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General Astronomy => Beginners Forum => Topic started by: Aaron Maggot on December 24, 2017, 12:15:32 AM

Title: First Telescope
Post by: Aaron Maggot on December 24, 2017, 12:15:32 AM
Hey guys, I just recently purchased my first telescope from my supervisor at work.  Orion Starmax 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain, I think I got a great bargain on it.  Though it did have some things missing such as counter weights.  I only have one eyepiece that's a 25mm plossl.  I was able to see Saturn and the rings separated out of the planet but it was very compact thought only the 1 EP.

Can I be able to see more information of Saturn with a smaller number EP or might it became blurry and unfocused at higher mags.  I think that the 25mm EP gives me about 60x or 64x atm.  And everything else should I be able to see with only this 1 EP, I really do reside in a light polluted location.  However, there's a mountain top that's about 25m push for me that I could access.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Jon Beckner on December 27, 2017, 01:46:10 PM
With a 1540mm focal length, and a 25mm EP, you're magnifying at around 62x. The Starmax has a theoretical max mag of 254x, but that's in perfect seeing and dark sky sites, so you'll seldom get that good. That said you have a bunch of ways to go. Get a 9 or10mm, and you're at 171x and 154x respectively. You'll get a lot more magnification.

But...

Make sure your collimation is good.

..Joe
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: bolgsorchumsdea on December 31, 2017, 03:29:06 PM
When you go to buy more eyepieces, check the "eye relief"; this is how far your eye must be from the glass for optimum viewing. Folks who wear eyeglasses while viewing should use eyepieces with at least 15mm of eye relief. Plossl eyepieces, the most commonthese days, have an eye relief approximately half their focal length. This means that, as their magnification goes up, they require placingyour eye uncomfortably close to the glass; oftenso close that your lashes will brush the eyepiece.
(https://s9.postimg.org/njbcl9mh7/2_attachment_00.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/njbcl9mh7/)
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Mark Richmond on December 31, 2017, 04:58:34 PM
With a Mak your eyepiece decision wont be as constrained. Some nice good value eyepieces are either the Astro-Tech Paradigm ($60), Meade HD-60 5000, or the Celestron X-Cel LX. The Celestron Luminos eyepieces are something you may look into as well. I agree that an 8-9mm would serve you well. Also the short focal length eyepieces with a Mak would be super cool cruising the moon's surface and checking out the details
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: monsresiwor on January 04, 2018, 08:45:57 PM
The Zhumell Planetary Series eyepieces are worth a look also; good FOV, good eye relief, real good pricing...
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Chaudhari Evans on January 08, 2018, 04:07:49 AM
Quote
The Zhumell Planetary Series eyepieces are worth a look also; good FOV, good eye relief, real good pricing...


If you can find them- I've been waiting to get a a 12.5 and a 9mm, and telescopes.com has been sold out for yonks!

..Joe
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: James Pederson on January 10, 2018, 10:46:57 PM
Sorry buddy, I guess I bought the last two.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: turtnaneade on January 11, 2018, 09:27:25 AM
A better option than the top of the mountain might be a bit lower on the side least facing the worst light pollution source. Use it to get a darker observing spot.
+1 for that 125x - 175x magnification slot being something you should check out. It is very good that you can see Saturn pretty well at lower power and makes it more likely you will see more with a bit more magnification.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Justin Prasad on January 11, 2018, 11:57:59 AM
I'm guessing that this is the kit in question...

http://www.telescope...c/14/p/9826.uts (http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Cassegrain-Telescopes/Orion-StarMax-127mm-Equatorial-Maksutov-Cassegrain-Telescope/pc/-1/c/1/sc/14/p/9826.uts)

The AstroView equatorial utilises 4 lb. and 7.5 lb. counterweights. Orion sells only the 7.5 lb. separately...

http://www.telescope...=counterweights (http://www.telescope.com/75lb-Counterweight-for-SkyView-Pro-amp-AstroView/p/7384.uts?keyword=counterweights)

If your boss is the original purchaser, then they can probably get the 4 lb. from Orion's technical support department.

However, you might be able to use just the 7.5 lb.

Or, you can get this instead... https://www.astronom...unt_p20295.aspx (https://www.astronomics.com/astro-tech-voyager-2-altazimuth-mount_p20295.aspx)
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: headsbigwardsubs on January 11, 2018, 12:44:53 PM
Quote
Sorry buddy, I guess I bought the last two.

Nice...

And you a neighbor and all!

..Joe
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Adam Rice on January 13, 2018, 02:00:26 AM
Thanks for all the feed back guys it has really made a difference. @Sky Muse, the Astro-Tech Voyager 2 mount is more than I paid for my telescope. I dropped $50 on my scope not exactly sure how old it is but it is performing well.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: reapriavoland on January 13, 2018, 08:54:22 AM
Sounds like a great deal, but what are you using for a counterweight(s)?
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: exvermabo on January 13, 2018, 10:44:48 AM
Not knowing which counterweights you need you should get online with Orion and chat with them to see what they have that will work. The mount you have I believe is a EQ3 made by Synta for Orion. I saw where there is a 11 lb counterweight on Orion's site for $39 but it says its for a Sirius or Atlas also Synta built mounts. Not knowing if that would fit, but may give you an idea of the cost. Orion Customer Service should be able to help you. The customer service chat is open, but the technical folks are not available until later given that they are on Pacific time
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: satimoja on January 13, 2018, 03:15:50 PM
As of the moment I am not using anything for a counterweight. I have only used it so far about 5 nights not tilting it very far for fear that it might tip. I have seen Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and what I believe is Andromeda(or at least what I think to be the galaxy, it is a faint fuzzy). I have been using Sky Maps on my android phone to get the general location for where they are and search for them. If anybody knows of a site or has a list complied that I can use of objects that can be observed through my 5" mak-cass I would appreciate it. Has anybody convert their eq3 mount to a goto mount?
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Adam Washington on January 13, 2018, 04:07:39 PM
Quote
As of the moment I am not using anything for a counterweight.

Has anybody convert their eq3 mount to a goto mount?


I imagine you'll need that 7.5 lb. eventually, although it may be possible to strap something or other that weighs about that, and onto the shaft.

It's possible to convert a manual EQ-3 to a go-to...

http://www.teleskop-...G-4-mounts.html (http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p3235_Synscan-GoTo-upgrade-kit-for-EQ-3-and-CG-4-mounts.html)
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Jack Jefferson on January 20, 2018, 06:58:06 PM
While far from elegant and ideal, bar-bell weights can be sleeved to fit the counterweight bar and held in place with vice-grips, both above and below the weights.

But before sinking cash into extremes, I'd call Orion customer support; always try the$0.50 solution first...

BTW, for $50, I think you've won the "Good Deal" contest and at that price you can buy nice Go-To mount and still be ahead.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: zbermecasa on January 21, 2018, 07:29:35 AM
Quote
Note that not everything has a name. Some groups of stars are, well, a group of stars with no name.
True. But the TS asked for advice about programmable telescopes for navigating the skies to find celestial objects. In instances where some group of stars is just a group of stars with no name, the difference between a GoTo (programmable) telescope and a non-GoTo telescope is largely irrelevant. Right?

jdjetson: I agree that (at least) "Half the fun is learning how to navigate the skies and actually finding celestial objects on your own." The point I was making is just because one buys a programmable scope doe not mean they have to give up control to the scope.

I think the confusion is the term "manual". Most folks consider the term manual to mean without the aid of the hand controller in slewing the scope - this is independent of the computer finding objects for you. As far as I know, every programmable telescope will allow YOU to slew the scope up, down, left and right to your hearts content. You can choose to find the Andromeda galaxy, the Double Cluster or NGC XXXX on your own, or choose to allow the computer to assist. This is one of the main benefits of a programmable scope IMO.

Armed with a budget of $1000, you're well within reach of a good quality entry-level goto scope that will serve you well for several years, with room left over for eye pieces and accessories. Although I'm personally a Meade guy, I would recommend a Celestron NexStar 4SE or 127 over the Meade ETX-90 by a wide margin.

Good luck and clear skies!

M57Guy
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: reilpipohen on January 23, 2018, 03:16:56 PM
Half the fun is finding something is on my own, I used to go up north Michigan, the sky was awesome at night, Milky Way overhead, point and look, I think I would get board with that, the squarreling up process can't be fun, a set of night star charts and a red flashlight is all one needs. My 2ยข
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: handthedemo on January 23, 2018, 05:42:37 PM
Quote
Quote
Note that not everything has a name. Some groups of stars are, well, a group of stars with no name.
True. But the TS asked for advice about programmable telescopes for navigating the skies to find celestial objects. In instances where some group of stars is just a group of stars with no name, the difference between a GoTo (programmable) telescope and a non-GoTo telescope is largely irrelevant. Right?

jdjetson: I agree that (at least) "Half the fun is learning how to navigate the skies and actually finding celestial objects on your own." The point I was making is just because one buys a programmable scope doe not mean they have to give up control to the scope.

I think the confusion is the term "manual". Most folks consider the term manual to mean without the aid of the hand controller in slewing the scope - this is independent of the computer finding objects for you. As far as I know, every programmable telescope will allow YOU to slew the scope up, down, left and right to your hearts content. You can choose to find the Andromeda galaxy, the Double Cluster or NGC XXXX on your own, or choose to allow the computer to assist. This is one of the main benefits of a programmable scope IMO.

Armed with a budget of $1000, you're well within reach of a good quality entry-level goto scope that will serve you well for several years, with room left over for eye pieces and accessories. Although I'm personally a Meade guy, I would recommend a Celestron NexStar 4SE or 127 over the Meade ETX-90 by a wide margin.

Good luck and clear skies!

M57Guy

When I refer to a manual scope I mean one with no computer assist of any kind.  You find it yourself or you don't see it.There are computer assisted scopes, such as the Orion Intelliscope, that have no motors. These are also called PushTo scopes. The computer tells you where to point the scope but you move it. I have one of these.  You can use this feature or you can choose not to use it.  If you don't use the computer the scope operates as a fully manual scope. I use it this way about half the time.Then there are motorized GoTo scopes where the scope uses motors to slew to the targets you select with the hand control. You either punch in your target, such as M31 or Vega or Jupiter, and the computer slews the scope to the target. These also let you point the scope with the hand control.

However not all GoTo scopes will let you move/point/use the scope without the hand controller. The NexStar series from Celestron is a good example. If they controller dies, if a motor dies you can't move the scope. Other GoTo scopes have releasable clutches so that you can move the scope even if you don't have the hand controller. Most of the Meade scopes are examples but certainly there are others. My Meade ETX 80 has releasable clutches. About 50% of the time the hand control remains in the box as I can swing and tilt the scope manually. If the battery dies, if a motor fails I would simply release the clutches and continue to observe.So when we talk about manual scopes vs. computer assisted scopes, in my opinion, it is important to know if the scope can be used manually, without the computer control. What you do with that information is up to you. I wanted to be sure my scopes could be used without the hand controller and it has worked out very well for me. But the fact that you are tied to the hand controller is not necessarily a problem.  Again, that Celestron NexStar series is very popular.

Your smileage may vary.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: trafefupgi on January 26, 2018, 01:08:09 AM
I guess the bone of contention here is are we talking about "manually" slewing or "autonomous positioning" of the scope?

My impression from the opening post was the TS was concerned that a GoTo scope would always be in control of where it was pointed, and learning how to navigate the skies to find celestial objects would be compromised by a programmable scope, which could be the case, but only if one allowed that to happen. If I'm wrong on that, I'll stand corrected.

However, when I read "manual", I think of manually slewing a dob by hand, turning slow motion control knobs on an alt-az mount by hand, positioning an ETX-80 that has the clutches loosened, or using binoculars.

At the other extreme we have any type of scope on a GoTo mount that points at an object in the sky based on what we dial up using the hand controller when (or if) we want it to. Although easy and sometime fun, there can be little to no skill involved with using that type of equipment in that manner, and the TS would be correct that a crutch like that would be counterproductive to learning to navigate the night sky.

In the muddy middle we have scopes on equatorial mounts with clock drives, scopes with digital setting circles I suppose, or the scope on a GoTo mount that mechanically slews to where we slew it to using the hand controller. That would be autonomous positioning to me. In the later example, a programmable scope like that can be used to learn to navigate the night sky by simple ignoring or choosing to not use the the GoTo capabilities of the scope. As far as I know, all GoTo scopes allow one to point or slew the scope in any direction they choose. If anyone knows of a scope that does not allow the user to point it in a direction other than at on object in a pre-programmed catalog, please let me know.so I know to never buy one of those.

My point is, choosing a programmable scope does not resign oneself to turning over control to a computer. I've had a GoTo scope for 15 years and located the entire Messier catalog on my own while learning to navigate the night sky. I enjoy busting out books and a star atlas to find faint fuzzies through star hopping despite having the GoTo capabilities at my fingertips. Most of my observing buddies think I'm peculiar for sometimes doing things "the hard way", but that's entirely possible with a programmable scope IMO.

So, if the original question was regarding "manual" slewing using loosened clutches and without the aid of power, I would recommend something entirely different than a programmable scope - get a dob or a refactor on an alt-az mount for that. If the questions was: Can I use a programmable scope to look for celestial objects on my own, choosing where the scope if positioned without the aid of the computer, even if it means I won't find anything tonight but I can try again tomorrow? Then, yes - a programmable scope will let you learn to navigate the night sky on your own when you want to, and automatically GoTo stuff when you're not in the the mood or feeling lazy. In that regard, I recommend a Celestron product as a starter scope over the Meade products in your price range.

Cheers!
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: bamrocorna on January 31, 2018, 01:39:49 AM
Quote
I guess the bone of contention here is are we talking about "manually" slewing or "autonomous positioning" of the scope?

My impression from the opening post was the TS was concerned that a GoTo scope would always be in control of where it was pointed, and learning how to navigate the skies to find celestial objects would be compromised by a programmable scope, which could be the case, but only if one allowed that to happen. If I'm wrong on that, I'll stand corrected.

However, when I read "manual", I think of manually slewing a dob by hand, turning slow motion control knobs on an alt-az mount by hand, positioning an ETX-80 that has the clutches loosened, or using binoculars.

At the other extreme we have any type of scope on a GoTo mount that points at an object in the sky based on what we dial up using the hand controller when (or if) we want it to. Although easy and sometime fun, there can be little to no skill involved with using that type of equipment in that manner, and the TS would be correct that a crutch like that would be counterproductive to learning to navigate the night sky.

In the muddy middle we have scopes on equatorial mounts with clock drives, scopes with digital setting circles I suppose, or the scope on a GoTo mount that mechanically slews to where we slew it to using the hand controller. That would be autonomous positioning to me. In the later example, a programmable scope like that can be used to learn to navigate the night sky by simple ignoring or choosing to not use the the GoTo capabilities of the scope. As far as I know, all GoTo scopes allow one to point or slew the scope in any direction they choose. If anyone knows of a scope that does not allow the user to point it in a direction other than at on object in a pre-programmed catalog, please let me know.so I know to never buy one of those.

My point is, choosing a programmable scope does not resign oneself to turning over control to a computer. I've had a GoTo scope for 15 years and located the entire Messier catalog on my own while learning to navigate the night sky. I enjoy busting out books and a star atlas to find faint fuzzies through star hopping despite having the GoTo capabilities at my fingertips. Most of my observing buddies think I'm peculiar for sometimes doing things "the hard way", but that's entirely possible with a programmable scope IMO.

So, if the original question was regarding "manual" slewing using loosened clutches and without the aid of power, I would recommend something entirely different than a programmable scope - get a dob or a refactor on an alt-az mount for that. If the questions was: Can I use a programmable scope to look for celestial objects on my own, choosing where the scope if positioned without the aid of the computer, even if it means I won't find anything tonight but I can try again tomorrow? Then, yes - a programmable scope will let you learn to navigate the night sky on your own when you want to, and automatically GoTo stuff when you're not in the the mood or feeling lazy. In that regard, I recommend a Celestron product as a starter scope over the Meade products in your price range.

Cheers!


We are tossing around words here but language and terms do need to be defined. And I will point out that after a year in the hobby I certainly don't know everything there is to know about astronomy or astronomy equipment and probably never will.

Programmable - I don't consider using a GoTo system to point a scope at a target as having a programmable scope/mount.  Programmable would be, to me, setting up a set of observations, sequencing them and having the scope execute them in a predefined way as I do something else, perhaps with if/then/else logic. "If Vega can not be found then go to the next target".  This might be in response to cloud cover.

A Goto hand control is programmed, but not by me. I just give it a command and it follows it, like the remote on my TV set.  M57 GoTo - and it goes to it.  Like changing channels on my TV.Autonomous - that would be a self operating scope that does not need me to operate it. In my RC hobby and in the commercial space there are autonomous drones that are given a destination but the drone can go around obstacles and operate in response to the environment to accomplish its mission and then return home.  You tell it to hover and it will command the controls to do so in response to wind or being bumped by something with no input from the pilot.  That is autonomous. The Mars Rovers do that, have to do that, due to the time lag in the signal. They are programmed to a destination and to perform a task. They do so in an autonomous fashion as it would take too long for an operator to know there was a need for an input and to provide it in a timely fashion.
http://www.merriam-w...nary/autonomous (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autonomous)I am not aware of any programmable or autonomous hobbyist telescopes or mounts. Certainly nothing I have read about on this forum. But maybe I am just not aware of them. Certainly a Celestron NexStar or a Meade Autostar would not fit into my understanding of programmable or autonomous.

Some scopes can be controlled from computers and tablets. Here the programming is in the computer or the tablet, not in the mount of the scope.  The computer is giving the hand control commands, just as I would.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: Eric Mannasseh on February 02, 2018, 06:02:52 PM
Quote
Quote

I guess the bone of contention here is are we talking about "manually" slewing or "autonomous positioning" of the scope?

My impression from the opening post was the TS was concerned that a GoTo scope would always be in control of where it was pointed, and learning how to navigate the skies to find celestial objects would be compromised by a programmable scope, which could be the case, but only if one allowed that to happen. If I'm wrong on that, I'll stand corrected.

However, when I read "manual", I think of manually slewing a dob by hand, turning slow motion control knobs on an alt-az mount by hand, positioning an ETX-80 that has the clutches loosened, or using binoculars.

At the other extreme we have any type of scope on a GoTo mount that points at an object in the sky based on what we dial up using the hand controller when (or if) we want it to. Although easy and sometime fun, there can be little to no skill involved with using that type of equipment in that manner, and the TS would be correct that a crutch like that would be counterproductive to learning to navigate the night sky.

In the muddy middle we have scopes on equatorial mounts with clock drives, scopes with digital setting circles I suppose, or the scope on a GoTo mount that mechanically slews to where we slew it to using the hand controller. That would be autonomous positioning to me. In the later example, a programmable scope like that can be used to learn to navigate the night sky by simple ignoring or choosing to not use the the GoTo capabilities of the scope. As far as I know, all GoTo scopes allow one to point or slew the scope in any direction they choose. If anyone knows of a scope that does not allow the user to point it in a direction other than at on object in a pre-programmed catalog, please let me know.so I know to never buy one of those.

My point is, choosing a programmable scope does not resign oneself to turning over control to a computer. I've had a GoTo scope for 15 years and located the entire Messier catalog on my own while learning to navigate the night sky. I enjoy busting out books and a star atlas to find faint fuzzies through star hopping despite having the GoTo capabilities at my fingertips. Most of my observing buddies think I'm peculiar for sometimes doing things "the hard way", but that's entirely possible with a programmable scope IMO.

So, if the original question was regarding "manual" slewing using loosened clutches and without the aid of power, I would recommend something entirely different than a programmable scope - get a dob or a refactor on an alt-az mount for that. If the questions was: Can I use a programmable scope to look for celestial objects on my own, choosing where the scope if positioned without the aid of the computer, even if it means I won't find anything tonight but I can try again tomorrow? Then, yes - a programmable scope will let you learn to navigate the night sky on your own when you want to, and automatically GoTo stuff when you're not in the the mood or feeling lazy. In that regard, I recommend a Celestron product as a starter scope over the Meade products in your price range.

Cheers!


We are tossing around words here but language and terms do need to be defined. And I will point out that after a year in the hobby I certainly don't know everything there is to know about astronomy or astronomy equipment and probably never will.

Programmable - I don't consider using a GoTo system to point a scope at a target as having a programmable scope/mount.  Programmable would be, to me, setting up a set of observations, sequencing them and having the scope execute them in a predefined way as I do something else.  A Goto hand control is programmed, but not by me. I just give it a commend and it follows it, like the remote on my TV set.  M57 GoTo - and it goes to it.  Like changing channels on my TV.Autonomous - that would be a self operating scope that does not need me to operate it. In my RC hobby and in the commercial space there are autonomous drones that are given a destination but the drone can go around obstacles and operate in response to the environment to accomplish its mission and then return home.  You tell it to hover and it will command the controls to do so in response to wind or being bumped by something.  If a bird gets in its way it responds without input from the pilot. That is autonomous. The Mars Rovers do that, have to do that, due to the time lag in the signal. They are programmed to a destination and to perform a task. They do so in an autonomus fashion as it would take too long for an operator to know there was a need for an input and to provide it in a timely fashion.
http://www.merriam-w...nary/autonomous (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autonomous)I am not aware of any programmable or autonomous hobbyist telescopes or mounts. Certainly nothing I have read about on this forum. But maybe I am just not aware of them. Certainly a Celestron NexStar or a Meade Autostar would not fit into my understanding of programmable or autonomous.
I would call a Meade Lightswitch an "autonomous" scope for the most part. You just level the tripod and then switch the sucker on and it aligns itself. A Nexstar with a Starsense alignment accessory does the same thing

Some applications when you control scopes from them have the ability to control backlash and well as exposure rates for cameras, etc. I would call that programmable

I've always thought that Celestron would be wise to add a micro sd card slot on their hand controller that you could at least input in your different observing coordinates or even save your favorite objects to look at again. Given that its just written line items you could store quite a bit on a 1GB micro sd!!
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: inlaylale on February 04, 2018, 09:35:56 AM
Quote
I would call a Meade Lightswitch an "autonomous" scope for the most part. You just level the tripod and then switch the sucker on and it aligns itself. A Nexstar with a Starsense alignment accessory does the same thing
I agree - the term "autonomous" is probably better correlated with a computer being autonomous from the human user than the other way around (at least for now   ).

So, please replace "autonomous positioning" in my previous post with "user defined positioning" or "human chosen coordinates". I think that makes more sense - and that a programmable scope owner is still free to choose how and where the scope slews to where its ultimately pointed, even when using a computer-aided hand controller.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: nalchsilnighnul on February 09, 2018, 02:44:24 AM
Augustus. Good point about the moon being the primary target at 4. Thanks.
Title: Re: First Telescope
Post by: junktranasop on February 09, 2018, 05:20:49 AM
Quote
Unfortunately the inteliscope is a bit to expense for my budget. Need to stay under $400.

Then no. There isn't even decent GoTo available at that price, get a Zhumell Z8.