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Old 27-08-2020, 08:41 PM
synthguy2 (Malcolm)
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synthguy2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Isaacs, ACT, Australia
Posts: 17
Mount Options for Visual and entry-level astro imaging

Hi, I'm doing some early planning on upgrading my telescope. At the moment I'm using an old Orion Telescope and Binocular ED-80 Apo on a Televue Gibraltar Mount, but have ordered a Skywatcher AZ-GTi to give me a basic and highly portable GOTO mount for visual use only. The ED-80 weighs in about 3.7kg, with a 1.25" diagonal and a 50mm finder, so that should work as a grab-and-go GOTO solution.

The real conundrum is a new telescope for 2021. I want something around 8" in aperture - either a Newtonian or an SCT, on a GOTO mount, with wifi capability, and it would initially be for visual use, but with the aim to get into astro-imaging. Having flexibility for other OTAs down the track would be good - it was one reason why I discounted the Celestron Evolution in the end.

I've looked at a bunch of different mounts - Celestron AVX looks a good all round solution, but at 13.6kg capacity, it limits my options in terms of OTA; Skywatcher EQ-6R Pro gives me loads of payload capacity but looks a much heavier mount to manage; and I've also considered the Skywatcher AZ-EQ5 GT-P, which looks a little more manageable than the EQ-6 Pro with about 5kg less capacity. Ideally, I'd like to add in Starsense for whichever mount I get, and WIFI either integrated or added-on so I can control everything from a mobile device, or a laptop.

I'm not wanting to be overly ambitious on astro-imaging. My observing location is suburban Canberra, and I have a street light shining into my patio, so its far from ideal, but looking anywhere but north is not too bad. I want a quick setup, so I don't spend all night dealing with gear problems.

I am not looking at spending anything more than about $3800 max. So I'd welcome any advice on my options. Right at the moment I'm stuck in 'analysis paralysis' mode so I felt it was time to hear what other people are thinking. I'd be purchasing in April.
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