Author Topic: Comments on my proposed setup  (Read 331 times)

notaslasof

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Comments on my proposed setup
« on: December 23, 2017, 10:14:59 PM »
I have decided to buy a telescope (my first) and a few accessories for my 40th birthday.  I would like any comments on my planned installation (improvements, changes, additions and so on), which I'm trying to restrict to a total of $1000 to begin with.

Relevant details about me: Local heavens are about 5.5-6.0 restricting mag; I know the sky pretty well from several years of naked eye/binocular celebrating; I have a nice selection of astronomy books and charts; I still wear glasses for myopia and astigmatism; I still need a excellent all-around set up for viewing the Moon, planets, starfields, clusters, nebulae, galaxies (i.e. everything!) ; I really don't care about astrophotography; I want to keep things simple and low-tech; I need a scope I will live with for at least the medium term and can be fast and easy to setup/break down.

Here's what I have come up with:
Telescope:Zhumell Z8 Deluxe Dobsonian @ $399 inc. shipping
Finder:Telrad Finder Sight @ $40 with Telrad Dew Shield @ $20.  Total = $60
Eyepieces: Baader Planetarium Hyperion 1.25" 68 degree.  24mm, 17mm and 10mm @ $147 each.Total = $441
Barlow:GSO 1.25" 2x/1.5x "Shorty" Achromatic Barlow Lens # GS2BL @ $36
Filters:Orion 5653 1.25" UltraBlock NarrowBand Filter @ $85; Astromania 1.25" Planetary Filter #21 Orange @ $15.  Total = 100
Grand Total = $1,036

Notes:
The Z8 includes dual-speed focuser, chief cooling system (presumably not needed in SC), 8x50 right-angle finderscope, 2" 30mm along with 1.25" 9mm eyepieces, laser collimator, 1.25" moon filter.  It becomes uniformly powerful reviews and I think it's great value for money.  I considered that the Z10 but the extra bulk and faster focal ratio put me off.
I believe from my reasonably good heavens the Telrad will come in handy prior to using the socket, and so is worth including.
Deciding on eyepieces has given me the most trouble, and I'm constantly second-guessing myself.  I want a good quality set with a] decent viewing angles (as I'll be using them with an unpowered Dob) and b] long eye relief (my astigmatism precludes seeing with no glasses).  The Baader Planetarium eyepieces have 20mm eye relief along with a decent 68 degree AFOV, and seem like a good selection for my budget.  In f/6 I receive 50x, 70x and 120x in the 24mm, 17mm and 10mm eyepieces.  Zhumell have a few for $50 per year, but I'm assuming they're not as good quality, and I know I could spend a lot more than $150 each but I would like to stick to my budget.
The GSO barlow can give both 2x and 1.5x ray without me losing eye relief, so now I would get 50x/75x/100x, 70x/105x/140x, and 120x/180x/240x in the three proposed eyepieces.  This seems to cover all the bases, although $36 seems suspiciously inexpensive for what a Barlow can (should) do.
The Orion Ultrablock is very well-regarded and should prove useful for seeing many nebulae.  A21 orange filter allegedly shows nice details along the Moon's terminator, and will seemingly bring out some extra features on Jupiter and Mars (the latter of which I'll have missed!) .
I know the laser collimator is not the best, and I may get a collimation eyepiece (around $50) later if necessary.
Bob's knobs are also a potential prospective buy, if necessary (but I feel that the mechanical quality of the Z8 is pretty great).
Don't worry about other extras like a seat, table, celebrating log, eyepiece instance, etc..  I'll put these together as I go.
I would really like to get some comments on what more experienced observers think of the installment.  What can you change whilst maintaining to my budget?  What did I overlook?  Is this a well-balanced selection?  Are there any weak links?

Thanks, and I'm excited about contributing to the community.



Adam Martin

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 04:16:21 PM »
Other than the narrowband filter, I say you're in pretty good shape. Me, personally, I don't consider the narrowband filter to be a visual instrument since you only get about 50-75nm of wavelength out of it. That's going to put you into the blue, light blue and cyan colors. In a black sky, on a really dark night, with excellent dark adaptation, you might see some of the spectral lines in that area.

But, that's just me. Others will chime in with their experience.

If you have a local astronomy club around, see if you can't find a public night, or just join the club (that's your best bet), and see if anyone has one of these filters you can screw into an eyepiece and see how it works for you. I would try to do that before you buy it.

My two cents.

reaipasjime

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 10:48:12 PM »
My impression is that you have a very solid plan, especially bang for buck. You're going to get a lot of aperture for your money and you're already preparing to collimate and adjust the scope when needed. You're getting, maybe, the most portable aperture you can handle. To me, for a first scope, with your other apparent background knowledge and understanding of the sky, you have an excellent start. You have considered many things and it shows.

You do have decent skies compared to many of us, good for you. Your skies, seeing, are more valuable (quite possibly, and debatable) than any eyepiece (EP) choice will ever be. And you said EP choice is giving you the most trouble and it is no wonder. Under Eyepieces on Cloudy Nights (CN) there are currently 526 pages of references to EPs. That's not 526 pages on EPs, that's 526 pages of reference after reference, of question after question on EPs.

In the classifieds there are 164 pages of listing after listing after listing, you get the point, of EPs for sale. It's fair to say that EP choice is a big question for many people, you're not alone in this universe.

That's where I would possibly change my approach, for the time being. I am in no way putting down the Baader Hyperions choice (68º EPs are my favorites). I'm saying, actually, go cheaper and maybe do some exploring, look through some EPs to help you understand what you really want. In other words, you may not be changing your scope any time soon, but you might be changing your EPs like underwear.

For instance, here's a link to six EPs. http://www.cloudynig...-super-plossls/
A little more than a $100, you get the EPs, you try them and you make a more informed choice. Just an example. (Let me put it this way. There might be a substitute for butter, there might be a substitute for margarine, but there is no substitute, currently, for looking through an eyepiece, but it is coming with Virtual Reality and all.)

Here's what I'd research in regard to EPs. Your scope choice is not real fast at F/6 (but, to me, it is faster than it is slow), but how well is it corrected, do some EPs have a problem in it? You wear glasses, which EPs will work for you, how much eye relief do you need? Etc., etc., etc. Do not hesitate to use the Search Box in the upper right hand corner of CN, do not hesitate to use google.

You have such a good plan to start with that I wouldn't get too caught up with any one thing, but you should research while you can. You're going to have a Happy Birthday. I'll let you do your research and let others elaborate further.

outatnoha

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 04:48:14 AM »
Gary: Okay, I'll go to the next astro club meeting and see if I can try out some filters. There's one within an hour of me.

outofsight: In terms of eyepieces, I wanted the 68 degree ones to help me find and track objects in the Dob, and as I wear fairly thick-lensed glasses, I'm looking at EPs with 20mm eye relief. The plossls you linked to have less eye relief than that, especially the ones with shorter focal lengths. But if there is a decent brand with the characteristics I'm looking for for less money than the Hyperions, then I'll definitely consider them. Is second-hand the way to go? Should I look for a second-hand set with various focal lengths instead of buying new EPs individually?

Thanks for your help.

Malcolm Verano

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 11:09:19 PM »
Quote
Gary: Okay, I'll go to the next astro club meeting and see if I can try out some filters. There's one within an hour of me.

outofsight: In terms of eyepieces, I wanted the 68 degree ones to help me find and track objects in the Dob, and as I wear fairly thick-lensed glasses, I'm looking at EPs with 20mm eye relief. The plossls you linked to have less eye relief than that, especially the ones with shorter focal lengths. But if there is a decent brand with the characteristics I'm looking for for less money than the Hyperions, then I'll definitely consider them. Is second-hand the way to go? Should I look for a second-hand set with various focal lengths instead of buying new EPs individually?

Thanks for your help.

Purchasing second hand, especially eyepieces, is a great way to save somemoney. In addition to the CN Classifieds you might also consider a $15 annualmembership to Astromart. I have used both over many years to acquire gear and cannot say I have ever had a bad experience. I lean more towards Astromart and consider ita bit safer since the fee allows the owner tovet users ( as well as supporting site operation). All users on Astromart are identified by their realname and location and the site is well monitored.
One issue with used equipment is that many desirable items often move fast.It helps to know what you want or need and thenkeep an eye open.
I think you did a great job in your initial selection. If I had what you listed when I started out a few decades back I would have been absolutelythrilled.
My comments:
I have and like my Hyperion eyepieces. They are a very good value and 20mm of eye relief is alsowhat I find comfortable when wearing glasses
Even though I have a barlow that can unthread I find I really never do it. Personally I have found it to be something of a hassle to unthread and then rethread on the eyepiecewhen actually out observing. (I also confess that I have enough eyepieces at this time that I don't really have todo that anymore.)
Try before you buy is always good advice but I think you will find a UHC type filter a really nice tool.
Besides the Orion you might want to also look at the DGM Optics NPB filter. These filters are designed specifically to pass a fairly narrow band of the spectrum and they really do improve the views of several types of objects. I use mine fairly frequently.
You might want to consider a Cheshire eyepiece or site tubefor collimation instead of a less expensive laser. A good laser is nifty and convenienttool but the emphasis here is on the word good. A Cheshire will also last a few lifetimes without need for batteries and they are notreally difficult to learn how to use.
Good luck!

belohalcu

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 09:01:38 AM »
Get the cheshire first....even a $1000 eyepiece won't work in an uncollimated scope....on the plus side, an 8" f6 dob holds collimation quite well.

multalumiff

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 10:19:25 AM »
I wear glasses, and like long eye relief (20mm) and eyepieces with large eye lenses. The Baader Hyperions have been on my list for a long time. A reasonable price for 68 degrees too.

If you want to go even more towards the low power end, I really like the William Optics 40mm SWAN 2" in my f/8 scope. $120 or so.

Rasheed Grayson

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 02:30:29 PM »
I think the OP has compiled a darn good setup. My two cents would be to skip the planetary filter for now, but it isn't expensive so no big deal either way. I will give a thumbs up for the Ultrablock filter though...I used mine a lot with my dobs. Ditto on the Hyperions. Good choice and they work great in fast scope. (They do NOT work well in long fl scopes, in my experience, as I ended up selling mine off after trying them out with my Maks and SCTs. YMMV)

You mention the chair. For years, I stood and observed. The last few years though, I picked up a used drummer's throne and it may have been the best accessory yet. What a difference it makes observing seated vs standing, and an 8" dob will allow most if not all observing while seated.

Jomega Ceo

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 12:02:07 AM »
Also, Telrads are great! You can buy Telrad maps like so-

http://www.highpoint...CFQ-oaQodJNUFxg

Or print out your own from the internet and put them in some clear plastic sheets for protection.

Mark Dominguez

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 06:33:37 AM »
The Telrad finder seems to be a popular item, but if you're going toalso put a finder scope beside it, room and extra weight could be an issue. I don't think a Telrad would fit into my setup. If you're used to binocular star hopping to dim objects, thena right angle correct image finder scope would be perfect.That's an eight inch Orion Dob.Attached Thumbnails


Devon Dank

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 07:20:52 AM »
Quote

First: Hello and  to Cloudy Nights:

Your list looks well thought out..  A few thoughts and general experiences:

- I like the GSO/Zhumell scopes. I have several telescopes, some of them quite fancy but my 10 inch F/5 GSO Dob fits right in, the views are good, the size is right, the focuser is a very simple 2 speed Crayford but a very effective focuser and the two speed works very well. I was going to make a couple of suggestions, a RACI 50mm finder and a 2 inch Wide field eyepiece, forgetting that it was a Zhumell and it came stock with them.

- Eyepieces: The fact that you need to observe with your glasses on points towards the Hyperions because you need the 20mm of eye relief to view with your glasses on. Most observers with significant astigmatism find that as they increase the magnification and the exit pupil shrinks there comes a point where the glasses are no longer necessary. This is because as you increase the magnification, the exit pupil (the diameter of the beam from the eyepiece) shrinks so you are only using the center of your eye. It might be worth looking through some scopes and seeing what you find. As far as alternatives, I am not up to date on the long eye relief eyepieces since I do not need to wear glasses.

- Telrad: Telrads are great for star hopping, I have several and I use them. The calibrated reticule makes star hopping easier because you point the scope in a measured way relative to visible stars so it can be done quite accurately. On an 8 inch Dob, it might be a bit tough finding the real estate to mount the Telrad so it is comfortable to use. I would skip the Telrad Dewshield, the ones I have had just get in the way. You can make your own.

- UltraBlock filter: I have an Ultrablock and it's a very effective filter for the appropriate nebulae. In general I do think buying a 2 inch filter is money wisely spent filters are best used at lower magnifications that provide brighter, wider views. Most 2 inch to 1.25 inch adapters are threaded for filters so a 2 inch filter can be used with 1.25 inch eyepieces. I would skip the planetary filter.

- Chair: For an 8 inch or 10 inch Dob, one view most of the sky sitting in standard folding chair in reasonable comfort. I find that an adjust observing chair does make a big difference in comfort. My favorite is the Starbound.

-  As you can see, I think you have put together a nice rig, it's very capable and provides a solid system to build on. The one big question:

Is the 8 inch or the 10 inch Zhumell the better fit for your needs? Both are good scopes, both are about the same length so they are equally portable, the 10 inch is a bit heavier but not dramatically. The 10 inch is more capable, gathers more light, resolves finder details. The difference in cost is about one eyepiece. For me, the 10 inch makes for sense but in any event, it's worth considering, either way you decide, you'll be getting a good scope but now is the time to make that decision..

And oh yes.... Happy Birthday..  Jon

byhodete

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 09:17:32 AM »
Quote
Other than the narrowband filter, I say you're in pretty good shape. Me, personally, I don't consider the narrowband filter to be a visual instrument since you only get about 50-75nm of wavelength out of it. That's going to put you into the blue, light blue and cyan colors. In a black sky, on a really dark night, with excellent dark adaptation, you might see some of the spectral lines in that area.

But, that's just me. Others will chime in with their experience.

If you have a local astronomy club around, see if you can't find a public night, or just join the club (that's your best bet), and see if anyone has one of these filters you can screw into an eyepiece and see how it works for you. I would try to do that before you buy it.

My two cents.


Gary:

Have you ever used a filter like the Ultrablock?  For nebulae like the Orion nebula, the Swan (M17), the Lagoon (M-8), the Trifid, the Dumbell, the Helix and many others, they greatly increase the contrast. With a narrow band filter like the Ultrablock, I am able to see the Veil Nebula from my urban backyard. There is no way I could see it without it.

They are designed specifically for specific wavelengths, they pass the O-III and H-Beta the emission lines and reject everything else. Many nebulae emit the vast majority of the light in these specific wave lengths the narrow band filters greatly enhance the views, even under dark skies.

David Knisely of the Prairie Astronomy Club has done a lot of nice work on filters, his Filter Performance Comparisons For Some Common Nebulae is a good read.

My eyepiece case includes O-lll, H-Beta and Ultrablock filters in both the 1.25 inch and 2 inch size, they're amazing for viewing not only Deep Sky Objects but also the nebulosity in the Milky Way.

Jon

rissubssimpsat

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 08:10:38 PM »
Quote
I've decided to purchase a telescope (my first) and some accessories for my 40th birthday next month. I'd like some comments on my proposed setup (improvements, changes, additions and so on), which I'm trying to limit to a total of $1000 to start with.

Relevant details about me: Local skies are around 5.5-6.0 limiting mag; I know the sky pretty well from many years of naked eye/binocular observing; I already have a nice selection of astronomy books and charts; I wear glasses for myopia and astigmatism; I want a good all-around setup for viewing the Moon, planets, starfields, clusters, nebulae, galaxies (i.e. everything!); I don't care about astrophotography; I want to keep things simple and low-tech; and I want a scope I can live with for at least the medium term and is quick and easy to setup/break down.

Here's what I have come up with:
Telescope:Zhumell Z8 Deluxe Dobsonian @ $399 inc. shipping
Finder:Telrad Finder Sight @ $40 with Telrad Dew Shield @ $20. Total = $60
Eyepieces: Baader Planetarium Hyperion 1.25" 68 degree. 24mm, 17mm and 10mm @ $147 each.Total = $441
Barlow:GSO 1.25" 2x/1.5x "Shorty" Achromatic Barlow Lens # GS2BL @ $36
Filters:Orion 5653 1.25" UltraBlock NarrowBand Filter @ $85; Astromania 1.25" Planetary Filter #21 Orange @ $15. Total = $100
Grand Total = $1,036

Notes:
The Z8 features dual-speed focuser, primary cooling fan (presumably not needed in SC), 8x50 right-angle finderscope, 2" 30mm and 1.25" 9mm eyepieces, laser collimator, 1.25" moon filter. It gets uniformly strong reviews and I think it's great value for money. I considered the Z10 but the extra bulk and faster focal ratio put me off.
I think from my reasonably good skies the Telrad will come in handy prior to using the finder, and so is worth including.
Deciding on eyepieces has given me the most trouble, and I'm constantly second-guessing myself. I want a good quality set with a] decent viewing angles (as I'll be using them with an unpowered Dob) and b] long eye relief (my astigmatism precludes viewing without my glasses). The Baader Planetarium eyepieces have 20mm eye relief and a decent 68 degree AFOV, and seem like a good choice for my budget. At f/6 I get 50x, 70x and 120x from the 24mm, 17mm and 10mm eyepieces. Zhumell have some for $50 each, but I'm assuming they're not as good quality, and I know I could spend far more than $150 each but I want to stick to my budget.
The GSO barlow can give both 2x and 1.5x magnification without me losing eye relief, so now I'd get 50x/75x/100x, 70x/105x/140x, and 120x/180x/240x from the three proposed eyepieces. This seems to cover all the bases, although $36 seems suspiciously inexpensive for what a Barlow can (should) do.
The Orion Ultrablock is quite well-regarded and should prove useful for viewing many nebulae. A #21 orange filter supposedly shows nice details along the Moon's terminator, and can apparently bring out some extra features on Jupiter and Mars (the latter of which I'll have just missed!).
I know the laser collimator is not the best, and I may get a collimation eyepiece (around $50) later if necessary.
Bob's knobs are also a potential future purchase, if necessary (but I think the mechanical quality of the Z8 is pretty good).
Don't worry about other extras like a chair, table, observing log, eyepiece case, etc. I'll put these together as I go.
I'd love to get some feedback on what more experienced observers think of this setup. What would you change whilst keeping to my budget? What did I forget? Is this a well-balanced selection? Are there any weak links?

Thanks, and I'm looking forward to contributing to the community.


Hello and welcome to the forum!

Do you happen to know how many diopters of astigmatism you have? I too have astigmatism and while I must wear glasses forexit pupils larger than 1.5mm, when the exit pupil is smaller than that I can go without my glasses. My astigmatism is 1.75 diopters. Your eye doctor can provide the astigmatism value - make sure you know what it is for your dominant observing eye.

There are a number of eyepiece options you might also consider in addition to the hyperions.

bankrybettdog

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 10:07:21 AM »
You have a solid plan.

pelotwollgar

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Re: Comments on my proposed setup
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 05:41:27 AM »
Quote
Even though I have a barlow that can unthread I find I really never do it. Personally I have found it to be something of a hassle to unthread and then rethread on the eyepiecewhen actually out observing. (I also confess that I have enough eyepieces at this time that I don't really have todo that anymore.)

Do you mean that if I want both 1.5x and 2x that I should get two separate barlow lenses, rather than one that can do both like the GSO shorty that I listed?