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Portable telescope for urban astronomy

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#1 Tigril

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 03:53 AM

Hi all

This is my first post in this forum, and I hope some of you can give me a helpful advice.

I (25 years) am currently looking for my first telescope. Atm I am using a celestron skymaster 15x70 bino which gives me a beautiful widefield view. But especially for looking up the zenith its quiet a pain for my neck.

I live in an apartment in the middle of Germany in a city with around 150.000 people. The sky is bortle 5-6. Thankfully, I can use the buildings roof terrace which gives me a good view to the south. But there are other apartments all around with disturbing lights. The terrace is two floors over my apartment, so the telescope needs to be portable to get it up the stairs. Additionally, it should be easy to set it up and not to bulky to store it easily. Since I have no car it would be perfect to take it to darker places out of the city by foot.

Due to the bright sky, I am mostly interested in watching the moon, planets, and some brighter DSOs like clusters.

I just want to enjoy it visually. (No astrophotography)
My budget is around 600$ for a first telescope set.

I thought about getting a slow 90-100mm refractor, but I am not sure how bulky it gets with a long focal length. Atm I am thinking about getting a 90-127mm Maksutov telescope due to its portability. But I am uncertain that finding objects will be too difficult due to the narrow fov. Newtonians seems to give me the best bang for the buck, but I am afraid that I need to collimate them regularly due to the transportation ans possible bumps on the way up and down the stairs

To sum it up these are my criteria:

1. Portable to get it up the stairs and take it out of the city by foot
2. No to bulky to store it comfortably in an apartment
3. Watching moon, planets, and brighter DSOs (bortle 5-6)

4. Just visual - no astrophotography
5. 600$ budget

 

Thanks in advance for any help with my struggle to find a good first scope

Max



#2 radiofm74

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 05:05 AM

Collimation on Newts is never a problem once you've learned it and done the hard job of collimating the secondary – which is a job that needs doing rarely. So don't consider that as a criterion. 

For that budget or a little more, I got me a Celestron 6", f/5 newtonian on a nice CG-4 EQ mount. I love it and it's reasonably portable. But taking it up the stairs every night to watch the sky… nah. 

 

What you're describing is a MAK or a SCT in my view, and for your situation you have to try to get as light a mount as you can while not compromising excessively on stability. Yes you'll have less FoV – that's what your finder and binoculars will be for!

 

If you buy used, you can put together your own kit: a 5" MAK (OTA) will cost you ≈ 200-300€. A Celestron C5 around 400€, but it will be lighter and easier on your mount – probably your ideal scope, although pricey. A C6 little more than that, but might require a little more mount. 

 

Others will chime in on what mount could go with such scopes. My CG-4 (which I think corresponds to an EQ3.2?) would hold every one of them very comfortably – it holds my 6" Newt pretty well. But in the long run it could become a chore taking it up and down 2 flights of stairs. Maybe a lighter equatorial mount, like an EQ2? Maybe an even lighter alt/az mount? If you want goto, maybe a used Nexstar kit?

 

I'll let more experienced members chime in at this point… but for the tube, I'm pretty sure that a MAK or a SCT, 5" or 6", would be my pick in your situation. Actually… I just bought a C6 tube for my mount, for higher power and more portability!


Edited by radiofm74, 01 March 2021 - 05:07 AM.


#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 06:06 AM

Hi all

This is my first post in this forum, and I hope some of you can give me a helpful advice.

<...snip...>

My situation at my city home is quite similar to yours. I live on the third floor, so unless I observe out my window (which I do on very rare occasions), any observing whatsoever requires going down two extremely tall flights of stairs -- and back up when I come home.

 

As it happens, getting the scope up and down the stairs is the least of the problems. I can and do carry my 7-inch Dob up and down in one trip (with my eyepieces and suchlike in a backpack). It's right at my limit, but eminently feasible. Recently my biggest scope there has been a Z130, a 130-mm f/5 one-arm pseudo-Dob. It's enough lighter than the 7-incher so that carrying it up and down the stairs is a total breeze, even including the table that I built to support it. I also use a folding three-legged stool to sit on, but that weighs hardly anything and stuffs into a corner of my backpack.

 

Collimation is a non-issue. Both scopes mentioned above hold collimation extremely well, so for deep-sky observing I sometimes don't even bother to check the collimation at all. (For planets, where crisp views at high power are critical, collimation is correspondingly more important.) Most of the time I just check the collimation and conclude that it's good enough. And every now and then I tweak it, which takes a few minutes. No big deal at all.

 

However, carrying either of those scopes on foot for more than about 500 to 1,000 meters is a non-starter. Yes, I can do it, but it's exhausting, and I need to make frequent stops to rest. When I want to make significant trips without a car, I make sure that at least the telescope's optical tube fits into the backpack as well. I can then carry the tripod and mount head slung over one shoulder, which is much less tiring than having it hang from a hand. When I go by bicycle, the tripod goes in the bicycle baskets.

 

That limits me to some fairly small scopes. In practice, the biggest scope I carry that way is my 100-mm f/6 refractor. The Heritage 130P, a folding-tube 130-mm f/5 reflector, would also work fine, though it would require a custom-purchased alt-az mount rather than its native one-arm Dob mount. Perhaps its big brother the 150P would work too, if you're strong and have a big backpack. Certainly no bigger than that.

 

I'm not a fan of Maks and SCTs for urban astronomy because of their ultranarrow fields of view. It's hard enough to find stuff star-hopping even with a Newtonian; having that tiny FOV amplifies the problem greatly. You could, of course, sidestep that with a Go To mount. But that's extra cost, weight, and bulk, and likely also requires a fairly hefty battery.


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#4 DAG792

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 06:08 AM

Hello, and welcome to cloudy nights.

These are my thoughts and suggestions:

 

1) The Orion Starblast 6, or a Skywatcher Heritage 150p are very capable scopes(with the collapsible tube) that are also quite portable. I live on a three story high apartment, and I have no problem taking my starblast 6 up and down the stairs. IMO, their only problem is that they are tabletop scopes, and need to be set on something to get to a comfortable observing height. If you can live with that, collimation is a non-issue. They can also be easily transported in a car, leaving lots of room to spare.

 

2) If you want an even more compact package, you could get the AWB Onesky or the SkyWatcher 130p. You would be giving up about an inch of aperture for increased portability. 

 

3) Another good recommendation is a Skywatcher 72ED. Much smaller, at about 3 inches aperture but also much more compact. It is a refractor, so its real capability is comparable to 4-4.5" Newts. You won't need to collimate this scope(Although I will repeat, it is very easy).  However the mount with this telescope might be an issue if you want to transport it all in one piece.

 

4) Maksutovs (like the C5/C6) are the last word in aperture/portability ratio. They are extremely compact for the aperture. Personally I don't use them because their FOVs are narrow. IMO, you do not want to be missing a wide FOV with a reasonable aperture. 


Edited by DAG792, 01 March 2021 - 06:11 AM.

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#5 Diego

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 06:16 AM

Hi Max! I'm kind of in the same situation as you. I live in a building, in a city with considerable light pollution, and also observe from the rooftop terrace.

I have a Celestron 127 mm mak, which I bought specifically for portability.

The telescope is great optically and very compact. It rarely needs collimation; I've never had to do it. However even though it weighs only about 3 kilos, you have to factor in the weight of the tripod. If you plan to view above 100X, you need a substantial tripod and a descent mount which further increases the weight.

I don't recommend moving it assembled on the tripod up stairs. You also have to consider your eyepiece case, or get a zoom eyepiece which are not cheap.

So in other words, you probably need 2 or 3 trips to set up the 5" mak. Going up flights stairs multiple times gets old fast.

I would aim at something smaller like a 90mm mak, or maybe an 80 mm short ED refractor. Something you could set up in a single trip.

The 5" mak is great, but not as portable as it may seem for quick short looks. If you want to take it to a dark site then it's very portable, but not for taking it on foot.

Also, observing from a rooftop is not the greatest option. Heat leaving the building will produce average local seeing for the 5" aperture. I get nice details on planets but only for fractions of a second.

Even though a smaller scope will also be affected by the seeing, it won't be as bad, and may give a more pleasing view, with less details, but maybe more than what the larger scope provides in bad seeing.

Last, 5" maks also need at least 30' to 1 hour to cool down. Something to take into consideration if you want to view at higher powers.

I would go with something much smaller, like a 70 to 80mm refractor or the 90mm mak. If you spend $300 on a used ed refractor, you may have enough to get a nice tripod and a few eyepieces.

The longer slow refractors are awesome but the lever arms put more strain on the mount even if the tube is lightweight, so not a great option for portability.

Hope this helps with your choice.

Good luck!

Edited by Diego, 01 March 2021 - 06:21 AM.

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#6 Stefano Delmonte

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 08:06 AM

Hi Max, in a city of 150k people sure you can find an Astronomy Club, someone will let you see his scope and many times there are some of them for ssale at a good price and easy to check the quality.

 

Also if you join an Astronomy Club there is TS, a big German dealer that make discount at memberes.

 

Ste


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#7 Jim Haley

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 08:55 AM

I would get the most aperture that I could carry up stairs and across town and also afford.  4.5" minimum and 6 or 8 would be better (IF can carry).  Also a plus would be something that can stand in the corner of a room without taking much space when not in use.

 

Remember, the longer the focal length the less important collimation becomes.   Also the easier it is to reach high magnifications with inexpensive eyepieces.  But beware that also field of view is inversely proportional to magnification for a given eyepiece.

 

Beware that solid tripods can be hard to fit through doors especially with a scope attached.   Dropping the legs helps as does removing the center spreader bar but that is kind of a pain.  

 

Once you pick the aperture, then the question is what style of scope is easiest to move around.  That rules out a refractor at diameters 4" and above.  Assume you keep your books and eyepieces etc in a backpack. Assuming you go with 6" aperture what scope is the easiest to move around when mounted on its base.   What is the longest tube length assembled scope you can conveniently carry with one hand while using your second hand to open doors?  

 

All the above is why it is so important to see the telescope in person if at all possible before buying.   Second best is to buy a scope with a low purchase price so that you can easily resell without loosing much money if it turns out too big, too small etc.  

 

One last thing.  If at all possible get a 2" focuser in whatever 6-8" scope you choose.  


Edited by Jim Haley, 01 March 2021 - 08:57 AM.

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#8 rhetfield

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 09:02 AM

I will 2nd the recommendation for one of the 5" or 6" F5 dobs or mini-dobs.  I have the skywatcher heritage 130.  I cart it around all over the place and travel with it. 

 

Collimation rarely needs touching.  My environment is relatively polluted, so I find myself removing the mirror for cleaning a couple times a year.  The last time I did so, I completely disassembled the scope to do other work and managed to reassemble it without screwing up collimation.  Once you know how to do it, it is only a couple minutes anyway.

https://garyseronik....to-collimation/

https://garyseronik....pe-collimation/

 

If it is a mini-dob, you will want something to sit it on.  That can be as simple as a bucket.

 

Navigation with a dob can be done using degree circles:

https://www.cloudyni...degree-circles/

 

Look at the following thread about the heritage 130.  Other small dobs will be similar.

https://www.cloudyni...ithout-borders/


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#9 MaknMe

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 09:31 AM

I will chime in here with another vote for a Mak. I have a 127mm Mak and love it. It is light, easy to carry and setup, and is dynamite on planets.

When I first got it, I had to keep it in the basement. So, every night, I was carrying it up the steps and out in the yard. I was very happy it was so light.

I had it out over 100 times in 2020. And, even though my weather has been terrible, I have had it out 12 times in 2021.

Edited by MaknMe, 01 March 2021 - 09:32 AM.


#10 Freezout

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:08 AM

Hi Tigril,

 

I advice against taking any bulky telescope. It might be OK if you want to bring a dobson a couple of floors upstairs or travel in a car, but not to move in a city by foot. You will get fast at motivation 0, even with the passion of astronomy in your soul (I have been practicing carrying a newtonian in a train...). 

As well, for walking travel, avoid equatorial mounts. They come with counterweight so are heavier and require additional disassembly/assembly effort, and it's also bad for motivation.

 

The easy mistake is to lift a telescope and/or a mount and think: I manage it's ok. No, you will have to put all that in bags in a balanced way so that it can be carried during walking, going in a bus, opening doors in the same time, taking stairs... Having enough hands for the bags... And don't forget that your collection of "must have" will grow, you will need space in your bag(s) for atlas, eyepieces, a portable chair, maybe some dew heaters, whatever! 

 

I would suggest an alt-azimuth mount (without go-to of course, especially with your budget). If possible one fitting on a solid phototripod.

 

Then a small Mak (be careful a 6"mak is not light!) or SCT if you're not scared of the small field of view, or probably better a short refractor. The more compact your set-up is, the happier you will be.


Edited by Freezout, 01 March 2021 - 10:13 AM.


#11 Tigril

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:31 AM

First, thanks to all of you for the quick replies on this post.

 

It seems that collimation is not that much of a problem. Will take that into my consideration.
Based on the answers the solution might be a 5” dob or a MAK between 90-127mm.
Even though I get the benefits of a small ed refractor (also used) I think it is out of my budget to get enough aperture for the bright sky here.

 

The Heritage 130p for example could be a good compromise between portability and avoiding a too narrow FOV.

Regarding portability I think I will look for a good alt-az mount for placing the telescope outside the city after a little walk.

For a flextube dobson like the 130p, do I need to get a cover for the flexible part to avoid disturbing lights?

 

For those of you that voted for a MAK, are you talking about your experience with a goto or without?

I really like the portability of a MAK and it would give me a much higher motivation to go outside to darker placed. But as others have stated the narrow FOV will be an obstacle without a goto.

 

Atm it looks like the best solution would be one of those on a sturdy alt az mount.

 

https://www.astrosho...ube-dob/p,14966

https://www.astrosho...-pronto/p,69301

 

What are your thoughts?



#12 Jim Haley

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:34 AM

When I was younger I carried my 8" f6 dob from London center out to Egham on train and taxi without a problem.   I wouldn't want to "walk" it much further than through the train stations though.  I should have brought my little folding dolly.  https://smile.amazon...14612520&sr=8-3.  Note: plastic wheel Dollys vibrate too much, rubber wheels better, and pneumatic tires smoothest ride of all. That would have made the walks a LOT easier.  Without the dolly, the Orion XT's (and perhaps others) have springs so the tube stays connected to the base and then can carry it with the handle on the box.  Not saying you should go with an 8", just that a 6" would be even easier.   No matter what size / type scope you get some kind of wheels will make long walks TONS easier (I often use a wagon that holds scope and eyepiece/book case but it can get a bit tippy / top heavy).   Of course no wheels would be necessary if just climbing a few flights of stairs.  


Edited by Jim Haley, 01 March 2021 - 10:39 AM.

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#13 pugliano

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:42 AM

"1. Portable to get it up the stairs and take it out of the city by foot."

 

The "taking it out of the city by foot" is your limiting factor. I'd recommend this scope, as it is very good quality and the price leaves you enough to get a decent mount (tripod) for it.

 

https://www.astronom...ractor-ota.html

 

 

This one is smaller and lighter, but a bit more expensive. Still within your budget though.

 

https://www.astronom...fpl-53-f-6.html

 

 

This one weighs 15 pounds total, and includes the mount. The mount may be a little shaky though.

 

https://www.bhphotov...rer_dx_102.html

 

 

"Even though I get the benefits of a small ed refractor (also used) I think it is out of my budget to get enough aperture for the bright sky here."

 

I'm not sure that's correct, that more aperture is better for bright, urban skies. But you can ask Tony Flanders (post #3) or Jon Isaacs. I'm sure they'll know.


Edited by pugliano, 01 March 2021 - 10:52 AM.


#14 rhetfield

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:57 AM

First, thanks to all of you for the quick replies on this post.

 

It seems that collimation is not that much of a problem. Will take that into my consideration.
Based on the answers the solution might be a 5” dob or a MAK between 90-127mm.
Even though I get the benefits of a small ed refractor (also used) I think it is out of my budget to get enough aperture for the bright sky here.

 

The Heritage 130p for example could be a good compromise between portability and avoiding a too narrow FOV.

Regarding portability I think I will look for a good alt-az mount for placing the telescope outside the city after a little walk.

For a flextube dobson like the 130p, do I need to get a cover for the flexible part to avoid disturbing lights?

 

For those of you that voted for a MAK, are you talking about your experience with a goto or without?

I really like the portability of a MAK and it would give me a much higher motivation to go outside to darker placed. But as others have stated the narrow FOV will be an obstacle without a goto.

 

Atm it looks like the best solution would be one of those on a sturdy alt az mount.

 

https://www.astrosho...ube-dob/p,14966

https://www.astrosho...-pronto/p,69301

 

What are your thoughts?

Look at posts 10-15 of this link for how to do the shroud for the heritage 130 (or 150).  Either the plastic or craft foam work.

https://www.cloudyni...ithout-borders/

 

The heritage has a vixen dovetail mount.  That makes it easy to remove from the dob base and put on a lightweight alt/az mount.  There is easily enough money in your budget for the heritage, a mount, and a couple good eyepieces.


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#15 radiofm74

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:58 AM

Having been recently on the quest for a portable OTA, let me point out a few things:

- Mak and SCT are similar but not the same. At same aperture, a SCT will be lighter, smaller, have shorter cool-down time and have a little more FoV (because it usually has a shorter focal length). The Mak will provide sharper hi-mag views, and in the 5" it has a huge price/availability advantage (not so at 6", nor below).

- I still think that a 5" MAK or SCT would be a good choice – 4" or lower would be very limiting. But note that those who suggested a refractor are WAY more experienced than I am. I am barely two months into the hobby and Tony Flanders, to mention just one of the contributors to your thread, is an authority in the field. Plus, given that a refractor does not have central obstruction, 4" aperture kind of equals 5" aperture on a Catadioptric of either kind. Keep refractors well into your consideration! A super-classic beginner scop has always been the Orion 80mm ED.

 

You're literally the only one who can decide which would be best:

 

- Small refractors are great for wide vistas, less so for detailed views of Planets, Moon… . MAKs are the inverse. SCTs somewhere in-between, rather closer to MAKs. Newtonians give you greatest aperture-per-euro and are (so it seems to me) good all-rounders, while being a little bulkier. The question is: what do you want to see first and foremost? Detailed views of solar system objects or wide clusters and the few nebulae that are visible in a light polluted sky? Check out this thread: https://www.cloudyni...actor-vs-5-mak/ . Also, this review of the C5 made by what reads as a very demanding reviewer – it speaks to all the models you're considering: http://scopeviews.co.uk/CelestronC5XLT.htm. And even though it's not the way I've elected for my "grab'n'go", I loved this article on the benefits of a small refractor : https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-resources/stargazing-basics/learn-the-sky/stargazing-simplified/

 

- GoTo or not? Again: really your choice although one thing I love about the hobby is getting to know the sky… and that says "manual". I do see a relation with the FoV: with a Mak or SCT you'll have about 1° at low mag. You have to be pretty good at "finding" in your finder and be spot on when you put the eye to the eyepiece. I think that it's possible even for a beginner – heck, I hope it is, I bought a C6 tube! – but you'll certainly have to work at it a lot and be ready to "miss" a fair number of times. I know I miss "first attempts" with my 2° Newt often. And if you consider a Mak or SCT, well take a look at what's on offer in the "computerized" format and note down prices, weight… might be your thing!

 

- If you go manual: alt/az or EQ? It's true that EQ mounts have counterweights. My mount (a CG-4) is not really "portable" on foot out of town – not for me at least. But I had not problem carrying it on my shoulder, accessories in the backpack and OTA in a bag, for a few hundreds of meters. If you take a scope that is light enough to sit on a small EQ mount, it might be feasible. I'm not saying you should. The question is: how important is the ability to track an object just by turning one knob instead of continually adjusting altitude and azimuth to keep it in view? If not a problem, a good alt/az is probably way lighter and less costly than a comparable EQ mount. 

 

You see? Every choice is a trade-off. You probably cannot go far wrong, but before choosing I'd do some more reading on the relative advantages and disadvantages of each "package". 

 

Good places to look for info in my experience

-- Right here

-- telescopicwatch.com 

-- Ed Ting's YouTube channel and site

-- If you want to spend on a great book: Star Ware by Phil Harrington… not up-to-date with all current models, but great for getting the basic notions 


Edited by radiofm74, 01 March 2021 - 11:00 AM.

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#16 jcj380

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:58 AM

My sort-of-ultra-portable set-up (which I keep by my backdoor for quick looks) is an 80mm short tube refractor (f/5) on a Skywatcher AZ5 mount riding on a Manfrotto 475B tripod.  This is a one-hand carry.  I upgraded to a 2-speed focuser on the 80mm, but it still weighs in at 5 pounds - about the same as my 15x70 binoculars. 

 

The Manfrotto tripod would use up a good piece of your budget, but you could get a cheaper aluminum phototripod.  I have a Benro and it works ok with the load.  My 80mm is light enough to ride on a photo pan-tilt head, but I prefer slow motion controls, so I use the AZ5.

 

Omegon sells a 90mm short refractor if you wanted to go a little bigger - not sure what the weight is.

 

Light pollution limits what DSOs I can see from home, but the 80mm has provided some nice views under dark skies, if you can get out to a darker place sometime.

 

I also have a 90mm Mak (*very* light and portable), but I don't care for the narrow FOV and use it mainly for lunar observing.


Edited by jcj380, 01 March 2021 - 11:06 AM.

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#17 Echolight

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 11:16 AM

With portability of getting up and down stairs and out of the city by foot.....

 

My thoughts are a used C5 that can get about 1.7 degrees true field of view in stock form with 1.25 inch diagonal. Excellent light grasp for it's size.

 

Second up would be a used f/7 or f/7.5 80mm refractor with ED glass. Great for widefield easily getting 3 degrees true field of view with much wider available with the right eyepieces.

 

Either of the two above would be my first choice. And either can go on a heavy duty photo mount or light alt/az mount.

Around here, used Manfrotto (Bogen) tripods are common and very reasonable. I got my 3050, which I think is the same as a 058B, for $75.

522DB0C6-214A-48D4-9234-A5C9B2D3C637.jpeg

 

Of course a 130mm newt will be the most affordable, and with a wide enough field of view. And not too heavy, but a little bulkier.

 

I don't like trying to find stuff with a scope with a very narrow field of view. Especially not on a manual mount. So a Mak might not be one I would choose.

 

On the edge of being too big and heavy to lump around. And slightly bigger to store and mount. I'd be tempted by a C6 with reducer, which is over budget. And an f/5 120mm achromatic refractor, which could probably be had within budget from Skywatcher (although it comes with a 45 degree diagonal). Skywatcher 120 AZ3.

87D6C593-7FA8-414D-B5F3-5F2A1C73A9C0.jpeg


Edited by Echolight, 01 March 2021 - 11:36 AM.


#18 sg6

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 11:22 AM

First thoiught is the ever present one of consider the mount that you want, not the scope. Changing scopes is easier then changing mounts. Well a bit easier.

 

So putting the scope into second place and for portability I would say get the Skywatcher Az GTi mount. Will cost around €400-€450 I suspect, so that wipes out a chunk of the budget.

 

Then go look at the Bresser site and get one of the 80mm 640mm refractors - just not sure if they are sold as OTA only. If not search through the TS or Astroshop site they should have a match.

 

Put scope on mount, buy a lithium battery and load the Synscan app onto an Android phone or tablet.

 

Now you have a small portable and easy to use goto.

 

If you want better optics then look at an 80mm ED, but as said that is easy, you just save up more €. You are in some ways limited by the mass of whatever scope. I use a 72ED on my Az GTi and works well.

 

Has the option of slight flexability in that you can add a solar filter or Herschel Wedge (the TS one comes with a Continium filter) and you can go solar viewing. There is something a little different about solar viewing in the sun, on a warm day with a beer at hand.

 

Mak and use: Have a 105, too narrow for comfort, well ease I suppose mainly and it is a goto. Haven't used it for some years.



#19 sevenofnine

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 11:42 AM

I recommend considering the 5 inch Mak on a go-to mount. Either from Orion or Sky Watcher. The Orion Apex version sold separately come with it's own small duffel bag. A compact go-to can be carried in the other hand for short distances. I do it all the time. It's very nice to have the go-to feature on a Mak because it off sets the narrowness of the view in my opinion. The mount also tracks the object. Another great feature. Just a note on the narrow FOV comments. This is mostly comes from star hoppers who hate dealing with go-to electronics. I use both and find the newer go-to's pretty easy to use. Good luck on your choice! hmm.gif



#20 Bigal1817

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 11:56 AM

Welcome! My first telescope is a 102mm refractor and I still own it today. The Meade Infinity 102mm comes with slow-motion controls, starter eyepieces, and a tripod/mount. The tripod/mount is sturdy enough to get you started. On a positive note, it is super light-weight and you can scoop up the whole assembly with one hand and climb your two flights of stairs in one trip. As you grow in the hobby, this telescope can grow with you. You may choose to convert this telescope into an intermediate OTA from a beginner with the following purchases: rings, dovetail, new mount, enhanced diagonal, eyepieces, etc. I have purchased all of them and still use the telescope today. Good luck!


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#21 Pokemoncrusher1

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 12:34 PM

My situation at my city home is quite similar to yours.

<...snip...>

100% agree, my z130 works perfectly well for urban dsos, imo the collapsible tabletops are not as good in an urban envioremtn because they get light scatter without a sheild, the z130 also has tube rings. My z130 was 



#22 rhetfield

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 05:05 PM

100% agree, my z130 works perfectly well for urban dsos, imo the collapsible tabletops are not as good in an urban envioremtn because they get light scatter without a sheild, the z130 also has tube rings. My z130 was 

Do know that it is dirt cheap and easy to put a shroud on a collapsible tabletop.  The shroud stays on permanently and retracts into the tube when collapsed.



#23 Tigril

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 05:07 PM

Again thanks for all the replies. It’s great for beginners to get that much support and input.


A 80ED seems to be a good scope. But from what I’ve found it’s very expensive in Germany. I’ll need to find a place to buy it as a used.


Without ED, a short achromat can be very portable and useful for my criteria. But I am not sure how annoying the chromatic abberation will be due to the short f ratio. Maybe the CA could be reduced with some filters?


But I got some very useful input. And it looks like that every type of telescope has a more or less portable version. I will need to check all the pros and cons of each suggestion to find something to start with.
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#24 jcj380

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 05:38 PM

Maybe the CA could be reduced with some filters?

Yes, but I've never found the CA on my scopes to be very bad so I don't bother.  But everybody has different tolerances.


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#25 DAG792

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 11:34 PM

Without ED, a short achromat can be very portable and useful for my criteria. But I am not sure how annoying the chromatic abberation will be due to the short f ratio. Maybe the CA could be reduced with some filters?

For just wide field and low magnifications(les than 30-40X), a short achromat shows no chromatism. However, using high-power on the planets will suffer. CA will reduce contrast, and personally I'm really distracted by false-color. If an 80ED is expensive, try looking for a 72ED(by Skywatcher). Almost the same aperture, but quite a lot more affordable.




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