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Which telescope to pick?

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#1 Nessark

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 08:11 AM

I am looking to buy a new telescope.  I am somewhat of a beginner, i have a 12" Dobsonian but i am looking to buy something more portable that i can bring to darker sites with my car.  The 12" Dobsonian is just way too much work disassembling/assembling, and the parts are heavy.

 

Also i am looking to buy a telescope that, hopefully, will be in accordance of airlines for carry on luggage and i can bring the optics at least in my backpack with no issues from TSA. (im guessing it has to be under 6" or else i may have issues")

 

So these are my points that i look for:

 

  • Portability
  • GoTo motorized mount
  • Travel safe (worldwide)
  • Good for everything (planets, a little bit of AP maybe, Nebulas, Galaxies) (I'd like to use it for a little of everything hopefully)

 

I originally wanted a Nexstar 6SE but i am starting to think i may have issues with TSA on airports.  I can fit it in my backpack but its still pretty big and i think it will make many officers "wonder" what this thing is and it may get rejected by TSA.

 

So i am guessing i need to go down to a 4" or something at the max.

 

These are my options so far, please feel free to add a suggestion if you think some other telescope may be a better choice:

 

  • NexStar 90SLT
  • Celestron 80LCM
  • Meade ETX80

 

Please contribute your knowledge on the subject, i am still a beginner and i may even be wrong with the 6SE being an issue with TSA, i've heard i can call ahead and ask if its allowed but that doesn't ensure things going well at the checkpoints.  I totally want the 6SE but if its high-risk with TSA i will have to choose one of the above options.

 

Thank you for reading!



#2 sg6

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 08:56 AM

I would not see many 6SE's getting on a plane as cabin baggage, they are a fair chunk of tube. I assume the mount would be in the hold (?)

 

Really very little especially as a purchased package, they did nor design them for flying the world. The ETX80 is both scope and goto base - may get one on if there is a custom carry case.

 

Also not helped by wanting to see DSO, planets and AP.

 

Myself I would take my WO ZS61 and the Skywatcher Az GTi with the mount split into tripod and head. The mount head and ZS61 are both small. Excludes AP. I have a 72ED also but I guess that could be a little large, certainly too big in it's case.

 

Other is build your own portable 6" dobsonian. Should manage the footprint of a laptop and say 4-6 inches depth. I have just collected the components I need to construct one. Need to clear the bench to make a start. You get a 6" but again no AP.

 

I know the Az GTi has an Eq mode but Skywatcher are remaining quiet on it, seems if they say "EQ" people think AP then moan about it's AP/EQ abilities. it was and is basically an AZ mount. So they will say not really EQ but the mode exists. In effect use at your peril and don't complain if you cannot track unguided for 2 hours.



#3 rhetfield

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 09:22 AM

The AWB OneSky is a 5" collapsible truss dob for $200. Take it off the base and it will easily fit into a carry-on bag and have room for a small tripod mount. Tube only weighs 7lb, so mount doesn't need to be huge.
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#4 SloMoe

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 09:25 AM

I would go ahead with the SCT 6, your're accustomed to the views of a large dob, when you cut your aperture in half the targets get fewer, celestial wise. 

 

Keep you focal ratio slow, more forgiving on your eyepiece selection

 

Terrestrial wise the 6 will deliver some outstanding views, at high mag with no CA  issues.

 

The OTA is a bit on the large side for carry on, but if it's all you have to carry on then really not a problem.

If in doubt, get a 5" Mak.

 

If I were to carry on the scope would be about the only thing in the bag and I would use a bag that is quickly opened, a check point is a delay, but you will make your plane, in this hobby you can't be in a hurry.

 

I've got a C90 spotting scope, now that thing is great for bright night time targets, Baader Sky Surfer-III for a finder, bright enough to use during the day and gets pretty dim at night.

But unless you're in a very dark site the 90 is closer to a finder than an observer.

 

When considering a tracking goto mount, that's an entire extra suitcase.

 

I use a photo tripod with my 90, more for terrestrial and until you try terrestrial with a slow scope that can get 300X don't knock it, shopping malls from three miles away are very entertaining.

 

Roof topping or a high balcony, even a high window, there's a lot of thing to see around you.


Edited by SloMoe, 08 December 2019 - 09:28 AM.

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#5 SteveG

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 04:46 PM

TSA does not have a problem with telescopes. Just let them know what you have.

 

I use the OneSky 5" f5 reflector for travel. I check both it and my Vixen Porta II mount as baggage.


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#6 gkarris

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 04:57 PM

So these are my points that i look for:

 

  • Portability
  • GoTo motorized mount
  • Travel safe (worldwide)
  • Good for everything (planets, a little bit of AP maybe, Nebulas, Galaxies) (I'd like to use it for a little of everything hopefully)
     
  • NexStar 90SLT
  • Celestron 80LCM
  • Meade ETX80

 

I would avoid Meade ETX-anything (LOL - especially now). The Celestron 80lcm doesn't look very portable.

 

I have a Celestron C90 I've used more than I thought - nice and small and use it on an Alt-Az mount with slo-mo...

 

Fun small scope:

 

C90 NEX5N AZ3
 
Looks like the NexStar 90SLT is a goto version of the C90...
 
Most of all, have fun!

Edited by gkarris, 08 December 2019 - 04:58 PM.

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#7 Nessark

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 06:59 PM

TSA does not have a problem with telescopes. Just let them know what you have.

 

I use the OneSky 5" f5 reflector for travel. I check both it and my Vixen Porta II mount as baggage.

 

You say you place both the telescope and mount in the checked in luggage?  They throw those bags around a lot, how does it survive?



#8 Jay6821

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 08:23 PM

I think the Celestron 6 is a good option, but I don't think it will work well for air travel.  I have an 8" Celestron and there is no way I could, or would, try to take that with me when I travel.  


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#9 Sky Muse

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:01 PM

https://www.bhphotov...02mm_f_6_5.html

 

http://www.weasner.c...roAZ/index.html


Edited by Sky Muse, 08 December 2019 - 11:03 PM.

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#10 rhetfield

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 02:34 PM

You say you place both the telescope and mount in the checked in luggage?  They throw those bags around a lot, how does it survive?

His combination is small enough to go as carry on in a camera pack.  As checked baggage, he would easily be able to upsize the bag a bit and pad it well.  It can even go in the middle of his clothing bag.

 

The tube is relatively beefy and light.  It can handle a fair amount of abuse if padded even minimally.  Worse case would be alignment of the red dot and doing a collimation.



#11 SeattleScott

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 03:40 PM

That’s the beauty of a $200 user-collimatable scope. Certainly it can be carried on but sandwiched in the middle of a bunch of clothes, it would be difficult to break. And if worst comes to worst it isn’t a tragedy.

Scott
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