I'm going to type this out first and hope a subject line comes from me explaining
I have a lot of previous experience with telescopes; my first serious scope was a meade 8" on the pier german equatorial mount in the mid/late 90s. back then, at least in the astronomy community I was part of, it seemed like scopes were broken into three categories:
1) if you wanted to split doubles/triples, or observe solar system stuff, you used a refractor
2) if you wanted to view DSO, you had a reflector (most often a dob)
3) if you wanted to do ccd photography, you had an sct...or mak-cas if you had lots of money
I'm in the market for a new scope now that I'm finally settling a lot of life stuff and have a bit of a windfall coming. and I find myself paralysed by choice. I'm more...just...general observational? I want to see everything, and I also want to do some astrophotography. I'd love to have another big newt on an eq mount...but I also don't have the energy post-a lot of health issues to move a big newt anymore. I've seen some amazing astrophotos taken through the newer 4 and 5 inch achromats and apos...both planetary and dso. what I don't know is how they are from a visual observational standpoint. I know a 5" refractor won't have the light gathering capability of an 8"+ newt, but it'll also be much more capable of being moved than the newt. and as much as I wish my budget would extend to a 6 or 8 inch cat, it's just not really in the cards...and the longer focal length is a bit of a non-starter for me right now.
any telescope is a compromise; I know this all too well. and my first scope was purchased under near optimal conditions; I lived on a farm, I had grade 1-2 skies, and an outside building where I could store it about 10 feet from where I observed, so it was always temperature acclimated from the start of each session. where I am currently planning to move, however, is the middle of an 8-9 city, where i'll be driving an hour minimum to find an observing site...but more often than not, I'll be traveling with someone, so I won't be toting/setting up on my own. you'd think that would preclude a newt as an option, but the newer ones in the f5 range have short enough tubes that i could conceivably transport one.
if you were in my position, what would you do? I don't necessarily /need/ specific models, but I also won't dissuade you, because I know y'all together have a much wider combined knowledge base than I do alone.
thanks in advance for reading and (hopefully) having some good advice and/or ideas
Here's your problem. Visual and DSO astrophotography are two _completely_ different actvities. Especially _learning_ DSO astrophtography. I cannot possibly say that strongly enough. The same scope will not be good for both.
Beginners have a really hard time grasping that. It's just not intuitive. So this happens, over and over again.
"I got back into astronomy about 8 years ago with the intention of buying a scope setup that could "here it comes, you haven't heard this from every new guy" work great for visual AND AP. So yeah, I bought a C11 CGE. Yeah I know :-). I finally tried AP just 2 years ago, and it didn't take long to buy a 80ED doublet for AP duties."
There is no good compromise. Imagine a pro photographer with two assignments, an indoor wedding in someone's home, and a pro soccer game. For the wedding he needs a wide angle, for the game a long telephoto. If he compromises with something in between, he'll get fired from both jobs.
This is like that.
Here's a good solution, that may be more money than you want to spend. Scroll down to the picture of this _very_ expert astrophotographer. That's a $500 70mm refractor on a $1200 scope. That's correct, and he did NOT pick them because he had them lying around. <smile>
Yeah, he spent more than twice as much on the mount. Not a mistake. The mount is the most important part of a DSO imaging setup. NOT the scope or the camera.
Did I mention this wasn't intuitive? <smile>
To that setup, you'd add a 6-8 inch Dobsonian for visual. Puts you at about $2500 + camera. DSO imaging is not cheap.
The somewhat inexpensive alternative is to FORGET about using a scope for the imaging part. Use a camera and a lens on a camera tracker. The setup looks like this.
But what kind of pictures could you possibly get with just a camera lens? These. I have excellent scopes and an excellent mount. Still use my camera tracker sometimes.
Did I mention... <grin>
For the imaging part. 15 minutes spent watching this YouTube will save you much money and time. These things happen over and over again. Because this is just not intuitive.
Those wonderful DSO images you're seeing with Mak-casses or SCTs don't just require a lot of money. They require substantial learning, and those scopes are horrible choices to learn on. Horrible.
When it comes to DSO imaging people tend to think it's all about fancy equipment. It's nothing at all like that.
Dustin Johnson's clubs will not put you on the PGA tour. <smile>
Camera tracker/camera/lens, is a _great_ way to get started with DSO imaging. The book cited above is an excellent starter guide.
Edited by bobzeq25, 24 February 2021 - 05:04 PM.