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Can anyone recommend some equipment?

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#1 Tyrr

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:52 AM

Hi all

 

I'm putting the foundations down for an observatory on my farm in Spain and I'll be putting a 3 meter motorized dome on it - along with a set pier.

 

I want to seriously get into astronomy something which my wallet has never allowed me to do until now. I'm willing to invest a moderate sum of £10K 

 

However investing a large sum usually means a lot of complicated equipment - so I'm told! Unless it's obviously the 'Stellina' which I think is okay but I don't like the fact you can't just look at any object or look through an eyepiece when you want to.

 

I've heard many people say "for a beginner I'd go for" instead of spending more money later on upgrading all of my stuff. I'd rather just buy a good little setup now.

 

I'm willing to put up to £10k into the entire setup (excluding the Observatory + Computer as I have a powerful rig as it is)

 

Instead of going and spending £10K on the scope itself I understand there is the importance of the ancillary equipment.

 

 

My questions are

 

What equipment would you guys recommend for the £10K budget?

Why would you choose the equipment over the others?

What software is the best to use?

Can you have a setup where you can look through an eyepiece and have it streamed to the computer?

 

 

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? It's not something I'd get bored with nor is it something I'd be unable to learn as I'm a quick learner. I've even considered flying someone out to Spain to help me get all set up when I'm ready for it.

 

Thanks

 

Ty


Edited by Tyrr, 17 September 2021 - 12:06 PM.

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#2 havasman

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 12:53 PM

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? It's not something I'd get bored with nor is it something I'd be unable to learn as I'm a quick learner. I've even considered flying someone out to Spain to help me get all set up when I'm ready for it.

 

Through a long succession of hobbies there has always been That Guy who tries it, loves it, checks his finances and goes all-in for the best gear available so he can learn to practice the hobby. Sometimes it works out great and that $250k wake surfing boat becomes a central part of a family's life with everyone achieving expert status. Sometimes the skydiver that bought the trickest, fastest canopy and rig never gets that last increment of skill that allows flying such gear and pounds into the earth at fatal speeds. Sometimes That Guy buys a new Corvette or Porsche that never hits pavement before it gets modded to autocross standards and the guy finds out he can neither drive it well enough nor afford to keep it running at its peak so it becomes just another beater in a short time. Don't be That Guy.

 

He basically lets his wallet substitute for knowledge. A dubious enterprise. But at least choosing your AP gear badly won't likely kill you.

 

Build knowledge so that you know (or at least have good reason to form a strong opinion about) what the gear you're considering will do and whether it will be complementary when you roll it out and will be the thing that brings success. I recommend

https://www.astropix...bgda_index.html

as an excellent place to start. Mr. Lodriguss has a series running through advanced concepts and practices but starting at the beginning is not a bad plan. The recommended book discusses starting gear at length. The author is easily accomplished enough to be a valuable teacher.

 

A friend of mine got his 3rd or 4th NASA APOD this week and his total gear outlay for the rig he uses to get those shots is @ $6k over a 5 or 6 year period. He has deep knowledge and finely honed skills.

 

Best wishes for you realizing your dream! But there's no rush. Time is long and the stars will be available later too.


Edited by havasman, 17 September 2021 - 12:58 PM.

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#3 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 01:14 PM

I'm going to assume that you are talking about imaging, based on the Stellina reference. The first thing that you should do is to see if there's a club in the UK (based on the reference to steling pricing) near you where you can see what other imagers are using and why they like what they have (or not). 

 

Given that you will be in a remote area, a lot of the money should be spent on the mount. No mount, no system. Once you decide which one is for you, then selecting the other equipment becomes easy. 

 

Mounts more or less bifurcate into very expensive and made in China. If that were my budget, I'd want to look long and hard at the latest observatory class Chinese Mounts from iOptron and Synta. Getting one of frees up a lot of cash for the other equipment. If you look at the "VE" observatory class mounts - Paramount MX+, AP1100, and GM2000, your whole budget goes to the mount. 

 

To get around that if the high price brands are what you want, then the GM1000 (for a European imager) would be my recommendation. I don't own one but I just can't see recommending any mount supported by a company that 8K KM from my home as the long duration choice. 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#4 aeajr

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 01:53 PM

If I were setting up a dome I would likely go for a 12 to 14" SCT on a GoTo   Perhaps an LX200 12 or 14"

https://www.meade.com/lxtelescopes-74

 

If you wanted something smaller as a companion for remote site use, perhaps a 100 mm ED refractor on a manual AltAz.  If you wanted it for AP, an ED refractor would be a an entry level solution, or go for the full APO triplet on a goto EQ mount.

 

Perhaps one of these Astro Tech ED or EDL refractors.

https://www.astronom...cope_series=890

 

A nice set of Explore Scientific 82 degree eyepieces would be a good starting point.

https://www.astronom...iece_series=498

 

 

Just a starting point for discussion


Edited by aeajr, 17 September 2021 - 02:19 PM.

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#5 weis14

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 02:07 PM

Welcome to the hobby and to CloudyNights!  I agree completely with the need to educate yourself thoroughly before selecting equipment.  That said, if you have the money available, no sense limiting yourself when it comes to equipment. One key question is what you think the breakdown would be between visual and AP.  AP is much more expensive, especially in the mounting requirements, and you could easily spend your entire budget on a high end mount for imaging.  

 

Here is what I would buy for approximately 10,000 GBP for a person who wants to start with a mixed AP/visual setup in a permanent observatory.  It would be a dual scope setup on one permanently mounted equatorial mount.  I tried to get the prices from European vendors where possible (APM Telescopes, Baader Planetarium and Astroshop.eu.), so they should include VAT.  

 

  • Mount: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R EQ8-R or similar.  This is a good mount with a stated capacity of 110lbs (less for imaging).  It is heavy, but with a permanent setup, that shouldn't matter.  Price: $5,100 USD without tripod (your observatory should have a pier).
  • Lightbucket/Planetary Imaging Scope: Celestron C11 OTA.  This scope excels at visual views of all targets and can be a superb planetary imaging scope. Price: $3,520 USD.
  • Widefield/DSO Imaging Scope: 94mm TS Optics APO Refractor.  This scope is for wider fields than are possible with the C11 for both imaging and visual.  Price: $1,640 USD.
  • Eyepieces and Diagonals:  Budget around $1,000 USD for this.  How much you spend depends on whether you will be mostly a visual observer or an astrophotographer.  If you won't be doing much AP, steal from the AP budget to get more/better eyepieces.
  • Camers & AP Equipment (ASIAir, guider, etc.)  Budget around $2,000 USD for this.  If you won't be doing much visual observation, steal budget from the eyepieces to get better gear.
  • Mounting plates, dew control, etc.  Budget around $500 for this.  It might cost more or less depending on how well this all integrates together.

This adds up to about $14,000 US, which should be roughly 10,000 GBP depending on exchange rates.  As someone who is just starting out, I'd buy these items new so you have a warranty with them.

 

The list above could be a good starting point.  Research the materials, try to find some local amateur astronomers who have some of these items and figure out your use conditions.  Then, you can start to purchase.

 

Good Luck!


Edited by weis14, 17 September 2021 - 07:12 PM.

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#6 Tyrr

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 02:51 PM

Guys, I can't thank you enough. I appreciate the help. I'm going to take a look at that guide, I suppose that's what I've really been needing instead of trying to thread complex

videos I've watched together about set ups.. 

 

I was hoping to get to my local observatory in the UK before I fly back out to Spain but it's showing no opening days.. 

 

I've never had a fancy camera to use before but my girlfriend has a nifty little Canon DSLR so I learnt what settings I needed and took some good snaps, from that, I now understand the need for a good stable base, hence the reason I wanted the dome and concrete set Pier for the mount.

 

I would like to shoot the planets in our solar system, I can't contain my excitement to actually see another planet myself rather than just a dot in the sky or a photo online, it feels like I'm going to be an explorer :) 

 

Thank you @Weis14 for the list of equipment and pricing. 

 

I'll report back - hopefully you guys don't mind answering more questions if I have any?



#7 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 03:03 PM

You mean the EQ8R. Personally I would recommend the CEM120 as the budget observatory mount choice. It's only 4400 and we've got lots more reports about how well these do in an observatory setting than we do the Synta versions. Still, to me, since the OP has time it should be at this stage more about finding people with systems to talk to rather than selecting specific equipement to order. OTOH, given how long it takes to get stuff, in the end, time may well be of the essence.

Rgrds-Ross


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#8 sevenofnine

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 03:11 PM

Welcome to C/N flowerred.gif  Your will get lots of good astronomy related information from our forum members. From your picture, you look like a young man who's come into some significant $$$$$. That's good because this hobby can eat it in bunches moneyeyes.gif

 

However, since you are brand new to this I suggest dipping a toe in first. Just to make sure this hobby is really right for you. There's a lot to it especially astrophotography. I suggest getting some good reading material first. Stay off the Internet. It will just confuse you. A great introduction to astronomy is Terence Dickinson's "NightWatch" and "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide"

 

Knowledge first, equipment second! Best of luck to you waytogo.gif


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#9 teashea

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 07:19 PM

Hi all

 

I'm putting the foundations down for an observatory on my farm in Spain and I'll be putting a 3 meter motorized dome on it - along with a set pier.

 

I want to seriously get into astronomy something which my wallet has never allowed me to do until now. I'm willing to invest a moderate sum of £10K 

 

However investing a large sum usually means a lot of complicated equipment - so I'm told! Unless it's obviously the 'Stellina' which I think is okay but I don't like the fact you can't just look at any object or look through an eyepiece when you want to.

 

I've heard many people say "for a beginner I'd go for" instead of spending more money later on upgrading all of my stuff. I'd rather just buy a good little setup now.

 

I'm willing to put up to £10k into the entire setup (excluding the Observatory + Computer as I have a powerful rig as it is)

 

Instead of going and spending £10K on the scope itself I understand there is the importance of the ancillary equipment.

 

 

My questions are

 

What equipment would you guys recommend for the £10K budget?

Why would you choose the equipment over the others?

What software is the best to use?

Can you have a setup where you can look through an eyepiece and have it streamed to the computer?

 

 

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? It's not something I'd get bored with nor is it something I'd be unable to learn as I'm a quick learner. I've even considered flying someone out to Spain to help me get all set up when I'm ready for it.

 

Thanks

 

Ty

Remember that the mount is as important as the telescope.  Most users under mount their telescopes.


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#10 weis14

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 07:23 PM

You mean the EQ8R. Personally I would recommend the CEM120 as the budget observatory mount choice. It's only 4400 and we've got lots more reports about how well these do in an observatory setting than we do the Synta versions. Still, to me, since the OP has time it should be at this stage more about finding people with systems to talk to rather than selecting specific equipement to order. OTOH, given how long it takes to get stuff, in the end, time may well be of the essence.

Rgrds-Ross

Yes, I definitely meant the EQ8-R.  I think the CEM120 would be fine also.  I'm not wedded to anything in the list I proposed.  In fact, there are many other ways to do this.  For example, a TTS-160 Panther and an APM152 ED Doublet would be a killer, portable visual setup with plenty of money left over for accessories.



#11 ram812

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 08:52 PM

10,000 large would cover about half of the mount cost I'd put in....just sayin'😁
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#12 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 09:11 PM

It's not necessary from a performance perspective. I use a CEM120EC2 and an Paramount MX+. In addition at the observatory I share there are two AP mounts with encoders. For all practical purposes the performance of the mounts is the same. I think that a lot of people would be surprised at how far the Chinese made mounts have come in the last 5 years. The issue, though, is that most remote observatories have knowledge about how to support Paramounts, AP mounts and 10Microns. If there's an issue with a Synta or iOptron, you'd really be "on your own" I think. Still, if you only spend 4k GBP on the mount you can have a really nice imaging system for 10k. If you blow 7k on the mount, well your choices are much more limited. 


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#13 Sacred Heart

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 09:19 PM

Hi all

 

I'm putting the foundations down for an observatory on my farm in Spain and I'll be putting a 3 meter motorized dome on it - along with a set pier.

 

I want to seriously get into astronomy something which my wallet has never allowed me to do until now. I'm willing to invest a moderate sum of £10K 

 

However investing a large sum usually means a lot of complicated equipment - so I'm told! Unless it's obviously the 'Stellina' which I think is okay but I don't like the fact you can't just look at any object or look through an eyepiece when you want to.

 

I've heard many people say "for a beginner I'd go for" instead of spending more money later on upgrading all of my stuff. I'd rather just buy a good little setup now.

 

I'm willing to put up to £10k into the entire setup (excluding the Observatory + Computer as I have a powerful rig as it is)

 

Instead of going and spending £10K on the scope itself I understand there is the importance of the ancillary equipment.

 

 

My questions are

 

What equipment would you guys recommend for the £10K budget?

Why would you choose the equipment over the others?

What software is the best to use?

Can you have a setup where you can look through an eyepiece and have it streamed to the computer?

 

 

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? It's not something I'd get bored with nor is it something I'd be unable to learn as I'm a quick learner. I've even considered flying someone out to Spain to help me get all set up when I'm ready for it.

 

Thanks

 

Ty

 

 

Hi all

 

I'm putting the foundations down for an observatory on my farm in Spain and I'll be putting a 3 meter motorized dome on it - along with a set pier.

 

I want to seriously get into astronomy something which my wallet has never allowed me to do until now. I'm willing to invest a moderate sum of £10K 

 

However investing a large sum usually means a lot of complicated equipment - so I'm told! Unless it's obviously the 'Stellina' which I think is okay but I don't like the fact you can't just look at any object or look through an eyepiece when you want to.

 

I've heard many people say "for a beginner I'd go for" instead of spending more money later on upgrading all of my stuff. I'd rather just buy a good little setup now.

 

I'm willing to put up to £10k into the entire setup (excluding the Observatory + Computer as I have a powerful rig as it is)

 

Instead of going and spending £10K on the scope itself I understand there is the importance of the ancillary equipment.

 

 

My questions are

 

What equipment would you guys recommend for the £10K budget?

Why would you choose the equipment over the others?

What software is the best to use?

Can you have a setup where you can look through an eyepiece and have it streamed to the computer?

 

 

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? It's not something I'd get bored with nor is it something I'd be unable to learn as I'm a quick learner. I've even considered flying someone out to Spain to help me get all set up when I'm ready for it.

 

Thanks

 

Ty

 

 

Hi all

 

I'm putting the foundations down for an observatory on my farm in Spain and I'll be putting a 3 meter motorized dome on it - along with a set pier.

 

I want to seriously get into astronomy something which my wallet has never allowed me to do until now. I'm willing to invest a moderate sum of £10K 

 

However investing a large sum usually means a lot of complicated equipment - so I'm told! Unless it's obviously the 'Stellina' which I think is okay but I don't like the fact you can't just look at any object or look through an eyepiece when you want to.

 

I've heard many people say "for a beginner I'd go for" instead of spending more money later on upgrading all of my stuff. I'd rather just buy a good little setup now.

 

I'm willing to put up to £10k into the entire setup (excluding the Observatory + Computer as I have a powerful rig as it is)

 

Instead of going and spending £10K on the scope itself I understand there is the importance of the ancillary equipment.

 

 

My questions are

 

What equipment would you guys recommend for the £10K budget?

Why would you choose the equipment over the others?

What software is the best to use?

Can you have a setup where you can look through an eyepiece and have it streamed to the computer?

 

 

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? It's not something I'd get bored with nor is it something I'd be unable to learn as I'm a quick learner. I've even considered flying someone out to Spain to help me get all set up when I'm ready for it.

 

Thanks

 

Ty

Ty,  Educate yourself, practice patience.   I do not mean to be disrespectful, but 10,000  British pounds is about what 12 - 15,000 dollars US??  A Paramount or Astro Physics mount could eat that all by itself.   Those are two highly recommended mounts, with good reason.   I own a Paramount and a Losmandy.  Losmandy is not that popular in Europe I hear.

 

My advice,  figure out what you want to see / image.  Get the best mount you can afford.  By best I mean the most accurate, repeatable, and weight bearing mount you can get, with a particular scope in mind . That mount needs to handle weight and girth.    Then the scope, refractor, Schmidt, Mak, RC.  Then cameras and accessories.    Joe

 

If done correctly,  your KM may vary,  the mount and scope will last a very long time as will the eyepieces. All you will be buying from then on is cameras, computers and software.          Joe


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#14 WadeH237

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 09:24 PM

Do you guys think setting up a pricey setup as a beginner who has never used a telescope and all the software that goes along with it as a bad idea? 

Yes, I do think that it's generally a bad idea.

 

The problem is that "astronomy" is not a single discipline.  Some folks like visual.  Some like imaging.  Within visual, some like planetary, some like splitting doubles, some like nebulae, some like going for the faintest stuff that they can.  In imaging, some like planetary, some like EAA, some like deep sky, some like nightscapes.  Even within deep sky imaging, some like wide field, some like small objects, some like narrow band.  And this is just scratching the surface of the possible areas of interest.

 

If you know, precisely, your area of interest, it would be possible to buy just once.  But I have no idea how you could possibly know what you like, without trying different things.  And even then, your interests may change over time.

 

There is no "one best scope", "one best eyepiece", "one best mount", "one best camera", etc.  I firmly believe that unless you are open to the idea of buying very expensive stuff - and then replacing it with different expensive stuff later - that it's better to dip your toe into different things to figure out what you really want - and then you can open up the wallet.  And even then, that's no guarantee that your interests won't change.


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#15 Rasfahan

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 05:03 AM

Yes, I think it is very advisable to go out and meet up with other amateur astronomers. It allows you to learn from them, get to know their equipment, and, finally, find where your interests and aptitudes lie. When you find that out, we can offer more guidance. I stared last year during the lockdowns and have wasted quite a bunch of money on things that I should not have bought in the first place. This forum is a good place to learn but it does not replace in-person experience.

 

Some examples:

I am fascinated by AP, and especially the smaller nebulae and galaxies. This needs foremost a good large mount (preferably oversized for the telescope),  a stable telescope with a rather long focal length, reasonable seeing, and either a very dark sky or alternatively much patience in image acquisition and postprocessing (and a big telescope). The camera, for example, is not too important here.

Others like to image planets. This needs a well-collimated, long-FL telescope with the biggest aperture your mount can handle in a place with very good seeing. Furthermore, a camera and computer hat can acquire as many frames per second as possible (think 120-300 FPS). The mount, if it can hold the telescope stable, is secondary. Dark skies are not necessary. I really like planetary imagery but am not very good myself at taking them. 

Still others like to do widefield shots of e. g. faint nebulae. This requires a reasonably good mount, a small telescope with very good optics and either access to very dark skies or good narrowband filters. Here, again, the camera can be secondary (but in light pollution, mono is probably preferred).

For visual, I find dobsonian-mounted, tracking Newtonians to be nice (but heavy) compromises. Others like fork-mounted SCTs for more comfortable viewing positions (I have no experience with them) and still others like EQ-mounted refractors for their very pleasing images (I do, too, but my skies are too light polluted and my eyes to bad for them to really shine).

 

There is no one scope/mount combination that can do it all, which is why you see people with many different telescopes.

 

I also think you are underestimating the challenge of remote operations. The usual advice is to set up in the backyard, and if you managed not to touch anything for two weeks of imaging, you're ready to go. I would increase that time to two months, honestly. I have, I think, good equipment. But with only 1.5 years of experience, imaging every clear night, and acquiring about 60 more or less "finished" images, I feel not at all up to the task of setting up a remote observatory. I don't think I can go two nights without having to at least slightly tweak something.

 

Also, price: I saw you mention 10k GBP for the whole observatory. If that includes the dome, this budget will not suffice for a remote astrophotography setup. It will be good for a nice and versatile visual setup with, as mentioned above, e. g. a nice fork-mounted SCT and some eyepieces. Or for an entry-level astrophotography setup, but probably not reliable enough for remote operations.


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