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EAA for ES/MS Education -point me in the right direction

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#76 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 02:28 PM

If you go to astromart, there's a chap in Port Orange, FL that has an Evolution mount, with a starsense for $950. 

 

You could sell the starsense, if you want for about $200.

 

Note that using a cooled camera on an evolution, with a reducer will mean you'll probably need a diagonal that screws onto the reducer.  Otherwise you hit the mount when chasing high altitude objects.

 

If your observation site is permanent, I'd think about getting a GEM.  Better upside than an alt-az mount.  But good ones aren't very "portable" regardless what the advertising says.

 

A C8, and short fl refractor allows you to cover about everything quite well from planets to large scale DSO.

 

j

Thanks!  I'll check that out.  I can use the Starsense on our SLT.  I'd do that before selling it.  Not permanent on the end of a pier in a lake, and I need to be able to move the kit in out of torrential thiunderstoms which happen here in FL

 

We also have 127mm Mak to cover higher magnification and a 224 to use with it.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 27 June 2021 - 02:37 PM.


#77 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 02:40 PM

I did purchased a used C-6 (CN Classifieds) for $350 and have ordered a HStar for it.  I am interested how it will do compared to my CPC 9.25 @ F6.3.  Oranges to Apples comparison, but in the last couple of years a number of CN folks on the EAA Forum have done quite well with the smaller telescopes as well as I have also done with my TV101 refractor.

 

The C6 / Hstar is cheaper than a standalone a Hstar for the C9.25 by a couple of hundred dollars.   So it will be interesting to see how it performs.  All my C 9.25 accessories (FR, Cams, Extensions, Adapters, Filters...) are useable on the C6, so for me it was an economical way to go.   Pat Utah smile.gif

Stop that!  Now you are starting to tempt me to upgrade from my Virtuoso!



#78 SchoolMaster

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 04:51 PM

The mount/starsense has sold, but I can look for another.



#79 SchoolMaster

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 03:30 PM

I did purchased a used C-6 (CN Classifieds) for $350 and have ordered a HStar for it.  I am interested how it will do compared to my CPC 9.25 @ F6.3.  Oranges to Apples comparison, but in the last couple of years a number of CN folks on the EAA Forum have done quite well with the smaller telescopes as well as I have also done with my TV101 refractor.

 

The C6 / Hstar is cheaper than a standalone a Hstar for the C9.25 by a couple of hundred dollars.   So it will be interesting to see how it performs.  All my C 9.25 accessories (FR, Cams, Extensions, Adapters, Filters...) are useable on the C6, so for me it was an economical way to go.   Pat Utah smile.gif

More ideas here.

 

OTA1  C6 with Hyperstar

OTA2  C8 with adjuster (0.4, 0.63, none, 1.5x, 2x, as selected for the targets I want to work with.)

OTA3  Refractor (70ED or 102 achro)

 

I can then swap OTAs which is much easier than changing the rest of the optical path.

 

The C6 collects less light, but has a bigger FOV than the C8, right?

 

This is cheaper than my budget too.  What are the drawbacks?



#80 alphatripleplus

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 04:53 PM

I have a close approximation/subset of your latest proposed setup: C6  and C8 (each with either single f/6.3 or stacked f/6.3 reducers, yielding around f/4, or no reducer), and 72ED f/6 refractor (with no reducer, or approx 0.7x with single f/6.3). I find this covers a range of focal lengths well. 

 

A C6 with hyperstar has about the same focal length as my 72 ED refractor operating at f/4.3, but the hyperstared C6 would be faster. Do I ever think of hyperstaring my C6? Sometimes, but f/4.3 with a refractor is pretty fast for me anyway.



#81 SchoolMaster

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 05:07 PM

I'm thinking of having the 70mm ED(a Lunt) for solar work, when I figure out how to afford the filter and etalon.  I can do solar at school and it is very WOW! (although less aligned with the science curriculum than I'd like), and we are heading back to the maximum.  It did not occur to me to reduce the 70mm.  So you are using 3 x 2" f/6.3 reducers in your kit?

 

So,

 

OTA1  C6 with stacked f/6.3

OTA2  C8 with adjuster (stacked f/6.3, f/6.3, none, 1.5x, 2x, as selected for the targets I want to work with.)(no Night Owl)

OTA3  Refractor (70ED or 102 achro)

 

is a viable configuration?  I realize that the C6 can take anything the C8 can.

 

My audience it less discerning that Cloudy Nights members might be, so many optical shortcomings could be overlooked. (Bad CR probably not, but some coma and vignetting)


Edited by SchoolMaster, 28 June 2021 - 05:09 PM.


#82 alphatripleplus

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 05:18 PM

I'm thinking of having the 70mm ED(a Lunt) for solar work, when I figure out how to afford the filter and etalon.  I can do solar at school and it is very WOW! (although less aligned with the science curriculum than I'd like), and we are heading back to the maximum.  It did not occur to me to reduce the 70mm.  So you are using 3 x 2" f/6.3 reducers in your kit?

 

 

 I have only two f/6.3 reducers, so I move them around from scope to scope, but only stack them on the SCTs. The single f/6.3 reducer works surprisingly well with the refractor, although it is not designed to correct the field curvature of a refractor.

 

One point I should have made - If you are using a large sensor camera, the bigger FOV will mean that aberrations using stacked f/6.3 reducers  will be ugly away from the center. I only use the twin stacked f/6.3s on a small 1/3 type sensor. You should be fine using them with a 224MC, but not with a 294MC.



#83 SchoolMaster

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 05:26 PM

How about a 533?  There's so many subtle things.  If it were my money, I'd do my best, re-sell if I made errors and eat the cost as a learning experience, but this is NOT my money, so I need to get it very right the first time.  At least we have the 224MCs. 

 

Still $%*&^#@@ weather.  Just had a 0.5 sec thunder crack, so it's very close.  I want to go outside and SEE something and actually use kit rather than talk about it.


Edited by SchoolMaster, 28 June 2021 - 05:27 PM.


#84 alphatripleplus

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 10:01 PM

I haven't used a 1 inch size sensor with stacked f/6.3  reducers, but I think you'll see noticeably more in aberrations towards the edge of the FOV than with the smaller sensors (1/3 and 1/2).

 

 

 

My audience it less discerning that Cloudy Nights members might be, so many optical shortcomings could be overlooked. (Bad CR probably not, but some coma and vignetting)

 

If your audience is less discerning, it may be okay. If you acquire two f/6.3 reducers, and decide the twin stacked reducers aren't to your liking, you could always sell one and try a NightOwl (if it ever gets released). Buying then selling a reducer is unlikely to result in more than a few tens of dollars of loss. 


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#85 Alien Observatory

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 11:51 PM

It would seem to me that a C6 with HStar (F2.0), FR 4.0, FR 6.3, Native F10, 2X Barlow (F20) would cover everything observable in the Universe.  Anything else is just redundant, 3 to 5 minutes to exchange a HStar with any other configuration (F4, F6, F10, F20).  Just seems to be a effort to spend $$$ as opposed to KISS with a couple of different cams....or just do the same with a C8...Pat Utah smile.gif


Edited by Alien Observatory, 29 June 2021 - 12:08 AM.

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#86 SchoolMaster

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 07:36 AM

It would seem to me that a C6 with HStar (F2.0), FR 4.0, FR 6.3, Native F10, 2X Barlow (F20) would cover everything observable in the Universe.  Anything else is just redundant, 3 to 5 minutes to exchange a HStar with any other configuration (F4, F6, F10, F20).  Just seems to be a effort to spend $$$ as opposed to KISS with a couple of different cams....or just do the same with a C8...Pat Utah smile.gif

Yes and no (a politician's answer).  I was an owner-manager of a software company for 20 years, and finances/purchasing worked in a standard 'market' way, you get credit for saving money, but can ask for more if you an justify it.  At school it is a 'bureaucratic' way.  You get money to do things, get no credit for spending less, your savings will be given to others, and it is a complex and time-consuming process to ask for more, and laughed at if you spent less to start with and ask for more later.  My objective here is indeed to spend all $5,000, but by 'extending' the mission rather than wasting it on excessive consumption.  We're a primary education school, so pro-grade, and ED triplet kit is too expensive/good (and too expensive, mostly).

 

I won't get any more money, and the program won't get any more for, likely, five years, so what we get now needs to be good and as comprehensive as possible.  Having multiple OTA, set up in advance with reducers and other kit, ready to be swapped out quickly, seems like KISS to me.  Changing out Hyperstar (which I have no practical clue about) at the end of a pier over a lake at night seems like an opportunity for disaster. (It is a HIGH priority for me to find another location)

 

Just you confirm, you are suggesting that if I put this kit together, I can do nearly anything.

 

Existing C6 (replace dovetail or buy Losmandy/Vixen adaptor $100)

Mount on existing SLT or GTe

Buy Hyperstar, Night Owl, f/6.3, and 2x Barlow +  filter (and diagonal?) $1,500)

Use exiting 224MC cameras



#87 SchoolMaster

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 04:25 PM

I had expected to hear comments on my recommendation today.  (no news is good news??)

 

I'm coming to:

 

Celestron Evolution Mount  $1,200  Good enough for EAA with C8, WiFi, and battery, and light enough to run and gun when the weather turns bad

Celestron C8 $1,000  hopefully with the mount as a package for less.

ZWO 294MC Pro $1,000   More general purpose than 533, but I'm still not sure about this.

Lunt 70mm ED  $450 ( will be solar one day )  could be deleted to save money (goes on GTe when not on Evo)

2 x f/6.3 F/6.3 or f/4 is with two. $300

Decent Barlow x 2 (anything recommended, or must avoid?)

Decent diagonal (any thing recommended, or must avoid?) for when I need to reach the zenith and avoid the mount

Miscellaneous, Bahtinov mask, white light solar filter, good sky filter

Maybe HyperStar for existing C6 $600

 

Fits in my $5,000 budget



#88 airsurfer

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 11:10 PM

ASI studio is free and has live stacking built in but only works with ZWO ASI cameras.  Could save you the yearly sharpcap pro license for live stacking

-

I would add a electronic focuser from ZWO for $199. 



#89 SchoolMaster

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 01:54 PM

ASI studio is free and has live stacking built in but only works with ZWO ASI cameras.  Could save you the yearly sharpcap pro license for live stacking

-

I would add a electronic focuser from ZWO for $199. 

Will it connect through to plate-solving as well?



#90 alphatripleplus

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 03:02 PM

Will it connect through to plate-solving as well?

I use ASILive software for live stacking, but it  does not support plate solving at the moment - unlike SharpCap or the ASI AIR Pro.

 

I usually run both ASILive and SharpCap (only one connected to the camera at a time), so that I can platesolve through SharpCap when I switch targets. Other times, I will just run SharpCap and skip ASILive. In my mind, SharpCap is well worth the annual subsription just for the polar alignment routine.



#91 nic35

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 07:00 PM

With a cooled  camera you will want to get a celestron diagonal with interchangeable scope side barrels.  See https://www.celestro...d3fd9b64d&_ss=r

 

This will allow you to reach the zenith with the cooled camera.  Use the SCT threaded barrel to screw onto the back of the reducer.  Not sure if it will work with two .63 reducers.

 

If you use a plain old diagonal, you need a separate adapter, which lengthens the optical train and limits you to about 65 degrees. 

 

plus, it gives you a 2" diagonal for use with other scopes.

 

You'll need to budget some $$ for portable power.  I recommend TalentCell batteries available through Amazon.

 

The evolution with an 8" SC (non-edge) is currently selling at B&H photo for $1799.  Of course it is back ordered until 6/1/2022.

 

j



#92 SchoolMaster

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 09:41 AM

Pat Utah could see more clearly than me. 

 

I've gotten comments back from my proposal after it was passed by other experts.  The comments are a bit contradictory, but I will need to completely re-think things.  The comments are from several different sources. Issues are:

 

1.  An 8" telescope costs less than $500, for $5,000 we should be getting at least 16"

2.  We already have two computer controlled mounts.  If we need another one, we can get it for $300.

3.  A  complete 70mm telescope costs about $100.  For kids, $450 is 'gold plated, with diamond dust'

4.  A proper astrophotography camera costs more than $5,000 alone, anything that cheap is a waste.

5.  $1,000 is too much for a digital telescope camera.  Get a simple adaptor, and use a modern cell phone for free.

6.  Looks like a toy, does not look like a real telescope, not going to impress anyone.

7.  Must have Equatorial mount to be any good.

 

a, The best solution is a Celestron f/8 6" refractor on a CG-5 mount and will do everything we need, for $1500.

b. Get something better, much more modern and cutting edge instead of last century's tech, the eVscope for $3,000

 

I'm going to check that out, but a F/8 6" refractor is going to be big, long, and heavy.

The eVscope uses a 224 camera, I think, and we could just about do as well with the kit we already have.

 

The general view is that I'm out of touch with modern options and technology, and spending far to much for too little.

 

I will need to 'regroup'


Edited by SchoolMaster, 19 July 2021 - 11:49 AM.


#93 SchoolMaster

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 09:47 AM

With a cooled  camera you will want to get a celestron diagonal with interchangeable scope side barrels.  See https://www.celestro...d3fd9b64d&_ss=r

 

This will allow you to reach the zenith with the cooled camera.  Use the SCT threaded barrel to screw onto the back of the reducer.  Not sure if it will work with two .63 reducers.

 

If you use a plain old diagonal, you need a separate adapter, which lengthens the optical train and limits you to about 65 degrees. 

 

plus, it gives you a 2" diagonal for use with other scopes.

 

You'll need to budget some $$ for portable power.  I recommend TalentCell batteries available through Amazon.

 

The evolution with an 8" SC (non-edge) is currently selling at B&H photo for $1799.  Of course it is back ordered until 6/1/2022.

 

j

Thanks for the recommendation.  I'm uncertain whether cooled is essential for my audience, but I wanted a decent, inexpensive, 2" diagonal in the kit anyway, if only for visual work.  I have a bunch of 12v battery packs, over 6,000 to 10,000 mAh, used for robotics and other projects.

 

The diagonal will certainly be needed for visual if I get the 6" refractor.




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