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Moving to a remote observatory. Take the Edge 9.25 or TOA130?

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#1 RickDarden

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:38 PM

Hello All,

 

I am looking for any opinions.

 

I am moving my gear 2100 miles away to a remote observatory and have an EDGE 9.25 or a TOA-130 to set up (at least initially) and want to know what others would take.

 

Location is in New Mexico, Bortle 1. 

 

I will hang the following off either:

 

Optec Leo/MMOAG/Atik EFW3/SX46.

 

Mount is the AP1100.

 

I have the Celestron EDGE 9.25 reducer so If it is the EDGE, should I shoot at f10 or f7?

 

The mount could probably handle both but I am heading out in Oct and can't get that squared away in time.

 

I would probably be out there once a year.

 

Thanks for any input.

 

Rick Darden.

 

 



#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:43 PM

Tough decision.  But I think a refractor is more trouble free and needs less tweaking for things like collimation, cooling, etc.  I think I'd go with the 130 to start.  

 

-Dan 



#3 RickDarden

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:01 PM

Hi Dan,

 

I'm hoping the collimation on the EDGE will hold. I will be checking that with a Hotech CT.

 

You think cooling between the 2 will be different? Maybe so if the temp swing from day to night is significant. I am not familiar with NM weather but if there are big swings that might be an issue. I did not think about that. It will be in a 9 pier shared roll off. 



#4 Midnight Dan

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:19 PM

The temperature changes will have an effect on focus, but I assume at a remote location you have a way to automatically focus?  So that shouldn't be too big a deal to keep up with.

 

But in addition, the SCT is much more susceptible to stuff like tube currents, boundary layer on the mirror, etc. - all those thermal effects.  In NM, there will be pretty big swings in temperature in the summer.  I'm in NY state and have to deal with it.  My scopes bake in 110° heat during the day inside the observatory, then it drops down to 60° at night.  I open my observatory a couple hours ahead of imaging, aim a desk fan at my Edge 8 to start cooling it downs, and have installed fans in the vents as well to cool the mirror and try to keep up with changes during the night.  

 

But yeah, I've found that cooling is MUCH more important on my SCT than on my refractor.  I love my Edge 8, but overall I find refractors to be much less fussy.

 

-Dan



#5 RickDarden

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:45 PM

Very very good info. 

 

Plus the SX46 is a new addition and I have not done any flats so I will most likely need a way to take flats out there. I might be able to get that done while I'm there but maybe not.

 

For remote flats, the TOA seems to have easier options for that (Optec Flip Flat for refractors plus acts as a dust cover) vs a light panel for the EDGE. At least that is what I am seeing. Or I could use the sky for flats so that might be moot. I am coming off a SX694 so needing flats is  new to me.  

 

Seems you are right. The TOA has a lot less headache.



#6 dhaval

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:28 PM

Hands down the C9.25 EdgeHD! My friend and I operate a C11 EdgeHD at native F10 and John Hayes operates a C14 (I am not sure if it's an EdgeHD or not). Many remote observatories operate large telescopes and with good reason. You have excellent skies to take advantage of. Once dialed in, this should give you fantastic results. I would not even bother with reducing the focal length or make it faster. In a remote setting, you have time by your side. Image fewer targets, but go deep. The idea really is to nail the deep sky stuff.

 

The target lists should include Abell, planetary nebulae, the smaller galaxies, etc. - those targets are difficult from the backyard and difficult with short to medium focal length scopes.

 

Not that the TOA will be a bad scope (in fact, it is a really good scope), but it will limit you in taking advantage of the skies. You just can't produce results with it like what you can with a long FL scope under superb skies. I used a 5in APO for about 15 months at my remote observatory and found the results very limiting - and mind you, I tried going deep (as in total hours, but it wasn't worth it with a 5in APO).

 

BTW, if you are worried about flats with the larger scope, you should not. There are plenty of options - sky flats will work. However, if they don't, you can get the FlatMan from Alnitak (it needs to be wall mounted) or you can get SnapCap from Gemini Telescopes in Europe. That works very much like Alnitak's Flip-flats (unfortunately, Alnitak/Optec don't make those for larger scopes any more), so it will act as a cover for the scope and allow you to take automated flats as well. The FlatMan is more cost effective but you will have to spend some time to determine the exact location and how far you need for it to be, while the SnapCap will really just fit (ensure it is well centered and does not move during operations otherwise your flats won't work), the downside is that you have to order it from Europe and is expensive.

 

Lastly, if in the future you feel like doing wide field, you can always piggy back a small APO on top of the SCT - the AP1100 won't break a sweat. But honestly, wide field is for backyard (mostly narrowband anyways), so I wouldn't even bother with something like that.

 

CS!


Edited by dhaval, 14 August 2019 - 10:40 AM.

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#7 Kendahl

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:26 AM

Weather Underground has historical data going back many decades. The only limitation is that they don't keep data from all stations. If you ask for data from a missing station, the website will redirect you to their best guess for the nearest one. You will have no idea how well it matches the station you asked for.

 

Where in New Mexico? My wife and I are thinking about relocating to Silver City for its clear skies. We have a trip planned for the end of the month to check the place out in person. Also, Show Low, Arizona which is another candidate.



#8 RickDarden

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:03 PM

Hi Dhaval,

 

More good info here. Never thought about the opportunities being in a Bortle 1 sky especially being able to image at f10. 

 

A lot to think about for sure.




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