Author Topic: Simple scope for micro-resort  (Read 74 times)

Roger Evans

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Simple scope for micro-resort
« on: December 24, 2017, 02:04:34 PM »
Here's a slightly different buying Query:

We have a "micro-resort" with 7 homes we rent out to tourists, and also among the remarks we often hear from guest arriving at night is "wow, all of the stars".  A good deal of guests have not seen the Milky Way before.

We are situated in a yellowish area in Dark Site Finder, and as we often have clear sky (300+ evening of sun/year) we were thinking of getting a simple telescope for our guests along with us.  Idea is to announce a time, set up the scope and take a look around; if anybody is particularlyy interested they can then borrow the range.

As this will be a taster (and as I am not that knowledgable) I expect the aims to be planets and pretty bright, easy to find objects.
It also have to be Simple to set up and pack off, but perhaps that comes with the funding :--RRB-

Budget is hopefully  not more than $/$200 or so.  I've read up on the various 1st scope guides and found Levenhuk Strike 80 mentioned.  Alternative Dobsonians are usually mentioned.

I do not think a tabletop model is good for this use.

I don't know whether it makes a difference, but I do photography and also have a hardy Manfrotto tripod - can the legs be dual intent?

Ideas and opinions, please!

Thanks, Martin



handvestlazo

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 12:14:33 AM »
I would recommend a larger funding.  Even the majority of the tabletop scopes at the sub-$200 price range aren't very good.

scolposnimbworr

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 09:19:30 AM »
Hi, Martin, Would tracking be needed just to keep objects in view for awhile?
I don't own a tracking mount, so I can't give you a recommendation, but it does seem
you would want to find something and have the scope keep track.

On the otherhand ... If a guest tried to push the scope it would be bad if that damaged the tracking.

Richard Gayer

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2017, 01:11:31 PM »
I recently took some vacation time at a B&B.They had a very nice Equitorial Goto mount reflectorscope that was a wreck. I worked with it but really found it pretty much useless. It needed collimation, the GoTo had been badly abused and the gears were all stripped.

Fortunately I brought my scope with me.They thought that having a scope there would be great and asked me for my advice. Here is the one I recommended to them.Meade Instruments Infinity 90mm AZ Refractor Telescope - $159

laucongsnagal

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 01:16:47 PM »
I did not consider tracking, both due to budget and simplicity (even of the Celestron Astro-Fi sounds clever).

It is an idea we have had for a couple of years, but we are uncertain of how to go about it - perhaps someone has experience from outreach events?

quiterhardpho

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 06:26:55 PM »
Quote
I would recommend a larger budget. Even most of the tabletop scopes in the sub-$200 price range aren't very good.

Incorrect. Again.
My 130mm f5 OneSky, its Skywatcher equivalent and the Zhumell Z130 (likely the best of the lot) are very capable scopes that consistently exceed expectations at their $200 price point. Easily recommended for their lightweight package, flexibility and quality optics.

highdanmyne

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 04:42:05 AM »
Quote
I think even a basic scope requires some knowledge or they will become trash quick. If it must be a scope, I'd think go dobsonian.

Yes, if you let guests use the equipment on their own, it's a matter of when, not if, things get damaged.

First, have a host/hostess who controls the scope. It can be a volunteer if costs are important. Check with a local club. Perhaps there's a retiree who would be interested.

Second, a $40 laser pointer will be as entertaining as a telescope. Simply pointing out the constellations, major stars, and the Milky Way will be enjoyed as much as viewing a nebula through a scope. Of course, I've found a combination works best. :-) I did a 3-month gig at a nature lodge in Namibia (as did Tom P. and maybe some other CNers), and most of the time was spent just pointing out things of interest. The scope was an embellishment, not the main focus.

Find some folks willing to give a 45-minute star talk with laser pointer, and have a simple 6 or 8-inch dob to give a few views of planets and bright objects. Keep it well controlled, and you and your guests will have a great time. Having equipment "available for guests" is just asking for trouble.

Alex

Larry Hopkins

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 03:46:10 AM »
I would recommend a refractor on an alt-az mount if you plan on having equipment available for guest to use by themselves with a simple how to sheet for operation. Possibly with a zoom eyepiece that is lock set to the diagonal

You want to keep it as simple and sturdy as possible. The Meade 90mm scope that Ed linked above with the Celestron 8-24mm zoom would be a great choice

cardcudeflee

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 07:45:05 AM »
My recommendation is the AWB scope (Astronomers Without Borders) 5" table top. Amazing value, decent aperture, user friendly. $200 USD.

An easy way (not inexpensive) to add tracking to a tabletop scope like the Astronomers Without Borders scope is to have it ride an EQ platform. I have several different rigs that can ride on one of my three platforms. The platform gets turned on and that's it. I have used platforms for an Astroscan, video cameras, ST80, and PST, besides 10", 12", and 16" dobs.

Good luck. Your place sounds like a very nice place to visit and share the the skies with others.

tranasrixpans

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 10:09:03 AM »
A 6" Dob of some kind would be the way to go. Simple and big enough for some decent views.

firorectve

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 11:30:08 AM »
Quote
I would recommend a refractor on an alt-az mount if you plan on having equipment available for guest to use by themselves with a simple how to sheet for operation. Possibly with a zoom eyepiece that is lock set to the diagonal


My thought exactly. A small refractor on an alt-az mount is quite intuitive (i.e., you look through the little end) and easy to move around (you can just push it up and down, with none of the weirdness of an EQ mount). Perhaps most importantly, it looks like a telescope, and like a small friendly one. Your guests will not be as intimated by it as they would a big Dob.

https://stargazerslo...33877748252.jpg

I'd suggest an ST80 because it's small and easy to move around, it's pretty rugged, it has good views and especially good wide field views, and it's not as long and awkward as a longer scope. With a zoom eyepiece, or just a couple to switch between, they'll be able to see a lot. Leave a wide-field eyepiece in there and people can just push it around and look at the stars.

The only downside of that setup is that it won't be good for planets. But even seeing Saturn and Jupiter in miniature will still be very impressive. And high power brings with it a lot of difficulties for a newbie -- like staying on target as the stars drift.

The ST80 is $200 and doesn't come with a mount. You could do this for about $400, maybe a bit more. There are certainly $200 solutions that would be ok, but (in my opinion) much less user-friendly. I'd also suggest leaving out a very basic star atlas and (better yet) a planisphere.

You could call Orion and ask what they recommend. They may have sales or 2nds of an ST80 and/or a mount and might be willing to package stuff together. Or keep asking here, and you'll get no shortage of detailed replies about which scopes and mounts are best. Compensation with a week or two at the resort is welcome, but not required 

It's a bit of an investment, but I know I'd be stoked and impressed if I went to a resort and they had a small scope!

Brian Olatunji

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2018, 07:26:59 AM »
Quote
Here is a slightly different buying question:

We have a “micro-resort” with 7 houses we rent out to tourists, and one of the remarks we often hear from guest arriving at night is “wow, all the stars”. A lot of guests have never seen the Milky Way before.

We are located in a yellow area in Dark Site Finder, and as we often have clear sky (300+ day of sun/year) we were thinking of getting a simple telescope for our guests and us. Idea is to announce a time, set up the scope and have a look around; if anyone is particularlyy interested they can then borrow the scope.

As this will be a taster (and as I am not that knowledgable), I expect the targets to be planets and reasonably bright, easy to find objects.
It also have to be easy to set up and pack away, but perhaps that comes with the budget :-)

Budget is hopefully not more than €/$200 or so. I have read up on the various 1st scope guides and found Levenhuk Strike 80 mentioned. Alternative Dobsonians are often mentioned.

I do not think a tabletop model is good for this purpose.

I do not know if it makes a difference, but I do photography and have a sturdy Manfrotto tripod - can the legs be dual purpose?

Thoughts and comments, please!

Thanks, Martin


Simplicity is most important. If you look at the Meade refractor I suggested in post #4 ANYONE would look at that and understand how it works. Refractors don't need to be collimiated where reflectors do, so refractors are maintenance free.

Quote

I did not consider tracking, both due to budget and simplicity (even of the Celestron Astro-Fi sounds clever).

It is an idea we have had for a couple of years, but we are uncertain of how to go about it - perhaps someone has experience from outreach events?

Tracking is wonderful if and only if you have someone who knows how to set up the equipment, align it to the stars and set the tracking. Otherwise it is either worthless or will be a source of mechanical problems as people who don't know how to use it become frustrate it and force the mechanism and break it. That is what happened to the scope that was at the B&B.

And, yes, I have worked outreach. Outreach depends on knowledgeable people running the scopes.

<p class="citation">tony_spina, on 02 Dec 2016 - 02:26 AM, said:<a href="https://www.cloudynights.com/index.php?app=forums&amp;module=forums&amp;section=findpost&amp;pid=7566436" rel="citation">[/url]<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote built" data-author="tony_spina" data-cid="7566436" data-time="1480638375">

I would recommend a refractor on an alt-az mount if you plan on having equipment available for guest to use by themselves with a simple how to sheet for operation. Possibly with a zoom eyepiece that is lock set to the diagonal

You want to keep it as simple and sturdy as possible. The Meade 90mm scope that Ed linked above with the Celestron 8-24mm zoom would be a great choice

[/quote]
I would agree completely. In fact I have the zoom eyepiece that Tony mentions. That zoom ismy most used eyepiece. I did not list it as it would push you over your initial budget but it might make a great addition later if you don't have the money now.

Celestron Zoom
https://www.amazon.c...=celestron zoom

This one eyepiece would give you 25X through 75X just by turning the barrel. Now, you would have to show that to people or have something that explains it. Dirt simple to use but not obvious.
<p class="citation">PXR-5, on 02 Dec 2016 - 02:34 AM, said:<a href="https://www.cloudynights.com/index.php?app=forums&amp;module=forums&amp;section=findpost&amp;pid=7566447" rel="citation">[/url]<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote built" data-author="PXR-5" data-cid="7566447" data-time="1480638842">

That Meade would be nice or an Orion ST80

[/quote]

<p class="citation">gribley, on 02 Dec 2016 - 04:31 AM, said:<a href="https://www.cloudynights.com/index.php?app=forums&amp;module=forums&amp;section=findpost&amp;pid=7566672" rel="citation">[/url]<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote built" data-author="gribley" data-cid="7566672" data-time="1480645861"><p class="citation">tony_spina, on 02 Dec 2016 - 02:26 AM, said:<a href="https://www.cloudynights.com/index.php?app=forums&amp;module=forums&amp;section=findpost&amp;pid=7566436" rel="citation">[/url]<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote built" data-author="tony_spina" data-cid="7566436" data-time="1480638375">

I would recommend a refractor on an alt-az mount if you plan on having equipment available for guest to use by themselves with a simple how to sheet for operation. Possibly with a zoom eyepiece that is lock set to the diagonal

[/quote]

My thought exactly. A small refractor on an alt-az mount is quite intuitive (i.e., you look through the little end) and easy to move around (you can just push it up and down, with none of the weirdness of an EQ mount). Perhaps most importantly, it looks like a telescope, and like a small friendly one. Your guests will not be as intimated by it as they would a big Dob.

https://stargazerslo...33877748252.jpg

I'd suggest an ST80 because it's small and easy to move around, it's pretty rugged, it has good views and especially good wide field views, and it's not as long and awkward as a longer scope. With a zoom eyepiece, or just a couple to switch between, they'll be able to see a lot. Leave a wide-field eyepiece in there and people can just push it around and look at the stars.

The only downside of that setup is that it won't be good for planets. But even seeing Saturn and Jupiter in miniature will still be very impressive. And high power brings with it a lot of difficulties for a newbie -- like staying on target as the stars drift.

The ST80 is $200 and doesn't come with a mount. You could do this for about $400, maybe a bit more. There are certainly $200 solutions that would be ok, but (in my opinion) much less user-friendly. I'd also suggest leaving out a very basic star atlas and (better yet) a planisphere.

You could call Orion and ask what they recommend. They may have sales or 2nds of an ST80 and/or a mount and might be willing to package stuff together. Or keep asking here, and you'll get no shortage of detailed replies about which scopes and mounts are best. Compensation with a week or two at the resort is welcome, but not required 

It's a bit of an investment, but I know I'd be stoked and impressed if I went to a resort and they had a small scope! [/quote]

The Meade Infinity 90 I mention in post 4 is thatsimple refractor on an alt-az mount.It includes the suggested slow motion controls which are simple to use.

Watch the videos. Do you think your guests could figure out how to use this?

Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=FniHZOPwzYI

https://www.youtube....h?v=0mfGjiT_PPc

They can view the moon, see the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, Venus. At your site there are literally hundreds of star clusters, double stars, globular clusters as well as nebula and galaxies that can be seen with this telescope. And, in the quick start guide I posted above there are instructions on how to find a number of deep sky objects with binoculars. You can do the same procedures with this scope.

smarhurtfranoth

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 03:06:26 PM »
After thinking some more, I agree withaeajr.  Get a simple to use refractor on an alt-az mount. I would also go wide field so guests have an
easy time getting and keeping objects in the scope. The zoom eyepiece is a great idea. I have the celestron 8-24 and works acceptably.
Also check out the Celestron 80AZS. It is a st80 on a small alt/az mount. 

This scope has a "rod" type altitude control. Growing up with the "rod" type altitude control, I really hate it. There is a lot of slop in it, loosen it up, get something in the scope, tighten it, let it go and the scope sags. It would be best to get a mount with slow motion controls.  An AZ3?, twilight I???

bauradoubpay

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2018, 04:10:36 PM »
my thoughts re since u dont know the sky really well you may not know wht to point to so you may need help with somone who does.
also if this is part of renting cottages etc they may want something of decent quality i was thinking 8se if that too much maybe 6se
as others pointed out i think you will need tracking cause if u have 6 to 10 people viewing and 200x power as an example the planet or item will leave the ep in about 30 secs you dont want to re align after every person tries to look would you? and once the item leaves the field of view you may have to start over and put a low power ep then bump it up to high power then to show the 2nd person, so if you have to do this often its not gonna work you will have to have motors on this scope.

a laser is also good show people where you will be looking and wht object they will be seeing and maybe a few things about it like this is m31 its called the andromeda galaxy its 2.5 million light years away what this means is the light that leaves this galaxy will not arrive for another 2.5 millions years fron now,and is the closest speral galaxy to our milky way.

in sying a sentence like this they can apricate how far this item is to us is is lucky to even see it.

i fear if you get something small and its on a az3 or eq2 and you dont know where items are in the sky and cnt find it easy then it may be a faliure which wont look good, but i think it sounds like you want to include it in the rental price and not charge extra for it.

my thinking would be get a much better scope and chrge $10 per person so you get a nice large scope that can track and will show hundreds or thousdands of objects and in great detail where they will be happy in wht they see. Something like the 8se.

if after all this you cant do this get someone who can once or 2x a week can go out to where you are and split the costs with them if they are seroius amature that knows the sky well.

as someone who worked at a real scope store ( what i mean by that is its wasnt a camera store with a few scope) it was a full time scope store with well over 200 scopes on display, i know that if you just give a scope to someone new they probally wont even know how to use it, look at the beg forums here you will see alot this.

As well i have done hundreds upon hundreds of group sesions for schools camping trips freinds familys etc ( up to 30 kids at one time for schools) you really need to be at the scope doing all the work dont expect just to give someone a scope and for them to know how to work it or what a finder is and how to point it. Alot people at the start dont even know how to change the power in a scope to go up in power most think the highter the number the more power.

nisatourpo

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Re: Simple scope for micro-resort
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 01:41:42 AM »
sorry my "a" button on laptop is broken sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt