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Recommendations for beginner with Astroscan?

Eyepieces Planet Observing Beginner
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#26 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 06:35 PM

Some other Barlow lens reviews can be seen at the following URLs:

 

https://theoptics.or...-barlow-lenses/

 

https://www.astronom...-barlow-lenses/

 

https://littleastron...-barlow-lenses/

Dave, thank you for the links, these look like some good reads!

 

- Ryan



#27 jimandlaura26

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 07:21 PM

So many questions, so much adrenaline, most of us here remember those days! Time for a deep breath... lots of other things to think about and seek for guidance besides those of us here and topics discussed so far...

 
1. Get a good set of books...
     Turn Left at Orion: Observational handbook you can use in the field
     Backyard Astronomer’s Guide: Encyclopedia of all things amateur astronomy
     365 Starry Nights: A daily almanac to build foundational knowledge
 
2. Once you have moved... absolutely join a local astronomy club and participate (easier once COVID subsides).
     This sort of first hand contact greatly speeds the learning process and will keep you involved and motivated with like minded individuals
 
3.  Obtain straightforward planetarium software for your smart phone, tablet and computer.
     Learning and visualizing night sky fundamentals will be your primary challenge.
     Deciding/planning what objects to observe will be a continuing need.
     There are many choices. Some are free. Sky Safari is my favorite; is easy to use and comes in several variants to suit your needs.
     Here’s a link to a classic free quick in-a-pinch printable monthly sky chart...
     http://skymaps.com/downloads.html

 

4. Ed Ting Telescope Reviews... he’s got his own website and a YouTube presence. Great stuff!

 

5. The basic 8” Orion Dob is a capable scope, but there are slightly improved variants which Orion sells with better features; like adjustable alttitude bearings to achieve balance and secondary mirror collimation screws. Zhummel sells a very similar model. You’ve already got a quick set-up scope, or I would recommend a solid quality 3-4” ED refractor - still should consider down the line. SCTs and Mak-Cass have their place too, but make DSOs more of a challenge to locate w/o go-to scope because of their very narrow field of view (1-ish degrees) - and you should learn the sky well first.

 

Good luck!


Edited by jimandlaura26, 09 April 2021 - 07:36 PM.

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#28 noisejammer

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 06:51 AM

I can't speak to the Paradigm eyepiece except to suggest you look for used eyepieces. There are classified ads here and on Astromart. If you go that way, you can usually re-sell eyepieces that don't work for you and all you're out is the cost of postage. If memory serves, you have to be a member of CN for a month before the Classified section is available to you, but you're well past that threshold.

 

... When you say high end refractor, I'm assuming you're likely talking about companies like Takahashi right? How do you personally feel about the lower priced APOs like the Orion ED80? For example, if I ever decide to buy an APO, I'm curious if it would be wise to save up for a higher end model or settle with a lower end model.

I've used a large number of scopes over the years, many of them are refractors. I'm fortunate to own three high end apo's - a 60mm Borg, a 115mm LZOS and a 150mm Takahashi.

 

So first things first. (mod) Cotts and I ran his 12" Teeter (a high end Dobsonian) against my Takahashi. We were under pretty good skies and it wasn't even close - his scope was a far better visual instrument. If you count a mount and other necessary hardware, my Tak was nearly twice as expensive. So high-end apo's are not attractive in a value-for-money sense.

 

What an apo does offer is a single, very versatile instrument. It can do everything from operating with a 7mm exit pupil (corresponding to 21.4x) to operating with a 0.5mm exit pupil (corresponding to 300x). It can be used at crazy-high magnifications on doubles - say 450x. It can also be used as an imaging instrument and deliver incredible deep space images. A Dobsonian - even a high end model - generally can't do the low power or imaging.

 

Since there's no such thing as a budget friendly refractor, let's consider instruments that are less budget hostile.

I have used a friend's Tak FS102 - I believe he paid $1800 for it used and this included a pile of accessories. It's a phenomenal scope for a 4". It is extremely usable at 200x on the moon and planets and is very close in performance to my 115 mm LZOS instrument. It transports easily and doesn't need a huge mount to carry it. On the other hand, it does have a small amount of chromatic aberration but under a dark sky your eye loses it's colour sensitivity and this is not visible. It might pose a problem if you were trying to image using a single-shot-colour camera.

 

I don't have personal experience of the 80ED so let me write more generally on ED doublets.

 

The short version is you get quite a lot of bang for your buck. As an example, you might find a new 6" ED scope with an excellent focuser for around $3500. Used, you could pay around $ 2500 or so. These won't quite achieve the high power performance of my Tak but you should be able to take them well past 200x without difficulty. To put this in perspective, if you view Jupiter at 200x, it appears to subtend roughly 3° or 6x the diameter of the full moon. You can see a lot of detail.

 

So my take is that an ED doublet can achieve more than a high end scope that's roughly 2/3 of its diameter at less than half the price. Be cautious though - a bigger tube needs a bigger mount.

 

Overall, I'd think about a 4" apo paired with an 8" Dobsonian. If you luck into a used FS102, you'll have the best of both worlds.

 

The sponsors of the site - Astronomics - also offers a number of very competitively priced refractors. If you go looking for a new instrument, that's where I'd start.


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#29 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 07:38 AM

So many questions, so much adrenaline, most of us here remember those days! Time for a deep breath... lots of other things to think about and seek for guidance besides those of us here and topics discussed so far...

 
1. Get a good set of books...
     Turn Left at Orion: Observational handbook you can use in the field
     Backyard Astronomer’s Guide: Encyclopedia of all things amateur astronomy
     365 Starry Nights: A daily almanac to build foundational knowledge
 
2. Once you have moved... absolutely join a local astronomy club and participate (easier once COVID subsides).
     This sort of first hand contact greatly speeds the learning process and will keep you involved and motivated with like minded individuals
 
3.  Obtain straightforward planetarium software for your smart phone, tablet and computer.
     Learning and visualizing night sky fundamentals will be your primary challenge.
     Deciding/planning what objects to observe will be a continuing need.
     There are many choices. Some are free. Sky Safari is my favorite; is easy to use and comes in several variants to suit your needs.
     Here’s a link to a classic free quick in-a-pinch printable monthly sky chart...
     http://skymaps.com/downloads.html

 

4. Ed Ting Telescope Reviews... he’s got his own website and a YouTube presence. Great stuff!

 

5. The basic 8” Orion Dob is a capable scope, but there are slightly improved variants which Orion sells with better features; like adjustable alttitude bearings to achieve balance and secondary mirror collimation screws. Zhummel sells a very similar model. You’ve already got a quick set-up scope, or I would recommend a solid quality 3-4” ED refractor - still should consider down the line. SCTs and Mak-Cass have their place too, but make DSOs more of a challenge to locate w/o go-to scope because of their very narrow field of view (1-ish degrees) - and you should learn the sky well first.

 

Good luck!

Thank you for your post! A lot of great information, and yes I feel the need to take a deep breath and calm down but it's hard when I have so many great people to ask questions. I guess you guys will always be here so I don't need to rush, haha! I have been reading through The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, about 2/3 of the way through, it's a great book with a ton of great information. I'll be going back and digesting it, which is a big reason for why I bought it. I will check out the other two books you mentioned as well, I remember hearing that Turn Left at Orion was basically a precursor for The Backyard Astronomer's Guide. I do actually have the Sky Safari app which I use to get my bearings in the sky, I love the information it gives and the ability to directly locate a feature. Ed Ting is awesome! I've watched all of his videos to get an idea of what types of scopes are out there, as well as some reviews and beginner's advice on his website.

 

Once I decide to make the jump on an 8" Dobsonian, I'll have to look at the extra features and decide which one to go for. Do you personally think that the adjustable altitude bearings and secondary collimation screws are worth it? I'm sure it pays off in the long run not having to meddle with micro-issues. Also, I know this is subjective but I might as well delve into it while I'm here.

 

Thank you for the reminder to take a deep breath and absorb the knowledge at a steady pace. I feel like I've been reading through material and the abundance of information, eyepieces, scopes, accessories, make me feel overwhelmed. I know there is no wrong way to start, I really do like hearing your experiences but ultimately I need to choose what is right for my situation!

 

- Ryan



#30 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 07:59 AM

I can't speak to the Paradigm eyepiece except to suggest you look for used eyepieces. There are classified ads here and on Astromart. If you go that way, you can usually re-sell eyepieces that don't work for you and all you're out is the cost of postage. If memory serves, you have to be a member of CN for a month before the Classified section is available to you, but you're well past that threshold.

 

I've used a large number of scopes over the years, many of them are refractors. I'm fortunate to own three high end apo's - a 60mm Borg, a 115mm LZOS and a 150mm Takahashi.

 

So first things first. (mod) Cotts and I ran his 12" Teeter (a high end Dobsonian) against my Takahashi. We were under pretty good skies and it wasn't even close - his scope was a far better visual instrument. If you count a mount and other necessary hardware, my Tak was nearly twice as expensive. So high-end apo's are not attractive in a value-for-money sense.

 

What an apo does offer is a single, very versatile instrument. It can do everything from operating with a 7mm exit pupil (corresponding to 21.4x) to operating with a 0.5mm exit pupil (corresponding to 300x). It can be used at crazy-high magnifications on doubles - say 450x. It can also be used as an imaging instrument and deliver incredible deep space images. A Dobsonian - even a high end model - generally can't do the low power or imaging.

 

Since there's no such thing as a budget friendly refractor, let's consider instruments that are less budget hostile.

I have used a friend's Tak FS102 - I believe he paid $1800 for it used and this included a pile of accessories. It's a phenomenal scope for a 4". It is extremely usable at 200x on the moon and planets and is very close in performance to my 115 mm LZOS instrument. It transports easily and doesn't need a huge mount to carry it. On the other hand, it does have a small amount of chromatic aberration but under a dark sky your eye loses it's colour sensitivity and this is not visible. It might pose a problem if you were trying to image using a single-shot-colour camera.

 

I don't have personal experience of the 80ED so let me write more generally on ED doublets.

 

The short version is you get quite a lot of bang for your buck. As an example, you might find a new 6" ED scope with an excellent focuser for around $3500. Used, you could pay around $ 2500 or so. These won't quite achieve the high power performance of my Tak but you should be able to take them well past 200x without difficulty. To put this in perspective, if you view Jupiter at 200x, it appears to subtend roughly 3° or 6x the diameter of the full moon. You can see a lot of detail.

 

So my take is that an ED doublet can achieve more than a high end scope that's roughly 2/3 of its diameter at less than half the price. Be cautious though - a bigger tube needs a bigger mount.

 

Overall, I'd think about a 4" apo paired with an 8" Dobsonian. If you luck into a used FS102, you'll have the best of both worlds.

 

The sponsors of the site - Astronomics - also offers a number of very competitively priced refractors. If you go looking for a new instrument, that's where I'd start.

Thank you for the information on refractors, Bruce! I'll be keeping an eye on the classifieds here and on Astromart, just in case I see some eyepieces. My takeaway from this thread is to learn more about the various eyepieces and to keep an eye out (pun intended) for any that can fit my situation. My next step is also to look for an 8" Dobsonian and then a refractor in the distant future, I think a Dobsonian would be perfect for what I'm lacking with my Astroscan. But before all of that, I will continue to read and learn more about the sky before moving forward. 

 

I still have a lot to learn about refractors but you've given me a great base on what to think about, thank you!

 

- Ryan



#31 Alex65

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 08:04 AM

I'd say don't rush into buying a bigger 'scope until you have spent at least a season or two with your AstroScan.

 

Granted, it doesn't give great views of the planets but it is capable of observing a large range of stellar objects. You'll find that it provides real good low power views of the Milky Way, for example. Nothing to beat an AstroScan with a 15mm eyepiece when cruising the late summer Milky Way. There are actually quite a few DSOs to be seen with this telescope, once you know how to star hop from object to object. And the moon is always a good target, following the changing phases from day to day. After a while you'll recognize the different lunar features and be able to put a name to them.

 

I've had my AstroScan since 1978 and I'm still finding new things to look at with it. Most recently, it has been double and multiple star systems. The AstroScan, I find, pulls in the colors real good.

 

Can't really advise you on eyepieces as everyone has a different opinion but I have never used a barlow lens. The eyepiece range that I use is limited: 28, 15, 8 and 3.6mm and these serve me just fine.

 

Just enjoy the telescope, find your way 'round the night skies and once you've joined a club you'll get a chance to see different types of telescopes close up and talk to their owners about the pros and cons of each type before buying a larger aperture 'scope based on that information.



#32 SteveG

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 12:22 PM

I owned and used an Astroscan for a few years and loved it. It’s a great, portable and fun to use scope.

 

As mentioned, very high power views will disappoint, but it works really well at low to medium powers, especially at a dark site.

 

Don’t waste your money on expensive, heavy eyepieces and Powermates, you’ll only be disappointed.

I recommend a $40 barlow, used with your RKE’s. This will at least show you what high powers will look like.

 

The biggest improvement done to mine was to attach a Synta style finder shoe to the tube (2 screws), and then a laser pointing device goes in that. You simply look up and you can see the line from the laser pointing at the star you are aiming for. This made pointing the Astroscan very easy and intuitive.


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#33 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 12:42 PM

You may find some of the information on astronomy, amateur astronomy, and observing presented in my post (#22) at https://www.cloudyni...mers/?p=5184287 useful, Ryanocalypse.  While it doesn't discuss telescopes directly, there are sections on various books, observing guides, stellar atlases, planetarium programs, astronomy apps, DSO observing, binocular astronomy, and urban astronomy.



#34 DrivingOnTheMoon

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 01:11 PM

I think your desire to buy several more expensive eyepieces is understandable. I know for me, whenever I get into a hobby I tend to want to go all in and tend to focus more on getting the gear at times than the activity of the hobby itself(e.g. I used to own a bunch of guns but rarely ever went shooting, I own a bunch of nice acrylic paints but rarely feel like painting with them, etc). It sounds lie you've already got a nice range of eyepieces and are enjoying the Astroscan. I'm probably echoing others, but I think you'll be limited by aperture for getting more detail and magnification. That scope is gonna be better for wider fields of view.

I only got my first telescope two months ago, so I'm very new to the hobby, though I've learned a lot on this site in the past. I only got a 9mm and 15mm, and a 3x Barlow from SVBONY, and I use the 25mm that came with Celestron(8se), and I've been very happy with them, even though they only cost around $25-30 a piece. I use the 25mm most of all and hardly use the barlow or other sizes. So my point is just that, you may already have enough to thoroughly enjoy what that scope is capable of, and if you want more, a cheap barlow, and maybe one more higher power eyepiece may be more than enough, without putting too much extra money into eyepieces.

Given that you would like to have higher power views of planets, I would add that, just in my limited experience, keeping stuff in view at high power is difficult even with Go-To helping(if it's not spot on, stuff still drifts out of view), and so must be even more difficult on a Dob or Newt. I would absolutely recommend getting a larger scope, e.g. 8inch, as other have said. But if you can save up for a GoTo scope, you may find it more enjoyable. I.e. Use the Astroscan for scanning the sky and enjoying wide views, and get a larger Go to scope, e.g. 6se, 8se, etc. to enjoy planetary viewing and high magnification. I know that's a huge price jump and way out of budget for ya right now, especial with prices currently jacked up.

#35 Daveatvt01

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 02:17 PM

Hi and congrats on the new scope!

A 3.2mm eyepiece is probably a bit too much magnification for an Astroscan. At a certain point the image gets bigger but also fuzzier, making the image look worse. I don’t use mine with more than 90x magnification (5mm eyepiece) and it is well collimated. But some are better than others, give it a try if you want. 

One thing to consider in choosing eyepieces is that the astroscan gets out of balance with heavy eyepieces, causing the scope to sink towards the ground. And since the base is round you can’t counterbalance it.

Also you mentioned the eyepieces “sticking”, might they be slipping slightly instead? Sometimes the foam roller wears down from use. If that’s the case it’s a pretty easy fix.


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#36 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 08:03 PM

I owned and used an Astroscan for a few years and loved it. It’s a great, portable and fun to use scope.

 

As mentioned, very high power views will disappoint, but it works really well at low to medium powers, especially at a dark site.

 

Don’t waste your money on expensive, heavy eyepieces and Powermates, you’ll only be disappointed.

I recommend a $40 barlow, used with your RKE’s. This will at least show you what high powers will look like.

 

The biggest improvement done to mine was to attach a Synta style finder shoe to the tube (2 screws), and then a laser pointing device goes in that. You simply look up and you can see the line from the laser pointing at the star you are aiming for. This made pointing the Astroscan very easy and intuitive.

Thank you for your comment Steve! Other posters have been mentioning a 3.2mm Paradigm eyepiece for around $60. I'm not sure if you have any experience with these but would you still recommend a Barlow used with my 8mm RKE instead of the high power Paradigm?

 

I really appreciate your tip with the finder and laser pointer, I'm going to order a setup here soon. I've struggled to locate myself in the sky when using the Astroscan, trying to look down the tube is useless haha! Since I'm still learning what to look for, orientation and star hopping is difficult while looking through the eyepiece. 

 

- Ryan



#37 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 08:09 PM

You may find some of the information on astronomy, amateur astronomy, and observing presented in my post (#22) at https://www.cloudyni...mers/?p=5184287 useful, Ryanocalypse.  While it doesn't discuss telescopes directly, there are sections on various books, observing guides, stellar atlases, planetarium programs, astronomy apps, DSO observing, binocular astronomy, and urban astronomy.

Thank you for the reading material Dave, I will check out your post! These can keep me busy for a while. I like how you placed The Backyard Astronomer's guide at a more advanced level. I'm nearing the end of that book and noticed I'm only really understanding about half of it. It can quickly go into more advanced practices and equipment that go over my head, rather than general advice. It's hard not to get overwhelmed with the information. I'll have to check out the beginner books you mentioned as they seem more my speed.

 

Thanks again!

 

- Ryan



#38 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 08:19 PM

I think your desire to buy several more expensive eyepieces is understandable. I know for me, whenever I get into a hobby I tend to want to go all in and tend to focus more on getting the gear at times than the activity of the hobby itself(e.g. I used to own a bunch of guns but rarely ever went shooting, I own a bunch of nice acrylic paints but rarely feel like painting with them, etc). It sounds lie you've already got a nice range of eyepieces and are enjoying the Astroscan. I'm probably echoing others, but I think you'll be limited by aperture for getting more detail and magnification. That scope is gonna be better for wider fields of view.

I only got my first telescope two months ago, so I'm very new to the hobby, though I've learned a lot on this site in the past. I only got a 9mm and 15mm, and a 3x Barlow from SVBONY, and I use the 25mm that came with Celestron(8se), and I've been very happy with them, even though they only cost around $25-30 a piece. I use the 25mm most of all and hardly use the barlow or other sizes. So my point is just that, you may already have enough to thoroughly enjoy what that scope is capable of, and if you want more, a cheap barlow, and maybe one more higher power eyepiece may be more than enough, without putting too much extra money into eyepieces.

Given that you would like to have higher power views of planets, I would add that, just in my limited experience, keeping stuff in view at high power is difficult even with Go-To helping(if it's not spot on, stuff still drifts out of view), and so must be even more difficult on a Dob or Newt. I would absolutely recommend getting a larger scope, e.g. 8inch, as other have said. But if you can save up for a GoTo scope, you may find it more enjoyable. I.e. Use the Astroscan for scanning the sky and enjoying wide views, and get a larger Go to scope, e.g. 6se, 8se, etc. to enjoy planetary viewing and high magnification. I know that's a huge price jump and way out of budget for ya right now, especial with prices currently jacked up.

Thanks for your advice! I'm in the same boat with wanting to jump into getting the best gear right off the bat, which I'm trying not to do that with this as to not feel overwhelmed. My issue is wanting to buy some of the best gear now because I can use it sooner rather than later. But, as you said with your guns and paint, it's not always practical. I did the same thing with a fly fishing pole, bought a really nice portable one and have yet to use it haha! My next scope will definitely be an 8" Dobsonian but I'll plan on reading more and learning about the hobby through my Astroscan in the meantime. I'll pick up a laser pointer finder and a Barlow or cheaper high powered eyepiece to get the best use out of my current scope. 

 

How are you liking your Celestron 8SE? I heard they are great scopes!

 

- Ryan



#39 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 08:33 PM

Hi and congrats on the new scope!

A 3.2mm eyepiece is probably a bit too much magnification for an Astroscan. At a certain point the image gets bigger but also fuzzier, making the image look worse. I don’t use mine with more than 90x magnification (5mm eyepiece) and it is well collimated. But some are better than others, give it a try if you want. 

One thing to consider in choosing eyepieces is that the astroscan gets out of balance with heavy eyepieces, causing the scope to sink towards the ground. And since the base is round you can’t counterbalance it.

Also you mentioned the eyepieces “sticking”, might they be slipping slightly instead? Sometimes the foam roller wears down from use. If that’s the case it’s a pretty easy fix.

Thank you for your post! I'm just able to barely see the features of Saturn, mainly because the image is so small. It's obviously blurry too but I know it's not at it's limit just yet! I likely just need a 2x cheap Barlow or a 3.2mm Paradigm eyepiece, as others were stating, to get a little bit of extra push I'm looking for. I know higher power can be a scam and doesn't result in a better image, but I'm really craving to see Saturn as a bigger, blurry image with some detail still noticeable. I've decided against the heavier eyepieces for now, as they would be wasted on the Astroscan unfortunately. I will re-**** the situation later on when I upgrade my scope.

 

So the eyepieces aren't necessarily the problem, more the Astroscan's focus knob. For example, let's say it adjusts to 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. I can adjust to each of these numbers to see the image clearly, but the ideal focus would be in the middle of two numbers, at around 2.5. However, the focus knob "sticks" to either 2 or 3 and not 2.5, making the image always slightly out of focus. It's especially noticeable at the higher powers when trying to view the planets. I was asking for lubricant or something that can help adjust to 2.5 but I think i would need a fine focus which isn't possible (that I know of) for an Astroscan. I'm beginning to understand the limits of this scope and the eyepieces, which is honestly fine for me as I'm still learning!

 

Thank you so much!

 

Edit: I understand now what you are saying about the eyepieces and the roller. I could try to fix the roller and maybe that will allow the eyepiece to be more finely adjusted, even just slightly. How would you correct this issue, just add some oil to rehydrate the rubber?

 

- Ryan


Edited by Ryanocalypse, 10 April 2021 - 08:42 PM.


#40 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 08:48 PM

Thank you for the reading material Dave, I will check out your post! These can keep me busy for a while. I like how you placed The Backyard Astronomer's guide at a more advanced level. I'm nearing the end of that book and noticed I'm only really understanding about half of it. It can quickly go into more advanced practices and equipment that go over my head, rather than general advice. It's hard not to get overwhelmed with the information. I'll have to check out the beginner books you mentioned as they seem more my speed.

 

Thanks again!

 

- Ryan

You're welcome.

 

Yes, Dickinson's Nightwatch is aimed at the novice, whereas The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is appropriate for the more seasoned amateur astronomer.



#41 Rich Caruana

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 09:33 PM

Although the Astroscan doesn't excel at planetary viewing, there are things you can do to get the most out of it.  One is to make sure the scope cools down before going to high power.  This could take 60 mins or more given that the scope has a lot of air trapped inside the ball.  If possible, store the scope so it will be close to outside temps such as in a garage.  Or put it outside a few hours before use with a covering over it to prevent it from dewing up.  Another trick is to make sure you're dressed warmly enough that body heat rising from your body doesn't go in front of the scope and cause seeing problems --- there's a tendency to cradle around an Astroscan and that's not the best thing for high power.  I found that removing the focus tube and carefully cleaning the inside of the focuser, the rubber on the focus wheel, and the outside of the tube improved fine focus a little.  A little wax on the inside of the focuser might help, but as you said, be careful and don't over do it so wax doesn't migrate to the rubber wheel or part of the focus tube where the rubber makes contact. You can also adjust the tension on the fingers that hold the eyepiece in place and might be able to achieve finer focus by rotating the EP as you pull it in or out a little. If you can find a used Astroscan 2.5X Barlow they work well in the scope. The Barlow combined with the 8mm RKE will probably be too much power for an Astroscan, but the 2.5X Barlow combined with the 15mm gives  75X, which should provide nice views of Jupiter and Saturn.

 

Anyone else have good tricks for getting the most out of an Astroscan at higher power?  What's been your experience with cool-down --- I never measured how long it took when I last had one.

 

-Rich.



#42 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 09:45 PM

Although the Astroscan doesn't excel at planetary viewing, there are things you can do to get the most out of it.  One is to make sure the scope cools down before going to high power.  This could take 60 mins or more given that the scope has a lot of air trapped inside the ball.  If possible, store the scope so it will be close to outside temps such as in a garage.  Or put it outside a few hours before use with a covering over it to prevent it from dewing up.  Another trick is to make sure you're dressed warmly enough that body heat rising from your body doesn't go in front of the scope and cause seeing problems --- there's a tendency to cradle around an Astroscan and that's not the best thing for high power.  I found that removing the focus tube and carefully cleaning the inside of the focuser, the rubber on the focus wheel, and the outside of the tube improved fine focus a little.  A little wax on the inside of the focuser might help, but as you said, be careful and don't over do it so wax doesn't migrate to the rubber wheel or part of the focus tube where the rubber makes contact. You can also adjust the tension on the fingers that hold the eyepiece in place and might be able to achieve finer focus by rotating the EP as you pull it in or out a little. If you can find a used Astroscan 2.5X Barlow they work well in the scope. The Barlow combined with the 8mm RKE will probably be too much power for an Astroscan, but the 2.5X Barlow combined with the 15mm gives  75X, which should provide nice views of Jupiter and Saturn.

 

Anyone else have good tricks for getting the most out of an Astroscan at higher power?  What's been your experience with cool-down --- I never measured how long it took when I last had one.

 

-Rich.

Great advice Rich! I have been throwing the scope out there without allowing it to cool down, especially recently in the early morning when trying to view Saturn and Jupiter. You mentioned placing some wax on inside of the focuser, what kind of wax should I be looking for? I'll keep an eye out for an Astroscan Barlow as well. Thanks for your comment!

 

- Ryan



#43 Rich Caruana

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 10:15 PM

Any kind of wax used for polish should work --- maybe something like car wax or furniture wax?  Even Chapstick might work.  Don't think candle wax is slippery enough.  Make sure nothing falls into the scope when you're applying it --- a light film applied to your finger or to a long Q-tip might work.  But clean things well and try using the scope that way before applying wax so you can tell if the wax is helping or hurting.

 

-Rich.


Edited by Rich Caruana, 10 April 2021 - 11:05 PM.


#44 CassGuy47

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 10:25 PM

I was in my late 20's when the Astroscan first hit the market in the mid-1970's, and it remained in production for over 35 years.  It was considered a breakthrough scope in it's day, because it produced wide fields of view, and it didn't require a mount and tripod to use it.  It was the polar opposite of the other scopes on the market at that time, and many amateurs saw it as an ideal grab and go scope.  It's unusual shape and red color also added to its appeal. 

 

The problem is that it was designed for beginners, not serious amateurs, so they cut a lot of corners to keep the cost down.  The optics were okay, but QC was erratic, and the optics were better in some production runs than in others.  The focuser was it's worst feature because Edmund designed a rubber compression wheel to apply pressure on the eyepiece to move it.  A rack & pinion focuser would have been far better, but it would have increased the price beyond the retail price point they had in mind.  The scope was also difficult to aim, so eventually, they added an inexpensive sheet metal site to it. 

 

I had the opportunity to observe with them many times back then, and they were good for what they were designed for.  Unfortunately, you can't make an Astroscan into a planetary scope any more than you can make an SUV into a sports car.  The optics aren't good enough to deliver detailed planetary images.  Precise high-power focusing is next to impossible with its quirky focusing system, and its ergonomics will make it extremely difficult to track planets.  

 

At a price of $50 with 3 RKE eyepieces, you got a fantastic deal.  My advice would be to enjoy it for what it is, but I wouldn't put another penny into it.  Save your money, and use it towards the purchase of a scope and mount that would make planetary observing into an enjoyable experience, rather than an exercise in frustration.  That's my 2 cents, based on 58 years of observing.


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#45 Daveatvt01

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:23 PM

What I did to solve the problem was snip the end off of the little rubber roller and move it over a bit so the drawtube is now rolling on a different section of the roller. 
If you remove the drawtube and one plastic knob (knob removal takes a tiny screwdriver) you can access the roller.

There is an astroscan registry too, you can check it out and get an idea of when and where yours was made: https://www.cloudyni...your-info-here/


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#46 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 12:19 AM

Thank you for your comment Steve! Other posters have been mentioning a 3.2mm Paradigm eyepiece for around $60. I'm not sure if you have any experience with these but would you still recommend a Barlow used with my 8mm RKE instead of the high power Paradigm?

 

I really appreciate your tip with the finder and laser pointer, I'm going to order a setup here soon. I've struggled to locate myself in the sky when using the Astroscan, trying to look down the tube is useless haha! Since I'm still learning what to look for, orientation and star hopping is difficult while looking through the eyepiece. 

 

- Ryan

It's likely that a 5mm Paradigm would be a better choice, not only for use with the Astroscan but with a future 8" Dob.  However, you might want to buy a 2x Barlow lens and try it with your 8mm RKE first.



#47 izar187

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 02:19 AM

RKE's were my first eyepieces.

A 2x Vixen my first barlow.

The trouble with RKE's and a 2x is a whole bunch of magnification duplication's.

28mm + 2x = 14mm, which is right on top of 15mm.

15mm + 2x = 7.5mm, which is right on top of 8mm.

8mm + 2x = 4mm to be sure.

But I found in the end that I used the 8mm + 2.5x = 3.2mm more.

What I used the most was the 8mm + 2.8x Klee = 2.9mm, with the extra eye relief the Klee added.

2.8x Klee's are not around anymore, unless found used, to combine with the 8mm RKE.

 

But these guys are available, or soon to be, after the re-stocking at vendors has caught up with recent demand.

https://www.astronom...d-eyepiece.html

https://agenaastro.c...iece-3-2mm.html

https://agenaastro.c...iece-3-2mm.html

 

These type of well working, affordable, reasonably light weight ep's weren't available back when.

But they are now, so we can skip barlow futzing while the moving target is leaving the modest RKE fov.

With the added advantages of more eye relief, and larger field in view...  than a barlowed 8mm RKE.

For a very good price.

 

Just saying...


Edited by izar187, 11 April 2021 - 02:21 AM.


#48 ChuppsterXLM

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 02:27 AM

My advice would be to get a pair of 7x50 binoculars and a sky atlas and learn the constellations first.  Then save some money and upgrade to a 6" or 8" dob.

 

Good luck my friend! 


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#49 Ulmer Spatz

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 04:28 AM

The focuser was it's worst feature because Edmund designed a rubber compression wheel to apply pressure on the eyepiece to move it.  A rack & pinion focuser would have been far better

I think this design is called a "Crayford focuser," which is usually considered an improvement over a rack-and-pinion focuser. lol.gif   



#50 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:03 AM

Any kind of wax used for polish should work --- maybe something like car wax or furniture wax?  Even Chapstick might work.  Don't think candle wax is slippery enough.  Make sure nothing falls into the scope when you're applying it --- a light film applied to your finger or to a long Q-tip might work.  But clean things well and try using the scope that way before applying wax so you can tell if the wax is helping or hurting.

 

-Rich.

Thanks for the information Rich! So what you're saying is melt a large globule of wax into the focuser, kidding! I'll see what I have around and apply a little bit to the inside of the focuser with my finger, after cleaning. 

 

- Ryan


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