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Old 14-02-2021, 07:43 PM
Asela (Asela)
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New member advice needed- Regional WA

Hi all,

Ok, so my first post here and I'm new to the forum as well as Astronomy!

Although I've been interested in Astronomy, never thought of buying a scope but now giving it some serious thought-might end up buying one next week if I have the time!!. I've tried looking for an Astronomy club where I live and doesn't seem there are any so I have been looking at various sites and forums(including this) to get some info, honestly I'm still a bit baffled with all what I've read.

My main objective is deep sky & planet observation but would also like to later do some astrophotography once I have the ability to dig for more cash for a good camera. And I don't want the whole setup to be too complex as well which is more likely to kill my interest in setting the whole thing up.

With above in mind and a budget of less than $4000, would I be able to get scope for both observation & astrophotography or will I have to consider only observation or photography when I choose a scope to purchase? What are some options for me to consider?

Any & all advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
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Old 14-02-2021, 08:59 PM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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Welcome!
$4k is a healthy budget for starting out. I'm sure there will be other, more experienced voices to listen to here, but I think an equatorial mount capable of astrophotography with15kg or so on board is a good idea. And if starting out mostly visual, I'd recommend going for aperture so that you'll actually see something when looking for deep space targets.
With that in mind, how about a Skywathcer eq6r mount for 2600 or so, and an 8" F5 Newtonian with photography-ready focuser (800 or so). Then you have some cash for 2 or 3 decent eyepieces, one high power for planetary, and detailed moon observing, one wide for fun sweeping and maybe a zoom to cover the gap?
Whatever you get, you'll want an equatorial mount so you can take photos properly when the time comes, and they require a little bit of practice to get right, but it will be great and I can only assume your skies will be pretty awesome!
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Old 14-02-2021, 09:22 PM
Rerouter (Ryan)
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You can do both photograpy and eye pieces with a number of scopes, usually its better to start with one built for photography as worst case you will just need an extension, vs e.g. a visual newtonian may need to nearly bottom out the focusser to reach focus with a camera.

For cameras you can start as simple as a phone camera, the results won't beat some of the photos people post, but you can still make it your own, otherwise cheap DSLR's can be used without too much issues for a beginner, as proper astro cameras are a tad pricy, and mostly help with reducing how long you need to shoot for (less noise and higher sensitivity)

Big question, do you want to move your gear to locations to shoot other than say home?, or wherever you where thinking, if so, pay attention to how heavy the pieces are, for me my mount and scope are what many would shun for astrophotograhy (picked up off facebook marketplace for $250), but they are reasonably light to carry somewhere in 2 chunks,
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Old 14-02-2021, 10:43 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Welcome to IIS
First thing to confirm is will you be observing from home or a remote location ?? If you are going to observe and take images from a remote location then ignore below as my suggestions are mainly aimed at observing and imaging in the backyard
Most folk start off in the hobby observing the night sky and not think about Astrophotography for quite a while , so I was going to suggest an 8” dobsonian reflector telescope ( Skywatcher or Bintel GSO ) which has the capability with the appropriate eye pieces to observe most deep sky objects , planets and the moon. The Skywatcher dobsonians also come in a Goto version which can locate and track the object across the sky. For a standard non Goto 8” dob you looking at around $900 and for Goto version around $1800 and it comes with some eye pieces and a moon filter etc...
However if your starting out observing and considering long exposure Astrophotography within a year or so of starting out , then the dobsonian idea is probably the wrong path to go down even though you will learn so much about the night sky using it , I started off with a 10” dobsonian which I had for 2 years before I jumped ship and started Astrophotography. I still observe using a 12” Goto dob
With Astrophotography I recommend an equatorial mount ( EQ mount ) on a tripod which you will have to learn how to set up and polar align whether you observe or take images
Here’s some suggestions for both visual and Astrophotography set ups for under $4k
Skywatcher 6”f5 newtonian telescope on a Skywatcher HEQ5 EQ mount
Skywatcher 8”f5 newtonian telescope on a Skywatcher EQ6-R mount
Or alternate 6” f5 and or 8”f5 Bintel GSO newtonian telescopes on Skywatcher mounts
Eye pieces Plössl 10mm , 25mm and 30mm superview Various brands Bintel , Skywatcher plus a moon filter or some planetary filters
All the above telescopes will achieve focus ( prime focus ) for Astrophotography using a DSLR with T ring adapter ( Canon or Nikon ) or a dedicated astronomy cameras cooled or uncooled using appropriate adapters. In addition you will probably require a Coma Corrector for imaging ( you can get away without using it for visual )
NB: Newtonian Reflector telescopes require Collimation or alignment of primary and secondary mirrors using a laser collimator and / or Cheshire alignment tool ( I use both )
Both 6” and 8” reflector telescopes have adequate aperture and focal length to observe and image most deep sky objects, planets and the moon
There’s so much more I could talk about but that’s enough for now
Hopefully other members chime in and offer some advice and recommendations as well
Good luck and most of all, enjoy your journey in this incredible hobby
Martin
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:07 PM
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mura_gadi (Steve)
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See this posting well

Hello and welcome,

All scopes have strengths and weakness, so, I'd strongly suggest reading about scope design. Some pretty dedicated people have shared a lot of knowledge on just about everything astronomy based.

Scopes:
They vary greatly in cool-down times - the time it takes for the mirrors to reach ambient temperature. The most awesome scope is going to suck if you have to wait two hours for it to acclimate. The newts can offer great aperture at $1 per inch of glass ratio - but weigh a ton in the larger sizes. Large aperture also means a large slice of atmosphere which is generally bad for detailed viewing. That's why you'll see some ppl rave about a little 4" refractor being great for planets and as a "grab and go" scope as well.

No scope does it all, so reading what's bad about a scope design is just as important as reading what's good about it.

Eyepieces:
Budget them in they will cost you your other arm and leg. Read about exit pupil and eye relief, esp. the second if you wear glasses(and the age of your eyes). The faster your F ratio the hard your eyepieces have to work. F5 or less, you start having to buy EP's that carry addition glass (weight/price) to correct the light cone or put up with EP's that may carry significant distortion effects around the edges of the viewing field. F8 or more and a lot of cheap eyepieces start working very well.

Easy of setup/breakdown:
Think about how much you want to lift around, health/strength, and just how exhausted your going to be at 1am in the morning when you pack it all up and go home from a dark site trip. Or if you have to lug it up two flights of stairs and another 50m to/from the backyard.

Mount:
Get a good mount, you'll swap telescopes more often than mounts - normally. The EQ6Pro was a good suggestion, hold 18kilo and costs around $1900(Astro Anarchy). There are different types of mounts they too have their pro's and con's.

If your budget is 4k and you want to buy a camera in the package as well, your going to have to compromise a little somewhere, or be prepared to buy some items later. If your willing to buy second hand, be patient(most important!) and try and get someone from your area who has experience with astronomy to view the items with you.

Not only are are the scopes and eyepieces highly variable, you also see differently to other ppl, just like the world, the image projected at the EP is interpreted differently by different people.




See this being a really high reply rate posting!
Good luck
Steve

Last edited by mura_gadi; 14-02-2021 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:15 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Hi JS,

Thanks for your reply, I have actually been looking at 2 options;
1. Sky-Watcher 8" Newtonian on a NEQ6 Pro mount - $2349
2. Celestron Evolution 8

I know everyone else will disagree with my second option but I was only looking at it thinking that the Equatorial mount is going to be too complex and will take too much time to set up for a newbie like me.

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your reply, I do have a DSLR at home which I use for day to day photography - Nikon D5100, thinking of using this at start.
And yes I'm also thinking about portability as I plan to take this out when I go on camping.

Thanks Martin,
Lots of valuable advice there, I am now thinking of getting the SkyWatcher 8" Newtonian with the NEQ6 and hoping everything will be ok!!

Any other advice will be greatly appreciated
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:39 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Don’t be frightened off by an EQ mount , you will regret buying an AZ mount for Astrophotography
They are easy to set up once you have an understanding of the components and the Synscan handcontroller , even I could do it and had no understanding at all when I started 4 years ago
I have simple step by step procedures to set up Skywatcher mounts EQ5 right through to the EQ6-R mount including -
Finding the true south line ( South Celestial Pole )
Setting up tripod
Fitting the mount head
Setting your Home Position
Balancing your telescope
Polar aligning using the Synscan handcontroller and a eye piece with reticle
Later on when you become more proficient, you can connect your laptop to the telescope mount and control it using a program called EQMOD and a planetarium called Stellarium
I suggest you download Stellarium ( free download ) in any case to learn the movement of the night sky and all objects up there 24/7 all year round . A great resource tool , much better than cardboard Star charts etc...

Happy to assist you as with a lot of folk on this forum to achieve results

Cheers
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Old 15-02-2021, 12:22 AM
Asela (Asela)
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Thanks Steve,

I am now looking at the 8" Newtonian on a NEQ6 mount and I do have a DSLR for now and not planning to upgrade it yet.
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Old 15-02-2021, 12:25 AM
Asela (Asela)
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Thanks Martin for trying to take the fear off me o)

I will definitely look at getting the 8" Newtonian with the NEQ6 mount. Just looking at eyepieces actually, do you think the below is worth for $208
https://www.amazon.com.au/Gosky-1-25...cs&sr=1-1&th=1

Thanks
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Old 15-02-2021, 07:13 AM
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mura_gadi (Steve)
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Hello,

I'd try and avoid packaged EP(eyepiece) sets, you end up with a lot of stuff you never use.

Only 2 planets are really good for viewing any details with an 8", Jupiter, Saturn, Mars is not the best(visually), Venus displays phases much like the moon over detail. So, I would suggest only getting colour filters that are suitable for Jupiter, Saturn and a good moon filter.

I'd recommend just getting 3-4 eyepieces to start with:
(Your exit pupil is basically the EP FL divided by your F Ratio - So a 25mm EP on a F5 scope gets you 5mm of exit pupil - The eye relief is how finicky eye placement will be generally, more eye relief the more forgiving the EP is on eye placement.)

Generally - For a mass produced scope, work on x50 per inch of aperture and take 75% of the total. So 8" x50 = 400 mag, reduced to 75%, 300mag as a maximum, but that's far higher than most nights of seeing anyway.

Try and think of EP's as how they will frame the object over mag/exit pupil(within reason). Use astronomy tools, Stellarium etc to see how the EP will frame the object of interest in your scope.

Ep's can range from $19 plossl at Andrews communications to $1200 Televue's from Bintel, so, you get what you paid for, but there is a lot of room for finding a compromise around value for money.

High Power:
Sub 10mm EP's - Planets, Star clusters, Star Splitters etc.
TBM II are good value for money ep's and are selling for $40+ atm on aliexpress sites.

Moderate Power:
10mm-25mm EP's - Anything from nights of poor viewing, a full image of the moon, moderate sized DSO objects.

I have heard good things about the GSO Superview(?) range, but at F5 you will see edge of view issues if you go looking for them. That doesn't mean the center will have a great deal of problems or they're bad ep's. Starguider for around $70 aren't bad either, I'm sure others will offer good sub $100 ep's for consideration.

Low Power:
25mm+ - Big wide views of the milky way.
This the one you might want to spend a little more money on and worry about wider field of view aspects.


Steve
Ps. There has been some good posts recently about ep's on the site, well worth a read.

Pps. I'm not sure about a 10mm plossl, the eye relief is down to 8mm, the TBM II is priced at or below a good entry level plossl and has a lot more eye relief... 16mm or so I think across the range and has a larger top glass to view through. At 8mm eye relief, its not a comfortable ep for long periods of staring off into the distance, imo. That changes with a nice eye cup or people's own experiences/preferences of course.

Most scopes will come with a 10 and 25mm plossl anyway, hopefully you'll get a 28mm wide field ep included. Plossls of good quality are great eyepieces.

If the $2349 package is from astro pete, you only get the 28mm wide view. BUT, add +$200-$400 on the package for a zoom (8-24mm) eyepiece and you'd have a nice to very nice zoom ep and the 28mm which would see you fine for most observations.
"http://www.astroanarchy.com.au/telescopes/Package_NEQ6_Newtonian8.html"

Last edited by mura_gadi; 15-02-2021 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Added Pps.
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Old 15-02-2021, 09:28 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asela View Post
Thanks Martin for trying to take the fear off me o)

I will definitely look at getting the 8" Newtonian with the NEQ6 mount. Just looking at eyepieces actually, do you think the below is worth for $208
https://www.amazon.com.au/Gosky-1-25...cs&sr=1-1&th=1

Thanks
As advised already, don’t buy eye piece kits, just buy what you need to start off with (10mm, 15mm , 25mm Plössl eye pieces and 30mm superview eye piece a moon filter and a #80 planet filter for Jupiter and Saturn ) Also don’t buy from rebranded non astronomy suppliers or retailers on line
Buy from dedicated telescope suppliers in Australia, Bintel, Andrew’s, Skywatcher etc...and support our local astronomy community
A question, do you wear glasses for reading and will you be observing wearing your glasses ?? If so you will need eye pieces with a longer eye relief say 10mm to 20mm ( eye relief is the distance from your eyeball to the glass lens in the eye piece )
If you wear glasses for distance only ( myopia) and do not suffer from any astigmatism then you don’t really need to wear your glasses when observing as the focuser will correct any deficiency in your vision when focusing on an object.

Cheers
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Old 15-02-2021, 12:54 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Thanks Pete for your time in teaching me, highly appreciated! Yes I am looking at the Astro Pete's 8" Newtonian package so will look at the zoom as you have pointed out.

Thanks Martin, no I do not wear glasses for reading (yet)!! But will have to start in the next couple of years due to age
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Old 13-03-2021, 10:04 AM
Asela (Asela)
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Ok, I know I have not said anything for some time and that is because I was patiently waiting till the equipment arrived. Finally I do have a 8" Newtonian with a Skywatcher NEQ6 mount. But there's something very important that I have missed, the power supply!!! This is definitely because I'm a beginner, and was hoping I could directly use AC power, my bad!!)

So, can anyone recommend a decent AC to DC converter which I could purchase please? I know there are power tanks but would prefer to have a small converter so that I won't spend a fortune for this.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance.
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Old 13-03-2021, 11:32 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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These Powertech 12v 7.5amp AC to DC power adapters are the most cost effective and reliable power supply for your NEQ6 mount
Available from Jaycar or Bintel. $45
I’ve been using 6 of these for 4 years at 2 different locations and not one has failed yet
See attached
Cheers
Martin
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Old 13-03-2021, 07:51 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Thanks heaps Martin,

Managed to get the last available one from the local Jaycar dealer, let the journey begin!!
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Old 22-03-2021, 01:46 PM
TrevorW
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There is also a WA Astronomy Group on FB if you are interested
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Old 23-03-2021, 10:28 PM
Asela (Asela)
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Thanks Trevor
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