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Binocular vs a Refractor

beginner binoculars equipment Meade refractor reflector
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#1 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:00 PM

Hello Cloudy Nights, 

 

First, I would like to thank you all the members for providing their insightful opinions to beginners. It is really helpful.

 

My question is regarding viewing planets and maybe some bright enough DSO's and star clusters using a handheld binocular or other portable equipment

 

I used to have a 8inch dob (back in my home country) with which I was able to view planets, DSO's and clusters in a very light polluted environment. It has been 4 years now and I wanted to kickstart my hobby again but I don't have access to the 8 inch dob. 

 

Obviously the views from dob cannot be matched with a bino or other portable equipment but still I have a bare minimum expectation which I describe below. 

 

My first requirement is portability and my budget is around 150 USD. So I went ahead and bought a binocular - Nikon 8x42 Aculon. Yesterday I took it for first light. My observations are below

1) Sturdy binocular at a very cheap price of 80 USD.

2) The views of terrestrial objects is quite sharp and beautiful. Its almost like you are looking at objects with naked eye and the objects have been teleported near you. 

3) Since I live in light polluted area, the number of visible stars is less but still way better than naked eye

4) My primary purpose to buy the binocular was to look at planets, specifically at mars, venus, jupiter and saturn. But I was underwhelmed as all of the planets looked liked stars instead of planets. When I say they don't look like planets, I mean they don't look like round objects but rather just dots. I was viewing handheld so it was shaky but I was expecting the planets to have some shape which was not there. I believe the magnifcation was too low. So now I am thinking of buying a 12x50 or 16x50 Nikon aculon for which I will obviously need a mount. It will be helpful if somebody can recommend a good mount for them which can also be used with a reflector or refractor.

 

My second option is to buy a refractor 80mm vs 90 mm and keep the nikon 8x42 to watch star clusters.

1) I have researched and found that Meade adventurescope and infinity are good refractors. Before I buy them I want to know if we look at planets using them, will they look like planets(round objects) and not dots.

2) Do I keep the bino or just return it.

 

My third option is to buy a reflector - 127 mm, 102 mm etc. I will need a good recommendation similar to meade adventurescope

1) How is a reflector of this size compared to a refractor of 80 mm in terms of views. I believe reflector will outpeform given the larger mirror size.

2) Portability. My understanding is refractor should be more portable but reflector is not that bad in portability that it should not be considered as an option

 

The above three option is to have an instrument which I can take out easily and look at some objects and not worry about setting up or portability and still enjoy the stars. So my questions are below

 

1) Should I keep the 8x42 ? I think the answer will be yes. 

2) Buy a 12x50 or 16x50 aculon and a good mount that can also be used for a refractor or reflector OTA. Please recommend. I will exceed my budget of 150 USD if I buy a mount but I am fine with that if the mount can be used for another OTA (refractor or reflector).

3) Buy a refractor vs a reflector. Obviously both will cost around 150 USD for a good scope but it will not be enough as I will need good eyepieces and a focuser but then I will be able to use eyepieces for the dob, so that investment I am happy with. 

 

Again when I say a good instrument, my only requirement is planet should look like round objects instead of dots. On saturn I should be able to see rings. Even with the 8x42 bino I believe I could see one moon of jupiter but no rings of saturn. Probably given better conditions, I can see more moons of jupiter.

 

Evenutually I plan to buy a dob and I was comparing the 10inch truss dob from ES and a 10inch tube dob from skywatcher or ES. The first things is the truss dob is more portable than the tube dob. But my understading is both have same weight. The problem with the truss is too much modifcations are required (dakota starry nights and one other box opening thread on CN by Dana) and second is setup time is quite high. Instead the tube is just plug and play. Though not easy to carry around. I will probably go with the tube dob from ES because the tube can be rotated on its axis compared to the skywatcher. I believe the optics of the main OTA will be same for truss and tube dob across brands. The main issue is I am unable to find the differences in accessories of the telescopes, especially the mount, focuser and eyepieces when comparing across 10inch truss ES, 10inch tube ES and 10inch tube skywatcher. Your inputs will be really helpful.

 

Thanks and clear skies :)

 

Regards

RKA


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#2 ButterFly

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:13 PM

Even at 16x, the planets will be point-like.  At 16x, you can see Titan and the four Galilean moons of Jupiter.  In the 25x100 binoculars, I can barely make out the rings of Saturn, and only when they are open wide.  I get the equitorial bands on Jupiter with very little detail.

 

For Jupiter, at least 150x is something to shoot for.  For Saturn, at least 200x.  An 80mm will show detail, but it is limited by its resolution because of the small aperture.

 

Keep the 8x42s and keep saving up for the dob.  8x42s do great from a dark site, so spend the money on gas right now.



#3 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:20 PM

Even at 16x, the planets will be point-like.  At 16x, you can see Titan and the four Galilean moons of Jupiter.  In the 25x100 binoculars, I can barely make out the rings of Saturn, and only when they are open wide.  I get the equitorial bands on Jupiter with very little detail.

 

For Jupiter, at least 150x is something to shoot for.  For Saturn, at least 200x.  An 80mm will show detail, but it is limited by its resolution because of the small aperture.

 

Keep the 8x42s and keep saving up for the dob.  8x42s do great from a dark site, so spend the money on gas right now.

Thank you viking. I am just delaying my purchase of dob. Even after having a DOB, I would like to have a portable telescope through which I can look at the planets and not go through carrying a 60 pound dob and setting it up. Given your suggestion, it seems my viewing requirement will be served by a telescope and not a bino. So then question boils down to a refractor or a reflector.


Edited by Notthecenterofuni, 18 May 2020 - 03:21 PM.


#4 sg6

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:20 PM

Binoculars do not do the same job as a scope does. They ar nice for looking around the sky.

To look at something you need a scope and one of the refractors would do that well. Get something of f/8 if possible. I have the 102/600. Nice size but has CA. I bought it for outreach and it was around half price - ideal for the purpose.

 

There are 102/1000 around (ES). Just might be a bit long. I have a Tal 100 RS and that is 100/1000 and not overly portable - takes some thought/planning.

 

Possible problem of a 130 reflector is they are termed table top scopes. You need a table top to put them on.

If the 127 mentioned is a Mak then I suggest not. The field of view is narrow and you should keep it easy.

 

Jupiter and Saturn will be easy in something like a 102/1000, need say 60-80x and 120x respectively. Mars will be a red disk. Mars needs a lot of good high magnification.

 

I have seen bands on Jupiter with a 70mm and at around 40x. Not a big Jupiter but was a clear Jupiter. Saturn has the higher requirements.


Edited by sg6, 18 May 2020 - 03:22 PM.

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#5 aeajr

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:27 PM

Good questions.

 

I started my astronomy journey with 10X50 binoculars and still use them actively for astronomy.  Many of my telescope sessions start with binoculars.   So I would recommend you keep the binoculars and save up to buy the scope. Nikon makes nice binoculars.

 

If you stay in astronomy you will likely end up with:

  • Binoculars
  • Grab and go, less than 130 mm typically
  • Light bucket, 150 mm or more

 

As for viewing planets, the main value of a telescope over binoculars is a stable mount, ability to change magnification and the potential to gather more light.

 

I live in a very light polluted area, just east of New York City. 

 

With my 80 mm F5 refractors I have seen the main cloud bands on Jupiter, the great red spot and Jupiter's four bright moons.  I have seen the phases of Venus and the rings of Saturn. I have observed Mars with the ability to see the polar caps.   I have seen Mercury, though it looks like a star as it is so small. 

 

So, yes, using a small telescope, under 100 mm refractor or under 130 mm reflector, can still show you a fair amount of detail on the planets.

 

 

SMALL TELESCOPE RESOURCES

 

What can I see with an 80 mm telescope
https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10093838

 

http://www.chuckhawk...hat_can_see.htm

 

http://naasbeginners...can_be_seen.htm

 

http://www.astronomy...nomy-beginners/

 

http://www.welcometo...n-see-with.html

 

Books
http://www.amazon.co...l/dp/1852336293

 

http://www.amazon.co...k/dp/B00CW50TOS

 

Small Scope Double Stars
https://bestdoubles....3c-60mm-double/

 

All of these Messier Objects will be visible with a small telescope

https://www.astrolea...s/binomesa.html


Edited by aeajr, 18 May 2020 - 03:28 PM.

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#6 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:27 PM

Binoculars do not do the same job as a scope does. They ar nice for looking around the sky.

To look at something you need a scope and one of the refractors would do that well. Get something of f/8 if possible. I have the 102/600. Nice size but has CA. I bought it for outreach and it was around half price - ideal for the purpose.

 

There are 102/1000 around (ES). Just might be a bit long. I have a Tal 100 RS and that is 100/1000 and not overly portable - takes some thought/planning.

 

Possible problem of a 130 reflector is they are termed table top scopes. You need a table top to put them on.

If the 127 mentioned is a Mak then I suggest not. The field of view is narrow and you should keep it easy.

 

Jupiter and Saturn will be easy in something like a 102/1000, need say 60-80x and 120x respectively. Mars will be a red disk. Mars needs a lot of good high magnification.

 

I have seen bands on Jupiter with a 70mm and at around 40x. Not a big Jupiter but was a clear Jupiter. Saturn has the higher requirements.

So a 102/1000 ES will be portable and good enough to see some planets. I believe you are referring to ES firstlight 102 refractor costing in the range of 220-250 USD. is that correct??


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#7 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:29 PM

Good questions.

 

<snip>

Thank you. This is really useful.


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#8 aeajr

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 03:44 PM

 

Snip...

My second option is to buy a refractor 80mm vs 90 mm and keep the nikon 8x42 to watch star clusters.

1) I have researched and found that Meade adventurescope and infinity are good refractors. Before I buy them I want to know if we look at planets using them, will they look like planets(round objects) and not dots.

2) Do I keep the bino or just return it.

 

My third option is to buy a reflector - 127 mm, 102 mm etc. I will need a good recommendation similar to meade adventurescope

1) How is a reflector of this size compared to a refractor of 80 mm in terms of views. I believe reflector will outpeform given the larger mirror size.

2) Portability. My understanding is refractor should be more portable but reflector is not that bad in portability that it should not be considered as an option

 

The above three option is to have an instrument which I can take out easily and look at some objects and not worry about setting up or portability and still enjoy the stars. So my questions are below

 

1) Should I keep the 8x42 ? I think the answer will be yes.  YES

2) Buy a 12x50 or 16x50 aculon and a good mount that can also be used for a refractor or reflector OTA. Please recommend. I will exceed my budget of 150 USD if I buy a mount but I am fine with that if the mount can be used for another OTA (refractor or reflector).

3) Buy a refractor vs a reflector. Obviously both will cost around 150 USD for a good scope but it will not be enough as I will need good eyepieces and a focuser but then I will be able to use eyepieces for the dob, so that investment I am happy with. I WOULD GO TO THE TELESCOPE

 

Again when I say a good instrument, my only requirement is planet should look like round objects instead of dots. On saturn I should be able to see rings. Even with the 8x42 bino I believe I could see one moon of jupiter but no rings of saturn. Probably given better conditions, I can see more moons of jupiter.   I SEE ALL FOUR BRING MOONS OF JUPITER IN 7X35 BINOCULARS

 

Evenutually I plan to buy a dob and I was comparing the 10inch truss dob from ES and a 10inch tube dob from skywatcher or ES. The first things is the truss dob is more portable than the tube dob. But my understading is both have same weight. The problem with the truss is too much modifcations are required (dakota starry nights and one other box opening thread on CN by Dana) and second is setup time is quite high. Instead the tube is just plug and play. Though not easy to carry around. I will probably go with the tube dob from ES because the tube can be rotated on its axis compared to the skywatcher. I believe the optics of the main OTA will be same for truss and tube dob across brands. The main issue is I am unable to find the differences in accessories of the telescopes, especially the mount, focuser and eyepieces when comparing across 10inch truss ES, 10inch tube ES and 10inch tube skywatcher. Your inputs will be really helpful.   SEE NOTES BELOW ON DOBS

 

Thanks and clear skies smile.gif

 

Regards

RKA

Keep the Binos and save up for the scope.

 

Here are some suggestions in the $80 to $300 range keeping in mind that you are very focuse on planets and, I presume, the Moon.  These will meet your requirements for the small refractor or reflector.

 

Refractor vs. Reflector – Which is better?
https://telescopicwa...tor-telescopes/

 

 

 

Meade Instruments 209003 Infinity 70 AZ Refractor Telescope - About 13 pounds – $80
70 mm Includes finder scope, 2 eyepieces and a barlow lens that doubles the mag of each eyepiece.
http://www.amazon.co...cope under $200
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=ck0MQZiSc9Y
Discussion about what can be seen with a 70 mm refractor. Remember that light pollution has a significant influence on what can be seen.
https://www.cloudyni...actor/?hl=+70mm

 

 

Meade Lightbridege Mini 130 – $175 – 14 pounds
Tabletop solid tube Dobsonian includes finder scope and 2 eyepieces.
Consider adding a 2X barlow in the future
https://www.amazon.c...ade Lightbridge
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=xuIwEiHVMVI

 

 

Celestron StarSense Explorer LT80  – $180
https://www.astronom...-telescope.html
Discussion
https://www.cloudyni...sense-explorer/
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=3Hb0x-IdeDs
https://www.youtube....h?v=aD2_F89Qjkw

 

 

Meade StarPro AZ 90 mm Refractor Telescope - 600 mm FL - About 12 pounds $199
Includes slow motion controls, finder scope, 3 eyepieces and a 2X barlow for 6 magnifications.
Includes a smartphone frame for photos through the eyepiece.
https://www.amazon.c...ding=UTF8&psc=1
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=x2CfjHIc8wU
https://www.youtube....h?v=FShh41TnRkE
Review
http://www.weasner.c...eade_StarProAZ/

 

AWB 'ONESKY' REFLECTOR TELESCOPE – Tabletop - 130 mm - 14 pounds – $199
Reviewed in Dec 2015 Sky and Telescope – gets many good reviews.  Collapsing design makes it very compact for storage and for transport. Includes finder scope and 2 eyepieces
Frequent out of stock situations so plan your purchase.
Consider adding a 2X barlow in the future
https://shop.astrono...ector-telescope
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=-muZ9KRMY40
Product review
http://www.skyandtel...ds/3-scopes.pdf

Super Simple Tabletop telescope stand
https://www.youtube....h?v=HsGD9mU8cR0
http://www.eyesonthe...eTripod2x4.aspx

Adjustable Height Stool as a base for tabletop telescope
https://www.amazon.c...i_-ePfEbH3TA335

 

 

 

Meade StarPro 102 AltAz Refractor – $239
https://www.highpoin...efractor-234004
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=x2CfjHIc8wU
https://www.youtube....h?v=FShh41TnRkE
Review
http://www.weasner.c...eade_StarProAZ/

 

 

Meade ETX 80 Observer GoTo Refractor – $299   About 15 pounds
2 Plossl eyepeices, 90 degree star angle for night and 45 degree correct image angle for day as a spotting scope Bubble compass, backpack and tripod
I own this scope.  This was my first telescope and I still use it often.  The GoTo is great.  Can be used on or off the tripod.
Tripod is a little light weight as it is optimized for portability. 
https://www.amazon.c...ds=meade ETX 80
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=61Uy88iEZ_c
https://www.youtube....sD69fPg6Y&t=15s
Set-up
https://www.youtube....h?v=obEErEHwDpI
ETX80 Observer Review
https://telescopicwa...lescope-review/

 

Orion SkQuest XT6 kit – $279 – 34 pounds
Popular 6” Dobsonian scope package with useful accessories beyond what is part of the standard scope.   Includes 2 eyepieces, 2X barlow, Planisphere, Moon map, beginner observers guide and red flashlight.  All things you will need.  This is a floor standing scope that is very stable and very easy to use.
https://www.telescop...yPriceAscending

Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=zonuiO7h4gs


Edited by aeajr, 18 May 2020 - 04:02 PM.

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#9 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:08 PM

Keep the Binos and save up for the scope.

 

<snip>

Thank you Voyager. I will go through the reviews and the content. This is going to take some time now smile.gif. For the dob, I already had a 8inch dob. If I am going to put an effort to take the dob out, I am hoping for good views so I believe I will be disappointed with the 6inch dob. For the dob, I don't have any budget in mind. I am good with purchasing a 10inch dob. My only doubt was the quality of accessories that come with the dobs ( 10inch ES truss, 10 inch ES tube and 10inch skywatcher tube). The price range for these dobs are from 600-800 USD. I am delaying my purchase of dob because I live on the second floor and it is not easy to carry a dob out everytime.  That is why I was looking for a refractor or a reflector.

 

I initially looked at the truss dob because I thought they are portable. But the weight of both truss and tube dobs are similar. The only portability is that truss can be collapsed and carried. The difference between ES tube and skywatcher tube is that the OTA for ES can be rotated on its axis which allows me to have the eyepiece at a convenient height for viewing. As per my understanding the optics of these dobs are pretty much similar. The only difference that remains is the accessories that the dobs come with. If somebody has used these dobs and can enlighten the difference between the accessories, it will be useful. For instance the skywatcher 8inch dob that i used earlier comes with a 2inch crayford focuser which is quite helpful. 


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#10 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:11 PM

Also, I am good with star hopping. Rather I enjoy star hopping then using a go-to. It allows me to learn and also look at objects which I am not planning to. Another thing is I don't like electronics because they are bound to fail someday. I prefer a fully mechanical dob which if cared for lasts a long time. 



#11 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:12 PM

So a 102/1000 ES will be portable and good enough to see some planets.

A 102-mm f/10 refractor will certainly show quite a bit of detail on the planets -- though nowhere near as much as an 8-inch Dob. It's debatable just how portable it is. A meter-long telescope isn't exactly tiny, and it also needs a fairly tall and hefty mount, which is likely to cost as much and weigh more than the optical tube.

 

If you want something that will complement rather than compete with a future Dob, you might consider something smaller, perhaps with 70 or 80 mm of aperture. You would definitely lose a fair amount in terms of planetary detail, but you would gain a great deal in terms of portability and price.


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#12 aeajr

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:13 PM

Dobs and Portability

 

Dob usually means a Dobsonian mount with a Newtonian optical tube.  These are the price/performance leaders in terms of aperture for the $$.

 

Where you store them and where you use them will have a MAJOR impact on how portable you feel they are.  I find Dobs very portable for the way I use mine.   I had an 8".  Now I have a 12".  Very easy to move around. 

 

I store my 12" solid tube Dob in the garage along with all of my scopes and equipment.   I have it on a hand truck so that it is just as easy to move this to my home observing location as my 80 mm scope.

 

See photos below.  You can do this with any size Dob, even a truss Dob.  No need to dismantle a truss Dob after every use unless you need to put it in the house.

 

My 12" Dob slips right into the back of my SUV.  The front passenger seat is fully available. It is quick and easy to load and unload.   Normally I will be using it right near the car so I will take the mount out and carry it the short distance (35 pounds) to where I will use it.  Then I carry the tube, (50 pounds) over and put it on the mount.   If I was going to have to move it a longer distance I could bring the hand truck.   

 

When I had the 8", 45 pounds, I kept it in the garage on a cart.  I just rolled it to my observing area.  I would put the whole thing in the car and take it out and carry it to the observing area completely assembled.  But I could have moved it as two pieces.

 

When I went to the 12" I chose a solid tube 12" because I find it easier to handle.  So simple to move it around the yard on the hand truck.  Just roll it out of the garage an roll it to wherever I want it. Clearly an 8" or 10" would be smaller and lighter but they can be handled the same way.

 

Generally anything larger than 12" is only available as a truss.  However I would still keep it fully assembled in the garage for use around the house.  I would only take it apart to go in the car.

 

Put your pointer over the photo to get a description. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Apertura AD12 and Orion XT8i (240x320).jpg
  • Apertura fitted to red handtruck (240x320).jpg
  • Apertura in car on foam blocks (320x240).jpg
  • Apertura - tipping into the car (320x240).jpg
  • Apertura tube, mount and hand truck in Rogue (320x240) (2).jpg

Edited by aeajr, 18 May 2020 - 04:22 PM.

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#13 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:26 PM

A 102-mm f/10 refractor will certainly show quite a bit of detail on the planets -- though nowhere near as much as an 8-inch Dob. It's debatable just how portable it is. A meter-long telescope isn't exactly tiny, and it also needs a fairly tall and hefty mount, which is likely to cost as much and weigh more than the optical tube.

 

If you want something that will complement rather than compete with a future Dob, you might consider something smaller, perhaps with 70 or 80 mm of aperture. You would definitely lose a fair amount in terms of planetary detail, but you would gain a great deal in terms of portability and price.

Yes sir, I totally agree with you. I am planning to use a dob when I am really in a mood to see good quality views. I am not comparing the refractor with the dob. I totally understand that both are not comparable. My only expectation from the refractor is to see planets as round objects and not as dots. See rings on saturn. That is pretty much it. If they can do something better its a bonus. The option of the collapsible one sky table top dob is good. I am looking at that now. 

 

@Voyager, 

 

Thank you for the pics. I believe I will go ahead and buy a 10inch or 12inch tube dob since it can fit in my SUV :)

I will look at all the links and decide on a 102 mm or 80 mm refractor. The onesky table top dob is interesting.



#14 aeajr

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:26 PM

Thank you Voyager. I will go through the reviews and the content. This is going to take some time now smile.gif. For the dob, I already had a 8inch dob. If I am going to put an effort to take the dob out, I am hoping for good views so I believe I will be disappointed with the 6inch dob. For the dob, I don't have any budget in mind. I am good with purchasing a 10inch dob. My only doubt was the quality of accessories that come with the dobs ( 10inch ES truss, 10 inch ES tube and 10inch skywatcher tube). The price range for these dobs are from 600-800 USD. I am delaying my purchase of dob because I live on the second floor and it is not easy to carry a dob out everytime.  That is why I was looking for a refractor or a reflector.

 

I initially looked at the truss dob because I thought they are portable. But the weight of both truss and tube dobs are similar. The only portability is that truss can be collapsed and carried. The difference between ES tube and skywatcher tube is that the OTA for ES can be rotated on its axis which allows me to have the eyepiece at a convenient height for viewing. As per my understanding the optics of these dobs are pretty much similar. The only difference that remains is the accessories that the dobs come with. If somebody has used these dobs and can enlighten the difference between the accessories, it will be useful. For instance the skywatcher 8inch dob that i used earlier comes with a 2inch crayford focuser which is quite helpful. 

If I had known that you were in a second floor apartment I would have provided more appropriate information.

 

No, I would not recommend anything over a 6" Dob for a second floor appartment for regular use and think a 102 mm refractor is probably a much better choice. 

 

An 8" or 10" Dob can sit in the corner of a room with a dust cover and be pretty much out of the way.  The 12" is significatly larger than the 8".   Most 10" are the same length as the 8". 

 

Carrying something like that from a second floor apartment would not be my first choice for a quick view but to take to the car for a dark site visit, I would say it was workable.

 

Over 10", from a second floor, I would go truss. 


Edited by aeajr, 18 May 2020 - 04:30 PM.

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#15 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 04:29 PM

Yes @voyager, I will probably take out the dob once every two months or maybe use it when I make a trip to a darksite. Mostly I will be using the refractor. 102mm makes sense. Thank you.


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#16 ButterFly

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 05:24 PM

The second floor constraint is rather important.  I lived in NYC most of my life.  Two trips up and down can get annoying.

 

An 80mm fits in a backpack and you can use a shoulder strap for a tripod.  They are good night and day and complement a dob well.


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#17 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 05:53 PM

Many moons ago, I started with a 3" f/10 newtonian and made hay with it for several years before graduating High School. I could see the rings of Saturn, the Galilean moons and equatorial bands of Jupiter, the crescent of Venus plus at least 65% of the Messiers and other Deep Sky Objects. In mind of your budget constraints, I'd heavily shop the used market to get the best bang for the buck plus there isn't much new in that price point that's worth having and ergonomically pleasing/flexible. A couple years back, I found a sweet, old 8" Coulter Odyssey Dob for my daughter for $150. You should easily be able to find a good 6" Dob for that, something like an Orion XT6. 



#18 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:25 PM

My only expectation from the refractor is to see planets as round objects and not as dots. See rings on saturn. That is pretty much it.


That much you can get from a standard commercial 60-mm refractor, for well under $100 in a fairly portable package. For whatever reason, the average quality of the similarly designed 70-mm refractors seems to be a bit higher than the 60-mm refractors, so it's worth spending the extra $20 or so.

My 70-mm refractor shows Jupiter's two main belts with ease, a third and fourth when they happen to be reasonably broad and bold, and the Great Red Spot with difficulty. It also shows Cassini's Division in Saturn's rings with difficulty. Plus Jupiter's Galilean moons, of course, and always Titan and Rhea for Saturn, and sometimes more. And Mars's dozen or so most prominent features when Mars is near enough. And the phases of Venus and Mercury. And Uranus's disk. As for Neptune ... it doesn't look like a star, but calling it a "disk" might be a bit of a stretch.

With respect to apartments, my apartment in Cambridge, MA is on the third floor, and the first floor is a flight up from the ground. I can and do carry my 7-inch Dob always down and usually up in one trip, but I always worry a little about my back. However, I can carry my Z130 130-mm f/5 Dob atop its support table up and down without much effort at all. It's that last 10 pounds that's the killer ...

Edited by Tony Flanders, 18 May 2020 - 08:28 PM.


#19 Notthecenterofuni

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:53 PM

@ Tony, thank you for this feedback. I am indeed deciding between the 80mm refractor, 102 mm refractor and the Z130. I will read up a little more and see what suits me well. The only downside to Z130 will be that it will need a table outside. Otherwise I believe it should be better than the 80mm and 102mm given the large mirror size. 

About portability, I believe all should be portable enough. 

 

May I ask you which 70mm do you have??



#20 Classic8

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 10:56 AM

I think if the portable telescope is mostly for looking at the planets or the moon (or terrestrial stuff) than a small maksutov or celestron C5 or something similar would work also. Both would be more portable than a 4" refractor, with similar aperture.



#21 rowdy388

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 02:07 PM

George's suggestion of a C5 or small Maksutov is a good one because for planets, 

high magnification capability is a big plus. Conversely, a fast refractor & mount of 100mm

or smaller can be carried by one hand and offer wide views of the starfields but have 

limited high power range though it'll be a lot better than binoculars. 



#22 aeajr

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 03:32 PM

Now that we are starting to get to know you a bit, I am going back to your first post.

 

 

 

 

Hello Cloudy Nights, 

 

snip...

 

My first requirement is portability and my budget is around 150 USD. So I went ahead and bought a binocular - Nikon 8x42 Aculon. Yesterday I took it for first light. My observations are below

1) Sturdy binocular at a very cheap price of 80 USD.

2) The views of terrestrial objects is quite sharp and beautiful. Its almost like you are looking at objects with naked eye and the objects have been teleported near you. 

3) Since I live in light polluted area, the number of visible stars is less but still way better than naked eye

4) My primary purpose to buy the binocular was to look at planets, specifically at mars, venus, jupiter and saturn. But I was underwhelmed as all of the planets looked liked stars instead of planets. When I say they don't look like planets, I mean they don't look like round objects but rather just dots. I was viewing handheld so it was shaky but I was expecting the planets to have some shape which was not there. I believe the magnifcation was too low. So now I am thinking of buying a 12x50 or 16x50 Nikon aculon for which I will obviously need a mount. It will be helpful if somebody can recommend a good mount for them which can also be used with a reflector or refractor.

 

My second option is to buy a refractor 80mm vs 90 mm and keep the nikon 8x42 to watch star clusters.

1) I have researched and found that Meade adventurescope and infinity are good refractors. Before I buy them I want to know if we look at planets using them, will they look like planets(round objects) and not dots.

2) Do I keep the bino or just return it.

 

My third option is to buy a reflector - 127 mm, 102 mm etc. I will need a good recommendation similar to meade adventurescope

1) How is a reflector of this size compared to a refractor of 80 mm in terms of views. I believe reflector will outpeform given the larger mirror size.

2) Portability. My understanding is refractor should be more portable but reflector is not that bad in portability that it should not be considered as an option

 

The above three option is to have an instrument which I can take out easily and look at some objects and not worry about setting up or portability and still enjoy the stars. So my questions are below

 

1) Should I keep the 8x42 ? I think the answer will be yes. 

2) Buy a 12x50 or 16x50 aculon and a good mount that can also be used for a refractor or reflector OTA. Please recommend. I will exceed my budget of 150 USD if I buy a mount but I am fine with that if the mount can be used for another OTA (refractor or reflector).

3) Buy a refractor vs a reflector. Obviously both will cost around 150 USD for a good scope but it will not be enough as I will need good eyepieces and a focuser but then I will be able to use eyepieces for the dob, so that investment I am happy with. 

 

Again when I say a good instrument, my only requirement is planet should look like round objects instead of dots. On saturn I should be able to see rings. Even with the 8x42 bino I believe I could see one moon of jupiter but no rings of saturn. Probably given better conditions, I can see more moons of jupiter.

 

Evenutually I plan to buy a dob and I was comparing the 10inch truss dob from ES and a 10inch tube dob from skywatcher or ES. The first things is the truss dob is more portable than the tube dob. But my understading is both have same weight. The problem with the truss is too much modifcations are required (dakota starry nights and one other box opening thread on CN by Dana) and second is setup time is quite high. Instead the tube is just plug and play. Though not easy to carry around. I will probably go with the tube dob from ES because the tube can be rotated on its axis compared to the skywatcher. I believe the optics of the main OTA will be same for truss and tube dob across brands. The main issue is I am unable to find the differences in accessories of the telescopes, especially the mount, focuser and eyepieces when comparing across 10inch truss ES, 10inch tube ES and 10inch tube skywatcher. Your inputs will be really helpful.

 

Thanks and clear skies smile.gif

 

Regards

RKA

I looked at the 80 mm Adventure scope - don't like it.  Mount is very light and crap eyepieces.  They look like Ramsdens or Huygens.  No barlow - max you will get out of them is 66X and a poor quality image.  Add a 2X barlow and a cheap 6.5 Plossl and you are looking at $60.   Go for the better package.

 

Better choice and more cost effective. 

 

Meade StarPro AZ 90 mm Refractor Telescope - 600 mm FL - About 12 pounds $199
Includes slow motion controls, finder scope, 3 MA eyepieces  and a 2X barlow for 6 magnifications.
Includes a smartphone frame for photos through the eyepiece.
https://www.amazon.c...ding=UTF8&psc=1
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=x2CfjHIc8wU
https://www.youtube....h?v=FShh41TnRkE
Review
http://www.weasner.c...eade_StarProAZ/

 

F6.6 and vs. F5

25% more light gather

Better eyepieces plus a barlow

Studier mount

Guestimate would be scope and mount would be about 14 pounds, easily carried as a unit on the stairs.  Add a back pack with a folding chair, accessories.   Move it all in one trip or point it out a southern exposure window to see planets and the Moon.  Add a white light filter and view the Sun.  

Use it as a daytime spotting scope if you wish. 

 

Much better suited to your task.   A bit over your $150 budget but it includes everything you need. 

 

Included eyepieces and barlow will give you 23x, 46X  66x  95x  132X and 190X.   Not top of the line eyepieces but good enough to get you going and the range of magnifications you would want for the Moon, planets, double stars, open clusters, bright nebula and bright globular clusters.   I have some Meade MA, modified achromats, and they are not bad. 

 

You can add better eyepieces later if you wish, when you get the Dob.

 

Simple, rugged, no collimation worries.   Looks good to me.  



#23 Ulmer Spatz

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 05:22 PM

Meade StarPro AZ 90 mm Refractor Telescope

It seems like a silly thing to mention, but the Meade Starpros have a clever folding eyepiece holder / tripod stabilizer. After rotating a lock knob, you just pick up the scope and fold the tripod legs completely in. This way, it's much easier to carry the scope through doors and take it up or down a flight of stairs, and especially so if you point the scope straight up and align it with the tripod legs.

 

With most other tripod-supported scopes in that price range, the accessory tray (which also serves as a tripod stabilizer) is attached to the tripod legs with fiddly little screws and therefore a bit of a pain to take on and off. Usually, people attempt to carry such a scope leaving the tray attached, meaning the tripod legs will be fully splayed out. Invariably, you'll get one of those legs hung on something on the way out or back in.     

 

starpro 90 b.jpg


Edited by Ulmer Spatz, 19 May 2020 - 05:30 PM.

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#24 vtornado

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 10:11 PM

Hello and welcome to cloudy nights.

 

With your budget of around $200, I think your best option would be a zhummel z130.

You get 130mm of aperture with no CA.,  It is a table top dob, so you either have to

sit on the ground with it, or use a small table. If your ground is not too lumpy,

an upsidedown 5 gallon bucket or resin coffee table from walmart works.

 

An 80mm f/5 refractor is a great compliment to a dob because it gives a wide field

view compared to the narrower field of the dob, and it is easy to mount.

You can mount it on sturdy photo tripod.   However at medium to high power

it shows a lot of CA.

 

The Orion ED 80 may be able to be purchased used for around $200.

It is still portable, but will not have the CA of the achromat.  You will have

to mount it.

 

You can pick up a used C5 for around $200.  It is very short, and light and 5 inches of aperture.

You can buy a .63 focal reducer to get about a 700mm fl telescope.   No CA on this

either.  Once again you have to find a mount.



#25 Tony Flanders

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 03:14 AM

The only downside to Z130 will be that it will need a table outside. Otherwise I believe it should be better than the 80mm and 102mm given the large mirror size.


Actually, I think that a 102-mm f/10 achromat or any 102-mm apochromat would outperform the Z130 on the planets. A reflector's secondary mirror seriously reduces its ability to resolve planetary detail. More to the point, the Z130's optics are good but not great, and the focuser is merely adequate. Fine for deep-sky observing but a little finicky when you're trying to focus at 150X or higher. Put it all together, and I would put money on the 102-mm refractor.

But as I said, a 102-mm f/10 scope ends up being pretty big and heavy once mounted, and a 102-mm apochromat is extremely expensive. In addition, the ergonomics of a long refractor are problematic, given that you're observing from the bottom end of a long tube. The Z130 has perhaps the best ergonomics of any telescope I have ever used. With the scope on its table and me on a standard chair, I can observe all the way from the horizon almost to the zenith in perfect comfort.
 

May I ask you which 70mm do you have??


I own the TeleVue Ranger, a 70-mm f/6.9 that was advertised as a "semi-apochromat," whatever that's supposed to mean, but in fact performs much like an achromat.

I like the scope because of its light weight and compact size. But optically I have found the image quality very much like a couple of standard commercial budget-priced 70-mm f/10 refractors that can be purchased for less than $100. The weak point of those scopes, of course, is their mounts. But I can hardly complain, since the Ranger came with no mount and cost 7 times as much.

Much better 70-mm refractors are available for the same money today.




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