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 New Telescope?

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Darkmatter



Posts : 5
Join date : 2011-08-29

PostSubject: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:59 pm

I'm going to work at my mom's vet clinic for a month constantly cleaning cages, and I'm supposed to make around $2,000. I'm considering using the money for astronomy equipment.

Currently, I have an Orion XT10 Intelliscope, 15x70 binos, a 5mm, 6mm, 10mm, 17mm, 26mm, 32mm, and 40mm plossl eyepiece.

I've done so much research lately about what my next step should be, but I just can't come to a decision. I'm deciding between eyepiece upgrades, or a new telescope.

My current range is between $1,500-2,500. I frequently find myself hovering over the ads in S&T and Astronomy for those LX90's, LX200's, NexStar SE, and CPC telescopes. I also have an interest in the ETX Maksutovs. Refractors don't interest me, because I was looking for higher quality than a Meade/Celestron/Orion 5/6" Refractor, but less expensive than a large APO.

They're all great scopes, and as soon as I found out which is best for me, I'll buy it. That's where I need help. Right now, I live under Suburban skies, where you can't see the milky way. But a farm we have access to is only a half hour away, and the skies there allow a limiting magnitude of around 6.0. Mainly, I observe on the weekends, at least on the rare occasions where it isn't cloudy here in Ohio. But when it is clear, I'd spend all night with my telescope.

Because of my need to travel which I mentioned, Cassegrains really appeal to me. But I have a sports wagon, so a large SCT would easily be accomodated. Really, I just don't want another Dobsonian because I HATE pushing the tube. However, I enjoy locating the objects myself, so I don't want GoTo. I'd also like to do some basic astrophotography, nothing breathtaking, just some cool pictures to share with my family.

And there's the problem with the GoTo. The large SCTs and ETXs seem to only come on a GoTo, altazimuth mount. As Terence Dickenson said in Nightwatch, it's more pleasing to find something yourself than have a computor find it for you. You could say to just not use the GoTo, but then you just wasted a lot of money on the GoTo.

So I've narrowed it down to SCTs and Maksutovs. I've heard Maksutovs have better optics, but are they really worth it compared to SCTs? Maksutovs don't commonly get much larger than 125mm, as opposed to the 11-12" SCTs in my budget.

Thank you!
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astrolover

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Age : 30

PostSubject: Re: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:59 pm

This would pinch your budget a bit, but you can get an 11" SCT (mfg by Celestron, I believe) on a pretty beefy-looking non-GOTO equatorial mount for $2700 plus shipping. This is from OrionTelescopes.com and it would get you into the largest one-person portable SCT system at a price that is not too stiff. You'd have to consider cleaning cages, etc, for just a bit longer, but it might be worth the effort.
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TomK

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PostSubject: Re: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:00 pm

The only other thing I can think of is a large Newtonian on a motorized mount.
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Darkmatter



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PostSubject: Re: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:00 pm

I did think about a Newtonian, but the problem with Newtonians is that they're not well designed for planetary viewing, and more for DSOs. SCTs, I believe, can pull off more power per square inch. And although they don't collect as much light, I was looking for a telescope that would do well with both DSOs and Planets (like an SCT), instead of great with DSOs and not so well with planets (Newtonian).

Also Newtonians are huge, and i'd hate to have to set one up by myself.
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scopeman

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PostSubject: Re: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:01 pm

You ever lift an 11-12" SCT? HEAVY.

Maks are super high focal length, I really dont recommend one. Refractors in that price range would either be something like an 80-100ish mm scope like an 80ed for not too much money and would give you a nice travel scope and be widefield. My ed80 really acts like a much larger scope with the resolution I can get. That little scope has split the double double on better nights.

As to which mount, I say get an EQ so you can get more OTAs down the road. You can get a NON goto CG5 ASGT for like $350 or something fairly cheap. I'd say the C8 or C9.25 on the CG5, the C11 is a bit large for that mount.
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Darkmatter



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PostSubject: Re: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:01 pm

C9.25 sounds good, the aperature of the C8 is smaller than I wanted. I just can't seem to find the C9.25 on a non-computerized mount on any website.

Can the CG-5 be upgraded to GoTo later on?
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Stuper Nova

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PostSubject: Re: New Telescope?   Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:02 pm

My first suggestion is getting a tracking platform for your dob and a couple premium eyepieces. That would give you a large-aperture, alt-az, non-goto scope that tracks and is easily portable.

My second suggestion, if you don't like the tracking platform, would be to put the money into a good EQ mount and small refractor as a beginner astrophoto setup. I wouldn't sweat the goto. You don't have to use it if you don't want to, but it can be handy to have when you just can't track down that elusive target, especially under less-than-dark skies. Really, an EQ mount isn't as convenient to star-hop with as a dob so you may end up using goto more than you think. A couple options include a GM-8 ($1,500 without goto) for smaller loads or an Atlas ($1,500 with goto) if you want to put a 9.25 or 11" SCT on it later.
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