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Choices, choices, choices...

cassegrain catadioptric reflector refractor SCT Maksutov
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#1 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 06:06 PM

Hello all. I'm getting back into the game after about three years away, so essentially a noob...

 

I live in a heavily light polluted area in north Texas, which means that most of the time I'll be viewing the moon and planets. Will I drive out to some darker skies to view the solar system as well as DSOs and/or do AP? Probably. (By the way, I only mention AP because that means I'm getting an equatorial mount with whatever OTA I buy). Bottom line: I will spend a lot of time in the solar system, and most of that time on planets and the moon for now.

 

Wants:

 

GoTo - Mostly familiar with Celestron and Meade mounts, but equatorial mounts are new to me, so very open to suggestions.

Easy-ish Setup - Otherwise I know I'll go outside less than I'd like to.

Planets! - Under good skies, I'd like a scope that will give me a decent balance between detail and size when viewing, but I'm primarily all about detail.

 

I have owned MCTs and SCTs in the past, and I'm not opposed to those, but I want to consider whatever fits my wants and needs best. That said, I have ruled out any type of scope that requires sorcery, fans and/or constant collimation, so I think Dobs and Newts are out. My budget is between 3-5k including the mount.

 

If I missed any key info that would help you help me, let me know and I'll get it posted ASAP. Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 Astro-Master

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 07:03 PM

I've looked through several Celestron 9.25" telescopes, and they all have given impressive views.  The 9.25" Ota weighs around 20lbs. that's about 8 to 10 pounds more than a C8, but the resolution on the planets will be better.

 

As for the equatorial mount, there are many GOTO mounts to chose from.  A thirty pound capacity would be the minimum.  I have a Meade 10" SCT that weighs around 30 lbs. mounted on a Celestron CGEM II, and the mount works well, but its heavy, and not very portable for my liking so it stays set up in the yard, and covered when not in use.


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#3 Jeffmar

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 07:28 PM

The CGEM will be very stable with either a C9.25 or a C8. The AVX should be stable with the C8 and okay for the C9.25. The C8 is a very handy, all around scope that is easy to carry around and put on a mount. I own a CGEM but not an AVX. My knowledge of the smaller mount is from talking to owners of that mount. They seem to like it. I have put a C11 on the CGEM and it is just fine for eyepiece work. Good luck with your hunt!


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#4 dr.who

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 08:51 PM

The best planetary scope I have had the pleasure of using and owning* that was easy to use, cooled relatively quickly, and was easy to move around was the Takahashi Mewlon 210. It KILLS on planets. I mean it can bring tears to your eyes! Jupiter was my least favorite planet behind Venus until I looked at it on a night of good seeing with my Tele Vue Binoviewers in my 210. It became my 2nd favorite after Saturn and bumped Uranus down to 3rd! I saw the GRS and the four Galilean moons that looked just amazing. Colors were fantastic as opposed to the muddy reds and browns I was used to. It was truly amazing and well worth the $3,000 the scope costs.

 

Add in a Skywatcher AZ-EQ5 so you can use it in EQ mode for AP down the road and in alt/az mode for visual and you will be in like Flynn and pleased as pie.

 

With your budget you will have enough for a decent diagonal like the Tele Vue Starbright (or you can go whole hog and skip the used EP's and get the Takahashi 2" mirror diagonal if you want the very best), a better rail than the Mewlon comes stock with, and a used Tele Vue Nagler EP or two. I recommend the 16mm, 11mm, and 7mm with the scope. 

 

Don't worry the pack of Dob Snob's will be along shortly to tell you how wrong you are and you need to get a Dob. They will be followed by the Star Hoppers who will call you a heretic for wanting GOTO and try to scold you into star hopping. This is a particular pet peeve of mine. So many here completely ignore what the poster says the do and do not want and try to bully them into getting a Dobsonian and/or star hop.

 

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the two Dob's I had but with my injuries from when I was young and stupid it was painful for me to work with them and this is a hobby.  It shouldn't be painful. The Zambuto mirror was on par with the Mewlon by the way when accounting for size difference. It was a thin mirror so it cooled quicker than the 2" thick Obsession one.

 

* I have owned the following reflectors: 8" Celestron SCT, 8" Celestron EdgeHD, 11" Celestron EdgeHD, Meade 8" LX90, Explore Scientific 152mm Comet Hunter Mak, Skywatcher 8" Quattro imaging Newt (great for taking pictures not so great for visual,  12.5" Teeter Journey Dob with Zambuto mirror, and Obsession 15" UC Dob. I currently own the Takahashi Mewlon 250. I never saw the logic behind getting the Celestron 9.25 either in the EdgeHD version or stock. It is the same size as the 11" weighs only 8 lbs less but is 2.75 inches smaller so why bother? 


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#5 vtornado

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 08:58 PM

Don't have one, but I think an 8 inch SCT would be good for you.

Good aperture without too much trouble to set up.

It will comfotrably fit in your budget.

 

SCTs do need thermal managment and maybe a dew heater.

thermal management could be as simple as setting the scope outside for an hour to cool/warm.

wrapping the scope with insulating material helps too.

You may have to collimate your SCT, but it will be a once a year thing, instead of every time you use it.

 

It is not recommended to learn AP with a long focal length CAT.

 

Do you know what EAA is? (Electronically assisted astronomy)

It is kind of AP junior.  You will be using a web cam and computer to stack and enhance images.

There are lots of good results posted here, and to me it sounds easier than AP.

There are some turnkey solutions that will get you running quickly.


Edited by vtornado, 13 February 2020 - 09:00 PM.

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#6 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 09:51 PM

Ok no one has mentioned an apo yet. Could get a 6” with that budget. Would be great on planets and capable at DSO. Certainly capable of imaging but would require a substantial mount. Realistically maybe keep it to 5” since you want something portable.

Scott
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#7 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:17 PM

Okay, I'm down to two scopes:

 

1. Used Celestron CPC 1100 Deluxe for $2,800 out the door, I'll buy the equatorial wedge later

 

2. New Sky-Watcher 120mm Esprit ED Triplet APO Refractor, Celestron Advanced VX Computerized German Equatorial Telescope Mount -- $4,098 out the door.

 

I'm leaning towards #1...


Edited by Eskimo Spy, 13 February 2020 - 10:23 PM.


#8 MalVeauX

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:22 PM

#1 is the way to go. Aperture rules here.

 

I was going to say used AVX + C9.25 + the rest.

 

Very best,


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#9 vtornado

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:23 PM

Your above choices violate rule #2

 

Easy-ish Setup - Otherwise I know I'll go outside less than I'd like to.

Maybe you should go to a star party and see how big some of these scopes are in person.

And stay to the end when you see the folks take them down.


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#10 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:25 PM

I've had a 10" SCT in the past, it's not the worst thing, and it can be stored right by the back door leading out to the back yard.

 

But to be fair, you are correct.


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#11 vtornado

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:34 PM

I've had a 10" SCT in the past, it's not the worst thing, and it can be stored right by the back door leading out to the back yard.

 

But to be fair, you are correct.

Ok, If you have owned an 10 inch SCT you understand.  I didn't know that, you could have owned a C5 in the past.

There is the two scope  solution, small scope for quick peaks, big scope when you have a lot of time.

I have some 5 and 6 inch scopes for the quick peek nights (week days, cold days) . A 12 inch for serious days (weekend good weather)


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#12 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 10:36 PM

An AVX with 120 Apo isn’t a big deal. Not GNG but he isn’t looking for that. The C11 is only two pieces but one of them weighs 65lbs.

Scott
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#13 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 11:15 PM

I went with option 1, it will be here next week, I'll report after first light. Thanks to everyone.


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#14 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 11:44 PM

The best planetary scope I have had the pleasure of using and owning* that was easy to use, cooled relatively quickly, and was easy to move around was the Takahashi Mewlon 210.

Wow, everything I read about this scope is amazing. I'm going to be looking into this first thing in the morning.



#15 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:04 AM

Of course the Mewlon will have diffraction spikes. Bothers some more than others.
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#16 Jeffmar

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 02:58 AM

Okay, I'm down to two scopes:

 

1. Used Celestron CPC 1100 Deluxe for $2,800 out the door, I'll buy the equatorial wedge later

 

2. New Sky-Watcher 120mm Esprit ED Triplet APO Refractor, Celestron Advanced VX Computerized German Equatorial Telescope Mount -- $4,098 out the door.

 

I'm leaning towards #1...

The C11 is a major planet killer. I have looked at planets through triplet apo’s up to 140mm and they are incredibly sharp but............It is really hard to beat a well collimated C11 for Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and even Uranus and Neptune, in good seeing. As much as I would love to have a medium size app refractor I wouldn’t trade my C11 for one. C11’s are pretty good deep sky telescopes also, especially at a dark site.


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#17 Blackbelt76

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 09:07 AM

Okay, I'm down to two scopes:

 

1. Used Celestron CPC 1100 Deluxe for $2,800 out the door, I'll buy the equatorial wedge later

 

2. New Sky-Watcher 120mm Esprit ED Triplet APO Refractor, Celestron Advanced VX Computerized German Equatorial Telescope Mount -- $4,098 out the door.

 

I'm leaning towards #1...

Looks like you already pulled the trigger.

Not saying you made a mistake, but IMO the OTA only + something like the EQ6R may have been a 

far more versatile choice, now and in the future.

I've used fork mounts with a wedge. I never liked them for AP as it is a weak link in the chain of mechanical tolerances.


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#18 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:58 PM

Now that I've selected the scope and mount, next up are the accessories!

 

Looking for recommendations on:

 

Dew shield

Bino Viewer (and eyepieces for it)

Eyepieces (for viewing without the bino)

Upgraded Diag 2"

 

And wondering about whether to purchase:

 

Barlow

Filters

Any sort of collimation tool (I tend to trust a star and the donut, but open to thoughts)


Edited by Eskimo Spy, 14 February 2020 - 03:55 PM.


#19 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 07:41 PM

Neodymium filter is great for Mars and Jupiter. I use the baader moon and skyglow which has a natural yet enhanced color to objects. GRS on Jupiter really stands out.
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#20 dr.who

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 08:44 PM

Plan to get a quality Binoviewer. Don’t scrimp. For that SCT I use a Tele Vue BV with Baader T2 setup and a 1.25x GPC in place of the 2x amplifier it comes with. I recommend the 24mm Panoptics, 16 and 11mm Naglers with it. Good DSO and planetary magnifications in those. Not cheap though. Or you could replace the Naglers with the Explore Scientific ones in 14mm and 11mm. Save you a lot of money but still give you good quality.


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#21 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 09:11 PM

Noob question(s) ahead:

 

It looks like you can buy the Tele Vue body with or without without the 2x amplifier, what is the amplifier for, and why do you use a 1.25x GPC in its place? What does the GPC do in this signal chain? Anyway, I can't find anyone with the Tele Vue in stock. I'll keep looking.

 

What is the Baader T2 setup? Is this a diag?

 

I assume that the 1.25x GPC is a glasspath compensator?

 

I know the EPs you're recommending, which made me feel better, I understood part of the recommendations at least!


Edited by Eskimo Spy, 14 February 2020 - 09:18 PM.


#22 vtornado

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 09:38 PM

You have a tracking scope, so wide field is not as important.

There are many raves here about the televue 8 and 11 mm plossl's.

Comparing these among the top planetary eyepieces.

I have picked these up now and am waiting for the gas giants to return.

These do have trouble with eye relief which does not overly bother me.

I had the 8mm out on Sirius tonight and got a perfect airy disk.


Edited by vtornado, 14 February 2020 - 09:42 PM.


#23 dr.who

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 09:41 PM

Yes you can. I would buy it without it unless you are for sure buying a Tele Vue NP101is, NP127is, Takahashi FSQ-106, Takahashi FSQ-85, or similar really short back focus scope where you need it. I would also look for it used.

 

The Baader T2 setup is:

 

https://www.baader-p...tro-t-2-system/

 

I use the Amici Prism diagonal which the TV BV threads directly onto then a 2" nosepiece. I put the 1.25x GPC directly in line with a TV BV


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#24 Eskimo Spy

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 10:11 PM

Dang, I have to learn optical paths AND German?!?! Welp, time to roll up the old sleeves...


Edited by Eskimo Spy, 14 February 2020 - 10:24 PM.


#25 dr.who

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:17 AM

Lol! They should have a English version of the site and stuff. ;)




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