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Looking for recommendations on a portable telescope

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41 replies to this topic

#26 Voyageur

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 11:01 AM

Can you transport a dob in a car cargo roof box? That is my big concern. I dont do backpacking so my car is close but I might have to walk around to find a good view.

If the dimensions of the cargo box are greater than those of the Dob, you can... But once the Dob base is assembled, it may be too big to fit a rooftop cargo box. And loading it will be awkward. I would not want to lift a heavy Dob OTA and its base up on top of a car, but then I'm an old woman.wink.gif 

 

I would also be concerned with making sure the OTA is well-protected for transport. 

 

I don't know where you live or where you like to camp. I've camped at state parks in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, at different campgrounds in each of those states. Except for one of the Texas parks, they had a lot of trees onsite, and the campsites were not a good spot for setting up a scope. There are usually open areas where you can set up, but you have to drive to them or carry the scope some distance. For camping, think smaller. 


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#27 Lazaroff

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 11:07 AM

Can you transport a dob in a car cargo roof box? That is my big concern.

I was hoping someone who has used one of these roof carriers would answer your question, but since no one has I'll offer a little information that might help you decide for yourself. [Edit: I see that someone else posted an answer while I was writing this.]

 

In my experience there are three main things to guard against in transporting a scope.

 

#1 is banging directly into something hard that could dent or break a scope.

 

#2 is a hard blow that might knock something out of whack, even if there's no direct contact with the scope.

 

#3 is vibration that can cause screws (and lens-retaining rings) to loosen. This usually takes time, but it happens.

 

You can guard against #1 and #2 by putting the scope in a hard case lined with foam rubber, but this can be expensive, and it isn't absolutely necessary when transporting a scope in a car. It's good enough to wrap the scope in something soft, like a quilt or a fairly thick sheet of foam rubber. Then just arrange it so that it doesn't roll around, but it isn't packed so tightly with other stuff that it gets crushed. The car itself (or the shell of the roof carrier) does the rest.

 

The same solution works for #3, too. To be extra safe against vibration, it helps to keep the wrapped (or encased) scope on the upholstered seat of a car, rather than on the floor.

 

So how about the roof carrier? My first reaction was "yikes!" but on reflection, "why not?" What you'd miss is the extra vibration protection of the car seat, but if you wrap the scope thickly enough, that should be OK.

 

That's my take on it, anyway. Your heart is set on 6 inches of aperture, so I won't recommend anything less. It would be good to keep in mind that compared to an f/8 newtonian, an f/5 (with an offset secondary) is trickier to collimate, and it needs considerably more expensive eyepieces if you want comfortable eye relief at high powers and wider apparent fields of view.


Edited by Lazaroff, 25 February 2021 - 11:28 AM.

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#28 rhetfield

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 02:11 PM

With a car top box, the biggest concern would be making sure the box stays on the car and everything stays dry.
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#29 river-z

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 02:33 PM

I asked a very similar question a year ago and struggled through many of the same considerations you've expressed.  I like to camp and wanted to bring telescope, but didn't know what would work best.  If you're interested you could read this thread https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10294571. I ended up getting a 3 inch refractor and have no regrets.  


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#30 izar187

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 04:24 PM

With a car top box, the biggest concern would be making sure the box stays on the car and everything stays dry.


Test driving in rain, or high pressure hosing it, at a local you wash car wash, will tell you if it needs caulking.

Do _before_ going on a road trip.

Same thing one does with used or new pick up truck caps or covers.
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#31 Bigal1817

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 06:43 PM

My cargo box has straps to secure contents though I've never used it for the telescope. I use it mostly for my ski equipment, sometimes they rattle around a bit.  My neighbor has one too and just experienced a horror story, his popped open while on the interstate.  I understand this is rare though I thought I'd share it with you.



#32 rhetfield

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 10:05 PM

My cargo box has straps to secure contents though I've never used it for the telescope. I use it mostly for my ski equipment, sometimes they rattle around a bit. My neighbor has one too and just experienced a horror story, his popped open while on the interstate. I understand this is rare though I thought I'd share it with you.

I have to be careful with the locks on mine. If any of the contents get in the way, it will not lock properly.

#33 Bdiamond1988

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 06:26 AM

I have been checking Orion's clearance everyday and I noticed they had a Starblast 6 on there for $70 cheaper than a new one so I jumped and bought it. I like the idea of a dob but im not sure how I'll travel with one yet since the car is packed when we go.
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#34 DAG792

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 08:15 AM

I have been checking Orion's clearance everyday and I noticed they had a Starblast 6 on there for $70 cheaper than a new one so I jumped and bought it. I like the idea of a dob but im not sure how I'll travel with one yet since the car is packed when we go.

Good choice, I think you'll like it.


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#35 rhetfield

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 09:45 AM

It will help that the tube and base can travel separately.

#36 topomountain

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 10:32 PM

my 2 cents worth...

 

i have had alot of transport scopes over the years, including 3, 4 and 5 reflectors.  i have a c90 sct mak in a little case, which has just been replaced with a c5 in a small case.   these both fit on very small mounts, the c90 on a camera tripod. easy compact and within your price range used.  the longer tubes of reflectors are just alot to fit into a vehicle with lots of people and gear.

 

will a 6" reflector beat a 4" or 5" sct in views, maybe only on dso views, lunar, planets and terrestrial views like animals, oceans birds etc will usually be much better with an sct.  the only down side i think for a little sct is it is harder to aim than you would think.

 

i have 8" reflectors and a 12" dob... these can be nice for some uses, for easy use and just throw in the van with little space, that c5 is just great, a few decent eyepieces help as we all know.

 

also the family, kids and beginners mostly are only impressed with the moon and planets anyway, well some good terrestrial daytime views can be fun as well.  this is where the small sct's excel in my opinion.....

 

good job on including the family in your choice :) 


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#37 DAG792

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 11:41 PM

will a 6" reflector beat a 4" or 5" sct in views, maybe only on dso views, lunar, planets and terrestrial views like animals, oceans birds etc will usually be much better with an sct.  the only down side i think for a little sct is it is harder to aim than you would think.

I don't mean to nitpick, but can I ask that why you think a mak/sct is a better planetary scope than a Newt?? Don't they have huge(>35%) central obstructions? I agree that for terrestrial views the sct would be better, but for planetary, I would think the Newt and Sct to at least be equals.


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#38 Hexley  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 12:06 PM

I don't mean to nitpick, but can I ask that why you think a mak/sct is a better planetary scope than a Newt?? Don't they have huge(>35%) central obstructions? I agree that for terrestrial views the sct would be better, but for planetary, I would think the Newt and Sct to at least be equals.

If you've never known the joy of a GoTo SCT tracking Jupiter, Saturn or the moon all night, you haven't been spoiled enough. I'd argue SCTs are the planetary tracking scope. Newts are great for exploring the sky and honing in on DSOs. Planets that zip around, especially the moon (freaking speed demon at 6mm) I always prefer them on my 6SE.


Edited by Hexley, 01 March 2021 - 04:18 PM.


#39 izar187

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 12:15 PM

Ah, the _tracking_ mount.
Yes, that is pretty big deal.

#40 topomountain

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 12:41 PM

the sct has  longer focal ratio and has good high magnification, very easy to use on planets and lunar, and for this question thread, it is so much more easy to fit and transport... it is also very durable in its case.

 

5-6" sct and maks can have just awesome lunar and planetary views.  of course my 12" dob is better, but it needs a van or trailer.  in my girlfriends outback i can get it in with the big seat folded down and it fills up the rest of the back.  i dont use these small scopes on tracking mounts as my whole point for having them is transport size.

 

lots of people that have multiple scopes have a c8, c6 or c5 equivalent because they are great, not perfect because the perfect scope and eyepiece is the one we will always buy next!

 

but the most perfect ive got is my c5, stellarview m1 alt az on wood tripod with 3 nice eyepieces... my zoom has been alot of fun, but just need that extra fov with non zoom widefields as the sct is narrow field, the only weakness in it. 


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#41 teashea

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 04:10 PM

I asked a very similar question a year ago and struggled through many of the same considerations you've expressed.  I like to camp and wanted to bring telescope, but didn't know what would work best.  If you're interested you could read this thread https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10294571. I ended up getting a 3 inch refractor and have no regrets.  

I would second this.  To start out a small refractor would have advantages - mainly simplicity.



#42 Deep13

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 05:41 PM

I'd start off with a pair of binoculars. They occupy very little space and are easy to use. The most portable decent scope imo is a short 80mm refractor on a good photo tripod. Again, not much space, but it will show a lot under dark skies.

Edited by Deep13, 05 April 2021 - 05:41 PM.



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