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Re: second scope recommendations

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  • jay_moynihan
    When one is thinking grab and go , as the saying goes, the primary questions are: Grab and go where? To look at what? My own experience is grab and go for
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 1, 2004
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      When one is thinking "grab and go", as the saying goes, the primary
      questions are:
      Grab and go where?
      To look at what?

      My own experience is "grab and go" for me is out into the yard, which
      is in a light polluted area. So it is usually for planets, m42 and
      the like. I have an ETX 90 tube on a german equatorial mount
      (originally an RA, non-goto model)with a Tuthill 6x30 finder and a
      red-dot finder. I use it for the above and solar, white light. Now,
      granted it was the second one i ordered (first had a latent defect).
      But, it has the best quality optics, for its size, of any scope i
      have owned. Normal magnification on the planets is 171-208x. I have
      found this winter that it provides more detail (Jupiter, Saturn) than
      my Orion 80ED refractor.
      If I lived in a rural area, I would probably have a Starblast (lots
      of good comments about it)or something similar, if i did not have the
      80ED. The ETX does not do wide views. I also have no experience with
      its currently sold mounting. I know i did not like its original
      plastic fork mounting, hence it is on a GEM.

      Jay Moynihan
    • ehitchcock_bvg
      Thanks John, this is useful information. I was considering the fact that the ETX and my 8 have similar focal lengths, but also that the Starblast and my 8
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 1, 2004
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        Thanks John, this is useful information. I was considering the fact
        that the ETX and my 8" have similar focal lengths, but also that the
        Starblast and my 8" are both newtonians.
        I really like the Maksutov design and capability, and the package
        with tripod is a good price, but given comments here I am now
        leaning towards foregoing the ETX now, but saving for a better Mak
        some day...
        Partly, I enjoyed playing with a Questar last summer, and the little
        ETX is the same aperture and fork mount configuration, though
        nowhere near the same quality, obviously.

        Ed.


        --- In telescopes@yahoogroups.com, "John OHara" <deepskyohara@y...>
        wrote:
        > Ed,
        >
        > I have experience with the Starblast as a "second scope". My other
        > scopes are a mid-80s 6" f/8 Astrophysics refractor and a 10" f/5
        > Portaball reflector. I mention my other scopes only because I
        want to
        > give you an idea of my "personal" reference points.
        >
        > I've used my Starblast for several evening sessions and four "all
        > nighters" and have been increasingly impressed. Last Friday night
        I
        > was able to use this scope on the moon and Saturn with a Nagler 3-6
        > zoom (set at 5 mm) in combination with a 2.5x Powermate yielding
        225x.
        > The image held up very well thanks to the unusually good seeing
        and
        > the Starblast's good mirror. On Jupiter, I was able to hold
        187.5x,
        > however, Jupiter normally tolerates less power than Saturn in all
        my
        > scopes. Please note that the Starblast takes about 1/2 hour to
        cool
        > down before delivering good high power images (I took it from a
        heated
        > car to an outside temperature in the 20s F).
        >
        > Of course, the Starblast really shines for wide field views. With
        my
        > 22 Panoptic, the instrument yields a 3.2 degree true field
        (although
        > the 22 Pan is said to have a 68* AFOV, the 25 mm field stop limits
        the
        > AFOV to about 65*).
        >
        > Since this is a rich field scope, most would want to have one
        eyepiece
        > that gives the maximum true field that this scope is capable of.
        If
        > you want to accomplish this without an overly large exit pupil, you
        > need to use premium eyepieces such as the 22 Panoptic, 24 Panoptic,
        > 24.5 Meade SWA, etc. Like any f/4 scope, wide field eyepieces
        must be
        > of the premium class if you are picky about edge of field
        aberrations.
        > This has been my only qualm about the Starblast as a first scope,
        > since the beginner probably doesn't want to pay more for an
        eyepiece
        > than the scope itself. However, for those of who already have such
        > eyepieces, the Starblast is a tremendous second scope.
        >
        > IMO, you should steer away from a "second scope" with a focal
        length
        > near the one you already have. This helps insure that the second
        > scope provides you with a different viewing experience.
        >
        > Best,
        > John O'Hara
        > NW Pennsylvania, USA
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In telescopes@yahoogroups.com, "ehitchcock_bvg"
        <ehitchcock@b...>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > I own an 8" Skywatcher Dob and a pair of Carton Adlerblick 10x50
        > > binoculars. I am looking for something between the two in size,
        > > portability and aperture. Price is also a concern. Basically, I
        am
        > > looking for something I can transport easily, but that still
        gives a
        > > respectable performance. A current list of sample contenders is
        as
        > > follows:
        > >
        > > New
        > > StarBlast
        > > Orion Apex 90mm Mini EQ ($239 US)
        > > ETX 90 RA ($179 US)
        > > above /w deluxe field tripod ($299 US)
        > > Apogee Widestar 80mm + alt-az tripod ($99 US)
        > > widestar 80mm f5+ EQ ($119 US)
        > > Widestar 90mm f5.5+ EQ ($149 US)
        > >
        > > Used:
        > > Tal 110 mm Reflector OTA ($84 CDN)
        > > Celestron 80mm F11 OTA + diagonal& finder ($175 CDN)
        > >
        > > Of these, I am leaning towards the ETX. I know the Starblast is
        well
        > > regarded by Phil and Geoff, though Ed Ting was less impressed. I
        > > would welcome any comments specifically in favour of or against
        any
        > > of these, or any other suggestions for smallish, portable,
        > > inexpensive decent performers.
        > >
        > > Cheers,
        > > Ed.
      • Mark Schulz
        ... This is a GREAT piece of advice. I have an 8 dob (1200mm focal length) and for a while my second scope was a mak that was very close to this. My theory
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 1, 2004
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          John wrote:

          >
          > IMO, you should steer away from a "second scope" with a focal length
          > near the one you already have. This helps insure that the second
          > scope provides you with a different viewing experience.



          This is a GREAT piece of advice. I have an 8" dob (1200mm focal length) and for a
          while my second scope was a mak that was very close to this. My theory was I would
          expect my EP collection to perform the same in each scope.

          My second scope is now a TV85 with a focal length of 600mm. I had to add an EP or
          two (oh well - grin) but REALLY enjoy the different viewing experience with each
          scope!

          Mark
        • ehitchcock_bvg
          D Oh! The optics in the ETX get generally good reviews, and true, the longer focal length makes it a great small planetary/binary/lunar/solar city scope. The
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 1, 2004
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            D'Oh!
            The optics in the ETX get generally good reviews, and true, the
            longer focal length makes it a great small
            planetary/binary/lunar/solar city scope. The OTA is tiny, and the
            field tripod is compact. It also has a built in RA motor. That being
            said, the motor is probably a little iffy for even short exposure
            photography, the stock finder is useless, and several other quirks
            mean it may not live up to its potential. A $200 Questar it ain't.
            The Starblast, being primarily a rich-field scope will give me a
            different experience. Cooling is not a real issue if I slap on a
            small cooling fan (maybe using a CPU fan and some AA's). If I get a
            barlow and crank it up, I will still be tracking planets manually.
            Sigh. I want both...

            Ed

            --- In telescopes@yahoogroups.com, "jay_moynihan" <jay@j...> wrote:
            > When one is thinking "grab and go", as the saying goes, the
            primary
            > questions are:
            > Grab and go where?
            > To look at what?
            >
            > My own experience is "grab and go" for me is out into the yard,
            which
            > is in a light polluted area. So it is usually for planets, m42 and
            > the like. I have an ETX 90 tube on a german equatorial mount
            > (originally an RA, non-goto model)with a Tuthill 6x30 finder and a
            > red-dot finder. I use it for the above and solar, white light.
            Now,
            > granted it was the second one i ordered (first had a latent
            defect).
            > But, it has the best quality optics, for its size, of any scope i
            > have owned. Normal magnification on the planets is 171-208x. I
            have
            > found this winter that it provides more detail (Jupiter, Saturn)
            than
            > my Orion 80ED refractor.
            > If I lived in a rural area, I would probably have a Starblast
            (lots
            > of good comments about it)or something similar, if i did not have
            the
            > 80ED. The ETX does not do wide views. I also have no experience
            with
            > its currently sold mounting. I know i did not like its original
            > plastic fork mounting, hence it is on a GEM.
            >
            > Jay Moynihan
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