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Maksutov - would it make me happy?

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#1 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 10:29 AM

Hello,

 

I still consider myself a beginner - I have started with astronomy 3 years ago and have only one telescope, Skywatcher 250 Dobsonian. Currently I use it also for AP (I am at the very beginning of this journey) with EQ6-R mount. 

 

As it happens, a person always needs to have something to look forward to and for me, I believe, the time has come to start thinking about getting an additional telescope. This is not an urgent matter, it is more like I want to have something to read and think about.

 

What telescope in let us say range of up to EUR 1000-1500 would give me the most different possibilities from my current one? I am not looking to get the same as I have now, only better. Getting a bigger Newtonian would not be practical considering even this one is quite big for the mount. I am looking for something that will give me a quite different experience.

 

I thought about a Maksutov one, maybe even Skywatcher 180/2700 - would that give me a true wow effect when using it for planets and especially the moon compared to my current scope? Considering both visual and AP use. Is that change really worth the money spent or is it more advisable to invest in some goodies for the current scope?

 

Thanks for any opinions.

 

A.



#2 Supernova74

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 10:56 AM

Well as your most probably already aware of now there is no such thing as a perfect scope and that’s why many amateurs own several scopes.the correct tool for the right job so to speak.you already own a deep sky rig in your skywatcher 250 dobsonian.and without a doubt an maksutov would be a great addition to your line up.i owned the skywatcher 150 mak and was over the moon with it exscuse the pun lol.and there is nothing else on the market today I believe that comes close at that price range for exceptional optical quality,APO refractor like views,pinpoint sharp star images,great for the planets and splitting double stars.the 180mm mak will easy out perform a 5” APO,ED refractor which would cost at least double the price and then some.the maksutov is not so demanding on your mount either as having a shorter OTA than a refractor which improves a better centre of gravity and less strain on the motor drives.

 

the slight draw back is due to having two chunks of glass on the correcter end and the primary mirror cooling times are not great and could take several hours to cool down outside to the ambient temperature,the field of view will be more narrow compared to your dob and takes a little bit of getting used to.but generally handle high power views very well.

regarding AP I don,t know many amateurs who actually use them funny enough it could be generally thay are not ideal due to the optical design.however to put a spanner in the works if you are swaying to AP,imaging route the Refractor as mentioned would be your best friend as thay also offer wide field views.so you need to think to yourself what your end goal would be either AP,imaging or just visual!?,as for visual even tho the more narrow field of view I would pick the mak for imaging Ap I would go for the APO,ED refractors.


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#3 DHurst

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 10:57 AM

“Would that give me a true wow effect...?”

No! Aperture is aperture.

You should, perhaps,  get a small refractor that will allow you to get wide fields, and work better on your mount than a large reflector.


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#4 bobhen

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 10:59 AM

Most people select a refractor to complement their larger Newtonian. Or maybe it’s the other way round. In any case, a Newtonian and a refactor have different strengths (more different than a Newtonian compared to an SCT or Mak) that each brings to the party and they make a fine two-scope solution.

 

General observing of all objects including solar observing, wide field deep sky observing, deep sky imaging and more can be accomplished with a fine refractor.

 

If portability is important for travel or a quick set up, then something in the 100-115mm class would be a consideration. If portability is less of a concern, then the 125-130mm class might be a consideration.

 

I presume you are in Europe. Have a look at the retailer Telescope Service and their Photoline apo refractors. They have choices and sizes that will fit within your budget. Some choices are a little better for visual, some for imaging and some for both.

 

HERE is a link.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 05 March 2021 - 11:00 AM.


#5 MisterDan

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 11:00 AM

I recommend honest evaluation of some key factors before spending EUR 1500 for a (hopefully) "better" telescope:

- your sky's typical conditions (seeing and transparency)

- your 250's optics and collimation

- your astrophotography "goals" (nebulae and galaxies?, planets/moon?, wide/expansive fields?)

- your visual "goals" or preferences

- your potential new telescope's "strengths" (portability? aperture? focal length and/or ratio?...)

 

If your 250 has a good (or excellent) mirror, and it is precisely collimated and thermally stable, the "wow" factor should already be present and visible.

 

If you're simply not sure if the "right" telescope for you is a general-purpose Newtonian, a mid-sized Maksutov, an imaging-optimized apochromat, or "something else," I highly recommend doing what you can to try some of those other types of telescopes before making another purchase.

 

Tell us some more about your experiences, goals, and opinions.

 

Best wishes.

Dan


Edited by MisterDan, 05 March 2021 - 01:01 PM.

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#6 mikeDnight

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 11:02 AM

With the Maksutov you'll get a much more easy to handle package, and because of the ease and comfort, you'll possibly use it more than your 10" Dob.  The Mak will make a nice lunar, planetary & double star scope, and it will also pack a punch on dso's too. If you want something that will complement your Dobsonian even better, then you might consider a 4" ED refractor. With the refractor you'll get a wider field of view, which for rich star fields will leave you in awe. The refractor will take high mag's well and is a great all round performer. Technosky offer a nice ED doublet.



#7 Sandy Swede

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 11:04 AM

Your current scope is f/5 if I looked that up correctly. Good for wide field
views of DSOs. A Maksutov with its long FL is great for lunar and planetary. You will
like the views of the moon and planets through, say, the Skywatcher 180 Mak.

#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 11:32 AM

The 7” Mak has roughly the same CO as your reflector, so in theory it shouldn’t have any better contrast. However it is more portable, no diffraction spikes, you don’t have to get collimation dialed in precisely each time out for good planetary views at 200x+, and you can insulate the Mak to deal with cooldown. It is also easier to binoview with Cassegrains. Certainly the long focal length would be great for planetary imaging.

That being said DSO will be twice as bright in the Newt, and the Newt certainly won’t be twice as heavy. And in theory the Newt should provide better planetary contrast, assuming you deal with collimation and cooling, and assuming similar optical quality and high quality eyepieces.

A grab and go Apo makes more sense to me.

Scott
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#9 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 12:28 PM

Everyone, thank you. 

 

I will read through all of this properly and will react later.



#10 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 01:04 PM

I do not want to quote each reply separately and mess up the topic, so I will try to react rather generally. I hope I do not forget to react to any of you smile.gif

 

Just to clarify my current (and future) situation: I watch and imagine from the terrace of my flat which is almost in the centre of a 1.2 million city so the conditions are not good, actually borderline terrible. Therefore the DSO wow effect is not that much there. Globular clusters are beautiful in the newtonian, but that is about it. It is almost impossible to visually see galaxies or anything else. That is also why I got the EQ mount and got a camera - to expand my possibilities to see anything. 

 

However, one good thing - to use my scope and mounts I just have to move them a few metres to the terrace, so portability is actually not an issue. Further, there is no wind in the terrace so the fact the newtonian is huge does not really bother me much. 

 

I know that no scope is perfect for everything and that a serious amateur astronomers should have more of them, so I consider it certain that in the future I will expand my collection not with just one scope we are talking about now. So getting a maksutov does not mean never getting a refractor or vice a versa.

 

As regards my observing or imaging goals - hard to say, I like everything in the sky:) I guess the least important for me is the truly wide all sky images.

 

What follows from the above (positive and negative things speaking for or against each of them):

 

a) refractor

+ I understand that I could get nice wide field views

- the benefit of it being more portable and less unwieldy than the newtonian is not too important for me, actually almost not at all

- it seems that refractors are more expensive, so for the same price I could get a nice huge maksutov but not that an impressive refractor

- I forgot to mention, but I also have some DSLR objectives to use with the mount and camera to get wide field views (I know that is not comparable with using a refractor)

 

b) Maksutov

+ I do not care much about cool down, as I have no issue with taking the scope out a few hours before using it, as it would be safe on my terrrace the whole cool down time

+ I consider nice weather rather rare and if it finally comes, there is always a huge change there is the moon in the way, so using the newtonian for anything else is difficult. However, if Maksutov provides much better views of the moon than the newtonian, I could use the newtonian during moonless nights and the maksutov for the rest of the time for Moon

+ I have not been much able to get nice views of planets with the newtonian - Jupiter and Saturn ok, but really not impressive, Mars almost imposible, so I had hopes Maksutov could help with this. 

 

So actually for me it seems that getting a refractor for the said price would not change that much as it would not be really a great one, whilst the maksutov could be a gamechanger for the Moon and planets. My only way to compare the maksutov and my current scope is actually the astronomy.tools FOV calculator and based on that it seems the difference for lunar and planetary should be huge but maybe that is not true.

 

Please let me know if I am wrong in any of this:)


Edited by AREZ, 05 March 2021 - 01:06 PM.


#11 MisterDan

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 02:58 PM

If your terrace is concrete or stone, and it is lit by the sun during the day, then it can and will absorb heat and then radiate that heat as the night cools, likely creating localized turbulence which can negatively impact any telescope's views, regardless of type/design or aperture.  Keep the idea of "daytime heating" in mind, when you are observing.  Nearby roofs and parking lots can radiate heat and affect seeing.  Turbulence is also generated where two or more air masses of differing temperatures interact (much like water).  A cool grassy area can make for a fine viewing spot, but if it is bordered by a large parking lot which absorbs heat all day, much of the air near the ground will be turbulent.

 

How are your views of Luna and the planets through your 250?  Are the images steady, rather than turbulent and "shimmery?"  Are you able to see Saturn's rings and Jupiter's cloud belts with good definition and detail?  Do views of Luna at ~200x give you a "wow" factor?

 

Have you ever tried an off-axis mask on your 250?  While the smaller aperture will reduce potential resolution, an off-axis mask will allow your 250 to "work" at an aperture of ~90mm.  This will not magically change your 250 into a planetary powerhouse, but it can certainly give you an idea as to whether or not a 90mm telescope (compared to 250mm) may satisfy or please you.

 

If your views from your terrace are limited by turbulence and urban sky glow, then the biggest "wow" factor may be simple and extremely inexpensive:  if possible, transport your mount and telescope to a remote location - away from the city.  While views of Luna and the planets may not benefit much (theoretically) from the darker skies, the new/remote location may be free from "heat islands" and localized seeing issues (again, that's assuming your home location is affected by localized heating and radiation).  The darker sky, if you can travel to it, will definitely and significantly impact your views of nebulae, galaxies and star fields/clusters.

 

My main worry is that a 180mm Maksutov may not make you happier.  I believe a well-corrected and -collimated Newtonian is just as capable of "wow"-worthy views of Luna and the planets as the best 180mm Maksutov - all other factors being equivalent, of course (i.e. seeing, eyepieces, baffling/shielding, etc.).

 

I like my 150mm Maksutov very much, but I did not buy it with astro-imaging in mind.  It is strictly a visual telescope, and I tend to think of any long-focal-length Maksutov as just that - a visual telescope with limited imaging "strengths."  Capable of imaging? yes - but not as versatile as other telescope designs.

 

Cheers.

Dan


Edited by MisterDan, 05 March 2021 - 03:03 PM.

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#12 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:20 PM

Dan,

 

thank you very much for your long reply. 

 

Yes, I am aware of the thermal issues connected with using my scope on the terrace. However, it is what it is and unfortunately that will quite sure be my only way of using it, maybe with one or two exceptions per year. I just do not have enough time to spare to travel anywhere, unfortunately.

 

The views I have of the Moon are amazing even with the Newtonian, I just thought it might be even better with the Maksutov.

 

As regards planets, that is another topic - they are nice too and I have a lot of fun watching them, but I am not satisfied with it. They are either just incredibly small or blurry, depending on the eyepiece, but I seem to not be able to achieve any equilibrium to achieve both big enough and not blurry:)



#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:22 PM

So actually for me it seems that getting a refractor for the said price would not change that much as it would not be really a great one, whilst the maksutov could be a gamechanger for the Moon and planets. My only way to compare the maksutov and my current scope is actually the astronomy.tools FOV calculator and based on that it seems the difference for lunar and planetary should be huge but maybe that is not true.

 

 

My two cents:

 

At the same magnification there should be not difference in the size of the planet in any scope.

 

- In terms of potential as a planetary/double star scope, your 10 inch F/4.7 has greater potential than the MAK simply because of its larger aperture. Newtonians require more care and attention, even in San Diego's mild climate, active cooling (fan) is required to get the good planetary views.  

 

Regarding the MAK's CO: Orion reports the "secondary mirror obstruction at 23%.  The report the "secondary mirror obstruction" of the 127 mm Mak at 31%. I had a 127 mm Orion/Skywatcher Mak. I consider their claims dishonest because the actual secondary obstruction is the secondary baffle, 38% in the case of the 127mm. 

 

I think the MAK would be easier to use but if you are already doing the things you can so the Newtonian performs it's best, I would not expect to be wowed by the 180 mm Mak.

 

Jon



#14 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:23 PM

So, from what everyone is saying here and from dozens of other similar topics elsewhere on the internet that I have read in the last few days it seems that maybe the best thing to do is to forget getting another scope for now and rather just once upon a time upgrade this or that for my current scope... :)



#15 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:27 PM

Jon, thank you. 

 

I thought my poor results with planets are caused by the inherent traits of the scope and that getting a scope that is supposed to be the ¨planet killer¨ would automatically get me much better results... Seems that was wrong.



#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:28 PM

So, from what everyone is saying here and from dozens of other similar topics elsewhere on the internet that I have read in the last few days it seems that maybe the best thing to do is to forget getting another scope for now and rather just once upon a time upgrade this or that for my current scope... smile.gif

 

I would say spend some time optimizing your Newtonian.

 

At what latitude are you located?  

 

Jon



#17 AREZ

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:32 PM

Hm, maybe that is the way. It really is not that I was SURE I need to buy a new scope. Good thing is that it seems I made the right decision in the beginning getting the 10 inch Dob rather than something smaller:)

 

Latitude 50° 4' 25



#18 Supernova74

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:39 PM

Well for me at least as obviously you do get mak fans and vice versa with the APO refractors,for shear contrast clarity and able to handle high powers very well,I’m talking for visual use only of course not for AP,imaging purposes I can sacrifice The narrower field of view for the pound,dollar to aperture ratio you just cannot beat them for there performance,I’m just hoping skywatcher brings out a 8”,9” one day that really would put a spanner in the works in the face offs.


Edited by Supernova74, 05 March 2021 - 03:40 PM.


#19 charlesgeiger

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 03:47 PM

There are other ways to go.  You might consider a Mak-Newt which I believe are still made at 190mm (but I hear these can be difficult to collimate).  Another option is to piggyback a 80 to 100mm Apo (doublet) on your 10".  But you might be stressing your mount a bit, especially if you want to do astro-photography.  But you should be OK with an 80mm.  

Or you may want to reassess and go the way of EAA.  You can purchase a mid priced video or CMOS camera and focal reducer for your 10".  

Charlie



#20 nfotis

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 07:01 PM

I think that a 150mm Maksutov will be a very interesting experience, with its longer focal distance it should be easier to see planets and Sun/Moon details.

There are three main contenders in this segment:

Skymax 150/1800, f/12, internal focuser

iOptron/Bosma 150/1800 (Rumak design), f/12, external focuser

Bresser 152/1900 , f/12, external focuser, tube rings

 

At a higher segment, the Skymax 180/2700 is called a 'planet killer', and that's a quite specialized instrument. Many complain about long cooling times (which may be reduced using an insulator like Reflectix)

There are also other planetary-specialized instruments (I am speaking about the limit of a one-man handling and mounting without undue stress):

GSO/Orion/etc Classical Cassegrain 8" (2350mm, f/12), open tube (so, fewer cooling problems, but you may need a dew heater), you get spider vanes (some people dislike their spikes)

Celestron C9.25, (2350mm, f/10), quite flexible (you can add a Hyperstar later for fast DSO imaging).

 

If it's possible, I would suggest looking through representative samples. Planetary observation/imaging needs quite long focal distance, and the Maks seem to offer a higher contrast view (which approaches a large refractor) compared to SCTs.

 

Hope that this helps,

N.F.



#21 sevenofnine

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 07:57 PM

It seems like you want better views from a difficult viewing situation. A Mak isn't going to change that. It is possible that you might get better views with your current scope if you view at a different time. Try very early morning some time. The cooler night air has stabilized the atmosphere and the turbulent planetary views may improve...dramatically! Good luck! waytogo.gif


Edited by sevenofnine, 05 March 2021 - 07:58 PM.

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#22 godelescher

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 08:11 PM

I'm going to respectfully disagree with most of the other replies here and recommend that you do get a Mak. I think it will be a very good telescope for you under light polluted skies. Every response so far seems to believe that you intend to seek a better location even though you've been clear that you're situation isn't going to change, only your telescope will. Given your situation, I believe you will be happier with a mak because it is really the only thing that's available to you that can give you really great views on any target at all! If you enjoy lunar and planetary views, the big, long, slow mak is the easy choice. Every other view with ANY other telescope is going to be a compromise because you're surrounded by 1.2 million people who think there should more light at night.

 

A mak's strength is it's long focal length. That results in higher magnifications using the same eyepieces. You may get to 200x in your f4.7 newt, but it will be a miserable experience using an EP with an exit pupil the size of a purely theoretical particle. I can get to 200x in my 7" mak with a 26mm ep and a barlow. That is way more comfortable than 4mm in a fast telescope.

 

Which brings me to my next point, a longer slower mak is going to be much easier on your wallet as far as EPs go. You can get away with run of the mill EPs in a mak and you'll never know the difference.

 

Lastly, and probably most importantly, in heavily light polluted skies, lunar and planetary viewing is really your best bet. I know you can find other targets too, but the biggest and brightest are what's most accessible, and for that, it doesn't get any better than a nice big slow mak. Conversely (and this is what no one here seems to want to mention) a wide field apo really really wants to be under dark skies. An apo under heavily light polluted skies is a waste of money.

 

In a city, you want aperture. In dark sites, you want color corrected optics. The mak will suit you way better than a 4" refractor and also better than a f4.7 newtonian. I say go big and go slow for planetary... f12+. And get the biggest mak you can afford! You'll save money on EPs anyway


Edited by godelescher, 05 March 2021 - 08:20 PM.

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#23 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 08:43 PM

Happiness is subjective. Some people get happiness just from looking at their Telescope set up in their living room. I imagine the more you go out observing with your scope the happier you will be, as long as the seeing is good and you find the objects that you want to see.

 

I have had people almost have a "religious experience" looking thru my scopes. Some basically said "that's it?". So just like beauty is happiness in the eye of the beholder?

 

As long as your expectations are reasonable and you do not expect "Hubble like views", then yes, you should be happy...hopefully.

 

I can get deliriously happy just looking at the Moon with my Nikon 12 x 50 AE binos!

 

Good luck and clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#24 barbie

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 09:29 PM

I had a 7" Orion Mak when they first became available several years ago and really enjoyed the views of the moon, planets, double stars and even the brighter DSO's!!  I had a Telrad finder mounted on it and precisely aligned and it was a pleasure to use but eventually, I moved to an apartment and also became physically incapable of handling its weight and mounting requirements. Fast forward to the present and my current 90mm Maksutov gives me the same enjoyment on the very same types of objects that the 7" Mak did but with a smaller, lighter mount that's easy for me to carry outside, at least in my situation.  I think for you and your circumstances, a Mak would be a great solution as a second telescope!! I really enjoy my 3.5" Maksutov from my moderately light polluted skies here in Ohio!!


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#25 Supernova74

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 04:14 AM

Happiness is subjective. Some people get happiness just from looking at their Telescope set up in their living room. I imagine the more you go out observing with your scope the happier you will be, as long as the seeing is good and you find the objects that you want to see.

 

I have had people almost have a "religious experience" looking thru my scopes. Some basically said "that's it?". So just like beauty is happiness in the eye of the beholder?

 

As long as your expectations are reasonable and you do not expect "Hubble like views", then yes, you should be happy...hopefully.

 

I can get deliriously happy just looking at the Moon with my Nikon 12 x 50 AE binos!

 

Good luck and clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan

Yes I can see the appeal looking at your rather expensive kit you own in the living room,however some seem to take a step to far in dominating there living room space with telescopes like a dealership of some kind!? Astronomy is an outside hobby as I remember,and there is a similer term for this in the RC car world it’s called shelf queen for those who rather look at there gear instead of actually useing them.




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