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Still kicking the tires

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#26 gnowellsct

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:00 PM

 

 

Hard to weigh wide view vs fainter objects.  One thing that is confusing me a little.   I read many warnings about avoiding the photo tripods, so tried the alt-az slo-mo and really saw the value.   So I had been ruling out kits on a panning photo tripods, but now it seems many are endorsing using my own photo tripod.  I have a ball head that is pretty well rated for weight.  Will that be smooth enough?

 

Thanks,

 

Dale

A shaking telescope ruins the view and is frustrating to use.  So OK, what would someone who started out on a quivering extruded aluminum tripod be using after 20 years of playing with scopes and putting about $2k a year into the hobby.

 

Well the tripod might look like this  

 

cff fast tpod set up - cn size.jpg

 

or this

 

FS128 and G11 in snow cloudynights size.JPG  

 

because jittering tripods and telescopes gets REAL OLD.  Those of us that sink money into these things do it because we find actual performance value.  

 

Nonetheless, you're not at that point.  So get something that's a little more than what you're thinking about.  Like the portamount or equivalents.   Probably not camera tripods.  

(Can be done, but the camera tripod that does the job is pricey)

 

Greg N


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#27 SeattleScott

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:03 PM

Hey Dale,

I would avoid budget entry achromatic refractors. They come with rotten focusers, 1.25" focuser at that, and are just ok at anything. The F4.X~F6 stuff is just too fast, lots of CA, not figured well, and are just low power sweepers. I say this as someone who has lots of cheap little short achromats, I love them, but I know that's a preference thing and not really a good telescope when I compare to other scopes for just a little more. When it comes to staring out, I would suggest getting a real telescope that can do as much as possible with a quality mechanical build and the best optics you can get for your money in a portable enough package to not be a chore to use.

So here's what I would suggest, while a 6" F8 dob would be the cheapest way to go, it could be a chore to move. That said, for a bit more, you could build a really good portable 6" reflector on an alt-az setup with slow motion control.

GSO 150mm F5 reflector with 2" focuser:

https://agenaastro.c...lector-ota.html

SkyView Deluxe mount:

https://agenaastro.c...ltaz-mount.html

(alt mounts: Twilight I, Versa Go II, Porta II)

Yes, it's more than a cheap entry refractor. But, it's way, way more aperture, no CA, good figure, portable, on an alt-az mount with slow motion control for easy hand tracking, takes 2" eyepieces, is not a "starter" scope at all, can easily be a lifetime scope, can be good for deep sky and for solar system with enough resolution for anything you point it at.

Very best,

Now you’re talking. Sooo much more capable than a short tube 80mm or even a 4.5” table top Dob. This is more like a real telescope, capable for DSO or planetary, great ergonomics with the adjustable height tripod, can accommodate 2” eyepieces. This is a scope I would use. That being said, the OP seems REALLY focused on extreme portability, at the expense of capability. My hunch is he will get some little guy that can’t really do justice to deep space, and then maybe upgrade later on if he gets the itch. But I will say that this suggestion is one of the most portable, least expensive options that are truly capable scopes, especially with light pollution. It is a great low power sweeper, but it can do high power too, and has enough aperture to start to resolve galaxies and globular clusters. The other scopes are really best for open clusters, and giving nice views of the Moon and planets (nice views if you don’t know any better).

So I love this suggestion, but I have a feeling he will end up with a short tube 80 on a photo tripod. Which is a little like buying a tricycle to see if you like mountain biking, but he doesn’t like big (or smallish) scopes, so..,
Scott

#28 vdog

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:04 PM

I use a pan/tilt head, but I think a ball head would work with a small, light scope like that.  If you really want an Alt-Az with slo-mo, the Infinity version of the scope comes with such a mount.  However, most people find they need to modify these as they are just not that stable as they come.  I ended up re-purposing the Alt-Az to lighter duty and switching to the photo tripod.

 

And I agree with SeattleScott.  You don't really need the slo-mo for either a short-tube refractor or tabletop reflector.

 

I've read good things about those little Maks like the Skywatcher.  That might not be a bad way to go either.  There's a case to be made for all three scope types you're looking at. 


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#29 Hugh Peck

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:16 PM

You might want to consider something like this and then buy a used refractor to attach to it. Then you could also use it as a spotting scope as you seem to prefer. The problem is that while small refractors often came with is type of mount in the past it's hard to find them now. It will probably increase your overall costs but it would have the slo-mo controls. Also, for astro use a 90° diagonal is preferred as it is more comfortable and for spotting scope use a 45° correct image one is used. 

 

https://optcorp.com/...ing-scope-mount


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#30 Ulmer Spatz

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 04:27 AM

There is no need for slow motion control on a tabletop Dob.

I agree. The tabletop mount of the $189.98 combo I recommended in post #11 is so smooth that I never feel the need for slow-motion controls, even at its maximum (barlowed) 70x magnification. Part of the reason is that the optical tube is side-mounted and thus can be balanced. The altitude bearing preload is very light and easily adjustable to make the scope stay exactly to where you point it when you remove your hand from it.

 

An optical tube mounted above the altitude bearing axis of an alt-azimuth mount is inherently unbalanced and has a difficult time staying put. Some alt-azimuth scopes designed that way actually rely on slow-motion controls to make the instrument useful at all. And if these slow-motion controls don't work well, using such a scope is an exercise in frustration.


Edited by Ulmer Spatz, 23 October 2019 - 05:34 AM.

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#31 SloMoe

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:55 AM

Morning Dale, as you can tell this "hobby" has as many options and opinion's as there are astronomers.

 

What I recommend to you, as I've recommended to so many others who have traveled this path, don't buy a thing.

 

Instead make it a point to learn a lot more about this hobby by not only attending local public events but take trips to clubs & public events that might be a few hours away.

 

You need to experience first hand what all the different types of scopes have to offer, 

As you mentioned in one of your previous topics, the build quality of entry level scopes is not reliable, and yes it's frustrating to want to get started with a scope, one you can carry out to the back yard point up and see something substantial, there's so much to learn first.

 

There are hundreds of astronomers in your area, join a local club and learn more about scopes one on one with the members of that club, there are members of those clubs that will reach out to help but not at public events, they've got their hands full dealing with so many others, I know, I take my scopes to these events and I'm always wanting to spend time with those that want to learn more but aiming the scope and keeping an eye on my stuff, just not enough time.

 

It's difficult to get the knowledge of what is going to work best for you without taking your time, be patient this hobby is all about taking your time. wink.gif


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#32 Sky Muse

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 08:42 AM

...although that  Skymax 102  is a cutie.  Both could go on a plane.

I had neglected to mention that, indeed, the smaller, shorter telescopes are airline-friendly.  Now, to be fair, that Maksutov is a medium-to-high power specialist.  I've always held that a telescope, in the first place, is for seeing objects up close, else you would use your eyes or binoculars.  Although, when first starting out, the sky is best learned and navigated at low powers, which is why you see so many suggest those inexpensive, short, "fast" refractors.  A pair of binoculars can be used to help the Maksutov along, or an 8x50 right-angle finder-scope.  Either would help the Maksutov seek and find objects better...

 

kit5b.jpg

 

An 8x or 9x 50mm finder-scope like that one atop that 90mm Maksutov is like a little low-power refractor in its own right.


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#33 whizbang

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 11:12 AM

Dalew,

 

I seem to recall another thread where you mentioned going to a Star Party.

 

Did you make it to the Star Party?  If so, what did you think?



#34 whizbang

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 11:15 AM

By the way,  for a budget entry into astronomy, you might want to consider binoculars on a photo tripod.

 

I mount a $15 red dot finder on my binos and it made all the difference.

 

You can get Celestron 15x70 binos for $75.  A red dot is $15.  You pick the tripod.



#35 Dalew

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 01:18 PM

Thanks again, everyone, for the additional ideas and advice.   I am absorbing it all and feeding my analysis paralysis habit.lol.gif

 

With our Grand Canyon/Monument Valley trip coming up in less than a week I am really having to fight the urge to make another rash telescope purchase to take advantage of the better seeing out there.   But I have resisted and have instead purchased the binocular mount for my tripod.  I am sure that will give me plenty of enjoyment and learning.  

 

Mike W, not too direct at all!   Thanks for all the ideas!

 

I have attended two star parties so far and both were less than informative and not well populated with equipment to try out.  So that was a little discouraging.   I believe there may be a local group that meets nearby that I might also contact.    I have also read on Cloudy Nights of a monthly gathering a few hours north of here near Gainesville that we may look into as well. 

 

As has been stated, I am going to be patient and take my time considering my next steps, gathering information and learning what I can.   The stars and planets aren't going anywhere, as far as I know.

 

I'll be back with more questions, no doubt.confused1.gif

 

Thanks,

 

Dale



#36 Sky Muse

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 02:39 PM

Thanks again, everyone, for the additional ideas and advice.   I am absorbing it all and feeding my analysis paralysis habit.lol.gif

 

With our Grand Canyon/Monument Valley trip coming up in less than a week I am really having to fight the urge to make another rash telescope purchase to take advantage of the better seeing out there.   But I have resisted and have instead purchased the binocular mount for my tripod.  I am sure that will give me plenty of enjoyment and learning.  

 

Mike W, not too direct at all!   Thanks for all the ideas!

 

I have attended two star parties so far and both were less than informative and not well populated with equipment to try out.  So that was a little discouraging.   I believe there may be a local group that meets nearby that I might also contact.    I have also read on Cloudy Nights of a monthly gathering a few hours north of here near Gainesville that we may look into as well. 

 

As has been stated, I am going to be patient and take my time considering my next steps, gathering information and learning what I can.   The stars and planets aren't going anywhere, as far as I know.

 

I'll be back with more questions, no doubt.confused1.gif

 

Thanks,

 

Dale

I'm beside myself, as it looks like you're not getting that Maksutov...

 

https://imagesvc.mer...vich_0.jpg&q=85

 

bawling.gif lol.gif


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#37 Dalew

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 04:35 PM

Ha!    Don't worry, Alan.  It is still in the running. I found another sky party up in Pasco county to visit the week after we come back from our trip.  I hope to try a few scopes out there to see what the differences are.

 

I am sure one will jump up and say, "I'm the one!   Look no further!"   And I will return home to Prime up a storm.

 

You never know, it could be a Mak!   It certainly has compact going for it, not to mention, terrestrial viewing and camera capable.  

 

Stay tuned!

 

Dale


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#38 Hugh Peck

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 07:55 PM

The 90mm Maks are a bit slow at f/13.9 for a telephoto but make nice spotters. The old orange tube C-90 was f/11 and with the Baader adapter could take the R-C which makes it 630mm F/7. 




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