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  #1  
Old 06-11-2018, 10:05 AM
namtao (Trung)
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Hi I'm new here

Hi All,

A couple of weeks ago I came across this article from RACV newsletter, which also caught the eyes of my 8 yo. We then wait for a clear day and able to spot the formation. That really got us intrigue, and I decided to look for a telescope.

Over the last few days, i have been doing some reading on what would be a simple and useful telescope to buy, and have visited a local store. So far the advice i've got was a Dobsonian reflective telescope. By seeing them in the flesh, I quickly discounted it as an option due to the sheer size even at 6". I'd like to get something more portable, such as a refractive or a Mak-Cassegrain.

The purpose of the scope is mainly to get me started, and would like to be able to take it with us whenever we have a short break in the country and most importantly be an education tool for my 8 yo.

I came across these, they seem to tick the price point and portability boxes, but not sure about the usability, so i would appreciate your guidance:

- Celestron NextStar 4SE
- Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain
- SkyWatcher Star Discovery 127/1500 Mak-Cassegrain

I also saw some refractive telescopes in the forum classified section, should go for those instead?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2018, 11:37 AM
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sil
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Dob is what you need, the others may actually turn you off the idea completely. There are tabletop dobs (Orion 100mm I use and bought for friends is fantastic out of the box). There are collapsible dobs too for portability but realistically YOU need to be interested and motivated. Just how often will you be bothered to assemble a scope and align it etc on a whim? a dob will capture more light allowing you a chance at fainter targets like galaxies and nebula your other options wont touch. plus its always ready to go and especially for kids easy to point anywhere in the sky and just explore for themselves.
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2018, 12:54 PM
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JeniSkunk (Jenifur)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namtao View Post
- Celestron NextStar 4SE
- SkyWatcher Star Discovery 127/1500 Mak-Cassegrain
Those 2 telescope sets are GOTO telescopes, which you will have to align before each use.
So you need to look at what stars you can see with your naked eyes, from where you are going to use the telescope at home, for use with aligning the telescope.

Quote:
- Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain
This is a table top Dobsonian mount Mak-Cass. A lot more compact to store, and use, and easier to set up because it's manual.

My own telescope is the SkyWatcher Heritage 130P, a tabletop Dobsonian mount, collapsible Newtonian.
https://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/p...e-dobsonian-2/
Relatively inexpensive, completely manual, and very simple to set up for use.

edit: fix formatting

Last edited by JeniSkunk; 06-11-2018 at 12:55 PM. Reason: fix formatting
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2018, 01:05 PM
RyanJones
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Hi Trung,



A thread like this is no doubt going to give you a thousand different responses so here's my 2c.

My first scope was a 4SE. Very easy to use and very portable. Very much designed for the beginner. Having said that, the mount with a few mods is now driving my Astrophotography gear lol. You will be able to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with it quite well but not with the included eyepiece. The moon looks pretty good through it too. You can make out some of the larger star clusters and a couple of the brightest nebulea like Orions nebula but that is about it.

The one thing I think everyone needs to remember when answering this post is that you live in Melbourne metro. Yes a dob or lower f ratio refractor will capture more light but that includes light pollution. As you mentioned in your original post, you're going to have to take which ever scope you get to a darker place to get the most out of it.

I'll now let all the others have their say but all I will say is welcome to this amazing hobby.
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2018, 01:10 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Totally agree , a Skywatcher 6Ē or 8Ē dobsonian reflector as a 1st telescope
Unless you live in an apartment with no yard and only a balcony then go for the little tabletop dob
A 6Ē or 8Ē dob is not heavy as you can take the OTA off and carry the base separately by its handle
Perfect for star clusters,galaxies, planets and the moon. You can even attach your iPhone with a bracket and take lunar images and if your really lucky snap a planet or two ( see attached photos taken from my old 10Ē dob)
The only thing you have to learn about Newtonian reflectors ( other than focusing and pointing at targets around the night sky) is collimation which is no big deal after you have done it a few times
I would recommend downloading Stellarium on your home computer or laptop so you can navigate the night sky with relative ease ( itís a free download )
Good luck and enjoy this amazing hobby !!!
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2018, 03:01 PM
namtao (Trung)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
Dob is what you need, the others may actually turn you off the idea completely.
Thanks sil. Sounds like a collapsible dob is the way to go for me. I don't really mind the tinkering to set it up

@JeniSkunk - thanks, i will check skywatcher you mentioned out.

@Ryan - Thanks the the warm welcome and encouragement. I hate to buy something and not able to make the most of it.

@StarTrek - thanks for the pointers and warm welcome. I will check you the software you mentioned.
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2018, 06:26 PM
Rocketry (Dave)
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I all I'm new to this site. I was reading the above post and thought I'd add a comment. I just got a new 12 inch collapsible dob. Saxon because it was $400 cheaper than the sw. Yes they are identical. I must say it's awesome. A bit heavy and hard to get in and out of the car and house however I'm using it within 5 mins. My heq5 and scope takes forever to carry out everything and set up. I would absolutely recomend getting one. And it's easy to colomate, about 3 mins. Cheers
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  #8  
Old 07-11-2018, 06:19 PM
namtao (Trung)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketry View Post
I all I'm new to this site. I was reading the above post and thought I'd add a comment. I just got a new 12 inch collapsible dob. Saxon because it was $400 cheaper than the sw. Yes they are identical. I must say it's awesome. A bit heavy and hard to get in and out of the car and house however I'm using it within 5 mins. My heq5 and scope takes forever to carry out everything and set up. I would absolutely recomend getting one. And it's easy to colomate, about 3 mins. Cheers
Thanks Dave. It's great to know you're enjoying your new acquisition .

I've been doing some more readings and thinking of getting a 10" collapsible, as it is about the same dimension (lengthwise) as the 8". Have to go back to the shop to have a closer look

Cheers
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2018, 02:13 PM
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netwolf
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Trung with all due respect to above posters I started with a dob and with help of friends got good use out of it. But my friend had suggested a ETX-90 105 or 125 to me and at the time they were out of my budget and the 10" light bucket looked more tempting. However Astronomy is a journey in learning about yourself as much as the stars and skies. As such I found the don became more disused as it was a hassel after work to setup for quick use. Now it's not a hassle for everyone as people are different this is the understanding in self part. I have in this hobby people who thing big GEMs are very portable and indeed watching there use I am amazed how they do it. Myself sorry to say am a lazy amateur astronomer time poor.

I replaced the dob with a lx90 which I enjoyed more. But still was very large. Now so many years later would you like to guess what is my favourite ?? Etx-125 optical tube on a evolution mount. I also use few other 8" and smaller scopes on this mount. But the little etx125 from the older periods Is fantastic just pop and go. Yes some cooldown time required but usually keep near siding door and its equalized.

Lastly look for used gear from here. if you buy from gumtree gok check the optics if you can. Iceinspace folks are quiet trust worthy and I have not had an issue buying from them. There are bargains around if your patient. I have a full etx-125 with mount that i grabbed for 500. And it has very good optics. The star discovery with 127 is a good option. If its the one that has encoders and can be declutched for rebalance. also look at q used 6se , 4se not so great as the fork arm is short and does not allow for changing optics. where qs star discovery and 6se8se or Evolution you can change to a 80mm refractor or 8inch SCT.


The best telescope is the one you will use more often give your circumstances and ideas one that is portanle grab and go setup.
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:18 PM
namtao (Trung)
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Thanks mate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by netwolf View Post
Yes some cooldown time required but usually keep near siding door and its equalized.
BTW, what does this mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by netwolf View Post

Lastly look for used gear from here. if you buy from gumtree gok check the optics if you can. Iceinspace folks are quiet trust worthy and I have not had an issue buying from them. There are bargains around if your patient. I have a full etx-125 with mount that i grabbed for 500. And it has very good optics. The star discovery with 127 is a good option. If its the one that has encoders and can be declutched for rebalance. also look at q used 6se , 4se not so great as the fork arm is short and does not allow for changing optics. where qs star discovery and 6se8se or Evolution you can change to a 80mm refractor or 8inch SCT.


The best telescope is the one you will use more often give your circumstances and ideas one that is portanle grab and go setup.
Thanks again, yes, i'll keep an eye out. i saw a Celestron 130 EQ on gumtree going for $130 - looked tempting but decided against it as i have no idea what to look for. I'm glad that i didn't go ahead with it.

The size of the 8" or 10" dob is what holding me back at the moment. I might have to enquire about the local star gazing community group and tag along to see for myself and then decide.
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  #11  
Old 09-11-2018, 09:29 PM
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JeniSkunk (Jenifur)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netwolf View Post
Yes some cooldown time required but usually keep near siding door and its equalized.
Quote:
Originally Posted by namtao View Post
BTW, what does this mean?
What cool down time means is allowing time for the telescope to equalize to the ambient temperature outside.
The amount of time needed for this, varies depending on the design of the telescope and the difference between temperatures inside to temperatures outside.

What netwolf has done to speed things up, is keeping his telescope near an open door, so it's already close to outside ambient.

Quote:
I might have to enquire about the local star gazing community group and tag along to see for myself and then decide.
Definitely worth doing.

One question, Trung, where at your place in Melbourne will you be setting up your planned telescope? In a back yard, or on a balcony or patio?
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  #12  
Old 10-11-2018, 11:36 AM
namtao (Trung)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeniSkunk View Post
What cool down time means is allowing time for the telescope to equalize to the ambient temperature outside.
The amount of time needed for this, varies depending on the design of the telescope and the difference between temperatures inside to temperatures outside.

What netwolf has done to speed things up, is keeping his telescope near an open door, so it's already close to outside ambient.



Definitely worth doing.

One question, Trung, where at your place in Melbourne will you be setting up your planned telescope? In a back yard, or on a balcony or patio?
Thanks Jenifur! this is great, learning something new all the time. So what would be the side effect of a telescope being unequalised? I mean, how do i know if it needs a bit of cooling down?

Regarding my place - I live near (2-mins walk) a small park with pretty good open space, and a view of the horizon from the south-west to the north-east.
My backyard is full of tall trees and houses, so I don't think it's an option.
I also have a small balcony facing towards the north-eastern side, I think i can get full view of the moon most months from the balcony. That said, the neighboring house would limit my scope, but it's definitely ways better than my backyard.

During the recent lunar eclipse event, i was able to observe it from the balcony, my 8 y.o wasn't tall enough to see it though.

So to answer your question - i wasn't planning to have a fixed place. I was thinking of something portable. But would start with the balcony, and then walk to the local park if i have to. Plus we often go to country for a short break, my plan was to have something that i can easily pack in the car.

Thanks.

Last edited by namtao; 10-11-2018 at 11:43 AM. Reason: more info about planned use
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  #13  
Old 10-11-2018, 02:15 PM
Filippo
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Iím in Melbourne metro, on a balcony, with a 4SE.

I bought it because I figured it was easily portable and storage at my place is fairly limited. I also thought itís a pretty beautiful scope to look at...which is probably the stupidest reason to buy a telescope.

So far Iíve had it out on the balcony maybe 3 times. The light pollution here is absolutely terrible and, to be honest, Iíve been a bit disappointed. I know I need to get in the car and go to dark sites...but Iíd hoped for a bit of a better experience on my balcony.

Seeing Saturn through my new 12mm Saxon Cielo was just incredible though. That really blew my socks off.

Annoyingly, the weather has been pretty crap lately. Tonight looks set to be the first clear night in a while so Iím looking forward to setting up and checking out the sky. Iím finding part of the battle just to be setting up the mount, unboxing the scope, aligning the finder, aligning the scope. I wish there were some way I could speed up the whole process. Very jealous of these folk who can leave the scope permenantly in position and ready to go.
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  #14  
Old 10-11-2018, 05:22 PM
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JeniSkunk (Jenifur)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namtao View Post
So what would be the side effect of a telescope being unequalised? I mean, how do i know if it needs a bit of cooling down?
With a telescope that has not been given the time to cool down to outside ambient, its focus won't be as sharp in comparison to a telescope that has had such cool down time.

Quote:
Regarding my place - I live near (2-mins walk) a small park with pretty good open space, and a view of the horizon from the south-west to the north-east.
My backyard is full of tall trees and houses, so I don't think it's an option.
I also have a small balcony facing towards the north-eastern side, I think i can get full view of the moon most months from the balcony. That said, the neighboring house would limit my scope, but it's definitely ways better than my backyard.
OK
This makes things awkward. Without enough front to back depth, using a telescope on a tripod on your balcony could be problematic.
With a refractor type telescope, I think you might not have enough space to stand behind the telescope to be able to use it on your balcony.
The more compact physical length of a Mak-Cass type telescope might make it workable on a tripod.
With a Newtonian type telescope, the front to back depth is somewhat less of a problem, as you use these telescopes standing to the side of them, and not behind.

For me, front to back depth was the critical factor in what telescope I bought.
I live in a block of flats, with a somewhat shallow balcony/patio, so there would be no way to stand behind a telescope to use it. A tabletop Dobsonian mount telescope was my only viable option. You can get an idea of just how shallow, from my user avatar pic.
From what was available, the SkyWatcher Heritage 130P collapsible Newtonian was my best option.

Quote:
So to answer your question - i wasn't planning to have a fixed place. I was thinking of something portable. But would start with the balcony, and then walk to the local park if i have to. Plus we often go to country for a short break, my plan was to have something that i can easily pack in the car.
So you'll be looking at something compact, somewhat rugged, and definitely not too heavy for portability, that's easy to set up when you get to any place.
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  #15  
Old 10-11-2018, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filippo View Post
Iím in Melbourne metro, on a balcony, with a 4SE.

I bought it because I figured it was easily portable and storage at my place is fairly limited. I also thought itís a pretty beautiful scope to look at...which is probably the stupidest reason to buy a telescope.
When I saw the 4SE at my nearest Australian Geographic shop, I also reckoned it looked absolutely cool.
Thankfully I was able to resist the temptation to impulse buy.

Quote:
The light pollution here is absolutely terrible and, to be honest, Iíve been a bit disappointed. I know I need to get in the car and go to dark sites...but Iíd hoped for a bit of a better experience on my balcony.
Same hassle I'm having in summer here in Brisbane. Severe light pollution, to the point where I only see 3 stars with my naked eyes, between about 6:30pm and 11pm.
When I bought my telescope back in late July, I was spoilt for how much I could see. With summer, that has dropped off chronically.

Quote:
Seeing Saturn through my new 12mm Saxon Cielo was just incredible though. That really blew my socks off.
I also use the Saxon Cielo HD eyepieces. I've got the 12mm and the 6.5mm, and they're a great step up from the supplied stock eyepieces.
For me, the highlight was Jupiter. The amount of detail I could see was brilliant.
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  #16  
Old 11-11-2018, 12:39 AM
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netwolf
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Aus Geo are overpriced. The 4se is a good scope but the 6se is more versatile.

a dob would not suit a balcony as its limited in space. It may also limit star alignment on a goto scope as you will have limited stars to choose from. Also for young kids balcony is not so safe especially if small space.

I would highly recommend going to a local astro club on there observilng night usually near new moon like this weekend. That way you will get to look and use other scopes and get an idea on what may or may not suit you.
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  #17  
Old 11-11-2018, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netwolf View Post
Aus Geo are overpriced.
Heck yes. 50 percent and more price markup on what the prices are, online from Australian shops, for the same items.

Quote:
a dob would not suit a balcony as its limited in space.
I find myself in some disagreement with this, netwolf.
A Dobsonian mount telescope meant to be set up on the ground, yes, you're quite correct.
However, a tabletop Dobsonian mount telescope can be easily used on a balcony.
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  #18  
Old 11-11-2018, 10:57 AM
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Agreed tabletop may work. Still the reason I reccomend goto is that in Light polluted skies a push to system is harder to use as other than very bright objects it will be hard to find things. A goto you can use a few bright stars to align and then your good to go. With an app like skysafari you can work out what is visible from your balcony.

see my balcony setup
Evolution mount with Wo80 in this photo but have used C8 (see my best Juipiter taken from here), Mak0.sutov Etx125 ota , C6, Mak 180. The balcony is very small but I can stand inside the door and use. Not ideal but it works.
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  #19  
Old 11-11-2018, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netwolf View Post
Agreed tabletop may work. Still the reason I reccomend goto is that in Light polluted skies a push to system is harder to use as other than very bright objects it will be hard to find things. A goto you can use a few bright stars to align and then your good to go.
That's exactly why I made mention in my first reply to Trung, that he should look at what stars he can see from where he plans to use the telescope, for alignment of the goto telescopes he was considering.

Quote:
With an app like skysafari you can work out what is visible from your balcony.
Can the SkySafari app simulate light pollution levels? I've got SkySafari 6 on my Android tablet, and I've not been able to find such a setting.
I know that Stellarium does have a light pollution setting. I have to set it to 8 to get it accurate for where I am.

Quote:
see my balcony setup
Evolution mount with Wo80 in this photo but have used C8 (see my best Juipiter taken from here), Mak0.sutov Etx125 ota , C6, Mak 180. The balcony is very small but I can stand inside the door and use. Not ideal but it works.
That Evo mount does look nice. Makes me somewhat jealous.
No way I can do astrophotography with my Heritage 130P, as a camera would be too heavy a weight for the eyepiece mount. Heck, even a cellphone holder and cellphone would push it past its weight limit of about 250g.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:43 AM
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I will have to look into LP simuilation on Skysafari not sure. Imhuse stellarium on laptop but not on android. But still it will help you work out your star mag limit. I.e reduce the stars mag being displayed to lower and lower till it matches what you see naked eye.
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