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If Money didn't matter what would you prefer

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#26 harbinjer

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 11:35 AM

I stand 5'5" so I'm finding the 16" one zenith eyepiece height would require a small step ladder, not sure I want to be standing on a step out in the dark to view. 

I've found it's not a problem with my 16". My step-ladder has a handle on top(4 ft), which is great to hold onto to stabilize your body(even when not standing on it), and with only one step up, I don't feel like I could fall far. It's not like being 10' up in the air or even 6'. Unless you are particularly clumsy or fall prone, I wouldn't be too concerned. Also its only necessary when looking very high up, from horizon to 65° you're on your feet, and there a lot sky there. 

 

I've also considered a "dob pit". Like a firepit, just 6-12" down, with a paver bottom, just wide enough for the scope, to put a taller dob in so step stools wouldn't be needed. You might sacrifice a some degrees of viewing near the horizon, but that's likely not good viewing anyway. Not sure it would work, but it's brainstorming.


Edited by harbinjer, 20 February 2021 - 11:35 AM.


#27 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 12:04 PM

So I have a question if could choose between the following types of Telescope (regardless of cost) for general usage which would you choose and why.

 

14" Premium Dob   F4.5

 

or 

 

14" Advanced Coma Free F/10 or F/8

 

Just curious since they are roughly the same price though with Goto the premium dobs are a bit more... but i'm not choosing by price, i've only have visual with Dobs other than my small etx 80. 

 

Personally:  I've owned SCTs, I'm not an SCT type. I'm hands on and the Dob experience is a perfect fit..

 

You might be the opposite. 

 

Jon


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#28 csrlice12

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 12:50 PM

Any scope as long as it has Bortle 1 clear skies, good transparency, warm weather, no violent people, and no bugs or other man eating creatures...of course, such a place does not exist


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#29 Redbetter

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 01:17 PM

I stand 5'5" so I'm finding the 16" one zenith eyepiece height would require a small step ladder, not sure I want to be standing on a step out in the dark to view. 

I never have understood the fear of a step or two (or three)...but especially a single step which is truly inconsequential.  This is even more true when one is observing from the same prepared surface regularly.  With my platform ladder's upper support works and tray I have a steadier viewing position than with a standard tube Dob.

 

I use a 3 step platform ladder for viewing with the 20", zenith eyepiece height is 8 feet.  I actually prefer it to the low seated positions of a 10" Dob.  In wilderness/unprepared sites there are some rocky/uneven surfaces where the ladder is more precarious than I would like, but nothing that has proven unusable.  Ironically, some of the worst ground was at Golden State Star Party where the surface was fully pockmarked by hardened hoof holes produced by cattle in the wet season, and baked dry by Summer.  Positioning the ladder's feet was challenging.   I ended up using my ramps as rams to shave off the rims of the ruts and partially fill some of the holes.  



#30 AhBok

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 02:42 PM

Since you stated “premium” dob, for visual no contest. The dob wins in every dimension. If you stated “mass produced” dob, I would go with the Meade for better mechanicals.

#31 SonnyE

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 03:28 PM

If Money Didn't Matter....

How about a 200' party Yacht, and some acreage in the Atacama desert with a modern Observatory home? Oh, and a Helicopter to get back and forth in....

 

Dream Big!


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#32 jjbag

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 05:10 PM

Lots to chew on, thanks for all your input.. my market will be the next year.. I'll be bouncing between thinking of 14"/16" F4.*** and 18"/20" Sub f4's. Thinking a 20" f3.3 would put the eyepiece in a nice area.. and new moon is in the same state as me thats a plus.. (sigh.. now a year to work on wife)....... 



#33 sanbai

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 06:26 PM

New Moon telescopes are beautiful. I recommend involving your wife in the wood selection. That's what I did.

Make sure the scope you select will have the same amount of use of a bit smaller size. In my case a 12.5" was a better option than a 14" because it will be used more, including packing it for family vacations. The sizes you mention are very different in portability, but you know which are your limits. Being already in a dark zone, it probably doesn't matter.

#34 sanbai

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 06:30 PM

Btw, it seems that John Pratte (jpastrocraft) has a "sweet sixteen" 16" f/3.7 available. Premium mirror. There's nothing left to be desired with his scopes.

#35 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 08:06 PM

I've always been a Dob/Newtonian guy so unquestionably, the Dob. And since money is not object, it would be housed in a roll-off roof observatory too....cool.gif


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#36 luxo II

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 12:33 AM

The 20" Santel Rumak currently for sale at APM, together with the finder scopes they're suggesting.

Which reminds me I need to buy a lotto ticket...


Edited by luxo II, 21 February 2021 - 12:34 AM.


#37 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 04:35 AM

I never have understood the fear of a step or two (or three)...but especially a single step which is truly inconsequential.  This is even more true when one is observing from the same prepared surface regularly.  With my platform ladder's upper support works and tray I have a steadier viewing position than with a standard tube Dob.

 

I use a 3 step platform ladder for viewing with the 20", zenith eyepiece height is 8 feet.  I actually prefer it to the low seated positions of a 10" Dob.  In wilderness/unprepared sites there are some rocky/uneven surfaces where the ladder is more precarious than I would like, but nothing that has proven unusable.  Ironically, some of the worst ground was at Golden State Star Party where the surface was fully pockmarked by hardened hoof holes produced by cattle in the wet season, and baked dry by Summer.  Positioning the ladder's feet was challenging.   I ended up using my ramps as rams to shave off the rims of the ruts and partially fill some of the holes.  

 

I view from a ladder on a regular basis. I observe alone and about 50 miles from the nearest hospital.  I'm 72 years old. I don't mess around with $100 ladders..  my ladders are steel with wide steps, easy angles and railings. 

 

But a misstep and I could still fall and seriously hurt myself..

 

That's not going to happen just standing.. I think there's good reason to be cautious and avoid ladders. I don't recommend ladder scopes but if someone buys one, don't mess around with a step ladder.

 

My first ladder scope:

 

6054223-Meade Winter in San Diego.jpg
 
My second ladder scope:
 
5873860-Obsession with Rolling Ladder 2 CN.jpg
 
My current ladder scope:
 
Starsplitter Ladder with steps 1.jpg
 
Safety aside: Ladders, even ladders on wheels with accessory trays and drink holders, even ladders with railings that all hands free observing, are a hassle and define the observing experience. 
 
Jon

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#38 Jeff_Richards

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 09:16 AM

Since money is no object, why not a 14" Planewave CDK? 



#39 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 09:28 AM

Since money is no object, why not a 14" Planewave CDK? 

 

This is a visual scope. The specs include..

 

2563 mm focal length with a 48.5% Central Obstruction.. 

 

You can argue about the visual differences between a 20% CO and a 35% CO, (I'll take 20%) but 50% is huge..

 

Jon


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#40 Speedy1985

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 09:35 AM

 

I view from a ladder on a regular basis. I observe alone and about 50 miles from the nearest hospital.  I'm 72 years old. I don't mess around with $100 ladders..  my ladders are steel with wide steps, easy angles and railings. 

 

But a misstep and I could still fall and seriously hurt myself..

 

That's not going to happen just standing.. I think there's good reason to be cautious and avoid ladders. I don't recommend ladder scopes but if someone buys one, don't mess around with a step ladder.

 

My first ladder scope:

 

 
 
My second ladder scope:
 
 
 
My current ladder scope:
 
 
 
Safety aside: Ladders, even ladders on wheels with accessory trays and drink holders, even ladders with railings that all hands free observing, are a hassle and define the observing experience. 
 
Jon

 

I'm glad you stepped up to a better ladder than that first one! And lock that spreader bar next time! 


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#41 Redbetter

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 05:50 PM

 

I view from a ladder on a regular basis. I observe alone and about 50 miles from the nearest hospital.  I'm 72 years old. I don't mess around with $100 ladders..  my ladders are steel with wide steps, easy angles and railings. 

 

But a misstep and I could still fall and seriously hurt myself..

 

That's not going to happen just standing.. I think there's good reason to be cautious and avoid ladders. I don't recommend ladder scopes but if someone buys one, don't mess around with a step ladder.

That is not going to happen from a single step as the OP stated.  I have never seen a single step be a factor.   In fact, I have tripped over observing chairs a few times.  I haven't tripped over a ladder.  I would not recommend a simple foot stool for that reason, and because it provides no support to the upper body for stability.  And in the size range the OP is talking about, a ladder/step stool will still be needed for short observers (including children.)  I'll recommend a good ladder for that every time.

 

I observe alone in the mountains and typically 50 miles or more from the nearest hospital.  Ankle injuries are the primary concern, which is why I wear hiking boots with good ankle support.

 

I would much rather have my platform ladder than the ladders you use, at least up to 8' eyepiece height.  I don't see your set up as being safer for the heights I observe from because the single biggest factor is whether one steps down from the 2nd step thinking they are already on the bottom step.  That isn't a factor from the third/top step.

 

Things change over ~8' feet in eyepiece height, where an even more robust and taller ladder system is needed for stability and access to the height.  Transport becomes a big factor.  At that stage I am looking at cleared/prepared ground similar to what I see in your images.  But at that point I am also looking at pulling a trailer for a bigger scope and with reduced access to the sites I prefer...which brings me back to why I use the combo I have now.  I don't have all the attendant problems of a trailer--including theft/break ins that they attract.   



#42 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 06:16 PM

I would much rather have my platform ladder than the ladders you use, at least up to 8' eyepiece height.  I don't see your set up as being safer for the heights I observe from because the single biggest factor is whether one steps down from the 2nd step thinking they are already on the bottom step.  That isn't a factor from the third/top step.

 

 

I have not seen your ladders but there are many reasons people fall from ladders. When you're on the third step (or any step) which is required with a 96 inch eyepiece height, railings are very helpful as are angles more like stairs. No big last steps or third steps and something to hold on to, lean against.

 

The close steps are very nice (see last photo). No uncomfortable positions, no straddling two very different stairs trying to find that right height..

 

Bottom line:

 

If money is no object: avoid steps and ladders if you can. 

 

Jon



#43 BKBrown

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 06:23 PM

Hi jjbag,

 

I would choose the 14" SCT without hesitation. Why? Because, like many folks, I have a profound distaste for the Dob viewing experience. The ergonomics are uncomfortable for many who don't care to view perpendicular to the scope, don't care to climb ladders in the dark to observe (many of us due to physical issues and/or disabilities), don't want to mess with collimating multiple mirrors on a regular basis, and don't care for diffraction spikes. Sure you can get a lot of aperture on the cheap...for a base model. But if you aren't a tube hugging nudger the cost of GoTo and tracking makes the Dob no more economical than other complex scopes. In fact, having priced them out with decent optics, they are more expensive. I prefer the EP position on an SCT, the ease of use, simplicity of collimation with only one mirror to deal with, and the all around versatility of the system. Sure it isn't the ideal scope for low power wide-field viewing, but I am foremost a lunar and planetary imager and the SCT dominates this field...period. And when the SCT is collimated to planetary imaging standards as mine always are, the views at the EP can be excellent. And the weight of the scope and mount are unimportant to me since the whole rig is permanently mounted in an observatory. So choices like this will likely be predicated on user intent, comfort level with specific aspects of viewing and operation, willingness to deal with fidgety gear, and the necessity to pack up and travel for good skies. And those are all very personal choices. So how do you want to observe?

 

I am a fellow Virginian living in a very rural Bortle 3/4 area south of Charlottesville. Feel free to drop me a line if you ever feel like chatting smile.png

 

Clear Skies,

Brian snoopy2.gif



#44 SonnyE

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Posted 22 February 2021 - 12:31 AM

I'm glad you stepped up to a better ladder than that first one! And lock that spreader bar next time! 

I'm just glad to see Jon found some shoes....

 

He was bare footin



#45 epee

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Posted 22 February 2021 - 07:48 PM

 

I view from a ladder on a regular basis. I observe alone and about 50 miles from the nearest hospital.  I'm 72 years old. I don't mess around with $100 ladders..  my ladders are steel with wide steps, easy angles and railings. 

 

But a misstep and I could still fall and seriously hurt myself..

 

That's not going to happen just standing.. I think there's good reason to be cautious and avoid ladders. I don't recommend ladder scopes but if someone buys one, don't mess around with a step ladder.

 

My first ladder scope:

 

 
 
My second ladder scope:
 
 
 
My current ladder scope:
 
 
 
Safety aside: Ladders, even ladders on wheels with accessory trays and drink holders, even ladders with railings that all hands free observing, are a hassle and define the observing experience. 
 
Jon

 

Jon,

You're not worried that the 4-wheeled ladder is going to start rolling with you on it?



#46 CoHPhasor

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 04:31 AM

All the talk of ladders/viewing platforms - dont forget, standing on ladder rungs is bad for your feet.
(Thats why good work boots have shanks to support arches)

Do your feet a favor and have something with a big enough area to stand on.

#47 Redbetter

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 04:45 AM

All the talk of ladders/viewing platforms - dont forget, standing on ladder rungs is bad for your feet.
(Thats why good work boots have shanks to support arches)

Do your feet a favor and have something with a big enough area to stand on.

I don't stand on ladder rungs, so not bad for my feet.   That is an advantage of platform ladders with their wide/deeper steps and one of the reasons I recommend them.

 

Switching gears from your comment slightly, the other big huge advantage(s) of ladders over seated observing:  I stay awake, I stay warmer, I burn a few more calories because I am standing and not seated, and I observe longer in cold weather as a result.  When I sit too long under the night sky I get chilled more quickly.   I spend a lot of nights below freezing at altitude each year, observing for 6+ hour sessions.  There aren't many "warm" months up there and often I am going from a warm or hot valley to a cold mountain at night.



#48 Brent Campbell

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 07:24 AM

Simple answer.  A remote cabin in a dark site and more time.



#49 DSOGabe

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 12:20 PM

The Meade f/8. I have the 10" version and I love it



#50 Zamboni

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 01:15 PM

I would go dobsonian, no question. I'm primarily a visual observer and the constrained view caused by the inherently loooooong focal length of a cassegrain design would be a deal breaker. Also far easier to set up and break down at an observing site.

Also, my tall wooden observing chair works great with dobs in this size range.

Edited by Zamboni, 24 February 2021 - 01:16 PM.



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