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Good small refractor for planets and the moon.

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11 replies to this topic

#1 sunistar

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:06 AM

I'm primarily a binocular observer. But I'd like a small, easily transported scope for the occasional peek at planets and the moon. I'd like to keep it under $1000, and ideally under $500.  Would be very interested to have suggestions.

Thank you.


Edited by sunistar, 05 October 2022 - 01:38 PM.


#2 JohnBear

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:12 AM

The good ol' 5" AWB OneSky is still under $300 and should meet you needs quite well.  The Heritage 6" is it's "Big Brother" if you need a bit more more aperture. 

 

I assume you already know about the huge "AWB forum" on CN - in case you need ideas or examples of that this versatile little optical beast can be made to do.


Edited by JohnBear, 05 October 2022 - 11:14 AM.


#3 ram812

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:15 AM

Actually your in "Refractors", not "Reflectors"😯😁! If it was a small refractor I'd grab an ST80 or the like, if it's a small reflector, well, 500 can go a long way...my XT10 11 years ago was 500, I don't know current prices/availability, etc. You'll get plenty of idea's here though! Good luck, Ralph

Reflectors are more suited for planets with your budget but there are plenty of refractors within that 500/1000 range that show quite beautiful with planets.

Edited by ram812, 05 October 2022 - 11:19 AM.


#4 Spikey131

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:37 AM

Refractor: Astrotech AT102 on a Stellarvue M2C

Reflector: 6-8” Dob like the Apertura from High Point. I’m not sure what you mean by “small”

The bigger the aperture, the more you will see.
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#5 cst4

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:53 AM

If the scope is solely for planets and moon and your aim is small and portable, then I think it is very hard to beat a Maksutov.  


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#6 sunistar

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:18 PM

Thank you for pointing me to the AWB OneSky...looks fantastic for the money.

Taking Viking 1's point...can anyone suggest a Mak under, say, 400 that would compete with the OneSky?



#7 vtornado

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:33 PM

Thank you for pointing me to the AWB OneSky...looks fantastic for the money.

Taking Viking 1's point...can anyone suggest a Mak under, say, 400 that would compete with the OneSky?

 

No, it would have to be a 127mm Mak to have the same performance as the One Sky.  Looks like $550, and you have no mount.  I know you said for planets, but Maks don't do so well on larger targets, and using

one on a manual mount in light pollution is difficult, due to the narrow field.  You would have to go 100mm mak to stay in budget,

and with the loss of contrast and light through put I would opt for the 80 frac.

 


Edited by vtornado, 05 October 2022 - 02:09 PM.


#8 Wildetelescope

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 02:26 PM

I'm primarily a binocular observer. But I'd like a small, easily transported scope for the occasional peek at planets and the moon. I'd like to keep it under $1000, and ideally under $500.  Would be very interested to have suggestions. I'm posting this here and on the Reflectors forum, since I don't know which type is best for my purpose.

Thank you.

I like a 4 inch refractor for planets and the moon.   The AT 100 ed F7 would be a nice option.  A step up would be the AT 100 EDL or Evostar 100 mm F9.   For smaller, the 80 mm versions of those are an option for quick looks and can very nice as well.  You will need a good alt az mount.  The Stellarvue M2C is a good one.   An 80 mm scope with the M2C mount would be a very nice portable system.  The next thing to consider is your diagonal, and eyepieces.   there are many good options for a diagonal.  I like the dielectric mirrors, for the more moderate expense.  For eyepieces you will likely want 3.  One for wide field low magnfication(below 100X), One for middle magnifications ~100X, and one for high magnifications ~150-200 X.   You do not have to get them all at once, particularly since you are primarily interested in planets and solar system.   I find that the Paradigm EP’s sold by Astrotech are a very nice economical option, but there are others.  

 

There is always a valid argument that a larger scope will be better for solar system stuff, better being that you can see more features, using higher magnifications etc..   that is the argument for looking at mirror scopes, if your goal is seeking the most detail in the image you can.  However, a small refractor on an alt az mount has the advantage of portability and ease set up.  Ultimately, the compromise between convenience and aperture is one each person has to reconcile.  In my experience, an 80 mm refractor will show you excellent detail on the moon.  Cloud bands, the red spot, barges and moons on Jupiter.   A nice view of Saturn and her rings.  A 4 inch refractor will show you some detail within the the cloud bands on Jupiter, cloud bands on Saturn, the Cassini diversion etc..  You might see more or less with either aperture depending on your local atmospheric conditions.   Either option would make a nice companion to your binoculars.  

 

Good Luck!

 

JMD


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#9 Terra Nova

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 02:29 PM

AT102 on a Vixen Porta II. If that’s too much, then an AT 80 on the Porta.


Edited by Terra Nova, 05 October 2022 - 02:32 PM.


#10 RussL

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 03:21 PM

I do well with my Celestron C80ED ($350 from AWB, but I think they're out of them now). It works well on an eq2 mount if you can find one these days. Mine is an old Orion model when they still sold them separately. But the scope is f7.5 with an ED doublet. Good CA correction. You can find a used one around usually. I can carry the whole rig out with one hand.

#11 RAKing

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 04:08 PM

I put my Astro-Tech 80ED on a decent carbon fiber photo tripod and it works well for me.

 

The scope is under $400; the tripod was under $300.

 

Cheers,

 

Ron



#12 Dpasqa

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Posted 06 October 2022 - 10:26 AM

The AT102ED is in your price range and I get good views of the planets with mine, I see cloud bands on Jupiter and rings on Saturn. The moon is phenomenal with the 102. If you want smaller, than the AT72 or AT80 are within your budget. I have the AT72EDll and with high magnification the planets are decent, with a 40mm 70° eyepiece it serves as a great sky surfing tool as well. 




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