The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

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The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby rdc1982 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:03 pm

Dear Sky watchers,

I am sorry to come with the same question as many others... but I couldn't find an answer in previous posts, so... there you go =)

I want to gift my wife a telescope for her b-day, she's' really passionate about the sky, but at the same time not a real expert and tends to get lost when looking at maps, therefore my preference goes to a computerized option rather than greater optics. She's also a photographer, so a telescope with a DSLR connection on the eyepiece would be great (although I am clear you can't take much of a picture with a begineer's telescope). My budget is ca 300GBP; could you please recommend me a good option in this price range, or if it would be better to add some extra budget and get something better (and if so, what? :) )

Thank you very much for your help!

/raffa
rdc1982
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby ronin » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:20 pm

The only one that comes to mind is the Skywatcher 127 Mak on the goto mount.

Not the best for astrophotography for 2 reasons. Long focal length so a bigger but dimmer primary image on the camera sensor. The mount is Alt/Az so some object rotation will occur.

Another reason is that it costs over £300, and not sure how easily it handles a DSLR attached. Think they make a smaller one but not checked if they do and it's cost.

Many images are created by taking several short time shots, say 20 images at 60 second intervals, and stacking them, adding one on top of another using suitable software (free).

To set up a Skywatcher needs some knowledge of the sky - constellations and stars. Can she identify say 4 or 6 of the brighter stars in the sky by name all year round?

Meades are easier to set up in my experience but they cost more.

How about getting her the SW Mak this year then a cheap (£2000) astrophotography set up next year? (The £2000 is no joke!)

Where about are you?
Useful to know as people close may be able to help.
ronin
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby rdc1982 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:36 pm

Dear Ronin,

thank you very much for your reply! I was also considering the SkyWatcher 127 SupaTrak (which I found for just under 300p), as it seems to be a good starting kit.

My wife can identify some stars, so shall be ok with that =) But you reckon Meades are easier to set-up for specific reasons?

I live in Geneva (Switzerland), so not sure anyone close ;) although coming very often over to UK
kind regards,
/raffa
rdc1982
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby ronin » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:53 pm

Switzerland, guess no one is close then.

Skywatcher setup tends to be along the following lines.
Supply location data (Just once when you initially get the scope.)
In use:
Level the mount,
Tell it the time.
Tell it to align.
Scope then asks for a section of the sky N, NE, E, W etc.
You select one and it will select a star in that sector that you have to slew to and centre.
So you have to know the stars and be able to locate whatever is chosen.
It will then slew to another of it's choosing and you have to centre that.
If all goes well it will be aligned.

One additional option that many find useful is after levelling the mount to also level the scope and point it North, then start the alignment.
Although not essential but helps to identify where N, NE, W, etc are.

Meades:
(Supply location data when you first get the scope - once only.)
Level the mount,
Level the scope,
Point scope North.
Tell it the time.
The unit then selects a star to goto based on you having set it level and North. You centre whatever it selects.
It then slews to another and you again centre that.
Alignment complete.
You just centre whatever it chooses, assuming you can see it in the scope.

You can level the scope and point it north without knowing any stars. Small bubble level with compass. I often do that bit in the afternoon or early evening when light then leave the scope.

In either case the initial setup is crucial, the better you do it the easier it all is.
ronin
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby rdc1982 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:53 pm

Dear Ronin,

thanks a lot, very clear! :) Is there any Meades you would recommend in a similar (or not much higher) price range?

Thank you again!
/raffa
rdc1982
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby ronin » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:43 pm

I think all the Meades cost more then the Skywatcher's.

Meade use level+North as a first "star", virtual or imaginary, then determine errors etc from the next 2 real stars.

A Skywatcher has to be pointed at a first star (real), then determine errors etc from the next (single) real star. Just one star from which to determine the errors.

Meade have cut back on their range. The equivalent was the ETX 90, 105 and 125. Have a thought that only the 125 is made presently. Not sure if anywhere in Geneva could supply a 105 and no idea of the cost. Kind of hoping that if smaller then the cost may be more reasonable. Problem is no idea what Skywatchers cost in Geneva compared to Meades.

For what you want do not consider the ETX 80, just not right.
ronin
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby rdc1982 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:43 pm

Good news is that I can ship to friend's place in UK and then get it when I come over, so I am not too limited on that :) So you think the 125 - parking apart cost considerations for a sec - would be a better option than the Skywatcher 127?

Once more thanks again for your help, I am close to press the 'Buy it now' button!

kind regards,
/raffa
rdc1982
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby pilp » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:00 pm

Dont knock the skywatcher 127,its a damn good scope for the money!!! Search through the astro pics and you will see Revs uses one for photography with good results. Ive just upgraded to the 150pro, absolutley brilliant!
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby ronin » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:16 pm

Not better just I find them easier to use, in specification terms little between them. The Meades are nearly twice the cost of a Skywatcher.

I would guess that Meade got the software written first to use the initial start of Level and North, so Skywatcher and Celestron were unable to copy it.

There is an obvious alternative for SW and that is to start from Polaris. As in level mount, point scope at Polaris and centre, then align from there. Wonder if you could adapt their 3 star alignment to do that ? Will have to read their set up options.

Your problem is that you want a goto to do astrophotography, and as a first scope. Astrophotography is often based on the following:
HEQ5 (£650) or EQ6 (£800) mount, you need the motors etc. Good apo triplet (£1200-2500), DSLR, then possibly guide scope and guider (£1000). Astrophotography isn't cheap.
ronin
 
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RE: The usual question... please don't hate me! =)

Postby rdc1982 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:46 pm

Pilp, Ronin,

thank you again for your help! Then, if I understand well, the Skywatcher 127 is the best value for money, although it requires a deeper knowledge of stars&sky, which one who wants to observe them shall have anyway! =) I will then upgrade to better mounts/optics/etc when really into astrophotography. Hope my understanding is correct!

kind regards,
/raffa
rdc1982
 
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