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Newbie 150mm Mak recommendation

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#1 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 06:52 PM

I am a newbie astronomy looking to buy a decent telescope for mostly planetary and some stellar observation. My budget is around US $1000-1200. After a lot of lurking in CN threads and analysis paralysis, I have settled on the following collection:

 

Orion 150mm Mak-Cas (OTA only): $599

Skyview Pro (Manual) mount: $299

High Point RACI finderscope: $59.95

GSO 1.25" dielectric diagonal: $68

Agena Starguider 1.25" 8mm, 12mm, 25mm EP: $180

 

Total: ~ $1206

 

Does this seem like a reasonable ensemble?

 

Some background rationale:

- I didn't want to get the Skywatcher version since I figure the diagonal/eyepiece/finder may need to upgraded anyway, so it would make sense to get better quality components to begin with.

- I was looking at the Skyview Pro GEM since I wanted to keep the system somewhat luggable (I understand it will not be lightweight) though sturdy. I couldn't find a reasonably priced, robust, manual Alt-Az mount around the same price point.

- I didn't want to get a zoom eyepiece right away. I was hoping the 8/12/25 combo will cover planetary/double stars/some DSO

 

I am not planning to do AP, but hope that the system can be outfitted appropriately if I decided to get into it.

 

Any thoughts/suggestions? Thanks.

 

[Edited 8:57PM US/EDT: Corrected Celestron to Orion OTA]


Edited by ny65, 03 August 2020 - 07:57 PM.


#2 mrsjeff

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:26 PM

I assume you're talking about the Orion 150mm Mak. I think your plan sounds reasonable, especially since the SkyView Pro mount can be upgraded to either a tracking mount or a full GoTo system.
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#3 Chris Y

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:32 PM

I just PM'd ya.


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#4 whizbang

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:40 PM

Generally good choices.

 

I think I would forget the GSO Diagonal and go ahead and get a two inch diagonal.  Your scope is very narrow field and you are going to want a few wide field two inch eyepieces soon.  The 1.25 diagonal will just be a waste.

 

I think I would choose a different eyepiece series, at least 62 or 68, or, even better 82 degree.  The 60 degree Starguiders are going to be under whelming.

 

At least to start out, you might consider adding a 32mm plossl, or substituting the 32mm for the 8 if your budget is a concern.

 

You might want to consider 10mm, 15mm, and 20mm Bressers (70 degrees) as well as a 32mm plossl.


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#5 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:56 PM

I assume you're talking about the Orion 150mm Mak. I think your plan sounds reasonable, especially since the SkyView Pro mount can be upgraded to either a tracking mount or a full GoTo system.

Ah, sorry, I mistyped. You are correct - I was meaning to write "Orion". Thanks for the correction and the feedback.



#6 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 08:04 PM

Generally good choices.

 

I think I would forget the GSO Diagonal and go ahead and get a two inch diagonal.  Your scope is very narrow field and you are going to want a few wide field two inch eyepieces soon.  The 1.25 diagonal will just be a waste.

 

I think I would choose a different eyepiece series, at least 62 or 68, or, even better 82 degree.  The 60 degree Starguiders are going to be under whelming.

 

At least to start out, you might consider adding a 32mm plossl, or substituting the 32mm for the 8 if your budget is a concern.

 

You might want to consider 10mm, 15mm, and 20mm Bressers (70 degrees) as well as a 32mm plossl.

Thanks for your feedback. Got it about the better FOV with the 2" EPs. I was a bit leery of driving up the cost of the system since the 2" ones were generally more pricey and thought that the 1.25"-ers may let me "ease into" the new hobby without making too many (expensive?) mistakes smile.gif. I will look at the Bressers as well - thanks for the suggestion.


Edited by ny65, 03 August 2020 - 08:14 PM.

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#7 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:02 PM

Generally good choices.

 

I think I would forget the GSO Diagonal and go ahead and get a two inch diagonal.  Your scope is very narrow field and you are going to want a few wide field two inch eyepieces soon.  The 1.25 diagonal will just be a waste.

 

I think I would choose a different eyepiece series, at least 62 or 68, or, even better 82 degree.  The 60 degree Starguiders are going to be under whelming.

 

At least to start out, you might consider adding a 32mm plossl, or substituting the 32mm for the 8 if your budget is a concern.

 

You might want to consider 10mm, 15mm, and 20mm Bressers (70 degrees) as well as a 32mm plossl.

After parsing what you mention more carefully, your suggestion makes a bunch of sense. So, if I went with above, I would get a 2" diagonal; 1.25" Bresser 70 10mm/15mm/20mm and a 2" 32mm Plossl, correct? Would adding a shorter than the 10mm FL make sense - it looks like the Bressers don't come in shorter FLs than 10mm? Lastly, are the Bresser 70 optics comparable to the Starguiders (the latter seem to be well regarded)? Thanks.



#8 sunnyday

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:12 PM

you did your homework well, I think you made a good choice and that the comments you received on equipment are very good.
good sky and have fun cool.gif


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#9 Chris Y

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:32 PM

After parsing what you mention more carefully, your suggestion makes a bunch of sense. So, if I went with above, I would get a 2" diagonal; 1.25" Bresser 70 10mm/15mm/20mm and a 2" 32mm Plossl, correct? Would adding a shorter than the 10mm FL make sense - it looks like the Bressers don't come in shorter FLs than 10mm? Lastly, are the Bresser 70 optics comparable to the Starguiders (the latter seem to be well regarded)? Thanks.

If you get the 2" diagonal, then drop the 32mm Plossl and get a 2" eyepiece with a wide field of view.  The Plossl will only have a 52° Apparrent Field of View (AFOV), whereas the 2" EP's of numerous manufacturers are well beyond that, and will give you a wider True Field of View (TFOV).  waytogo.gif

 

Also, with an aperture of 150mm, the minimum useable magnification will be around 22x (Aperture in millimeters divided by 7mm (the normal dilated pupil size of a young person...usually around 5mm for us old farts!  lol.gif ))


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#10 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:33 PM

you did your homework well, I think you made a good choice and that the comments you received on equipment are very good.
good sky and have fun cool.gif

Thanks for your input. I am a bit wary of this hobby with a well-defined budget morphing into a money pit, as I am sure it will inevitably evolve into :) Other than a $70 kiddie scope, my only significant experience was the Clark 24" telescope at Lowell, which was amazing - so I am happy if I can fall somewhere in between, hopefully somewhat away from the former!


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#11 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:38 PM

If you get the 2" diagonal, then drop the 32mm Plossl and get a 2" eyepiece with a wide field of view.  The Plossl will only have a 52° Apparrent Field of View (AFOV), whereas the 2" EP's of numerous manufacturers are well beyond that, and will give you a wider True Field of View (TFOV).  waytogo.gif

 

Also, with an aperture of 150mm, the minimum useable magnification will be around 22x (Aperture in millimeters divided by 7mm (the normal dilated pupil size of a young person...usually around 5mm for us old farts!  lol.gif ))

Haha, thanks! I am on the 5mm end as well, on a good day!


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#12 gnowellsct

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:02 PM

After parsing what you mention more carefully, your suggestion makes a bunch of sense. So, if I went with above, I would get a 2" diagonal; 1.25" Bresser 70 10mm/15mm/20mm and a 2" 32mm Plossl, correct? Would adding a shorter than the 10mm FL make sense - it looks like the Bressers don't come in shorter FLs than 10mm? Lastly, are the Bresser 70 optics comparable to the Starguiders (the latter seem to be well regarded)? Thanks.

2" diagonal and oculars not recommended on a 5" or 6" Mak they can't provide the illumination of the field.  

 

This is one of the domains in which refractors rule.  

 

Greg N


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#13 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:10 PM

2" diagonal and oculars not recommended on a 5" or 6" Mak they can't provide the illumination of the field.  

 

This is one of the domains in which refractors rule.  

 

Greg N

Hmmm... Thanks! Unfortunately, decent refractors (APOs) seem to be well above my price range and I was hoping that the Mak will provide somewhat of an approximation at a lower price point.



#14 Chris Y

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:19 PM

2" diagonal and oculars not recommended on a 5" or 6" Mak they can't provide the illumination of the field.  

 

This is one of the domains in which refractors rule.  

 

Greg N

Ehhhhhh...I've got no complaints with 2" on my ES 152 Mak.



#15 Chris Y

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:22 PM

Hmmm... Thanks! Unfortunately, decent refractors (APOs) seem to be well above my price range and I was hoping that the Mak will provide somewhat of an approximation at a lower price point.

How about this critter?  It shows "More On The Way".

 

https://www.astronom...ractor-ota.html


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#16 Echolight

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:26 PM

With a manual mount I would lean towards a refractor. I like refractors. Super easy to use and low maintenance.

 

In my opinion the field of view is too small in Maks or SCT's for me to use without goto. It's just too much finding and not enough looking.

 

Nexstar 6se is $799 and would give you some change to pick up a few eyepieces. A zoom. A barlow. A wide angle or two.


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#17 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:43 PM

How about this critter?  It shows "More On The Way".

 

https://www.astronom...ractor-ota.html

I looked at 100mm refractors but the consensus seemed to be, for planets/moon as primary, the Mak would be a much better bet. The price on this thing is awesome, though. Thanks.


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#18 ny65

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:50 PM

With a manual mount I would lean towards a refractor. I like refractors. Super easy to use and low maintenance.

 

In my opinion the field of view is too small in Maks or SCT's for me to use without goto. It's just too much finding and not enough looking.

 

Nexstar 6se is $799 and would give you some change to pick up a few eyepieces. A zoom. A barlow. A wide angle or two.

Thanks for your input. I like the "classic" nature of the refractor as well, harking back to Lipperhey/Galileo, but I was thinking that the Mak would be better on planetary observation, from everything I have seen so far. I looked at the 6se/9se as well - it looked like the 6" Mak would be much better than the 6se though much heavier. Also, I wasn't looking for a GoTo scope at this point (I do know that the 6se/9se OTAs are the same as C6/C8).


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#19 gnowellsct

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 08:08 AM

Ehhhhhh...I've got no complaints with 2" on my ES 152 Mak.


You're not breaking any laws! But if you are using say a 40 mm wide field you are likely to find that if you are looking at a cluster of stars in the center of your field and then move them off that there is a dimming. This is because the field is not fully illuminated. It's one of the reasons why one gets in a refractor this feeling of a brilliant field. Because all the stars are equally bright all the way across the view.

A 6 incher is better off in this respect than a 5-in but none of them is as well off as an 8-in.

An inexpensive 2-in eyepiece, by which I mean 2 inches in the 30 to 40 mm category may confound the effect. For example if you have visible field curvature preventing tight focus at the edge of the field then one may be less aware of field illumination.

It is something that begins to bug you once you are aware of it. My 4.5-in f10 Newtonian shows a noticeable drop in illumination with a 24-pan optic and that's not even a 2-in eyepiece.

I will say that when I was a kid I never noticed the phenomenon but then again all I had was kellners.

After one has used a refractor for 5 or 10 years, and maybe even less if you are more perceptive than I am, you are conditioned to a fully illuminated field. And when you move to a smaller scope that is trying to light up a 2-in wide field eyepiece You do notice.

Choosing a correct secondary size is the focus of a great deal of attention in the Newtonian building world and there are programs on the internet that show you how illumination falls off from the center depending on the size of the secondary. what these programs show is that in the five and six inch range there really isn't a secondary size that solves the problem. All you can do is sort of look around for the least bad solution.


Edited by gnowellsct, 04 August 2020 - 03:16 PM.

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#20 whizbang

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 08:46 AM

At one time, I had a compete set of Bressers.  I thought they were generally outstanding.  Exceptions were the 10mm with close eye relief.  I had to press my eye to the glass.   The 35mm had too much eye relief.  I had to hover over the eyepiece.  The others were awesome.  By far the best of the series was the 2 inch 25mm.  It basically performed as well as my ES 24-68 in side by side testing.  Not bad for an eyepiece costing half as much.

 

How the Bressers compare to Starguiders, I can't say.  I have never owned a Starguilder.  However the published spec is 60 degrees, a tad more than a plossl, and not much improvement in FOV.

 

The naysayers will recommend against using 2 inch eyepieces in a 127mm Mak.  I did it and they all worked great!!!

 

If you want to knock your socks off, get a 2 inch diagonal and a Bresser 25mm-70 degree eyepiece.


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#21 whizbang

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 08:55 AM

By the way.....

 

Operating on a tight budget, I originally decided to go with 68 degree series eyepieces.

 

I ended up with Explore Scientific 16mm, 20mm, and 24mm, a Bresser 30mm-70 deg, and Williams Optics Swans (72 degree) in 33 and 40mm.

 

I had 6 eyepieces in uniform steps of magnification and field of view.

 

Then I discover grenades.

 

82 degree or higher eyepieces cover much broader field of view.  I found I can cover the small basic ranges with onky 3 eyepieces:

 

17mm Nagler, 24mm-82 ES, WO Swan 40mm.

 

So, what should you do???  Homework!!

 

So many choices....

 

If nobody has mentioned it yet... the ES 14mm-82 is a home run too!!


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#22 ny65

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 08:56 AM

At one time, I had a compete set of Bressers.  I thought they were generally outstanding.  Exceptions were the 10mm with close eye relief.  I had to press my eye to the glass.   The 35mm had too much eye relief.  I had to hover over the eyepiece.  The others were awesome.  By far the best of the series was the 2 inch 25mm.  It basically performed as well as my ES 24-68 in side by side testing.  Not bad for an eyepiece costing half as much.

 

How the Bressers compare to Starguiders, I can't say.  I have never owned a Starguilder.  However the published spec is 60 degrees, a tad more than a plossl, and not much improvement in FOV.

 

The naysayers will recommend against using 2 inch eyepieces in a 127mm Mak.  I did it and they all worked great!!!

 

If you want to knock your socks off, get a 2 inch diagonal and a Bresser 25mm-70 degree eyepiece.

Thank you for the additional information. After looking at the feedback and thinking about it, it seems to make sense to look at a 2" diagonal with a set of 1.25" for the shorter focal length (using the 2"->1.25" adapter, of course) and a 2" EP for the longer FL. This will also allow me to share the diagonal in case I add a refractor in the future.


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#23 ny65

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 08:59 AM

By the way.....

 

Operating on a tight budget, I originally decided to go with 68 degree series eyepieces.

 

I ended up with Explore Scientific 16mm, 20mm, and 24mm, a Bresser 30mm-70 deg, and Williams Optics Swans (72 degree) in 33 and 40mm.

 

I had 6 eyepieces in uniform steps of magnification and field of view.

 

Then I discover grenades.

 

82 degree or higher eyepieces cover much broader field of view.  I found I can cover the small basic ranges with onky 3 eyepieces:

 

17mm Nagler, 24mm-82 ES, WO Swan 40mm.

 

So, what should you do???  Homework!!

 

So many choices....

 

If nobody has mentioned it yet... the ES 14mm-82 is a home run too!!

 

By the way.....

 

Operating on a tight budget, I originally decided to go with 68 degree series eyepieces.

 

I ended up with Explore Scientific 16mm, 20mm, and 24mm, a Bresser 30mm-70 deg, and Williams Optics Swans (72 degree) in 33 and 40mm.

 

I had 6 eyepieces in uniform steps of magnification and field of view.

 

Then I discover grenades.

 

82 degree or higher eyepieces cover much broader field of view.  I found I can cover the small basic ranges with onky 3 eyepieces:

 

17mm Nagler, 24mm-82 ES, WO Swan 40mm.

 

So, what should you do???  Homework!!

 

So many choices....

 

If nobody has mentioned it yet... the ES 14mm-82 is a home run too!!

lol.gif Hopefully, this homework converges sooner than later - I think I know how deep the rabbit hole goes!


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#24 ny65

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 09:03 AM

You're not breaking any laws! But if you are using say a 40 mm wide field you are likely to find that if you are looking at a cluster of stars in the center of your field and then move them off that there is a dimming. This is because the field is not fully illuminated. It's one of the reasons why one gets in a refractor this feeling of a brilliant field. Because all the stars are equally bright all the way across the view.

A 6 incher is better off in this respect than a 5-in but none of them is as well off as an 8-in.

An inexpensive 2-in eyepiece, by which I mean 2 inches in the 30 to 40 mm category my confound the effect. For example if you have visible field curvature preventing tight focus at the edge of the field then one may be less aware of field illumination.

It is something that begins to bug you once you are aware of it. My 4.5-in f10 Newtonian shows a noticeable drop in illumination with a 24-pan optic and that's not even a 2-in eyepiece.

I will say that when I was a kid I never noticed the phenomenon but then again all I had was kellners.

After one has used a refractor for 5 or 10 years, and maybe even less if you are more perceptive than I am, you are conditioned to a fully illuminated field. And when you move to a smaller scope that is trying to light up a 2-in wide field eyepiece You do notice.

Choosing a correct secondary size is the focus of a great deal of attention in the Newtonian building world and there are programs on the internet that show you how illumination falls off from the center depending on the size of the secondary. what these programs show is that in the five and six inch range there really isn't a secondary size that solves the problem. All you can do is sort of look around for the least bad solution.

Good info. Thanks! I was planning to start with planetary stuff mostly, so it may be less of an issue (and the choice of the Mak).



#25 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 09:06 AM

I have a 4” F9.5 refractor with a 2.3” focuser so the field illumination is about as good as it gets. I also have a 6” Mak. I use my 42lvw with both of them and don’t notice any issues with field illumination on the Mak. Granted I don’t seem to be particularly sensitive to EOFB either so it just depends. If you look for it, I’m sure you can find it. But many are mostly focused on the center of the field and don’t notice gradual dimming as the brain tends to not pick up on that. Many, many, many people use 2” oculars in obstructed telescopes with no complaints so I think it would be fine for a beginner. When you have been doing this as long as Greg, and gotten spoiled with outstanding gear and trained your eyes to recognize every optical abberation and distortion, then it will be a problem.

As for GoTo, the OP is only interested in naked eye targets starting out. So no need for GoTo or even a 2” diagonal really. But if one is going to buy a better diagonal and eyepiece anyway, it kind of makes sense to plan for the future and get a 2” dielectric diagonal and a 38mm Agena SWA. Both can be had for around $200 total. Beats spending $100 on a 1.25” setup and then replacing it with a 2” setup six months later. With a max FOV 2” eyepiece I find I can generally navigate pretty well by starhopping with my 6” Mak and don’t really need GoTo. Of course I have had a lot of practice.

Scott
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