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Recommendations for beginner with Astroscan?

Eyepieces Planet Observing Beginner
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#51 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:18 AM

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.

Thanks for the information on the Astroscan! The scope is definitely an attention getter, I was surprised it was able to work as well as it does. It is a nice little scope and perfect for learning the sky but you're right, it has it's limits. I have heard that the models varied wildly because of the lack of consistency during production.

 

The older man I bought it from took great care of it and wanted to see somebody get some use out of it. He was insistent on only charging $50 even though both of us knew it was worth much more than that, especially in the condition it's in. He gave me a breakdown of when he was younger and would go to the park with friends to sky watch, over the years learning much more about space. He got this Astroscan as he got older but eventually wanted to hand it off. It was right as I was looking to buy a scope, so the timing couldn't have been any better. 

 

I know you said not to put any more money into it but I can't. I'm going to at least buy a laser finder with some sort of mount and possibly a Barlow or cheaper eyepiece. You stated your opinion, which I believe is definitely the right move; however, would you at all consider a Paradigm 3.2mm eyepiece worth it? It's around $60 (more than the scope and eyepieces haha!) and might add an extra push for seeing the planets while considering another scope in the future. I know that overall I'll likely still be disappointed with planetary features, but I want to get the most out of this telescope.

 

Thanks again for your input!

 

- Ryan



#52 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:23 AM

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.

Thanks Dave! Do you believe the Paradigm will show noticeable image improvement over the RKE eyepieces? The reason I ask is maybe I haven't reached the limit of the scope and could do better with a slightly better eyepiece. If you don't think there will be much improvement, then I will take that into account and consider a Barlow.

 

- Ryan



#53 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:35 AM

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/

Thanks for your comment! So I'm looking at the roller and there are some flat spots where the focus tube is making contact. The roller does not extend all the way to both sides so, unless I'm wrong, the roller seems to have already been adjusted. There's still a lot of rubber there, I'm just going to move it to the other side so I work a new area. 

 

I checked out the registry but there are a lot of dates missing, I'll have to post what I know but it seems like it was made in the mid 80s to 90s. Thank you again for the information!

 

- Ryan



#54 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:41 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...

Thank you for your input! I've been getting a ton of good information from this post regarding eyepieces and Barlows for use with my Astroscan. I think you're probably the 3rd or 4th person to recommend the 3.2mm Paradigm, so thank you for confirming. There have been others talking about using a Barlow with the eyepieces I already own but what you're saying, is quality in these other more affordable eyepieces will outperform the RKEs?

 

- Ryan



#55 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:45 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! 

Thank you! I'm looking to get an 8" Dobsonian in the future, but might look for a pair of binoculars as well, to aid in my learning! Do you have a pair you would recommend? 

 

- Ryan



#56 Roger Corbett

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 10:56 AM

Having owned Astroscans for years — and still have one that is one of my favorite telescopes — I have some hard earned advice!

 

1.  Do NOT buy any large, heavy, or long barlows or eyepieces.  It will throw the balance of the Astroscan off, and it will either drop down or rotate and spit the Barlow or eyepiece out!

 

2.  A great Barlow for the 'Scan is the Orion Shorty, not the Plus.  Lightweight small.  Very inexpensive, with clear, crisp views.  Threaded for filters, too.
 

3.  One great thing about using a Barlow is that it makes the scope an effective f/8.4, so that helps clear up eyepiece astigmatism in low-end eyepieces.

 

4.  The RKEs are fantastic eyepieces, especially on planets with larger scopes, but have VERY short eye relief.

 

5.  I use a Vixen 8-24mm zoom eyepiece + Barlow for the higher powered stuff.  You want a smaller-sized zoom like that — the equivalent Celestron is longer and heavier and not quite as good in views.

 

6.  A strip of Teflon (not the tape) applied to the focuser makes that smooth as marble.  Makes a world of difference in focusing.  There are directions floating around the web for how to do that.

 

7.  The scope excels at rich, wide field viewing, but if you have one with good collimation, you can get some great planetary views.  One of my favorite views of Saturn was with a Barlowed 7.4mm Televue Plossl.

 

8.  Do NOT spend hundreds of dollars on a given accessory glass for it!  Do NOT spend more than, say, $50-60 on any eyepiece or Barlow for it.  Buy used off of Astromart or the sales forum here.

 

9.  My favorite eyepieces to use with the scope are the 28mm RKE; the Meade 26mm Plossls Series 5000, the Meade 18mm and 12mm HD-60s.  I really liked the 30mm Ultima in the scope, too!  The 22mm and 18mm Epics were good, too. A wonderful pair of eyepieces are the 9mm and 6mm Orion Expanses — or equivalent.  Wider fields than spec'd for, sharp across more of the field, and with acceptable eye relief. However, if you wear eyeglasses beware as they have exposed metal on the top that could scratch your glasses!

 

10.  The TV 3x Barlow works nicely with the Astroscan, too — and would be a keeper for future scopes.  Do NOT spend lots of money for a Powermate with the 'Scan.  It'd be a waste of money.  Televue used to make a 1 1/4” ParaCorr, pricey, and did work in flattening the field, but it added to the weight, the leverage arm, and ended up not being worth it.

 

But again, enjoy the scope for what is best for — wide field low power views — large clusters, sweeping the Milky Way, conjunctions, the Moon, sky hopping from DSO to DSO, red stars, easy star hopping, seeing objects in their big sky context.  There is an intimacy to using the scope, a simplicity and freshness, and a natural movement with the ball mount.  I use it on the  Edmund tripod.  Works great.

 

Finally, Edmund used to provide a very inexpensive ($35) cleaning and collimation service for it, which was well worth it.  That even includes free shipping back to then owner!


Edited by Roger Corbett, 11 April 2021 - 11:01 AM.

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#57 CassGuy47

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 11:04 AM

"would you at all consider a Paradigm 3.2mm eyepiece worth it?"

 

Hi Ryan,

 

The Paradigm eyepieces have a reputation for delivering image quality that exceeds expectations when you consider their relatively low cost.  The 5mm is by far their most popular short focal length eyepiece.  I've never used their 3.2mm, so it's inappropriate for me to comment on it.  Keep in mind that even a 3.2mm eyepiece will deliver 139X on an Astroscan, which is considered modest magnification for planetary observing.  (445mm/3.2mm = 139X)  The bigger problem you will have to address is the ability to properly focus and track your subject. 

 

If you get soft planetary images, the problem will be with the Astroscan, not the eyepiece.  You just have to hope that the optics in your scope were a good sample.  You're trying to use the scope in a manor that exceeds its design specifications, so I'm glad you're doing your research.  As long as you fully understand what you're getting yourself into, you can avoid disappointment.      



#58 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 11:31 AM

Having owned Astroscans for years — and still have one that is one of my favorite telescopes — I have some hard earned advice!

 

1.  Do NOT buy any large, heavy, or long barlows or eyepieces.  It will throw the balance of the Astroscan off, and it will either drop down or rotate and spit the Barlow or eyepiece out!

 

2.  A great Barlow for the 'Scan is the Orion Shorty, not the Plus.  Lightweight small.  Very inexpensive, with clear, crisp views.  Threaded for filters, too.
 

3.  One great thing about using a Barlow is that it makes the scope an effective f/8.4, so that helps clear up eyepiece astigmatism in low-end eyepieces.

 

4.  The RKEs are fantastic eyepieces, especially on planets with larger scopes, but have VERY short eye relief.

 

5.  I use a Vixen 8-24mm zoom eyepiece + Barlow for the higher powered stuff.  You want a smaller-sized zoom like that — the equivalent Celestron is longer and heavier and not quite as good in views.

 

6.  A strip of Teflon (not the tape) applied to the focuser makes that smooth as marble.  Makes a world of difference in focusing.  There are directions floating around the web for how to do that.

 

7.  The scope excels at rich, wide field viewing, but if you have one with good collimation, you can get some great planetary views.  One of my favorite views of Saturn was with a Barlowed 7.4mm Televue Plossl.

 

8.  Do NOT spend hundreds of dollars on a given accessory glass for it!  Do NOT spend more than, say, $50-60 on any eyepiece or Barlow for it.  Buy used off of Astromart or the sales forum here.

 

9.  My favorite eyepieces to use with the scope are the 28mm RKE; the Meade 26mm Plossls Series 5000, the Meade 18mm and 12mm HD-60s.  I really liked the 30mm Ultima in the scope, too!  The 22mm and 18mm Epics were good, too. A wonderful pair of eyepieces are the 9mm and 6mm Orion Expanses — or equivalent.  Wider fields than spec'd for, sharp across more of the field, and with acceptable eye relief. However, if you wear eyeglasses beware as they have exposed metal on the top that could scratch your glasses!

 

10.  The TV 3x Barlow works nicely with the Astroscan, too — and would be a keeper for future scopes.  Do NOT spend lots of money for a Powermate with the 'Scan.  It'd be a waste of money.  Televue used to make a 1 1/4” ParaCorr, pricey, and did work in flattening the field, but it added to the weight, the leverage arm, and ended up not being worth it.

 

But again, enjoy the scope for what is best for — wide field low power views — large clusters, sweeping the Milky Way, conjunctions, the Moon, sky hopping from DSO to DSO, red stars, easy star hopping, seeing objects in their big sky context.  There is an intimacy to using the scope, a simplicity and freshness, and a natural movement with the ball mount.  I use it on the  Edmund tripod.  Works great.

 

Finally, Edmund used to provide a very inexpensive ($35) cleaning and collimation service for it, which was well worth it.  That even includes free shipping back to then owner!

Hi Roger, thank you for your advice! The Orion Shorty definitely looks like a nice, inexpensive Barlow which could be a really good option for my Astroscan. So are you in the boat of using a 2x Barlow with the 8mm RKE I have, or picking up a 5mm or 3.2mm Paradigm eyepiece for around $60? You mentioned that the RKEs are great eyepieces, so I'm curious if you'd recommend the Barlow instead of a high powered Paradigm. 

 

As for adding teflon to the focuser, I couldn't find much online but I could easily be overlooking something or not looking hard enough. I found some teflon sheets, https://smile.amazon...18157524&sr=8-3, could I cut a piece of this and wrap it around the outside of the focuser tube to achieve the smooth glide?

 

I love the 28mm RKE, it really allows me to get the most out of the Astroscan and learn about the sky. I have only used the other two more recently while trying to view Saturn and Jupiter. I appreciate all of the information you provided on various eyepieces and Barlows that would work well with my scope!

 

- Ryan



#59 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 11:40 AM

"would you at all consider a Paradigm 3.2mm eyepiece worth it?"

 

Hi Ryan,

 

The Paradigm eyepieces have a reputation for delivering image quality that exceeds expectations when you consider their relatively low cost.  The 5mm is by far their most popular short focal length eyepiece.  I've never used their 3.2mm, so it's inappropriate for me to comment on it.  Keep in mind that even a 3.2mm eyepiece will deliver 139X on an Astroscan, which is considered modest magnification for planetary observing.  (445mm/3.2mm = 139X)  The bigger problem you will have to address is the ability to properly focus and track your subject. 

 

If you get soft planetary images, the problem will be with the Astroscan, not the eyepiece.  You just have to hope that the optics in your scope were a good sample.  You're trying to use the scope in a manor that exceeds its design specifications, so I'm glad you're doing your research.  As long as you fully understand what you're getting yourself into, you can avoid disappointment.      

Thank you for giving me additional information about the Paradigm eyepieces! I'm using the 8mm RKE eyepiece right now to track the planets and have not been facing any real issues. My only complaint is the inability to properly focus on the subject, which hopefully can be diminished after adjusting the rubber roller and adding some teflon or wax to the focuser tube. I know once I get a Barlow or higher powered Paradigm, I'll be at about 2-3 times higher magnification than I am now. My reason for wanting to go more expensive right now, on say a Barlow, is so I can use it for the next scope I get. If I buy a high powered Paradigm, it might be useless on an 8" Dobsonian, whereas a 2x Tele Vue Barlow would not. I'll likely buy either a cheaper Barlow or eypiece and dedicate it to my Astroscan, rather than trying to buy stuff now for a future scope. If I upgrade and realize the eyepiece is useless for a different planetary viewing telescope, then I could sell it on the classifieds!

 

- Ryan



#60 SteveG

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 01:07 PM

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

A 3.2 mm eyepiece used in any scope is pushing the limits. IMO, you would never get what I consider good views with it and your Astroscan. I would not go any shorter than 5 mm, and likely not use anything below 8 mm.


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#61 ChuppsterXLM

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 01:35 PM

Thank you! I'm looking to get an 8" Dobsonian in the future, but might look for a pair of binoculars as well, to aid in my learning! Do you have a pair you would recommend? 

 

- Ryan

Try to get BAK 4 prisms, low magnification ( 7x or 8x) and larger objectives (50mm or more). I use my Nikon 7x50  more than my Orion 15x70 or my 20x80 because of the weight. After a few minutes scanning handheld the 15x70 feel that they weight a ton! I mount them on a tripod as well as my 20x80 but it's not "grab-n-go" friendly. The 7x50 are truly a "grab-n-go" wonder. Since moving to Hawaii I've been using them every night! (weather permitting). Friday night my wife and I went for a walk at Hickam AFB beach on Oahu's south shore. We ended up scanning Carina's Nebula low in the horizon with the 7x50. Can't wait for another night to check "Southern Pleiades" and Crux. I'm on the market to get some Oberwerk's 8x56 LW, truly fine glass!

 

https://oberwerk.com...ght-binoculars/

 

Good luck my friend!



#62 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 04:02 PM

Thanks Dave! Do you believe the Paradigm will show noticeable image improvement over the RKE eyepieces? The reason I ask is maybe I haven't reached the limit of the scope and could do better with a slightly better eyepiece. If you don't think there will be much improvement, then I will take that into account and consider a Barlow.

 

- Ryan

The 8mm RKE has an apparent field of view of only 45 degrees and an eye relief of 6.6mm compared to the 5mm Paradigm's 60-degree AFOV and eye relief of 13mm.  However, the on-axis views produced by both will probably differ very little.


 


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#63 Mitrovarr

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:29 PM

The eye relief is the important thing IMHO. The 8mm RKE doesn't have enough to get the whole AFOV even without glasses, and it's pretty uncomfortable.

Edited by Mitrovarr, 11 April 2021 - 08:29 PM.


#64 jimandlaura26

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 10:00 PM

"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."

 

YES. (1) Balance is a continual challenge and those adjustable bearings make a big difference; e.g., when switching out large 2" EPs and light weight 1.25" EPs or different heavier finders. On my AstroTech 10" Dob, I had similar bearings plus the ability to move the mating bearing structure (fore & aft) on the OTA, effectively change its center of rotation. (2) Screws for collimating secondary make things so much easier and you don't have to worry about dropping a screwdriver or Allen wrench on your primary mirror....

 

Again... join that club and watch Dob users in action.


Edited by jimandlaura26, 11 April 2021 - 10:17 PM.


#65 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 10:18 PM

The eye relief is the important thing IMHO. The 8mm RKE doesn't have enough to get the whole AFOV even without glasses, and it's pretty uncomfortable.

Thank you for more information on this, I really appreciate it. I've noticed that I have to get very close to the eyepiece to see the full image and even then, it will very easily come off target. It's definitely easier viewing through the 28mm! 

 

- Ryan

 

"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."

 

YES. (1) Balance is a continual challenge and those adjustable bearings make a big difference; e.g., when switching out large 2" EPs and light weight 1.25" EPs. On my AstroTech 10" Dob, I had similar bearings plus the ability to move the mating bearing structure (fore & aft) on the OTA, effectively change its center of rotation. (2) Screws for collimating secondary make things so much easier and you don't have to worry about dropping a screwdriver or Allen wrench on your primary mirror....

 

Again... join that club and watch Dob users in action.

I just saw an XT8 PLUS for sale at around $350, which I might jump on. The secondary collimation screws would be a bonus, like you said. It doesn't come with any eyepieces so I would be in the same boat with figuring out what to get, but I don't think it'll be nearly as bad with my Astroscan. However, I have been thrown into a pickle. There is also a Celestron C8 SCT for sale at around $450. I know, I know, I need to take it one step at a time and this entire thread was about my Astroscan, but can I really let these opportunities go? I don't think so.

 

Thank you so much for your help!

 

- Ryan


Edited by Ryanocalypse, 11 April 2021 - 11:13 PM.


#66 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 10:23 PM

Try to get BAK 4 prisms, low magnification ( 7x or 8x) and larger objectives (50mm or more). I use my Nikon 7x50  more than my Orion 15x70 or my 20x80 because of the weight. After a few minutes scanning handheld the 15x70 feel that they weight a ton! I mount them on a tripod as well as my 20x80 but it's not "grab-n-go" friendly. The 7x50 are truly a "grab-n-go" wonder. Since moving to Hawaii I've been using them every night! (weather permitting). Friday night my wife and I went for a walk at Hickam AFB beach on Oahu's south shore. We ended up scanning Carina's Nebula low in the horizon with the 7x50. Can't wait for another night to check "Southern Pleiades" and Crux. I'm on the market to get some Oberwerk's 8x56 LW, truly fine glass!

 

https://oberwerk.com...ght-binoculars/

 

Good luck my friend!

I will keep an eye out for a pair of these! I would probably go with the smaller pairs like you said, that's awesome you mount the 20x80s because I bet they would increase the shakes really quick haha! I'm jealous of your duty station in Oahu, what a breathtaking area you're in. I was in the Army for close to 5 years but was stationed at Fort Bragg, I have some friends who went to Hawaii and they love it there! Good luck with your sky-watching and your next pair of binoculars!

 

- Ryan


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#67 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 10:29 PM

A 3.2 mm eyepiece used in any scope is pushing the limits. IMO, you would never get what I consider good views with it and your Astroscan. I would not go any shorter than 5 mm, and likely not use anything below 8 mm.

Thanks for your input Steve! I'm using the 8mm RKE right now and it's so close to showing me the details of Saturn. Others were saying higher powered eyepieces may work well, but there will be a limit on my Astroscan. However, I do have the opportunity to purchase another scope, allowing me to see better details on planets. I'm going to post a question on this thread to see what others think but I would like to pick your brain as well. There is an Orion XT8 Plus for sale at around $350 with no eyepieces and a Celestron C8 SCT for around $450. Both are good deals and as far as I can tell, the C8 is an amazing deal. What is your opinion, if any, on potentially buying a C8 SCT instead of the XT8 Plus?

 

- Ryan


Edited by Ryanocalypse, 11 April 2021 - 11:12 PM.


#68 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 10:45 PM

Okay everybody, if you haven't already gotten annoyed by my indecision between Barlows or high powered eyepiece for my Astroscan, you are about to be! 

 

Many of you have recommended the 5mm or 3.2mm Paradigm eyepieces for my Astroscan, in order to more easily view Saturn and Jupiter. You have also recommended that I clean out my Astroscan and add a little bit of wax into the focuser tube, which I have done so. It still "sticks" so I'm unable to get an accurate focus, which would be even more tedious with a higher powered eyepiece if I were to buy one. I still love the scope and plan on taking it out for more low power scans of the night sky. So here's where the annoyance may come.

 

I came across a couple of ads for different telescopes. The first one is offering an Orion XT8 plus without eyepieces for around $350. The next scope I planned on getting for better functionality and planetary viewing was an XT8, so this presents a good opportunity to jump on. However, there is another scope for sale. I found a Celestron C8 SCT in great shape for around $450, a very good deal as far as I can tell. This scope does not come with eyepieces. So, here comes my question: does anybody have experience with a Celestron C8 and could you provide any information to help out?

 

I've been hit with the realization of my Astroscan's limitations and a little bit of FOMO for these two scopes on sale. Please give me your honest opinions. I appreciate everybody's advice and willingness to help me out!

 

- Ryan


Edited by Ryanocalypse, 11 April 2021 - 11:12 PM.


#69 ShaulaB

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 11:28 PM

I have owned an Astrscan for over 30 years. It has flown with me to many vacation destinations in an airliner overhead compartment. I truly have an emotional attachment to it.

But, as has been pointed out by some previous posters, do no expect much from planets. My husband and I recently took the Cherry Bomb apart to clean and collimate it. This was an ordeal.

Expand your deep sky object list though. Yesterday, one of my observing friends said he saw all parts of the Veil Nebula near Cygnus in one eyepiece view with an Astroscan. This was in south no-light-pollution Texas, but still.

Regarding the 28mm RKE: guard it with your life! An awesome eyepiece.

#70 SteveG

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 12:03 AM

Thanks for your input Steve! I'm using the 8mm RKE right now and it's so close to showing me the details of Saturn. Others were saying higher powered eyepieces may work well, but there will be a limit on my Astroscan. However, I do have the opportunity to purchase another scope, allowing me to see better details on planets. I'm going to post a question on this thread to see what others think but I would like to pick your brain as well. There is an Orion XT8 Plus for sale at around $350 with no eyepieces and a Celestron C8 SCT for around $450. Both are good deals and as far as I can tell, the C8 is an amazing deal. What is your opinion, if any, on potentially buying a C8 SCT instead of the XT8 Plus?

 

- Ryan

I would jump on the XT 8 ASAP.



#71 noisejammer

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 02:49 AM

I've used a C8 a few times - they were an object of considerable desire when my yard cannon was a home-made 6" Dobsonian. Later, I had 10" and 12" Schmidt Cassegrains as my main scopes for many years.

 

It can be a great scope (even for beginners) but be conscious that it has quite a long focal length and it's not possible to achieve a field of view that's greater than about 1°. As I commented previously, there are very few bright objects that won't fit into this field.

 

The long focal length comes with the need for a really stiff mount. I suspect that most of the difficulty people have with this scope - or any scope - is that the mount is a wobbler, I'm guessing but I doubt your $450 includes a mount. If it does, that's where I'd go. Add a decent finder (Antares right angle correct image) and you're golden. Note that you will need a diagonal - these are not cheap and it may or may not be included with the scope. Your existing eyepieces will do quite nicely for now.

 

On the XT8 - again, it's hard to go wrong but you will need to understand collimation. It's an easy skill to pick up and once learned will serve you throughout your astronomy efforts. I find that a modest laser collimator can do wonders.

 

Which one would I pick? The C8 in a heartbeat. It'll get used far more because it's more intuitive.



#72 Mitrovarr

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 03:14 AM

Is the C8 one of the original orange ones, or some kind of later model?

#73 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 06:16 AM

I've used a C8 a few times - they were an object of considerable desire when my yard cannon was a home-made 6" Dobsonian. Later, I had 10" and 12" Schmidt Cassegrains as my main scopes for many years.

 

It can be a great scope (even for beginners) but be conscious that it has quite a long focal length and it's not possible to achieve a field of view that's greater than about 1°. As I commented previously, there are very few bright objects that won't fit into this field.

 

The long focal length comes with the need for a really stiff mount. I suspect that most of the difficulty people have with this scope - or any scope - is that the mount is a wobbler, I'm guessing but I doubt your $450 includes a mount. If it does, that's where I'd go. Add a decent finder (Antares right angle correct image) and you're golden. Note that you will need a diagonal - these are not cheap and it may or may not be included with the scope. Your existing eyepieces will do quite nicely for now.

 

On the XT8 - again, it's hard to go wrong but you will need to understand collimation. It's an easy skill to pick up and once learned will serve you throughout your astronomy efforts. I find that a modest laser collimator can do wonders.

 

Which one would I pick? The C8 in a heartbeat. It'll get used far more because it's more intuitive.

Thank you Bruce! Would it still be impossible to achieve a focal length greater than 1° even with some of the eyepieces that offer extremely wide FOV, like the Naglers or Ethos? Not that I would get one immediately, I'm just curious. The C8 looks to be the older orange one. There is a finder but it's not orange like I would see on the older one, it also does come with the original mount. I read there was a time in the 80s when these scopes were mass produced and quality shot down, do you have any experience with this and if so, still believe it would be worth the $450? I would be happy with either scope, if they aren't sold already haha!

 

- Ryan



#74 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 06:18 AM

Is the C8 one of the original orange ones, or some kind of later model?

It's the original orange one with the mount. However, there is a black finder on it instead of the orange one, not sure if this is aftermarket or definitive of a later model. Thank you!

 

- Ryan



#75 Ryanocalypse

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 06:20 AM

I would jump on the XT 8 ASAP.

Steve, thank you for the confirmation! I'm talking with the seller right now so hopefully we can work something out. I have not heard back from the C8 seller so let's see if fate decides for me.

 

- Ryan




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