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Thread: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

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    Default Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?



    I had my heart set on a refractor telescope for quite some time as I was hoping to do some astro-photography and get some nice views of the planets, however, if I were to get one it would need to be an APO and I have a budget of $1500. I also need to get a mount with go-to tracking capabilities. I am interested in both planetary and deep space viewing, so my question is will a refractor for $1500 (such as a the Sky-Watcher APO 100ED) have better quality than a reflector worth $1500, in regards to astro-photography and not. What are the main differences I will see, will getting a reflector have that much of a difference in the distance and detail I can see and will I be able to do astro-photoraphy still as long as I have a tracking mount with the reflector?

    * If I were to get a refractor it would most likely be this: Sky-Watcher 100ED w/ a Celestron AVX Mount

    Thanks, Syadin
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    Default Re: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

    I found these three scopes I like any thoughts?

    Celestron 8" Cassegrain w/ AVX Mount

    Celestron Sky-Watcher 100ED APO-Refractor

    Orion Sirius 8" EQ-G Reflector

    What would you guys recommend between these three? Feel free to recommend anything else too. Which would see the farthest and have best clairty?

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    Default Re: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

    I don't think there is a good answer. . . But I'll try to lay out some of the issues.

    The Sky-Watcher has medium-slow optics at F/9. That means it is pretty unsuitable for DSO AP. You could improve that performance by getting a Focal reducer/flattener. That could give you some pretty decent speed for AP, but it does increase your cost a bit above what you anticipated.

    I'm also not at all sure about the focuser. It looks to me like it is probably a 2 inch focuser and would probably prove adequate to the task, but I'm not at all sure.

    One plus is that the AVX mount should handle the weight of the Sky-Watcher very nicely.

    Without knowing which reflector you are looking at I really have little to no idea what to say. If you get an astrograph Newt it should do a very good job - but if you go to an 8 inch instrument it will likely be a bit heavy for an AVX mount.

    You will, of course, get diffraction spiking with the Newt astrograph, but some people actually like that.

    There is a reason why a lot of folk find that something like a fairly fast 80mm triplet apochromat on a mount like the AVX is a great way to start. Not as demanding so far as guiding and it is light enough to work on an affordable mount. Shucks, some folk really like using a 65mm apochromat with stunning results.

    I hope that helps somehow.

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    Default Re: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Syadin View Post
    I found these three scopes I like any thoughts?

    Celestron 8" Cassegrain w/ AVX Mount
    Not bad. Remember that you'll need to get a focal reducer/flattener if you are going to go after DSOs. You'll still have a rather long focal length and will probably decide that you need an autoguider as well.
    I sorta commented on this one already. Not sure I have much to add except that I would not call it an apochromat. Very nice ED doublet and could be called a semi-apochromat, but while others might call it an apo - I wouldn't.
    Interesting. But the Rule-Of-Thumb (ROT) for AP is something like, don't put an OTA, camera, etc. weighing more than about 50% of the weight rating of the mount onto the mount. In this case the OTA is 16.5 pounds and the mount is rated for 30 pounds. You've already violated the ROT even before you attach a camera and autoguider. You might do OK, but I'd not count on it. Oh, and you will still need a coma corrector.

    What would you guys recommend between these three? Feel free to recommend anything else too. Which would see the farthest and have best clairty?
    No good answer to that one. Bigger and faster optics generally translate into being able to image fainter objects if you have a mount adequate to the task.

    But you'd better make sure you have a good enough mount. You can get good images from a marginal scope on a really good mount. But if you put a really good scope onto a marginal mount you will likely have lousy images and a lot of headaches.

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    Default Re: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

    Thank you, that was a better response then I could have asked for. I am defiantly considering the Sky-watcher and 8" cassegrain. I just have one of question of you.

    Say I were to get the Cassegrain, what is the difference between these two variants of the 8"? They seem very similar I know the mount is different but which would be the better scope due to whatever variables (optics, mounts)?

    Celestron 8" Cassegrain w/ AVX Mount


    Celestron - C8-SGT (XLT) Cassegrain

    Once again thanks.

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    Default Re: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

    The AVX mount is the improved replacement for the CG-5.

    So the first has the better mount.

    But do remember that either mount will be potentially a little marginal for AP with an 8 inch SCT. The weight of the OTA is probably around 12.5 pounds and once you add a camera, focal reducer/flattener, autoguider, etc. you could be pushing that 50% Rule-of-Thumb rather hard. But you would probably be OK since the SCT is shorter and has less sail area than does the 8 inch Newt.

    I need to emphasize that experienced AP folk keep emphasizing that the priority purchase is the mount, not the OTA. For many years the CG-5 has been considered the entry-level AP mount. As the CG-5 is phased out the AVX looks like it will soon be considered the entry-level AP mount with a courtesy nod to the CG-5 (and its variants) if you can find them cheap.

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    Default Re: Should I Get a Reflector or Refractor?

    It is really hard to beat the 8" on the VX for the price. You are starting out and have set a resonable budget for the aventure. With the package, 2" visual back, and a modest camera you can do alot and learn the hobbie. Yes it is too slow for DSO's ( nebulas and galaxys ) but damn good for planets, the moon, comets and such. If you get serious about DSO's you need to ratchet the budet up a ton. For DSO's the general needs are a great mount, fast scope, guider package, computer, upscale camera, software, knowledge, and a ton of time.
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