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Thread: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

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    Default Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP



    I am new to AP and just learning. I have done telescopes in past decades. Bought a new Meade StarNavigator NG 130mm. Trying different photo options including a T-Mounted Nikon 3500 and an iPhone X mount. None of that worked at all, with Meade finally admitting it was unsuitable for AP. Its going back. I still have a 25+ year old 4.5" reflector which was better than the Meade (even with the cobwebs still in the tube...)

    I am now looking for a replacement with GoTo capabilities. I plan to add a dedicated AP camera (many have suggested ZWO models). Many web articles discuss the different Celestron models like the Nexstar SE 6 and 8 versions.

    I live in a medium city area where light pollution is a factor. There are fairly good viewing locations about 30 minutes away where a local astronomy club meets a few times a month. A home parking lot is where I will do most starting things until I learn the basics of AP, laptop software, stacking, etc.

    The things I already have include:

    The old 4.5 inch reflector.
    Nikon D3500 and T-adapters and eyepiece viewer adapter
    iPhone X and mount
    Assorted iPad and tablet models and older iPhones
    Portable power for 12V
    Laser alignment tool for columnization
    Red LED flash light
    Vixon plate for using the Nikon on a tracking scope mount...and assorted Nikon lens
    High end Windows 10 laptop with lots of memory, video caps, and storage.
    Existing IT knowledge as I worked in software for many decades

    Any suggestions or comments on where to start?

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    Default Re: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

    Welcome to the forum.

    If you are going to get a scope specifically for AP (even if visual is also a goal), then don't get an alt-az mount. It'll do for planets, but you will eventually want to take DSO images. An alt-az mount will make DSO imaging a royal pain.

    You want to get an equatorial mount. Something like an AVX, HEQ5, or Sirius is a good starter mount for AP. Any of them will take a not-too-heavy scope. Be sure not to load any of them to more than 50-60% of the manufacturer's rated capacity.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

    My initial objective is solar system objects, but DSO may follow. With a alt-az mount model, at what point does this become an issue?

    Are you describing something more like this? Celestron 11079XLT C6-S GT XLT Advanced Series 6in Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
    Last edited by Ed217; 08-24-2019 at 12:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

    The Meade StarNavigator NG 130mm, the telescope itself, is a "Bird Jones" catadioptric reflector. Of all the types of reflectors, that design is generally the most difficult to collimate. They are collimated best with passive-tools(Cheshire, sight-tube, collimation-cap), and instead of lasers. Folks do image with them. They're best suited for imaging planets and galaxies. I have a 127mm f/8 "Bird Jones" incidentally.
    "Look, son! Up there!" His son shouted back, "I see it! What is it?" The father regaled, "The galaxy!
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

    This one failed on all counts. Even my 25+ year old smaller reflector has much better images of the moon, taken from the same time and place.

    I have since purchased a Celestron NexStar SE 8" unit which arrives later this week.

    I do appreciate the comments and suggestions.

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    : Meade Starnavigator NG 130mm, off brand 4.5" reflector.
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    8 SE.
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed217 View Post

    I have since purchased a Celestron NexStar SE 8" unit which arrives later this week.

    I do appreciate the comments and suggestions.
    The 8SE will be quite good for imaging the planets and moon with a dedicated solar system imager like a ZWO imager. With a focal reducer, you will be able (but very limited) to capture a few of the brighter DSOs with a LOT of exposures. But for most DSOs, you will later need an EQ mount.
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a New Scope for Visual and AP

    The 8se arrived today and its images are SO much better and clearer than the Meade. Still working with alignment things and high light pollution and hope to get it out to a better spot over the weekend.
    Gabby76, antariksha and Jay6821 like this.

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    : Meade Starnavigator NG 130mm, off brand 4.5" reflector.
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    8 SE.
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