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First Reflector [not counting Dobsonian] - What to look for?

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#1 rkelley8493

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 02:47 PM

I'm looking to get my first Newtonian reflector for visual use. I will be mounting it to my Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G. So far I've been looking at the Orion 10" f/3.9 Astrograph & the Sky-Watcher Quattro 250p, but I'm not sure how well those would do for visual only. 

I'm not really sure what I should be looking for in the specs other than the basics. Refractors have different glass types [FPL-53, FCD 100, Fluorite, etc], SCT's have "Coma Free" or "Edge-HD", but what about reflectors? Are certain mirror types better suited for visual astronomy, or are they all pretty much equal?

I used to have a 10" LightBridge Dobsonian, but I wasn't very impressed by it other than its aperture. I want to get a better quality reflector with a good quality mirror that will perform well on Deep Sky, star clusters, and occasional Lunar & planetary. Tube design is a factor here as well. I like how the optical tube is baffled in the Orion Newt-Astrograph & Sky-Watcher Quattro, and I want it to be a manageable size. Are there better options out there than these two?   



#2 Augustus

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 03:45 PM

If you are looking for a reflector with a good quality mirror for visual use, these f/4 astrographs ain't it. Your Lightbridge is better than any of them, as is your 10" LX90.

 

Dobsonians are nothing more than a mount style, their optics are exactly the same. I suggest you do some basic reading.....


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#3 Bean614

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 05:38 PM

I had an Orion 8" f/5 some time ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I also used an Atlas.  At f/5, it's fine for Visual, and can also be used for AP.  Mine was an excellent example, with above average mirrors.  My notes tell me that 300X to 350X was no problem at all on Saturn, and almost double that on the Moon.  

I believe that they still sell a similar Reflector.


Edited by Bean614, 08 November 2019 - 10:01 PM.

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#4 macdonjh

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 05:44 PM

Remember, those astrographs are optimized for photography, not visual.  Their secondary mirrors are bigger than they need to be for eye piece use to be sure they fully illuminate a chip.  The focusers don't have enough out travel to come to focus with eye pieces without an extension tube (or is it the other way around, not enough in focus?).  Maybe some other stuff.

 

The biggest thing about mounting a Newtonian on an equatorial mount, though, is eye piece orientation.  Even with rotating rings, you may find yourself in need of a ladder.  Rotating rings from a company like Parallax are really nice (I have a set), but they are expensive.  There are DIY solutions, you can search here on Cloudy Nights for them.

 

Wade Richter a 191102.jpg

 

I think you can see the ladder in the back ground.  We used it a couple of times that night.  I don't mind having a Newtonian on a GEM, I didn't have to buy a ServoCat to have go-to and tracking.  But if a Newtonian was going to be my only scope, I think I'd opt for a Dobsonian mount.  They are very convenient.  And now there are lots of go-to options out there if that's a priority for you.


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#5 macdonjh

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 05:49 PM

Sorry, to answer your questions about Newtonians: most Newtonians now will have paraboloidal mirrors.  Only a really slow Newtonian would have a spheroidal mirror and I don't know any commercially available like that any more.  I think, in general, the mass produced Newtonians have decent mirrors, but you can increase your chances of skipping right over a "good" mirror and get a great mirror by getting one from a premium optician.  I know when I bought my classical Cassegrain I had choices of quartz, Zerodur, Supremax and maybe a couple of other substrates for my primary.  I don't know if that many choices are offered for Newtonian primary mirrors.  Perhaps that is common in astrograph Newtonians and not so much in Dobsonian- mounted Newtonians for visual use.


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#6 havasman

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 06:02 PM

 Are there better options out there than these two?   

I think there are many better options than a low-end astrograph for visual use. An old Canon AE-1 can be used as a hammer but there are better hammers and better cameras; a stretch but similar.

 

To me your collection includes a killer refractor on a proper mount and an SCT but is primed for the addition of a Dob. Patient trolling of the secondary market should find a midrange to high end 12 to 15" strut Dob that should really satisfy you for a long time.

 

You don't say what it was about your Meade that you didn't like. I found an XT10i some years ago and still enjoy it a lot. It was raw material for me and is significantly modded (mostly inexpensive) for a substantial capability increase. I prefer the Orion tube Dobs at or below 10" and the Orion XX series at 12" to anything Meade offers. Design and ergonomics are easier to handle in my experience. But a well cared for used 12" Obsession will be better in 'most every way.


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#7 rkelley8493

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 06:17 PM

I think there are many better options than a low-end astrograph for visual use. An old Canon AE-1 can be used as a hammer but there are better hammers and better cameras; a stretch but similar.

 

To me your collection includes a killer refractor on a proper mount and an SCT but is primed for the addition of a Dob. Patient trolling of the secondary market should find a midrange to high end 12 to 15" strut Dob that should really satisfy you for a long time.

 

You don't say what it was about your Meade that you didn't like. I found an XT10i some years ago and still enjoy it a lot. It was raw material for me and is significantly modded (mostly inexpensive) for a substantial capability increase. I prefer the Orion tube Dobs at or below 10" and the Orion XX series at 12" to anything Meade offers. Design and ergonomics are easier to handle in my experience. But a well cared for used 12" Obsession will be better in 'most every way.

Good point waytogo.gif

What I didn't like about the LightBridge was the slip in Quality Control. It arrived at my house very sloppy [dent in the optical tube, dust cover off, and a couple other issues], and the components looked & felt very cheaply made.

The Orion Dobsonians look pretty nice though! That may end up being the better choice over the Newt astrographs I was looking at. I'm not in a rush to go out and get something.. I've just been wanting a good quality made reflector in my stable.


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#8 dmgriff

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 06:25 PM

If you want a alternative to the Asian products, you can have a custom scope by someone like Parallax Instruments made for you in the US. 

 

http://www.parallaxi...#newtonianprice

 

Also, in Europe, Orion Optics UK, Teleskop Service and others offer newtonians that are well made.

 

Orion Optics UK (OOUK)

https://www.orionopt...onianrefle.html

 

TS 10in f/6.4 ONTC

https://www.teleskop...stomizable.html

 

Good viewing,

 

Dave

 


Edited by dmgriff, 08 November 2019 - 06:34 PM.

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#9 GOLGO13

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 06:36 PM

If you are looking for a reflector with a good quality mirror for visual use, these f/4 astrographs ain't it. Your Lightbridge is better than any of them, as is your 10" LX90.

 

Dobsonians are nothing more than a mount style, their optics are exactly the same. I suggest you do some basic reading.....

A little harsh Augustus, but I agree astrographs are not great for visual. Though I am sure the mirrors are fine, it's more the design that is the issue for visual. Placement of the focuser, size of mirror, etc.

 

However, you should be able to mount a big newt if you want to on a EQ mount. Though it can be pretty weird with where the eyepiece ends up without rotating rings.


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#10 rkelley8493

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 07:16 PM

I feel ya! I didn't take it harsh.. imawake.gif

What I'm basically looking for is a wider field, brighter version of my LX90. However, I was staying away from Dobs because I didn't like the mount on my last one. That and I live on a downhill slope, so a heavy duty tripod helps on the uneven terrain.



#11 GOLGO13

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 08:14 PM

What about your 130mm apo? A nice wide field eyepiece should be magical in that scope!

 

A 41mm Panoptic would weight about the same as the 10 inch newt, but would provide a great view I bet.


Edited by GOLGO13, 08 November 2019 - 08:18 PM.

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#12 GOLGO13

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 08:16 PM

If you got a premium fast dob, that would be nice. But I hear ya...sometimes the run of the mill dobs need some work to get them happy. 

 

Maybe something a  bit nicer would do the trick. Just a bit difficult to use a newt on an EQ.


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#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 08:49 PM

I'm looking to get my first Newtonian reflector for visual use. I will be mounting it to my Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G. So far I've been looking at the Orion 10" f/3.9 Astrograph & the Sky-Watcher Quattro 250p, but I'm not sure how well those would do for visual only. 

I'm not really sure what I should be looking for in the specs other than the basics. Refractors have different glass types [FPL-53, FCD 100, Fluorite, etc], SCT's have "Coma Free" or "Edge-HD", but what about reflectors? Are certain mirror types better suited for visual astronomy, or are they all pretty much equal?

I used to have a 10" LightBridge Dobsonian, but I wasn't very impressed by it other than its aperture. I want to get a better quality reflector with a good quality mirror that will perform well on Deep Sky, star clusters, and occasional Lunar & planetary. Tube design is a factor here as well. I like how the optical tube is baffled in the Orion Newt-Astrograph & Sky-Watcher Quattro, and I want it to be a manageable size. Are there better options out there than these two?   

Equatorially mounted Newtonians are a hassle.  Before the Dobsonian revolution, they were the only option.  These days, they are virtually non-existent.  

 

They tend to be awkward, uncomfortable because of the rotation of the tube, because the eyepiece position.  If you look at Mac's photos, you will see someone leaning over the mount to peer through the eyepiece.  Mac's scope has rotating rings, I believe.

 

I have owned a number of EQ mounted Newtonians.  They're all gone.  This is my suggestion:

 

Before you buy one, spend some time with one at your local club or somewhere, someway.  An make sure it is larger than 10 inches.

 

If you were not satisfied with your 10 inch Lightbridge, they are decent scopes but have their issues..  Do not judge all Dobs by the 10 inch Lightbridge. there are much better Dobs out there... 

 

Jon


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#14 lphilpot

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 11:25 PM

Equatorially mounted Newtonians are a hassle.  Before the Dobsonian revolution, they were the only option.  These days, they are virtually non-existent.  

 

They tend to be awkward, uncomfortable because of the rotation of the tube, because the eyepiece position.  If you look at Mac's photos, you will see someone leaning over the mount to peer through the eyepiece.  Mac's scope has rotating rings, I believe.

 

I have owned a number of EQ mounted Newtonians.  They're all gone.  This is my suggestion:

 

Before you buy one, spend some time with one at your local club or somewhere, someway.  An make sure it is larger than 10 inches.

 

If you were not satisfied with your 10 inch Lightbridge, they are decent scopes but have their issues..  Do not judge all Dobs by the 10 inch Lightbridge. there are much better Dobs out there... 

 

Jon

Truth.


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#15 dmgriff

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 08:41 AM

I think 6in, 8in, 10in Newtonians are ok on the appropriate gem (eq5 and above). Above 10in the bulk of the ota and the size of the mount becomes a problem to me. I prefer a 6in or 8in newtonian on a gem. Love the easy one axis tracking (I use manual gems). A 10in could mount either way for me, but, I would prefer it on a gem over the dob. For me, 12in + newts are too big on a gem unless it is "observatory" mounted and the logistics of the dob mounts are preferable.

 

Good viewing,

 

Dave


Edited by dmgriff, 09 November 2019 - 08:41 AM.

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#16 airbleeder

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 09:37 AM

   I had a 8" f5 GEM GOTO reflector. As others have stated, they are a hassle for visual even with rotating rings. I converted mine to a dob and sold the goto GEM. I never miss it.


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#17 rkelley8493

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 02:51 PM

I only use my mount in Alt-Az mode.. I can see where having it in EQ mode would be kind of awkward, but that wasn't really what I was going for. But I'm just spitballing here.. From what I've heard, it sounds like any Newtonian over 10" should be easier to manage in a Dobsonian mount. 

Great feedback so far waytogo.gif



#18 Augustus

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:08 PM

I only use my mount in Alt-Az mode.. 

It makes literally no sense to do that vs a Dob with GoTo.



#19 rkelley8493

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:22 PM

It makes literally no sense to do that vs a Dob with GoTo.

It does when you live on a downhill slope. Tripod legs can be adjusted so the mount will be level. The same can't be done with a Dobsonian base.


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#20 lphilpot

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:31 PM

It does when you live on a downhill slope. Tripod legs can be adjusted so the mount will be level. The same can't be done with a Dobsonian base.

I can see your point, within reason, but I think for the advantages of a Dob mount (generally lower cost, stability, friction control, etc.) I'd be tempted to first try making a level place for the Dob. Whether just some leveling blocks, or a custom made "platform", it shouldn't be too difficult and once done, it's done. Depends on the severity of the slope, maybe.


Edited by lphilpot, 09 November 2019 - 03:32 PM.

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#21 Augustus

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:43 PM

It does when you live on a downhill slope. Tripod legs can be adjusted so the mount will be level. The same can't be done with a Dobsonian base.

Levelers?

 

Shims?

 

Bricks?

 

It doesn't even need to be that level in the first place?



#22 airbleeder

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 03:50 PM

   I'm glad my yard isn't sloped more than it is. I have few options to choose from which allow a view of the sky and semi-level spot to set up my dob, but I would build a leveling platform before going back to the GEM. Besides, the awkward eyepiece positions were exacerbated by the unlevel ground.

    I may build a leveling platform one rainy day to give me more setup options. Leave it out, hidden under a tree so it won't be a other piece of equipment to carry out. One of the reasons I converted to a dob in the first place...convenience.


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#23 GOLGO13

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 06:02 PM

As someone that lives on the side of a hill I can understand wanting to use a tripod. I do plan at some point making a pad in the back yard that's flat. But for now, my dob is limited to my back deck and the front driveway.

 

C8 nightvision

 

The struggle is real...but then again, I live in the mountain state.


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#24 rkelley8493

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 08:08 PM

As someone that lives on the side of a hill I can understand wanting to use a tripod. I do plan at some point making a pad in the back yard that's flat. But for now, my dob is limited to my back deck and the front driveway.

 

 

 

The struggle is real...but then again, I live in the mountain state.

Yea!  goodjob.gif  Well, I don't live in the mountains, but there is a big pond/small lake in my back yard, so the yard is naturally on a hill. Very similar to what you see here. FarmerRon.gif

 

 

Edit: Here's a picture I was trying to take of the Milky Way with my cell phone one night. You can sorta see the angle I'm at on most nights.

 

 

Milky Way .jpg


Edited by rkelley8493, 09 November 2019 - 08:12 PM.

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