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Pls help our family choose the right first serious 11" telescope

Celestron equipment
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#1 aeneas

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 01:51 PM

Hi all,

we've been enjoying watching moon and planets with our poor old Astromaster 130EQ for years now with kids and they have been begging to upgrade at some point to a serious telescope - maybe even a home observatory.

With Mars promising some nice views in October I'm thinking of taking the plunge.

 

We have a decent suburban location with relatively dark nights... I would only occasionally take the telescope out to the mountains for a weekend of stargazing, but mainly it would stay fixed at home, so transportation is not that critical. 

 

I would almost certainly go for a 11" scope or possibly a 9.25" one. I have a good relationship with a local distributor for Celestron, so can get good price on their scopes. But Celestron has so many different models, costings and mounts that I get lost in options.

 

Furthermore, after seeing their 60-anniversary rerlease of Nexstar Evolution 8 HD with built-in StarSense, I wonder if they may soon be updating with newer tech also some of the other larger models? Their EdgeHG 11" models seem to have been out there on the market for quite a while so if they get updated in the next year or so with more connected tech that would be quite a bummer not to wait till then. Does anyone of you know if there are any such plans by Celestron in the near future?

 

So, with that said, what would you recommend as my best option? Priorities as follows:

- 11" preferred, but would consider 9.25"

- live observation will be main use at the start but I would like to be able the system to allow decent astrophotography so we may get into that progressively in the future

- ease of use for amateur family would be highly important with computer control or preferably iphone/ipad control

 

Ideally price range around €5,000 (+/-).

 

Any other recommendations to consider?

 

Many thanks in advance! :)



#2 coopman

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:05 PM

Welcome to CN.  Others will offer their advice shortly.  



#3 sg6

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:07 PM

Add a location to your profile.

Most answers are otherwise likely to relate to the US and from the currancy you are somewhere in the EU.

 

My opinion - not what you likely want - a smaller simpler scope would be a lot better and get used a lot more. A CPC1100 is not small. The one we use is moved by 3 people and it is housed on one of those triangular units with wheels/casters for movement. Still use 3 people.

 

Why an 11"?

I get the idea it is not based on a good astronomy basis. All you have mentioned is Mars. So for 6 weeks you see Mars, and 2 years later it reappears. What are you thinking of in the intervening approximate 100 weeks?

 

In an 11" SCT a fair number of objects will not fit in is another factor. Well unless you have a 2" rear and something like a 41mm Panoptic, and even then a good number will not.

 

I do a lot of outreach and one thing I have learnt is the small scopes are the ones that get most used and most people. Everyone here talks of big and large and long.

 

An SCT may not be as sharp and clear as you expect. Celestron say that on their site somewhere.


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#4 Tanager4

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:07 PM

By ease of use, do you mean you set it up and then the family can operate the movements / point to what they want to see? Unless you get it pier mounted and shielded from the elements like inside a dome, the family will rely on you to assemble it and calibrate it each time. An 11" will need about 1-2 hours of cooling time so it's not exactly going to be plug and play.

I have an older 9.25 setup (not an Edge) but even the 9.25" tube is at the limit of my carrying capacity.

If you're considering an 11 inch you should check which mount you want to use and will you be able to comfortably lift the tube into the saddle on the mount at that height.
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#5 ShaulaB

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:58 PM

I am a parent and grannie who has done astronomy outreach for over 30 years. Before the virus, my group and I often went to schools, parks, and scout camps sharing views of the sky. Personally, I would not suggest an 11 inch SCT as a family scope. Or even one for a casual adult observer. The people I know who have scopes of that size, or larger, are not using them as family instruments.

 

With your budget (Canadian dollars?), here is another idea. Get an 8 inch SCT, like a Celestron 8SE, and a 10 inch Dobsonian (many brands).

 

Even a feeble old lady like myself can haul out, assemble, and operate a C8. The telescope that can be set up quickly will be the telescope you will observe with more. The more you observe, the better you will get at it.

 

As has been mentioned, an 11 inch is more for a serious adult who has the patience for the long cooling time, and the strength to set it up. In the "Specifications" listed for a telescope, the weight of the optical tube may seem well within ones ability. But consider this. The tube will be lifted, probably above chest height, and be placed precisely on the mount. Telescope tubes are awkward, not ergonomically friendly. If you intend to keep the rig assembled and on a JMI Wheely Bar dolly, space in the garage will have to be made so other stuff does not bang into your scope.

 

Your children (ages?) if 10 years can operate a 10 inch Dobsonian. Carrying and setting up the scope might take an extra person. If the scope does NOT have computer controls, children will hunting down and viewing sky objects. I have let kids at outreach events run my 10 inch Dob, and they are delighted to find things themselves. Using their brains is a good thing. Taking pictures with a cell phone at the eyepiece is easy and fun.

 

Astrophotography is an entirely different discipline. It is not an easy transition from photography to astrophotography. Try EAA first (Electronically Assisted Astronomy) with a unit like the Revolution II imager.


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#6 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 03:00 PM

I have a C8 on an Evo mount and a C11 on a G11 mount. For visual/Mars they will both perform identically except on maybe one night every two years when the seeing is absolutely perfect allowing for very high power. For imaging Mars the C11 wins. For dimmer objects like Uranus or even Saturn the C11 makes things brighter which will help. Mars is already very bright. Actually I look at Uranus and Saturn all the time with my C8 and wouldn't drag out the C11 just for looking at those planets.

 

For dimmer objects like galaxies, nebulae, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, etc. The C11 wins because you need more light gathering. Both the C8 and C11 have small true field of views like around one degree.

 

When you say astrophotography do you mean planets or DSOs? There is a huge difference. For planetary a C11 on a mount just big enough for it will work just fine. For imaging DSOs you need a mount that costs much more. For a C11 your mount would be well north of $2,000.

 

I would get the C8 on an Evo mount. Don't pay extra for Edge / StarSense / GPS. I took this image of Jupiter with a C8. You may be too late for imaging this Mars apparition as it takes time to get all the gear and to learn how to take the pictures. Opposition is mid October and you have a month or two after that until it has shrunk a lot.

 

For imaging DSOs the usual recommendation is a $2,000+ mount and a short fast refractor around 500mm focal length f/6 or faster.

 

For imaging planets with a C11 your mount would be under $2,000 and for imaging DSOs with a C11 your mount should be $4,000 or more.


Edited by WarmWeatherGuy, 20 September 2020 - 12:37 PM.

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#7 PETER DREW

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 03:03 PM

I can understand your leaning towards a Celestron due to your connection and I'm sure it would satisfy your family needs.  I have SCTs from 8" to 16" aperture and they become heavier very quickly as the size increases.  A 8SE or 9.25" would be a huge upgrade to your current telescope and experience.  The CPC versions will be very heavy to set up..


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#8 moonrakercat

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 03:09 PM

Welcome to cloudy nights !!   Lots of good info & lots of opinions.

 

It sounds like your planning to jump from a very small scope to a very large one - and an 11" sct is a large scope - maybe heavy too.  Who is going to be moving / seting this scope up

all the time ? Are you planning to just leave it outside & build something around it ?  or will it be taken in & out  ?

 

I don't have much experience with scts - I've seen a few people with sct's.    I own 2 dobs - an 8" and a 16" - both very easy to use.   I've been doing this for 20 yrs - and still know next to didily squat.

I suggest before you jump into anything - you get out (yes I know it's near impossible with covid) and look at & through some scopes in use  - talk to people - maybe some

who own the exact scope you want to buy - you might just change your mind.   You might not.   This forum is a great place to learn.

 

Consider that once you jump into something larger you might get interested in dsos, or globulars, or other stuff - different scopes are better at different objects.

 

Astronomy is a hobby where it is very easy to spend alot of $$$ and regret it .   Big heavy scopes sometimes get sold by seasoned veterans so they can buy

something smaller/ easier to move setup & transport -  something they know they will use more.   Looking through the scope is the easy part - usually the setup, moving

around, transport,  eyepieces, maintenance, collimation, teardown, dew equipment, modification of said scope....and my god some people do alot of mods...etc....takes most of the time and work.

 

I had my 16" dob for about 6 months before I did any serious viewing with it.   The week I bought it I took it out and manually set it up - all 140 lb of it myself for the first viewing - and the teardown was just as hard.   I said this is going to kill me - so I took alot of time - read lots of posts and made some mods - and now my 16" dob rolls out of my garage with wheelbarrow handles, it is always set up for viewing -  has all the eyepieces on heated racks ready on the base - and a murio baffle so I don't have to wait for a mirror cooldown (which you typically need maybe an hour or so unless you want to see heat distorted views) - I'm setup and viewing in 10 minutes - and back in storage in 10 minutes also - most of my time is spent viewing.

 

Many things to consider when jumping from your small scope to a bigger one....

 

Best of luck.


Edited by moonrakercat, 19 September 2020 - 03:17 PM.


#9 Echolight

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 03:36 PM

I agree with ShaulaB. 

I'd get two slightly smaller scopes.

 

A 10 inch dob sounds good.

I'd choose the Evolution 8 over the 8SE.

 

And then plan for about €1,000 of your budget for eyepieces.

 

And a little 80ED refractor on an alt/az mount for widefield and easy grab an go if there's enough left over.

 

But a CPC1100 would be cool on a permanent pier with a permanent power supply.



#10 aeneas

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 04:00 PM

Thank you all for so many great responses in such a quick time. A lot of very good questions to consider, so I will elaborate a bit further my quest to find the right next scope:

 

1) My knowledge is (very) limited but have always been fascinated by the vastness of the universe and wanted to be able to peer deeper myself, not just via pictures of others. There is a special feeling when you yourself see that a tiny dot in the sky is actually a galaxy when seen through a decent telescope. Luckily kids (10 and 12) share this enthusiasm.

 

2) My experience in the past - with whatever equipment I bought for whatever use - was that if I was stingy, I eventually regretted it. It either did not offer enough to truly excite me, or (b) I soon grew past it and needed to replace with more capable stuff, wasting money by buying lower quality at the start... so for many years not I go for the absolute best thing I can purchase and I never regretted that. I rather buy fewer things - but the ones I buy tend to be the max I can get(afford) for the hobby/sport/appliance etc.

 

3) I am a male in early 40s but very fit so lifting 50-60kg gear is not an issue and I don't think it will be for another 20+ years... but I do get the point of portability and appreciate there is a huge difference between an 8" and a 11" scope in that matter

 

4) Main reason why I am now considering this investment is that I've been reading how over the last years computerized mounts with immense star object libraries, self orientation through GPS and starsense technology etc. it is making finding objects much easier and approachable. That is a big game changer to me and the decisive factor in making the purchase.

 

5) Regarding the mount, I was not particularly keen on the CPC of the NexStar as well - that is why I was wondering if Celestron is thinking about upgrading other lines as well in the near future. The ones I am currently most thinking about are the CGEM II 1100 EDGEHD and the smaller brother CGEM II 925 EDGEHD models, but these are a few years old and not with an integrated Starsense (although they say they are compatible with it so it seems there is a way to add that)

 

6) Location: indeed, I am from Central Europe... I am thinking of eventually setting-up a small observatory dome on the roof to have the telescope mounted there most of the time, and, possibly occasionally transporting it to a remote location high in the mountains for particular weekends of sky watching. There - again - setting it up for some time would not be an issue; I do not require 10min set-up speeds.

 

7) Astrophotography: currently there is none ;)  ...but there is a wish :)))  So: if I buy a scope that will allow me to play with that in the future and learn more about it (I love landscape photography), this would be a big plus if I can have a set-up that is good to go from the start. Certainly target would be DSO and not Mars or Moon ;) 

 

I think I addressed most key topics... still - I may be naive and thinking that the Celestron CGEM II 1100 EDGEHD is all smart enough but then will realise it will be still too difficult a learning curve and will kill the fun, which I could have had with a simple NexStar 8SE. I am open to listen to your much more experienced feedback and suggestions, now that I hopefully elaborated a bit more where my current rationale is coming from.

 

many thanks again for all your help!!



#11 nimitz69

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 04:19 PM

Some points to consider ...
AP and visual really don’t have much to do with each other and equire different equipment. If you tried to learn AP with a 9.25 or 11” SCT it would be similar to deciding to get into mountain climbing and selecting Everest as your 1st hill - no exaggeration.

An 11” SCT is indeed a beast, I had the C9.25 but wanted a bigger aperture so I went with a 14” but it is a GOTO Dob. The reason I only got a 14l was because looking at the zenith the EP is exactly at my eye level so no step stool needed. Also with my usually seeing conditions maxing out at no better than 2 arcsecs and occasionally down to 1.5, there was no reason to get any larger aperture.

If it were me I’d forget about AP unless you’re also willing to get a small, fast 80mm class refractor and just get a big Dob ...

Edited by nimitz69, 20 September 2020 - 07:45 AM.

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#12 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 04:22 PM

The C11 is a terrible scope for DSO imaging unless you're going to use hyperstar. I use mine solely for planetary imaging.

 

The Evo is much nicer than the SE mount.

 

The difference between a standard C8 and an EdgeHD 8 (or 11 inch) is that the HD has cooling vents, mirror locks, and extra glass in the central baffle which allows the edge to be in focus at the same time as the center when imaging. You won't notice any benefit for visual other than the cooling vents and I put fans in my vents. I also have an 8" Edge which I just noticed is not in my signature. I use it only for DSO imaging on the G11.


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#13 aeneas

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 04:46 PM

Good points to consider, thank you.

Some additional question on mounts - if for a while sticking with the EdgeHD 11 or 9.25 (and I've not dismissed 8"... I fully apprerciate all the input so far!)... but thinking of heavier loads:

CGEM-II vs CGX-L vs Advanced VX?  Any big difference?



#14 Tanager4

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 04:59 PM

In that case I suggest you first buy a book on astrophotography and become familiar with at least the basics e.g. "Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography". It costs about $17.

#15 aeneas

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 05:08 PM

In that case I suggest you first buy a book on astrophotography and become familiar with at least the basics e.g. "Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography". It costs about $17.

Found it on Amazon & bought! Thanks for the tip.

 

However - as I said earlier... astrophotography will be a long-term journey - it's not the main priority for now; I only want a system that can support as we grow our knowledge and skills. 

As I've read (and watched a few youtube reviews), DSO photography seems to be significantly improved with hyperstar add-on so that would clearly be a must.


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#16 Echolight

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 05:11 PM

The AVX is a good size mount for visual with the C8. Plenty sturdy. But that's probably it's limit for optimum performance.

 

Eyepiece position with an SCT on a GEM can be challenging.

You'll want a refractor diagonal and a visual back to accept it, to make rotating it easy. No SCT screw on diagonals here. Because sometimes the eyepiece will end up pointing at the ground....or away from you.

 

And some kind of quick adjust chair. A bar stool or office chair with a gas strut that will raise and lower quickly. Or an observing chair.


Edited by Echolight, 19 September 2020 - 05:24 PM.

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#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 08:44 PM

2) My experience in the past - with whatever equipment I bought for whatever use - was that if I was stingy, I eventually regretted it. It either did not offer enough to truly excite me, or (b) I soon grew past it and needed to replace with more capable stuff, wasting money by buying lower quality at the start... so for many years not I go for the absolute best thing I can purchase and I never regretted that. I rather buy fewer things - but the ones I buy tend to be the max I can get(afford) for the hobby/sport/appliance etc.

...

4) Main reason why I am now considering this investment is that I've been reading how over the last years computerized mounts with immense star object libraries, self orientation through GPS and starsense technology etc. it is making finding objects much easier and approachable. That is a big game changer to me and the decisive factor in making the purchase.


Or to put it more baldly, you are eager to spend money and not eager to invest effort. Frankly, few people last long in astronomy with that attitude.

 

Personally, I generally prefer finding things manually than with electronic aids; I just get more satisfaction that way. However, I recognize that Go To technology can be very useful both for beginners and experts (and everything in between). So I certainly wouldn't discourage anybody from buying a Go To mount, assuming that they have money to spare.

 

Nonetheless, the fact remains that the effort required to locate something in the sky is tiny compared to the effort required to observe it well. And there is no magical shortcut to that -- it requires time, patience, and tons of practice.

 

As far as the technology is concerned, I wouldn't say that the last few years have been all that revolutionary. Go To mounts got off to a bit of a rocky start back in the 1980s and 90s, but they have been pretty darned user-friendly for the last 15 years or so. You cite three specifics, of which I consider only one to be significant:

 

1. Giant databases have been around since day one, and are, on the whole, a bad thing. You will, after all, only be able to see a minuscule fraction of those objects, especially if you live in light-polluted surroundings.

 

2. GPS eliminates the need to type in your latitude and longitude. Just how hard is that?

 

3. Starsense technology, I think, does have the promise to be a game-changer, but I'm not convinced that it has yet been fully integrated into any mount. If you really want the best possible starsense mount, my advice is to wait a few years for the technology to mature.

 

Like just about everybody else here, I think you would be much wiser to buy an 8-inch SCT than a 11-incher. Either way, you will get a huge increase in capability compared to your current scope.

 

Another point with respect to your buy-the-best philosophy is that there is no such thing as "the best" as far as telescopes are concerned. That's one of the reasons why most serious amateur observers own multiple telescopes. And truly the only way to find out what's best for you is to try different things, rather than putting all your eggs into one basket.


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#18 Jethro7

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:42 PM

Hello Aeneas,

I have to agree with Nimitz69 post 11, and Tony post 17, I chose a C8 Edge HD over the C11 EdgeHD, from advice taken here on CloudyNights, because I was assured that I would be able to use it much more than the C11 due to seeing conditions and this is true. I should have listened to the other advice but my mind was already made up on the C8 Edge HD because they look really cool and the Adds were very attractive.That C8 has only three virtues that keeps me from selling it. The fact that it is compact, the visual back arrangement allows me to use it on my AZ8 sitting down behind the mount paired up with a Refractor and I already own it. If I would have listened to the folks here on CN that recommended a nice Dob, instead, that would be a far better scope for viewing than the C8.I never would have bought the C8. I have a nice 10" Dob now and the views will flat out beat the C8. I have grown up alot over the several years in this Astro Hobby. And one of the many things I have learned  is that many folks here on CloudyNights really do know their stuff and have decades of experience and their advice is worth real concideration. I have a array of scopes now and each one has a specialty that I use them for. I have gravitated to manual mounts from Goto's and really prefer them now for the simplicity and they have helped me learn the skies so much faster because I am responsible for where the scopes are pointed. The best way to learn AP is with a small APO refractor 72mm to 80mm or a DSLR and a few lenses. Every expert I know will recomend that it's the way to start and there is a reason that it is recommended. AP is such a hard discipline.There are so many issues and moving parts with a SCT scopes that they are for the experienced Astro imagers.and learning AP on one would be a exercise in frustrations, probably ending in failure.With that in mind why spend the money on a Edge HD? Those extra features are for AP use. A plain C11 would serve you just as well. Dont get me wrong I like my C8 it is the Jack of all trades master of none,  I have other scopes that will do a better job at task.The C8 is convenient at times and the views are decent but it is not a favorite anymore. Like It was when it was my only scope. 

 

HAPPY SKIES TO YOU AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 19 September 2020 - 11:02 PM.


#19 phillip

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:52 PM

My Xt10 is my choice now but mainly because of current Mars encounter, b4 and probably later just use the XT8 as even further easier.

 

One remarkable thing on dobs is how fast they setup and teardown when finished. Positively fantastic. Enjoy mine big Time! Great Views! 

 

XT10, Celestron 6 inch F/8 Refractor 

Clave 8mm, Pentax 7mm, Takahashi orthos 6mm, 5mm, all give crisp views, as like Planets! 

 

Clear Sky! 


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#20 nimitz69

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 07:54 AM

My 14” GOTO Dob sits fully assembled  in my AP observatory so I’m ready to starting observing in about 5mins after opening the roof ... there are always solutions to the small issues. I built a  built a wheelbarrel system that attaches/detaches directly to its base. Dobs also have smaller footprints because they don’t use a tripod. Dollar/aperture nothing can beat a Dob, this allows you to buy a few nice EPs which you’ll need and also enables you to buy GOTO scope. just price out a 14" GOTO Dob & a 14" GOTO SCT  to see what i mean

obs2 sm.jpg


Edited by nimitz69, 20 September 2020 - 08:03 AM.


#21 MaknMe

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 08:23 AM

Since you mentioned the 60th anniversary edition, you might want to purchase it. An 8 in evolution is heavy, but still light enough that you will use it.

I don’t really enjoy dragging my 8 in out into the yard, but I love the views. Mars is not as interesting are Jupiter, but is big and bright.

Whatever you buy, keep the smaller scope. You will want something small and quick sometimes. Even with an 8 in, my 5 in Mak gets plenty of action.

If you could leave the 11 in an observatory or your kids are strong and helpful, that might be an option. But, my kid wouldn’t be much help with something that heavy. Finally, kids today want a GOTO. So, I wouldn’t recommend a Dob.

Edited by MaknMe, 20 September 2020 - 08:31 AM.


#22 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 08:44 AM

6-8” Dobsonians are changing hands between $150 and 300 routinely.

IMO, an 8” dob and some great eyepieces will give you more than a C11.

#23 gnowellsct

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:02 AM

I think a 925 or c11 would be an excellent choice. Europe has few areas that are as exposed as our hard rock states in the west. If you are observing on grass your SCT will not take 2 hours to cool. In fact quite the opposite you may need to take a measure to heat it up to prevent dew formation.

Unfortunately if somebody gets into the beginner's group and says I want an SCT then a lot of people are going to pile in and say no don't do it. The truth is they are high performers and some of the c11s are excellent.

Among my group of observing friends who were armed with premier in newtonians all of them have gotten Celestron SCTs. One got rid of his obsession 15-in to get a c11, one ditched a standard import Newtonian, one has mothballed a premier 14-in because he prefers his 925.

There's nothing particularly complex about them in comparison to other scopes with the possible exception of dew heaters.

It is true that if you get the alt az robotic scopes that you're going to have a heavy lift. On the other hand those scopes tend to be up and running very quickly.

Everyone I know uses their SCTs on equatorial mounts. In those cases the maximum lift tends to be about 20 to 30 or 10 to 15 kilograms because the amounts break into separate pieces. And the c11 by itself weighs about 14 or 15 kg.

If you go on to a large field where there's two or three dozen telescopes and operation you will usually find that the SCTs are among the best performing telescopes. It takes a lot of maintenance to keep a new running and the hardware for collimation is more complicated than that for an SCT.


(most of the people relying on laser collimators are not in fact getting good collimation, they're just getting good enough collimation. This becomes evident when you own a TakaHashi collimation scope. And can check the results of the laser collimation. The Takahashi combination scope costs hundreds of bucks. when I owned a big Newtonian I used it to double-check the Howie glatter collimation tools. )

In addition as the newtonians are used and dust settles on the mirror it gets progressively more light scatter which basically offsets any theoretical advantage stemming from their supposedly smaller Central obstruction. And no one who cites the figure about Central obstruction ever bothers to calculate the area of the spider vanes. I have measured that on inexpensive dobsonians and it adds surprisingly to the total. And of course you get the diffraction spikes into the bargain.

When I am saying is that there are reasons why the sct telescopes perform consistently and perform well as long as they are collimated.

On the other hand much depends on your kids. A complicated go-to telescope is good for keeping their interest in the sense that you can go from one object to another with a lot of speed. But unless they're willing to be completely involved in the setup and operation of the robotic scope, which would actually be an outstanding thing to learn in comparison to video games, there is something to be said for a simple alt az
telescope that they can use to look at things and choose objects as they see fit.

As someone who has observed in the company of premier Newtonian optics for the past 20 years I can say I have never once regretted the decision to buy an SCT. I own and operate a C14 and a c8. My former Newtonian owning friends switch to a c11 and a 925 and I haven't seen any of them going back to a dobsonian. I also own three triplet apos, a 130 mm triplet, two 92 mm triplets, and an 81 mm ED doublet.

By far the fastest setup in the hobby is a refractor on a completely manual altaz mount with no go to and no tracking. Equally fast is a Newtonian on a Dobson mount, so long as It does not need collimation, which is sometimes true of the dobs with smaller mirrors. As you add complexity the setup time gets to be greater. The go-to dobsonians are not particularly faster to set up and get operating than the go-to SCTs in altaz mode.

My friends who have owned and operated 14, 15, and 18 in newtonians have all complained about the heavy weight of the rocker box with the mirror. Oh yes and there was the guy with the 25-inch obsession who switched to a C14. I tend to forget about him as he has not come out with the club much since he built an observatory.

I have not been trying to convince people to get rid of their newtonians. In fact I like having the variety on the field and I have been particularly disappointed to see the 14-in and larger instruments disappear from common use in my club. I think mainly they have seen the operation of my C14 and C8 and often look through these instruments and see no reason NOT to get one of these reliable performing instruments.

There has also been a movement towards refractor acquisition. But much to the dismay of refractor purists, the acquisition of a good amount for a refractor sets the stage for the spread of the dreaded SCT. That is because the mechanical efficiency of an SCT on a German equatorial mount is difficult to beat. A mount that can hold a 4-in refractor can just as easily carry an 8-in SCT. And once you get into Losmandy class mounts You are an ideal territory for a 925, c11, or C14.

one of the reasons for the popularity of the SCT's is they offer real value and performance. It is wise not to forget that amid the drone of reasons why one should not get one.

Greg N
  • Mike G., moonrakercat and aeneas like this

#24 MrRoberts

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:21 AM

How old are the kids?

 

I would say to forget long exposer ap for now.

That being said, only a couple of reasonable ways to go for now.

 

A:  The first is a C-8 XLT with .63 focal reducer and Telrad on an AVX. A significant step up from where you are now. This would allow you to learn the need for leveling and polar alignment. And maybe eaa (with the addition of a camera). Which then may lead you to longer exposer ap (best learned with the addition of a small refractor). Would the 9.25 be a better fit to use visually and with eaa? The short answer is yes, but now you have to contend with more weight and the need for a better mount. Most likely their CGEM II. X2-$

 

B:  8-10" dob. Something like the Orion XT 8-10 (i or go-to). Add a 9X50 raci finder, laser collimator, an adjustable observing chair and one or two good ep's. Sit back and be amazed. These can be forever scopes. 



#25 Echolight

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:42 AM

I agree with a lot of what gnowellsct says.

And I haven't yet gotten a dob for some of those reasons. Open tube. Large clunky base to store and move. Collimation.

 

I have a C8 on an AVX which I appreciate very much for it's closed tube design and large aperture in a super compact form. And the abilty to find and track. The C8 itself is 20 years old and still going strong, looking pretty similar inside and out to the day it was first used. Occasionally dews up. Counterweights are a pain. Hooking up batteries and wires to snag and trip over in the dark. Correct alignment takes time and sometimes patience. Eyepiece needs adjusting for each target.

Tracking is terrific.

A 9.25 or 11 inch would be a sweet machine.

 

Although my most used setup is "Big Easy". A 6 inch achromat yard cannon on an alt/az mount that goes about 7 feet high fully extended.

Why? Because it's easy. Takes next to nothing to set up. No counterweights. No collimation. No cool down. No dew. No muss no fuss.

And as long as no rain in the forecast, I can leave it set up for a weekend or a week without worry of contamination.

20200920_092255~2.jpg

But I can imagine that an 8 or 10 inch dob, while likely similar in performance to my two scopes(with the 10 taking an easy lead), would be far easier for a 10 or 12 year old to opperate and keep eyepiece orientation manageable without adult supervision.

 


Edited by Echolight, 20 September 2020 - 10:12 AM.



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