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A question for opinionated people...

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A question for opinionated people... was created by RandomPillars

Hi all,

I was out with Michael last night, and we got onto talking about scopes, as you do. Generally revolving around how much use a particular scope would get.

I was wondering what people think is the best scope? Now I know that question is basically unanswerable, but let me continue. I want to get a good handle on, if money was no object of course, which scope would get the most use with the biggest aperture. Its all well and good if you had the money for a 26" monster but would you really use it that much with the hassle that would accompany it? Also, its easy enough to bring out a 5" to a dark sky, but would the views really keep you coming back out for more?

I'm thinking of a scope that wouldn't involve any astrophotography. Just something to take out easy enough but with a fair whack of a primary that you get some detail on DSO's etc. For the last year I've had my heart set on a 16" Dob (which I would buy from Stephen if I went for it of course). I currently own a 12" LB by the way.

Any responses much appreciated.

Sean
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101669

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Replied by manic_dave on topic A question for opinionated people...

Hi Sean

a question I have asked and been asked many times.

For me its simple, hands down, money no object I would get a TEC APO 200mm F8 Fluorite APO

They don't come up very often, and the cost the earth, but for me mirrors just don't do it. Has to be a lens ( or 3 of them )
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101672

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Replied by StephenK on topic A question for opinionated people...

Ah easy, a 16" Flextube :laugh: :bricks:

Lift it out, pull up the secondary, check collimation, and away you go. No assembly, no trusses, no messing.

Ask Roy Stewart about the 12", very easy to use, and according to many at Skelligs Star Party, the optics were brilliant.

If I had my way, Id have a 16" one off the shelf in a flash :)

Im a big fan of mirrors for aperture, the bigger the better! But as you say, it should be manageable, and make you want to drag it out and use it, with minimal fuss, and I think Skywatcher hit it on the head with the collapsible dob.
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101673

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Replied by lunartic_old on topic A question for opinionated people...

Anything I can't afford now.

Paul
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101675

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Replied by Paul Evans on topic A question for opinionated people...

As with cameras, the best one is the one you have with you. In terms of use I get far more out of my Celestron 80ED than I get out of my 10" Dob (which is 2nd on the list). My LXD75 with either 6" Newt of 8" Schmidt Newt tubes come out far less often and generally for photographic purposes.

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7 years 2 weeks ago #101676

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Replied by johnomahony on topic A question for opinionated people...

I have to admit that I get the most use and value out of my.....wait for it.......12" Lightbridge. It is very easy to set up and take down, fits nicely in the back seat of any car, has good to great optics and doesn't break my back taking it outside. I can carry the whole optical tube pre-assembled outside from my study if I am pushed for time. If I had a 16" I would think twice about hauling it outside on anything but a guaranteed clear night. Not much advantage in having a 16" over a 12" unless you live in a dark area or plan to travel with it a lot. Then you need to plan your vehicle.....
The 16" goto dobs are nice though.
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101677

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

Thanks all for replying- great info.

As I thought, quite an array of opinions. I knew it would divide us!!!

I'm still, I think, with Stephen at the moment with the 16" flextube. Although, the collimation falls out of my lightbridge so quickly its a little bit unbelievable. To be honest I don't know whether it's just my scope or whether its part of the dob/truss make-up. But either way, that alone makes a compelling case for Paul's 80ED, Dave's APO, and, of course, Paul's "anything I can afford" (We are all in that boat unfortunately)

Please keep any opinions you have coming in. I'm hoping I'm going to be coming back to this thread as soon as I'm back in the market, with cash in hand!

Sean
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101678

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

Im hearing you John. I do have an awesomly crap van though which can obviously easily carry a 16" dob... or maybe a 18".. or 20"????

God I love aperture....
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101679

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Replied by stevie on topic A question for opinionated people...

When you get to my age, a 10" dob is about as much as you can manage.

Good all rounder, nice views of most objects, but not too heavy to move about.

One of the guys in the club has a 14" Flextube, which is a superb scope, but he has to take the rocker box apart to get it into his car, and the eyepiece is too high for me when it is the zenith. We have a breeze block stashed away at Bragan just for me to stand on.
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101681

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Replied by astroman145 on topic A question for opinionated people...

I have a 200p skywatcher dob which i bought of stephen of course and a 4"refractor .
I use the dob about five times as i.d use the refractor its so easy set up thats the beauty of dobs and my daughter finds it easy too.
I.d still like a bigger dob but i think i.d get divorce papers quicker if i said i.m getting a new scope lol.
Val
7 years 2 weeks ago #101682

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Replied by dave_lillis on topic A question for opinionated people...

Ah yes, aperture fever, the only cure involves emptying your bank account. :lol:

but many do say that your best scope is decided as the one you use the most.,
and to paraphrase one of the guys in the club here a number of years ago

"the most fantastic colour corrected 8" flurite triplet apochromat refractor is a superb scope and will show planetary views to knock your socks off, but a simple good 12" dob will more then likely beat it with just about everything else in the sky and cost only a fraction of the cost"

I'm a dob fan and carry mine around in an estate car, its a tight fit but works well. I used to carry around a 12" sct and found it more cumbersome to transport cos the newt has its own set of wheels.

A few years ago I got a nice 6 inch Mak, my thinking was that the optics would be top top notch (and they are) and that it would be a very nice grab and go scope. I remember looking at the orion nebula and thinking the trapezium looks pin sharp, but I cant see all 6 stars and where is the nebula?, it was like I was wearing sunglasses. That's the problem with big aperture, there is no going back, so now the 6" Mak is up for sale.
Pity I didn't heed the advice at the time, would have saved me a few euros.
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Last edit: 7 years 2 weeks ago by dave_lillis.
7 years 2 weeks ago #101683

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

Thanks again for all your replies guys- it's just a great forum!

Stevie- yeah i can understand all right- my back isn't the best already and i'm only in my mid 30's. But for the love of astronomy, i'm willing to take a bad back for a day. :gramps:

Val- yeah, my wife has a passionate dislike for my two main loves, football and astronomy. Although the view I gave her of Saturn last year had her typing away on Facebook quite quickly after so I think she just feigns her non-interest. But football she really does hate. Anyway, any suggestion of me buying a €2000 scope will be met with the sort of scowl only reserved for my LFC jersey's.

Dave- aperture fever absolutely. But you know something- I was just looking around the internet for MASSIVE dobs and they are just enormous. Like seriously, you couldn't use them unless you had a two up- two down as a holiday home on Mauna Kea!!! Some of them look to be 15 feet high +. That is just not doable - almost anywhere. And can you imagine having to go up to the top of a sizable ladder every time you want to have a look/ just change the eyepiece?

Thanks again for the replies guys. Much appreciated.

Sean
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7 years 2 weeks ago #101686

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Replied by johnomahony on topic A question for opinionated people...

Thanks again for all your replies guys- it's just a great forum!


Val- yeah, my wife has a passionate dislike for my two main loves, football and astronomy. Although the view I gave her of Saturn last year had her typing away on Facebook quite quickly after so I think she just feigns her non-interest. But football she really does hate. Anyway, any suggestion of me buying a €2000 scope will be met with the sort of scowl only reserved for my LFC jersey's.


Yes, getting permission from SWMBO is always tricky. Its usually "why do you need another telescope, you already have two !" and "why don't you use the money on a nice holiday for us both-it'll last longer" . All valid points of course.
I tried a different approach when obtaining permission for my last scope , the 12" Lightbridge which was my fourth scope. I treated her to a plate of fresh sashimi which she absolutely loves at the Sydney Fish Markets and plied half a bottle of nice white wine into her. The Bintel shop is just across the road from the Fish Market which I just had to pop into on the way home. She was in such a good mood she bought the scope for me.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you take your partner out for a fish dinner just to procure a new scope (or anything else for that matter). Perhaps she likes movies or theatre-then it is simple. Perhaps she is into photography and has always dreamed of that Canon 5D Mark 3-then you will be sorry you ever brought it up.
Definitely do not try the following approach prior to asking permission for a new scope.

www.flickr.com/photos/7703127@N07/15095186446/

Has anyone any other suggestions or experience in convincing ones partner that this new scope purchase is a good move? Could be an interesting thread.
The Lord giveth, the Revenue taketh away. (John 1:16)

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Last edit: 7 years 2 weeks ago by johnomahony.
7 years 2 weeks ago #101687

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Replied by dave_lillis on topic A question for opinionated people...

I was just looking around the internet for MASSIVE dobs and they are just enormous.


well, you can get fairly fast F4-5 dobs that are 6-7 feet, you don't have to go for the behemoths unless you have a truck :laugh:

And can you imagine having to go up to the top of a sizable ladder every time you want to have a look/ just change the eyepiece?

well. my attitude is that I travel 40 miles to the Burren or wherever, whats another 2 steps on a ladder? I'm very rarely up any higher then that and spend alot of the time standing on the ground.

It is true though that the big dobs are not for everyone.
Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
7 years 2 weeks ago #101694

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

Ah actually Dave, I wouldn't lump yours into the group I was looking at yesterday. Yours looks more than manageable. I was talking about the ones that you need a ladder for anything above 10 degrees.. :-)

And your 20 inch looks to be about the biggest & baddest that someone can handle. Id love to see through it some day! But it would prob make me pine after one...
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7 years 1 week ago #101696

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Replied by dave_lillis on topic A question for opinionated people...

Hi Sean,
You're dead right about the transportability of it, its right on the limits of what I can transport without going for a different design cos the car is only so so big.
For me, the only way I could go bigger would be to get one of obsessions ultracompact designs and had it existed at the time I would have got a UC22, In a number of years time I might sell the one I have and get that instead, it has some very good portability aspects to it but there are some drawbacks.
There are some very nice lightbridges and other dobs out there also, a 12-16 inch scope would easily satisify alot of peoples needs.
This isnt to overlook all the great refractors out there, some of which are the best optics youre gonna find, it would be interesting to have a shoot out between a dob and a top end refractor on something like saturn to see what are the differances,

If I'm at one of the starparties over the coming months/year, you're more then welcome to have a look through the scope if you're around.
I'll be at the Burren starparty and will have it there and everyone is welcome to come have a look if they're interested. .
Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
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Last edit: 7 years 1 week ago by dave_lillis.
7 years 1 week ago #101699

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

John- hahahaha- that video is brilliant. I can imagine it now- 10 litres of ice cold water on my wife, video it, post it on the internet, laughing uncontrollably in her face and then asking her can I splash out on a new scope. My inner forecast says that that would not go too well. In fact, i'm pretty sure i'd be just punched in the face and divorced!!

But, you should definitely start a thread about how peoples dealings with significant other went with regards to our (lets be honest) reasonably expensive hobby.

If you make it, i will post...
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7 years 1 week ago #101700

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

Dave,

I will be taking you up on that offer as soon as I possibly can. And yes, a straight shoot out would be good- with a dob like yours and one of the real top end refractors.
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7 years 1 week ago #101701

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Replied by mykc on topic A question for opinionated people...

Great discussion!

I started with a small APO, but quickly decided that wide field astrophotography did not suit my need for instant gratification. I then had a happy year or so with a 200mm Newt and the extra aperture was much more satisfying for visual observing. Newts give great bang for your buck, but I did get a bit frustrated with the uncomfortable viewing positions. Maybe I'm just plain lazy, but it can be difficult to make good observations, e.g. of challenging double stars, when you are craning your neck to reach the eyepiece. I picked up a second-hand 280mm SCT for a reasonable price and am delighted with it. The greater cost (about a factor of two for a pre-loved SCT) is offset by the fact that it is relatively easy to transport and handle (despite the large aperture), and by the comfortable viewing position. I can sit in comfort and take my time over observations and that means that I enjoy observing sessions more, and set it up more often than I otherwise would.

So, the ideal scope for lazy, middle-aged, visual observers, with weak backs, small cars and ADHD, is definitely a >250mm SCT.

Mike
Skywatcher 120 mm ED on a CG5 mount.
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7 years 1 week ago #101703

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic A question for opinionated people...

Point really well made Mike. You make it so well, I'm finding it hard to disagree :-)

Sean
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7 years 1 week ago #101705

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