Author Topic: help picking a real scope  (Read 817 times)

vidysriret

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help picking a real scope
« on: December 29, 2017, 09:21:23 AM »
So, amateur astronomer here, looking to get my first real scope. I've saved about $1,500 and want to make the right choice. I've researched till I'm blue in the face but still to no avail. I've found a 5 year old celestron c9.25 on an eq5 GT mount for $900 or a brand new 16" meade LB for $1,300. Any advice on which one to choose? Or should I consider another option. Just trying to get the most light/best views for the money. Any help is greatly appreciated!



explacgarco

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 12:06:31 PM »
you need to determine what you want to do - visual or astro photography. these two goals are generally opposed to each other.

however, i can tell you this:

1) that C9.25 on the CG-5 GT is overloaded. you will not be happy
2) the Meade LB is very heavy. Try before you buy, you may not like lugging it around

Brandon Costello

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 03:04:35 PM »
this is the time to take a lot of it. do not rush in. want go-to, tracking or not? lotta choices both used and new and try not to be swayed by
"hey. i have this xxx and love it."

and

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!!

Miguel Alvarado

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 08:23:11 AM »
Thanks for the reply!  Really I would like to do both. I know that's kind of conflicting. Lol overloaded as in it won't function properly or I just can't add anyhing else (spotter, camera, auto guider) as far as the meade goes I'm in pretty good shape and have quite a few years before worrying too much about weight limitations. I've helped assemble a 17" dob before and I'm confident in my abilities to put it together.

teoknoxparli

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 03:31:33 PM »
I would love the go to tracking. Especially for photography purposes. But not a necessity to enjoy the night sky. Used seems about the only way to go to get the larger aperture sct's for a decent price.

litgeschsappa

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 05:07:41 AM »
As said by someone before, you will need a solid mount if you are going for 9.25 or larger apertures for SCTs.

I would recommend you to consider AVX-8" SCT package at $1600, brand new. You can do some AP with it, with some caveats.

Theodore Inlaw

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 01:25:53 AM »
What Nile said. Get the AVX/8" SCT combo. 8" in a reflector telescope is the sweet spot for portability, enough aperture to see things, and cost for a package that also allows for AP. Add in the f/6.3 focal reducer and a DSLR with t-adapter and you can image with it.

trimarnado

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 06:59:50 AM »
You have a common problem. Everyone wants to do both visual and photography with one setup, and it's not a practical thing to do.

Here's my analogy. A pro photographer has two assignments. A soccer game and an indoor wedding. For the soccer game he needs a long telephoto, for the indoor wedding a wide angle. Compromising on a short telephoto simply means doing a lousy job on both.

Your short exposure eyes need a lot of aperture to gather enough photons fast enough. The camera is _utterly_ different. It gathers photons with long exposures that need to be extremely precisely tracked. So much so it's difficult to comprehend. An error of 1/1000 inch will completely blur your image. Aperture is far less important than most people think, and a big scope is a nightmare for a beginner for a few reasons. The big one is it's extremely difficult to track, particularly on the mounts most beginners choose.

So, here's the idea. For photography you need a short, light, and fast refractor on a good mount. Something like an 80ED on a Sirius ($1200). If that's beyond your budget, than a camera tracker ($300-500) and a camera and a lens. People do nice images with that setup.

Then for visual, something like a 6-8 inch Dobsonian. The Dob is the most cost effective option, which you need because AP is so darn expensive.

The C8 on an AVX is a bad setup to start AP with. Here's a cautionary tale (and a very typical one). A very talented man tried it. He had a lot of frustration, and a lot of mediocre images. He dumped the C8 for a 2.9 (count 'em, two point nine) inch refractor, and immediately started cranking out excellent images. This is not weird or strange, it's a common story, and any experienced imager could have predicted it. Here's the story, with images.

http://imgur.com/a/E6sy3

Note that he refers to the 2.9 as an upgrade over the 8 inch. It was. AP is just not very intuitive.

Cleo Wickware

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 07:41:28 AM »
Well let's say I throw AP out the window and just enjoy the visual side of it. May take some pictures with my phone mount. Lol From the sound of it astrophotrography sounds more and more like its an advanced/learned technique. So if I only focused on visual observing, what would be the best option. Everyone seems to have varying opinions. I thought aperture was everything?

climopepvi

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 09:36:01 AM »
Think of AP as a black hole in your wallet......

Tommy Schmidt

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 10:51:54 AM »
Lamo that's kinda what it seems like. So repichf has a c 11 for sale on here that looks mmmmazing! For a decent price.

Tom Doyle

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 05:50:58 PM »
Quote
Well let's say I throw AP out the window and just enjoy the visual side of it. May take some pictures with my phone mount. Lol From the sound of it astrophotrography sounds more and more like its an advanced/learned technique. So if I only focused on visual observing, what would be the best option. Everyone seems to have varying opinions. I thought aperture was everything?


Insight is like foresight but without seeing the future... you have just seen the future. AP is fantastic, and equally difficult at the onset, kind of like 2 major hobbies thrown into a blender, not to mention expensive. Am learning this myself.

Everyone has their preferences. I will recommend any aperture of 6-8" (and larger) that your wallet can afford. It's all about light gathering. I have a CAT (2 actually), many will recommend dobs and others, it's all good advice to take in, absorb, and then decide.

CN is a great place to learn, and hope you enjoy the group. Welcome aboard. Keep us posted on your choices.

suctoleshe

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 07:22:21 PM »
I prefer Dobs myself. And I am used to finding objects on my own using star charts.
The 16" Lightbridge I own is huge and heavy, the heaviest part being about 65 lbs. That's about my limit. It means I must set up the scoperight next to my car. I have replaced the heavy bulky stock base with a lighter weight base from Dobstuff.com
I do like the deep sky object (DSO's) views a 16" scope gives me, but I am looking for something a little smaller/lighter. And hopefully, not much of a loss in light gathering power. So a 14" or 15" maybe for me?
Lightbridge optics are a crap shoot. They could be wonderful, or much less than. You may be better off buying a used scope with premium quality optics, so you will not be disappointed and will have a scope you will be happy with the rest of your life.
Andy

tradunjuwa

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2018, 08:40:51 PM »
Visual and AP both have their merits, caveats and faults, some of which matter more, less or not at all, depending who you are. As for AP, I couldn't reconcile the cost, the time commitment, and a pretty steep learning curve. Effective learning is all about staying in that goldilocks zone between boredom and panic. With me, it would have been ugly, so I steered clear.

Then an opportunity arose. A veteran imager in our astronomy club sent an email to other members asking if anyone was interested in sharing the use of an remotely-controlled observatory. That, I can get my head around. So, I'll have a year to learn with several others, many of whom know a lot more about imaging than I do. I'm a little intimidated, but that's OK. If it's possible to jump into the shallow end with AP, I think that I may have found it.

My 4th telescope (circa 1980-1990) was an 8"SCT. It was a terrific scope. Long before go-to, of course, with a wedge and tripod. I used to piggyback a camera with 50 mm and 200 mm fixed focal length lenses and get some cool shots (to this day, my furthest foray into AP). Later, I used an 8" dob (non go-to) for visual. Its cardboard tube eventually gave up the ghost due to repeated dewing.

You have lots to think about. Enjoy it!

ermaudyvi

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Re: help picking a real scope
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2018, 11:56:55 AM »
Starhunter88 first, welcome to Cloudynights. About two years ago I dove in head first with $1600 that was burning a hole in my pocket - had been out of astronomy for 15+ years. I thought I did my research and bought the C8/AVX... an excellent combo - but I blew all my budget on that. Big mistake. With an SCT need a dew heater for sure unless you live in the dry desert - that will set you back another $150, 12v power back another $100, need a few more eyepieces cause you'll get bored with that 25mm Plossl real quick - that could really set you back even more depending on what you want. IJS - if you got $1600 and that's all you got don't spend it all on the scope. Also, I wanted to do AP and visual. Just forget the AP for a while... I should have listened to CN users advice. Now if you have some eyepieces and other assorted stuff well then maybe I am wrong. But if your new get something cost effective, take some time to figure out what sorta things you like to see and then go for something bigger and better later on cause you will know what you like.

Here's is something else too. I love my C8 it is my work horse telescope and it puts up excellent views... but once I started gathering some observation experience I really started to like looking at open star clusters - like yum yum yum I love that and a C8 has a narrow FOV and is not so great at that. Also, there is a bit of setup time to an SCT and also they take about an hour or so for the temperature in the tube to stabilize with the outside air and it's not something you just setup in 5 min and start observing.  Many nights I don't setup my C8 because the weather is questionable.... go out to let the dogs out and the skys are clear.  Sometimes, setup C8 wait an hour for the scope temp to stablize and come back out and %#$^ing CLOUDS CLOUDS CLOUDS!!!!

Now don't let me talk you out of it a C8 is a great instrument it is my work horse scope and I love it but it was not a great first "real" telescope for "me" IJS - especially when I spent all my money on it and was stuck with a 25mm plossl and no dew prevention system. It could be for you though just make sure you know what you are getting into - lol.

Also a 16" dob is a great telescope but it is massive. You might need a ladder to view through it. It might just be too much to setup and you (might) not take it out much. Because of the fast F ration of most 16" dobs you will probably need to purchase some quality eyepieces as well as a paracorr to eliminate coma aberrations. There is nothing wrong with big dobs, it's just IMHO I don't think they make a great first "real" scope.

Anyway, there are many people on here that will give you much better insight and advice then I can. FWIW, I still have my C8 and love it - I recently purchased a small 80mm APO refractor as well as a small newtonian on an ALT\AZ mount for those quick views and those wide views of star clusters.  Good luck with a decision. IMHO something like an 8 dob, or even a 6 newt on an ALT\AZ is a great scope to start out with and they are cheap way of getting into the hobby with pleasing views.  When you step up to something bigger better or even say a smaller quality APO having an ALT\AZ mount is great for grab and go.

cheers

k