Telescope and Mount Help

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WGE Scotland
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Telescope and Mount Help

#1

Post by WGE »

Hi Guys, Totally new to the Hobby (And I mean new) in my mid 50's and need a more relaxed and rewarding Hobby and have decided to step off and purchase my first Telescope, needless to say I haven't a clue what to buy, due to watching too many YouTube streams and reading countless reviews that would make your eyes water all offering advice.
I have a healthy budget to start and currently I seem to be drawn to a 11" Scope, a steady mount seems to be something that is a must and the accessories still an unknown for me, I definitely want to do some photography but also just want to roam and look.
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#2

Post by jrkirkham »

Welcome to TSS!

I am sure there will be many on here who can give you advice and help you get what you are looking for. I like to explore and learn new things with my scopes, but I am virtually a novice at photography. I use my 11" SCT for planets and some deep sky observation. It is an excellent scope for planetary photography. I also have an 80mm refractor mounted piggyback on the SCT. That is the scope I use for deep sky photography and wide angle use. I use them both often. If I were to go deeper into photography I would also add some sort of guide scope. I probably will some day. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. It has been my experience that you choose the biggest, strongest mount you think you will need, then go a step or two bigger. If you are going to do photography it is all about the mount.

P.S. I should have said, the biggest mount you can handle. It won't do you any good to have a monster setup if it is so cumbersome that you don't use it. When I got to my mid 50s I was beginning to seriously think about retirement. That was when I started thinking seriously about some sort of observatory so I would not have to spend half the night setting equipment up and taking it down.
Rob
Telescopes: 50mm refractor, ED80 triplet, 90mm makcass, 10" dob, 8"SCT, 11"SCT
Mounts: Celestron CGX, Orion Sirius + several camera tripods
Cameras: Canon 6D, Canon 80D, ZWO-ASI120MC
Binoculars: 10x50, 12x60, 15x70, 25-125x80
Observatory: SkyShed POD XL3 + 8x12 warm room
AL Projects Completed: Lunar #645, Outreach #0280, Universe Sampler #93-T, Binocular Messier #871, Messier #2521, Messier Honorary #2521, Constellation Hunter Northern Skies #112, Planetary Transit Venus #1, Galileo #26, Outreach Stellar 0280, Meteor Regular #157, Solar System Telescopic #209-I, Observer Award #1
AL Projects Currently in Process: Double Stars, Comet, Lunar Evolution
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WGE Scotland
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#3

Post by WGE »

Hi, many thanks for the response, yea I'm slowly realising you can go too big too quick if your not careful.
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#4

Post by helicon »

To your point, you could start with something more manageable like a 4" refractor or 8" Dobsonian reflector if you want to start out in visual observing before getting into AP. Then graduate to an 11" SCT. It is easy to find a solid mount for a 4" scope and the Dob will be rock steady with no slop and almost no vibration. It depends on whether you want to view moon and planets, double stars, etc. or deep sky objects like nebulae, clusters, galaxies, etc. For the latter category of objects a Dob would be better. Some folks on here also would recommend an 8" SCT as being portable and easier to deal with than an 11".
-Michael
Refractors: ES AR152 f/6.5 Achromat on Twilight II, Celestron 102mm XLT f/9.8 on Celestron Heavy Duty Alt Az mount, KOWA 90mm spotting scope
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Eyepieces: Various, GSO Superview, 9mm Plossl, Celestron 25mm Plossl
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#5

Post by Bigzmey »

Welcome to TSS WGE! How good is your sky? Can you see Milky Way at night?
Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102ED; Celestron: 14" & 9.25" EdgeHD, 8" SCT, 150ST, Onyx 80ED; iOptron: Hankmeister 6" Mak; SW: 7" Mak; Meade: 80ST.
Mounts: Celestron: CGE Pro. SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; iOptron: AZMP; ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; UA: MicroStar.
Binos: APM: 100-90 APO; Canon: IS 15x50; Orion: Binoviewer, LG II 15x70, WV 10x50, Nikon: AE 16x50, 10x50, 8x40.
EPs: Pentax: XWs & XFs; TeleVue: Delites, Delos, Panoptic & Plossls; ES: 68; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV.
Diagonals: Baader: BBHS mirror, Zeiss Spec T2 prism, Clicklock dielectric; TeleVue: Evebrite dielectric; AltairAstro: 2" prism.
Filters: Lumicon: DeepSky, UHC, OIII, H-beta; Baader: Moon & SkyGlow, Contrast Booster, UHC-S, 6-color set; Astronomik: UHC.
Solar: HA: Lunt 50mm single stack, W/L: Meade Herschel wedge.

Observing: DSOs: 3183 (Completed: Messier, Herschel 1, 2, 3. In progress: H2,500: 2238, S110: 77). Doubles: 2471, Comets: 37, Asteroids: 292
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#6

Post by AstroBee »

You should really, really re-consider starting out with an 11" scope as a beginner. Even if you have the money, the frustration level to start with such a sophisticated rig is not worth it.
As a total beginner I would highly recommend something not only more manageable in size but easier to actually use. While an 11" SCT is an awesome rig and not really too heavy, the mount required to comfortable handle it is going to be large and bulky like an iOptron CEM70 or such. I know I've seen guys putting C11's on an AM5 mount but that is just asking for trouble in guiding and tipping over if not on a proper tripod/pier. The little carbon fiber tripod they sell for the AM5 is a huge mistake for that large of a scope.
If you really have the budget, I would recommend two rigs. An 8-10" Dob for visual and something like the ZWO AM5 with a 70-100mm refractor like the Askar 90.
Of course then you need to add a computer like the ASIair (Which I'm NOT a big fan of.) or a NUC, then a camera that matches the rig you plan to image with. The ZWO533MC would be a great start. the ZWO2600MC or MM would be the next jump up in cameras. But if you go mono then you need filters too. The best you can afford as cheap filters will cause reflections and halos around bright stars.
Greg M.~ "Ad Astra per Aspera"
Scopes: Celestron EdgeHD14", Explore Scientific ED152CF & ED127 APO's, StellarVue SV70T, Classic Orange-Tube C-8, Lunt 80mm Ha double-stack solar scope.
Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach One, iOptron CEM70EC Mount, iOptron ZEQ25 Mount.
Cameras: ZWO ASI2600mm Pro, ZWO 2600MC Pro, ZWO ASI1600mm
Filters: 36mm Chroma LRGB & 3nm Ha, OIII, SII, L-Pro, L-eXtreme
Eyepieces: 27mm TeleVue Panoptic, 4mm TeleVue Radian, Explore Scientific 82° 30mm, 6.7mm , Baader 13mm Hyperion, Explore Scientific 70° 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, Meade 8.8mm UWA
Software: N.I.N.A., SharpCapPro, PixInsight, PhotoShop CC, Phd2, Stellarium
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#7

Post by WGE »

Bigzmey wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 5:36 pm Welcome to TSS WGE! How good is your sky? Can you see Milky Way at night?
The Sky Varies where I live, when there is no cloud and a nice dark evening with no light pollution there are fantastic views
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#8

Post by WGE »

AstroBee wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 5:52 pm You should really, really re-consider starting out with an 11" scope as a beginner. Even if you have the money, the frustration level to start with such a sophisticated rig is not worth it.
As a total beginner I would highly recommend something not only more manageable in size but easier to actually use. While an 11" SCT is an awesome rig and not really too heavy, the mount required to comfortable handle it is going to be large and bulky like an iOptron CEM70 or such. I know I've seen guys putting C11's on an AM5 mount but that is just asking for trouble in guiding and tipping over if not on a proper tripod/pier. The little carbon fiber tripod they sell for the AM5 is a huge mistake for that large of a scope.
If you really have the budget, I would recommend two rigs. An 8-10" Dob for visual and something like the ZWO AM5 with a 70-100mm refractor like the Askar 90.
Of course then you need to add a computer like the ASIair (Which I'm NOT a big fan of.) or a NUC, then a camera that matches the rig you plan to image with. The ZWO533MC would be a great start. the ZWO2600MC or MM would be the next jump up in cameras. But if you go mono then you need filters too. The best you can afford as cheap filters will cause reflections and halos around bright stars.
Hi thanks for this advise, for me the mounts conundrum is the one thing that has been plaguing me the most as it seems a big issue when coming to take photos.
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#9

Post by Star Dad »

A piece of advice from an older APer. I have an 8" Newtonian weighing in at 16.5 pounds. Add in the board that has a Raspberry Pi and power supplies, and the focuser, camera, etc let's call it 21 pounds. My mount is capable of 40 pounds and weighs a hefty 76 pounds. This was fine - until a couple of weeks ago as I was setting up, something went pop in my back and I ended up in the ER for severe muscle pain. I am figuring it's just an anomaly - the weather has been so bad I haven't done AP since. I'm hoping that my next outing will not do me in. But consider the size of the mount you'll need for an 11" scope. I had thought about a 10" myself, but the weight is just too much for a sufficient mount. And Newts are among the lightest of the scopes. You might consider a Newt - they require more adjustments ie collimation but the weight savings can be important. Either that or a permanent observatory. Best Wishes.
"To be good is not enough when you dream of being great"

Orion 203mm/f4.9/1000mm, converted TASCO 114mm/f9/1000mm to steam punk, Meade 114mm/f9/1000, Coronado PST, Orion EQ-G, Ioptron Mini-Tower and iEQ30, Canon 70D, ASI120MM,ASI294MC, Ioptron SkyHunter
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#10

Post by Unitron48 »

Welcome to the group! Suggest you keep doing your research, and if you have access to an astronomy club, check out their public observing sessions. This will provide a great opportunity to see first hand the different types and sizes of scopes. Over my many years in this hobby, I have found that most APer's end up with multiple scopes....usually a larger SCT/Newtonian and a smaller refractor. You might want to start off with the smaller refractor. If you are set on the SCT, here is a review comparing the 9.25" with an 11": https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/c ... -xlt-r1419.

Enjoy the journey!

Dave
Unitron (60mm, 102mm), Brandon 94
Stellarvue SVX127D, Meade 8" SCT
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"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." Albert Einstein
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#11

Post by gregl »

Dave's advice about finding a club nearby should be the #1 priority. Talk to the members, look through scopes, and find out the pros and cons of each. Seeing them in person gives a perspective you'll not get from an online catalog image. In our club the 8-inch SCT is the most popular, particularly the dual fork mounts. When you go up in size, the overall bulk and weight changes dramatically. An 8-inch is what we find to be the best compromise on size vs. handling ease. And as others have said, an 8-inch Dobsonian is also a good choice. It's not too big and is perhaps the best bang for the buck in the hobby. Save the photography until you've got significant time with your eyeballs at the eyepiece.

Also consider that you'll spend more on accessories — eyepieces, a good finder, and other support equipment — than you think. I've probably spent more on that than on the scope.
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#12

Post by Bigzmey »

WGE wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 7:03 am
Bigzmey wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 5:36 pm Welcome to TSS WGE! How good is your sky? Can you see Milky Way at night?
The Sky Varies where I live, when there is no cloud and a nice dark evening with no light pollution there are fantastic views
If your sky is reasonably dark then both visual and astrophotography are on the table. There are many options and lots of info to take in.

How about starting with self-sufficient all-in-one Seestar S50? This is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to learn astrophotography and electronically assisted astronomy (EAA). It produces great pics and is loved by beginners and advanced observers all alike. In particular those who got tired of hauling heavy rigs. :lol:

Just look at all great pics posted on TSS!

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginn ... ripod.html
Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102ED; Celestron: 14" & 9.25" EdgeHD, 8" SCT, 150ST, Onyx 80ED; iOptron: Hankmeister 6" Mak; SW: 7" Mak; Meade: 80ST.
Mounts: Celestron: CGE Pro. SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; iOptron: AZMP; ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; UA: MicroStar.
Binos: APM: 100-90 APO; Canon: IS 15x50; Orion: Binoviewer, LG II 15x70, WV 10x50, Nikon: AE 16x50, 10x50, 8x40.
EPs: Pentax: XWs & XFs; TeleVue: Delites, Delos, Panoptic & Plossls; ES: 68; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV.
Diagonals: Baader: BBHS mirror, Zeiss Spec T2 prism, Clicklock dielectric; TeleVue: Evebrite dielectric; AltairAstro: 2" prism.
Filters: Lumicon: DeepSky, UHC, OIII, H-beta; Baader: Moon & SkyGlow, Contrast Booster, UHC-S, 6-color set; Astronomik: UHC.
Solar: HA: Lunt 50mm single stack, W/L: Meade Herschel wedge.

Observing: DSOs: 3183 (Completed: Messier, Herschel 1, 2, 3. In progress: H2,500: 2238, S110: 77). Doubles: 2471, Comets: 37, Asteroids: 292
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Re: Telescope and Mount Help

#13

Post by Mike Q »

The club thing is where you need to start. There is nothing better then hands on time with scopes. Then you will know exactly what you are looking for and what will work for you .

Visual and AP are two different critters and you will end up with different rigs to do one or the other. For visual work it is hard to beat a good dob, say 10 to 12 inches. If you get one that has a go to mount you can do some very basic AP with them.
Orion Skyline 10 Inch
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Stellina
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