Posted 18 July 2007 - 11:21 AM
Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:40 PM
A new telescope purchase can be rewarding.
Tell me a bit of the things that you are planning to do with the telescope,portability issues and so forth anf then I can recommend some things for you to look into.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 18 July 2007 - 02:31 PM
Portibility is kinda of important to me. I want light gathering ability.
These are some of the things I am interested in:
Deep sky objects
Planets, comets and astroids and imaging
Posted 18 July 2007 - 03:12 PM
Have you established a budget? - this will help guide our suggestions
Posted 18 July 2007 - 03:15 PM
Around $1250 is my budget. $1500 at the most
Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:43 PM
Takes about 2 mins or less to set one up. Set the base down, put the tube into the base, attach a finder (reflex sight is a good choice) and you are all ready to start observing.
Get as much as you can afford, a 10 inch Dob will let you do a WHOLE bunch of DSO, plus give good views of the planets, asteroids and comets, etc.
Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:54 PM
Posted 18 July 2007 - 07:19 PM
You are correct that the dobs are not suitable for imaging - unless placed on an equatorial platform. This adds extra cost, complexity, and takes you over your budget. Although Meade's dobs do not have AutoStar you could equip them with digital setting circles which will do most of what AutoStar does (find objects, identify objects, tours, connect to a computer planetarium program, etc) except track and move the scope. Sky Commander is about the least expensive of those available. With the exception of imaging the dob is a good buy.
Meade's LXD75 line fits both your requirements and budget. Using the same mount you have options of 6", 8", and 10" Schmidt-Newtonians, an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain, or 5" or 6" refractor. Having used and demo'd all, my personal favorite is the 8" Schmidt-Newtonian. Good aperture for DSO, sharp optics for planetary work, a good match for imaging, and well matched to the LXD75 mount. My second choice would be the 6" refractor. They all come with the #497 AutoStar with which you are familiar. Setting up an equatorial mount like the LXD75 is a bit more difficult, and I do not recommend them as a first scope. You are already using the #497 so you are part of the way there.
Posted 18 July 2007 - 07:24 PM
Here is a link to a page with a lot of options for your budget
I think the SN 8 would work very nicely.
Its vary light weight and portable.
It offers very nice views and has autostar goto system.
It will give you a nice setup and in time as you progress will work very nicely for astro imaging.
The 10 inch is nice also but the OTA is a bit heavy for the mount as you add things to it.
IMO I think the SN8 in just what you are looking for.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 18 July 2007 - 07:27 PM
looks like Russ and myself agree on the SN8 being the tool of choice lol.
Best of luck and keep us up to date on your decision.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 18 July 2007 - 08:59 PM
Posted 18 July 2007 - 09:50 PM
Posted 19 July 2007 - 02:57 AM
You mentioned porotability as an issue. I did not think I had a portability issue until I bought an 11 inch Cat on an equitorial mount. I do not mention other brand names here, but Mark and Russ can probably guess right off the brand. This scope has everything except global positioning. With that one, I have to move it in three sections, tripod and mount, 30 lb of counter weights, and the optical tube. Once assembled, it really cannot be moved. I have to get the tripod set right and leveled the first time!
I have no idea about any weight/bulk comparisons between what I have and the SN-10, but it might be good for you if Mark or Russ spoke about the portability issues, weight of the components, and general bulkiness of the SN-6, 8, and 10.
When I bought my Cat, the material I read said something about shipping weight being 60 lb......right! That was just the optical tube. It took both me and the delivery guy to unload my things off of his truck.
I have personally been thinking about either the SN-6 or 8 as an intermediate scope between my four entry level ones and my big Cat, due mostly to the light shot skies I have at my home. I have read where a 6 or 8 inch is optimum for that situation. I am also impressed that Russ and Mark came up with the same general scope idea for your situation.
Russ or Mark, if you could speak to the portability of the various sizes, it will benefit more than Richard.
Posted 19 July 2007 - 06:28 AM
None of the equatorial mounts (neither Meade or any other) have "auto align" which is why I do not recommend it for beginners. They all require polar alignment of the mount which must be done manually. Once the polar alignment is completed everything is automatic.
I did not recommend any Schmidt-Cassegrain (Meade, Celestron, or Orion's Celestron clone) as they are beyond your budget. Although the SC is "auto align", this feature is really only in alt-az which is not the way you would use the scope for imaging. Successful imaging requires the use of the equatorial wedge. Though adding the wedge is not difficult, it is fussy, time consuming, and far from auto align (ask Mark on this one).
The bottom line auto align and imaging are not compatible. This is why you see so many imagers with observatories or permanent set ups. Those who image and do not have a permanent setup know that the first hour or so is spent doing a proper polar alignment. This is why my images are downloaded from web sites - thanks Mark .
It is not for lack of portability that I by-passed the 10" SN. Although the LXD75 SN10 is a great optical tube at a great price, I agree with Mark that its very borderline for the mount. Visually it is fine as is, but once you begin to load it with the gear you would want for imaging it suffers.
How did your alignment work out last night Richard?
Posted 19 July 2007 - 10:05 AM
align it tonight though.
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