Telescope recommendations?

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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Aratus » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:02 pm

Perhaps a bit of background on equatorial mounts would help to see what the issues are. Equatorial mounts, correctly aligned, only require movement in one plane to keep following a object the the sky. An alt-azimuth requires constant movement in both planes. A computerised mount of either type will follow an object automatically. An equatorial will always keep the same orientation of the object in the eyepiece. An object in an alt-azimuth will appear to slowly rotate.
Modern computerised alt-azimuths can be plonked down anywhere, and after aligning on a couple of stars requires little attention after that. An equatorial, however, only really works as a proper equatorial if it mechanically aligned to the celestial pole first. It is this setting up which puts off some people from using an equatorial mount. If an observer is only using the mount to easily keep an object in view, then a quick rough alignment on the pole star is all that it necessary. Modern computerised equatorials can compensate to a certain extent for rough alignment in order to find objects. However, trying for long photographic exposures will cause frustration as the image will drift.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Eloise Wilson » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:41 pm

Gfamily2 wrote:Very sensible to take your time over choosing what type of scope to get.
Aratus has given a good overview, and EIZO rightly points out that some people really don't like Equatorial mounts.

I've already suggested getting in touch with any local astronomy societies, to see if they hold observing evenings, but as you're giving yourself time to choose, it might even be worth going to a Star Party. Although these are usually based on a campsite over a long weekend, you can often get 'day' tickets if you prefer to stay elsewhere. During the day, they have talks on astronomical subjects, there's often a vendor with a range of scopes on display. If it's clear in the evenings, people are usually very happy to let you have a view through their scopes (always ask beforehand of course).
Here is a very comprehensive website that aims to keep an up-to-date list of star gazing events - both societies and star parties.


Thank you so much for the advice! I have a funny feeling that website will be a great help to me in the future!
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Eloise Wilson » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:45 pm

I have been looking at the websites recommended and I quite fancy the Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian- caught my eye and it looks as if you're able to see some great deep sky objects with it. However, the reviews did mention the lenses provided not being that impressive- there's a 10mm and a 25mm. Will this affect the telescope a lot? Should I start browsing some other eyepieces such as a Celestron lens or maybe even a 32mm?
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Eloise Wilson » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:03 pm

Forgot to add-I do have a Nikon D3300 Camera. Is there a way I could use it to take photos through the telescope?
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby EIZO » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:04 pm

Eloise Wilson wrote:I have been looking at the websites recommended and I quite fancy the Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian- caught my eye and it looks as if you're able to see some great deep sky objects with it. However, the reviews did mention the lenses provided not being that impressive- there's a 10mm and a 25mm. Will this affect the telescope a lot? Should I start browsing some other eyepieces such as a Celestron lens or maybe even a 32mm?



GREAT scope, you will never grow out of it

They are "eyepieces" NOT lenses

Don't rush out and buy eyepieces until you have used the ones it comes with, because most prefer 2" not 1 1/4" eyepieces, and a decent one could cost £100 (will cost) and more
Celestron Edge 8" Evolution, Esprit 120mm triplet, Sky Tee2, WO Binoviewers, 2" and 1.25" eyepieces, ZWO ASI 178MM camera, Neximage 5, Nikon D4s, D810, Nikkor 70-200 F2.8, Nikkor 14-24, Nikkor 70-200, Nikkor 24-120, Sigma 150-600 Sport
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby EIZO » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:11 pm

Eloise Wilson wrote:Forgot to add-I do have a Nikon D3300 Camera. Is there a way I could use it to take photos through the telescope?



Just get a T2 adapter and nosepiece

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adapter-Mount- ... t2+adapter

Tyhe front unscrews from BELOW link and screws into the above


For eyepiece projection

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adapter-Telesc ... nose+piece


many videos on youtube google them
Celestron Edge 8" Evolution, Esprit 120mm triplet, Sky Tee2, WO Binoviewers, 2" and 1.25" eyepieces, ZWO ASI 178MM camera, Neximage 5, Nikon D4s, D810, Nikkor 70-200 F2.8, Nikkor 14-24, Nikkor 70-200, Nikkor 24-120, Sigma 150-600 Sport
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:50 pm

Eloise Wilson wrote:Forgot to add-I do have a Nikon D3300 Camera. Is there a way I could use it to take photos through the telescope?


The scope is described as having a 'Direct SLR Camera Connection', and from what I've been able to determine means that there's a T-thread on the focuser (that you will use with the t-Ring mentioned earlier).

However, as it's a manual mounted telescope, you're limited in what subjects you'll be able to photograph. Most astronomical objects are faint so need long exposures, and for that you'd need a tracking mount.
Without tracking you'll be able to take still images of the Moon - and you may also be able to take short videos of Jupiter and Saturn as they move across the field of view. You can then process these to stack images of the planets.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Eloise Wilson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:43 pm

Aratus wrote:Perhaps a bit of background on equatorial mounts would help to see what the issues are. Equatorial mounts, correctly aligned, only require movement in one plane to keep following a object the the sky. An alt-azimuth requires constant movement in both planes. A computerised mount of either type will follow an object automatically. An equatorial will always keep the same orientation of the object in the eyepiece. An object in an alt-azimuth will appear to slowly rotate.
Modern computerised alt-azimuths can be plonked down anywhere, and after aligning on a couple of stars requires little attention after that. An equatorial, however, only really works as a proper equatorial if it mechanically aligned to the celestial pole first. It is this setting up which puts off some people from using an equatorial mount. If an observer is only using the mount to easily keep an object in view, then a quick rough alignment on the pole star is all that it necessary. Modern computerised equatorials can compensate to a certain extent for rough alignment in order to find objects. However, trying for long photographic exposures will cause frustration as the image will drift.


I think I've used an alt-azimuth before and I know what you mean about the rotation, that might be a pain if I want to take photos. However I know that sometimes equatorial mounts aren't the easiest to set up. What would you recommend for someone who wants to find things invisible to the naked eye? I'm not too fussy about photography really at the moment.
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Gfamily2 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:48 pm

Eloise Wilson wrote:What would you recommend for someone who wants to find things invisible to the naked eye? I'm not too fussy about photography really at the moment.

The three basic approaches are to use
Star Hopping
Setting Circles
GOTO

Star hopping is where you start by identifying something visible near your invisible target. Using the Finder scope (if you have one, or a wide angle eyepiece - 32mm or 40mm if you don't), you use a star atlas to work out how to jump from faint star to faint star from your 'bright' starting position to your faint target.
This can be very satisfying, and almost certainly it'll teach you your way around the night sky.

Setting Circles are a pair of circular grids that you attach to your telescope that act as a reference to where the telescope is pointing. Exactly how these are set up and used will depend on the type of telescope you're using. When you want to centre in on an faint target, you get its position in the sky for the time you'll be observing (whether as RA and Declination* or as Altitude and Azimuth) from planetarium software and use the setting circles to make sure you're pointing in the right direction. Because you can't get very precise positioning, you'll probably still need to use the finder or a wide angle eyepiece to centre in on your target.

GOTO means using a computerised mount to align your scope before your start and then use a built in database of objects to find your target.

Of these, the GOTO means that you're spending money on the mount rather than on the telescope, but on the other hand, with good alignment to start with, you can be fairly confident that you'll be roughly pointing to your target. However, having spent your money on the mount rather than the telescope, you're likely to be using a smaller aperture scope, so your faint object won't appear as bright as it would were you star hopping,

A lot of 'old school' observers say that 'star hopping' gives you a better understanding of the sky, and sometimes the hopping journey is worth it because you see unexpected objects on the way. On the other hand, if you'e under light polluted skies, star hopping can be trickier, as it's harder to do the 'hopping' when details are washed out.

Can't help more than that really.

* technically, the RA and Declination, don't change so this would be what you'd use if you had an equatorial mount, for something like a Dobsonian mount, you'd want to find the Alt and Az for the exact time and place you're observing - apps on smart phones can get these details when you need them.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: Telescope recommendations?

Postby Gfamily2 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:21 pm

OK, so that maybe wasn't what you were looking for, but in Summary:

If you're not interested in photography and are happy to do star hopping, then I would suggest getting a decent sized dobsonian, like the Skyliner 250 above. That will be good for general DSO observing, and with a good high power eyepiece will be good for planets and the moon. This has the biggest aperture that you're going to get in your price range, and will be a versatile scope.

If you prefer to have a tracking or a GOTO scope within the same budget area, you'll be looking at a smaller aperture scope - you should be able get a 130mm Newtonian scope on a tracking or a GOTO mount in your price range.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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