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Thread: Choice of mounts

  1. #21
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    Lot to consider ! Welcome to the ''Dark Art''

    Start off slow, learn gradually, climb the learning curve , data collection is , I think , a 1/3 of imaging .....just wait till you start to learn the Post Processing !!!!

    Good DSLR on a Refractor will get you good widefelds , Nebula's , Galaxy's . Will also get decent Lunar ( Solar if you use proper protection ) images, using a Barlow lens in the image train.

    Planets woul be out with a DSLR ( better using dedicated image camera for that )

    GEM mount most practical for AP. Tracking abiliaty a big advantage.

    In AP , as Austin pointed out , the Mount is King.
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  2. #22
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    Lots of good advice already. After fooling with this hobby for almost 50 years I have learned a couple of things.

    For the price of a used car you can get a pretty good telescope.

    For me and probably everybody else, frequency and enjoyment of your hobby is directly proportional to access and ease of use. Dragging everything out and setting it up for each use dramatically reduces eyepiece time and experience. My use went up significantly when I put up an observatory.

    Good optics are everyone's goal, but to me, good, solid mechanics are the utmost concern. Good seeing comes and goes, but lousy mounts frustrate you every time you use them, no matter how good the scope is.

    SCT's are so popular because they meet (or come close to meeting) most people's goals for a good mount, good optics, decent aperture and reasonable transportability. Add in Alt/AZ or polar mounting with GoTo and you have a winner. Figure 50-100lbs the bottom end of good.

    Getting back to mechanics... Are controls easy to lock and unlock (in the dark). Are they large enough to find (in the dark)? Does the scope vibrate easily in a slight breeze? Mass is important. Get to the gym and bulk up! What... you thought this was a hobby for lightweights?

    Astrophotography isn't easy (I was trained in commercial photography and in the digital age, my film work hardly helps) and as one of your respondents alluded, it can (will) be a money pit.

    Starting small in astrophotography one gets critical of one's own work very quickly.

    You'll want a new camera, better and/or bigger scope... every year! But, if you start with a great mount, upgrading the other stuff is easy... and you will upgrade if you stay with it. I don’t care what you buy first, you will want to upgrade. In boating it’s footitus, in aviation its knotitis and astronomy its inchitis or mega pixelitis. The only cure, in each hobby is money!

    Recently I asked a friend what he paid for a new piece of equipment and he said; “The same price as a nice string of pearls”. Yup, no matter what the price is, plan on double, just to keep the peace.

    But I ramble on.

    Good luck

    Dave
    LX200ACF 10" in observatory, TeleVue Pronto, Astro Tech AT65EDQ, ZWO ASI120MC, SBIG 8300M, SBIG FW5 filter wheel, Baader LRGB and 7nm Ha filter.
    Other hobbies: flying, history and woodworking,

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  4. #23
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    To who ever stumbles upon this thread...this contains pure GOLD about mounts ans scopes...
    Honestly.
    Declan.
    Celestron 8"Edge HD SCT.

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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelystan;1057138808I promised her I would be able to show her [autolink
    Saturn[/autolink]'s rings for less than the cost of a car
    SS


    My wife was just drop-jawed, staggered at the moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Truly it enriched her life to see them in my C11.

    The "faint fuzzies?" Well, not so much.
    She reached the advanced age of 70 without ever seeing the rings of Saturn but it seemed it was "worth the wait" for her.

    Showed her Uranus a week or so back too. Not so impressed. In fact neither was I.

  6. #25
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    Hi Steely!

    My suggestion is that you buy nothing until you have spent some time at an astronomy club, peering through as many telescopes as can be tried.

    One thing is for certain: astronomers are happy to share their passion and excitement. It's rare for someone to decline a request. Measure your experience viewing an object to the cost of acquisition. You will likely notice quite a spread in prices, especially when you jump to larger aperture systems on motorized mounts.

    For another: keep it simple. Try not to demand too many capabilities from one system. Forget about imaging for the time being and restrict yourself to viewing with warm wet eyes.

    Imaging systems and other technical contrivances invariably wind up distracting you from what you came for and often rob even experienced astronomers of a pleasure that would could have been had with simpler equipment.

    Avoid "Techno-Geeks" These are equipment fanatics who are more preoccupied with bragging rights and who own a ton of expensive gear. They rarely know how to use their equipment, not because they lack the ability but because they never have anything long enough to really get to know it. It's the gadget of the week for them so keep it simple.

    Learn the Sky! Try to learn the position of important objects without the use of electronic help. You will acquire favorites. Saturn and Jupiter are common friends. Acquiring intimacy with them is a good start to jump off from when advancing to DSOs. You do not have to have your own equipment to do this. Just step outside on any clear night with a star chart and learn where they are. You'll get more utility from your scope if you know what to look for before you set it up.

    Buy nothing new, not now, maybe never! You have little or no first hand experience and while it's prudent to ask others for information, information is not enough and is hard to use without some experiential platform.

    Buying a new scope is a needless risk of money, especially when you consider the possibility of really being bitten by this past-time.

    If you fall in love as we have, you will outpace the capability of a new scope quickly, become frustrated too soon by its limitations and now will be faced with the need to buy something again before the cost of the first scope has been rationalized or amortized (Depends on if you are married and if your spouse is interested).

    Another reason for not buying new is that optics do not wear out. Scopes may show signs of cosmetic wear but they still work even after years of use. Why spend money on something new whose suitability is unknown when a second hand scope of the same make and model can be had for a fraction of the cost?

    Everything being equal (which it rarely is!) you will get more light gathering power per Pound Stirling from a Newtonian than from a refractor.

    Refractors are great scopes. I have my own and I'd never dream of parting with them but the cost of making them is high and not something I'd encourage for a first-time scope.

    Commercially made mirrors often are rarely better than 1/2 wave. Yes, you can shop for a better mirror and while 1/2 wave won't knock any socks off it's important to recognize that viewing conditions in England are not always the greatest.

    Mirrors that offer Strehl's of 0.99 and a 1/30 wave precision need a really transparent sky to show their stuff. Anything less and a view through them won't be impressive. For a hard bitten enthusiast in England it's easy to justify the cost of a really sharp mirror, precisely because great skies are so rare and he or she does not want to miss it when it does happen!

    You are not there, not yet so don't go too crazy for a great mirror unless someone offers you a deal that's verifiable and too good to be true. . . which they often are.

    A commercially made Dobsonian mount fitted with a good 8" or 10" mirror is a common used scope to look for. However, having said that, of all my scopes (fifteen) ranging from 100mm to 15 inch Newts, the one that has provided more fun with less fuss is a 4.25" F-7.4 Newtonian on a much modified CG-4 mount. I made that mirror myself and it's a 1/30 wave mirror.

    You do NOT need aperture to have fun. Better to buy good quality that's small than compromise quailty for more aperture. My 8" Waite Research mirror outperforms commercial mirrors twice its size!

    Have fun. Your inner youngster is in for a big treat. So is your son!

    Clear Skies!!

    Art
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  8. #26
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    Art, do you have your collection documented on the net?
    Meade 16" LightBridge; Celestron G-8N Bird-Jones/motorized EQ5;
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    127 Mak/go-to EQ5; Burgess 127f8 refractor; Sky-Watcher 5" F/5 collapsible dob; 90mm Mak/motorized EQ2; Royal Astro 76/910-GEM; Meade 60x700 refractor/alt/az; Zhumell 25x100 Coin Ops; GalilleoScope. Celestron 8mm-24mm zoom; lots of fixed EPs,some good, some..not so much. A small collection of surveying instruments; a forest of tripods; Canon Rebel Xti. Confirmed gadget junkie; Custodian of the Magnetic North Pole (Send $1.00 to Pierre each time you use a compass.)
    49-41-37.03N 123-09-29.61W Calculated magnetic declination: 17° 39' East

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  9. #27
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    i have had the same questions and ended going down the dob road. while it can
    be difficult to find and track object at higher mags it is also very rewarding. i remember taking hours to find 47 Tuc but now can find it with my eyes closed! my advice is binocs and a good finderscope. the latter are often compromised on entry level gear yet is the most important aid to observing especially when getting started. if anyone tries to sell you a finder uner 50mm aperture dont take it. 50 works 60 works better and so on... good luck
    craig

  10. #28
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    Default Great Information Here !

    Thanks to all. This newbie is really soaking your comments in.

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    Well friends, I really started to feel like "Number 5" from Short Circuit, hahahahahaha, the more input the better. This thread has shed lots of light on several issues that most newcomers face at the time of deciding what equipment and procedure to approach when tackling AP. Thank you to those that took the time to provide such vast pool of knowledge. Well done to all.
    Lunt LS80T, Meade LXD75, C8 Advance VX, C8 on CGEM, WO Megrez 90mm, Celestron CG5ASGT,William Optics 71MM refractor. Celestron Sky Master,
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  12. #30
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    Default Re: Choice of mounts

    I'll add my thanks as well. I have already invested in 2 scopes: my 1st - a 4" tabletop Newt, and the 10" collapsible Skywatcher. I love both and someday want to do AP. This thread is now bookmarked so I can come back and review from time to time. Thanks again to all who participated.

    Tim

 

 
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