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first scope purchase

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first scope purchase was created by katata

So after a year or so of coveting an 8 inch reflector, the time has come to spend some money. The problem is that I've got 3 flights of stairs to negotiate with whatever scope I buy. Is an 8 inch too much scope for bringing up and down those stairs?

I've seen the skywatcher star travel refractors for similar money in the 100-120mm range, would one of these be a decent first scope? Or am would that be committing myself to spending a large amount on lenses & filters to make up for chromatic aberration, coma and the like? F5 against the F5.9 of the skywatcher 8 inch dob.

Currently using a pair of 10x50s so anything will be an upgrade.
10 years 1 month ago #95894

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Replied by lunartic_old on topic Re: first scope purchase

Hey there.

Three flights of stairs :rolleyes: , wow, that would be tiring.

A 120mm f/5 refractor would show plenty of chromatic aberration around the moon, planets and brighter stars, for deep sky objects this would be less of a problem, as you say, there are filters that can help, but not eliminate the problem. Then there is the mount, you are looking at either an EQ or an Alt-Az, I use the Skywatcher AZ4 and it is an excellent mount.

In astronomy aperture is king and a 200mm scope will show so much more than a 120mm scope, the 200mm is also an excellent all round scope showing the solar system and deep sky in great detail. Having used a dob in the past I found the mount was the most awkward part to move, not up three flights of stairs, thankfully, it is a tricky boxy object to transport.

Have you considered the Skywatcher Flextube dob? The tube collapses down to make transportation easier.

In the end the best scope is the one you use most.

Hope this helps.

Paul
Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

Rich Cook
10 years 1 month ago #95903

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Replied by mykc on topic Re: first scope purchase

Hi,

Paul's advice is sound. I have a 200mm reflector and I wouldn't fancy carrying it up and down three flights of stairs. Apart from the difficulty of manoeuvering a scope of that size and weight, I'd be worried about banging it against the walls and damaging it, or at the very least ruining the collimation. A 120mm short tube refractor wouldn't give the same views, but would be much more stairs friendly. A relatively inexpensive alt az mount (AZ3 or AZ4) would be portable and would allow you to see what the scope could do. The Startravel scopes have red dot finders, that are easy to use and excellent for star hopping. Of course, those are just my personal opinions, not everyone will agree.

Keep an eye on adverts.ie, donedeal.ie, etc., as well as the dealers (Ktec is an Irish supplier of SkyWatcher products).

Good luck in your search.

Mike
Skywatcher 120 mm ED on a CG5 mount.
10 years 1 month ago #95915

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Replied by RandomPillars on topic Re: first scope purchase

Hi

Paul and Mike know what they are talking about. Go with their advice. Above ALL else, never forget Paul's last bit of info:

"In the end the best scope is the one you use most."

If you get a big aperture scope, it will be great when you get it out to a dark sky. But, carrying it up & down three flights will soon have you reaching for your Binos again.

Good luck with whatever you choice. You will love it.

Sean
"... quit trying to upset and disturb Dr. Venkman..."
10 years 1 month ago #95927

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Replied by stevie on topic Re: first scope purchase

If you are considering a 5" refractor, then also consider one of the Skywatcher Maksutov's. The Skymax 127 has a long focal length and is very compact, easy to handle and store, but gives outstanding views, especially of planets and double stars. The Synscan go-to is very accurate.

www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywat...synscan-az-goto.html
stevie

Secretary NIAAS
10 years 1 month ago #95932

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Replied by katata on topic Re: first scope purchase

Thanks for the replies. A lot to think about there, the mak is another option. Moving in last month made me rethink the dob ideas, bouncing boxes off the walls on the stairs happens a lot more often than you would want to.

I'm looking at the eq3-2, az3 or az4 from sky-watcher for a mount. Most reviews seem to be complaining about the aluminium legs meaning they can't take much payload but an eq5 with a steel tripod or heavier is probably over-doing it for a 120mm/127mm short-tube and the lower weight would suit me at the moment. My initial inclination would have been towards the eq3 but I think that would be the heaviest and from the reviews I've seen the az4 is both light and very quick to setup. Anyone with experience of more than one of the above?

With the synscan, does it always need a power source or is there a manual setting?
Last edit: 10 years 1 month ago by katata.
10 years 1 month ago #95934

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Replied by martinus on topic Re: first scope purchase

"In the end the best scope is the one you use most."


Great advice from the guys. I live in a bungalow - no issue with stairs - the scope I use by far more often is a 152mm mak-cass. The big 254mm SN10 gets duted off once in a while when I have time to do the set-up but at a pinch I could live without it.

A dob is an excellent choice IMHO: quick to set up and pack away, minimal maintenance and generally, you can get a lot of aperture for your money.
10 years 1 month ago #95935

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Replied by lunartic_old on topic Re: first scope purchase

I recently purchased the AZ4 from Stephen at Ktech, great guy, great company, and I can truly recommend it. It is rock solid, it boasts 1.75" stainless steel legs, adjustable height and spreader plate. I use my 110mm refractor on it, with 2" diagonal and heavy Vixen eyepiece it takes the weight with ease, and can take more I'm sure. I tested it with my 4.8mm eyepiece, gave the tube a tap and it settled down in less than two seconds.

The Synscan will require a power source such as a Powertank.

With regards to the Mak, they do have a long focal length, f/11.8, this is not the best for deep sky objects, fantastic on the moon, planets and double stars, so that might be something to consider, it depends on what you want to observe.

I can sympathise with you, it's not an easy decision to make, can you get to a local club or public observing session? I know SDAS/IAS have one organised for Sandymount on the 21st December, there you can see different varieties of scopes and have a better idea of size and performance.

It's worth taking your time and making the right decision.

Paul
Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

Rich Cook
10 years 1 month ago #95944

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Replied by katata on topic Re: first scope purchase

Sandymount, thanks for the reminder. I've been meaning to head along to one of those but work/exams/life have interfered up til now. Definitely need to keep the 21st free before I go spending money.

Thanks for the info on the mak, I'm more interested in dsos but would like decent views of the planets too. I have a feeling CA won't bother me too much until I start seeing these things through other people's expensive APOs.
10 years 1 month ago #95945

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Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: first scope purchase

Hi,
Having a stairs to climb/descend each time you set up a scope does limit you to what you can use, if its isn't someway easy or convenient then you wont be using it for long.
Id imagine something less then a 6 inch will be the order of the day, if planetary.moon stuff is your interest, then a mak is the way to go, but they are good for some deepsky objects aswell.
Otherwise a refractor or small newt might be suitable, I have a 4 inch F5 refractor and its a great little gab and go scope, great for widefield deepsky stuff,.
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
10 years 1 month ago #95947

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