Let us know a little bit about yourself. <br /><br />Are you new to amature astronomy? Are you familiar with the various types and properties of different telescopes? Do you have a specific interest in astronomy or are you just wanting to get started? Do you have a certain price range in mind. Where are you located and do you have access to fairly clear sky viewing locations? Is there any equipment size restrictions you may have( weight, size , storage etc. )? <br /><br />Bill
If you can get to Vegas, I'll give you mine: I don't need them any more. Rather, I don't use them anymore. Rather, I can't use them any more. Why? Because the Clear Sky Gods hate me and have foresaken me to a life indoors. Hey, here's a question - I'm looking to purchase a Sky Hook or a Cloud Sifter. Anybody got one for sale? Even a left-handed model is ok. I'll pay top-dollar.<br /><br />Hey Breif - Welcome to SDC! Yes, you've come to the right place. Read Thom's link and answering Bill's questions would be most useful. Plus, what are you wanting to see with the telescope you get? Have you got a particular brand/model in mind? I'll say this up front - don't buy a 'scope from a department store.
I do have an avid interest in astronomy, and I am hoping to find something that has good reliability, and will not break down (I had a Meade ETX125 and the computer failed after just over 1 year of use, and now its useless.) I was hoping to get some input into the types of telescopes available (5" or higher) and your impressions and experiences with that equipment. <br /><br />What I would like to look at: Well solar system objects, including satelittes of the Gas Giants. Star Clusters (open and globlar), Messier Objects, Nebulae. I would like to be able to have tracking capability, and astro-photos. <br /><br />BReif
Hi Breif - <br /><br />Well, that's a little more info but certainly not enough to make the perfect suggestion for you. A price range would be nice and method of transportation would be helpful. But, I'll make a few all-around selections to ponder over.<br /><br />If you have lot's of money you could look at brands like Tele-Vue, Takahashi, Astro-Physics and StellarVue. But, if your like me, you'll be thinking more like Orion, Meade or Celestron. A company called Apogee has descent prices but I am unfamiliar with they're product. It's a shame you want tracking and astrophotography (not really) or I would have suggested a Dobsonian. One thing I would stay away from is a "GoTo" 'scope. I have one but it was not my first and I have had problems with the computer. After all, it's a computer. And one of the motors had to be sent back to the shop after a few months of only infrequent use. Why stay away from "GoTo". Besides the above reasons, the biggest reason is you'll probably be less apt to learn the sky and rely more on the computer assistance. There is always the chance of power failure too.<br /><br />Instead of "GoTo" I would get a 'scope that has tracking ability: motors on the RA & Dec. You point the 'scope at what you want to see/photograph and the 'scope will track the object for you. In both "GoTo" and Tracking, when following an object, it is very important that you Polar Align your 'scope. If you are off, more then just slightly, the object will be lost in short time and astrophotography will not work.<br /><br />About Astrophotography. When using film, you need LONG exposures, making the task of Polar Alignment extremely important. If your using a Digital Camera (I do and the results are not what I had ho
NEVERS<br /><br />Your post was very helpful. My Meade ETX 125 was a Go To scope. The computer has failed, and the drives are useless. It is good to know that any Go To scope would potentially have the same problem. <br /><br />I am not really looking for a particular brand name, but a good quality instrument suitable for general veiwing. I have an SUV for transport, a Jeep Liberty, so I think I would be looking for something higher than a 5" scope. The 6" orion that you linked to in your post seems interesting. <br /><br />I have all of these Meade eyepieces for the ETX scope. I wonder if they would work in another brand, or if they would only work in a Meade ETX?<br /><br />In any event, I was dissapointed with the Meade ETX. While the optics were great, and the view crystal clear, the computer proved not up to the task, and I am looking for something better.<br /><br />Price range: up to $1500<br /><br />As far as astrophotography, it is not the primary reason for having the telescope at all, and I can live without it. I would like to be able to track what I am viewing, rather than constantly adjusting the scope by hand, causing the image to jump around in the eyepiece. I would like to NOT have Go To or a computer that could fail. Hopefully this gives everyone more information...<br /><br />Breif<br />
$1500...then I would really consider Orion's Atlas 10" EQ Reflector. You would still have a couple bucks left for a few goodies. You old eyepieces should work fine with any 'scope. I'll consider more options over night. By then, maybe somebody else will have something else for you.
You guys carried on quite a conversation over the weekend. I was busy freezing MAO at a power plant. I agree with Brad. There may be other excellent scopes out there for around $1500. But I think the Orion Atlas 10 will fit nicely into that price and give you excellent performance. <br /><br />This scope and mount is a beefey setup. Just the counter weights go 33 lbs. You need to make sure to set the scope up on a very solid base. Tracking is quite excellent. However, when you get the scope and mount, make sure you check the polar alignment scope for "center" as suggested in the owners manual. Most folks assume it was adjusted at the factory. Mine was off by almost 1 degree out of center. Once I made this "center" adjustment, the tracking on my mount is very accurate at high magnification with good polar alignment. <br /><br />The Orion optics also perform very well. <br /><br />Bill
Bill<br /><br />Do you have the Orion 10" scope that you speak about? What is your experience with Orion? Does it have good optics, and a clean, clear, crisp image? How often do you need to do maintenance on the scope (collimation etc.)? <br /><br />Another question for anyone. Since I had a Meade 5' Mak-Cass GoTo scope that is busted, past the warrenty, and I have not heard back from Meade (very dissapointed), Does anyone have information of Orion's 127mm Mak-Cass telescope? Would anyone recommend it?<br /><br />Are there any />5" Mak-Cass non GoTo scopes out there?<br /><br />BReif
Breif<br /><br />I do own the 10" reflector. I sort of went at this backwards. I purchased the Orion XT 10 ( Dob ). The nice thing about the 10" scope is you can go to higher magnification then with smaller aperature scopes. I routinely venture to 400+ on double stars and planets. The problem with a Dob is you spend a lot of time moving the scope and waiting for vibration to dampen. <br /><br />OK. So I started looking at Dob Platforms. I didn't like the price or the perfromance of the platforms. Then I noticed that the Orion Atlas 10 and the Orion XT 10 were virtually identical except for the Dob Mounting Hubs. So I decided to buy the Atlas Mount and the Mounting Rings. This was an expensive gamble on my part, but it worked very well. The Dob Mounting Hubs fit nicely between the mounting rings for the Atlas EQ mount. So I have two scope mounts for one 10" reflector. A Dob and a EQ mount. ----- Someone asked me which one I use the most. Actually it works out about 50 - 50. <br /><br />I check collimation about every other session. Actually this is not something to be dreaded. With a lazer collimator it's extremely quick and can be done in pitch black. The secondary mirror never needs aligning. The primary usually needs a little tweeking. You can easily check by focusing on a star, then running the focusser out of focus and looing at the image. If you get a nice round star burst in both directions of out of focus, you don't need to do anything. If the star burst looks elongated or egg shape, you need to check alignment. I can't say I have ever really needed to collimate the scope ( I really baby the scope ). But it gives me peace of mind in knowing that any problems with the image is not bad optics alignment, but rather bad seeing or thermal stability of the primary mirror. <br /><br />Clean, Clear Crisp image? When you go over 200x, you always run the risk of bad seeing. I have lookd at Saturn for hours at 400x. It's weird to watch it go i
Bill<br /><br />Thank You for your testimony on the 10" reflector. I find it very helpful and useful. I feel the same way about constantly moving the telescope manually and waiting for the vibrations to cease. Especially since I do want to use higher power for the planets. I don't want to be constantly adjusting the scope, but looking through it.<br /><br />Anyone<br /><br />Any thoughts on the Orion Mak-Cass 5" scope...<br /><br />BReif
BReif<br /><br />I though someone would have commented on this thread. I am not qualified to comment on the 5" Mak. I'm not qualified to comment on any Cas at all. However, you can find scope reviews at http://www.cloudynights.com . I read the review of the 5" Mak and the person who wrote it was very pleased with the scope. I think there are other reviews on this site for the Orion 5" Mak also. <br /><br />I'm a little confused. Are you trying to compare a 10" reflector to a 5" Mak? The 10" reflector has a focal ratio of f/4.7. Much brighter and faster then the f/12.1 of the 5" Mak. The 10" has 400% more light grasp then the 5". The 10" has 500x potential vs the 5" 250x potential. With all due respect, the 10" reflector will blow the 5" Mak out of the water and half way to heaven.<br /><br />On the other hand, the Mak is about 1/2 the cost and extremely portable. The Atlas 10" will never boast of being portable. I'm not sure if I understand what you are looking for. You need to do your own soul searching. <br /><br />Bill