Author Topic: My first Telescope.  (Read 229 times)

Cesar Lawhorn

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Re: My first Telescope.
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2018, 06:15:56 PM »
I observe primarily under red-zone skies with an 8" SCT on a manually-operated equatorial mount. There are several characteristics about this setup that, in my mind, make it a compelling choice for urban observing:(1) The long focal length of SCTs increases contrast especially under light polluted conditions (for more, see Rod Mollise's Urban Astronomer's Guide -- http://www.springer....k/9781846282164 -- a very worthwhile book for urban observers). (2) Especially at high magnification (i.e., when doing planetary and globular cluster observing), having only one slow motion control to work to track an object is a big advantage. You could have battery-powered motorized tracking do this for you, but I really like the simplicity (and cost savings) of a manual setup. With a Dob, I find the constant nudge-nudge in order to keep an object in the eyepiece is a less than pleasant, although not completely bad, experience.(3) I make full use of the setting circles on my Orion AstroView EQ-3 mount. While my 8" SCT is a bit too heavy on that lighter-weight mount (I wish I had an Orion SkyView Pro EQ-4 mount for that scope), I can most often find what I'm hunting for by using the setting circles to get an object in my 8x50 finder scope. When I use my 10" Dob in the city, I find that my ability to starhop is seriously hurt by the light pollution. My 10-incher is better used under darker skies. Indeed, it's my scope of choice when I drive out to a darker-sky site. At bottom, I really enjoy the challenge of finding an object manually rather than having a computer do it for me. And I like the cost savings that not having a computer entails.It's very true that a 10" Dob would be a great choice for getting the most aperture for the dollar. But I personally prefer using SCTs in urban settings for the reasons I mention above.Also, the NexStar 6se package that GaryCurran suggested is very compelling. It offers lots of gear for the price. But I've heard that the accessory package isn't the greatest. Personally, I dislike Plossl eyepieces in their shorter focal lengths (15mm and below) -- way too little eye relief.Here's another setup you may also consider piecing together:- Celestron C6 OTA (http://www.highpoint...etail-91010-xlt): $389. - Orion SkyView Pro equatorial mount (http://www.telescope...c/34/p/9829.uts): $330. - GSO 8x50 right-angle finder scope (http://agenaastro.co...age-finder.html): $70. - A decent ~$70 eyepiece in the 16-18mm range -- possibilities include those listed at AgenaAstro.com (http://agenaastro.co...html?price=0-70). - A good 2x Barlow lens around ~$70 -- check out Celestron 1.25" 2x X-Cel LX Barlow Lens (http://agenaastro.co...lens-93529.html). Your total would be around $930. Using the supplied 25mm eyepiece, an additional eyepiece in the 16-18mm range, and a 2x Barlow would give you four well-spaced magnifications. One compelling advantage of the Orion SkyView Pro mount is that you could add on motorized tracking and a go-to computer if you found you wanted to do so in the future.Considering that you will *double* the light-gathering ability if you get an 8" SCT over a 6" one, it may very well be worth your while to hold off on a purchase and save around $300 more for the bigger scope. The Orion SkyView Pro mount would also be able to handle that larger OTA.

unoritvie

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Re: My first Telescope.
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2018, 09:05:18 AM »
My 2 cents.
I started with a Questar when I was a kid (not mine). Got back into it a while ago when my son got a Nexstar 4SE.  Bought an 8" dob off Craigslist for $75.
That 8" was an eye opener. Aperture is a big plus. I was so impressed I went out and spent real money on a zhumell z12 and eyepieces. Those great views from the 8" DSE got even better.
That being said, if I were doing it again I'd seriously consider the 8" dob to start. It's a great size. Not too heavy. By comparison, there are times when I just don't have the energy to take out the Z12, or worse, put it back when I'm done for the night. It's very well built though, comes with a focused that is about as good as the moonlight focuser I put on it late last year, and it provides detail in clusters that would have cost 5-10x as much 20 years ago.
I could see myself selling the Z12 at some point.  If I had a quality 8", however, I can imagine it being useful regardless of what other gear I got.
As a final note, someone here likes to say there is no such thing as a beginner telescope. I tend to agree with that a lot. Regardless of your experience you will get use out of a good scope, whether it's a Nexstar 5se or a 12" Lx200 (figured the Meade ppl needed some love too;-)).
Goto is nice but not 100% necessary. I'm looking to get an 8" SCT and atlas mount this summer so I don't discount the benefits.
My list within reason would probably be:
8-10" dob from zhumell or Orion, new or used. Extra money for eyepieces is a good thing.
6-8" Nexstar
Or a used CPC800 or LX90. All real good stuff that id be proud to own.
And welcome to CN. Always great advice here from the experts. Been observing for 35 years but still hang around the beginners forum for tips and opinions.