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Thread: Intro Refractor?

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    Default Intro Refractor?



    Have a bit of a back story but will attempt to be brief.
    I've owned 2 C8s, a 12" dob, and now a C11. Have had 4 nights of clear skies since i received the C11 6 weeks ago. 3 of those nights were freezing, the 4th, nice but windy.

    Installed collimation knobs, but couldn't get one back in without loosening all of them to angle the secondary. Naturally, i was severely out of collimation. Got an artificial star, since nature wouldn't give me any. Appears that I've got my collimation nearly perfect, with a high power EP(8mm) at 50 yards. Couldn't go higher due to wind and cold. Haven't been able to fully test on a clear night though, but what little time I've had, the views were NOT sharp. Focus would not snap. Admittedly, the seeing conditions were clearly horrible.

    All this to say is that I'm thinking my heart and mind may be coming around to the clarity and contrast of a refractor.
    I'm tempted by the promise of bright, sharp views, but wary I'll lose some of my DSOs.

    I dont need to see every dim DSO out there, but I do like galaxies from time to time.

    I ask you refractor owners, what aperture range should I be at, at a minimum, to enjoy the planets and clusters, but yet still pick up the brighter galaxies and nebula?

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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    I am a Reflector man so all I can do for you is give you a "Bump" back to the top of the page in hopes the someone more qualified than I will see your post and offer an opinion......,Dave
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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    Rodeo,
    Depending on your skies, and your budget, and your desire to start AP, and,... etc.... ( Spotting a trend here yet?) You'd want at least a 4" refractor... But, you'll have been spoiled by that 11" in no time and dropping back to a 4" won't be fun the next step is 6", and in that diameter, cost goes up fast for anything really nice. I love my 6" acromat and I'm learning how to process out the CA in my astrophotos, but I can't say it even remotely compares to the views through that beast. Speaking of beasts, if you think the C11 is bulky, wait till you've tried to put an f8 or f10 6" up on a mount in the cold and dark. Fun stuff sometimes.... I wish you the best of luck, but you've some serious compromising to do, and only you can make those choices.
    Clear Skies! (whatever you end up looking through!)
    Jim
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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    Minimum with experienced eyes would be 4" aka 102mm. With really experienced eyes and/or a dark sky then a 3" aka 80mm. By experienced I mean you have spent time observing can do things like averted/off axis vision etc. The sweet spot for aperture vs. price and size is 5" aka 127mm. This is assuming an APO not an Achro. Achro's are great but... spend the extra and get the APO. I would suggest the Explore Scientific 5" APO. The only way I and others could tell that it wasn't a $7,000 Tak was because there was a $7k Tak right next to mine and we looked through both. Didn't make the Tak guy very happy. You will not go back to your 11" and will most likely end up trading it in. I did. It was just too darn big, a hassle to cool, and so forth. Dollar spent for view the ES line pays off. Next up would be the Stellarvue and then for the flush or someone with really really good eyes would be the Tak or the TV.

    As an alternative you could get a 4" APO refractor and one of the 8" Edge HD or ACF OTA's. Gives you the extra punch of aperture with a nice clear field to the edge. On the right mount, like the AVX or similar, you can mount both of them at the same time and enjoy the wide APO views while you wait for the SCT to cool (about 30 minutes) then go back and forth between them. And that combination minus the mount would be about the same price as the 5". Plus you can do AP with both if you are so inclined. Harder to do AP with the 5" due to it's overall length. It acts like a sail in a wind.
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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    I've owned and used a number of premium refractors and there is nothing like them. With that said, you may be fighting cool-down problems in addition to seeing in the conditions you described. For DSO's, aperture is king and even a 6" APO can't do as well on galaxies, etc as your 11. The image will be exquisite in the 6 but not as bright or extended. Give that 11 a chance in decent conditions (and to verify your collimation).

    Cheers!
    Clark

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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    The C11 is a monster performer. Collimate it with a real star and then make your decision. Artificial star collimation is only going to get you in the ballpark...maybe.
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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    I suggest you wait till you get some warmer weather and clearer skies to give the 11" a chance. You haven't even scratched the surface of what it can do. The one thing astronomy will teach you is patience, eventually it will all come together. I have just bought a 4" (102mm) refractor for astrophotog purposes and I can vouch it gives excellent views with higher contrast BUT for faint DSO's aperture is king and my 10" Newt beats it hands down for definition on dust lanes and colour capability visually.
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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    Aperture is king but clarity/contrast is queen and usability is prince. With experience you will find that the queen and price beat out the king for what is most important. Unless that C11 is in an observatory on mounted on a permanent pier.
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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    You have a good discussion going here...and a tough decision. I decided to not decide and instead have a range of scopes for different conditions and capabilities that I have collected over the years. When I returned to astronomy a while back my first purchase was a Skywatcher 100ED f/9 doublet; it is superb and has been very favorably compared to local TSA-102 Taks. Fact of the matter is that nowadays there is not a tremendous amount of difference in visual quality between the mainstream pack of decent instruments like those from Skywatcher/Synta (includes some Orion and Vixen scopes), Stellarvue, AT, and William Optics to name a few and the Big Boys at Takahashi, AP, and TEC (to name a few). With those BB brands you are paying for superb workmanship, mechanics, service, and optics that squeeze out the last 5% or so qualitatively. And you pay for what you get. The 4" was very satisfying, but after a bit I wanted aperture, and went for the affordable and convenient SCTs. As luck would have it, I again acquired two exceptional instruments, a C925 XLT and a terrific C11 Edge HD - and they do everything I could reasonably ask of them. But something was missing and I ended up searching out what is for me the perfect Apo refractor...a TEC 140. It is yet another brilliant performer and continues to knock my socks off at every turn. If I had to choose just one of those scopes I would be hard pressed to do it because they all do different things and do them well. Personally, I would keep working the C11 because it can be a super performer if it's at least average quality and it can show you things less aperture won't. But if you can swing a second scope, I'd be looking at a 5" to 5.5" Apo refractor to complement your big gun. At under 2k the ES 127ED is just about impossible to beat, if you can handle more I can unreservedly suggest you look at the TEC 140. While $5500 new, they often show up on the secondary market for well under that price (that's how I got mine) and folks who buy them in the first place typically take VERY good care of them. A nice Apo would be the perfect compliment to your big SCT.
    Good luck in your search, and I hope this helps

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    Default Re: Intro Refractor?

    Let me say, I own 2 scopes Z10 Light Cannon that wheel out in the backyard and a PowerseekerEQ80 w/motor drive that if I ever want to go to the mountain 5 min. down the road.

 

 
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