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Meade ETX 125 light polluted vs dark site observing

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#1 Alnitak2009

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 11:17 AM

Hi all,

 

I was just wondering and contemplating getting a grab & go setup that could be easily taken and setup at real dark sites. I was looking at the simplistic Meade ETX125 and like the idea of being able to use 6AA batteries.

 

If viewing from modest light polluted areas that viewing galaxies and nebulae are dim and lack luster. I am wondering if using the same setup and viewing from a really dark site that the 125mm will be MUCH better visually. Would galaxies and nebulae pop out. I am sure that the higher contrast of the objects and black background would yield much more satisfying views. But I wonder if the smaller aperture will be worth it and limiting? I know the 180mm Mak or larger scope would be great but expensive while needing heavy duty mount/tripod. Plus setups are no longer grab & go.

 

Anyone have experiences to share. I like to read them.

 

Thanks

Don

 

 



#2 Hesiod

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 11:30 AM

Every telescope works better if used under a darker sky.

Of course, once are here, may regret having a "mere" XXmm telescope when could have brought a larger "YY" one but can assure you that even a 55mm aperture may entertain you for the whole night.

I use often this

gallery_215679_8115_1297190.jpg

which is a 127mm MCT and can assure you that there is much to see with a 5" aperture.

 

However, if are mostly interested in DSOs, I would rather suggest a 130/650 Newtonian (better if capable of 2" eyepieces): it is a still compact but more versatile choice because can frame even very large objects and can easily attain huge exit pupils which are useful to exploit nebular filters.

If feel that would be more pleased by a larger aperture, then the most "travel-effective" solution is to look for Dobsonian telescopes.



#3 Alnitak2009

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 12:08 PM

 

However, if are mostly interested in DSOs, I would rather suggest a 130/650 Newtonian (better if capable of 2" eyepieces): it is a still compact but more versatile choice because can frame even very large objects and can easily attain huge exit pupils which are useful to exploit nebular filters.

If feel that would be more pleased by a larger aperture, then the most "travel-effective" solution is to look for Dobsonian telescopes.

Thanks for the response. I primarily want to use it for observing the phases of Venus/Mercury the other planets and moon. Perhaps some solar. The Mak would allow higher magnifications. I will need tracking while viewing at high mag. The grab & go would allow me to seek out good horizons for observing the phases.

 

Viewing deep sky would be a bonus of sorts.

 

Don



#4 Hesiod

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 12:32 PM

Well, nothing prevent a Newtonian to work at high power (these have typically much lower CO values than MCTs...).

Anyway, if prefer Cassegrain-type telescopes may evaluate also the SCTs, which are somewhat more versatile due to shorter focals.

 

As for the mount, I would prefer a simple clock-driven eq mount to observe the inner planets: often you observe them by day or early dusk/dawn so may be hard to find stars to align the goto; furthermore may be very close to the Sun, and I do not know if would trust any kind of goto mount...



#5 ETXer

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 04:12 PM

Hi Don, as you can see from my signature I have all 3 flavors of the Mak ETXs and observe in a Bortle 7 area. All of them do great with the Moon and planets out to Uranus, including my ETX-90. Only the brightest DSOs are visible and compromised at best. 3 years ago I took my ETX-90 to a dark site in eastern Idaho in conjunction with the solar eclipse. In the -90, the difference was startling, DSOs that were invisible to me even in the -125 came to life in my -90. Given such a striking difference in the -90, imagine what a -125 could do.

 

By the way, I had my -90 sitting on a picnic table and it happily complied with all my go-to demands. I plan to do a repeat north of Yellowstone this coming August.

 

Cheers, Allan


Edited by ETXer, 15 June 2020 - 04:15 PM.


#6 csrlice12

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 10:44 AM

Dark sky sites aren't going to help much for lunar and planetary viewing....dark skies are for nebulas, galaxies, and other faint objects.



#7 jgraham

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 10:56 AM

I use an ETX-125PE as my grab'n go companion for my 8" SCT. From my Bortle 8 backyard it gives nice sharp high contrast views, but there's no substitute for dark skies. When we drive out into the contry it serves as a lightweight system that is super easy to setup and repack and the view only get better!

 

For a scope in the 5 inch sixe range the ETX-125 is an excellent option. It runs well off of the internal batteries if they are fresh, but it will humm along all night long on a small external jumpstart battery.

 

My baby configured for star-hopping with a RACI finder and a simple handbox...

 

ETX-125PE (5-23-2019)-2.jpg


Edited by jgraham, 19 June 2020 - 10:57 AM.


#8 DMRandall

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 12:07 PM

I like my ETX-125 for planetary viewing from my Class 6 Bortle urban location. Brighter DSO's are visible, and fun if you're doing a sky tour with neighbors or friends.  But never had issues with planetary/lunar viewing with the -125. I often use it on a picnic table end if I'm wanting more portability in simple Alt-Az mode, or with the table-top legs for polar alignment.  But even with the tripod, it's a pretty portable setup for the front yard or a trip to a bit darker location.   



#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 06:04 AM

I was just wondering and contemplating getting a grab & go setup that could be easily taken and setup at real dark sites. I was looking at the simplistic Meade ETX125 and like the idea of being able to use 6AA batteries.


I don't normally think of Go To telescopes -- or for that matter, any telescope with motors -- as being simple. But within that arena, the Meade ETX series is certainly pretty clean and classic. Its major competitor is the Celestron Nexstar series; I have no opinion about which is better. I also don't know how well either one actually runs on AA cells.
 
Note that both Mak-Cas and SCT designs have exposed front corrector plates that are extremely prone to dew. Most people who use either one extensively end up investing in dew heaters, which require more electricity than the motor drives themselves.
 

If viewing from modest light polluted areas that viewing galaxies and nebulae are dim and lack luster. I am wondering if using the same setup and viewing from a really dark site that the 125mm will be MUCH better visually. Would galaxies and nebulae pop out.

 
Any and all telescopes yield dramatically better views of nebulae and galaxies under dark skies than in urban or suburban conditions. The difference is impossible to overstate. Whether it's fair to say that galaxies and nebulae "pop out" is a matter of opinion. Most or all experienced deep-sky observers would surely say yes. But many novices find galaxies and nebulae disappointing -- and maybe even invisible -- even when viewed through huge telescopes under pristine skies.
 
The SCT design scales up more gracefully than the Mak-Cas design. So while Mak-Cas's are utterly dominant in apertures of 90 mm and less, most people prefer SCTs when the aperture gets significantly bigger than 5 inches (127 mm).

 

That all assumes that you're staying within the electronic Go To arena, of course. If you were to abandon that constraint, Dobs become by far the most popular choice in large apertures.




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