Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Compact light collector for travel recommendation.

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Ittaku

Ittaku

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 652
  • Joined: 09 Aug 2020
  • Loc: Melbourne, Australia

Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:25 AM

Hi all.  I'm looking for a combination OTA and mount, or package for road travel. Not for a dedicated stargazing trip where I can take my main scope, but something I can carry when going interstate for other reasons.

 

I'm very familiar with the SCT format and own and use an 1100 Edge HD regularly at home. I'm looking for a recommendation for something more compact I can easily take with me for travel that is convenient yet a fairly decent light collector, but with a shorter focal length than what I'm currently using for larger observation. It seems hard to beat the SCT form factor for compactness so whilst I've considered other options, I'm probably still looking at another.  If it's in parts then I don't mind if it's relatively heavy since I'm used to assembling a 50kg monster at home on a regular basis, but I want something that won't take up my entire bootspace. That said, it looks really hard to beat something like a Celestron Nexstar 8SE and/or Evolution for compactness and lightness, and the added advantage would be it's a familiar form factor for me, and would allow me to attach my starsense autoalign to it, but my budget stretches beyond that. Additionally, I have some very nice eyepieces but half of them are 2" so I'd need to be able to use them or attach a 2" diagonal to it. The reason I'm looking at 8" is that the Nexstar SE Celestron packages are much the same size up to the 8". I guess I'm just looking for confirmation that the 8SE is the best package for me.

 

Summary of requirements:

For observation only.

As much aperture as I can in a portable form factor:  8" ?

Relatively short focal length.

Portability/compact. Lightweight not essential.

Go-To, or facility to attach one.

2" eyepiece capability or facility to attach 2" diagonal.

Budget: I dunno, up to 4k?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.


Edited by Ittaku, 04 December 2020 - 12:40 AM.


#2 markb

markb

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,331
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Arizona at last, goodbye NY. Light pollution still awful though

Posted 04 December 2020 - 01:13 AM

I agree on the Nexstar 8, and a big 45 degree interchangeable eyepiece is another solution. I have used all the suggestions listed here.

 

Compared to the 11, an N8 of whatever version that has a vixen clamp is a featherweight setup that breaks down easily. Add a Talentcell battery and you are good to go. Tabletop use is possible but, of couse, far from ideal. A C5 ota can be swapped on without a problem later if wished. A Baader adapter plate can let it use an older GP style tripod, or a surveyor's tripod (I used the former, and now use the latter).

 

The focal length issue can be addressed with telecompressors, but I just picked up a Baader Alan Gee.

 

I have been using the Alan Gee for f5 - 5.9 (spacing changes reduction, 5.9 with the straight through or T2 diagonal, about f5 on the 2" diagonal kludge) on both the 8 and the GPS11 and have been extremely pleased with it, after I worked out how to apply it without going to a 1.25 back. PM me if you want my 2" solution. I think one reason it has not been more widely used is that it was designed for the T2 diagonal. Of course it works fine with a 1.25 back, as is. I also adapted mine to duplicate the Maxbright only version. 

 

It does extremely well, so far in my truly awful atmospheric conditions in a Phoenix suburb. Those conditions make critical evaluation tough, but Ronchi testing is positive on the setup, as is visual use in moderate seeing. I am still too tied up for 'road trip' use. So far it appears not to vignette my max-FOV 2" eyepieces. On the Maxbright it is astonishing.

 

When I travel I bring my 10x80 flak binos, a 45 degree bino WWII bino roughly similar to the Vixen BT80 or APM 80 but with lower power fixed 70+ eps. They can work on the N8 base, as best I can recall, using an inexpensive Orion L bracket or the pricier Vixen L plate. Clearance should be okay but balance shifts force me to use a sliding CW on a vixen rail. Any of these are space efficient on trips, even storing in overhead aircraft bins.

 

I normally mount mine as above, but on a T-head alt az like the AYO Swiss/WO clone- EZTouch.

 

An APM 100 SD or ED is another alternative, using the accepted 1.4x aperture conversion, It works like a 5.7" apo refractor, right in the throughput class you mention. It is much larger. I have a just-overlength case that probably would be allowed in overhead bins, and easily fits a trunk/boot.

 

I'm sure the collapsible SW 8" dob would likely fit your list as well.


Edited by markb, 04 December 2020 - 01:16 AM.

  • Ittaku likes this

#3 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,524
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 04 December 2020 - 01:33 AM

If plan to use 2" stuff there are merits in the EVO8HD: fov looks nicers, the mount can handle better the load and the difference in size is not excessive.
  • Ittaku likes this

#4 Ittaku

Ittaku

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 652
  • Joined: 09 Aug 2020
  • Loc: Melbourne, Australia

Posted 04 December 2020 - 01:35 AM

If plan to use 2" stuff there are merits in the EVO8HD: fov looks nicers, the mount can handle better the load and the difference in size is not excessive.

Thanks, I was wondering about that as it's well within my price bracket but I was just concentrating on size. I guess the HD also is vented like mine so it'll equilibrate faster.



#5 spereira

spereira

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4,697
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Bedford, NH

Posted 04 December 2020 - 08:18 AM

Moving to Equipment.

 

smp



#6 rhetfield

rhetfield

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,228
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2019
  • Loc: Suburban Chicago, IL, USA

Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:51 PM

An even smaller/cheaper option would be an AWB Onesky or Heritage 150p (if you can find one) equipped with a travel tripod and/or compact goto mount.  The OneSky with such a mount would be small enough for a daypack or airline carry-on and still have room for eyepieces.  The 6" heritage would not be much bigger.  Both are F5 scopes, so there would be good FOV.  Either could ride in a car with their tabletop base.  The tabletop base could be equipped with degree circles.  OTA is only 7 or 8 lbs.

 

Alternately, there are the little nexstars - but with less FOV.


  • mrsjeff and Ittaku like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics