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Noob lost in the rabbit hole, help accessorizing AT72EDII scope

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#1 noobsky

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Posted 02 July 2022 - 11:58 PM

Hi another NOOB on the site with just under a week diving into astronomy. Anyway I'm based in Southern California and have an upcoming outing planned to the California desert to take advantage of summer viewing. Decided I need to go better equipped than my cheapo binoculars this time since I'm going to be baking in 100+ degree temperature.

 

I have the following gear in transit for this outing:

  • Astro-Tech 72EDII
  • Takahashi 1.25" Diagonal
  • Tele Vue Delite 7mm, 18.2mm and 19mm Panoptic

 

Frankly didn't realize how deep and large of a rabbit hole this business was going to be.... Anyway at the moment I'm having serious gear anxiety... the further I've browsed cloudy nights the more confusion it's caused and my upgradetitis seriously flaring up. Did I make the right eye piece choices??  

 

Coming back to areas I'm in need of assistance. I wear eye glasses so I understand that I need eyepieces with generous eye relief to accommodate. I live in a suburban area with the usual degree of light pollution, so I expect to use the scope primarily on weekend outings to areas with darker skies. So portability is a consideration for the kit. Getting the highest quality images possible out of the scope will be the viewing priority. I'd like to view as much as possible but understand that with the telescope specs and likely limit of ~ 150x, high quality DSO will not be realistically practical

 

Eyepiece:

  • Should I invest in a 1.25" or 2" barrel setup?
  • What focal lengths should I target to cover a wide, medium, high magnification in a 3 piece set?
  • I picked the TV Delite series initially given the general positive reviews but have come to realize that 62 degree field of view might be annoyingly limited. Since placing my order I'm wondering if I should have opted for the Delos series instead (Ethos being overkill) with the higher FOV. Additionally I've also discovered the Pentax SMC XW seems to offer terrific eye relief, FOV on paper for the money compared to Tele Vue. Should I opted for something with a higher FOV than what I've selected above?

Mounts:

Holy #$^$*& didn't realize how crazy one can go with this. I mean it's just a tripod.... but I've since come to appreciate it's importance. I plan to focus on visual viewing. I had initially planned on AP but backed off given that an even bigger rabbit hole to fall into. Given the importance of portability ....

 

  • Should I opt for a Manual tripod or electronic Goto type mount if I don't plan on AP? Keeping in mind that in most cases I will not have access to a power source.
  • Manual (no electronics) tripod mount combo - Explore Scientific Twilight I , Celestron OMNI-CG-4, Sky-watcher AZ5, Vixen Porta II (out of stock everywhere), Stellarvue - M002CS
  • GoTo based - Explore Scientific iEXOS-100, Sky-Watcher EQ-5,  iOptron CEM26

 

I've been forced to subscribe to a "buy once cry once" gear purchase philosophy due to the significant other complaining my other hobbies are taking up all the storage space in the house and is threatening me with forced disposals if I add more gear. So ideally would like to stick to that philosophy for astronomy.

 

Apologies for this long first post, it's quite an overwhelming hobby and I'm admittedly over my skis and appreciate any assistance members can offer to right this sinking ship. 


Edited by noobsky, 03 July 2022 - 02:03 AM.

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#2 StarAlert

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 12:25 AM

I’ll speak to the eyepieces, but you’re going to get as many different suggestions as there are responses. Everyone has an opinion. I have the same scope you have. If I was taking it to a dark site, I’d keep it simple for now with just the 1.25 diagonal. I’d want to bring my 24mm Panoptic for wide field views in Sagittarius. I’d bring my12.5mm Morpheus for brighter DSO’s and my 5mm Nikon SW for high power.  These three EP provide exit pupils of about 4mm, 2mm, and 0.8mm. 
 

If you’re wearing glasses, the 19 Pan is going to be a problem. It has short eye relief. 

Enjoy the trip. You’ll be amazed with whatever you decide to bring with you. 
 

My first trip to a dark site was with a TV76. It was a blast. 


Edited by StarAlert, 03 July 2022 - 12:25 AM.

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#3 Echolight

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 01:58 AM

You certainly don't need both the 18.2 and 19mm. They're nearly the same magnification.

 

If it were me, I'd certainly appreciate the ability to use 2 inch eyepieces. But you can get a reasonably wide field of view and bright exit pupil with a 24mm Panoptic or similar eyepiece.

 

I like the simplicity of a manual alt/az mount. No muss, no fuss. Point and shoot.

 

Don't forget to bring your binoculars! 


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#4 rrpallechio

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 02:06 AM

Why do you wear glasses? If you have astigmatism you may need the glasses to observe. But if you don't have that, you won't need to wear them. I wear glasses but don't have astigmatism, so I take them off when looking through the eyepiece. If you do that, you'll want eyeglass straps.  It was driving me nuts to put the glasses on to look at a chart or an app, then take them off and put them in a pocket to observe, then put them on again ... With the straps you just let them hang down. It makes it much easier.

 

I don't know what to tell you about your SO. I have three telescopes and before I bought the last one, my SO was bringing up the storage issue a lot. But we got through it. I showed my wife this video: https://www.youtube....h?v=_VhOaHMUaAk to show her that I didn't have that much equipment after all. But it didn't get me anywhere :)


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#5 Redbetter

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 03:21 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

 

You didn't mention a finder.  I use a simple RDF with this scope.  But to mount it you need a finder shoe, which doesn't come with the scope unless something has changed, so another thing to order.

 

Not knocking the 18.2 mm Delite, but for this scope it is only mid range in the scope's capabilities:  ~3mm exit pupil and 2.5 deg true field of view.  A 24 Panoptic would maximize the field of view in 1.25"--which would help some in finder mode using only and RDF if/when you are star hopping.

 

I prefer 2" diagonals with this scope, even when operating only in 1.25" eyepiece mode.  It provides more capabilities since it can be used in either mode, even if you don't start with any 2" eyepieces.  I also tend to favor the shortening of the back end (because the draw tube is run in more.)  I have not had collimation/alignment issues with standard 2" diagonals, but have with many 1.25" mirror diagonals.  The Tak prism should be fine in this regard (I have two of them), but of course it lacks 2" capability.

 

While the 7mm will work well as mid power eyepiece (61x), you will eventually want more magnification for planetary and lunar.  The next increment is probably 5mm or even ~4mm.   Smaller focal length than that results in exit pupils that some are less satisfied with at f/6.

 

The Twilight I will work fine for this scope as will the AZ5.  I have both, my AZ5 included an extension pier and might have a somewhat heavier tripod, I am not sure about the latter as there is very little information and a not particularly helpful image on the site you linked to.  The AZ5 is somewhat better, particularly if you go to a larger OTA later.  I also have a CG4 with clock drive, but it is a lot more mount than you need for this particular scope.      


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#6 noobsky

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 03:28 AM

@staralert looks like I'll have to add one with a larger focal length at 24mm and higher magnifications at 12.5mm and 5mm. The panoptic was a mistake as I picked it for the wider FOV but later realized that eye relief is important for my visual handicap.

 

@echolight I think the 2" have dropped out of consideration. After researching further, the average cost per eyepiece almost doubles compared to the options at 1.25". Yes I'm leaning towards the manual mount for now. Thanks for confirming the choice. Still leaving a little crack at the door open to hear any pros for the Gotos ..

 

@Rrpallechio I do have astigmatism although I'm not sure how significant it will impact viewing in an eyepiece. I admittedly have wayyy too much stuff and dare not contest her assertion lest I want to dig myself a deeper hole.



#7 noobsky

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 03:48 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

 

You didn't mention a finder.  I use a simple RDF with this scope.  But to mount it you need a finder shoe, which doesn't come with the scope unless something has changed, so another thing to order.

 

Not knocking the 18.2 mm Delite, but for this scope it is only mid range in the scope's capabilities:  ~3mm exit pupil and 2.5 deg true field of view.  A 24 Panoptic would maximize the field of view in 1.25"--which would help some in finder mode using only and RDF if/when you are star hopping.

 

I prefer 2" diagonals with this scope, even when operating only in 1.25" eyepiece mode.


The Twilight I will work fine for this scope as will the AZ5.  I have both, my AZ5 included an extension pier and might have a somewhat heavier tripod, I am not sure about the latter as there is very little information and a not particularly helpful image on the site you linked to.  The AZ5 is somewhat better, particularly if you go to a larger OTA later.  I also have a CG4 with clock drive, but it is a lot more mount than you need for this particular scope.      

Thanks Redbetter! What is the purpose of the finder (not an item I considered)?

 

I totally forgot about the 1.25" reducer for the 2" diagonal. Is the Tele Vue Everbrite 90° Star Diagonal Reducer Kit a decent option for a 2" diagonal?
 

Noted about the AZ5 over the Twilight I.



#8 noobsky

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 04:00 AM

In case anyone might find this interesting, here's a filter of Starman1's terrific eyepiece buyers guide for generous eye relief and wide FOV options

 

1.25" barrel size

1.25

 

2" Barrel size

2.0

Edited by noobsky, 03 July 2022 - 04:02 AM.


#9 Redbetter

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 04:11 AM

Thanks Redbetter! What is the purpose of the finder (not an item I considered)?

 

I totally forgot about the 1.25" reducer for the 2" diagonal. Is the Tele Vue Everbrite 90° Star Diagonal Reducer Kit a decent option for a 2" diagonal?
 

Noted about the AZ5 over the Twilight I.

The scope comes with a 1.25" reducer on the back of it if memory serves.  The 1x finder is simply for star hopping even if that is only needed for initial alignment.  You need some way to determine where the scope is pointed, so unless you have some sort of goto drive that does its own alignment without you centering on any stars, you still need to be able to point the scope at bright objects.  It is difficult to star hop with only a right angle finder and small true field of view, but with a diagonal and no finder that is effectively the way the scope will be operating when you try to point at something..


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#10 tony_spina

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 07:03 AM

Take a look at this for goto

 

https://www.skywatch...ts/az-gti-mount


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#11 Echolight

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 03:36 PM

The most popular choices for 2 inch eyepieces on this forum are the APM 30 UFF ($250), which has ample eye relief (22mm), and the Astrotech AT28UWA ($200 on sale), which has less eye relief (16mm) but is wider.

 

The APM 30 UFF would offer a wide 4.85 degrees true field of view at 14x. And the AT28UWA a whopping 5.4 degrees at 15x. Both at about 5mm exit pupil.

 

There's dozens of Cloudy Nights threads on the hugely popular long eye relief APM 30 UFF.

search this on your browser:

apm 30 uff cloudynights site:www.cloudynights.com

 

And one very long thread on the recently released AT28UWA

https://www.cloudyni...otech-28mm-uwa/

 

Maybe something to consider for those big, dark, desert skies.


Edited by Echolight, 03 July 2022 - 03:53 PM.

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#12 KWB

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 04:32 PM

Hi another NOOB on the site with just under a week diving into astronomy. Anyway I'm based in Southern California and have an upcoming outing planned to the California desert to take advantage of summer viewing. Decided I need to go better equipped than my cheapo binoculars this time since I'm going to be baking in 100+ degree temperature.

 

I have the following gear in transit for this outing:

  • Astro-Tech 72EDII
  • Takahashi 1.25" Diagonal
  • Tele Vue Delite 7mm, 18.2mm and 19mm Panoptic

 

Frankly didn't realize how deep and large of a rabbit hole this business was going to be.... Anyway at the moment I'm having serious gear anxiety... the further I've browsed cloudy nights the more confusion it's caused and my upgradetitis seriously flaring up. Did I make the right eye piece choices??  

 

Coming back to areas I'm in need of assistance. I wear eye glasses so I understand that I need eyepieces with generous eye relief to accommodate. I live in a suburban area with the usual degree of light pollution, so I expect to use the scope primarily on weekend outings to areas with darker skies. So portability is a consideration for the kit. Getting the highest quality images possible out of the scope will be the viewing priority. I'd like to view as much as possible but understand that with the telescope specs and likely limit of ~ 150x, high quality DSO will not be realistically practical

 

 

Hello and welcome to the forum 

 

You seem to have read many posts here and done a good job doing your homework as to what you may need or want. If this is your first telescope don't be over analytic of the situation and use the K.I.S.S. principal. You chose a fine little telescope and you've gotten good advice on the mount. You have Don's eyepiece guide. Learn to use your telescope and it's mount.

 

I had a telescope similar to yours in the AT-66ED. The major feature of this type telescope for me is it's ability to encompass a huge portion of the sky viewing through a 2 inch eyepiece, meaning you only really need just one focal length ocular that is 2 inches in diameter. The 30mm UFF is a good example. The rest of your eyepiece collection can be the 1.25 inchers. Consider getting a 2 inch diagonal. To increase the magnification of the shorter focal length 7mm eyepiece, a 2X barlow is an essential part of the eyepiece inventory. That eyepiece/barlow combo will get you closer to 150X. The last item I find essential to a little telescope such as this one is a RDF(Red dot finder). It makes locating celestial objects so much easier than just trying to find them using a low powered eyepiece alone. If the scope doesn't come with a mounting shoe for the finder, AT has one for sale cheaply.

 

Good luck, you are starting this hobby with a far better setup than I ever had. smile.png

 

GyskHtI.jpg


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#13 Chris K

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 07:26 PM

I have the AT72EDII and you're going to love it. I believe you've purchased a lifetime scope.

 

The real question is are you wanting to be a star hopper or a go-to user?

I took a go-to detour and did not like it. To me it was like a slide show of objects. Star hopping connects me to the universe. I love the experience of finding objects on my own, it's very rewarding. I had the iOptron CEM40 for my 6" scope. Great mount but I hated how long it took me to set up which was about 30–45mins. I was limited to where I could use it in my yard because needing to polar align with Polaris. Plus, once it's set up you really can't move it without going through a chunk of setup time again. Tear down at the end of the night was also a time consuming process but not nearly as long.

 

I mount mine on the Stellarvue M2C, in my opinion is a top notch mount... especially for this scope.

 

My tripod is the Manfrotto 3246 (aka Bogen 028B). No longer made but usually obtainable used, as was mine. I recommend this tripod also because of the center column that can be raised and lowered by crank. Without one, you'll need the the extension riser which makes it a little less transportable for me.

 

This combination will be rock solid which to me is more than 50% of a perfect set up.

 

I use the tele vue panoptic 24mm as my lowest power eyepiece that gives me a plenty large true field of view for searching and observing.


Edited by Chris K, 03 July 2022 - 07:33 PM.

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#14 Patrick

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 12:12 AM


 

Eyepiece:

  • Should I invest in a 1.25" or 2" barrel setup?
  • What focal lengths should I target to cover a wide, medium, high magnification in a 3 piece set?
  • I picked the TV Delite series initially given the general positive reviews but have come to realize that 62 degree field of view might be annoyingly limited. Since placing my order I'm wondering if I should have opted for the Delos series instead (Ethos being overkill) with the higher FOV. Additionally I've also discovered the Pentax SMC XW seems to offer terrific eye relief, FOV on paper for the money compared to Tele Vue. Should I opted for something with a higher FOV than what I've selected above?

Mounts:

Holy #$^$*& didn't realize how crazy one can go with this. I mean it's just a tripod.... but I've since come to appreciate it's importance. I plan to focus on visual viewing. I had initially planned on AP but backed off given that an even bigger rabbit hole to fall into. Given the importance of portability ....

 

  • Should I opt for a Manual tripod or electronic Goto type mount if I don't plan on AP? Keeping in mind that in most cases I will not have access to a power source.
  • Manual (no electronics) tripod mount combo - Explore Scientific Twilight I , Celestron OMNI-CG-4, Sky-watcher AZ5, Vixen Porta II (out of stock everywhere), Stellarvue - M002CS
  • GoTo based - Explore Scientific iEXOS-100, Sky-Watcher EQ-5,  iOptron CEM26

 

Eyepieces:  Take a look at Televue's Eyepiece Calculator .  It will help you see what eyepiece focal lengths will fit your scope and whether or not you will find 2" eyepieces of any benefit.  Just note that a 72mm refractor is really a wide field instrument, so if you want to get 150x you'll need a 3mm eyepiece, and you'll really be pushing the scopes ability to give you that.  However, your 7mm Delite along with a 2x barlow will get you pretty close to that. 

 

One thing to note with a high power eyepiece is that having wide AFOV is not that important, so the Delites should be fine.  A 24mm Panoptic might be a good choice on the wide end. 

 

Regarding the mount, carry one of those Jackery battery packs and you should be fine for power.  I'd highly recommend a goto mount.  There's nothing worse than going out to a dark sky site and be faced with the grim truth that's there actually a lot of stars visible, so many in fact, that it can sometimes be hard to pick out your guide stars if you're starhopping.

 

Patrick

 

 

 

 


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#15 Tom Masterson

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 01:37 PM

FYI: You are facing a very common dilemma that so many beginners face. They want to make the best decision and are overwhelmed with the plethora of choices. Even with 50+ years in the hobby, I can still get trapped in decision and research loops. I will tell you one trick that works for me. When going round, and round, and round, trying to decide, I'll realize there's one choice that seems to be calling to me more than the others. It may be something as simple as I think it looks cool, so I'll end up following the little voice in my head that's says: "Oooo, I like THAT one!" Usually this works when I'm stuck on splitting hairs. I'm hung up on some small details like - "do I get the 20mm, or the 22mm, the 4" f/7 or the f/6.5?

 

 

For your first outing I suggest you keep it simple and consider only a mount/tripod of some kind to start. If you are heading out to dark skies there will be a plethora of things to see even with binoculars, your scope, and a single eyepiece. Keep this in mind: Regardless of your equipment, countless things will be beyond your reach so don't get too hung up on what you can't do with what you have, focus on what you can do. This will give you time to research stuff to expand your collection. Believe it or not, the two eyepieces you have now are a good starting combination. They are very close to my two most used focal lengths, and when I say that, I mean two most used focal lengths for over 50 years and a dozen scopes. I have a case full of eyepieces, yet there are just two that get 80% of the time in the scope.

 

Yes, there's a zillion choices, but don't think of it as each choice as set in stone. Your style will develop as you learn, and this will help you with your equipment choices. You only have to look at the classified section here to realize equipment comes and equipment goes. I look at my eyepiece box more like an apartment building than a homestead. I have had some long term tenants, and have had some that have only stayed a short time. After 50+ years of doing this, I've finally settled down and my equipment has remained mostly unchanged for close to a decade. I'm satisfied with what I have - finally. That said, purchasing quality is a good tactic.

 

For now a good tripod/alt/az mount will get you a long way. It will be light, easy and quick to set-up, and later if you get a GOTO mount, the tripod will work for those times when you want to go out for a quick look with the scope. A quick grab and go mount will compliment any larger tracking mount you may get. It's important to note, complex mounts take longer to set-up and are heavier. I have a iOptron ZEQ25GT (now the CEM26) that works wonderfully with my 94mm refractor. An alt/az set-up like shown above would be great too.

 

At some point a good 2" wide field eyepiece will be nice to have as will something for higher power such as a barlow.

 

So, where you headed in the desert?

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#16 noobsky

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 02:29 PM

Just a quick shout out on 4th of July to everyone who has responded and indulged this Noob. You guys are really a terrific bunch of enthusiast with all your great recommendations and considerations. Its been tremendously helpful as I go along this journey.

 

Some thoughts over the weekend as I've ventured deeper. This is the first hobby I've jumped into where unless you're a multi billionaire (literally) no matter how much you invest in gear you literally cannot beat the results from the 'top; players i.e government backed entities like NASA etc. For example with automobiles if you're dropping $1-5m you can pretty much buy the best performance road legal vehicle on the market. No so with astronomy... So it's a humbling bit of a reality check for me of what one hopes to practically achieve in this hobby. And also realization of how tiny we are in the great expanse of the universe. Please excuse my rambling.

 

I received my AT72EDII yesterday and I was surprised at how compact the scope is which led to.... hmmm should I have got a 80 or 102 instead and still remain relatively portable. I even considered to buying a new telescope as recently as this morning after stumbling onto this Al Nagler video https://www.youtube....h?v=OpaakDjLsMk lol.gif. Quashed this idea again (for now) until I actually get out with my existing gear.  Although it did rear its ugly head again shortly after discovering the unicorn Astro-Physics 92mm stowaway until I realized you can't actually buy one..... note to self ... stop looking at new scopes.

 

Anyway back to reality on accessories next steps for the AT72EDII:

  • Mount: For the manual option I'm leaning towards the Stellarvue M2CS mount recommended by Chris K for it's great clean design and seemingly intuitive knobs. Thanks for the tip on the geared crank column tripod for increased portability, that extension riser does seem to add bulk. Still debating the GoTo option as I can definitely see the risk of being frustrated not being able to locate objects as a noob..  However the option of adding a Nexus DSC Pro could be a viable workaround to complement the M2CS. But then you start getting into iOptron CEM26 Goto money....

 

  • Eyepieces: I'm going to venture out with my current eyepieces the TV Delite 7mm and 18.2mm and not overthink this for now as many of you have advised. May add the 12.5mm Morpheus recommended by staralert to experience a wider FOV compared to the 62 degree delites. Many of the lower magnification eyepieces with wide FOV seem like they're out of stock at most places at the moment so I think I'll just give this a pass for the first outing and revisit shortly. The affordable wide 2" recommended by echolight have certainly peaked my interest too. More rabbit holes to research on that option.

 

  • Diagonal: Okay okay, I'm going to get a 2" instead. Seems like a unanimous vote in favor by everyone. Leaning towards a AP MAXBRIGHT 2", another item that seems out of stock everywhere.

 

  • Finder: Okay going to get one of these too. Thanks Redbetter and KWB for bringing this to my attention. Trying to decide between a Telrad or Baeder /AA Sky Surfer V

 

  • Misc: Got to order a red night light

Also bought a copy of "The Backyard astronomer's guide - 4th edition" for further reading on this day off. I think I've got all the bases covered for now... I think.

 

FYI, this has really impacted my day job performance the past week and likely the rest of this week too until get this first gear go round squared away. bawling.gif

 

Thanks again for everyone's input


Edited by noobsky, 04 July 2022 - 04:31 PM.

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#17 noobsky

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 02:31 PM


So, where you headed in the desert?

Joshua Tree and thanks for the great advice on challenges faced by noobs. The options are indeed quite mind boggling and an absolute nightmare for gearheads like myself.


Edited by noobsky, 04 July 2022 - 02:38 PM.


#18 noobsky

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 03:10 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum 

 

You seem to have read many posts here and done a good job doing your homework as to what you may need or want. If this is your first telescope don't be over analytic of the situation and use the K.I.S.S. principal. You chose a fine little telescope and you've gotten good advice on the mount. You have Don's eyepiece guide. Learn to use your telescope and it's mount.

 

I had a telescope similar to yours in the AT-66ED. The major feature of this type telescope for me is it's ability to encompass a huge portion of the sky viewing through a 2 inch eyepiece, meaning you only really need just one focal length ocular that is 2 inches in diameter. The 30mm UFF is a good example. The rest of your eyepiece collection can be the 1.25 inchers. Consider getting a 2 inch diagonal. To increase the magnification of the shorter focal length 7mm eyepiece, a 2X barlow is an essential part of the eyepiece inventory. That eyepiece/barlow combo will get you closer to 150X. The last item I find essential to a little telescope such as this one is a RDF(Red dot finder). It makes locating celestial objects so much easier than just trying to find them using a low powered eyepiece alone. If the scope doesn't come with a mounting shoe for the finder, AT has one for sale cheaply.

 

Good luck, you are starting this hobby with a far better setup than I ever had. smile.png

 

 

Thanks for the warm welcome and great advice.
 


Edited by noobsky, 04 July 2022 - 03:11 PM.

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#19 noobsky

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:24 AM

Latest update:

 

Mount & Tripod:

Decided to go with a manual mount for now after considerable deliberation. Picked up a Stellarvue M2CS and column accessory. Very sturdy and well built. Now just waiting on the INNOREL RT90C tripod from Amazon to arrive. Total weight of the M2CS mount (~4lbs) + MEC003 column (2.4lbs) + tripod (6.3lbs) = ~12.7lbs. Considerably lighter than the 25lb complete mount solution offered by Stellarvue, albeit at a higher cost of ~ $100.

 

I was debating on the Stellarvue recommended Manfrotto 028B or 475B for an integrated tripod + center column solution. However the Manfrotto 028B spec weight is 9.04lbs therefore the Innorel + MEC003 @ 8.7lbs actually comes in just a hair lighter. Additionally there have been some complaints about possible play on the Manfrotto center column, so I think the Innorel + column combo might be a better solution on paper.

 

 

Finder:

Ended up with a Telrad; which unfortunately is very/ too large for the compact AT72EDII. Additionally the stock mount is awful, you're supposed to attach the finder to the telescope body via double side tape?!?!!! An extremely crude and frankly unacceptable default mount design for a product sold in 2022. You'd figure in its 44years of existence, there would have been an update along the way. However I do like the functionality of the finder, just needs a major redesign IMO. 

 

I ordered a 3D printed dovetail adapter from JwBozeman in an attempt to salvage the Telrad.  Hoping this will work as a more elegant mounting solution with the Astro Tech finderscope mount included on my AT72EDII. ScopeStuff also offers a similar workaround at slightly higher cost.


Edited by noobsky, 06 July 2022 - 03:30 PM.


#20 StarAlert

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:55 AM

Latest update:

 

Mount & Tripod:

Decided to go with a manual mount for now after considerable deliberation. Picked up a Stellarvue M2CS and column accessory. Very sturdy and well built. Now just waiting on the INNOREL RT90C tripod from Amazon to arrive. Total weight of the M2CS mount (~4lbs) + MEC003 column (2.4lbs) + tripod (6.3lbs) = ~12.7lbs. Considerably lighter than the 25lb complete mount solution offered by Stellarvue, albeit at a higher cost of ~ $100.

 

I was debating on the Stellarvue recommended Manfrotto 028B or 475B for an integrated tripod + center column solution. However the Manfrotto 028B spec weight is 9.04lbs therefore the Innorel + MEC003 @ 8.7lbs actually comes in just a hair lighter. Additionally there have been some complaints about possible play on the Manfrotto center column, so I think the Innorel + column combo might be a better solution on paper.

 

Just like there’s no substitute for horsepower in racing, you’re gonna find there is no substitute for weight when it comes to tripod stability. I just upgraded my AZ1000 with a 55lb capacity to an AZ2000 with a 110lb capacity. The weight of the AZ1000 is 42lbs. The weight of the AZ2000 is 94lbs. 


Edited by StarAlert, 06 July 2022 - 11:02 AM.

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#21 Tom Masterson

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:56 AM

Joshua Tree should be very nice for stargazing and a great spot for some wide field night shots. We'll be spending some time doing some camping in that area late this fall. First we'll spend a week or so at New Jack City south of Barstow, then later in the month a week near Joshua Tree. Although we haven't camped there - yet - Jumbo Rocks is a beautiful campground. 

 

You didn't mention it, but an easy to use set of charts is good to have. I recommend The Pocket Sky Atlas, jumbo addition. Another good beginner atlas is: The Bright Star Atlas. What's nice about it, is you have a chart on the right page, and tables listing assorted objects with data on that map on the left. That way you only need a single reference to keep you busy. I have both Atlases and use them a lot even though I have larger more detailed atlases. One thing to note is when you are first learning the night sky, doing so at a dark site can be wonderful, but also somewhat disorienting - way too many stars. This is especially true of the summer sky and some of the less prominent constellations.

 

Since you have a great wide field scope, I suggest you spend some time just exploring and discovering. Slowly sweep along the Milky Way, or look up, and if you see something interesting, take a look through the scope. Let your curiosity be your guide. It's a lot of fun stumbling on things randomly. Along with all the stars and glowing things in the Milky Way, keep an eye out for the less obvious, such as dark nebulae. A wide field scope is perfect for spotting them. You'll be cruising a rich star field, then come across irregular areas devoid of stars. I love doing that with my small refractor.

 

No matter where this hobby ends up taking you, I suspect your refractor will stick around. It will always be a great grab and go scope, so will compliment whatever else you get should you decided on a larger scope. It will also be great should you drift into astrophotography. That's a whole 'nother rabbit hole. It was something that never called to me until a couple years ago. It was spending time under dark desert skies that had me wanting to capture some of what I saw. I'm trying to resist the siren's song, and have lashed myself to the mast of some simple equipment, swearing not to let myself free until I've exhausted the capability of what I have now.

 

As you mentioned, there's another well known affliction in this hobby, often deadly to the pocket book - Aperture Fever. In the boating world it called two-foot-itis.  You'll end up chasing bigger scopes for "just a little bit more aperture", or, "let's just go big right away" - then you'll discover the beauty of a portable scope after spending countless nights hauling out the big gun, taking an hour to set it up, and another hour to take it down when the clouds roll in. Then there's needing a bigger vehicle to transport it to a dark sky site, and then it's your failing back. That's why many people say the best telescope is two telescopes. One will be quick to set-up and portable.

 

Boy do I get the hobby storage problem. We sold our house two years ago to hit the road full time in an RV. Got rid of 90% of our stuff, but we do have a small storage room full of - ahem - my stuff. The other day I visited the storage place, came back and asked my wife why we kept a couple table lamps in storage? She replied, "Excuse me?  That room is full of YOUR stuff, and you're asking me about a couple table lamps?" Gulp, I sure stepped in that one. I had to say those three horrible words - "You're right... sorry." And since I'm confessing - the RV has a bunch of my toys in it too. Telescopes, cameras, computers, eyepieces, imagers and yeah, a motorcycle hanging off the back. Like I said, I get it. Hello everyone. My name is Tom, and I'm a hobbyholic. . . . Oh, and one rule of RV living? One in, one out. With limited storage space, no garage or attic, every new thing must displace something old. I can only fudge on that rule for so long. I guess that's why it takes two hands to lift my eyepiece case. I have 20lbs of eyepiece in a 5lb case. Yeah.


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#22 noobsky

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 11:10 AM

Just like there’s no substitute for horsepower in racing, you’re gonna find there is no substitute for weight when it comes to tripod stability. I just upgraded my AZ1000 with a 55lb capacity to an AZ2000 with a 110lb capacity. The weight of the AZ1000 is 42lbs. The weight of the AZ2000 is 94lbs. 

Haha yeah it's easy to get carried away. I think my 88lb capacity should be a sufficient overcompensating for the setup.. I hope..

 

OMG is the AZ2000 $16k??? 94lbs alone for the mount!!! Hard to get my head around that. bow.gif



#23 Tom Masterson

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 11:30 AM

I see you were updating while I was typing my reply.

 

Looks like some good choices. Ease of use and stability are two great things to have. Nothing ruins the views through a quality scope like a wobbly mount. If/when it comes time to get a bigger scope, a bigger and heavier mount will be required. :^(



#24 AstroDog77

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 12:39 PM

I have a setup I like for my AT72EDII. I use it two ways as far as mounts go, I have and old Bogen/Manfrotto photographic tripod and the head on that is a 3-way pan tilt. The Cube is mounted on the quick release plate, I have a spare quick release plate so if I don't want to use the Cube I just pop it off and mount the OTA right to the tripod mount, takes a minute.

 

I attached a red dot finder in the pick, but I normally don't use one because with the GPS the Cube aligns pretty quickly and easily and does a great job, sometimes needs a slight correction with the handset.

 

The only drawback I've found so far is if I use a bigger diagonal (i.e. Celestron Twist Lock) and a bigger EP like a zoom it really taxes the Cube from a weight perspective, but there are Cube models made for larger OTAs and more accessories.

 

 

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#25 rrpallechio

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 02:51 PM


Finder:

Ended up with a Telrad; which unfortunately is very/too large for the compact AT72EDII. Additionally the stock mount is awful, you're supposed to attach the finder to the telescope body via double side tape?!?!!! An extremely crude and frankly unacceptable default mount design for a product sold in 2022. You'd figure in its 44years of existence, there would have been an update along the way. However I do like the functionality of the finder, just needs a major redesign IMO. 

 

I ordered a 3D printed dovetail adapter from JwBozeman in an attempt to salvage the Telrad.  Hoping this will work as a more elegant mounting solution with the Astro Tech finderscope mount included on my AT72EDII. ScopeStuff also offers a similar workaround at slightly higher cost.

I've wondered about the Telrad double tape mount myself. But a lot of people here like them and use them and the taping doesn't seem to bother them. In one of Ed Ting's videos he has a Telrad that he has attached to a loop of elastic that he can stretch around a number of his telescopes to make it more easily portable.




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