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Newbie shopping list – A few questions to bling out my AD10

accessories beginner collimation dob eyepieces filters NV eq dso
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#1 thecelloronin

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 02:35 AM

Hello all,

 

I'm in line to get an AD10, but I've already started thinking ahead about what accessories I may want now and later.

 

Overall, my goal is to maximize quality of life and utility of existing tools before branching out into fancy new toys and eyepieces. That means, a way to carry my scope to my dark site and a place to sit once I get there; the tools needed to collimate my scope (laser for main, cheshire and knobs for secondary); a reticle to augment my "learning the sky"; and a barlow to aid laser collimation and get more mileage out of the supplied eyepieces. I think the BHZ will be a "soon" purchase, but not immediately for budgetary reasons to cover my mid-high power range. I'll then sit on that setup for a while, unless it's recommended to pick up some filters or get a better wide FOV/low-power EP for DSO.

 

Below are two lists, in terms of (what seems like) priority.

 

Now:

  1. Apertura AD10
  2. Orion Padded Case
  3. Bob's Knobs/Apertura secondary knobs
  4. Cheshire collimator
  5. Telrad (with mirrored dew shield?)/Rigel
  6. Starbound/CPRO-600 chair
  7. 2" GSO/Apertura Barlow

Later:

  1. Baader Hyperion Zoom mk IV
  2. Flocking paper
  3. UHC/H-Beta/OIII/Solar filter(s)
  4. Ed Jones/Tom O/Homebuilt EQ platform
  5. EEA/CMOS?
  6. Mod3/PVS14?

 

The questions I have are numerous, but not overly complicated (I hope). Here they are, once again in order of priority:

 

  1. Are there special considerations on Cheshire collimators for a 10" dob? What's the difference between long and short ones? Do I actually need Glatter gear?
  2. Is there any advantage to Bob's Knobs over Apertura's secondary collimation knobs? They both seem to have the plastic head and similar design. And, are Bob's Knobs mirror springs really necessary, or is it just marketing?
  3. I read a lot about dew problems on Telrads, so it seems the mirrored dew shield would be a no-brainer. However, I'm also attracted to the idea of using the mirror for 90° finding, since I already have a RAIC with the AD10. Is this practical thinking? Or, should I just cheap out with the Rigel and make use of the increased clearance above the OTA? 
  4. Starbound seems like the one to beat, but is it REALLY that big of a dump risk? Is there a cheaper option that works better with a 10" dob, since I probably don't need a chair that adjusts down to the ground?
  5. I thought Apertura basically WAS GSO, so why do their Barlow pieces unscrew for 1.5X (GSO) and 1.3X (Apertura)? Are they actually different? Sure look and cost the same...
  6. Should I go ahead and flock? What's the best flocking paper?
  7. Why are Ed Jones EQ platforms a fraction of the price of Tom O? They both offer dual-axis functionality, no? Would Ed's platform be less suitable for EAA/AP (such as it is on a dob)?

 

Hopefully this wasn't too much of a ramble. I greatly appreciate any advice!


Edited by thecelloronin, 29 December 2020 - 02:42 AM.


#2 ExploringTheFrontier

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 02:49 AM

Good thinking!

I've got an AD8 and it's been a great scope to learn with. I went a little gear crazy over the summer, had 4 comments from experience:

1. The Apertura knobs were absolutely terrible. The plastic caps came off and couldn't increase tension at all. One fell off and hit my primary mirror and I about had a heart attack. The Bob's Knobs screw heads are fused with the body and much much higher quality. Don't waste time on the Apertura knobs.

2. The Orion padded case is awesome. I wish I had bought it earlier for dark site travel. Will definitely make life happy.

3. I wasn't too thrilled with barlowing. Ended up getting eyepiece fever, starting with a 12mm Celestron X-Cel LX, which was pretty good for planetary. Eye relief on the 9mm plossl that came with the scope was really short, motivated me to get new eyepieces sooner. The larger 30mm is still pretty nice. I ended up getting a set of Explore Scientific eyepieces, which have been uniformly inxredible. I kind of suspect I could've stopped the spending with the Hyperion Zoom though, so you've got the right idea.

4. For visual, the filters really aren't great with one exception: I got the Orion variable polarizing filter and it really helped with the moon and planets. They can be blindingly bright, to the point of seeing spots afterwards. The planet-specific filters are kind of a bust in comparison.

Wishing you clear skies and short waitlists!

#3 mrsjeff

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 08:42 AM

About the replacement springs:

I got a used (and abused) Apertura 10" Dob. It was actually missing one of the mirror springs, so I got new ones from Bob's. The difference between the old and new was night and day. The old ones were pretty lightweight in comparison. I mean, I obviously didn't have a choice, but I really appreciated the more sturdy build of the replacement springs.

#4 SeattleScott

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 08:50 AM

The problem with the BHZ is it is rather expensive. You can get a real nice eyepiece for that price. But it does bring a level of simplicity for a beginner, and the narrow view makes a coma corrector less important. Just understand that a $300 zoom eyepiece does not perform as well as $300 fixed eyepieces. If it did, there wouldn’t be fixed eyepieces. There are a lot of great options today. Various telescope designs, lots of eyepieces, lots of great options. This is because virtually everything is a trade off or compromise in one sense or another. The BHZ is no exception. That being said, you will likely spend less overall if you get the BHZ instead of quality fixed eyepieces. At least as long as you don’t end up replacing the BHZ with quality fixed eyepieces.

EAA could be challenging with a Dob. This isn’t the forum to dive into details but newts don’t have a lot of focus travel so it can be hard to bring a camera to focus. Also you might get rotation with an Eq platform. Some software can adjust for that. But I would ask over in that forum if you really want to make sure you get something you can do EAA with. An SCT is a popular choice for visual/EAA.

Scott
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#5 Stefano Delmonte

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 01:00 PM

Hi, I used during many years a 12" gso dob and a 13.1" odissey dob, following my experience let me sugest some change in priority just to startsmile.gif

 

 

Ste

 

 

Now:

  1. Apertura AD10            OK
  2. Orion Padded Case     Later: I consider a 10" still easy portable, better save for other stuff  (UHC)
  3. Bob's Knobs/Apertura secondary knobs     Later: change primary springs first will give you a more stable collimation
  4. Cheshire collimator         Later:  a good collimatable laser is the choice especially in the night
  5. Telrad (with mirrored dew shield?)/Rigel     Later: go for a right angle finder, your neck will never suffer anymore and is sooo easy to star hop 
  6. Starbound/CPRO-600 chair    Later:  the eyepiece of a 10" is not high so a 3 legs stool screwable is cheaper and go perfect
  7. 2" GSO/Apertura Barlow  OK  

Later:

  1. Baader Hyperion Zoom mk IV  Now  the eyepieces come with, do not take advantage of the AD10 potential
  2. Flocking paper   Now: a patch behind the secundary will do the most, add also a dew shield for straight light (homemade is easy)  .
  3. UHC/H-Beta/OIII/Solar filter(s)   Now, a UHC will open a new window to your AD allowing see more
  4. Ed Jones/Tom O/Homebuilt EQ platform   OK I think must be the first one of the later 
  5. EEA/CMOS?   OK       no experience, but so expensive 
  6. Mod3/PVS14?    OK             "                               "

 

The questions I have are numerous, but not overly complicated (I hope). Here they are, once again in order of priority:

 

  1. Are there special considerations on Cheshire collimators for a 10" dob? What's the difference between long and short ones? Do I actually need Glatter gear?  
  2. Is there any advantage to Bob's Knobs over Apertura's secondary collimation knobs? They both seem to have the plastic head and similar design. And, are Bob's Knobs mirror springs really necessary, or is it just marketing?
  3. I read a lot about dew problems on Telrads, so it seems the mirrored dew shield would be a no-brainer. However, I'm also attracted to the idea of using the mirror for 90° finding, since I already have a RAIC with the AD10. Is this practical thinking? Or, should I just cheap out with the Rigel and make use of the increased clearance above the OTA? 
  4. Starbound seems like the one to beat, but is it REALLY that big of a dump risk? Is there a cheaper option that works better with a 10" dob, since I probably don't need a chair that adjusts down to the ground?
  5. I thought Apertura basically WAS GSO, so why do their Barlow pieces unscrew for 1.5X (GSO) and 1.3X (Apertura)? Are they actually different? Sure look and cost the same...
  6. Should I go ahead and flock? What's the best flocking paper?
  7. Why are Ed Jones EQ platforms a fraction of the price of Tom O? They both offer dual-axis functionality, no? Would Ed's platform be less suitable for EAA/AP (such as it is on a dob)?

 

Hopefully this wasn't too much of a ramble. I greatly appreciate any advice!



#6 thecelloronin

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 01:44 PM

Hello everyone, thanks for the responses!

 

A few comments across the board:

 

  • I'm fairly set on my choice for the BHZ. I understand the compromise to FOV at the lower powers, and will primarily be using it to explore the 18-8mm range. I figure this will give me the most flexibility to discover what I like, what works for my skies. Moreover, I love the idea of watching doubles split before my eyes! Expensive, yes, but I have a whole lifetime to pick up fixed EPs to augment my collection–perhaps after getting a Paracorr or similar coma corrector. Will attempt to buy the BHZ used ASAP. And since I like to think long-term, I know the BHZ has some utility with the PVS14, a direction I am very interested in moving towards given the LP in my back yard.
  • I think the Orion bag is also non-negotiable for me. My dark site is a little bit of a walk from the nearest parking, and I want the ability to throw the OTA over my shoulder so I can hump it with the base and a chair with my free hands in a single trip. And, as a life-long musician, I have made it a policy to get a nice case for transport and storage upfront–it has always, ALWAYS payed off.
  • Apertura ships with a moon filter, and I reckon my 10" is overkill for solar. I may have to move a UHC to the "buy soon" category. Will also have to research the variable polarizing filter more–I've heard about them but haven't done my "deep dive" just yet. Thanks for putting it on my radar again!
  • Yes, EAA and AP aren't ideal for Dobs, but I've seen it done quite well by a fellow on these forums. I'll have a look around my bookmarks later, and edit the link in HERE for those interested. This is very much a "later on" type of deal, so I'm not too worried about it now. I might end up ditching the idea in favor of an "entry level" APO and GEM, of course! I do think an EQ mount still has value for visual, however.
  • Ok, avoid Apertura, go for Bob's Knobs! I might wait on the springs, as I don't need to fix too many things ain't broke upfront.
  • Laser vs cheshire collimation – the answer would seem to be "por que no los dos?" A well-collimated laser seems a great choice for getting the primary adjusted at twilight, but my research shows there's no contest on the Cheshire's utility for the secondary. My question still stands though: What is the best Cheshire for a 10" newt like mine?
  • I have a drum throne I might try out for observation before ponying up for one of those astro chairs. Good to know the 10" is a mostly manageable size!

Edited by thecelloronin, 29 December 2020 - 01:46 PM.


#7 SteveG

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 04:04 PM

 

  • I might wait on the springs, as I don't need to fix too many things ain't broke upfront.
  • Laser vs cheshire collimation – the answer would seem to be "por que no los dos?" A well-collimated laser seems a great choice for getting the primary adjusted at twilight, but my research shows there's no contest on the Cheshire's utility for the secondary. My question still stands though: What is the best Cheshire for a 10" newt like mine?
  • I have a drum throne I might try out for observation before ponying up for one of those astro chairs. Good to know the 10" is a mostly manageable size!

 

Regarding the list above, replace the primary springs ASAP. You can remove one, take it to your Ace Hardware, and find a suitable match that is the same diameter & height but much heavier. They don't have to be exact.

 

Regarding tools: You really need to purchase 2" tools for your scope. That eliminates all the cheap junk that would give you a lot of grief. I recommend the following options: A precision combo site-tube & cheshire, or the Farpoint laser & cheshire kit, or the Glatter laser & Tublug barlowed laser kit. I own the Farpoint and I'm very happy with it.

 

You've got the tools a little mixed up BTW.

A quality laser is for: 

1. Adjust the secondary tilt (laser)

2. Adjust the primary tilt only if a barlow or Tublug is being used.

 

A precision combo site tube / cheshire does the following:

1. Center the secondary under the focuser (site tube)

2. Adjust the secondary tilt (crosshairs)

3. Adjust the primary tilt (cheshire)

 

The Glatter system:

1. Adjust the secondary tilt (laser)

2. Adjust the primary tilt using the Tublug (barlow)

 

The one negative thing about a combo tube is that it is much harder to read with precision, but they do all 3 collimating steps.

The best combo tools are from Astrosystems: https://www.astrosys...iz/coltlsm1.htm

And Catseye: https://www.catseyecollimation.com/


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#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 29 December 2020 - 05:56 PM

A couple nights ago I did the zoom split the double star thing with the kids. It goes like this:
How many bright stars do you see?
One.
Zoom in. Now what do you see?
A white blur.
Adjust focus. Now how many stars do you see?
Two!

So yeah it is kind of a cool trick but not quite as magical as it seems like it should be because the BHZ, like my zoom and most zooms, is not parfocal. You don’t quite get that magical sense of watching the star split in real time. There is the intermediate step of adjusting focus. Landing on the Moon (zooming in on the Moon) is fun too, but again there is that intermediate step. Zooms are nice for precisely dialing in optimal magnification, but it is more like you zoom in to approximately where you want to be, adjust focus, then tweak to optimal magnification, and maybe tweak focus just a bit again for the sharpest view.

Not saying don’t get a zoom, but I want you to have realistic expectations and not be disappointed.

Scott

#9 thecelloronin

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 12:32 AM

Okay! I've placed my orders today. Sadly, with the exception of the Starbound chair, all the rest of the High Point Scientific stuff won't be in til late February.

 

High Point Scientific

  • AD10
  • Orion Case
  • Telrad + Mirrored Dew Shield
  • Starbound (white)
  • BHZ + Barlow (might cancel this if I can find it cheaper used in the interim)
  • Extra Eyepiece Rack
  • Apertura 2x 2" Barlow (figure I could give it a shot and sell it if I never use it)

 

Bob's Knobs

  • Secondary mirror screws
  • Primary springs

 

Astrosystems

  • 2" Lightpipe/SightTube combo tool

 

I've also decided to accumulate a small collection of useful books:

 

Have

  • Nightwatch
  • Turn Left at Orion
  • Vic Menard's book on Newtonian collimation

Want

  • Burnham's Celestial Handbook vol 1-3
  • Pocket Sky Atlas

 

Outstanding questions:

 

The difference between GSO and Apertura's 2" Barlows. They should be the same, but the Barlow element when unscrewed has two different ratings: 1.5X and 1.3X, respectively?

 

Anyone got any must-have book recommendations?

 

Is there a meaningful difference between Burnham's "Revised and Enlarged" editions and the standard books? It only seems like the first two volumes were revised?

 

Has High Point Scientific ever been known to deliver early? Wondering if "Late February" is them just pulling a Montgomery Scott (under-promising to set up consistent over-delivery)...

 

Random thoughts on collimation:

 

I've learned a lot about collimation in the past few days, but my lack of experience is allowing my imagined needs to run wild. It would seem the optimal collimating tool loadout would be something like:

  • Astrosystems combo tool
  • 2" Glatter laser 635nm (any advantage to 650?)
  • TuBlug
  • Catseye dual-pupil autocollimator

But in the early days, I'm expecting to get by with my combo tool (which as SteveG said, is the jack-of-all-trades), Apertura laser (+Barlow?). Is this a pretty workable setup for the time being, or should I start thinking about budgeting for the Glatter/Catseye gear?

 

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Apertura laser just a TuBlug with a built-in laser? Seems this design makes the Barlowed laser collimation technique unnecessary, similar to the TuBlug.

 

Also, any thoughts on parallizers?

 

(I suspect Vic Menard's book may clear some of these questions up for me. Can't wait for it to arrive!)


Edited by thecelloronin, 31 December 2020 - 12:41 AM.


#10 brentknight

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 02:02 AM

Congratulations on the new telescope purchase - sorry about the wait though...

 

Some thoughts:

  • SteveG has excellent advice on collimation - I wish I could pack him up in my eyepiece box.
  • Cancel the extra eyepiece rack.  A little thing called DEW makes them pretty useless.  Instead, invest in a nice pluck-foam case and a little table.  Pelican or Harbor Freight for the case.
  • Burn the Telrad - Get a GLP paired with a RACI.  (Just kidding, but I don't like Telrads).
  • I don't think you can go wrong with Turn Left, or NIghtwatch.
  • There is no meaningful difference between the Burnham books - unless you just have to have the earlier edition.  The books are great, and well loved by many, but they are mostly of historical value these days.  Burnham wrote beautiful books, but they are short on actual observing details.
  • Recommendations: The Night Sky Observer's Guide V1, 2 and 4 (if you can still find them).  Deep-Sky Wonders (Houston and French).  O'Meara's Deep-Sky CompanionsThe Planet Observer's Handbook by Fred Price.  Atlas of the Moon by Antonin Rukl (or the cheaper/smaller A Concise Guide in Color: Moon, Mars and Venus).  interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas: Desk Edition.  Oh my gosh I could go on...
  • A TuBlug is a Barlow for a 2" laser (not necessarily the Glatter laser).  It's chief advantage (other than it's precision) is the angled widow that lets you see the center spot shadow from the mirror collimation screws.  When just using a Barlow and a laser, the shadow is on the bottom of the Barlow inside the tube (very difficult to see if you have a solid tube).
  • 2" collimation tools don't require the Parallizer.  1.25" ones probably do, but you should not be using them in a 2" focuser.  If you are worried about lining up 1.25" eyepieces, save your money and grab a Paracorr 2 as it will eliminate a constant problem inherent in fast Dobs.


#11 thecelloronin

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 03:13 AM

Thanks for the response!

 

  • Ah! Fair enough on the extra rack. Will dew be a problem using my primary rack at all, given the rack on the other leg would be the less used of the two? Or is it just a rule that all racks have dew problems?
  • Why don’t you like Telrads? And wouldn’t a GLP get me into trouble as a spotter? I’d never heard of this method before, so please enlighten me!
  • Amazing book suggestions, thanks! Why not volume 3 of TNSOG?
  • I just learned a little more about the tublug (in this article). Whereas the target is before the Barlow on something like the Apertura or Hotech lasers (laser gets barlowed twice), the TuBlug’s Barlow is before the target (thus the laser only hits the Barlow once before returning to the target). It seems a subtle but significant difference but it definitely seems like I’ll be able to survive with the combo tool and stock laser-so long as I keep it collimated too.
  • The Paracorr is on my list, though later down the line as I slowly build up an EP collection. I expect to roll with the BHZ, barlow(s) and stock 30mm for a while, learning to appreciate what they can and can’t do; so it may be a little while. Is Paracorr 1 still worth looking into, or has 2 completely overshadowed it?

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#12 brentknight

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 10:50 AM

 

Thanks for the response!

 

  • Ah! Fair enough on the extra rack. Will dew be a problem using my primary rack at all, given the rack on the other leg would be the less used of the two? Or is it just a rule that all racks have dew problems?  Anything left exposed will be subject to dew.  Use a jacket with big pockets, a case that can be closed - anything that can keep items from being exposed and gently heated would work.  When things get really bad here in AL, I'll put a small heated blanket over my eyepieces and close the lid on my case.
  • Why don’t you like Telrads? And wouldn’t a GLP get me into trouble as a spotter? I’d never heard of this method before, so please enlighten me!  Same issue as exposed eyepieces - the glass window is exposed to the elements and dews over fairly quickly.  I could use heaters, but I don't want to use any extra electronics if I don't have to.  Also, the glass window is uncoated and often won't let me see fainter stars - especially in moderate to heavy LP, I just can't see through the window.  At a dark site, they are probably much better, but they still dew over and are awkward to look through.  If you are spotting with a GLP, then you should get in trouble.  Being responsible with one will not cause any issues.  I also recommend a dim laser that resists the cold - a Z-bolt sapphire is just about perfect.  I mount my laser (one of the pen shaped ones) on the tube and align with the telescope/finderscope.  Many people use them this way to get the telescope in the general field of the target and fine-tune with the RACI/low-power eyepiece.  I do it a little differently.  I like to find the target field with my handheld 10x50's and then point the telescope/laser to the field I see in the binoculars.
  • Amazing book suggestions, thanks! Why not volume 3 of TNSOG?  If you can find volume 3 you could grab it.  The reason I didn't recommend it is because that volume only covers the southern skies.  You might be able to get some use from it (I don't know which constellations are included), but it's less essential.
  • I just learned a little more about the tublug (in this article). Whereas the target is before the Barlow on something like the Apertura or Hotech lasers (laser gets barlowed twice), the TuBlug’s Barlow is before the target (thus the laser only hits the Barlow once before returning to the target). It seems a subtle but significant difference but it definitely seems like I’ll be able to survive with the combo tool and stock laser-so long as I keep it collimated too.  I'll have to look into that article.  The Glatter laser/Tublug is definitely a luxury item that works great, but you can get similar results with other gear.  Most times, a Cheshire and star test will get you pretty darn close with just a little more work.
  • The Paracorr is on my list, though later down the line as I slowly build up an EP collection. I expect to roll with the BHZ, barlow(s) and stock 30mm for a while, learning to appreciate what they can and can’t do; so it may be a little while. Is Paracorr 1 still worth looking into, or has 2 completely overshadowed it?  That sounds like a good plan on the eyepieces.  I was just trying to say that coma in an F/5 is worse than a slightly misaligned eyepiece.  I have the Glatter Parallizer and use it on scopes that don't need the Paracorr, but it's not a huge improvement.  I've never used the Type 1 Paracorr so can't comment on that.  I think the Type 2 has better correction for some TV eyepieces like the Nagler T5 31mm, but the Paracorr 2 is the best there is - way more easy to use than anything else out there.

 


Edited by brentknight, 31 December 2020 - 11:02 AM.

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