Recommendations, for impossible to meet criteria

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OldGaot
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Recommendations, for impossible to meet criteria

#1

Post by OldGaot »

I've looked at reviews, chatted with vendors, read forums, etc and have hit the point of realization that no matter what I decide, it will be wrong :D

Here is my criteria. I'd like a scope or binos that I can use for terrestrial viewing most of the time. However, I would also like to be able to do a bit of astronomy. Call it 80/20. In my youth, decades ago, I had a telescope and despite all our best efforts, we were never able to sight anything other than the moon. I don't want to relive that frustration. Hence, why the goto systems are appealing.

I need something portable. Not so much for carrying places as to be able to put it in a closet when I'm not using it instead of sitting out in the den (happy wife, happy life). Most of the terrestrial viewing will be wildlife from our den or deck. As for celestial stuff...of course, I'd love to see beautiful nebula's. However, if I could see the rings of Saturn, or Jupiter's moons, I'd be thrilled. I'd like something that our kids and grandkid (in a few years) would also be able to enjoy. Obviously, cost is a factor; however, I'd rather buy something that we would really enjoy the first time rather than something that gets no use. Then if I really got into the astronomy aspect, I would potentially supplement down the road.

Again, I recognize that what I am seeking doesn't exist; however, I suspect that are some potential candidates (and things to be avoided) out there.

Thanks in advance for advice/recommendations
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notFritzArgelander
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#2

Post by notFritzArgelander »

Thank you for clearly stating your requirements. What is your budget though?

Perhaps one of the Maksutovs in the Orion Star Seeker IV series might work. I have the Star Seeker III mount and use it with my Vixen VMC110L happily. I had the Orion 102mm Maksutov which performed well and gave it to a friend who is still happy with it.

If you happen to find the SSIV mount clumsy to use for terrestrial viewing a photo tripod isn't much to add.

An Amici prism diagonal is all you need to see erect correct images.
Scopes: Refractors: Orion ST80, SV ED80 A f7; Newtonians: Z12 f5; Catadioptrics: VMC110L, Intes MK66. EPs: KK Fujiyama Orthoscopics, 2x Vixen NPLs (40-6mm) and BCOs, Baader Mark IV zooms, TV Panoptics, Delos, Plossl 32-8mm. Mixed brand Masuyama/Astroplans Binoculars: Nikon Aculon 10x50, Celestron 15x70, Baader Maxbright. Mounts: Star Seeker III, Vixen Porta II, Celestron CG5, Orion Sirius EQG
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Lady Fraktor
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#3

Post by Lady Fraktor »

As well as the Maksutov that nFA has listed (good choices) another suggestion would be the Celestron Omni XLT refractors.
The long 102mm would be great for astronomy, slightly less for terrestrial as it comes with an EQ mount.
The short tube 102mm version comes with an az/ alt mount which is good for terrestrial and will give some nice astro views as well.
🇸🇰
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss
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smp
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#4

Post by smp »

For an 80/20 split with terrestrial viewing being 80%, I'd suggest starting off with a pair of 10x50 binoculars, like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Nikon-8248-ACULO ... B00B7LQARS

Low entry cost, and if your passion for viewing starts to get higher, you can move on to one of the great suggestions above.
Best of all, the binoculars will always be a useful tool, whether or not you go on to purchase more equipment.

smp
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#5

Post by OldGaot »

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:42 pm
What is your budget though?

Perhaps one of the Maksutovs in the Orion Star Seeker IV series might work.
Budget is secondary to getting the best fit. My main hobby is woodworking and over the years I've spent/wasted so much money on tools that didn't do the job with appropriate precision, ease-of-use, etc. I learned it is usually better to just bite the bullet. I look at a telescope in the same manner, i.e, it's a tool. Now, that having been said, I'm not one to pay up for status. I don't want to spend $1000 if $500 will accomplish the same thing. Heck, I'm perfectly fine with finding a nice used one. (Sorry for the long-winded answer)

I've looked at the Star Seeker 127 as a potential fit. Great minds think alike?
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#6

Post by OldGaot »

Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:19 pm
As well as the Maksutov that nFA has listed (good choices) another suggestion would be the Celestron Omni XLT refractors.
The long 102mm would be great for astronomy, slightly less for terrestrial as it comes with an EQ mount.
The short tube 102mm version comes with an az/ alt mount which is good for terrestrial and will give some nice astro views as well.
I am tainted by my experience of over 40 years ago. Now, to be sure, not a great telescope, sighting scope probably misaligned, etc. However, I can remember several nights with my father and brother struggling to find anything. I mean, heck we can see Venus right there, but could never get it in the telescope.

That having been said, will all of the aforementioned allow one to distinguish Saturn's rings and a couple of Neptune's moons?
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Lady Fraktor
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#7

Post by Lady Fraktor »

Saturn rings definitely, Neptunes moons you will need to visit a observatory.
You can see Neptune as a bluish/ green spot though.
🇸🇰
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss
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#8

Post by OldGaot »

Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:59 pm
Saturn rings definitely, Neptunes moons you will need to visit a observatory.
You can see Neptune as a bluish/ green spot though.
And by Neptune, I meant Jupiter :D :D
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Lady Fraktor
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#9

Post by Lady Fraktor »

:lol:
Yes you will be able to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter with the telescopes nFA or I mentioned.
In binoculars the moons will show as pinpoints.
🇸🇰
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss
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#10

Post by OldGaot »

Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:07 pm
:lol:
Yes you will be able to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter with the telescopes nFA or I mentioned.
In binoculars the moons will show as pinpoints.
Great, that's helpful. Sounds like I won't be happy with the smaller aperture of binoculars. Happy to be able to eliminate something from the list. Plus, it might be nice to be able to take a picture or two (Canon DSLR) and I could never figure out how to do that in a reasonable manner with binoculars. Altogether good news. As far as the specific scope?? Orion vs Celestron vs some other brand?
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#11

Post by Lady Fraktor »

Binoculars are a handy tool for assessing sky conditions or just short viewing sessions.
Some of our members do so quite detailed DSO observing with them.
As casual widefield viewers they can be good for a relaxing time out, I would recommend a set of 10x50 as after that they are usually best with a monopod/ tripod.
Most of these telescopes come from the same manufacturers so look for useful accessories and price.
Ask lots of questions about best uses if you find something that catches your eye, most likely someone here has it or has used it. :)
🇸🇰
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss
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notFritzArgelander
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#12

Post by notFritzArgelander »

smp wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:41 pm
For an 80/20 split with terrestrial viewing being 80%, I'd suggest starting off with a pair of 10x50 binoculars, like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Nikon-8248-ACULO ... B00B7LQARS

Low entry cost, and if your passion for viewing starts to get higher, you can move on to one of the great suggestions above.
Best of all, the binoculars will always be a useful tool, whether or not you go on to purchase more equipment.

smp
They're great. Love my set.
Scopes: Refractors: Orion ST80, SV ED80 A f7; Newtonians: Z12 f5; Catadioptrics: VMC110L, Intes MK66. EPs: KK Fujiyama Orthoscopics, 2x Vixen NPLs (40-6mm) and BCOs, Baader Mark IV zooms, TV Panoptics, Delos, Plossl 32-8mm. Mixed brand Masuyama/Astroplans Binoculars: Nikon Aculon 10x50, Celestron 15x70, Baader Maxbright. Mounts: Star Seeker III, Vixen Porta II, Celestron CG5, Orion Sirius EQG
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#13

Post by notFritzArgelander »

OldGaot wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:21 pm
Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:07 pm
:lol:
Yes you will be able to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter with the telescopes nFA or I mentioned.
In binoculars the moons will show as pinpoints.
Great, that's helpful. Sounds like I won't be happy with the smaller aperture of binoculars. Happy to be able to eliminate something from the list. Plus, it might be nice to be able to take a picture or two (Canon DSLR) and I could never figure out how to do that in a reasonable manner with binoculars. Altogether good news. As far as the specific scope?? Orion vs Celestron vs some other brand?
Orions and Celestrons are both made in Synta's factory. Orion has a decent reputation for customer service. I've had scopes from both and the quality of execution is fine.
Scopes: Refractors: Orion ST80, SV ED80 A f7; Newtonians: Z12 f5; Catadioptrics: VMC110L, Intes MK66. EPs: KK Fujiyama Orthoscopics, 2x Vixen NPLs (40-6mm) and BCOs, Baader Mark IV zooms, TV Panoptics, Delos, Plossl 32-8mm. Mixed brand Masuyama/Astroplans Binoculars: Nikon Aculon 10x50, Celestron 15x70, Baader Maxbright. Mounts: Star Seeker III, Vixen Porta II, Celestron CG5, Orion Sirius EQG
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#14

Post by notFritzArgelander »

OldGaot wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:52 pm
Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:19 pm
As well as the Maksutov that nFA has listed (good choices) another suggestion would be the Celestron Omni XLT refractors.
The long 102mm would be great for astronomy, slightly less for terrestrial as it comes with an EQ mount.
The short tube 102mm version comes with an az/ alt mount which is good for terrestrial and will give some nice astro views as well.
I am tainted by my experience of over 40 years ago. Now, to be sure, not a great telescope, sighting scope probably misaligned, etc. However, I can remember several nights with my father and brother struggling to find anything. I mean, heck we can see Venus right there, but could never get it in the telescope.

That having been said, will all of the aforementioned allow one to distinguish Saturn's rings and a couple of Neptune's moons?
You need to learn how to align a finder scope. The scopes recommended here all have instruction manuals that show how to do that. It is most easily done during the day where there are targets and context for aligning. There are a few scope that don't permit the finder to be aligned and they are frustratingly useless.
Scopes: Refractors: Orion ST80, SV ED80 A f7; Newtonians: Z12 f5; Catadioptrics: VMC110L, Intes MK66. EPs: KK Fujiyama Orthoscopics, 2x Vixen NPLs (40-6mm) and BCOs, Baader Mark IV zooms, TV Panoptics, Delos, Plossl 32-8mm. Mixed brand Masuyama/Astroplans Binoculars: Nikon Aculon 10x50, Celestron 15x70, Baader Maxbright. Mounts: Star Seeker III, Vixen Porta II, Celestron CG5, Orion Sirius EQG
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#15

Post by OldGaot »

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:00 pm
OldGaot wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:21 pm
Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:07 pm
:lol:
Yes you will be able to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter with the telescopes nFA or I mentioned.
In binoculars the moons will show as pinpoints.
Great, that's helpful. Sounds like I won't be happy with the smaller aperture of binoculars. Happy to be able to eliminate something from the list. Plus, it might be nice to be able to take a picture or two (Canon DSLR) and I could never figure out how to do that in a reasonable manner with binoculars. Altogether good news. As far as the specific scope?? Orion vs Celestron vs some other brand?
Orions and Celestrons are both made in Synta's factory. Orion has a decent reputation for customer service. I've had scopes from both and the quality of execution is fine.
Any appreciable difference in the goto systems or idiosyncrasies in use and setup or is it simply a matter of which color you like best? Perhaps customer service is a differentiator? Thoughts on best options in the 5-6" realm?
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#16

Post by OldGaot »

Lady Fraktor wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:26 pm
Binoculars are a handy tool for assessing sky conditions or just short viewing sessions.
Some of our members do so quite detailed DSO observing with them.
As casual widefield viewers they can be good for a relaxing time out, I would recommend a set of 10x50 as after that they are usually best with a monopod/ tripod.
Most of these telescopes come from the same manufacturers so look for useful accessories and price.
Ask lots of questions about best uses if you find something that catches your eye, most likely someone here has it or has used it. :)
Forum question...per my last post, let's say I've decided to go with something around 5-6" (arbitrarily to be sure, but need to press ahead). Should I start a separate thread seeking people's thoughts and recommendations on this much narrower question or am I fine with simply extending this thread?
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#17

Post by Shorty Barlow »

I'm not sure why you'd want a scope of around 130mm ~ 150mm for predominantly terrestrial viewing. Whatever you get it's going to have to have a mount and tripod that can carry it. This won't make it particularly portable. Unless you get a Dobson mounted Newtonian. Which in my opinion are awkward enough for astronomical viewing, let alone terrestrial viewing. Might be OK for viewing distant molehills or short ground based ducks. I'd have thought a spotting scope would be the most practical.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/acuter ... scope.html
TS Optics: 150mm, f/6 Newtonian (GSO SVD series). Altair: Starwave 102ED-R. Sky-Watcher: Explorer 130M, SkyMax 102mm, SkyMax 127mm, Evostar 72ED DS Pro, Evostar 80ED DS Pro, ST80 (TS Focuser), ST102 (SW Dual Speed Focuser), EQ5 Deluxe, AZ5 Deluxe. Vixen: Porta II/SXG Hal-130, Vixen Porta II/APP-TL130. Orion: 90mm StarMax , ST80 (TS Focuser). Celestron: NexStar Evolution 9.25". William Optics: E-BINO-P Binoviewer. A shed load of eyepieces including: Antares, Astro Essentials, Astro Hutech, Baader, Bresser, BST, Bushnell, Celestron, Explore Scientific, GSO, Kokusai, Meade, Orion, Pentax, Sky-Watcher, Solomark, SvBony, TeleVue, Vixen, William Optics & one or two I'm not sure of.
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#18

Post by helicon »

Maybe a 102mm refracting scope. I had a 90mm spotting scope for a few years. I had it set up in the living room and used to look at the Golden Gate bridge and the container ships and sail boats going in and out of the Bay plus the City and the Marin headlands. Also worked well on objects like the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and bright nebulae such as M42 in Orion...
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob, ES AR152, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs
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#19

Post by notFritzArgelander »

OldGaot wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:18 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:00 pm
OldGaot wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:21 pm

Great, that's helpful. Sounds like I won't be happy with the smaller aperture of binoculars. Happy to be able to eliminate something from the list. Plus, it might be nice to be able to take a picture or two (Canon DSLR) and I could never figure out how to do that in a reasonable manner with binoculars. Altogether good news. As far as the specific scope?? Orion vs Celestron vs some other brand?
Orions and Celestrons are both made in Synta's factory. Orion has a decent reputation for customer service. I've had scopes from both and the quality of execution is fine.
Any appreciable difference in the goto systems or idiosyncrasies in use and setup or is it simply a matter of which color you like best? Perhaps customer service is a differentiator? Thoughts on best options in the 5-6" realm?
On the rare occasion when I've needed to deal with customer service Orion has been better than Celestron.
Despite both being made by Synta the user interfaces of the goto systems differ and I find Celestron to be easier to use and less quirky.
Due to your preference for terrestrial observing Newtonians should be ruled out. Images from them don't erect well.
I'd recommend the 5" Orion Maksutov or perhaps a 6" SCT from Celestron but... I'm really fussy about image contrast and plain vanilla SCTs seem to throw up soft images. A refractor provides sharpest images period. A fast compact and easy to store refractor would have a short tube and false color. I'll get back later with concrete suggestions after morning tea.
Scopes: Refractors: Orion ST80, SV ED80 A f7; Newtonians: Z12 f5; Catadioptrics: VMC110L, Intes MK66. EPs: KK Fujiyama Orthoscopics, 2x Vixen NPLs (40-6mm) and BCOs, Baader Mark IV zooms, TV Panoptics, Delos, Plossl 32-8mm. Mixed brand Masuyama/Astroplans Binoculars: Nikon Aculon 10x50, Celestron 15x70, Baader Maxbright. Mounts: Star Seeker III, Vixen Porta II, Celestron CG5, Orion Sirius EQG
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#20

Post by OldGaot »

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:53 pm
OldGaot wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:18 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:00 pm


Orions and Celestrons are both made in Synta's factory. Orion has a decent reputation for customer service. I've had scopes from both and the quality of execution is fine.
Any appreciable difference in the goto systems or idiosyncrasies in use and setup or is it simply a matter of which color you like best? Perhaps customer service is a differentiator? Thoughts on best options in the 5-6" realm?
On the rare occasion when I've needed to deal with customer service Orion has been better than Celestron.
Despite both being made by Synta the user interfaces of the goto systems differ and I find Celestron to be easier to use and less quirky.
Due to your preference for terrestrial observing Newtonians should be ruled out. Images from them don't erect well.
I'd recommend the 5" Orion Maksutov or perhaps a 6" SCT from Celestron but... I'm really fussy about image contrast and plain vanilla SCTs seem to throw up soft images. A refractor provides sharpest images period. A fast compact and easy to store refractor would have a short tube and false color. I'll get back later with concrete suggestions after morning tea.
Thanks for your help...so for the Orion, you are thinking the StarSeeker IV 127mm ( and a correct image prism diagonal for terrestrial) For the Celestron, the Nexstar 5SE or 6SE?
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