Author Topic: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...  (Read 43 times)

guizietropid

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Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« on: December 27, 2017, 02:19:43 PM »
I've decided I'd like to purchase a reflector (6-8"). I've just realized that EQ mounts don't necessarily have a motor...yeah, it took me a while to get there...

But now that I'm here, it's time to decide - do I buy a package with an included drive mount? Or do I buy a good mount that will handle something bigger later in life, and then an OTA?

I also can't decide if I want GoTo or not...seems like a GoTo add-on is as much as a mid sized laptop computer...but at a minimum, I would like to move the scope without touching the scope.

In case anyone is interested where my head is so far, here are some decisions I've made in my journey:
Portability is important to me, but I'm not taking it on a plane. I need it to fit in a sedan with our suitcases and a cooler when we take short trips.
At the moment, I do not want a Dobsonian mount...a big dob can come later..
I don't want to purchase for AstroPhotography - but I will end up putting a friend's webcam, CCD, or DSLR on this at some point just to play with...so I'd rather have an EQ mount than an AltAz with forks and wedge.
I will end up buying add-ons and nice eye pieces. If I get a package, it must accommodate 2" eye pieces. I'l likely upgrade the finder scope. When I find a smaller, used telescope, I'd like to mount it to the main OTA and compare side by side images.
I'm open to getting a mount without GoTo, as along as it has drive controls so I can move it into position.
If I spend the money on a package with GoTo, I really want to be able to upgrade to a larger OTA in a few years, or swap out with other OTAs and still use the same GoTo function.
Thank you for your thoughts. I currently observe the sun with 8x40 Oberwerk Mariners with Thousand Oak filters using a construction tripod and a pistol grip head. I also use a friends 70mm Meade Refractor and occasionally my father's Celestron CPC 11".



itupmenra

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 04:31:15 AM »
Celestron sells a 6 and a 8-inch F/5 Newtonian paired up with an AVX mounting. With a rated capacity of 30 lbs., you can certainly do some astrophotography with those telescopes, although if you wish to get into mainly deep sky photographyyouprobably willneed a heavier duty mounting than the AVX. It will however work fine for lunar and planetary imaging and is plenty stable for visual observing, at least with the 6-inch F/5 Newtonian and an 8-inch SCT. It is possible to image deep sky objects with it, but bear in mind deep sky astrophotography demands much of the mount. Think of it as a way to get started, then later when you have a sense of what you want, you can get a sturdier and better made mount that naturally could cost three or four times as much as the AVX. However, for visual use the AVX is more than good enough, it works very well and it's easy to carry, set up and transport. The 8-inch F/5 Newtonian is considerably bulkier than a 8-inch SCT, but weighs the same. For your first telescope, I would choose either the 6 or 8-inch Newtonian, and wait a while on the photography so you can learn your way around the sky and the telescope. Either OTA will show you the moon, planets and brighter deep sky objects well. Both will be well suited to larger objects such as the North American and Veil nebulas under dark skies. Be aware at F/5 there will be coma present around the outer edges of the field of view, and you will want to get eyepieces that cope well with such an optical system. You don't have to spend 300 bucks per eyepiece to do that, good choices are out there for 100 bucks each, or less. The 6-inch accepts only 1.25-inch barrel eyepieces, the 8-inch also comes with a focuser that accepts 1.25-inch barrel eyepieces.The AVX mount is a GOTO and it tracks not only at the sidereal rate, it also can track the Sun and Moon at the solar and lunar rate. Although you can use an AC adapter, I recommend using a battery, such as one of those "boosters" you can buy at Wal-Mart as a power source. You can use it anywhere, and direct current is free of noise and spikes that can kill electronics if it gets in through a faulty AC adapter. See the links below for a look at them.

https://www.highpoin...telescope-32054

https://www.highpoin...telescope-32062

Taras

asexdalo

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 03:25:21 PM »
<p class="citation">QuoteIf I spend the money on a package with GoTo, I really want to be able to upgrade to a larger OTA in a few years, or swap out with other OTAs and still use the same GoTo function. [/quote]
In general a package will use the smalles mount that it can gt away with for the scope included. So little or nor chance of going to something bigger. You could find that the scope on the package is really too big for the supplied mount to start with.

Goto? Get it, simply it is becoming almost normal. It is also very useful.
Mounting scopes side by side means a bigger mount and really Why ?
Most ficusers these days are 1.25 and 2 inch, get a 2 speed one otherwise you will eventually go and buy one that is 2 speed.

facwindpsychco

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 05:23:25 PM »
Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Optimus!

Two things:

1.) It will be hard for us to match you up with a scope and mount package without knowing your starting budget. And I say starting budget because this hobby can continue to be a resource hog, especially if you intend to try AP down the road. But we gotta have your starting budget for now.

2.) I see you listing your location as Plano TX. Howdy neighbor! I am just north of you, and if you haven't noticed yet, the light pollution here is pretty darn bad. And you are closer to the source (Dallas) than I am. My NELM is around 4. You might even be less, around 3.5 or worse. You have my sympathy... that being said, you will need to equip for the light pollution. So, this means lots of aperture and GO2 for a satisfying experience. You have one other option available to try and overcome this... join TAS, the amateur astronomy club in our area. You would then have access to the club dark site up in OK. I haven't been there, as I am not a member (work schedule, and other interferences prevent me joining, for now), but there are a few members that are regulars here and they will tell you it is just what the doctor ordered. Contact member Havasman, he will lead you in the right direction.

I see you already have some experience with amateur scopes, so you have an idea about the obstacles you face with our area. Give us that starting budget and we will be glad to help you spend it!

Best regards!

CB

Zachary Patterson

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 07:57:15 AM »
Ed, where are you? This guy could use your advice....STARKID2U

Jaimeylos Chiessa

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 04:24:33 PM »
Hello optimus.

Both scopes 6" and 8" newt are really nice instruments.
I have an celestron xlt 6" f/5 mounted on a cg4, and an orion 8" f/5 mounted on a sky view pro

I do not have a goto mount, I bought a r/a drive for my cg4.

I would say that both of these mount and scope combinations are at the limits of what the mount can do
for visual. What limits them is the shake they have on the mount.  Every time you touch the scope, at high
power you will cause it to vibrate, and it takes awhile for the scope to settle down again so you can see clearly.
Note a breeze can do this too. anyhow, damp time is a personal thing for how much you can tolerate.
I can tolerate about 2 seconds. And both of these combos have a sub 2 second damp time. If you go for the 8"
newt, make sure that your tripod has 2" legs. Smaller leggs will wobble too much.

Regarding size, the 6"/cg4 combo I consider portable. I can pick up the scope and mount in one piece and move it.
The 8"/cg5, I would be afraid. The tube weight 20 lbs. The mount probably 45.  All the weight is up high,
and it is a gangly thing.  The 6" will obviously take up less space in your car. I have two kids, and a wife, and
in a small utility vehicle I don't have room for either of these scope.  Both scopes will fit in a car,
But that depends upon how much other stuff you pack.  Is astronomy going to be the only thing you do?
Or are you going golfing, fishing, tent? etc.

If you get full motor control you will not have to touch the scope as often, so the mount can be a little more
shakey.  Then touching will be determined by how often you change eyepieces.

I don't know how the avx mount above compares to the older cg5/svp mount.  Is it a sky view pro class with nice motors?
Ask someone here if you want to know.  It kind of looks like it is.

If the mount head you get has a vixen dovetail saddle you will be able to mount any scope that has a vixen
dovetail rail, as long as it is within the weight and length limits of the mount. I have a refractor that I mount
during the winter when I don't want to wait for my newts to cool.

If you are a planetary or globular viewer, a motor drive makes observing easier. The scope will track the
object at high power, and you can sit back and relax. Also note that it is not that hard to track at high power
with a manual eq, because all you have to do is twist one knob to keep the object centered.

I do not have a goto scope, so I cannot advise. I enjoy finding targets myself. I don't like the idea of
using batteries, (just another hastle, and maintenance item).  Some goto mounts, and I don't know
which ones, do not have clutches and or slow manual slow motion so the scope cannot be used
if your batteries are dead, if that is important to you ask here. Also goto is expensive. A new avx mount
is 800.00.  I bought my used sky view pro mount for less than $200.00.  It will last a lifetime. I'm not sure of
the longevity of motors, gears and computers. But different people have different bank roles.
Also goto has to be calibrated each time it is used.  This involves finding a few bright objects and
manually slewing the scope to them.  If you live in an area with trees. You may have to move the scope.
and that requires recalibration each time.

Now the good thing about goto is that if you live in a light polluted area it will make finding things a lot easier.
There are some targets to this date that I still have not found. I'm not giving up, but it can be frustrating.
The manual circles on an orion sky view pro are usable, and I use mine.

Good luck searching.

Chris Harwood

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 06:40:20 AM »
Thank you all for the replies.

@Achernar - thank you for the thoughts. Do you have an opinion on me getting a heavier mount instead with an OTA?

@SG6 - Why? Because I'll question and ask "What If" until I do so...it's just how I'm wired. I also like to modify things a little and make them better than their intended purpose...so if I can simultaneously point 2 scopes at the same object with different magnifications at the same time, just just seems like a neat idea. But I'm also willing to accept that maybe it's not that easy or practical.

@SeaBee1
I am actually a member of TAS, and have also been to the "place we don't talk about publicly in order to protect it". It's fun to go out there. For only $40 a year, I highly recommend you join even if you only get to go to the dark site once a year. As you, I also have similar time restraints (Work, Business Travel, AND I went back to college), but still manage to make a club meeting twice a year. I highly recommend it.
Let's limit the choices a little. If I'm purchasing a package, let's say no more than $1100 since that's the price of the 8" AVX reflector. If I am purchasing a separate mount with fine motor control (long term purchase) and a separate OTA, let's cap the expense at $2000.
@vtornado - does your sky view pro follow the object? And will it allow you to move the scope without touching it? Is this mount just a mount, and you have to purchase drive motors separately.

Henry Edward

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 12:50:15 AM »
If you plan both visual and later imaging a mount with both alt/az and eq capabilities could be it. Purely eq will get you tired of chasing the eye piece, as it rotates. Skywatcher have some in eq5 and 6 size. The 5'er (still pretty portable) will let you have an 8" carbon tube and still do short exposure planetary imaging, though you're near the weight limit. Could increase wear on the worm gears, if you're at weight limit all the time with an 8". Concider a 6", they do come in carbon too as far as I know.

exmartata

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 11:47:44 PM »
Quote
Thank you all for the replies.

@Achernar - thank you for the thoughts. Do you have an opinion on me getting a heavier mount instead with an OTA?

@SG6 - Why? Because I'll question and ask "What If" until I do so...it's just how I'm wired. I also like to modify things a little and make them better than their intended purpose...so if I can simultaneously point 2 scopes at the same object with different magnifications at the same time, just just seems like a neat idea. But I'm also willing to accept that maybe it's not that easy or practical.

@SeaBee1
I am actually a member of TAS, and have also been to the "place we don't talk about publicly in order to protect it". It's fun to go out there. For only $40 a year, I highly recommend you join even if you only get to go to the dark site once a year. As you, I also have similar time restraints (Work, Business Travel, AND I went back to college), but still manage to make a club meeting twice a year. I highly recommend it.
Let's limit the choices a little. If I'm purchasing a package, let's say no more than $1100 since that's the price of the 8" AVX reflector. If I am purchasing a separate mount with fine motor control (long term purchase) and a separate OTA, let's cap the expense at $2000.
@vtornado - does your sky view pro follow the object? And will it allow you to move the scope without touching it? Is this mount just a mount, and you have to purchase drive motors separately.

If you are sure you want to do long exposure imaging on a regular basis, then yes a heavier duty mounting is warranted at some point if you can afford to pay twice as much than what an AVX costs, or more. Regardless of which mount you choose, you'll have to purchase other things, such as an auto-guider which by the way the AVX mount will operate with. If you want to use two telescopes at the same time with a German equatorial mount, I would definitely be looking at something like Orion's Atlas mount, or a similar capacity mount from Losmandy or Ioptron, not an AVX.

The AVX mount is certainly a very good value for the price, and will get you started. It is from what I can see, not in the same category as Orion's Sky View Pro, but an evolved Celestron CG-4 with stronger motors. I'm told both are descendants of a mount offered by Vixen.It works great with my 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain, whose OTA weighs 14 lbs. alone. If I add a camera, or my 2-inchstar diagonal and a ultra-wide-angle eyepiece, the weight reaches 17 or 18 lbs.,It has no problems handling that visually or when I am taking photos and video of the Moon, Sunand planets.The other mounts are a lot heavier, but just because a mount is heavy doesn't necessarily mean it's sturdy or tracks well enough for your requirements. That was why I opted for an AVX instead of a CGEM, the equatorial head weighs 40 lbs. but can handle only 10 lbs. more than the AVX mount. The equatorial head of an AVX comes in at 17 lbs. I don't know how old you are, or the state of your health, but I do know lifting the equatorial head chest high in the dark can hurt your back. You should think about that, and what your health might be like in the years ahead because I know folks that had to down size their telescopes because of advancing age and back issues.

However, for a first telescope, I advise getting a good visual instrument firstbecause photography has a very steep learning curve. If it can be uses for imaging, well and good. However, what makes a good visual telescope often is not so good for imaging and vice versa. This is especially true for Newtonians. And not every night is one where you will either want to take photos, or lug the monster mountoutside. Imaging is more about the mount than the telescope, you don't need a big telescope to get good pictures. Most people I know who are taking photos are doing it with 8-inch and smaller telescopes, on mounts like an AVX or others with a similar size, weight and load capacity. Indeed, a small apochromatic refractor can be used most effectively as a imaging telescope for deep sky objects. For the moon and planets, you will need a longer focal length. That is why I chose an 8-inch SCT.

Taras

erparepe

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 11:40:47 AM »
Optimus Prime:

If you get a computerized goto scope, the motors are designed for moving the telescope with the hand controller. I understand that many of the modern goto scopes will not work manually, only with power and the controller.

A manual (non motorized, no computer) eq mount can be fitted with right ascension and declination axis motors. These motors are not for slewing or moving the telescope. They are for slow tracking. You move the mount manually by releasing and tightening a clutch on each axis, then use the motors for tracking. Basically, the r.a. motor does the tracking and the dec is for adjustment. For visual a ra drive is all that is needed. You can adjust the dec manually when and if needed.

Good viewing,

Dave

Jason Rivard

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 06:36:44 PM »
@vtornado - does your sky view pro follow the object? And will it allow you to move the scope without touching it? Is this mount just a mount, and you have to purchase drive motors separately.

The drives for the sky view pro do not have fast slewing. They have 2x, 8x and 16x slewing.  So if you have to move the scope through large distances in the sky, you release the mount clutches and move the scope manually, until you see it in the finder.
Then Lock the telescope clutches, Then use to the slewing to get the target into the main scope, and then dead centered. Then switch to 1x and the object stays in the eyepiece. The drives come separate from the mount. Orion sells both the SVP and motors.  I bought mine used. For about half the cost of a new setup.

You can move the scope only with motors, but with a 16x slew speed, it would take 20 minutes to move the scope 90 degrees. That is why
when moving through a lot of sky you do most of it manually.

Davione Boone

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 11:39:24 PM »
Quote
*SNIP*

@SeaBee1
I am actually a member of TAS, and have also been to the "place we don't talk about publicly in order to protect it". It's fun to go out there. For only $40 a year, I highly recommend you join even if you only get to go to the dark site once a year. As you, I also have similar time restraints (Work, Business Travel, AND I went back to college), but still manage to make a club meeting twice a year. I highly recommend it.
Let's limit the choices a little. If I'm purchasing a package, let's say no more than $1100 since that's the price of the 8" AVX reflector. If I am purchasing a separate mount with fine motor control (long term purchase) and a separate OTA, let's cap the expense at $2000.
*SNIP*


I do intend to join TAS, it just isn't practical at the moment. My projected retirement date is a little over 5 years, and not having the burden of an unfriendly work schedule opens up a lot of possibilities for me. The stars and the dark site should still be there...

$2000 opens up some possibilities I think. I personally would not want a reflector of any size on an EQ mount. The eyepiece just has too much potential to end up in funky positions. Good tube rings can mitigate this, but it is an added expense. I don't have direct experience, but I think the tube rings that are packaged with that kind of setup leave a little to be desired... they just aren't smooth enough to be satisfying. Workable? maybe... pleasurable? maybe not... So, a good refractor on an EQ makes better sense to me. I also believe getting the refractor to the dark site will negate some if not most of the aperture advantage of a bigish Newt in the city.

This is a scope I am interested in, that might interest you as well...LINK... it has enough aperture to be usable in the city for a LOT of objects, and will be just stellar at the TAS dark site. It gets excellent reviews. If you put it on an AVX , you will be a little over budget, but this will get you GO2/tracking in a fairly portable package. You don't have to use an AVX if GO2 doesn't mean that much to you, you can get a CG-4, which will carry that scope without trouble. and you can add a tracking motor if you want to, at little additional cost. My CG-4 has tracking and I love it.

This recommendation doesn't check ALL of your boxes, but I think it is worthy of consideration for it's quality at near your budget.

Happy hunting!

CB

gausinoleac

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 05:04:05 AM »
One warning about optical tubes, like Newtonians, that have the focuser sticking out the side instead of the back end. On an equatorial mount, the focuser will end up in an awkward position whenever you move to a different part of the sky. You have to rotate the tube in its rings in order to get the focuser back to a position where you can look through the eyepiece. The proper solution for this is rotating tube rings which cost several hundreds of dollars. An internet search for "rotating tube rings" will turn up several alternatives.

My suggestion for you is a Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube on a German equatorial mount. There are many to choose from. When the eyepiece gets into an awkward position, just rotate the focuser instead of the entire tube. If you think you might get serious about photographing deep sky objects, get a GoTo mount with a port to accept tracking correction signals from an autoguider. Your first optical tube for long exposure photography should have a focal length well under 1,000 mm because tracking with adequate precision is very difficult at longer focal lengths.

knucareaslo

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 10:25:28 AM »
Thank you for all the replies. This is being very helpful.

I think I will move away from the photography discussion, and come back not to more tangible aspects
2 speed focuses - if the telescope I purchase does not have a 2 speed focuser, but instead a rack and pinion focuses, is this an easy upgrade? Let's use the Celestron AVX8N as an example.
I think I've figured out that the scope rings are what attach a scope to it's connector plate to the mount. Are these easily upgraded? I't seems that it would be good to have a set with handles to help carry the OTA. (edit #1: just now saw the post fromKendahl) (edit #2 - tube rings may move me away from EQ for a first scope...so many decisions!)
Are there other upgrades I should immediately consider?
I am leaning more towards the CelestronAVX8N. Does anyone have an opinion on Orion vs Celestron? Celestron seems to be a little cheaper. Is Orion typically a better scope for the money?

James Runninger

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Re: Decided to get a reflector...now on to mounts...
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 01:37:28 PM »
Good morning Optimus!

1) Focusers are usually not hard to upgrade, as long as you are getting a new one that has the same hole pattern as the old one. Usually, the focuser will be listed as to what it will fit. Other times, a new hole pattern may need to be drilled. It isn't something to fear, but it ain't for everybody.

2) I have no experience with upgrading scope mounting rings, but as long as the rings match the OTA OD, it should be a fairly straightforward upgrade. Could be expensive though.

3) Is the Celestron you reference the Newtonian or the SCT version as I am seeing both scopes under the AVX8N moniker? If the Newtonian, you will have the focuser placement problem previously mentioned as the mount carries the scope through the RA arc. That will take you back to #2 above. Could be expensive. If the SCT version, then the diagonal will on that scope will solve the focuser placement issue, as it can be rotated rather than the whole tube, to accommodate.

4) I don't think there is a dimes worth of difference between Orion branding and Celestron branding... both companies import from China. Optics in each will be pretty much the same, which is generally considered good. My observation is that Orion is just a little prouder of their stuff.

If you are seriously considering one of these two packages, I would recommend the SCT version as I think it will be a more versatile, more portable configuration for you.

I hope this has been helpful!

Keep looking up!

CB