughts as you.   If you can give more details about you location and light situation, the pro's will refine their advice.  

 

Regards,

 

Kevin

Sergeant at arms- Cincinnati Cloud Brigade


Edited by hherbson, 19 June 2019 - 09:59 PM.

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#18 SirLoyne

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 03:25 AM

Apertura 8" Dobsonian Telescope - $450 (currently on backorder)

https://www.highpoin...n-telescope-ad8

 

Baader Morpheus 17.5mm 76° - $239

https://agenaastro.c...ce-2954217.html

 

Baader Hyperion-Aspheric 31 mm 72° - $209

https://agenaastro.c...c-eyepiece.html

 

Total: $898

 

I have an Orion XT8 Plus (it's great, but with everything you get, I'd get the Apertura if I were to do it all again), but I have those eyepieces, and they're great for hunting down DSO's.

 

Orion XT8 Plus - $530

https://www.telescop...pe/p/130164.uts


Edited by SirLoyne, 20 June 2019 - 04:40 AM.


#19 whizbang

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 07:42 AM

In your budget, either a Orion XT1i, intelliscope 10 inch DOB, or

 

a used Celestron Evolution 8.

 

The 10 inch is a big step up from the 6.  You can star hop, or use the computer.  It is still "small" enough to manage without a hand cart.

 

The EVO can also be used star hopping or Go-to.  And, it breaks down into three easily handled pieces.  I would not recommend the SE mount, awkward to handle, not as robust, no manual star hopping capibility.



#20 Bambham

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:01 AM

I had the 8SE, sent it back because it was so shaky.  Every time I bumped it or touched the focuser, let out a sigh and wait for the image to stop shaking.  Good optics, but as others have said, the 8 inch really taxes that mount.   If you're like me, you probably want to mix it up.  Not get something close to what you already have, but something of a different flavor, with a totally different experience.   SCT's also may have more zoom than you are expecting.  This means the zoom comes at the expense of brightness, and the field of view is much narrower.  You can offset that somewhat with a $100 focal reducer (6.3) to widen the field of view and brighten things up a bit though.

 

Where do you live?  Is there much light pollution?  Do you primarily just want something to use at your house?    If you don't care about hauling it to different locations often, I would also recommend an 8 or 10 inch dob, preferably a 10.  SCT's are gee-whiz gadgets the way the fold the light and fit into a housing the size of a bucket, but they are also more demanding.  If your in a humid area, the front lens fogs up at the drop of a hat, requiring a dew shield, and either a heated collar with adjustable thermostat, (read wires, money, and hassle), or in my case I just use a hair dryer......   My car inverter can run it too.

Then you have the cool down factor.  The 8SE cools pretty well, but still not nearly as well as a Dob.  The lens end radiates heat into space, while the big heavy mirror in the back end causes a temp differential.  This makes the images shaky, like looking at a mirage down a long hot highway.   

 

I think simple tech can lead to less hassle, and more enjoyment.  Kids don't like watching dad fiddle with this and that till he's satisfied, saying "one more minute....."   

 

Refractors are as simple and reliable as a rock.   The problem is, to get a big one of decent quality will quickly squander your budget, and may not brighten things up more than what you already have.  Quality will be higher, but when you and your daughter are just trying to have fun and see cool new things, I think a large aperture scope like a dob will really make things pop.  What looked like a fuzzy smudge on you eyepiece before will be a much brighter more defined object.  Hey, that's not a fingerprint, thats a galaxy!   

 

I admire your purist attitude, regarding finding things manually, (thats the way I used to be), but here in Ohio (The Cloud Factory) I have so little time to observe, I love my goto scope.  I spend a lot more time seeing interesting things than futzing around the sky trying to find them.  My long focal length SCT would make that even more difficult.    I sometimes just wish I had a simple, user friendly 10" dob or Newtonian (I just had to double check and make sure I wasn't posting in the SCT forum before I said that)    I'm not trying to talk you out of one at all, I love mine, but it would be good if you could try one before you plunk your dunkets.  

 

If you want to see nebula's from light polluted skies, a big dob with narrow band filters is the way to go IMO.  Good filters are expensive, but it's a nice change from just looking at stars and star clusters.   Not to blaspheme, but I never really found stars and double stars that interesting.  I want to see the Las Vegas of objects (relatively speaking when doing visual).  Bright, colorful and gaudy.  A nice wide field eyepiece can make you feel like your swimming among the stars.  If you get something with tracking, you can use a good cell phone or your digital camera with adapter to take short exposures (less than 15 seconds) to then see even more detail and color.  Your daughter might enjoy playing with digital images, enhancing color and contrast.  If you decide to go that route, GIMP is a powerful and free photo editor.  I like it because I can still do astronomy stuff, while it's cloudy, which around here is 99% of the time.

 

If you get a scope that eats up most of your budget, but you really LOVE it, you may find the motivation to eek out a little more cash for accessories.  Feeding your kids store brand food can help offset that ;-)  

 

Anyway, that's my advice from relative newb to relative newb.  I gaze with my daughter, and have had a lot of the same thoughts as you.   If you can give more details about you location and light situation, the pro's will refine their advice.  

 

Regards,

 

Kevin

Sergeant at arms- Cincinnati Cloud Brigade

Thanks for the reply! I am in Ohio as well and am going crazy these last few months?? with all the rain and cloudiness! I am about an hour or so south of Cleveland. I am out of the city light pollution and not far from some ok to decent dark skies. Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I knew you guys would have a lot of things to look at. I am off work today and I think we are going to look at all the suggestions and narrow them down. Ill post a few that we come to narrow it down too and see what you guys think! This forum is a great treasure trove of astronomy information! I would have never been able to come up with the stuff you guys did, thanks for all your guys help and please keep the suggestions coming! With the way it is in Ohio, it seems like i have a little while to decide since getting outside doesn't seem possible for awhile lol.



#21 hherbson

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:15 AM

I forgot to mention this.  A couple years ago I looked through a friends manual Dob, and he had a green laser attached as you would a spotting scope.  That made it easy to use the free Stelarium program to see a visual representation of the object location, then we just adjusted the dob till the laser beam was pointing to that area of the sky,  It worked pretty well, added quite a bit of "cool" factor, and no bending over to look in the spotting scope.   I think you can buy them for less than $30 if that's of interest to you.  

 

Nice to meet a fellow Buckeye!   Do we have the best clouds or what?



#22 treadmarks

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:15 AM

Based on what I'm hearing I would recommend an 8 or 10 inch Dob, preferably an Intelliscope. Since you want to do manual and presumably you're already familiar with Newtonian collimation, this seems like an easy choice. Reasons to go SCT would include astrophotography, go-to, more portability and less maintenance but those don't seem to be concerns so Dob it is.



#23 PPPPPP42

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:09 PM

Something else I would suggest is sales seem to change at the end of the month for many of the manufacturers and most of the vendors have the current sales in tabs you can browse through on the main page.

Have a look at whats on sale right now and if nothing really seems perfect wait till the sale flips in a few weeks and look at the next batch from each manufacturer.

 

It must be some sort of industry standard for each company to have a rotating assortment of stuff on sale each month.



#24 Bambham

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 11:11 PM

What are the best sites to buy from?



#25 Sky Muse

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 05:25 AM

What are the best sites to buy from?

...Astronomics, the host of Cloudy Nights, but not because of that fact.  Incidentally, if you submit your CN username with your order from Astronomics you'll receive a discount.  Other reliable vendors would be High Point Scientific and B&H Photo.  Agena Astro is a great place to get eyepieces and accessories.  

 

Avoid Amazon, eBay, Adorama and Focus Camera.  


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