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Old 18-12-2005, 06:59 PM
Harlequin
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Davidpretorius,

I will be buying within the next few months. I am interested in the specifications of the 16" truss Dob compared to other models. Especially since I have had a chance to practice with my friends homemade Dob.

I am keen to explore Orion since viewed many images from NASA and the recent photo from Alexander. I wish I could print huge posters of these amazing images for my house.


Brian,

I have reviewed information from an active and well organised astro club located in north Brisbane. After reading their response about astrocamps and meetings, I referred to my Brisbane map and am not confident with navigating through Brisbane CBD from the Gold Coast. I have spoken to friends and family about any existing Gold Coast astro clubs without success.

I have rediscovered large foldout star charts from several magazines published by Australian Geographic called Newton. I have borrowed my friend's binoculars and have created nightly tests to locate well known objects in the sky in order to become more familiar with the well known DSO's.


Ballaratdragons,

Thank you for referring me to this wonderful program. I can not believe this is available for free with all the features and information included. This program has been added to my permanent "bag'o'tricks".


Thanks for the advice.

Best regards,


Harlequin

Last edited by Harlequin; 19-12-2005 at 01:07 AM.
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  #142  
Old 17-01-2006, 03:11 PM
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Ziggy Stardust
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Goodday to all,

I found you guys via the great article in Sky and Telescope and was excited to find a true Aussie forum....

Well, I'm Tony. I'm an ex-South African ( no cricket jokes please ) here now in Perth. I have always been very active in astronomy back in RSA and served on the ASSA committee for the Johannesburg branch back in 2003, before coming to Aussie. And since then my scopes are mostly gathering dust, due to work and not finding the right bunch of astro-holics to spend my nights with.... also ****** light pollution in Merriwa for the first year here. Well now I'm up in Swan Valley and on a nice dark big small holding, backing onto Whiteman Park... so the night is bright again....

ok, so what toys do I have...
1x Meade LX 200GPS 12 inch meade, plus loads of extras
1x Helois 150mm ( 6 inch) F12 refractor ( chinese made, but a great scope)
1x Borge Apo 90mm refractor ( also used as a guide scope on Meade 12inch)
1x wide angle bino's.... most used tool!!!
1x nikon 4500 camera dedicated to astro work...

and more len's and toys than I can admit to my wife...

So whats my claim to fame....mmm published three times for my eclipse foto's from the 2002 Eclipse in Africa. Twice in Sky and Telescope (usa) and once in Astronomy.


And what am I looking for... well as the Meade 12inch is close to 35kg+++ I need some one to help me use it.... and some friends to get cold with on clear winter nights around the Swan Valley areas... and too make good Astro-friends here in Australia.

Tony
aka...Ziggy Stardust
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  #143  
Old 17-01-2006, 03:14 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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Welcome Tony!

There's already a thread dedicated to you: http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ead.php?t=6948

Hope you enjoy your time here! There's some great guys over in Perth that i'm sure would love to get together for some viewing nights.
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  #144  
Old 23-03-2006, 04:24 AM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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Howdy folks .... quick intro: I'm a very old hand in terms of loving the dark skies, etc but never owned, and very rarely even looked through, a decent scope that engenders in one a love of astronomy and the heavens above. Experiences with others' scopes has been with nothing but fraught with bad optics, smeary results, painfull attempts at fine tuning, etc. Have decided to get out and buy a "quality" scope, budget is really tight at present but have a new job working shiftwork so often I'm awake a lot at night and there's few other things you can do by yourself in the dark :-)

Anyway .... choosing a first scope .. like many others here I've thought seriously about a good Dobson, big as I can afford which is only 8-10" probably short term. However while doing heaps of research I did get very keen on something like a Meade ETX. Must admit the idea of a GOTO system appeals hugely to me at present, though the pricing has put me right off the ETX models at this time anyway.

Through friend in the states I have come across a couple of other great Meade deals I really cant go past. I should point out that my main interest at present is scoping the moon and other planets, comets when available, and a few of the more lively and beautiful star clusters.

Ok, so here's the gist, I can get a Meade TeleStar DS-2130AT with H25mm, H12.5mm and SR4mm and a 3X Barlow lens plus the basic Autostar system, I like the 5" aperture but this unit has the standard rack and pinion focuser (as do all these options) with .965” and 2” eyepiece holders. I know the 1.25" are the go now, how much worse are the .965's, how much smaller is the FOV?

Alternately I can get a DS-114ATE, pretty much the same accessories package, still with .965" eyepieces, but comes with the bonus electronic eyepiece - the simple RCA video output type but I can see the fun in that, would the 114mm aperture grab enough light to make the video outpout worthwhile?

Or ..... :-) ..... I can get the DS-2114ATSA "short tube" version but it does have 1.25" eyepieces in 25mm and 9mm and a 2x Barlow.

I have a couple of options as well for some 60 to 90mm Meade refractors also with Autostar guidance. I have read that a reasonable refractor will do as good a job of showing planets, if not better than, any reflector for the same or similar price. I wonder how happy I would be with the smaller aperture.

These are all going to cost me between Oz$280 and $350 roughly sent to my local post office. For this price I think I could make do very nicely until such time as I can save somewhere between 1 to 2 grand maybe for a fairly pleasant, large bore Dobson setup.

So .. open to discussion, please feel free to tear my ideas apart, or perhaps even affirm that my ideas aren't too far off line for a newbie.

PS: I do have a set of binocs already, they're only Tasco but they are 8-24x50 variables and I do have a lot of fun with them.
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  #145  
Old 23-03-2006, 06:27 AM
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Starkler (Geoff)
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Steve, please as a minimum, dont consider anything cheaper than a 6" dob of GSO or skywatcher make. Anything less is going to be a frustrating waste of money where you will be fighting wobbly mounts, bad focusers and poor optics instead of enjoying your scope.
You certainly should avoid short tube type newtonians which have a long focal length. These scopes have a built in plastic barlow and are typically very poor optically, and almost impossible to collimate.
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  #146  
Old 23-03-2006, 08:57 AM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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Listen to Starkler. The mount will drive you nuts for a start. It will be very flimsy. There are quite possibly some good .925 eyepieces around the place but I'm betting the ones offered here are not them. Avoid .925 eyepieces, 1.25" are the minimum to start with as they are the "standard" now.

Best bang for the buck? 6" - 8" GS Dob, you might even be able to talk them into throwing in a couple of eyepieces. Too many people have given up the on astronomy because of dodgy mounts and scopes. Check out the GS - 580 under Dobsonian scopes here

I see you're on the Sunshine Coast. I'm in Nambour and there are quite afew of us you get together every month out at Kenilworth. You're welcome to drop in for visit at either place. Drop me a pm if you interested.
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  #147  
Old 23-03-2006, 09:35 AM
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Miaplacidus (Brian)
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Join your local club and sponge off everybody else. I find that OPs have the fastest and easiest set-up, as well as the biggest aperture. Not only that, but you don't even have to hang around when it's time to pack up. Very easy on your back.

Seriously, though, at least you'll get a good idea of what you really like by looking through a few different scopes.



Brian.
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  #148  
Old 23-03-2006, 10:33 AM
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astroron (Ron)
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Hi Steve, as Paul says come upto our Astro nights at my observatory nr Kenilworth and see whats available and talk to other astronomers before spending your hard earned money on something which could reach it's use by date very quickly.
Give those 0.925 eyepieces the big flick and stick to the 1.25" as they are the standard today.
Look forward to seeing you at one of our Astro nights. Ron
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  #149  
Old 23-03-2006, 11:57 AM
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janoskiss (Steve H)
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Welcome Steve. I'd give up the Goto and spend the money on good quality and more aperture. You can get an 8" Dobsonian for little more than $400. You'll have to navigate to the objects yourself using charts but once you get there that telescope will show you a hell of a lot more.

Don't think that 8-10" aperture is small. 8" is the largest Dob that I'd still classify as grab and go (can be carried in piece with ease). 10" is the largest you can use sitting down on an ordinary chair. With a 12" Dob you would do most of your observing standing up or sitting on a tall stool. Any bigger and you'll probably need a step or ladder to view near zenith. So 8-10" is a very good user friendly size in Dobs.

Considering you want to get a large Dob in the future, I would go with the 8" for extra portability, which will come in handy even when you have your monster dob.

But 10" is quite a lot of aperture and you would probably be very content with it for many years to come. And if you want goto you can get an Argonavis (push-to computer) for your dob later on. If you can go to a star party or observing night and compare telescopes for yourself that would be best.
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  #150  
Old 23-03-2006, 12:06 PM
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ving (David)
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g'day steve!
I'd go with what steve said
8-10 inch dob i'll show you heaps
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  #151  
Old 24-03-2006, 11:05 PM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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Well thanks very much everyone for the advice, it is very much
appreciated! I have to say I was a bit confused by some comments
regarding quality as I thought Meade scopes were good quality, which is
why I was looking at them, but I do understand I was looking at very
inexpensive models. However since everyone seems to think a nice
Dobsonian is the go so that's what I'll probably do.

I've got a 4WD ute with lockable fibreglass canopy which can hold a
single bed sized mattress flat so I can probably carry probably any
size scope I 'm likely to purchase at this time, as long as my arms
& legs are up to carrying the bits once I reach my destination.

I very much appreciate the invitation's from Paul and "Astroron" to
come along to one of your evenings, would love to come along (work
roster permitting - 24/7/365 shiftwork) and as soon as I have time to
figure how to send a private message on here I'll be in touch. As I
work either 3 to 11 pm or 11pm to 7am it may be a while before I'll be
able to catch up with you folks in person, so I'll probably buy
something soon-ish instead of waiting to check out some other people's
pride and joy's. Otherwise the money I do have aside will get eaten
away by car bills, vet bills, insurance bills, other bills, etc, before
I can make a purchase.

I found a litle time this afternoon to phone both Andrews Comm's (was
lucky enough to have Lee Andrews answer the phone, VERY helpful man who
took the time to explain a number of things to me) and I also called Bintel
and spoke to a lady there briefly as well. I may be ordering something in the
next few days, and admit I am leaning towards buying from Andrews, though
I have read the comments on this site regarding Bintel's impressive customer
care, pre delivery check, etc.
Again, I welcome any comments from the crowd here.

There is only $50 difference betwen the Skywatycher 10" and the GS-680
deluxe version at Andrew's, would anyone care to offer opinion as to
whether there's much difference to be gained for the extra bucks.
Apparently I'm only looking at $50 or so for delivery to my area, which
came as a very pleasant surprise as I'd been imagining $100 or more.

I look forward to talking to you all more on here - have a great day/night!

Steve
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  #152  
Old 24-03-2006, 11:10 PM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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PS: Next time I'll see if I can try to NOT post my reply as half width/double height. DOHHHH!
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  #153  
Old 25-03-2006, 03:58 AM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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"There is only $50 difference betwen the Skywatycher 10" and the GS-680
deluxe version at Andrew's
"...

I AM having a bad day ..... disregard that 10" bit, they're both 200mm units.
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  #154  
Old 25-03-2006, 09:53 AM
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janoskiss (Steve H)
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The Skywatcher has much better finish on the tube and the altitude bearings and friction control are better too. OTOH the GS deluxe comes with extras like fan, crayford (not sure about the SW). For a good price on the Skywatcher Dobs, try MyAstroshop (although their "online store" seems to be down at the moment). But in the end, you'd get a lot of enjoyment out of either scope.
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  #155  
Old 25-03-2006, 10:59 AM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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Hi Steve. If you want to pm someone, left click on their username beside their avatar and select "Send a private message to......"

Re your question about Meade quality. They certainly do produce good quality gear, some of it is exceptionally good, particularly the higher end equipment (starting around $1000) and up. Unfortunately they and a lot of other companys still want to flog off to the unwarey really flimsy tripods. The optics of the scope may be OK but it's the mount that is the real let down and leads to despair and frustration.

I wonder how many budding amateur astronomers have been turned off forever because of discustingly poor quality mounts.

Pardon me but this is a bit of a soap box issue for me. The mounts generally don't do what they are advertised to do yet Consumer Affairs (even tried the ACCC but after Alan Fels left ) seem quite happy to do nothing about it. And yes I have sent a couple of letters and emails to them. I think there needs to be a concerted effort from the Amateur Astronomy community to get CA off their butts and act.

I'll shut up now Sorry for hijacking your thread with my soap box Steve. At least you are forwarned now
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  #156  
Old 26-03-2006, 02:20 AM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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Good advice is never hijacking Paul so don't sweat it, I really apreciate all the good advice and info that all the great people here are so willing to share. Thanks all!!!!!
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  #157  
Old 26-03-2006, 05:25 PM
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cjmarsh81
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I have the Skywatcher 10" and agree with janoskiss that the finish is better than the GSO's. Also the tension knobs are great for quick adjustments. It does however come with a rack and pinion focuser which is a pain. I have regreased it once already and am forever tightening and losening it with an allen key to try and reduce sloppiness.
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  #158  
Old 27-03-2006, 06:40 PM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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I appreciate the feedback very much, and I have been researching prices on line and making a number of phone calls ..... have pretty much narrowed it down to the GS-680 Deluxe (Crawford) or the Skywatcher (with Crawford mod) but the price comparison is $449 GSO against $595 Skywatcher ..... I am asking myself is the SW 33% better than the GSO for the price margin.

I DID also get a very tempting offer from Bintel, as they are out of 8" Dobs at present I was offered the 10" Premium model for a VERY keen price .... stretches the budget VERY badly (maybe too much actually) but VERY tempting!!! Will make my decision tonight... stay tuned!
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  #159  
Old 27-03-2006, 09:47 PM
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janoskiss (Steve H)
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Out of those I'd go with one of the GS Dobs at those prices. 10" if you can swing it. But just to confuse you some more (sorry): a new GS crayford model has come out recently with 10:1 geared fine-focus. It's only $50 more than the standard model from Bintel and probably worth the upgrade.
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  #160  
Old 27-03-2006, 11:57 PM
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Gargoyle_Steve (Steve)
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Hmm ... food for thought. I'll be talking to Andrew's Coms again first thing in the morning .... might see just how far I CAN stretch the budget. Hell, I can get away with paying only 6 months rego on the car for now.
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