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2nd Scope Choice

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#1 nva


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:46 AM

I was looking for opinions.

I have one 16 inch light bucket with DSC, it works, its a medium to high amount of work, but is technically portable.
I have a 10 inch solid tube dob as well, very entry level, this is my "grab and go", its functional works well, holds collimation, not very portable.
I formerly had a refractor on a bad mount, lets not talk about it, scope is gone.

I really wanted to get an "easy" scope, somewhat grab and go, preferably with encoders.
The 16 is for long nights, this new scope would be for the odd hour I may have.

Price is pretty similar really, the nexstar is probably a little more expensive, but likely easier.

I'm deciding between:

A) NexstarEvo 9.25 w/ starsense, would probably buy a 2 inch diagonal.
B) 5 inch refractor (~18 lbs) on a M2C alt az w/ AstroDevices Encoders.

Anyone have any input, I've never really spent a long time with a SCT so there is a little trepidation there.

Edited by nva, 15 August 2019 - 07:25 AM.

#2 justfred


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:08 AM

Orion 6 or 8 inch dob. Find one with push-to and you're good to go. Won't find anything easier to use for a quick peek. I like the XT6 because its a little lighter and smaller and F/8 is very forgiving with sharp and contrasty images using middle of the road eyepieces. Add a Rigel Quickfinder and you'll be happy. Kind of plain-vanilla and not very sexy and they won't whir and beep, but you'll spend a lot of time looking at things instead of setting up. 


Try a few at a star party.


Good luck!



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#3 watchplanets


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:47 AM

The 8se is biggest portable scope u can get at 35lbs total. I carry with one hand by the fork arm. Sure the evo bit sturdier but not as portable cant 1 hand it.

#4 kurbs


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 06:36 AM

The EVO 8" and  6" I have is not as light as you may think. The 9.25 is heavier. But lighter than others in its class. Mine runs about 50 lbs. with starsense fully setup. BUT it is very easy to yank the OTA, and mount from the tripod  and carry it in a couple boxes / cases and set up. Grab and go? Not 1 hand. Unless you are very strong. But its a bit bulky. I'm no slouch and can carry it back and forth setup but its easier to do it in pieces.


a 5" refractor Isn't exactly portable either with a solid EQ mount. 


I agree with the 8SE, provides great views, easy to customize and lighter than the EVO. 

#5 izar187



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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:04 AM

For the odd hour available for grab-n-go... this will be highly dependent on climate, scope storage and budget.


Roll out about the biggest scope possible, if it's stored at ambient temps in well ventilated containment that's following day to night temperature drops. If the primary is not too massive, in an open easily cooled type cell, and you run active cooling during your grab-n-go hour or so observing. IME with 13".


An acclimated 5" refractor carried out to goto pier would work. Or rolled out mounted, to it's predetermined and ground marked observing spot.


Any push-to newt will work.

But again, mirrored primaries will need to be stored at or near ambient temp, for that odd hour(s) out.

Or some pre-planning done to set the scope out earlier, so it's ready temperature wise.


Any goto SCT will work to, obviously.

If the ota is acclimated.


A grab and go hour or so out telescoping requires addressing thermal issues with an ota.

Or it gets frustrating fast IME, and those kind of grab and go excursions dwindle to none quickly.


If one's climate is well matched for it, then it isn't much of an issue.

But if there is some thermal mass to a reflecting primary, then there is.


One choice for me has been small fast newts.

Keep one near ambient, and you can get 3 degree low power field, plus planets, affordably. 

#6 havasman


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:32 AM

I too have 16 and 10" Dobs and chose an AT115EDT 4.5" refractor that sits on either a UniStar Deluxe or M2C very nicely. Both mounts have Astro Devices encoders. I have Universal Astronomics heavy and medium duty tripods to carry them. I chose the 115 over the 130mm scope for its wider field as that was a major goal, a TFOV >3 deg with ES68 40mm or 31T5. This has been a very satisfying package for me.


I have used other's SCT's briefly and used the club's dome-mounted 16" quite a bit and I'm just not really a big fan of them, particularly in the smaller apertures that always seem a shade dark with a restricted FOV. It is hard to argue with their package size advantages though.

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#7 JOEinCO


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:40 AM

izar's comments about acclimating a scope to ambient temperature should be read two or three times by the OP or anyone who thinks something like a C9.25 can be taken outside for a quick hour's observing just because they can physically carry the weight....

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#8 SeattleScott


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:23 PM

And I don’t get how a 9.25” Evo is GNG but a 10” Dob isn’t. I mean is the intent to replace the Dob?

A refractor on an alt az makes sense, especially a fast cooling doublet.

An 8SE would be considerably more portable than a 10” Dob at least. Still have to figure out cooling or insulation.


#9 MalVeauX


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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:37 AM

I would get a 102mm~127mm APO over a SCT for G&G. The 9.25" and large apertures still need thermal acclimation and setup. They're light enough but they may not really perform their best with a few minutes of time and use without thermal acclimation and collimation each time. Mean while, a 4~5" APO will have perfect collimation and not care too much about the temperature and throw up a great image each time and is ready to go (might weigh just as much!).


Do you need tracking/goto?


The difference from 102mm F7 class instruments to 127mm F7 class instruments is significant in terms of weight and moment arm generation for the mount to handle.


Very best,

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#10 clearwaterdave



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Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:49 AM

If acclimation is not a problem I would just get a hand truck for the 10".,doesn't get much more g+g then that.,If there is not stairs and tight corners to deal with.,I got a truck for mine and it's parked on it in the porch ready to go.,

  Otherwise an AT102ED is a sweet g+g mounted right.,good luck.,

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#11 Burgher



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Posted 16 August 2019 - 10:58 AM

For a "grab and go", my choice is the Orion XT6 Dob. It is kept in my unheated tool shed year round. I pick it up and out the door in 1 trip. I have a 10" Skywatcher Dob and and a Nexstar 8SE, which I use for extended skywatching sessions. But if it's just for a quick look, it's the XT6 Dob. It also has a small "footprint", much more easily storable than a tripod.

I never considered my 8SE as a grab and go. Weightwise, yes. But I have found its alignment process way too time consuming for it to be in my "grab and go" category.

The XT6 has decent aperture and it maintains collimation . I plunk it down, point and observe.

#12 whizbang



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Posted 17 August 2019 - 07:50 AM

The EVO 9.25 is NOT grab and go, unless your back is way stronger tahn mine (and you don't have to carry the scopoe down 13 steps in the dark).


On the plus side, the EVO does break down into three lightweight parts: tripod, mount, and OTA.


My EVO 8 is about 43 pounds.  For "grab and go" at only 37 pounds, I swap out the 8 inch ST for a 5 inch Mak.  By comparison, the EVO 9.25 weights 62 pounds, heavier tripod, heavier OTA.


An Evolution 6 might be a good grab and go.

Edited by whizbang, 17 August 2019 - 08:03 AM.

#13 Allan Wade

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 08:24 AM

I’ve always said, if someone could only own two scopes, it would be a 12”-16” dob and a 4”-5” refractor. It’s just a match made in heaven.


I have a Discmounts DM4 with Astro devices high res encoders and Nexus DSC that serves as my grab and go mount. Your M2C suggestion is also a good choice. Next job is to choose a nice refractor to put on it. There’s a lot of great choices out there.

#14 nva


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Posted 17 August 2019 - 08:50 AM

I’ve always said, if someone could only own two scopes, it would be a 12”-16” dob and a 4”-5” refractor. It’s just a match made in heaven.

I have a Discmounts DM4 with Astro devices high res encoders and Nexus DSC that serves as my grab and go mount. Your M2C suggestion is also a good choice. Next job is to choose a nice refractor to put on it. There’s a lot of great choices out there.

I think Im going with the refractor again, here's hoping.

Edited by nva, 17 August 2019 - 08:50 AM.

#15 vertex2100


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Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:51 AM

Yes, if you already have two large reflectors, the get a small , short tubed refractor on an altaz mount for totally different views. I love my 17.5" Discovery dob that I have had for 20+ years but I also love the wide field , low power views I get through my Bressler ar102xs. They are my most used out of many scopes I have in the USA. In the other one, I use a 16" dob and a Celestron Nexstar 102 for now.

#16 Charles Funk

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 05:54 PM

Sounds like you need a grab n go.


80-102 ED Refractor on a suitable alt/az mount. I dont know from experience, but my understanding is once you get to a 5" class refractor you get into needing beefier, heavier mounts. Which presumably detracts from the grab n go experience.


For the record my 12" scope is way easier to setup than an 8" SCT ( with the assistance of a hand truck.) I can't see a 9.25 being the solution to the problem. Nevermind the fact you already have a 10" scope. Dont duplicate, diversify. :)

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#17 jaraxx



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Posted 17 August 2019 - 06:04 PM

Were it me, I'd go for a small (90 to 102) refractor. I can't see the SCT as a solution to anything that one could describe with the term "quick". I'd also go wide-field given your other scopes for something completely different.

The other thought would be good high powered binoculars.

#18 PPPPPP42


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Posted 17 August 2019 - 09:09 PM

I was in your spot, see my signature for what I decided (refractor not the CPC800).

Now I don't even bother taking my CPC800 out though I should really at least get it working again.

It truly makes everything I did before seem like an utter waste of time and I love going out to view again even for just a short bit.  It even does planetary well and many of the faint fuzzies and clusters though you have your dobs for those.  It splits doubles amazingly well but a lot of that is the quality of the optics I think rather than the aperture on this.


I don't bother with encoders so there is no setup, just carry out the always assembled tripod (M2C complete system with handle) under one arm (a bit awkward) and the padded rectangular hockey bag ES calls a scope case with everything in it including my iPad pro slung over the other shoulder.


With the ridiculously wide views from my eyepieces (I don't use the zoom anymore) all I have to do it put the red dot from the finder in the approximate location of what I want to see and its somewhere in the view even with the 5.5mm.

I have gotten good at approximating the location of stuff in the sky using sky safari pro.


There is zero acclimating time though that will change in the winter I suppose.  The temperature at night here is close enough that it doesn't seem to matter and it matches ambient really quick anyways.


EDIT: I see you were also asking about SCT's they are a lovely jack of all trades option but with your dobs you need to go with option B or you just have all the same problems.

Edited by PPPPPP42, 17 August 2019 - 09:14 PM.

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