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Inexpensive grab and go refractor?

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#1 Tom Stock

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 07:18 PM

I recently moved and went from Bortle 8 to Bortle 5, but the problem is my yard has a lot of tree cover and I can't align my C8 on a GEM.

 

I know of a good spot nearby to set up the C8, but I would like a small grab and go scope for the yard for when I don't feel like dragging everything to a remote location.

 

I'm looking for a small scope for a quick scan of the sky.

 

I tried a C5 but found the FOV pretty narrow and sold it.

 

I was considering an Orion ST80 or a Vixen/Celestron 80mm F11 refractor.

 

I owned a Vixen 80mm F11 awhile back and it was pretty good. I'd love to find another.

 

Opinions?


Edited by Tom Stock, 08 October 2020 - 07:19 PM.

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#2 barbie

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 07:30 PM

I'm in a similar situation with having to tree dodge and use a Skywatcher Evostar 72 ED Apo refractor which is light and does an excellent job on brighter deep sky, moon, planets, and brighter double stars. I can carry it out and around my apartment's courtyard without any trouble and the shorter tube length means no heavy mounting is required. It can go from 13x to 200x with the switch of an eyepiece.


Edited by barbie, 08 October 2020 - 07:31 PM.

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#3 daniel_h

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 07:35 PM

go the f11, or try & find a cheap ed80


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#4 vsteblina

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:05 PM

Chainsaw. 

 

Not sure where you live, but most of the US is suffering from a "epidemic of trees". 

 

We definitely need fewer trees, outside of our urban and suburban areas.  More trees in cities and less trees in forests.

 

But.....the minimum I would consider for a grab and go scope is a 115mm refractor.  I would also consider a 12.5 inch DOB with a wheel system.

 

There is no reason to go out and see things that are just barely visible.


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#5 Tom Stock

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:12 PM

Chainsaw. 

 

Not sure where you live, but most of the US is suffering from a "epidemic of trees". 

 

We definitely need fewer trees, outside of our urban and suburban areas.  More trees in cities and less trees in forests.

 

But.....the minimum I would consider for a grab and go scope is a 115mm refractor.  I would also consider a 12.5 inch DOB with a wheel system.

 

There is no reason to go out and see things that are just barely visible.

 

Chainsaw. 

 

Not sure where you live, but most of the US is suffering from a "epidemic of trees". 

 

We definitely need fewer trees, outside of our urban and suburban areas.  More trees in cities and less trees in forests.

 

But.....the minimum I would consider for a grab and go scope is a 115mm refractor.  I would also consider a 12.5 inch DOB with a wheel system.

 

There is no reason to go out and see things that are just barely visible.

I have an Orion Intelliscope 10" dob on order from Highpoint but it's been on back order since march.

 

I just got an update that the ship date has been pushed out to mid November (for the 8th time)


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#6 Migwan

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:18 PM

Ouch.   ST80 is a great little wide field and terrestrial.  I still haven't topped a view of M31 on an very good night a couple of years ago.   Mine had homes on a couple of SCTs before moving to a camcorder tripod.  Pretty heavy at 6 or 7 lbs.  Can't help but jog to wherever with it.  Just don't go solar system too much on it.

 

jd



#7 drd715

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:20 PM

AT-102ED on an Alt/Az mount. Add on a Telrad and the telrad sky map guide books. Sky hop your way around using the major stars. Its a great way to gain an insight into where objects are in relation to each other. Also an excellent way to teach new young astronomers about the hobby. A lot of accomplishment is is felt upon finding your target by hopping from a known guide post to your hidden jewel.

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#8 Tom Stock

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:26 PM

AT-102ED on an Alt/Az mount. Add on a Telrad and the telrad sky map guide books. Sky hop your way around using the major stars. Its a great way to gain an insight into where objects are in relation to each other. Also an excellent way to teach new young astronomers about the hobby. A lot of accomplishment is is felt upon finding your target by hopping from a known guide post to your hidden jewel.

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Nice! But that is a $600 OTA which is not exactly inexpensive.


Edited by Tom Stock, 08 October 2020 - 08:26 PM.

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#9 Redbetter

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:42 PM

What do you like to view from your Bortle 5 yard?  The type of things you plan to observe with the scope should factor in to your decision.  An 80 f/5 achro is not much for planetary.  


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#10 turtle86

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:48 PM

I recently moved and went from Bortle 8 to Bortle 5, but the problem is my yard has a lot of tree cover and I can't align my C8 on a GEM.

 

I know of a good spot nearby to set up the C8, but I would like a small grab and go scope for the yard for when I don't feel like dragging everything to a remote location.

 

I'm looking for a small scope for a quick scan of the sky.

 

I tried a C5 but found the FOV pretty narrow and sold it.

 

I was considering an Orion ST80 or a Vixen/Celestron 80mm F11 refractor.

 

I owned a Vixen 80mm F11 awhile back and it was pretty good. I'd love to find another.

 

Opinions?

 

ST120.  More aperture han the ST80 but still light and easy to set up quickly.  It’s my backyard grab and go for quick peeks.  


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#11 Avgvstvs

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:54 PM

A small refractor like an ED80 sounds ideal for a quick peek

Assuming you don't need to buy another mounting



#12 Taosmath

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 08:56 PM

ST120.  More aperture han the ST80 but still light and easy to set up quickly.  It’s my backyard grab and go for quick peeks.  

I'm with Rob above.  I have several scopes, but for grab & go I either go with my 8" dob or with my ST120.  Great for Double stars , open clusters.  Has CA (of course) for Moon and planets, but while visible, it's not objectionable to me. Nice wide field of view. OK for brighter faint fuzzies. Costs $240 new.

 

What's not to like?


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#13 drd715

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 09:02 PM

Nice! But that is a $600 OTA which is not exactly inexpensive.

Good value though and half the price of the AT-102EDL.

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#14 JoeBftsplk

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 09:10 PM

The Orion XT6 Dob makes a very good grab-n-go. Not the lightest and you have to keep up with the collimation, but the price is right and the 6" performance will blow most grab-n-go level refractors away.



#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 09:46 PM

I was considering an Orion ST80 or a Vixen/Celestron 80mm F11 refractor.

 

I owned a Vixen 80mm F11 awhile back and it was pretty good. I'd love to find another.

 

Opinions?

 

 

I've owned a number of both the ST-80s and 80 mm F/11.3s.

 

The ST-80 is a nice little wide field scope but not much on planetary. The 80 mm F/11s are pretty good at higher magnifications but somewhat on the narrow side when it comes the field of view, about 1.72° max.

 

If you have a 2 inch diagonal and 2 inch eyepieces, an 80 mm F/11 with a 2 inch focuser upgrade will do 2.9° .

 

Jon



#16 gwlee

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 09:46 PM

I recently moved and went from Bortle 8 to Bortle 5, but the problem is my yard has a lot of tree cover and I can't align my C8 on a GEM.

 

I know of a good spot nearby to set up the C8, but I would like a small grab and go scope for the yard for when I don't feel like dragging everything to a remote location.

 

I'm looking for a small scope for a quick scan of the sky.

 

I tried a C5 but found the FOV pretty narrow and sold it.

 

I was considering an Orion ST80 or a Vixen/Celestron 80mm F11 refractor.

 

I owned a Vixen 80mm F11 awhile back and it was pretty good. I'd love to find another.

 

Opinions?

I like using the AT72ED2 that for tree dodging. On an alt/az mount and photo tripod it’s less than 14#.  

 

I put it on a heavier alt/az mount and wooden surveyors tripod when I want more stability and don’t need as much portability. This configuration weighs less than 21# ready to observe. 


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#17 gwlee

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 09:53 PM

The Orion XT6 Dob makes a very good grab-n-go. Not the lightest and you have to keep up with the collimation, but the price is right and the 6" performance will blow most grab-n-go level refractors away.

It’s an excellent choice for a person that’s comfortable tree dodging with a 34# scope. It’s limited to a 1.3* fov though, so doesn’t  complement OP’s 8” SCT as well as a small refractor. 


Edited by gwlee, 08 October 2020 - 10:03 PM.


#18 Gary Riley

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 10:05 PM

For a cheap grab-n-go I fairly enjoy my Meade StarPro 90mm Achro refractor setup. It has a 600mm fl and comes on a decent one arm mount with controls and tripod. Whole thing weighs around 10-11 lbs. I upgraded the diagonal with a GSO 1.25 inch dielectric diagonal.
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#19 LDW47

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 07:33 AM

The Orion XT6 Dob makes a very good grab-n-go. Not the lightest and you have to keep up with the collimation, but the price is right and the 6" performance will blow most grab-n-go level refractors away.

I have a SW 150mm dob, its a great performer, I love it, its a big keeper but it is a little more than a g ‘n’ g and I’m a pretty strong guy ! For those not so much it could be a bit more struggle grabbing n going and meeting the accepted definition ?


Edited by LDW47, 09 October 2020 - 07:35 AM.


#20 erin

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 07:37 AM

I have to tree dodge too...on a hillside! No doubt about it, the best grabngo in this case is a short to medium length refractor on an alt-at mount. 80 or 90mm for my light polluted area. 
 

The Meade Starpro is a lot like the Orion 90mm Versago E which I have owned. It’s a nice little rig, though you can’t use anything heavier on that mount. 
 

Happy deciding!



#21 alphatripleplus

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 09:27 AM

 

I'm looking for a small scope for a quick scan of the sky.

 

I tried a C5 but found the FOV pretty narrow and sold it.

 

I was considering an Orion ST80 or a Vixen/Celestron 80mm F11 refractor.

 

 

I've owned a ST80 for a long time. For wide field views it is okay, but the focuser is very coarse and you will notice the chromatic aberration with this scope at higher magnifications.



#22 Echolight

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 10:45 AM

I'd probably look at the ST120 because I think the brightness of the 4.7 inch aperture along with it's ease of mounting options would be something I could live with for a long time.

 

About $700 nicely set up with rings, dovetail, 2 inch diagonal, and mount. Or $425 for the Skywatcher Startravel 120 AZ with 45 degree 1.25 inch erect image diagonal and lightweight mount.


Edited by Echolight, 09 October 2020 - 11:16 AM.

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#23 LDW47

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 11:51 AM

I'd probably look at the ST120 because I think the brightness of the 4.7 inch aperture along with it's ease of mounting options would be something I could live with for a long time.

 

About $700 nicely set up with rings, dovetail, 2 inch diagonal, and mount. Or $425 for the Skywatcher Startravel 120 AZ with 45 degree 1.25 inch erect image diagonal and lightweight mount.

The SW 120 ST puts up some wonderful views and is very manageable as a gng on say a Porta II AZ mount.


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#24 arrrrgon

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 04:06 PM

I'm in a similar zone to you, and I find that a pair of 10x50 binoculars are pretty impressive.  The later it is the more star clusters I can see through them.  Jupiter is an easy target.  Pleiades, m42, and star clusters are all great.  I suppose it depends on what you're after, but I can't imagine an 80mm scope is going to give you that much more than a pair of binoculars.  I don't own one so this may not be the case, but the 4" Cats look pretty portable.


Edited by arrrrgon, 09 October 2020 - 04:06 PM.


#25 Echolight

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 04:33 PM

Actually, this is what I carry around the back yard. No, not the little one. The big 6 inch achro in the back.. Much better views that the little Skywatcher 80 apo. But not so cheap unless you find a used one.

8A4153F5-C159-48DD-B39A-756D4B7807B8.jpeg
About 35-40 pounds for the whole rig. So not too heavy. And fairly easily moved around to avoid trees or set it in the shade when I leave it out for a few days or a week. It's actually resting in the shade right now, ready for tonight. Sometimes I just point it at zenith and put a contractor bag over it if there's less than 15 percent chance or so of rain. Although I generally take off the diagonal and put a plug in the focuser.

 

And setup is painless. Fast and easy.

A small 6 or 8 inch dob would probably give similar performance at a lesser price. Although at the cost of more maintenance, along with less convenience and less durability.

 

And I like the idea of sitting under the scope and steering it by the eyepiece instead of trying to lean over a dob and pushing/nudging it around,


Edited by Echolight, 09 October 2020 - 04:42 PM.

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