I'm really starting to get to grips with the NP101is. It was always destined for AP/EAA, and I'm starting to pull together a rig which hopefully should be up and running in the new year. I have a Losmandy GM811G on order for mounting, and I think I'll be going down the ASIAIR Plus route for convenience - at least certainly to start with. Much longer term I'm lucky enough to have a space in the garden for a home observatory dome, and so I can see it being mounted permanently in there on a pier.
However, I do want to add a cheap and lightweight refractor to the mix for grab n' go visual observing either when I'm imaging, or just for those quick looks when I don't have the time for the faff of setting up. Of course, an observatory would negate a lot of that, but that's some way off, and I still think it will be dedicated to imaging or EAA from the comfort of the house (especially in winter). Plus, it would be nice to have something quick and easy to stick in the back of the car and take away. Doubt I'll ever take it on a plane tho.
I've got a TV Gibraltar mount, which otherwise will be unused - so there's a bit of me that thinks something like an old Ranger might be a good grab n' go, but the Gibraltar isn't exactly light - and might end up being an ornament most of the time.
I'm also tempted by something like an AZ GTI, with goto for ease of use. That's got a 5kg payload all up. So, what do you think I should be shortlisting?
- New or used - happy to go used to save some cash
- Under 5kg all up in case I do go down the lightweight goto route
- Cheap end of the budget - up to $500 say
- Visual observing - mixture of solar system and brighter DSOs - I have Bortle 4 skies most of the time
- I'm thinking something around 70-80mm and in the F6-9ish range
- I'm probably looking at an ED doublet - I'm not overly bothered by CA but would prefer to minimise it for visual, and it would be nice if it was sharp and reasonably well corrected