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Stargazing Looking for advice on telescope

  1. Nov 3, 2007 #1

    Art

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    I'm looking to buy a telescope for casual viewing of planets and galaxies. One I saw is an 8inch *1000mm focal length reflector type on a motorised equatorial mount with an 8*50 finder scope. Does this sound like something suitable for seeing a decent amount of lunar surface detail and the rings of Saturn?
     
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  3. Nov 3, 2007 #2

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Nov 3, 2007 #3

    turbo

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    Do you have a decent place to observe from or will you have to transport the scope to where you will observe? If you'll have to transport, you have to consider set-up time, adapter(s) for electrical power, safe storage for accessories, etc. Do you have any issues with storage space? Ideal storage for a scope is in a dry, unheated clean storage shed or garage. The more details you can give about how you intend to store, transport, and use the scope, the better (theoretically, at least) advice you'll get for making your choice.
     
  5. Nov 3, 2007 #4

    Art

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    I live away from cities and the air is clear so I would only be using it at home so storage and portability aren't an issue. US suppliers will not ship to customers in Europe so I'm looking at suppliers here. The one I thought might be okay was this one http://cgi.ebay.ie/Telescope-1000-2...oryZ3636QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    I was aiming to spend about 600 Euro max in total inclusive of accessories such as a motor for the mount which Seben supply for about 90 Euro and probably a filter or two which I've heard improve the image though which ones I haven't a clue at the moment as my current knowledge of telescopes is zilch.

    I might want to take pics at some time which is why I wanted a motor and the equatorial mount for time exposures which I believe Dobsonion telescopes don't do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  6. Nov 3, 2007 #5

    turbo

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    Thanks, Art. The image that is linked shows a German equatorial mount that is VERY small compared to the optical tube assembly. That means small bearings, small drive gears (small in either is detrimental to accurate tracking) and big frustration on your part. If you want to do astrophotography in the future, you need a mount that is not only very solid and stable enough to support the OTA and other accessories - it must be oversized enough to support whatever camera, adapters, guidescope, and perhaps autoguiding imager that you want to put on it. That mount is not capable of solidly supporting the OTA alone in my opinion.

    I own a well-corrected apochromatic refractor on a massive mount. It is a great rig for astrophotography. I would also like a BIG light-bucket Dobsonian for hassle-free observation. If I were in your situation, I would consider forgoing the the GEQ mount for now, and buying maybe a 10" Dobsonian with a Telrad finder, and a decent set of charts. A 10" reflector will keep you in "new to you" observations for years and years, and if you find that you love observational astronomy and want to pursue astrophotography as well, you might then want to budget for a modest apochromatic refractor on a VERY beefy mount. There are lots of very serious astrophotographers producing impressive images through 80mm and 90mm APOs and if you can work the numbers to afford more aperture, you'll be golden.

    For reference, Greg took many of these photos through a Takahashi Sky 90 refractor with a one-shot color CCD camera.

    http://www.newforestobservatory.com/index.php/images/
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  7. Nov 4, 2007 #6

    Chronos

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    It looks like a very nice instrument, Art, although I share Turbo's reservations about the mount. But, mounts are cheap compared to optics. Its something you can build easily and cheaply, if necessary. I drove a 4-1/4" pipe into my back yard to replace the cheesy mount that came with my scope. It set me back about $10.00.
     
  8. Nov 4, 2007 #7

    Art

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    Thanks for the advice folks. I had a look around and found I could get a 10" Dobsonian for around 650 Euro so I'll think about it for a while before deciding which way to go
     
  9. Nov 4, 2007 #8

    turbo

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    If you want to pay for the best optical quality you can get on a simple inexpensive mount (which would be my motivation if I were in your position) a Dob' is the way to go. Even if you do want to take the plunge into astrophotography later, you can start budgeting for that specialized gear while you are learning your way around the night sky. The best part is that you won't be duplicating gear in doing so. Some of the nicest amateur imagery around was produced with DSLR cameras (typically Canon) or one-shot color CCDs through small high-quality refractors and short focal-length Schmidt Newtonians. When you're all geared up and producing photos, you'll still have your light-bucket for visual observing, and the quick set-up time will let you observe through sucker holes (gaps in the clouds) on marginal nights.
     
  10. Nov 12, 2007 #9

    turbo

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    It might be OK if you expect to observe visually and do not anticipate using it extensively. I don't like the single-armed fork mounts (stability issues), nor do I regard a telescope with proprietary electronics to be a good investment. When the computer or the power supply or some other component fails, you're stuck. These are built to hit a price-point and the fancier the mount, the cheaper the optics. Owning and using a telescope is really about the optics. If you can give us an idea what you want to use the scope for, you will get more informed advice.
     
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