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Thread: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

  1. #1
    Reddog1972's Avatar
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    Default A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!



    I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I should do given my situation. You can see my gear in the sig (currently using at XT10g) and I live in a highly light polluted area near NYC (red/white zone). My interest over the past few years has gradually moved towards that of AP and while my Dob can track, it's alt/az and exposure times are limited at best. I'm looking to put together a setup that allows for rock solid AP, yet at the same time I don't want to give up completely on visual - mostly for those times travelling to dark sites.

    Based on everything I've read and to those I've spoken to, a refractor most certainly seems the way to go for AP but I fear even a 152mm would completely hinder any visual I'd like to do in my area. I'm not opposed to obtaining a 2nd scope (either a large aperture cass to use on whatever tripod/mount I acquire by removing the AP refractor or a separate dob completely). I'm going to be selling my XT10g, and whatever proceeds I get from that sale will be used to partially offset the $3k investment in my new setup(s).

    So, there you go.... fire away with a $3k budget in total!!! I've looked at ED triplet APOs, Celestron Edge series, collapsible dobs, Orion Atlas EQ mounts, CGEMs, etc..... I'm sure there are options and combinations out there which I haven't considered. You prior experiences and opinions are greatly appreciated!!

    Clear skies my friends.
    Scopes: Stellarvue SV70T w FF/FR @ 0.8x; ES 127 CF FCD100 w FF/FR @ 0.7x;
    Mounts: Orion Atlas EQ-G & Sirius EQ-G Filters: Astronomik EOS Ha 6nm, Oiii 12nm, CLS-CCD, Baader 1.25" SHO
    EPs: ES82° 8.8&30mm; ES68° 24mm; Meade UWA 82° 5.5&14mm; Meade 52° 56mm; Binos: 15x70 Skywatcher
    Camera: ASI1600MM cool w ZWO EFW Mini, Canon T3i (modded) Canon T5, Processing & Imaging: Pixinsight/Backyard EOS

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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    Well, you didn't mention an RC, the 6 inch will certainly fit the budget, be very portable and have that long focal length to fight light polluted viewing. Should give you enough left over for a good starter camera, maybe one of the new ZWO models, a focal reducer and a six-pack. Personally, a 152 refractor would be a chore to handle traveling to a dark sight, an 80 would be easier, heck, get both 80 and RC, and a good mount, a ZEQ 25 should handle either of those scopes.

    Good luck,
    Steve
    a028964 and Reddog1972 like this.
    Scopes: Meade 16LX200 GPS UHTC, 17.5 Dob, 10 DK, C8, AT80LE, Orion 80SD, couple 6's, couple 4's, Unitron 2.4.
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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    Certainly you'll find on this and other forums that if AP is what you desire then the mount is where to put your money as you'll eliminate many frustrations if you have a solid base on which to align and track. I would then go second hand on a scope and probably start with the cheapest DSLR your can find. If you want to do wide field go refractor but if you want galaxies go SCT or RC (I would say RC to avoid focus and mirror flop issues). Start with DSLR and no guiding to get down the intricacies of AP, capture and processing of shorter duration sub frames. Once you get comfortable and rebuild your budget then you can go cooled CCD and/or the other scope (SCT/RC if you went refractor or refractor if you went SCT/RC). You will probably get plenty of recommendations for good equatorial mounts in the $1,500-$2,500 dollar range. Of course the weight of your equipment will possible limit what you need. If you go 8-10" SCT/RC you'll need a mount to handle that payload. If you go refractor and you get a smaller payload mount then getting a bigger scope later requires a different mount potentially. I would buy the mount oversized if you plan to start with a small scope in anticipation of getting a larger scope later.
    -Brad

    Hardware: Meade 8" ACF, Mallincam CF VRC-8 & 0.75 reducer w/ Moonlite 2" CS focuser & High Res Stepper, WO Star 71 w/ Moonlite High Res Stepper,

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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    The RC option is an interesting one which I previously didn't consider. There are some very nice 8" units which weight 18lbs or the CF versions which are 16lbs (perfect for an Atlas or CGEM) and appear to be great for AP, however the consistent theme with them is the extreme difficulty in collimation (on the flip side they evidently hold collimation very well once done properly). This is something I need to read more about and educate myself about how difficult it actually is considering neither the primary nor secondary mirrors move in this type of OTA. I do like the idea of a larger aperture than the reflectors offer with a longer focal length, and it doesn't have mirror flop issues that arise on the SCTs. Both the SCT and RC need focal reducers to speed up the scope, whereas the reflectors don't....
    Any feedback on the ES127mm CF Triplet ED Apo for use in AP in light polluted skies?
    Scopes: Stellarvue SV70T w FF/FR @ 0.8x; ES 127 CF FCD100 w FF/FR @ 0.7x;
    Mounts: Orion Atlas EQ-G & Sirius EQ-G Filters: Astronomik EOS Ha 6nm, Oiii 12nm, CLS-CCD, Baader 1.25" SHO
    EPs: ES82° 8.8&30mm; ES68° 24mm; Meade UWA 82° 5.5&14mm; Meade 52° 56mm; Binos: 15x70 Skywatcher
    Camera: ASI1600MM cool w ZWO EFW Mini, Canon T3i (modded) Canon T5, Processing & Imaging: Pixinsight/Backyard EOS

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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    I just purchased an Orion Atlas EQ6 tripod/mount. At this point I'm looking at a few refractor options:

    ES80 ED F/6 triplet apo - Explore Scientific 80 mm Essential ED Triplet Refractor OTA with Accessories - ES-ED0806-01 - Refracting Telescopes - Telescopes
    Orion80 ED F/6 triplet apo - Orion 80 mm ED F/6 CF Triplet APO Refractor OTA - 09534 - Refracting Telescopes - Telescopes
    Williams Optics GT71 f/5.9 triplet apo - William Optics GT71 f/5.9 Gold Triplet APO Refractor - A-F71GT - Refracting Telescopes - Telescopes

    Any preferences/thoughts?
    Scopes: Stellarvue SV70T w FF/FR @ 0.8x; ES 127 CF FCD100 w FF/FR @ 0.7x;
    Mounts: Orion Atlas EQ-G & Sirius EQ-G Filters: Astronomik EOS Ha 6nm, Oiii 12nm, CLS-CCD, Baader 1.25" SHO
    EPs: ES82° 8.8&30mm; ES68° 24mm; Meade UWA 82° 5.5&14mm; Meade 52° 56mm; Binos: 15x70 Skywatcher
    Camera: ASI1600MM cool w ZWO EFW Mini, Canon T3i (modded) Canon T5, Processing & Imaging: Pixinsight/Backyard EOS

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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    I have been using telescopes for a little over 50 years now. Started with a 4 1/4 Edmund Newtonian. I still have that, several refractors up to 5in, and SCTs. With all the choices I have, I almost invariably pick one of my fork-mounted SCTs. They are big optically, but (the 8in ones) are small enough physically to carry easily. I drive a standard cab Ranger pickup and can put everything in the cab with me including cameras and a laptop, except the tripod, when I want to go find a dark site. Mirror flop has never been an issue with me. I don't think I have ever had that happen during an exposure, and it is my understanding that the newest SCTs have virtually eliminated that anyway. You have a long focal length scope for planetary and lunar work, and with a field flattening focal-reducer you have a reasonably fast deep sky scope.

    If I had to own only one telescope, it would be an 8in SCT.
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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    Thanks for the input Zygmo! Yesterday I actually worked out a deal to purchase a very nice and gently used Stellarvue SV70T (f/6) Apo Triplet with field flattener/focal reducer @ 0.8x to mount on the Atlas EQ-G for my AP setup. Right now I'm trying to figure out what my best options are for polar alignment, considering my northern views are normally obscured by trees. I know Celestron has Skysense, but I'm not sure how/if that's compatible with Orion, or if there is something similar in the Orion/Skywatcher family which can electronically assist/automate the process.
    Scopes: Stellarvue SV70T w FF/FR @ 0.8x; ES 127 CF FCD100 w FF/FR @ 0.7x;
    Mounts: Orion Atlas EQ-G & Sirius EQ-G Filters: Astronomik EOS Ha 6nm, Oiii 12nm, CLS-CCD, Baader 1.25" SHO
    EPs: ES82° 8.8&30mm; ES68° 24mm; Meade UWA 82° 5.5&14mm; Meade 52° 56mm; Binos: 15x70 Skywatcher
    Camera: ASI1600MM cool w ZWO EFW Mini, Canon T3i (modded) Canon T5, Processing & Imaging: Pixinsight/Backyard EOS

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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    StarSense isn't compatible with anything but Celestron. It also doesn't have any polar alignment functionality, so it's no loss there. With no view to the north, you'll probably need to drift align.
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    Dave Hunt

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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    Hmmm... According to this post: Automated/Electronically assisted polar alignment for Orion Atlas EQ-G?

    StarSense will work with Orion mounts. However, it still won't help with polar alignment.
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    Default Re: A $3k budget and uncertainty of how best to use it!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zygmo View Post
    I have been using telescopes for a little over 50 years now. Started with a 4 1/4 Edmund Newtonian. I still have that, several refractors up to 5in, and SCTs. With all the choices I have, I almost invariably pick one of my fork-mounted SCTs. They are big optically, but (the 8in ones) are small enough physically to carry easily. I drive a standard cab Ranger pickup and can put everything in the cab with me including cameras and a laptop, except the tripod, when I want to go find a dark site. Mirror flop has never been an issue with me. I don't think I have ever had that happen during an exposure, and it is my understanding that the newest SCTs have virtually eliminated that anyway. You have a long focal length scope for planetary and lunar work, and with a field flattening focal-reducer you have a reasonably fast deep sky scope.

    If I had to own only one telescope, it would be an 8in SCT.
    Owning only one scope, what a frightening idea. But, if I could only have one and my budget was limited, a 8 inch SCT would be the one I would pick too.
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