Growing Astronomical Community, Telescopes, Astrophotography, Space Objects

General Astronomy => Beginners Forum => Topic started by: Daniel Ferguson on December 29, 2017, 02:28:45 AM

Title: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Daniel Ferguson on December 29, 2017, 02:28:45 AM
So for reasons that are not worth getting deeply into, at least for the moment I have talked myself out of a big scope mainly because its not worth the money for as little as I would be able to use it at this time in my life (1 and 2 year old kids for one thing).

SO

I have decided to try and find a decent small scope that still can see a lot. I understand that decent and small to most of you means big $$, but I am looking mainly just for something that can see enough to stay interesting long term and complement a larger scope rather than just being a throw away somewhere down the road.

I am considering going to look at a Meade ETX-80AT-BB that is used for $150. They seem to have decent reviews for a scope of that class but there seem to be several versions and several generations of them so its hard to tell exactly what this one all is and which ones people are talking about in forum posts. Long term durability of anything electronic with electric motors always makes me nervous.

What would be your opinions on this purchase (both the scope choice and the price) and if its a go what specifics would I be looking at when inspecting it and probably testing it as I may end up driving there after dark to look at it (hopefully).

My available choices are somewhat limited as I can only afford used stuff or such low quality stuff that I wouldn't want it. A full manual scope would also be an option if a good one came up cheap.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Jeremy Butler on December 30, 2017, 12:41:31 AM
Welcome to Cloudy Nights. I trust that your time here will be well spent (aside from this post).

I'm sorry that I can't help you out as I know nothing about the particular scope that you are contemplating for purchase.

Anyways, I'm sure that some body will get around to supplying you with all that you need to know.

Good luck in your adventures in the fine world of astronomy.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: napephona on December 30, 2017, 05:25:26 PM
I'm glad that you've decided to make your kids a priority, both in time and money. I did the same thing, many years ago, and never regretted it.
So, now you still want to do some astronomy, and you're definitely in the bargain-basement as far as budget...
I've also been in that category for many years, partly by necessity and partly by choice and temperament.
I'd advise you to look at dobs as the most for the money. There are several on the market that sell for $200 brand new... I have Meade's version (the 130mm f/5) and it is a great little scope, and will show you a lot.
Or, for just a little more money, if you have the physical space, you could get a 6 or 8-inch. Consider buying used equipment... almost everything I use I bought on this website or on Craigslist. With a small budget, I always felt that electronics was too expensive, so I've worked with manual scopes and binoculars. But that's just me.
Cloudy Nights is the place to be if you want information, help, and kindred spirits... it's been a huge help to me.
I hope you have many great nights out under the stars.
--John.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: dogswargersdurch on December 31, 2017, 12:01:21 AM
My first scope was an ETX70. That's an older model than the EXT80AT-BB. I think I paid $75 for it used. I enjoyed it when I got it and used it quite often. It was a nice step up from binoculars. If you keep your expectations in check it's not a bad little scope. It only has a 400mm focal length so you won't be viewing a lot of deep sky objects but it's great for wide field views. I'm on my 3rd scope and I still have mine. It's a great little travel scope and that's what I use it for more than anything these days.

You can check out Weasners Mighty ETX site - http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html (http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html)

There is a lot of info you may find helpful. I think $150 is a fair price if it's in good condition and working properly.

I'm sure others will chime in with advice and other options you can consider.

John
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: schemsucopost on January 03, 2018, 02:30:26 PM
IF you could spend a certain amount of money, how much would it be?

A Meade ETX-80 is a very nice wide field telescope, but with a 400mm focal length, you're not really going to see too much, even planets. I know that one of our members has this telescope, or one similar to it, and he's happy with it, but he's also upgraded to larger telescopes.

Both Meade and Celestron offer bigger telescopes in the $500 price range. I'm not sure where you're located, but if you look in our Classifieds, you'll find some pretty good bargains. For instance, this:

https://www.cloudyni...ar-127-slt-mak/ (https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/104678-celestron-nexstar-127-slt-mak/)

Here's another one that would be a step up from the 80mm.

https://www.cloudyni...estron-4se-xlt/ (https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/103669-celestron-4se-xlt/)

Here's that same Celestron 127, only a different seller, who will ship.

https://www.cloudyni...estron-127-slt/ (https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/104634-celestron-127-slt/)

Here's a nice 130mm reflector. The hand controller might need to be 're-flashed', but that's not hard to do.

https://www.cloudyni...r-130-slt-5-f5/ (https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/98543-celestron-nexstar-130-slt-5-f5/)

If you want a 'refractor', which is what everyone thinks of when they think telescope, here's one that's not even been out of the box.

https://www.cloudyni...ractor-package/ (https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/104385-celestron-omni-xlt-102-refractor-package/)

https://www.optcorp....cope-21088.html (https://www.optcorp.com/celestron-omni-xlt-102-refractor-telescope-21088.html)

I don't think it's an XLT, I think it's the SLT that he's talking about, which is why I linked a picture and description there. But, for $225, that's a pretty good deal.

Anyway, take a good look at the classifieds, ask questions before you buy, LOTS of questions, so that you know what you're getting ahead of time.

Good luck and clear skies!
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: puzzweetscareg on January 04, 2018, 03:20:26 AM
Its not just the money really since I could technically save up enough if I wanted to, its how much dust would pile up on my scope before each use, if I get a lower cost one then I don't really feel obligated to get out and use it all the time, and one like the model I am looking at that comes with its own backpack could be taken along almost anywhere and used as a side event rather than the main affair. I could even take it on a plane to other places.

I have a Chevy Suburban and lift heavy things for a living, so size and weight is a non issue, and on the dark sky finder thing I live in a dark yellow zone with a lot of green and blue within a 1/2 hour and even the lightest of the grey colors nearby (if I can find a clear public site anywhere in it) so eventually I will make use of a big scope.

I was seriously considering the Orion XT10 as my one scope plan now that they have the plus version in that size too, but I decided it just wont get used enough right now, so instead I think I would like a little scope to start, and at least a 12 inch truss model from them later. I have used some of the bigger starter size scopes with friends in the past like the 130's and that's getting to the point where its too big and expensive for a portable toy, and too small for any serious viewing I would want to do. If I saw one with a carrying case that broke down quick and was used cheap I might reconsider.

I actually expect a lot (probably unrealistic almost) from a more serious sized and expensive telescope so 12" would probably be the minimum size for me for my big scope down the road.
At $150 used (something like $300ish new I think) and backpack portable its a fun toy and my expectations are much lower.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: James Merrill on January 04, 2018, 11:18:50 AM
Just my opinion, but jumping in at any depth is a great start. It's your personal experience at the eyepiece that will fuel and fill the information gap between reading about the hobby and actually doing it. Compared to when I started there are far, far moreoptions, the quality as good or better, and the prices able to accommodate all budgets. So equipment is there and can be had now, the art of observing takes time and patience - learning your skies and the seasonal procession of objects of interest.

In my sigline are several scopes much smaller than the 8" SCt on 'goto' alt/az mount I used to recommend as the "ideal" starter scope. The hobby is in it's ways intricate and takes time and patience, and depending on your typical weather could be a LOT of patience. When my daughter was born it was the time component that suffered. At one point I sold all my gear except a little Meade ETX 125 (I think that was it?) and waited until she was older for more extravagant gear- you have that times two. But that little scope kept my hand in the game, and I had so many enjoyable sessions with it. I just left it out in the back yard with a cover over it like the BBQ and other things used at opportunistic intervals.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: sandsibyno on January 04, 2018, 05:30:24 PM
I'm glad you won't have high expectations. I'm conflicted here. I understand not wanting to spend a lot of money on something that may, or may not, get used often. That's only natural. On the other hand, an 80mm by 400mm telescope is not going to show you a whole lot. If you were set up for imaging, I'd say it would be a great scope, on a proper equatorial mount, but that's not what you're doing.

There's a program called Stellarium, you can download that, and in the PlugIns, you can enable the Telescope Simulator. Put in an 80mm by 400mm telescope and then start going to different objects in space, the Messier catalog (M1-M110). I think you're going to be rather disappointed in what that telescope will see. Try the same thing on the planets.

Here's another program that will model your telescope and some objects. It's more for how bright they are, something that Stellarium does not do well. You can use eyepiece lengths of 25, 9 and 6 to have an idea of what you might see.

Look up the data on the other scopes and see how they compare. Sure, the Dob is going to be the best for viewing, as long as you don't mind dragging it in and out of the car everytime you want to go somewhere to view. But, if you don't mind that, a Zhumell Z8 Dobsonian is a great starter telescope and relatively inexpensive.

Best deal on the market in my opinion.

https://www.telescop...ector-telescope (https://www.telescopesplus.com/products/zhumell-z8-deluxe-dobsonian-reflector-telescope)
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: James Bagby on January 04, 2018, 05:55:25 PM
I started out with binoculars and an Orion ST80mm telescope...for years before I got anything else. Knowing your usage paradigms, especially with two small bundles of joy is a great starting point.

Should you start with this type of set up, you'll get a lot of mileage. Down the road when things "settle" down, add to your stable. I still use my 80mm quite often'ish (when work and hubster and clients aren't all vying for my attention LOL)...take it slow, start small, add when you can do so.

BTW, I know someone who used a 50mm telescope to find all Messier objects, found DSO's and has written extensively on the humble 50mm. (He also has some outstanding larger telescopes which are jaw droppingly beautiful).
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: enmumenge on January 04, 2018, 09:59:48 PM
I have two young kids and stargazing is the one hobby that I have been able to maintain on a regular basis. Because I can do it after the kids are in bed. You could get a used 8" Dob for around $200 I suspect. 8" is sort of a minimum for serious deep space observing. Or a 4" refractor for a convenient, low maintenance quick look scope. I wouldn't go less than 4" for an only scope.

Scott
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: salonpeli on January 08, 2018, 04:42:09 AM
I am going to suggest you take a look at the OneSky.,There's a looong thread about it here in the beginners forum.,It's small.,portable.,has 5" of glass.,comes with 2 usable EPs.,and is a fine instrument overall.,usable right out of the box.,Set it on a milkcrate.,have a seat.,and enjoy.,.,good luck with your choices., The one drawback is that it's a mirrored scope and not for terrestrial use.,
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: exvermabo on January 10, 2018, 05:37:36 AM
I was going to suggest something like a 5" or 6" Schmidt-Cassegrain, but when I read that you live in a yellow zone with even darker skies just a short drive away, I have to think a cheap, used 6" or 8" Dobsonian would be pretty much impossible to beat.
Sent from my LG-H915 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: portfreqportri on January 10, 2018, 07:59:27 AM
PPPPPP42:

First let me say hello and  to Cloudy Nights.

At one point I owned the predecessor to the ETX-80, the ETX-70. The scopes are fast achromatic refractors, at higher powers, viewing the planets, they show significant chromatic aberration, this combined with the relative small aperture, means they are not well suited to viewing the planets or concentrating on double stars. These are prime targets for the backyard amateur astronomer.

I am also reluctant to purchase entry level GOTO scopes used. There can be hidden problems and if the electronics fail, you are pretty much stuck with an unusable scope, too expensive to fix, difficult to use without the electronics. Manual mounts are much less likely to give trouble, there is not much to go wrong.

It is what it is and any scope is a good scope if one has reasonable expectations. Diving in and finding out how cold the water is has it's virtues.

But the ETX-80 is not a scope I would choose, knowing what I know, in your situation. It's something of a paradox, GOTO is most useful at high magnifications where the fields of view are small and least useful at low magnifications where the scope itself serves giant finder scope. An 80mm F/5 on an manual mount, it's a scope one uses to explore and discover the sky, the next step up from binoculars. The chromatic aberration these scopes exhibit is not an issue at low magnifications and they can be easily used during the day to just look around or study birds and wildlife. The GOTO mount of the ETX-80 makes this more difficult.

My own choice in this price range would be a used 6-8-10 inch Dob or one of the 130mm F/5 mini-dobs. I have owned a number of the 130mm F/5s though never as a mini-Dob. They are very capable and offer both reasonably wide fields of view as well as nice views at higher magnifications of the planets and double stars.

Jon
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: rennlispuring on January 10, 2018, 11:02:23 AM
Welcome, I owned one, and liked it, but as Jon said, it's at a paradox, small fast scope that can't resolve a lot of stuff in it's data base.
At that price point you can pick up a 6" dob
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Richard Washington on January 10, 2018, 06:48:10 PM
Quote
So for reasons that are not worth getting deeply into, at least for the moment I have talked myself out of a big scope mainly because its not worth the money for as little as I would be able to use it at this time in my life (1 and 2 year old kids for one thing).

SO

I have decided to try and find a decent small scope that still can see a lot. I understand that decent and small to most of you means big $$, but I am looking mainly just for something that can see enough to stay interesting long term and complement a larger scope rather than just being a throw away somewhere down the road.

I am considering going to look at a Meade ETX-80AT-BB that is used for $150. They seem to have decent reviews for a scope of that class but there seem to be several versions and several generations of them so its hard to tell exactly what this one all is and which ones people are talking about in forum posts. Long term durability of anything electronic with electric motors always makes me nervous.

What would be your opinions on this purchase (both the scope choice and the price) and if its a go what specifics would I be looking at when inspecting it and probably testing it as I may end up driving there after dark to look at it (hopefully).

My available choices are somewhat limited as I can only afford used stuff or such low quality stuff that I wouldn't want it. A full manual scope would also be an option if a good one came up cheap.


OK, I'll buck the trend here... based on your criteria... cheap and portable, coupled with limited time due to 2 little bundles of time sucking joy (not being disrespectful, I have 3 grown kids that have provided me with 5 more bundles of time sucking joy... it never ends, but the kids are well worth it at any cost and I get the little ones involved as much as possible...), so I am going to recommend you get a decent pair of 10X50 binoculars. They check off the cheap and portable box handily, and require zero setup time... ultimate grab and go. Living as you do near darker skies, you will be able to see more than you think. Superb for wide views of star fields. However, they will not show you what a 80mm telescope will show you... but based on what you state above, I'll bet you'll use them more than a scope right now and when the kiddos are older, they will take to them like ducks to water. I have found you never outgrow binoculars.

My two pence and worth about as much...

Good luck with your choice!

CB
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: poithegepur on January 10, 2018, 10:08:59 PM
Based on your location I would go with a used 6" or 8" dob. You won't run out of objects to look at.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Jason Hillyer on January 12, 2018, 06:09:38 PM
I'm not a huge fan of the Meade ETX refractors, I found the build quality and general reliability of the ETX-80 (http://scopeviews.co.uk/MeadeETX.htm)'s ancestor - the ETX-70 left a lot to be desired. I do know that others here like them a lot. You might want to use search (or google (https://www.google.com/#q=site:cloudynights.com+aeajr+etx-80)) and hunt down posts from Ed (aeajr). He has some very comprehensive and thoughtful threads. A small, highly portable instrument that helps you find things is a beautiful idea.

I, too, typically recommend a small/medium sized Dobsonian for beginners because the case for the optics and cost is so compelling. It's a long running joke on Cloudy Nights that the knee-jerk response to any question is "buy a Dob!"

Truth be told, I actually dislike such instruments myself. As a beginner, I went through several types of OTAs and mounts but preferred small refractors on manual alt-az mounts for visual use. I found them more intuitive and easy to use, despite their small size, than the other instruments that I had tried. Bigger is better, unless it isn't. I will admit that good quality alt-az mounts are kind of of a niche product these days and that my preferences are a bit unusual. Moreover, higher quality refractors on manual mounts are generally MORE expensive than Dobsonians (or ETXs), so that probably won't help you unless you buy used (and in that case, there are also used Dobsonians.)

Good luck.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: bandretaco on January 12, 2018, 07:21:39 PM
The previously mentioned parabolic 130mm f/5 newtonians for about 200 usd are nice for the price. And, as mentioned, a used 6in/8in dob for 150-200 usd.

The 130mm f/5 newtonians usually come with a little dob mount, and have rings and/or vixen dovetail to mount on a small alt/az or eq mount.

The small dob mount may interest your kids in a few short years.

Good viewing,

Dave
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: sennessningwilch on January 12, 2018, 08:23:00 PM
I'd recommend pouncing on a used 8" dob. I lucked into one for $30(!) on Craigslist.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Jared Morgan on January 13, 2018, 07:35:37 AM
If want something which is small enough to fit into a backpack* and won't cost you a fortune, the nice AWB 130 is indeed a great choiche (if you rare not allowed to purchase one from AWB, the same scope is available from Skywatcher as Heritage 130).
Another great "cheap" telescope, albeit more expensive than the 130, is the C90 or Skywatcher Maksutov 90/1250, as large as a can of coffee; it can be placed even on phototripod (if you have one), or purchased with a small, light mount (in this case my advice is to go straight for manual mounts, as an easy and painless way to save money; it is also available with computerized mount, e.g. ETX90 or SLT90), is extremely rugged and can easily outperform fast small achromatic reractors (e.g. ETX80) on the vast majority of targets, starting from Moon&planets.
Last, if you prefer a small achromatic refractor, the most compact ones are "fast achros" (70-80mm at f/5 or so); I can not say to be especially fond of them, but can be quite capable from dark skies; in such cases IMHO there are better options than the ETX (in the worst case can get one of these http://www.celestron...table-telescope (http://www.celestron.com/browse-shop/astronomy/telescopes/travel-scope-portable-telescope/travel-scope-70-portable-telescope) or, since am not a Celestron fanboy, http://www.meade.com...scope-80mm.html (http://www.meade.com/telescopes/refractor/adventure-scope-80mm.html) ) *the 130 "baby DOb" is as large as a can of beer, so the backpack has to be sized accordingly; however it has an handle, which, toghether with its low weight, makes its carrying very easy, even for children. Only downside is that the scope is very low (expect to have the eyepiece at 50cm from ground...), and tall people have to use a table/bench/rock
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: ceisilipan on January 13, 2018, 12:23:04 PM
This 5" f/5 Newtonian comes with tube-rings and a dovetail-bar...

https://www.telescop...ector-telescope (https://www.telescopesplus.com/products/zhumell-z130-portable-altazimuth-reflector-telescope)

...and would switch out in seconds onto this mount, and to get it up off the ground...

http://www.telescope...b2BXRoCZpvw_wcB (http://www.telescope.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=10105&gclid=CjwKEAjw_6XIBRCisIGIrJeQ93oSJAA2cNtMHOnKmv8WNPaZSRKnzYN5Vs3X1YdQfftPZWDQDb2BXRoCZpvw_wcB)

You're actually paying very little if any for the particle-board mount that comes with the telescope anyway.

If you want it in white, and the mount with slow-motion controls...

https://www.bhphotov...d}&Q=&A=details (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=657575&gclid=CjwKEAjw_6XIBRCisIGIrJeQ93oSJAA2cNtMu2g8rytT6jx__7VhIW34XFVwjRMIHZtolWV50Q5xZBoCMxDw_wcB&is=USA&ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876%2C%7Bcreative%7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&Q=&A=details)
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Bryan Sonian on January 13, 2018, 03:54:15 PM
Welcome, you had said that it may collect dust. From a beginners point of view and I am. It will collect dust if you don't buy a scope that provides good views. Not that a smallerScope won't but your expectations may not be realistic for a 400 mm. I believe that you would be happy at the views and the simplicity of a Dob.There is next to no frustration and you won't run out of objects to see. Look at Craig's list and find a 10". Good luck in your search and keep us posted.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Darius Swick on January 16, 2018, 11:34:27 PM
Sorting through all the responses and looking up stuff I have axed the ETX plan.

I am thinking now that 130mm or so is more of a realistic size/functionality balance, so maybe I need to start over in my planning and not be so cheap.

First things first, if I wanted a big scope I would put an Orion 12" truss dob on my credit card with their payment plan option. If its not a backpack scope its not what I am looking for right now and price is important but not the deciding factor.

I still haven't fully decided what "backpack scope" is and I am not dead set on a certain size limit though.

That Vixen (or the converted Zhumell) is an interesting option to consider though by the time I add in a case its expensive enough that I would rather get more scope used for the same money (or that scope used).

I even seriously considered a 8" Meade LX 200 EMC Schmidt-Cassegrain that was listed used for $900 asking, because it comes with a carrying case making it at least suitcase portable, and lots of accessories. But I was kinda scared off by the fact that its old, essentially unsupported parts wise, and has a lot of parts to fail. It did seem to have a good aftermarket upgrade following but I'm not sure I want to go and replace half the parts right after I get it just to make it work right. I may yet throw an offer of $600 at him or something since its been for sale for a month at least so far if the forum consensus was that it was exactly the sort of scope I am looking for, but that's REALLY pushing it on price for my "small" scope and somewhat over on size too though that aperture in that size package makes it worth it I think. I see a 1280 F6.3 and a 2000 F10 listed for 8" and I don't know which this would be.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: soamezquipack on January 17, 2018, 12:23:42 AM
Welcome to the asylum

My most active observing period was when my kids were small. We would all have dinner together, I would set the scope out on the back porch to cool. Then it was bath- book- bed for the wee ones. Once they were down and out I could go polar align my scope and enjoy some observing time. This was balanced with wife quiet evening time on cloudy nights. It was an effective plan and now my grown daughters often take their friends out to dark skies to observe the meteor showers or just stargaze.

Scope on a budget> Used 6-8" Dob is always the best bang for the buck. An SCT is nice and an 8" Mead is available for $300 in LA right now. A steal!

Whatever you get, balance it with your family life and you will be rewarded.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Rahul Sanders on January 18, 2018, 07:22:09 AM
Quote

The older LX-200 mounts can and do fail and as you say, they are essentially unsupported. Every so often I see a want ad for an older LX-200 hand controller. There's a certain sadness there because that likely means the end of that mount.

Jon
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Robert Porter on January 20, 2018, 03:36:15 PM
If you want to go with a 130mm scope, there's really only one that meets your criteria.

https://www.astronom...els2rl8f02pc437 (https://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=4&zenid=jtmm6gfpufiels2rl8f02pc437)

The AWB 130mm reflector. I don't know that it's a 'backpack' scope, but it's easily transportable, sits on a table top, or you can get a stool to set it on. Plus, it's a great deal for the money.

Here's a ten minute setup video, just showing how easy this telescope is to take around, set up, and use.

https://www.youtube....h?v=-muZ9KRMY40 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-muZ9KRMY40)

Found a great video on YouTube for making a portable tripod for that AWB telescope, too!

https://www.youtube....h?v=HsGD9mU8cR0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsGD9mU8cR0)
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: carewemi on January 20, 2018, 11:26:46 PM
Orion XT6. Add a Rigel reflex sight, a couple of EPs, and an Orion DeepMap 600 and you're good to go.

I'll also tell your fortune...

You will eventually sell it, buy a bigger scope, sell that one, buy an enormous scope, sell that one, go back to the bigger scope, and eventually get another XT6 because they're so blame easy to use and give great performance.

The glass has gone dark....

Fred
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Jairo Zilinskas on January 21, 2018, 06:28:53 AM
There's Explore Scientific's wide-ranging "First Light" series...

https://explorescien...ions/firstlight (https://explorescientificusa.com/collections/firstlight)

Here's a backpackable kit...

https://telescopes.n...dF4PxoCJHvw_wcB (https://telescopes.net/store/explore-scientific-bresser-comet-edition-set-ar102s-refractor-telescope.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw_6XIBRCisIGIrJeQ93oSJAA2cNtM_sloH2xXNTjmSHeuoyE0BKJBT2j3_GRNM5YXJdF4PxoCJHvw_wcB)
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Theodore Inlaw on January 23, 2018, 03:33:04 AM
On the LX200's - almost all of their issues arise from failing capacitors. If you're handy with a soldering iron, the preventive maintenance - replacing the tantalum caps with electrolytics - is relatively easy. If not, there are some vendors offering the service.

If it is currently functional and you are willing to invest an evening or two, the 8" LX200 would be a very good choice.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Michael Burney on January 23, 2018, 01:46:54 PM
Every scope described here makes me drool.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: stalafovkith on January 23, 2018, 05:43:29 PM
Quote
If you want to go with a 130mm scope, there's really only one that meets your criteria.https://www.astronom...els2rl8f02pc437 (https://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=4&zenid=jtmm6gfpufiels2rl8f02pc437)The AWB 130mm reflector. I don't know that it's a 'backpack' scope, but it's easily transportable, sits on a table top, or you can get a stool to set it on. Plus, it's a great deal for the money.
There are three one-arm tabletop 130-mm f/5 Dobs: the AWB OneSky (SkyWatcher outside the U.S.), the Meade Mini, and the Zhumell 130. They're all essentially the same price, all great deals, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.The OneSky has a collapsible tube, which makes it more portable for some purposes, but also means you need to build a shroud to block excess light -- unless you observe entirely at dark sites. The shroud can be built for a few dollars in fifteen minutes. This is the only one of the three that comes with a collimation tool -- an absolute necessity that you otherwise need to buy.The Meade Mini is the lightest of the bunch, and the base has the smallest footprint, meaning that it fits on a small stool. It's also the wobbliest of the bunch, though not unacceptably so as far as I'm concerned.The Z130 is by far the biggest and heaviest of the bunch. Very solid. The tube attaches with a standard dovetail, so it can be placed on almost any commercial mount if you so desire. It's also rotatable, which is a significant plus.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: John Weiland on January 25, 2018, 03:29:24 PM
Interesting side distraction, semi local there is a Meade ETX90EC, and I know I had sorta ruled the ETX's out, but the asking price is only 250 (20 day old ad) and I noticed that it has a focal length of 1250. I didn't realize with just 10mm more aperture the focal length was so much longer on the 90 than the 80.

I think this one is the last EMC model before they added the UHTC and it comes with an autostar controller in addition to the stock stuff which makes it a pretty decent deal i think. This version has no tripod though, just table top so I would probably have to buy the specific tripod for it which is kinda pricey I think.
Maybe this would be a choice to consider though.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Darius Swick on January 25, 2018, 07:38:19 PM
A lot of people are sorry they didn't hang on to their
80mm/F5 .... they can be a lot of fun, and are very easy to handle.

I take it out at the same time as the longer higher-power scope.
Set up Jupiter or a cluster in it for family to look at, then go for smaller things.

Many also use an F5/80mm as a finder for a big reflector.

Little to lose, and not junk.....enjoy!
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: blacosticna on January 25, 2018, 10:20:39 PM
Quote
Interesting side distraction, semi local there is a Meade ETX90EC, and I know I had sorta ruled the ETX's out, but the asking price is only 250 (20 day old ad) and I noticed that it has a focal length of 1250. I didn't realize with just 10mm more aperture the focal length was so much longer on the 90 than the 80.

I think this one is the last EMC model before they added the UHTC and it comes with an autostar controller in addition to the stock stuff which makes it a pretty decent deal i think. This version has no tripod though, just table top so I would probably have to buy the specific tripod for it which is kinda pricey I think.
Maybe this would be a choice to consider though.


The 90mm is a Maksutov. It's a totally different optical beast. I also found them to be better built mechanically, but let's not get too excited...
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: tevezito on January 30, 2018, 01:19:46 AM
Quote
Interesting side distraction, semi local there is a Meade ETX90EC, and I know I had sorta ruled the ETX's out, but the asking price is only 250 (20 day old ad) and I noticed that it has a focal length of 1250. I didn't realize with just 10mm more aperture the focal length was so much longer on the 90 than the 80.

I think this one is the last EMC model before they added the UHTC and it comes with an autostar controller in addition to the stock stuff which makes it a pretty decent deal i think. This version has no tripod though, just table top so I would probably have to buy the specific tripod for it which is kinda pricey I think.
Maybe this would be a choice to consider though.

The ETX80 is a short, fast refractor...https://starizona.co...actor_scope.jpg (https://starizona.com/acb/basics/optics/refractor_scope.jpg)

...the light-path straight, simple.

The ETX90 is a long-focus Maksutov-Cassegrain... https://starizona.co...kcass_scope.jpg (https://starizona.com/acb/basics/optics/makcass_scope.jpg)

Note how the light-path zig-zags, hence the longer the focal-length.

Here it is with a tripod, and a case even...https://www.bhphotov...d}&A=details&Q= (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1238401&gclid=Cj0KEQjwoqvIBRD6ls6og8qB77YBEiQAcqqHe7rNRzuDrAW9P6PU89EBLQ8U8wgQXLV_725hJdKcFa0aAjsD8P8HAQ&is=REG&ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876%2C%7Bcreative%7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&A=details&Q=)
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: kocewaffre on January 31, 2018, 12:52:20 AM
I'm sure Alan will be along to explain why you shouldn't buy a 90mm Mak-Cass shortly.  SEE! He beat me to it!

The Mak-Cass is a catadioptric design, that means it uses lenses and mirrors. Alan (Sky Muse) will tell you that it's dark, dark, dark on spacial objects, and I'm not in a position to say otherwise. I had a nice 127mm Mak-Cass from Orion that I really enjoyed, except for the tripod and mount, but that was a long time ago.

This is what I had, and while for me, it was a nice telescope, I was also a dead noob beginner. It has a shorter focal length than other 127mm designs, like the ETX 125, meaning the focal ratio was lower, brighter objects.

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)

It's all around a lighter design, but that presents it's own issues. If something like this interests you, however, I would recommend the OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) and something like this for a mount. It's better than the mount that comes in the kit, but obviously increases your cost as well.

http://www.telescope...c/34/p/9829.uts (http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Tripods/Equatorial-Mounts-Tripods/Orion-SkyView-Pro-Equatorial-Telescope-Mount/pc/-1/c/2/sc/34/p/9829.uts)

http://www.telescope...c/14/p/9825.uts (http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Cassegrain-Telescopes/Orion-Apex-127mm-Maksutov-Cassegrain-Telescope/pc/-1/c/1/sc/14/p/9825.uts)

But, then you could buy this combo for less money.

http://www.highpoint...telescope-11084 (http://www.highpointscientific.com/telescopes/catadioptric-telescopes/celestron-omni-xlt-127-sct-telescope-11084)

But, if you're going to buy that Celestron, you might as well buy a GoTo SCT for $20 more.

http://www.highpoint...telescope-11036 (http://www.highpointscientific.com/telescopes/catadioptric-telescopes/celestron-nexstar-5se-schmidt-cassegrain-computerized-telescope-11036)Yeah, I know, this is all well beyond your budget. Sorry, I get carried away. There ARE a lot of nice telescopes for beginners or those who want a little more portability, for under $750.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: brodsandbacksosp on January 31, 2018, 10:13:14 AM
When selecting a Maksutov, the 5"(127mm) is the minimum to consider really, the sweet-spot; not too small, not too large, just right, and with enough aperture to make owning and operating one worth the while.

I was able to zero in on Saturn one night last year with a Celestron C90mm Maksutov, on my manual Voyager I alt-azimuth, with a 6mm orthoscopic inserted, and for a power of 208x. Under my green to slightly-orange observing zone, Saturn was not so dim as to be unrecognisable. It wasn't sharp, middling actually, yet I knew right then and there that I wanted a 5" someday.

A 90mm Maksutov would simulate a 70mm f/13 refractor like this...

https://www.bhphotov...d}&Q=&A=details (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=485264&gclid=Cj0KEQjwoqvIBRD6ls6og8qB77YBEiQAcqqHeyMg3ECeLYoOA47juNyrgo08kSWvbKPNNBK7KxYnM3EaAm5w8P8HAQ&is=REG&ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876%2C%7Bcreative%7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&Q=&A=details)

A 127mm Maksutov...a 4" f/15 refractor like this...

http://www.company7...._side362650.jpg (http://www.company7.com/library/unitron/graphics/unitron_132_set_east_side362650.jpg)

...but in a far smaller and compact optical-tube.

A 90mm would need darker skies to observe a wider range of objects satisfactorily. In light-polluted zones, only the brighter and brightest objects would present themselves satisfactorily.

The Celestron C5 is an option as well; just the OTA, a shorter focal-length per its aperture, more expensive, weighs only 6 lbs., but with a larger secondary obstruction; yet fits a niche for some...

https://www.bhphotov...d}&Q=&A=details (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=485314&gclid=Cj0KEQjwoqvIBRD6ls6og8qB77YBEiQAcqqHe_vvg-DWsFZvJAsY6BSUDLyippEuyL4No5wMKgYSCY0aAg3R8P8HAQ&is=REG&ap=y&c3api=1876%2C%7Bcreative%7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&Q=&A=details)

Optically, however, I would not think it to be the equal of a 5" Maksutov.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: Jeff Ramirez on January 31, 2018, 10:50:18 AM
On the ETX Maksutov types, there are two varieties that work really well - the ETX105 (EC) and the ETX125 PE. These had aluminium forks with ball bearing altitude axes. The others had plastic forks / plastic bushes and don't work as well. You would want the Autostar model 497 with it.

The '105 is relatively scarce but they pop up occasionally at around $300-$350. I've owned one from new. Mine is a fine scope that has has flown many, many miles with me.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: telschronexic on February 04, 2018, 10:09:02 AM
An awesome setup would be a Celestron C6 SCT (6" aperture) on a manual alt-az mount. I used an Astrotech Voyager with great success, but others would work.

My C6 was amazingly sharp, rendered very nice images of really everything, and was wonderfully compact and light. Put a Telrad finder on it and it is so easy to point it at targets. The f/10 focal ratio means that it's easy on eyepieces, too.

I think I paid about $300 for the C6 and $200 for the mount, both used.

I have very fond memories of that setup. I sold it when I started doing astrophotography and have missed it ever since. I can't say that about most of the telescopes I have owned.
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: plethenofin on February 09, 2018, 04:13:18 AM
Quote
So for reasons that are not worth getting deeply into, at least for the moment I have talked myself out of a big scope mainly because its not worth the money for as little as I would be able to use it at this time in my life (1 and 2 year old kids for one thing).

SO

I have decided to try and find a decent small scope that still can see a lot. I understand that decent and small to most of you means big $$, but I am looking mainly just for something that can see enough to stay interesting long term and complement a larger scope rather than just being a throw away somewhere down the road.

I am considering going to look at a Meade ETX-80AT-BB that is used for $150. They seem to have decent reviews for a scope of that class but there seem to be several versions and several generations of them so its hard to tell exactly what this one all is and which ones people are talking about in forum posts. Long term durability of anything electronic with electric motors always makes me nervous.

What would be your opinions on this purchase (both the scope choice and the price) and if its a go what specifics would I be looking at when inspecting it and probably testing it as I may end up driving there after dark to look at it (hopefully).

My available choices are somewhat limited as I can only afford used stuff or such low quality stuff that I wouldn't want it. A full manual scope would also be an option if a good one came up cheap.

I bought this scope for around $200 NEW. Its comes with everything you need to start observing right away. I can carry it outside and set it up in 30 seconds with one hand ! It gives nice planetary and lunar views and not bad on brighter deep space stuff !

Attached Thumbnails
(https://s13.postimg.org/jxiru9cfn/39_attachment_00.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/jxiru9cfn/)

(https://s13.postimg.org/4c1gab877/39_attachment_01.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/4c1gab877/)

(https://s13.postimg.org/4c1gab877/39_attachment_01.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/4c1gab877/)
Title: Re: Talked myself out of a big scope, how about this little one?
Post by: incojukam on February 09, 2018, 05:19:14 AM
I have a ETX80 and will share my opinion on this scope:

To be honest I started out with a newton 6” f5 on a gem and that scope might be the scope I have used the most at all times,
even after getting better scopes down the line.

I will not recommend the ETX 80, especially not as the first/only scope to own.
The ETX80 is a very short refractor and it does indeed have a problem with a lot of color (chromatic aberration)
this means that subjects with a good amount of light will not be pleasantly presented in this scope.
Now because of the relative small objective 80mm it won’t gather too much light ether meaning faint deepsky objects will be out of reach
even though it does have the ability to show a relative wide view.
Also the mechanics on this scope and it has a few (a inbuilt barlov, a flip mirror, and a very odd focuser)
Are rater flimsy and has got a tendency to break (look for the amount of diy presented at http://www.weasner.c...aq.html#update  (http://www.weasner.com/etx/faq.html#update))
In all fairness it is a small cheap goto scope and the goto will work if you are willing to put in the labor to make it. But related to this it’s worth mentioning
that this mount and scope does not lent itself well to manual control, it got no physical handles and no finder.

In my opinion the ETX80 is more of a fun hobby tinkering project than a tool to see the sky.
(I’m not talking about the ETX90 and the ETX125 these are different scopes btw)

My ETX80 notes:
"Meade ETX 80" info:
Focal Length 400mm, Focal Ratio f/5
Acclaimed Maximum Practical Visual Power 275X ( Obs!!! prolly terestial daylight :| Spotting scope like)
400 mm / 4,5 mm +3x barlow = 266,67x (not likely)


Soo:
Magnification = 400 mm / 9 mm Eyepiece
Magnification = 44,44x - a solid magnification
+ 2x barlow = 88,88x imo. max
and
Magnification = 400 mm / 20 mm Eyepiece -
Magnification = 20x
+ 2x barlow = 40x
also
Magnification = 400 mm / 26 mm Eyepiece
Magnification = 15,38x - a nice view
+ 2x barlow = 30,77x


gl
-Gert