Go Back   IceInSpace > Beginners Start Here > Beginners Talk

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 06-10-2020, 01:59 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Question My scope too big, smaller recommendations?

Hello all,

I recently bought a Meade 8" LX200 ACF which works fine, except that unfortunately I've found it too big for my Sydney apartment balcony (S), and too heavy to move easily through my flat to the opposite (N) side.

I'm now thinking that I need a smaller set-up, probably a refractor with a goto mount, and although I am a photographer, probably I'll have more emphasis on visual.

Any suggestions for a beginner would be welcome!

Thanks,

Tony

Last edited by Travelsignposts; 06-10-2020 at 06:44 PM. Reason: misspelled subject
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-10-2020, 02:12 PM
Merlin66's Avatar
Merlin66 (Ken)
Spectroscopy Wizard

Merlin66 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: St Leonards, Vic
Posts: 8,013
Tony,
I'd suggest looking at something like the SW ED80 mounted on a HEQ5.
Small enough to move, GOTO capability and makes a good platform for piggyback or basic photography.


(I have three of them used for solar imaging)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-10-2020, 03:56 PM
sunslayr (David)
Registered User

sunslayr is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Perth
Posts: 151
Do you have a budget in mind? There are thousands of telescopes to choose from that could be suitable, so your pretty spoiled for choice. Also if your using it on your balcony, would you prefer an alt-az mount? They are a little more flexible with limited visibility.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-10-2020, 06:32 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Thanks for the advice. I was thinking along those lines, but wondered whether I should go for slightly bigger, with a maximum of 120. It seems most people agree that an SW ED is the way to go, without going crazy and buying a Takahashi...

This time I'll be sure to check out the size of the setup in real life, as I need to be realistic about the practicality question. I can see that if it gets to be too much trouble then it won't be used enough!

(You have THREE?!)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-10-2020, 06:42 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunslayr View Post
Do you have a budget in mind? There are thousands of telescopes to choose from that could be suitable, so your pretty spoiled for choice. Also if your using it on your balcony, would you prefer an alt-az mount? They are a little more flexible with limited visibility.
Around $2-3,000 tops, really. I thought a GEM would be a better bet with a refractor, especially if I wanted to do a bit of photography later, but am really looking for guidance here. My only experience so far is with the Meade, which is quite bulky to move around .
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-10-2020, 06:54 PM
Merlin66's Avatar
Merlin66 (Ken)
Spectroscopy Wizard

Merlin66 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: St Leonards, Vic
Posts: 8,013
Yeah, itís surprising how these things happen.
One for Ha solar imaging, one for CaK solar imaging and a white light set up.
Unfortunately the cameras and the necessary computer support cost even move than the scopes!!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-10-2020, 07:24 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Solar imaging is certainly specialised, and needs the equipment to match! You do have the advantage of day-time shooting and warm (in Australia maybe too warm ) conditions...
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-10-2020, 07:33 PM
Tinderboxsky's Avatar
Tinderboxsky (Steve)
I can see clearly now ...

Tinderboxsky is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Kingston TAS
Posts: 755
I would certainly recommend getting as much aperture as possible within your budget and within the physical limitations of your observing balconies.
I think you would soon be very disappointed with an ED80 for visual use. It simply does not have the light grasp, nor the focal length.
Have you considered secondhand for some of the equipment? Two of my three scopes and both mounts were sourced through the classifieds here. Just need to be patient, or try a wanted ad.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelsignposts View Post
Thanks for the advice. I was thinking along those lines, but wondered whether I should go for slightly bigger, with a maximum of 120. It seems most people agree that an SW ED is the way to go, without going crazy and buying a Takahashi...

This time I'll be sure to check out the size of the setup in real life, as I need to be realistic about the practicality question. I can see that if it gets to be too much trouble then it won't be used enough!

(You have THREE?!)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-10-2020, 07:44 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
I was thinking secondhand to boost my budget, to be honest. I did have a successful buy with the Meade, it was just that my judgment as to practicality was faulty. As you say, it's just a matter of being patient and waiting for the right opportunity!

I was wondering about the light gathering potential of an 80.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-10-2020, 07:47 PM
sunslayr (David)
Registered User

sunslayr is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Perth
Posts: 151
I would think an ED80 on a HEC5 would be right for you. An EQ5 will give you a good platform if you want to upgrade to an apo triplet in the future. The size isn't really important for astrophotography. More light gathering means more weight, and there goes the portability.

Last edited by sunslayr; 06-10-2020 at 10:40 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-10-2020, 10:19 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
This is all valuable information for me (and maybe others). I think it's time I made a trip down to Bintel here in Sydney and had a good look at the kind of weight and dimensions of the various scopes we're talking about first hand. Then come back and ask a few more questions to members on the forum.

Your opinions are really helpful to people like myself who have little practical experience using the different types and sizes of telescopes available.

Thanks again for taking the time to give me the benefit of your advice, always welcome!

Tony
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-10-2020, 09:15 AM
astro744
Registered User

astro744 is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 933
Whenever I hear balcony I think small space, limited sky and noticeable vibration at higher powers. I would rule it GOTO due to lack of alignment stars and inability to access whole sky. I would also rule out astrophotography due to vibration. My first thought would be a short refractor on an Alt-Az mount and navigate manually and learn the sky in the process.

There is a 102mm/f5 refractor in the classifieds at the moment on an AZ3 that would suit but by all means go into a store like Bintel and have a look and you will see what will and will not likely suit your balcony. I would rule out a longer refractor as it can be quite cumbersome in a limited space and perhaps even more difficult to access the eyepiece if you are close the the balcony edge. (As I have not seen your balcony I am only imagining a telescope close to the edge of the safety rails to maximise the view of the sky).

An SCT is more compact than a longer refractor and provides more aperture and if 8” is too much to handle then perhaps a C6, C5 or similar is an option. A short refractor is a whole new experience with potentially much wider field of view than an SCT so it comes down to what you prefer to view, (low power sweeping or high power individual objects).

Of course the amount of light pollution may be a determining factor and for low power sweeping with say 500-600mm focal length and 4mm exit pupil or less you may still get a rewarding experience in the city if you have significant light pollution. If you have a darker sky then you can increase the exit pupil and potentially widen the field of view depending on which eyepiece you use.

You can no doubt use you short refractor for planets and it’s performance (in terms of chromatic aberration) will depend on the design of the optics (and dollars). Aperture is of course limited in a small refractor but you will be surprised what a quality product can show. I use a Tele Vue 60 on a TelePod as my grab’n’go and if I was on a balcony I would use it or perhaps buy a TV76 on TelePod or TV85 on Panoramic mount (if and when the dollar ever becomes parity!).

I wouldn’t advise that you buy them without first getting a taste of a lower cost small aperture refractor first (or looking through one of the mentioned ‘scopes). If you find a used ED80 in the classifieds, grab it and you may find it is all you need since it has very good colour correction. A non ED model is fine for low to med powers and even on planets at higher powers as chromatic aberration may or may not bother you and you can minimise its visibility with a suitable filter. An ED100 would of course be a logical upgrade but unfortunately it is a much longer telescope that the ED80 hence my initial suggestion of the 102/f5 in the classifieds (non-ED).

In summary if you want as much aperture as possible (smaller than C8), go with say a C6 or C5 or similar otherwise a short refractor. The mount is your choice on what is manageable for you. Sorry I keep quoting Celestron SCT numbers and I understand you have a Meade 8” on LX200. Note there may be lighter 8” SCT options also to consider than your Meade and perhaps others may suggest some for you as I am not familiar with what is available.

Edit: Also noticed a GOTO mount in the classifieds you could use with the 102/f5 if you didn’t like the AZ3.

Last edited by astro744; 07-10-2020 at 10:07 AM. Reason: Added last para.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-10-2020, 11:00 PM
Travelsignposts (Tony)
Registered User

Travelsignposts is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Astro744, thanks for such a helpful reply.

Space is not so much a problem, but limited sky is, although I have both N and S options. One difficulty is the size of the tripod which stops my placing the actual scope up against the railings when full locked with a brace (typical for Astro tripods). Of course, with a suitably small scope it is quite possible to use two legs flat against the barrier and extend the third leg as a bracing support, but unless you are using a short exposure this is only viable for non-goto visual viewing. Obviously for longer exposures vibration would rule this out.

I'm also leaning towards a short refractor given my space limitations and manoeuvrability requirements. Still looking at a goto though as using, eg. a two star manual setup, this would seem possible, even given the limited sky available.

The 8" Meade is indeed short in dimension, but taken with the mount is much larger and more difficult to both transport and manoeuvre - not something easy to put under your arm! Mounting it on the tripod also takes some strength and not a little skill to avoid screw damage...

As a former pro photog I'm a bit fussy about chromatic aberration and colour, but astro may be a different world. As you rightly say, taking a look through a few scopes beats specs alone every time. However, I'd prefer to avoid buying a lower spec option only to rapidly have to sell it when the upgrade bug hit! Your Televue idea sounds interesting, although the current exchange rates make cost painful...
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-10-2020, 11:15 PM
Renato1 (Renato)
Registered User

Renato1 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Frankston South
Posts: 1,161
Yes, get a short tube 80 to 100mm refractor would be good for visual use. But don't get rid of the Meade. Instead use the Meade on one side of the apartment and the refractor on the other side. I consider the two complementary for the views they show.

But if space really is a problem in your apartment and you can't have two, a 5" Mak mounted on a solid Alt Azimuth mount like they sell at Bintel (NOT the AZ3) is pretty compact and powerful - better than an 80mm refractor but not as good as the 8".
Regards,
Renato
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
beginner telescope, kit suggestions, refractor telescope

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 04:54 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Limpet Controller
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Testar
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement