How did you choose your 2nd scope?

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How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby nozzmoking » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:13 pm

Hi all,

As the owner of a 6" Newtonian, and now thinking of upgrading to a guided scope, I'd be interested to hear of the decision-making process you took in the choice of your second scope.

What was the biggest difference , viewing wise, between your 2 scopes.

Do you feel you made the right choice?

If it is a guided scope, how reliable/accurate is the scope after months of use?

Hope some of you can post some experiences for all us '1st scopers' looking to take the next step!

Noz
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby andyrawlins » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:43 am

Hello again nozzmoking!
I didn't really choose my first scope (Konus 70mm refractor with RA drive). I saw it in a shop window and when I later checked on the Internet and found out that the shop had under priced it by a lot, I went back and snapped it up. I had always wanted an astronomical telescope, but this was a completely unresearched, impulse buy. Being the cheeky so and so that I am, I got them to knock £10 off the already low price! At £90 I thought I was spending a lot of money on what seemed to me to be a big telescope. I really had no idea what I was doing then. I soon discovered that it wasn't so big and great after all. And so began the learning process! I used it quite a lot to begin with, and learnt a bit about this fascinating hobby, but I became more and more frustrated and disappointed with it's performance as time went on. So then it sat in the corner of the living room and became an ornament and a place for my wife to hang the children's clothes!

Although I lost interest in my telescope, I hadn't lost interest in astronomy, and the thought of getting a new, better scope remained in the back of my mind. It was a while before I started thinking seriously about getting my second scope, and just to justify to my self the need to go out and spend far too much money on a good telescope, I dusted off the 70mm and started using again. My disappointing experiences with my first scope did actually help in deciding what sort of scope I really needed.

During my trudge around the web I discovered the Meade LX range, and thought, "I wish!". I carried on looking around and researching exactly what it was I needed, and kept returning to the LX range. I was only planning on spending a few hundred, but the LX90 8" appealed to me more and more. I managed to convince my self to increase my budget drastically to be able to afford an LX90 8" + accessories for imaging etc. Then I started falling in love with the LX200 GPS range, and, "Maybe I should go for the 10" LX200 GPS." I was so tempted, but I couldn't justify it to my self, but it did make the LX90 8" more justifiable!

So my second telescope, an LX90 LNT 8", tripod and accessories arrived in three big boxes. I didn't have my shed at the time so I assembled my new pride and joy and put it in the living room (near the old one), which was the only room we had that had enough space. Now I just had to prepare to explain my actions to my wife when she came home later that day. I spent the rest of the day in a cold sweat thinking, "Oh my god what have I gone and done! She's going to go mad!!!!" Fortunately she didn't go too mad.

The new scope got it's first light that night, and what a joy it was. It was easy to setup. In fact I just stood there with my hands in my pockets while it set it's self up - magic. Although star hopping, and navigating your way around the sky is very civilised and rewarding, I do just like to get on with things. So being able to select an object from the hand controller and having the scope slew to that object for me, and then track it was brilliant. I had the tripod fully extended, and this makes the scope stand quite high which is great for my personal comfort being 6' tall. However I had to grab a Chair for my kids to stand on. After an hour of saying to my children, "Can I see? Can I see? Let me have a go!!", I reminded them that they had school the next day, and sent them to bed. Ha! Now it's all mine.

The difference between the new scope and my old one was huge. The view finder on the LX90 alone is almost as good as my old scope! Within minutes I was gazing at objects I had never seen before, and seeing other objects that I had seen before with far more clarity, and all this with very little hassle. The scope does all the routine stuff so I can get on and observe. I do like it that way.

So did I make the right choice?
Hell yes. Sure I would still have preferred an LX200 GPS 10", but realistically the 8" LX90 does me just fine for now.

If it is a guided scope, how reliable/accurate is the scope after months of use?
I recalibrate it from time to time, or rather I tell it to recalibrate it's self, and it's just as accurate as the first time I used it. There are several functions that can be performed via the hand box to maintain it's accuracy over time, and during a session.

I went way over my original budget with my second scope, but I have ended up with a scope that I am happy with, and best of all It's reignited my passion for astronomy which was extinguished by my first scope.

Im sorry, that reply was rather more long winded than intended [:D]
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby richard42 » Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:46 am

i had the same sort of expierience!

i had an etx 105 before getting mt lx90remember having the same justification talk with my-self[:D]
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby nozzmoking » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:13 pm

Great post Al !

You've certainly got me thinking again! I too have the living room problem and am hoping to use the smaller scope angle to get it sold to the wife! [:D]

From your experience it certainly sounds like the LX90 would also suit me perfectly.

You touched on 'imaging' in your post. Has this been successful? Have you got any pics you could share with usl? I'm really looking forward to the day when I can successfully capture one of those amazing long exposure shots of the Milky Way, with all the subtle hues etc.

I'm missing so much with my present scope (mainly due to pilot error!) as I can pick up the easy targets such as most of the planets, some of the nice doubles, Albireo etc., clusters and the odd galaxy/nebula, but there's a whole bunch of galaxies I want to see, but just can't find them.

I'm useless at setting up the alignment of the scope so have to rely on the finder to find the nearest bright object and then spend much slewing around to see if I can 'stumble' on the object I'm looking for. So, to just press a couple of buttons and get the scope to align itself to some distant galaxy and then have the ability to capture the object in colour, is just awesome to me.

Thanks again for your reply, and you also Richard. Be great if you guys have any pics you could post. (Milky Way, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Galaxies etc. anything at all!)

Cheers,

Noz

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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby sonia » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:46 pm

I bought my 2nd Scope this year in Summer, i wanted something more advanced, not having to locate things manually. So i went to a dealer, and got the offer of the day ETX 90 EC GOTO with Meade LPI and a free training session.
Although im not overall 100% happy with it, it does the job for now.

I do have pictures of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, but they are not very good. The one i have attached is Jupiter, You may be able to make out its moon in the bottom left.

[image]local://34/D2EC0CC8F3CB4E79871EB4D11711BC91.jpg[/image]
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby andyrawlins » Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:16 pm

nozzmoking, here are [url=http://www.abig1.com/astro/compilation.jpg][b][u]some images[/u][/b][/url] I have taken so far. Have also posted a couple in the photo gallery. I'm using the Meade DSI which is cheap and is a good introduction to CCD imaging on a budget, but frankly it just doesn't give me the resolution and quality I really want, but I need to learn to walk before I can run I suppose. Even though the quality isn't that great, it is very satisfying when it all works as it supposed to, and you see a bright image forming of an object which you can hardly see or can not see at all through the eyepiece. There is quite a lot involved in it though. It's nothing like using a normal camera, and trying to get the image chip positioned over an object that is hard to see can be a bit frustrating, but there are a few tricks that help.

If you are limited for space, and if you have to drive to an observing site, then I must warn you that the LX scopes are quite large and heavy. Mine now lives in my new workshop, and I'm lucky enough to live under dark skies. So I just have to drag my scope out about 20' from my workshop. It does disassemble and assemble quite easily though. Having said that, it's probably no heavier than any other 8".

It's very easy to find lots of objects with the LX. I mean you can go from one object to another in a matter of seconds just by pressing a few buttons. I know purists hate goto scopes, but I'm into this to view and image objects, and not to spend ages trying to find them in the first place. The mead DSI comes with software that includes a live sky simulator where you can click on any of thousands of objects and get the scope to slew to them, but I also use StaryNight Pro which I find is much, much better and allows you to set slewing limits so that you don't rip the back of the scope off when slewing to a high object!

Another great advantage of the LX, and DSI is that I can now sit in my warm workshop and leave the scope outside on those freezing winter nights. [url=http://www.abig1.com/astro/obs.jpg]See here[/url].
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby nozzmoking » Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:36 am

Hi Sonia,

I remember seeing the same view back in the summer and the first time I saw it I wasn't sure if the moon in the bottom left was just anothe star. I found some pics on the net that confirmed it was indeed a Jovian moon. I hadn't expected to see it so far away!

You sound a little frustrated with the scope?

What have you got your eye on?

Noz
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby nozzmoking » Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:53 am

Hi Al,

You have some great looking shots there!

I think my favourite has to be the M64 shot you posted in the photo gallery. I really like that crater-type definition in the centre. It gives you a real sense of the massive distances / galaxy sizes involved with here. The distance across the bright centre must be many thousands of light years across? Have you any idea?

Great stuff!

Noz
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby andyrawlins » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:43 am

Noz, not sure about the diameter of the nucleus, but there is some information [url=http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/Encyclopedia/B/Bl/Black_Eye_Galaxy.htm][u][b]here[/b][/u][/url] about M64.
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RE: How did you choose your 2nd scope?

Postby keithmorris » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:53 pm

The thing that made me go for the LXD75 10"SNT that I bought off ebay was, I wanted a goto scope so I could maximize my viewing (not having a lot of time free at the mo) and the fact that it was going sooooo cheap! I also wanted something better suited to DSO's but could also be used for planetary and lunar observing.
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