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Does anyone really use tables

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 12:29 PM

There are quite a few small scopes with the tripod legs, questar, ETX, meade 2045 etc, that have the small table top legs. But does anyone really use the tables, it seems that would be awkward, unsteady, and maybe too low also. Just wondering, I have a couple of those scopes ( not the Questar), and I have used them on tripods by deforking them.

#2 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 12:39 PM

I used to have an original clockwork ETX-90 with the table-top legs and found that, other than the picnic table outside of my apartment, there was never a convenient table to use. I soon bought a tripod with a wedge.

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#3 Zamboni



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Posted 12 October 2019 - 12:51 PM

I've tried USING tabletop scopes including various ETX models, old-school astroscans and mini dobs. I've never PURCHASED a tabletop telescope because they are awkward and difficult to use for all of the reasons you listed. They're just an utter pain to use. Tables are for accessory cases and star atlases, not mounting a scope.

Edited by Zamboni, 12 October 2019 - 12:53 PM.

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 12:52 PM



It can be done but in my experience, table-top telescopes and tripods are one of those things that seem like they ought to be a good idea but are not.  Few tables are solid enough and then there's issue of getting close enough to the scope to be comfortable.  



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#5 OldManSky



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Posted 12 October 2019 - 01:06 PM

When my son (who's now 23) was 5, he wanted to come on astronomy-imaging camping trips with me.  So I bought a 4.25" f/5 mirror and diagonal, and made a home-built little tabletop dob for him to use.

He loved the scope, and loved finding things with it.  But the first night we were out, he got frustrated sitting at a wobbly camp table, and quickly put it on the ground on a tarp, and happily sat there with it for hours.


Moral of the story:  even a 5 year-old knows the table-top scopes aren't a very good idea :)

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#6 Jeff L

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 01:10 PM

I love my table top on my homemade table. It’s simple to use. And sets up in seconds.

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Edited by Jeff L, 12 October 2019 - 05:22 PM.

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#7 Astroman007


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Posted 12 October 2019 - 01:10 PM

A pile of bricks or a large stump, or even an upturned barrel, would work well or better: the first two for lawn chair access, the last for standing.

My experience, back when I had a tabletop scope.. And yes, nice and solid.

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#8 clearwaterdave



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Posted 12 October 2019 - 02:08 PM

For me it wasn't very hard to come up with a stand for my tabletop dob. It is strudy and lightweight.,

There are plenty of options out there from cinderblocks to milkcrates.,to rebuilt Cosco tables.,

  I wouldn't expect much from those little 3 legged tripods.,with those the table may or may not be the culprit.,cool.gif.,


Very nice set up Jeff.,waytogo.gif


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Edited by clearwaterdave, 12 October 2019 - 02:12 PM.

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#9 izar187



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Posted 12 October 2019 - 05:28 PM

Table top scopes can also work on tail gates, trunk or front hoods on vehicles, if flat enough.

Though not necessarily well at higher power due to vibration.


They work great on platform top observing stations, out on the property. If you can.

Then just carry the scope out to that best spot you came up with.

The structure to set the scope on is already there. Metal, wood or masonry.


No question that tripod mounting them is an ultimate good way to go.

Then they are go anywhere scopes. 

#10 kathyastro


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Posted 12 October 2019 - 05:45 PM

My C-90 came with table-top legs.  You were supposed to splay the legs just so to set the latitude for polar alignment.  Yeah, right!  I have never used them.  Instead, I bought the wedge and mounted it on a tripod.  Works great!

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#11 lphilpot



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Posted 12 October 2019 - 07:08 PM

For me, a table is becomes useful only when it starts to approximate a tripod (or some other kind of stand). Otherwise it's too shaky, too horizontally big and difficult to work around, IMO. Use a table for eyepieces, etc., but not for the scope. At least that's been my experience.

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#12 Sky_LO


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Posted 06 November 2019 - 02:30 AM

Sure I use a table....a small one for my glasses, my red flashlight, and my observing list for the night.

But not for the scope !!   


smile.gif  Smart Alek response, yes, so sorry, I couldn't resist. 


Some of the scope table options shown here are really good! 


#13 havasman


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Posted 06 November 2019 - 02:44 AM

I had a OneSky and liked it a lot on the scrap lumber stand I made for it. I saw the kid I gave it to's dad the other day and he said his son and daughter still use it on their patio table.

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#14 Alex65



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Posted 06 November 2019 - 04:32 AM

Yes, I use a heavy patio table. It is very sturdy and provides a firm base. I do have a tripod bracket and have used the telescope with a tripod in the past but this method suits my needs best.


IMG_5394 (607x1024).jpg



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#15 Nippon



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Posted 06 November 2019 - 09:26 AM

They made a rubber mat for the Edmund Astroscan back in the day. I think they envisioned it would be used on the trunk of a car. Remember how car trunks were flat and not sloped back then.

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#16 Eddgie



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Posted 06 November 2019 - 10:08 AM

As others have mentioned, tables are not the best place to put a telescope. Now Alex65 gets a good result but he is using a cafe size table that looks pretty sturdy, and his scope allows him to easily acess the eyepiece from anywhere around the table. 


My own experience with table top scopes is that you have to move the scope around the table a lot to get to various parts of the sky. Now to be fair, with a traditional mount, you have to move your chair around the mount to get to the sky, but it seems to be preferable to moving the scope around and moving chairs to get at the different locations. 


I do have some large posts on the low fence of my front porch patio and these are the perfect height for something like an ETX 80, but I still prefer to use a tripod and chair. 

Edited by Eddgie, 06 November 2019 - 10:10 AM.

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#17 Nippon



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Posted 06 November 2019 - 11:23 AM

The Astroscan could have been called the lap-scope. It was perfect for scanning with it's 28mm RKE from my lap while sitting in a chair. My lap was lousy for high power but so was my Astroscan:)

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#18 BRCoz


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Posted 06 November 2019 - 09:00 PM

I saw someone with a ETX-90 on a Black and Decker - Workmate many years ago out at Joshua Tree National Park.


A little over kill but it didn't move.

#19 OldManTaco70



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Posted 09 November 2019 - 02:27 AM

I'm 100% VISUAL and 0% imaging. So after a year of hauling my 12" LX200 Classic (77+ lbs) and the rock steady but foot clumsy (45+ lbs.) tripod back and forth from garage to my backyard observing spot, I took a hard look at the "accessory" table/cart that was a "throw-in" with the LX200 package deal I got via Craigslist back in February of 2018. Previous owner had said it made a great platform for laying out his laptop, celestial maps, lists, and all the other stuff you need for a night of observing. Upon further examination, this is a very well made and very strong John Boos kitchen cart with a 2¼” thick maple butcher block top, 2½” diameter steel legs, 1x5” wheels, added center shelf (that improved rigidity), and a large drop shelf. Because I am 6’3” I further added a piece of leftover 5” laminated wood beam scrap to raise the LX200 up higher. As a further benefit that wood scrap has become an excellent EP storage device (NOT a holder as the fork will NOT clear the 2” EPs when still in their holes!)


So, with my LX200 OTA & fork now firmly bolted to the cart and fully loaded with EPs, scorpion and coyote lights, power cords, maps, lists, notes, etc., I can easily wheel out my 150lbs+ observing cart to my patio’s observing spot and do my daylight set up in less than 5 minutes.


Yes, this is NOT a rock solid setup. The four wheels do shake a bit BEFORE they are locked. BUT after lockdown, it becomes a very usable VISUAL platform.IMG_0066.JPG IMG_0079.JPG  

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