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Old 09-03-2011, 06:29 PM
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Red Nine (Evan)
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First Light - 12 Inch Skywatcher GOTO Collapsible Dob

Evening All,

I bit the bullet on Monday and ordered a brand new Skywatcher 12 inch collapsible dob. Arrived yesterday, and I was lucky enough that the sky was relatively clear come the night time, albeit with some intermittent cloud cover that got heavier as the night progressed...

I still don't think the scope is perfectly collimated, but I'm pretty sure its close enough. This is my first reflector, but I found the process to be quite quick and simple

Anyway, once the first few stars started coming out I raced outside and couldn't wait to get set up. The initial alignment for the goto was easy with Canopus and Sirius both bright, although not far apart. While I was there I had a good look at both stars, and wow, they looked incredible through this scope

I couldn't wait to see more.

We then went down to M42, and I was amazed and the detail seen there. There was a lovely green hue to it all, and the trapezium was clear as day. It really was some sight.

By then, some cloud hit so we took a break for 30 minutes. Once that was over we used the goto to find The Ghost of Jupiter and it could easily be seen, but it was hard to increase magnification on it as seeing was rather average. Still, it was quite a sight!

We were lucky enough by that time that Saturn was beginning to rise Both my partner and I were so excited to see it, and we were certainly impressed. I could definitely see 5 moons, and the detail was wonderful. Again, it was hard to push a higher magnification due to the seeing conditions. We were able to get up to around 200x and it was amazing.

From there, we got the goto to find the Sombrero Galaxy, which could be rather easily made out in a 24mm Panoptic, but it was brilliant through a 13mm Nagler. Still very much a faint fuzzy, but the detail was certainly there!

The clouds began rolling in again, so we had time for one more target, Omega Centauri. Again, it looked great in the 24mm, but it pretty much filled the FOV in the 13mm and the resolution there was wonderful.

Unfortunately, I'm rather limited with what parts of the sky I can see from my house, anything south is very hard to see unless it rises high in the sky. However, when I go to my partners place, that part is very much in full detail and I can't wait to get there and see some of those sights.

I take this point to apologise to all Brisbane residents for the cloud cover tonight, I hope it clears up soon cause I really can't wait to get back out there and use this amazing telescope. Money well spent, I'm a very satisfied customer
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the report and welcome to the observing section!
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:38 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
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Well done Evan, nice first light report!
A brand new 12" dob with 13mm Nag and 24mm Pan - jsut about the sweet spot IMHO for visual observing, quick to set up and easy to use.
I'm sure you are going to get lots of use out of it.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:25 PM
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Thanks Malcolm, and thanks for your help in my other thread.
Can't wait to get out and do some more, when these clouds finally pass. Some of the sights through the scope were incredible!
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:45 PM
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Sorry Evan I had forgotten I had mentioned those EPs to you in the other thread. The day I got my first look through the 13Nag I was definitely hooked!

Malcolm
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:49 PM
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Great first light report Evan. I did have a couple of questions with regards to the scope. You woudn't have any idea how much the base and the OTA weighs? I am very much intertested in purchasing one of these as well, but I am really toying up between the 12 and the 14, except I am very concerned that the 14 is too big, and may be difficult to move around for one person. From some of the threads that I have seen about these scopes, the 12 really hits the nail with regards to portability versus aperture!!

Hope you get some clear skies very soon!!

Cheers,

Daniel
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ N View Post
Great first light report Evan. I did have a couple of questions with regards to the scope. You woudn't have any idea how much the base and the OTA weighs? I am very much intertested in purchasing one of these as well, but I am really toying up between the 12 and the 14, except I am very concerned that the 14 is too big, and may be difficult to move around for one person. From some of the threads that I have seen about these scopes, the 12 really hits the nail with regards to portability versus aperture!!

Hope you get some clear skies very soon!!

Cheers,

Daniel
Hi Daniel,

The OTA for the 12 inch weights 21kg, while the 14 inch comes in a little heavier at 23.5kg. The collapsible design obviously saves some weight which makes it a lot more comfortable for transportation.

I'd probably put the mount a little under the 20kg mark for the 12 inch, not sure what the 14 inch comes in at.

So altogether, around 40kgs. It is manageable for one person, if it's carried in two parts, which is quite simple to do. I have to carry mine around 20 meters to reach my observing point so its a bit of a walk, but I'm still young and can cope with it.

I was having trouble deciding between the 10 and the 12 inch but opted for the 12 due to the greater aperture. I'm glad I went for the 12, but I don't think I could've gone larger.

Certainly your call though, the 12 is large and bulky, but definitely manageable. Keep in mind though that you'd be needed to carry accessories with you as well such as battery pack, eyepieces etc...

Sorry for the ramble, hope you can make some sense of it and it helps you make a decision
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:36 PM
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So makes me want an GOTO Dob even more !!!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:15 PM
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Great stuff Evan. As Malcolm says you're well placed equipment wise for great enjoyment. Lovely report of a special night. And I look forward to more.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Nine View Post
Hi Daniel,

The OTA for the 12 inch weights 21kg, while the 14 inch comes in a little heavier at 23.5kg. The collapsible design obviously saves some weight which makes it a lot more comfortable for transportation.

I'd probably put the mount a little under the 20kg mark for the 12 inch, not sure what the 14 inch comes in at.

So altogether, around 40kgs. It is manageable for one person, if it's carried in two parts, which is quite simple to do. I have to carry mine around 20 meters to reach my observing point so its a bit of a walk, but I'm still young and can cope with it.

I was having trouble deciding between the 10 and the 12 inch but opted for the 12 due to the greater aperture. I'm glad I went for the 12, but I don't think I could've gone larger.

Certainly your call though, the 12 is large and bulky, but definitely manageable. Keep in mind though that you'd be needed to carry accessories with you as well such as battery pack, eyepieces etc...

Sorry for the ramble, hope you can make some sense of it and it helps you make a decision
Thanks for that Evan. I am really starting to think that the 14 inch base may be just that too little bit too big for one person. I think the 12 inch sounds like a great compromise.
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Old 14-08-2011, 11:15 AM
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yep lovely scope i had tears of enjoyment when my scope (Johnny) had its first light im going get a lot of enjoyment out of this scope for many years to come if this weather gets better
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Old 27-10-2013, 05:13 PM
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plain 12" vs 12 " GOTO Vs SynScan

Hi everyone. A beginner to this hobby, I have owned a 5" skywatcher dab for a month only, enjoyed moon, Saturn, Jupiter with it, and have passed it on as a gift. Now hoping to get a 12" Collapsible Dab, just like the one under discussion here. (I know it is a big jump for a novice like me, but I am not only an amateur but also an immature hobbyist. I want to go biggest aperture I can afford to buy.)
Now my question. If I wish to extend its use to astro-photography sometime in future, can I simply buy a plain 12 inch collapsible dab, and convert it into a tracking scope in future? or buy a Goto and covert it into tracking one(which could follow the object of interest and let me take decent photos)? is it possible? would it be costlier, than buying a Synscan now? Synscan and Goto are going beyond my affordability.
thanks is advance
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Old 28-10-2013, 10:31 AM
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AG Hybrid (Adrian)
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Yep, a 12" Skywatcher dob is a serious scope and packs a serious punch. I've had mine for about 2 1/2 years now and I would like to share some improvements to the stock configuration that you could appreciate. Mostly to help with collimation with this scope, which can be a tricky so-and-so because it has a tendency to shift during the night.

First - always make sure the truss poles when extended are full tightened, even the slightest looseness to move them will cause collimation to shift through the motions of altitude with the scope.

Second, make sure your secondary spider is as tight as you can get it. Use multi-grips if you have to, to tighten it. Like the truss poles, even the slightest looseness will make your collimation shift through the altitude motions of your scope. Also, get bobs knobs for your secondary mirror to make adjustments a breeze.

Third - Replace the mirror springs. Head down to Bunnings if you can and pick up 3 x C-702 springs. Remove about 3/4 of an inch off them as they are a bit long. They fit perfectly in the recess in the mirror cell for the springs. These springs completely eliminate the need for the locking screws, so you can straight up remove them. If you then tighten them all up you can collimate with just loosening and tightening 2 collimation knobs. - Easy

Fourth - Get a decent collimator. I've started using a Hotech SCA 2" Laser collimator and its brilliant. Tight beam and an innovative laser alignment process. At $120 from the US its also very well priced. It has given me the most precise collimation I have ever had. It eliminates the need for a Cheshire eyepiece for me, as every time I use the SCA it agrees exactly with the Cheshire eyepiece anyway.

With these adjustments I guarantee you will be able to maintain collimation through out the night - no problem. Regardless of where you point the scope.
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Old 28-10-2013, 09:01 PM
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I just realize how old this thread was. Holy resurrection Batman!!
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Old 28-10-2013, 09:12 PM
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Haha and yes I still have my dobbie I love it to bits but I'm having trouble with tracking lately maybe I'm due for a new power pack or something
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Old 30-10-2013, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waqas View Post
Hi everyone. A beginner to this hobby, I have owned a 5" skywatcher dab for a month only, enjoyed moon, Saturn, Jupiter with it, and have passed it on as a gift. Now hoping to get a 12" Collapsible Dab, just like the one under discussion here. (I know it is a big jump for a novice like me, but I am not only an amateur but also an immature hobbyist. I want to go biggest aperture I can afford to buy.)
Now my question. If I wish to extend its use to astro-photography sometime in future, can I simply buy a plain 12 inch collapsible dab, and convert it into a tracking scope in future? or buy a Goto and covert it into tracking one(which could follow the object of interest and let me take decent photos)? is it possible? would it be costlier, than buying a Synscan now? Synscan and Goto are going beyond my affordability.
thanks is advance
Waqas
I am not sure about converting a non go to SW dob. I believe it may be possible, best bet is ring a supplier such as Bintel.
With regard to using a Go To dob for imaging, you need to be aware that not all "tracking" scopes are equal.
The tracking on a dob such as these is really designed for visual use to keep an object in view in an eyepiece. For successful long exposure imaging you need a eqautorially mounted scope of some kind with guiding capacity. Is is possible to mount the tube from a dob on an EQ mount, but truss style ones are a bit of a problem as the trusses are not really designed to be mounted that way.
A dob may be used for short exposure imaging of bright objects, eg moon and planets, but is primarily a visual scope.

Hope this helps

Malcolm
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Old 30-10-2013, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waqas View Post
Hi everyone. A beginner to this hobby, I have owned a 5" skywatcher dab for a month only, enjoyed moon, Saturn, Jupiter with it, and have passed it on as a gift. Now hoping to get a 12" Collapsible Dab, just like the one under discussion here. (I know it is a big jump for a novice like me, but I am not only an amateur but also an immature hobbyist. I want to go biggest aperture I can afford to buy.)
Now my question. If I wish to extend its use to astro-photography sometime in future, can I simply buy a plain 12 inch collapsible dab, and convert it into a tracking scope in future? or buy a Goto and covert it into tracking one(which could follow the object of interest and let me take decent photos)? is it possible? would it be costlier, than buying a Synscan now? Synscan and Goto are going beyond my affordability.
thanks is advance
Hi Wagas,

A member of the local astro club has a 12" Skywatcher goto dob, and about two months ago he was kind enough to let me put a videocamera at the eyepiece end of the scope to see how well its tracking was, for occultation recordings. Such recordings use fairly high frame rate (less than 5 seconds maximum exposure length, and mostly four frames per second to 15 frames per second).

The tracking was not good for images with less than 1 frame per second. Mostly it was OK, but every few seconds there was a bigger jump in the track which meant that one image would get blurred.

I would say that 4 frames per second would be OK, but most astro photography would need exposures a hundred times longer than this, and as it stands, the goto dob is not quite good enough.

By contrast, the club has access to a 30" dob with ArgoNavis/StellarCat tracking, installed by Peter Read of SDM Telescopes. This dob has a native focal length of about 3.5 metres. When we put the camera at the eyepiece end of this scope, the tracking is much better. Eight second exposures are well-tolerated. Wind (as you would expect) is a bit of a killer with such a huge optical tube assembly, but that is not the fault of the tracking.

Again, this is not really the kind of exposures that astro-photography people commonly think about. It is perfectly good for occultation recordings, but would begin to show field rotation after twenty to thirty seconds.

Regards,
Tony Barry
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