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1st Time Buyer- Telescope & Tripod/Mount

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#26 Tom Stock

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:10 PM

If someone can't figure out the 4 easy steps for aligning a goto mount, I really don't think they are going to do well at learning to star hop.  You can do it now without knowing the name or location of a single star.

 

Coma, in an F10 SCT is extremely minor compared to something like a F4.5 reflector.

 

What makes up for it is the long focal length (for planets) and ability to quickly cut it in half (or less) with a focal reducer for imaging or wide field observing. The modularity of SCT accessories is extremely convenient.  Off axis guiders, filters, focal reducers, external micro focusers, etc.

 

Definitely look through a few telescopes... at both planets and deep sky before you spend $5000 on a 4" refractor.


Edited by Tom Stock, 11 December 2019 - 10:29 PM.

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#27 SloMoe

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 10:32 PM

I agree with Tom, you've got to find a club near you, attend a star party or their public event, watch video's on Youtube, Astronomy & Nature TV on youtube, just enter that in the youtube search.

 

You really need to learn more about scopes, 

finding stars is nothing, just get an app for your phone, learn to use it and you can easily conquer goto alignment.


Edited by SloMoe, 11 December 2019 - 10:37 PM.

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#28 OldSailor

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 09:57 AM

SloMoe

 

I will follow the advice given. My takeaway is that I may end up with two different telescopes. One a refractor and one a Mak or SCT. It would be easier for beginners if more of the astronomy retailers were brick and mortar businesses where you could drop by and have a good discussion with a reseller. And lift a few units in the showroom. But, nothing like a challenge to keep the brain fresh.



#29 Tom Stock

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 11:01 AM

Some examples of what to expect with various telescopes. Ignore the "cheap vs expensive" part, that is not really relevant here.  Just wanted to show the brightness and image scale for different apertures. 

 

https://www.deepskyw...-telescope.html


Edited by Tom Stock, 12 December 2019 - 11:13 AM.

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#30 SloMoe

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 11:13 AM

Old Sailor, there's nothing wrong with owning more than one scope type, each type has it's area performace, and that's why there are different types of scopes.

Most of the time we don't know where to start because we want to see everything with just one scope, so enter the SCT, Jack of All Scopes, that's what you should get if you're going to just purchase a scope.

 

Sorry I got cut off in the middle of my train of thought, The SCT does everything well, but not as good as, say a refractor for Deep Sky wide fov viewing or imaging, can't do better than a 4" triplet there.

 

The reflector does a much better job of viewing because of the shear size of aperture you can affordably get, think of what an 8" refractor would weight and the pier you'd have to have to support it.

 

The SCT offers high magnification viewing, imaging but with a restricted fov.

 

Fov of the different types of scopes, SCT 1.24 degree's, fast reflectors, 2.5 degrees, fast refractors, up to 4 degrees.

These are general estimates, but you get the idea.

 

The best thing you can do for yourself is find a club.

 

In most clubs all types of scopes are represented, usually pointed at targets they work best on.


Edited by SloMoe, 12 December 2019 - 11:42 AM.

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#31 OldSailor

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 11:37 AM

Tom & SloeMoe:

 

Thanks for that link Tom.

 

I will start with an SCT and as my learning curve and confidence build look at getting a refractor later if I feel it would be helpful. 

 

Jim


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#32 Eddgie

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 11:10 AM

Thanks Lance

 

My rush to get to the end zone right away with a first time refractor and an EQ mount may be too much of a challenge. As noted by you building the sky navigation skills first is important. I did get a pair of Celestron binoculars to start my sky learning curve.

 

I will start looking at alt az mounts for a 4" refractor.

It is not that the EQ mount is a challenge to use, it is that unless you are going to image, there is no benefit in using one over an Alt-az mount.

 

The mount I would recommend for a refractor is the IOptron Az Pro mount and there are several good reasons for this.

 

  • The mount drive (not the tripod) is one of the lightest in the business and it is actually more stable than similar capacity GEM mounts.   
  • For lighter scopes, you don't need a counterweight, and this helps keep the weight down
  • The mount has built in GPS
  • With careful levelling (and many have re-calibarated the factory level which is not always accurate) you can get amazing pointing with just a single star alignment
  • Not that you think you would need it, but the mount can carry two telescopes.  Now if you ever get into solar observing and pick up an H-alpa scope, it is fantastic to be able to use a white light telescope on one side, and an H-alpha scope on the other.   Or you could use a C8 on one side and a 4" Apo on the other.  Now you don't have to use two telescopes, but having a mount that can allow you to use two telescopes is a boon for observing

 

Now, if your budget allows, and you want to save even more weight, here is my specific recommendation.  If you were to get the Az pro, I would buy just the mount head and for the tripod, I would put it on the Avalon T-90.   This is one of the stiffest and lightest tripods on the market, and it folds up really small.  This is a lighter and smaller tripod than the standard tripod, and while it would cost more, if you just buy the Az pro head, the cost difference is not huge.

 

IOptron sells an upgrade to the standard tripod for the Az pro called the Tri-Pier and this is an amazing tripod, but the  weight is  25 lbs.  The T90 is only 10 lbs, and folds into a smaller package. Now to be fair, I don't know the weight of the standard tripod on the Az Pro, but I have the standard tripod on my Minitower pro, and I am pretty sure that it weighs more than 10 lb, and it is not as compact as my friends Avalon T-110.  The question here though is will you be willing to carry the mount and tripod out in two trips?  If so then the standard tripod is probably fine. 

 

(The Avalon T-90 would be best if the scope is a shorter scope.  Otherwise, you would do better with the Avalon 110 or you would want to add an extension to the T-90.  This raises the weight. )

 

The big mistake most beginners make is to think that the mount is not as important as the tripod, and the reality is that these should be weighted equally. A good telescope that is capable of high power use can be very frustrating to use when the tripod and mount are shaky. 

 

(You can buy high quality Alt-az mounts that are lighter.  Stellarvue sells a really excellent mount for about $600.  If you want to use digital setting circles on it though, by the time you have all of the encoders and DSC computer, you are going to spend as much as the Az Pro on the standard tripod.)

 

https://www.ioptron....duct-p/8900.htm

 

https://www.ioptron....duct-p/8920.htm

 

https://optcorp.com/...tripod-t-pod-90

 

https://www.stellarv...e-mount-system/

 

This is probably the best DSC computer on the market.  This combined with the Stellarvue mount would be a very light setup.  You would need an encoder kit too. But as you can see, by the time you add up the cost, the Az-Pro looks pretty good.

 

https://telescopes.n...ng-circles.html

 

Do yourself a favor though. If you are not going to image, get yourself a really high quality Alt-az mount, and if your budget allows, you can get a pretty light weight mount and tripod. There is nothing out there to compare with the Avalon if the goal is both high stability and light weight. 


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#33 Old Don

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 02:33 AM

Spend some time researching and looking at a use or new Questar ($3,500-7,000).

It is a telescope that you can use any time, any where and can carry the complete set up in a small hand held case.

The bottom line is you will use it rather than store it.

See the scope specific site here on Cloudy Nights.




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