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Upcoming roadtrip, Dark Skies and scope selection.

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#1 grmaximus

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:34 AM

Greetings.

 

I'll be heading west and South Dakota and Wyoming are some of the destinations.

 

I plan to camp at least one night in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming and perhaps the Badlands National Park in S.D.

 

These will be darkers sites than I've ever used a scope before.

 

Due to space limitations in the vehicle, the 10" solid tube Dobsonian isn't going for a ride.

 

That leaves the 3" refractor with a SW AZ-GTI mount and the Celestron Nexstar SE6.

 

Ideally I'd like to take both of these setups but again this may take up too much space.

 

I really like the AZ-GTI mount and interface and using the C6 with that mount would be a solution.

 

Unfortunately the mounting plate on the Celestron tube is on the opposite side needed for the AZ-GTI and I don't see any tapped holes to move it.

 

Am I missing anything obvious here? (besides tapping new holes)

 

Would I be handicapping myself by only bringing the 3" scope and missing out too much by leaving the 6" home?

 

Thoughts/suggestions appreciated.

 

Thanks!



#2 GilATM

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:36 AM

Both scopes will show you things you haven't seen before.  Your binoculars will also show many surprises.    So at least bring the scope you are most familiar with, and most comfortable using.   

 

That said, I would try to bring both and by the end of the trip I'd better know what I would do next similar trip I take.

 

Gil



#3 rachnoman

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:51 AM

If you are going to dark skies, i would just take the 10" and a good pair of binoculars.

In case you get stuck somewhere, you really don't want to be over loaded with equipment. Theft is also another consideration especially if your traveling alone so far away from home.


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#4 JGass

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:56 AM

If you had a Rigel  Quikfinder, you could double-side tape the mount on the 6SE tube in a convenient position for use with a right-hand sided mount upright.  Same with a Telrad, but those are a bit on the large size.


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#5 trurl

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:05 AM

I really like the AZ-GTI mount and interface and using the C6 with that mount would be a solution.

 

Unfortunately the mounting plate on the Celestron tube is on the opposite side needed for the AZ-GTI and I don't see any tapped holes to move it.

 

Am I missing anything obvious here? (besides tapping new holes)

There is right and left firmware for that mount.

 

http://skywatcher.co...ntrol-firmware/


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#6 jeffreym

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:07 AM

If you had a Rigel  Quikfinder, you could double-side tape the mount on the 6SE tube in a convenient position for use with a right-hand sided mount upright.  Same with a Telrad, but those are a bit on the large size.

I've also used double-sidded tape to mount red dot finder shoes in a pinch.  They hold up fairly well for a week or so.

I would do the 6SE somehow.

Have fun!

Jeff



#7 grmaximus

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:49 AM

There is right and left firmware for that mount.

 

http://skywatcher.co...ntrol-firmware/

 

Thank you!

 

Exactly what I was looking for.

 

Now if only the firmware would load to the mount...  fingertap.gif



#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 12:35 PM

Another option for the 6 inch is a set of tube rings. Then you can mount the scope any way you want.

 

We were camped in the Bighorn National Forest for the 2012 transit of Venus. Absolutely beautiful country. We were very lucky, it had been cloudy all day but about 4 pm when the transit began, the clouds opened..

 

5789855-Venus transit Cloudy Nights 1.jpg
 
Jon

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#9 Rovert9988

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

Not sure exactly where in he Bighorns you will be, but humidity in the evening may be an issue. Last month I spent a full week in the Bighorns and it was very humid and cloudy all nights but one. The skies were very dark, but the seeing was poor.

No matter what scope you bring if the seeing is decent you'll have a great night. Even if you don't he Bighorns are gorgeous and absolutely my favorite place to camp. Plus the Badlands are very cool as well, and likely a better option for viewing conditions as long as there isn't an evening storm.
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#10 grmaximus

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 07:26 AM

Not sure exactly where in he Bighorns you will be, but humidity in the evening may be an issue. Last month I spent a full week in the Bighorns and it was very humid and cloudy all nights but one. The skies were very dark, but the seeing was poor.

No matter what scope you bring if the seeing is decent you'll have a great night. Even if you don't he Bighorns are gorgeous and absolutely my favorite place to camp. Plus the Badlands are very cool as well, and likely a better option for viewing conditions as long as there isn't an evening storm.

Thank you for the info.



#11 edwincjones

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 08:43 AM

lots of good suggestions

 

you are going to beautiful country with dark skies

optics may not make that much difference

bigger is better but also less portable

naked eye, binoculars, scopes all helpful

 

just take you time and enjoy

 

edj



#12 jaraxx

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 09:28 AM

Sage Creek campground in the Badlands is primitive but has very dark skies. Just be careful leaving your scope set up - the buffalo walking around the campgrounds could be a problem. The Black Hills probably offer some good sites but I haven't been there in twenty years so can't really advise. I will say that Wind Cave is worth a look if you like caves and it's probably still there. There are lots of places to camp in the Bighorns, and the drive across them is one of the top ten alpine drives (paved) in the US. Also, to the east of the Bighorns the Thunder Basin National Grasslands offers tons of dispersed (undeveloped) camping if you're into that sort of thing (I am). 

Either of your scopes will reward you under dark skies, and which one to take is purely a matter of space. If you haven't been to truly dark skies you will be amazed and a bit disoriented by the number of stars. The constellations you are familiar with might be harder to find because of the extra stars and the dimmer ones you can't see in civilization will be front and center. Regardless of which scope you take make sure to bring your binoculars - they will provide a different and rewarding experience in the dark. Also, there is a lot of wildlife, birds and landscapes to look at during the daytime and a scope would be fun if you have the time / inclination.

Have a good time!


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#13 vertex2100

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 01:41 PM

If you have a trailer hitch, you can add a hitch carrier to add to your capacity and reduce your fuel economy. On my last camping trip I took a truss tube 17.5" , 90 mm f9 refractor and a 102 mm f4.5 refractor. The 17.5 and 102 got ,by far, the most use.

Edited by vertex2100, 20 August 2019 - 01:56 PM.


#14 grmaximus

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 06:48 PM

I've decided to take my Celestron C6 with Nexstar mount and Starsense.

 

The Starsense should speed up alignment in a star saturated sky(hopefully).

 

I'll also bring my Nikon 10X50 binoculars and a tripod.

 

I wanted to bring my Skywatcher AZ-GTI mount but haven't been able to upgrade the firmware for right hand use.

 

I'm guessing those 2 items should keep me busy enough if the skies cooperate.




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