Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Budget backpack telescope

Beginner
  • Please log in to reply
51 replies to this topic

#26 NYJohn S

NYJohn S

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,636
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Northport, NY

Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:16 AM

Actually you just make me look at another model that I think it is ok for its dimensions:

 

http://skywatcher.co...duct/bk-705az3/

 

As far as I have understood this was formerly called the Skywatcher AC 70/500 Mercury AZ-3 .

What do you think about it? It is a good one or it is crap?

I'm not familiar with that model. It looks similar to the 80mm just a smaller aperture. The same place sells it. I'm not sure how you would carry that tripod and mount though - https://www.teleskop...r-70-500mm.html

 

They sell the optical tube by itself but it doesn't come with a diagonal or any eyepieces - https://www.teleskop...r-70-500mm.html

 

It seems like the 80mm is the better deal. It's the same price and comes with a finder, diagonal and 2 eyepieces to get you started. It also has a photo tripod adapter so you can use it with a compact photo tripod. 



#27 laurelg9

laurelg9

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 105
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2020
  • Loc: Dayton, OH, USA

Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:29 AM

I have both an older ST80 and a pair of Oberwerks 15x70 LWs and both strike me as travel-able options.  Oberwerks sells a monopod that holds the 15x70s and looks like something that would lighten up the load on a hike.  I also have a basic tripod with an 11 lb limit and it holds my ST80 okay, certainly okay enough for a hike.  



#28 JohnnyBGood

JohnnyBGood

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 529
  • Joined: 10 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Panama City Beach, FL

Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:57 AM

JohnnyBGood I totally agree with the table-top issues, and I didn't know that the mount of the 80 was that big. My point with 70mm telescopes is about their length: a 700mm scope isn't uncomfortable to carry around due to its length? That's why I am more oriented to a 400mm length like the 80.

While the 70/700 optical tube itself is slightly longer than the 80/400, both tubes are shorter than the tripod/mount, so in a carrying bag it's the tripod legs that take up the most space. The Infinity 70 fully assembled is about 3.2 kilos, the Infinity 80 is right at 5 kilos. Most of the mass difference comes from the heavier tripod and mount on the Infinity 80 (steel vs aluminum), and the Infinity 70 tripod and mount fold up into a smaller package than the tripod/mount on the Infinity 80. Both scopes are easy to carry one-handed when fully assembled. Something like the Meade Adventure Scope 80 is the lightest and most compact option, but the tripod and mount will be much more frustrating to use than either of the others. My son's 70/400 scope came with the same tripod and it was so annoying for him to use I had to buy a sturdier tripod and mount for using it at home. The heavier 80/400 scope would have to be even worse.



#29 druotolo

druotolo

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Nice (France) & Italy

Posted 03 March 2021 - 09:31 AM

While the 70/700 optical tube itself is slightly longer than the 80/400, both tubes are shorter than the tripod/mount, so in a carrying bag it's the tripod legs that take up the most space. The Infinity 70 fully assembled is about 3.2 kilos, the Infinity 80 is right at 5 kilos. Most of the mass difference comes from the heavier tripod and mount on the Infinity 80 (steel vs aluminum), and the Infinity 70 tripod and mount fold up into a smaller package than the tripod/mount on the Infinity 80. Both scopes are easy to carry one-handed when fully assembled. Something like the Meade Adventure Scope 80 is the lightest and most compact option, but the tripod and mount will be much more frustrating to use than either of the others. My son's 70/400 scope came with the same tripod and it was so annoying for him to use I had to buy a sturdier tripod and mount for using it at home. The heavier 80/400 scope would have to be even worse.

Yeah, I've heard about the tripod/mount of the AdventureScope... So your suggestion is the Meade Infinity 70mm, since it is the one that weight less and that will take the less space when folded.

The difference between the Infinity 70 and the StarPro 70 is in only in the mount, right? The one of the StarPro is a better one but weight more + costs more.


Edited by druotolo, 03 March 2021 - 09:37 AM.


#30 csrlice12

csrlice12

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 27,845
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 03 March 2021 - 12:11 PM

I'm for the ST80 on a photo tripod/mount.....for planets, just put the lens cap back on and remove the center cap....this gives you a 40mm f12ish scope, which will work for planets....for wide field, the monopod can be used as the mount and a walking stick.


  • Jay_Bird, SpaceConqueror3 and mrsjeff like this

#31 LuxTerra

LuxTerra

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 247
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2020

Posted 03 March 2021 - 12:43 PM

Welcome fellow backpacker! Interesting question and I would inquire about clarifying your use case. I view this as, finding a telescope to fit your envisioned backpacking experience, not how much scope can I backpack. The stars when you get out there are amazing.

 

I've backpacked everything from day hikes to 700mi runs, sub-10lbs base weight multi-month setups to 50lbs camping expeditions. Each backpacking experience is different. I've tried the super ultralight 5lbs thing and just don't enjoy it. Generally, I can be super comfortable, multi-week/month capable at a base weight of 10-12lbs including electronics (e.g. photos). That's most of my trips the last couple of years and I average 20miles/day on the AT. I have no problem going heavier for special trips where the objective is not just backpacking. For my baseline, I wouldn't consider carrying anything more than <2lbs binoculars unless the trip was primarily for star seeing.

 

I do have a 85mm refractor on a super light tripod, but it's largish and heavy (closer to 5lbs than not) for my typical backpacking setup. The views are much better than the binoculars though. Don't forget that larger scopes can quickly scale out of control if you need dew heaters, use fixed eyepieces instead of a variable, etc. I checked, I can technically fit my EdgeHD 8" or RASA8 into my backpack because they're similar in size to a bear canister. I only intend to "backpack" it at most from the car to a mountain top for an overnighter (haven't tried yet). However, it's going to be a 50lbs setup easy.

 

Edit: although, if I had the monies, I'd break my <2lbs binocular rule for one of these: https://www.zeiss.co...x60-s.html#data If anyone wants to buy me a pair, I'll gladly carry them. :)


Edited by LuxTerra, 03 March 2021 - 12:53 PM.


#32 SpaceConqueror3

SpaceConqueror3

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,084
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA

Posted 03 March 2021 - 04:23 PM

I'm for the ST80 on a photo tripod/mount.....for planets, just put the lens cap back on and remove the center cap....this gives you a 40mm f12ish scope, which will work for planets....for wide field, the monopod can be used as the mount and a walking stick.

I've never backpacked with mine but it's gone all my car camping trips....

 

ST80 Arco, ID Solar Eclipse

 

Table Mountain SP

  • rocketsteve, NYJohn S, mrsjeff and 1 other like this

#33 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 19,484
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 03 March 2021 - 05:50 PM

I'm searching for a budget "backpack telescope", meaning a cheap telescope that I can take with me while hiking or travelling with nothing but my backpack.


Let me second LuxTera's question about precisely what you mean by this. I should also point out that the term "backpacking" means something very different in Europe and in the United States. In Europe, the normal meaning is throwing a bunch of regular street clothes and other paraphernalia into a backpack and traveling from city to city by train, bus, or hitchhiking. You would typically be staying in hostels, possibly wouldn't even carry a sleeping bag, and certainly wouldn't carry cooking gear.

In the United States, backpacking means throwing everything you need to stay warm, dry, and fed into a backpack and heading out into the wilderness for a few days and nights on foot. That means carrying a whole lot more than you need if you're in constant contact with civilization.

To put this in context, I took a trip to Chile many years back primarily to observe the southern sky but also to explore the country and its mountains. I did a large fraction of my travel by bus, and often carried all my possessions on my back for several km from bus station to lodging, or whatever. I also brought a sleeping bag, which I only used once -- but boy was that one night well worth it!

I took a 100-mm f/6 refractor on photo-tripod legs with a special head designed for astronomy. The entire rig probably weighed around 10 kg, including cases and 10x50 binoculars. That's a lot of weight to devote to one activity -- but it was the primary reason for my trip, after all. The backpack as a whole was well upward of 20 kg, which gets tiring if you're doing much rough walking.

On typical trips these days with my wife, we're more often backpacking in the European sense, not even taking sleeping bags. However, we're also taking more stuff for civilization, like changes of clothes. For such trips, I rarely find that I want to take anything heavier and bulkier than 10x50 binoculars for astronomy equipment. 10x50 binoculars are very potent under dark skies, quite useful also in cities and museums, and add hardly any extra burden at all.


  • LDW47, Adun and LuxTerra like this

#34 JohnnyBGood

JohnnyBGood

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 529
  • Joined: 10 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Panama City Beach, FL

Posted 04 March 2021 - 08:21 AM

Yeah, I've heard about the tripod/mount of the AdventureScope... So your suggestion is the Meade Infinity 70mm, since it is the one that weight less and that will take the less space when folded.

The difference between the Infinity 70 and the StarPro 70 is in only in the mount, right? The one of the StarPro is a better one but weight more + costs more.

Yes, the StarPro 70 has the same optical specs but a different mount and tripod. The Infinity 70 has a yoke mount with basic slow motion control for the Y axis only and an aluminum tripod. The StarPro 70 has a side mount with better quality slow motion controls for both the X and Y axes and, I think, fiberglass tripod legs. The StarPro 70 is much more pleasant to operate, but again costs a bit more and weighs an extra half kilo or so. I do not think it would fit in the Infinity 60-70 case but should fit in the Polaris 70-80-90 bag or the Infinity 80-90-102 bag.

 

Again, my suggestion is based on a balance between weight, compactness, and ease of use. For your budget you could get a nicer, larger telescope but it would be heavier and bulkier. It all depends on what your most important needs and priorities are.


  • druotolo likes this

#35 druotolo

druotolo

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Nice (France) & Italy

Posted 04 March 2021 - 09:52 AM

Let me second LuxTera's question about precisely what you mean by this. I should also point out that the term "backpacking" means something very different in Europe and in the United States. In Europe, the normal meaning is throwing a bunch of regular street clothes and other paraphernalia into a backpack and traveling from city to city by train, bus, or hitchhiking. You would typically be staying in hostels, possibly wouldn't even carry a sleeping bag, and certainly wouldn't carry cooking gear.

In the United States, backpacking means throwing everything you need to stay warm, dry, and fed into a backpack and heading out into the wilderness for a few days and nights on foot. That means carrying a whole lot more than you need if you're in constant contact with civilization.

Hi Tony,

I see your point. So my idea of backpacking is taking a small-medium backpack and going hiking for 2 or 3 days, sleeping in a tent or in a in shelter / hut. I won't take any cooking stuff with me, just water, sandwiches and some clothes.


  • LDW47 likes this

#36 druotolo

druotolo

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Nice (France) & Italy

Posted 04 March 2021 - 09:55 AM

Again, my suggestion is based on a balance between weight, compactness, and ease of use. For your budget you could get a nicer, larger telescope but it would be heavier and bulkier. It all depends on what your most important needs and priorities are.

Yes indeed, that's what I am searching for: a balance between weight, compactness and the best I can get with a small budget (I am saving my money for my home telescope). Just for information, which telescopes are you referring to when you say "For your budget you could get a nicer, larger telescope" ?



#37 rhetfield

rhetfield

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,480
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2019
  • Loc: Suburban Chicago, IL, USA

Posted 04 March 2021 - 10:41 AM

Hi Tony,

I see your point. So my idea of backpacking is taking a small-medium backpack and going hiking for 2 or 3 days, sleeping in a tent or in a in shelter / hut. I won't take any cooking stuff with me, just water, sandwiches and some clothes.

In that sort of environment, another thing to consider with a heritage 130 is that it only takes a phillips screwdriver and a couple allen wrenches to completely disassemble it.  It is fairly forgiving of dirt and crud - the mirrors can be field cleaned with care and the focuser can also be easily field cleaned.  Collimation is also easy in the field.

 

In fact, if one was so inclined, the mirror cell and secondary mirror can be removed and stored separately and the empty tube stuffed with other gear in the pack.  Collimation would be more work, but not too horrible.



#38 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,718
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 04 March 2021 - 01:46 PM



Hi Tony,

I see your point. So my idea of backpacking is taking a small-medium backpack and going hiking for 2 or 3 days, sleeping in a tent or in a in shelter / hut. I won't take any cooking stuff with me, just water, sandwiches and some clothes.


Well, I have "backpacked" a 3.5" MCT in the Alps. It takes roughly the same weight/size of a 1l water bottle (a bit over 1kg), while the Heritage is much larger, much heavier and, above anything else, much more frail. The tube takes a very relevant amount of room in the backpack so I do not see myself carrying it, not even for a single day trip.

To the tube must add ca 400g for a couple of eyepieces, the stardiagonal and the red dot finder

Those small MCTs are quite rugged, I shielded mine by padding it with the heavier clothes I was not wearing at lower altitudes.

 

The biggest issue, and by far, is the mount. I use my smallest telescopes with phototripods and ballheads, which are much lighter and smaller than astronomical mounts of similar capacity, but tend to be more expensive.

I am very fond of this tabletop tripod, which use for both photography and stargazing (and astrophotography as well)

gallery_215679_8115_2457024.jpg

The tripod is "modular" in the sense that can raise the legs by adding more rods: the longest ones you can see here are 30cm, while the "feet", which are the rods ending with the rubber balls, are 20cm long.

At its shortest the tripod is surprisingly stable but of course the more the rods, the less stable it becomes.

On the other hand it takes very little room and just around 1kg with six 30cm rods, three 15cm rods and the regular legs (this is how tall I am willing to use, which is enough to observe by sitting on a camping stool; but when hiking very often have used it with just the legs and 15cm rods exploiting rocks and boulders).


  • NYJohn S and druotolo like this

#39 druotolo

druotolo

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Nice (France) & Italy

Posted 04 March 2021 - 02:24 PM

I would like to thank you all once again for all your advices!

 

A Maksutov-Cassegrains would be ideal, but unfortunately it is out of my budget.

 

So it seems that now the choice should be between:

- Meade Infinity AZ 70mm : I know this is well reviewed and provides everything out-of-the-box (https://www.meade.co...ope/category/2/)

- Skywatcher StarTravel 80 mm OTA + photo tripod : I don't know at all the OTA, is that any good? (http://skywatcher.co...duct/bk-804az3/)

 

...furthermore here in Europe ALL the telescopes are unavailable at the moment, it seems the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the Synta distribution a lot ! They should return on the market in late spring/summer... bawling.gif


Edited by druotolo, 04 March 2021 - 02:26 PM.

  • Adun likes this

#40 peta62

peta62

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 313
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2011

Posted 04 March 2021 - 02:57 PM

SkyWatcher is f/5, so it will be more susceptible to chromatic aberration, especially on planets, Moon and very bright stars. On the other hand it will be excellent on Milky Way scanning, large DSOs and gathers 30% more light. I would go with this one, but it is just me, depends what do you want to see better with the scope.



#41 Hesiod

Hesiod

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,718
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013

Posted 04 March 2021 - 04:45 PM

I would like to thank you all once again for all your advices!

 

A Maksutov-Cassegrains would be ideal, but unfortunately it is out of my budget.

 

So it seems that now the choice should be between:

- Meade Infinity AZ 70mm : I know this is well reviewed and provides everything out-of-the-box (https://www.meade.co...ope/category/2/)

- Skywatcher StarTravel 80 mm OTA + photo tripod : I don't know at all the OTA, is that any good? (http://skywatcher.co...duct/bk-804az3/)

 

...furthermore here in Europe ALL the telescopes are unavailable at the moment, it seems the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the Synta distribution a lot ! They should return on the market in late spring/summer... bawling.gif

A first issue is the mount: even if not really a good one (mind that is an understatement...), still the mount bundled with the Meade is too large to fit into a backpack.

At best you may hang it to the ice ax slot, but it is very hard for me to figure how could afford such dead weight for a two or three days trek.

Then there is the tube: being closer to one meter long and not especially sturdy, is another item nasty to fit into a loaded backpack.

Also the whole telescope should be somewhere between 3.5 and 4 kg, which is quite a lot for unnecessary stuff

Under this regard the 80/400 tube is vastly better, being less than half as long; but again there is the matter of the mount.

With your budget I think you can not find both a tube and a mount suitable for several days long treks, unless are planning to hike as HM Stanley (but if can afford to bring along a copper bathtub there are also much better options for the telescopelol.gif ).

Since neither of the options within your budget would work, my advice is either to get a 8x30 or 10x50 bino (mind that the whole point of being into the dark is to observe deep sky stuff; to observe planets do not have to climb the Alps or be lost in the wilderness), or keep saving until can afford a kit more fitting to your wishes



#42 LuxTerra

LuxTerra

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 247
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2020

Posted 04 March 2021 - 09:57 PM

Hi Tony,

I see your point. So my idea of backpacking is taking a small-medium backpack and going hiking for 2 or 3 days, sleeping in a tent or in a in shelter / hut. I won't take any cooking stuff with me, just water, sandwiches and some clothes.

Ya, having done some hiking like that in Europe, mostly Germany, that sounds far more obtainable. First, as you said, you don’t need literally everything to survive for an extended period of time, you can afford the volume and mass. Second, since you’re only going out for 2-3 days, if the weather forecast isn’t great, you simply don’t bring the telescope. That’s a bigger deal than you might assume, but if you’ve been out in the wilderness for weeks/months you realize just how bad the weather can get in the mountains and that nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing at any price, stays totally dry/clean in the worst conditions. The mountaineers know what I’m talking about. Thus, for the American style of backpacking, a sealed set of binoculars is about perfect.

 

However, under a lighter European hiking, I could see carrying a small telescope. Most computerized/GoTo mounts are probably out of the question. Too many things to break, too heavy, too many batteries, etc. I have an 85mm refractor/spotting scope with a single variable eyepiece (8-24x) on a manual ball head and carbon fiber tripod that I would easily consider taking on such a trip. It’s just over 4lbs IIRC and not something I’d take on an American backpacking trip, but it was something I was considering for my Kungsledgen 2020 trip (all of it, not just the northern section)...COVID killed that plan. I probably would have fell back to the binoculars due to the one wilderness section requiring carrying about 5+ days of food resulting in a pack larger/heavier than I would prefer. However, it’s so dark out there, I’d have to bring something. Plan B as the binoculars. I have considering getting a nice monocular for those longer/faster trips.

 

I had to piece together that 85mm kit to get is as light as I did. It’s definitely not as stable as a traditional telescope system. I used lightweight camera tripod/ball head with an adapter plate. The shipping weight on your SkyWatcher link is 12kg. Now, some of that is packaging and manuals, but that’s mostly cardboard and foam. The actual telescope w/tripod probably weighs around 6+kg total? The Meade is lighter, but gathers less light and is a longer tube (700m focal length vs 400mm, not that the actual tube is that long, but it gives you a ball park). There’s probably things you can do to the system to make it lighter. I’d ditch the read dot because you’ll probably have a wide field eyepiece anyways. Cutting down the tripod legs or removing the extensions would help a lot. Remember, you’re only going to looking at the stars when the weather is nice and you just spent the day hiking, so sitting is probably nice and you likely have some sort of pad/camp chair around. Why would you need a standing tripod? I don’t know how those twist adjusters will work in the field, but a that could be swapped for simple ball head.

 

Lot’s of things you can do here, but of those two, I’d get the SkyWatcher over the Mead. Tripod on anything is going to need mods IMHO before you’ll want to carry the mass/volume. Totally workable though. If you’re careful, you might be able to get away with using your sleeping bag and water proof stuff sack that it should be going into to store the OTA. Stuff some of the bag into the stuff sack, put the tube in, stuff around it and seal. Pack that bag so the tube is vertical long your spine and mid-back. If that’s too risky, cardboard packing tubes could work, but they’re heavy. Carbon fiber tubes are too expensive. Thin walled PVC might work.

 

I’d probably carry the tripod on the outside of the pack. It can get wet/dirty and straps are easy. Carrying it vertical could be a problem since it would move the weight too far to one side or too far from your body. I’d probably try and carry it horizontal under the pack like some people carry pads. It’s now low (around butt level) and close to your body. As is, the length in any horizontal position is just going to be too wide (most tripods like this are going to be 0.8-1m in length), but if you mod it to <0.5m it should be fine.

 

Just some thoughts.



#43 radiofm74

radiofm74

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 265
  • Joined: 17 Jan 2021
  • Loc: Milano (Italy)

Posted 05 March 2021 - 02:13 AM

I would like to thank you all once again for all your advices!

 

A Maksutov-Cassegrains would be ideal, but unfortunately it is out of my budget.

 

So it seems that now the choice should be between:

- Meade Infinity AZ 70mm : I know this is well reviewed and provides everything out-of-the-box (https://www.meade.co...ope/category/2/)

- Skywatcher StarTravel 80 mm OTA + photo tripod : I don't know at all the OTA, is that any good? (http://skywatcher.co...duct/bk-804az3/)

 

...furthermore here in Europe ALL the telescopes are unavailable at the moment, it seems the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the Synta distribution a lot ! They should return on the market in late spring/summer... bawling.gif

To your last point: there's a LOT of stuff on the used market – especially small refractors, which many "grow out of* and put on the market. Buying used will bring into your budget better gear. 

 

The key website in Italy is: http://astrosell.it . Sellers have ratings so you know well from whom you're buying (NB; many "four out of five stars" are not less-than-honest, but have not sold yet on the website… I'm one myself!)

 

There is also a good France-based forum like this one, with a rich classified section called "Webastro".

 

I've bought gear from both sources with good experience so far.

 

I'm following the discussion with great interest!


  • druotolo likes this

#44 JohnnyBGood

JohnnyBGood

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 529
  • Joined: 10 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Panama City Beach, FL

Posted 05 March 2021 - 09:33 AM

Yes indeed, that's what I am searching for: a balance between weight, compactness and the best I can get with a small budget (I am saving my money for my home telescope). Just for information, which telescopes are you referring to when you say "For your budget you could get a nicer, larger telescope" ?

For your max budget (or only slightly over) you could probably get one of the 130mm f/5 or f/8 reflectors, a 90-102mm refractor, or possibly even a 150mm Dob. But they'd be less convenient to carry with you and the reflectors give upside down images. Fine for astro use (since there's no up or down in space) but not so good for land use.



#45 NYJohn S

NYJohn S

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,636
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Northport, NY

Posted 05 March 2021 - 10:11 AM

I would like to thank you all once again for all your advices!

 

A Maksutov-Cassegrains would be ideal, but unfortunately it is out of my budget.

 

So it seems that now the choice should be between:

- Meade Infinity AZ 70mm : I know this is well reviewed and provides everything out-of-the-box (https://www.meade.co...ope/category/2/)

- Skywatcher StarTravel 80 mm OTA + photo tripod : I don't know at all the OTA, is that any good? (http://skywatcher.co...duct/bk-804az3/)

 

...furthermore here in Europe ALL the telescopes are unavailable at the moment, it seems the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the Synta distribution a lot ! They should return on the market in late spring/summer... bawling.gif

It's an ST80 which has been around for many years and sold by various manufacturers. Many experienced observers have one to go along with their more expensive telescopes. The Meade version is in stock on amazon - https://www.amazon.c...3226431993&th=1

 

I see an option to choose shipping to Italy but without an address I can't confirm that they'll deliver there and at what cost. You may want to check that out. If not I'd look for a used one. They come up often. There's an Orion Version, Sky Watcher, Omegon to name a few.

 

I would upgrade the tripod if the Meade is available in Italy but that's a decision you could make once you have it. The diagonal really should be upgraded as well.



#46 druotolo

druotolo

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Nice (France) & Italy

Posted 05 March 2021 - 01:06 PM

To your last point: there's a LOT of stuff on the used market – especially small refractors, which many "grow out of* and put on the market. Buying used will bring into your budget better gear. 

 

The key website in Italy is: http://astrosell.it . Sellers have ratings so you know well from whom you're buying (NB; many "four out of five stars" are not less-than-honest, but have not sold yet on the website… I'm one myself!)

 

There is also a good France-based forum like this one, with a rich classified section called "Webastro".

Thanks man, I'll take a look. I didn't know at all the french one.

 

It's an ST80 which has been around for many years and sold by various manufacturers. Many experienced observers have one to go along with their more expensive telescopes. The Meade version is in stock on amazon - https://www.amazon.c...3226431993&th=1

 

I see an option to choose shipping to Italy but without an address I can't confirm that they'll deliver there and at what cost. You may want to check that out. If not I'd look for a used one. They come up often. There's an Orion Version, Sky Watcher, Omegon to name a few.

 

I would upgrade the tripod if the Meade is available in Italy but that's a decision you could make once you have it. The diagonal really should be upgraded as well.

Hi NYJohn S, thanks a lot for the link, actually I'm Italian but I live in France, and buying stuff on Amazon outside European Union (even from UK thanks to the Brexit) means that you have to pay a lot for custom duties, so I need to wait or to search something on the used market, fortunately I have no urgency... but thanks! ;-) 

About the ST80, yes, I see that it is sold by several brands and most of them are selling the same OTA produced by Synta, I will check which one come with the best accessories, given that I already own the goldline series of eyepieces. Maybe I need to search one with a good diagonal...
Regarding the camera tripod, this one looks interesting to me: it's in aluminum, it weights only 0.5 kg and folded it's just 42 cm, it claims to hold 3kg (the ST80 OTA is almost 2kg).

https://www.amazon.f...f8-c44f2e1370d4
 


  • radiofm74 likes this

#47 DouglasPaul

DouglasPaul

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2020
  • Loc: Monroe Washington

Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:50 PM

Have you looked into this?  You may find one available there...https://www.amazon.c...14976551&sr=8-3

 

A review from a member here..https://www.cloudyni...tov-cassegrain/

 

It seems they are being sold under different brands so you may have to do some research.


Edited by DouglasPaul, 05 March 2021 - 03:53 PM.


#48 Adun

Adun

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,695
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2016

Posted 05 March 2021 - 05:04 PM

Hi Tony,

I see your point. So my idea of backpacking is taking a small-medium backpack and going hiking for 2 or 3 days, sleeping in a tent or in a in shelter / hut. I won't take any cooking stuff with me, just water, sandwiches and some clothes.

 

I was faced with a similar dilemma a few years ago (details of that experience here) and I ended up taking my GoScope instead of my 90mm mak (and I'm glad I did). I agree with those who recommend you the GoScope and the ST80/Adveture80.

 

Here are my thoughts about why:

 

* If the place you're going hiking, has much less light pollution than you normally have access to in your home town/city (i.e. it's a "dark sky") then it is worth it to bring a telescope, not just binoculars. (see my linked story about observing the Carina nebula).

 

* The "versatile" "do it all" telescope is either a myth or a very expensive (and heavy) apo refractor.

 

* If you can't bring a versatile apo, then since the moon/planets can be observed perfectly from the city, then to make the best of the darker skies you'd want to bring the most lightweight DSO capable scope to your hike/trip. An achro or fast reflector might suffice.

 

* What kills the trip is actually the mount + tripod. The heavier the telescope OTA, the heavier the mount it needs, so you want an OTA as lightweight as possible (but not a "toy refractor"). Also the longer the scope's focal length (maks, SCTs), the more sensitive it will be to vibrations, needing sturdier (thus heavier) tripod+mount. This means a scope with shorter focal length lends itself better for hikes. Binoculars are the extreme example of this, needing no tripod/mount.

 

 

So for me that meant not my 90mm mak, nor my 114mm Z114 but my 80mm GoScope. It is impressively lightweight at 1.3kg which meant it was happy on a sideways ball head tripod, and 80mm is a decent aperture for observing the larger/brighter DSOs.

 

A very popular choice with north-americans is the Orion ST80 (meade AdventureScope 80, Skywatcher StarTravel 80) with all sorts of tripods/mounts.

 

Another option is the AWB OneSky (Skywatcher heritage 130 in Europe), with a dwarf star mount (see here). More aperture and no CA, at the cost of more weight+bulk.

 

 

Of course if it would be your first scope the choice is much more complicated, it always is. For what it's worth: Even though now I have a 150mm SCT which is rather compact and good for car-travel, I'm not getting rid of my GoScope, and I still take it to those more "off-road" destinations.


Edited by Adun, 05 March 2021 - 06:10 PM.

  • radiofm74 likes this

#49 rocketsteve

rocketsteve

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 514
  • Joined: 17 Apr 2011
  • Loc: DFW, Texas

Posted 06 March 2021 - 10:21 AM

This is about as compact and backpack-friendly as you're going to get...

 

 

Celestron 90 Mak & Tripod 1.jpg Celestron 90 Mak & Tripod 2.jpg

 

https://www.opticspl...-with-trip.html


  • SpaceConqueror3 and radiofm74 like this

#50 luxo II

luxo II

    Gemini

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,400
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 08 March 2021 - 09:32 PM

If you're prepared to DIY there's a far superior solution possible. Total weight 18lbs.

 

https://www.cloudyni...russ-dob/page-2

 

See posts #31...#33. 


Edited by luxo II, 08 March 2021 - 09:34 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Beginner



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics