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First scope - Tak Star Base 80_upgrades?

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#1 elfowl


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Posted 16 January 2021 - 06:02 PM

First post here on Cloudy Nights-


I am just getting into the hobby of visual observing and have been using loaner scopes from my local astronomy club for the past year. I had the opportunity to purchase a Star Base 80 (80 mm, 800 mm focal length) from one of the members for $100, so I went for it, being on a limited budget and wanting a lightweight scope I can use in my backyard. He has also loaned me a Televue Tele-Pod mount/tripod to use for the next year.


I am looking for suggestions about possible upgrades to make the most of this scope. My location is Bortle 8, with occasional travel to darker skies on vacation, so primary goal is to view planets, moon, double stars and easy to access dark sky objects. The upgrades will need to occur over time due to budget constraints, so part of what I am looking for is what to consider doing first, second, etc. I wear glasses and have astigmatism, so eye relief on eyepieces is really important.


Current equipment:

Star Base 80 OTA, stock rings and single-speed focuser

TV tele-pod mount

Telerad finder

Star Base 90 degree mirror diagonal (1.25")

40mm Celestron plossl (given to me by guy who sold the scope)

26mm Meade super plossl (given to me by guy who sold the scope)

14mm orthoscopic (came with scope)

6mm orthoscopic (came with scope)

8-24 mm Agena Starguider zoom (gift)


I really appreciate any input others have to maximize this set-up. I am aware the gains to be made will be limited by the light pollution I have to deal with and having a small aperture scope, but this type of set up works best for me given other factors.


Thanks for your time-






#2 ShaulaB



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Posted 16 January 2021 - 06:22 PM

Your list looks really complete regarding eyepieces. I would not seek to add to your collection any time soon.


Are you satisfied with the mount and tripod? When you get an object in the eyepiece, is there shaking or vibration? That can be really annoying. There are cheap ways to make a tripod more sturdy, if that is a problem. Hanging weight from the center stalk or tray of the tripod can help with shakiness.


I am not familiar with your mount. An 80mm f10 scope of this type probably does not weigh much, so the mount's ability to handle the weigh is probably not a concern. The length of the optical tube might be a factor. Around 35 inches? When observing an object near zenith, does the optical tube risk hitting a tripod leg? How is the balance of the optical tube on the mount? Do you need to change the position of the optical tube in the mount when switching to much heavier, or lighter, eyepieces? Having a zoom eyepiece helps a lot with that concern.


Overall, it looks like you have a great bunch of accessories. Keep observing. Find out from experience what you wish you had.

#3 havasman


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Posted 16 January 2021 - 06:25 PM

You have a fine full kit of observing equipment. Congratulations. And you got a whale of a deal! You'll want a red led light that dims so you can see while observing w/o destroying your night vision. The Rigel Starlite mini is a great light. You may really like a planisphere to help you navigate around. The KenPress 16" Guide to the Stars is my favorite. Add a Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas and then all you need is to go out and observe under the darkest skies you can access. The club should be a big help with that.


Welcome to the forums!

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#4 Cometeer



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Posted 16 January 2021 - 06:38 PM

+1 to the previous responses. The only upgrade I'd consider is a mount, since you'll need any of your own anyway. Something like a Porta 2 or Twilight 2 would work nicely. 

#5 sevenofnine



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Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:02 PM

+1 on havasman's recommendations. I would only add that finding or making a good observing chair is a good idea. Being comfortable makes learning much easier. Have fun with your new scope!

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#6 rhetfield



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Posted 19 January 2021 - 03:51 PM

I would look at getting a UHC filter for nebula and a variable polarizer filter to cut glare on the moon and planets.  Maybe one of the spreader trays that fit between the legs of the mount - they hold eyepieces plus help stabilize the mount.


Other than that, I would look into some way to add degree markings to the mount for helping with finding objects.

#7 vtornado



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Posted 19 January 2021 - 10:39 PM

Hello Cindy and welcome to CN!


I would download sky safari to a tablet or phone.   It is useful for finding objects.   It will give you the local azimuth and altitude for

thousand of fascinating objects given your local time and location. 


Other than that, I would look into some way to add degree markings to the mount for helping with finding objects. -- rhetfield.


With skysafari coordintates, you can buy a digital angle meter and hold it flush on your optical tube momentarily

to set the altitude. Once that is set you merely have to pan back and forth a little to find something.


It is more difficult to add a azimuth wheel to an alt-az refractor mount but it can be done.


Your kit sounds very complete as it is. 

The red flashlight is very helpful.

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