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Cheapest observer

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#26 Sketcher

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 02:44 PM

First, who else takes this sort of approach to a he hobby? No aperture fever, no high end components, no computer assist, no stacking images.

Second, what additional components, upgrades, considerations should I consider to slowly grow capacity in a year for less than another $200?

Response to "First":

 

I often observe on the cheap.  For the past few years I've been using 6-inch and (most often) smaller telescopes.  I've often posted sketches from observations using a 1-inch aperture.  So I think I qualify for "No aperture fever".  I never use computers, tablets, smartphones etc. when outside with a telescope.  The only image stacking I do is adding to the always growing stack of paper containing my observations and sketches.

 

The telescope shown below was made using a cardboard mailing tube and a 42mm singlet objective.  It was used (stopped down to a 1/2-inch aperture) to see things a bit more like how some of the old-timers saw things.

 

Nightmare  Sketcher 2019

 

OK, so I skipped over the "no high-end components" item.  I have some high-end components, but I often intentionally observe without using them.

 

When I started out in this hobby I couldn't afford to buy anything.  So I like to show what can be accomplished on the cheap, using inexpensive equipment.  Besides, most everyone else takes care of showing what all the high-end equipment can accomplish -- often while taking time to "bash" all the cheaper equipment.

 

Response to "Second":

 

I'm moving away from answering that kind of question.  Odds are pretty good that my suggestions would be viewed as undesirable, and consequently ignored.  Another likely result would be condemnation from the "choir".


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#27 Lazaroff

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 03:00 PM

Lazaroff,
I have done so, but I find it doesn’t work for general pointing. For example, looking for comet 289P in Leo last weekend, the red dot obscured the guide star, but the 25mm picked it up easily. But the 25mm fov was too narrow and magnified to look for the star pattern I was looking for. In other words, it pulled too many background stars obscuring where to look. So perhaps a wa 32mm will help, but I still got the ra spotter anyway.

Your experience using the 25mm is similar to mine.

 

Do you have the RACI finder already? If so, have you tried it by itself?


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#28 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 03:42 PM

Lazaroff,
I have done so, but I find it doesn’t work for general pointing. For example, looking for comet 289P in Leo last weekend, the red dot obscured the guide star, but the 25mm picked it up easily. But the 25mm fov was too narrow and magnified to look for the star pattern I was looking for. In other words, it pulled too many background stars obscuring where to look. So perhaps a wa 32mm will help, but I still got the ra spotter anyway.

 

Boyd:

 

There is no doubt a RACI finder can be a big help and makes recognizing star patterns and centering the scope on objects only visible in the main scope much easier.  My 50mm RACI finder uses standard 1.25 inch eyepieces so it's setup so it provides a 6.8 degree TFoV.  

 

Generally for a scope with a 4 degree TFoV, I find the scope itself is sufficient but the wider field of view of the 6x30 RACI is an advantage.  The combination of the red dot and RACI is, IMHO, the best and with a chair that can be raised and lowered without too much hassle, it what works for me.  

 

This thread is kind of hit and miss because we're making suggestions and you've already figured that out.  

 

I do think a chair is a wonderful thing and would rather part with my best wide field eyepieces than with my Starbound chair.  So, I think something like the Denver chair is something to consider.

 

Jon


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#29 LDW47

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 03:54 PM

Response to "First":

 

I often observe on the cheap.  For the past few years I've been using 6-inch and (most often) smaller telescopes.  I've often posted sketches from observations using a 1-inch aperture.  So I think I qualify for "No aperture fever".  I never use computers, tablets, smartphones etc. when outside with a telescope.  The only image stacking I do is adding to the always growing stack of paper containing my observations and sketches.

 

The telescope shown below was made using a cardboard mailing tube and a 42mm singlet objective.  It was used (stopped down to a 1/2-inch aperture) to see things a bit more like how some of the old-timers saw things.

 

 

 

OK, so I skipped over the "no high-end components" item.  I have some high-end components, but I often intentionally observe without using them.

 

When I started out in this hobby I couldn't afford to buy anything.  So I like to show what can be accomplished on the cheap, using inexpensive equipment.  Besides, most everyone else takes care of showing what all the high-end equipment can accomplish -- often while taking time to "bash" all the cheaper equipment.

 

Response to "Second":

 

I'm moving away from answering that kind of question.  Odds are pretty good that my suggestions would be viewed as undesirable, and consequently ignored.  Another likely result would be condemnation from the "choir".

You are correct on both especially the second ! It just doesn’t pay sometimes ( many times ) ! Clear Skies !  PS: Thats because many of the posters appear to know more than you do, before we even start, lol !


Edited by LDW47, 17 March 2020 - 04:11 PM.


#30 clearwaterdave

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 04:35 PM

You can get a Meade 102mm for less than $200. A very good scope

This is an OK scope.,imho.,and the mount and tripod are pretty poor.,again .,imho.,Calling it a very good scope is streaching it quite a bit if you ask me.,What are you comparing too.,

  For $200 the Onesky is a much better scope in all ways.,cheers


Edited by clearwaterdave, 17 March 2020 - 04:38 PM.

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#31 Redbetter

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 04:56 AM

I can't see much purpose to a 6x30 RA finder on an ST80, and it is contrary to the "cheapest observer" thrust of the thread.  RDF works fine with this scope and is superior to the 6x30RA since the scope itself is a finder and a 1x pointing device is still needed.  (I use my ST80 as a finder.)   

 

Related to the above, I wouldn't use a 25 Plossl for the scope, because a 32 Plossl provides considerably more field of view.  I don't see much reason to use Plossls except when they are at the max field stop for the focuser size (e.g. the 32/40 for 1.25" and 55 for 2"...the 40 and 55 are limited to longer focal ratios as well.)  Never had the need for a 20 or 25mm Plossl, but the 25 is sunk cost for you now.  

 

With a 2x Barlow and a 10mm Plossl I don't see a need for a 6.5 Plossl.  I would start with the 10mm and Barlow and see how that works first, but it sounds like you already have that 6.5.  Perhaps an 8mm with somewhat less torturous eye relief to allow 100x with the 2x Barlow, but that is near the effective limit of a good 80 f/5 achro for planetary detail to my eye.  6.5 Plossl's have murderously short eye relief and Barlowing it is not likely to provide a good image with this eyepiece/scope combo.

 

A proper adjustable chair is a given for comfortable observing with a refractor.  I am assuming you would build your own to keep cost down.

 

I agree with Jon about the likelihood of needing to upgrade the diagonal.  Unfortunately, my only experiences with cheap (as in $30 range and "comes-in-box") 1.25" mirror diagonals have all been bad, with awful miscollimation that could not be fixed (and one with astigmatism), so this is one of those items where I'll spend twice as much or more to get a reliable one rather than wasting another $30.  

 

It isn't hard to make a 10 mag scope of an 80 f/5 as you intend.  Even at low power 12 mag stars are easily seen with an ST80.



#32 droid

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 07:17 AM

Has the op ever just sighted up the body of the scope? it isn't hard honest, and with a wide field finder ep.....its easy peasy.

 

but, if one must have sighting help, and it is useful for dim objects,. Get a rigel quik finder, look in the classifieds, mount it on the dew shield,

yes there's  a  learning  curve, but it isn't much of one.

 

In a ST 80 and 32mm wide field eyepiece, if you get it close you'll find it, might take a wee bit of moving the scope around if your off , but not very much.

 

On many occasions, to many to even think of, I've simply sighted up the top of the scope body, looked in my 30mm es, a little wiggling occasionally, but usual its in the fov., again there's a learning curve,  but that often accompanies doing it on the cheap.


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#33 boyd

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 07:33 AM

I often use iron sites to locate guide stars. I am looking for a wide angle ep to try based upon suggestions here. I am very pleased with the responses thus far. Everyone is eager to help me back into the hobby full swing. 🙂
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#34 droid

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 08:03 AM

I've actually been thinking for a long time about using a ST80 as a guide scope on my 6 inch refractor, you'll be amazed at one can do under dark skies.

 

Like you I do everything on the cheap now.


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#35 NYJohn S

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 08:11 AM

Boyd, As far as the red dot, Can't help with the getting on the knees thing but you can fix the brightness problem. Put a small piece of blue gel where the light projects. That will really dim it down to the point where the faintest stars show. You may have something laying around you can use, like a small blue plastic lens or cellophane. If not here's a link for a $4.99 pack with different colors.

 

https://www.xump.com...BSABEgIymvD_BwE

 

Just keeping with the cheapest observer theme. Obviously buying something else adds many options.

 

John



#36 LDW47

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 08:35 AM

Has the op ever just sighted up the body of the scope? it isn't hard honest, and with a wide field finder ep.....its easy peasy.

 

but, if one must have sighting help, and it is useful for dim objects,. Get a rigel quik finder, look in the classifieds, mount it on the dew shield,

yes there's  a  learning  curve, but it isn't much of one.

 

In a ST 80 and 32mm wide field eyepiece, if you get it close you'll find it, might take a wee bit of moving the scope around if your off , but not very much.

 

On many occasions, to many to even think of, I've simply sighted up the top of the scope body, looked in my 30mm es, a little wiggling occasionally, but usual its in the fov., again there's a learning curve,  but that often accompanies doing it on the cheap.

You are saying it right but many don’t want a learning curve, many don’t know what a learning curve is ! They want it all ‘ right now ‘, thats the problem, its the way of todays world !



#37 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 08:53 AM

I often use iron sites to locate guide stars. I am looking for a wide angle ep to try based upon suggestions here. I am very pleased with the responses thus far. Everyone is eager to help me back into the hobby full swing.

You have the 6x30 RACI, might as well use it.  We all have our different ways of doing things.. 

 

What I do when an object is up there and using the red dot finder is going to awkward/uncomfortable even with a nice adjustable chair:

 

First I look at the finder and say to myself, "Man, I don't want to scrunch down to try to look through the finder, I am too old for that, it's time for plan B.."

 

Plan B which is actually Plan A:  I "shoot from the hip."  I look up at the spot in the sky where the object is located, I sit back and by intuition, I point the scope, no sighting anything, just look at the scope and at the sky, and then I say, that looks about right.  I don't always make it but I usually I do.  When it isn't working, then is time for Plan B, using the red dot finder.

 

Jon  


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#38 Lazaroff

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 08:59 AM

Boyd, it's hard to tell what you already have and what you're wondering about buying. 6x30 RACI finder? 10mm and 6.5mm eyepieces? That makes it hard to know how to be helpful. Perhaps you could clarify.

 

(By the way, I'm with you about doing things on the cheap.)


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#39 LDW47

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 09:20 AM

You have the 6x30 RACI, might as well use it.  We all have our different ways of doing things.. 

 

What I do when an object is up there and using the red dot finder is going to awkward/uncomfortable even with a nice adjustable chair:

 

First I look at the finder and say to myself, "Man, I don't want to scrunch down to try to look through the finder, I am too old for that, it's time for plan B.."

 

Plan B which is actually Plan A:  I "shoot from the hip."  I look up at the spot in the sky where the object is located, I sit back and by intuition, I point the scope, no sighting anything, just look at the scope and at the sky, and then I say, that looks about right.  I don't always make it but I usually I do.  When it isn't working, then is time for Plan B, using the red dot finder.

 

Jon  

Plan B is my Plan A & B ! It works 99% of the time, the other 1% is just life and you move on to your next target. Makes for some great nites when everything is just right, comes together ! Clear Skies !



#40 droid

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 09:34 AM

https://www.amazon.c...t/dp/B006IJECSI

 

I know itll put you over your 200 dollar limit, but mount one of these on the dew shield, , align it with the telescope, like any other finder needs to be, and instant sighting.

 

Like a heads up display in jets...sorta



#41 boyd

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 10:21 AM

I have already ordered the ra scope. I have a good 25mm Plössl and a crap 100 kellner. I am in the process of ordering a Barlow.

I am reconsidering the 6.5mm ep since the Barlow on a good 10mm would give me x80. Not bad for planets in a fast scope.

Still to buy: 10mm Plössl, low mag WA ep, better chair. Weight system to keep tripod on the ground..maybe sand bag.

I will look at dimming the rdf and mounting it further forward. I will also take time to flock ota
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#42 RAKing

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 10:58 AM

First, who else takes this sort of approach to a he hobby? No aperture fever, no high end components, no computer assist, no stacking images.
 

 

First of all, welcome back to the stars and I hope things work out for you.  waytogo.gif 

 

Not to be funny, but when I couldn't afford a scope and was working in a job in Scotland, I simply walked down to the park and looked up.  My Dad taught me the stars, constellations, and some of the Messier objects when I was young, so I had a great time identifying things and seeing how much I could with nothing but my eyes.  I finally got down to London, bought a Tasco telescope at Harrod's department store, and was able to enjoy things even more.

 

Still, there are times when I back off from the scope and simply look up at the stars.

 

It doesn't have to cost much to enjoy astronomy and I wish you the best!

 

Cheers,

 

Ron


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#43 Lazaroff

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for clarifying, Boyd.

 

Since you've already ordered the RACI, I agree completely with Jon Isaacs: give it a try and see how it works for you. If you find you need to supplement it, maybe you can get your RDF to work for you, too, if you mount it on the dew shield and dim the dot. If you're handy with a soldering iron, it's also possible to wire a resistor in series with the LED.

 

(If the RACI doesn't work out, I'd suggest you consider a laser finder, used by itself. No knees on the ground, ever again.)

 

And I agree with redbetter about the 6.5mm plössl: stay away from it. You'd have to almost glue your eyeball to the lens, and it wouldn't be much use anyway.

 

I don't agree about plössls in general, though. By coincidence,  I've been experimenting with them and my ST80 recently. Plössls work remarkably well optically with this scope, they're a good match for its light weight, and they're in keeping with a frugal way of doing things.

 

A 25mm plössl is a very good eyepiece. I'd recommend living with yours for a good while before forking out cash for anything with a wider true field of view. (Personally, I find a 32mm plössl less pleasant to look through.)

 

As for the 10mm plössl, I find a 12mm or 12.5mm noticeably more comfortable to use. The slightly longer eye relief makes a difference to me. In keeping with what redbetter suggests, having one of those and an 8mm, too, works out very nicely. (I was looking at saturn a couple of days ago with an 8mm plössl + 2X barlow in  my ST80, and it looked great. The short eye relief was quite tolerable for a planetary view--I didn't have to see the whole field, anyway.)

 

Best of luck with your scope. Looks like a winner!


Edited by Lazaroff, 18 March 2020 - 12:13 PM.

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#44 maknswarf

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 09:06 PM

This is an OK scope.,imho.,and the mount and tripod are pretty poor.,again .,imho.,Calling it a very good scope is streaching it quite a bit if you ask me.,What are you comparing too.,
For $200 the Onesky is a much better scope in all ways.,cheers


I agree however everytime I take my Meade 102 out I'm always floored by the visuals. The original mount is crap though, I recently got an adapter for the Super Polaris I have and I'm hoping I get a good night Saturday.

The wide fov views are awesome at my dark spot, plus it showed me M99-my first galaxy so it has a special place in my heart.
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#45 mikeDnight

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 08:48 AM

Here's my collection of golden oldies.

 

On the table lies an old but superb 60mm Astral refractor. In the foreground is a 4.5" Newtonian and behind that is a 70mm Bresser refractor. All are more than capable of providing a lifetime of enjoyment. Even the 0.96" eyepieces for the 60mm are really very good, as they were selected from a larger number of old eyepieces that varied in optical quality.

 

It was a 60mm Astral that gave me my first real look at the Moon in 1980. I owe that 60mm a great deal for kickstarting me along the path of what has to be one of the best hobbies anyone could ever have. I nolonger have my original 60mm Astral, and saved the one in the pic from an unappreciative astronomer who was going to take it to a skip.

 

The 70mm Bresser came my way a couple of years ago as a gift/donation. It is now my grandson's and gives really pleasing views of moon, planets and brighter DSO's. I scrapped the mount as it was utter trash, and dug out an old Japanese mount that's a dream to use.

 

With the 4.5" Newtonian I observed the supernova in M81 (I think back in the early 90's), and the view was better than in a 5" F6 triplet alongside it. A 4.5" Newt' can be a brilliant all round scope.

 

The eyepieces are basic but still give great views, and the 0.96" diagonal with 1.25" eyepiece holder allows the use of modern eyepieces too.

 

IMG_5431.jpg

IMG_5432.jpg

IMG_5433.jpg

 

 

 


Edited by mikeDnight, 20 March 2020 - 08:54 AM.

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#46 25585

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 09:28 AM

2x Barlow. Doubles your eyepiece range cheaply.



#47 25585

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 09:34 AM

You have the 6x30 RACI, might as well use it.  We all have our different ways of doing things.. 

 

What I do when an object is up there and using the red dot finder is going to awkward/uncomfortable even with a nice adjustable chair:

 

First I look at the finder and say to myself, "Man, I don't want to scrunch down to try to look through the finder, I am too old for that, it's time for plan B.."

 

Plan B which is actually Plan A:  I "shoot from the hip."  I look up at the spot in the sky where the object is located, I sit back and by intuition, I point the scope, no sighting anything, just look at the scope and at the sky, and then I say, that looks about right.  I don't always make it but I usually I do.  When it isn't working, then is time for Plan B, using the red dot finder.

 

Jon  

Finder scope holder rings themselves can be used as a sight. Thin fuse wire for cross hairs for aiming a scope. Or any frame, so many possibilities.




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