Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Tristan, May 10, 2003.

1. ### TristanLeave your World BehindValued Senior Member

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1,358
This thread is dedicated to talking about Telescopes. Recent activity has proved that this is necessary and beneficial. I believe that there are quite a few amateur astronomers around here cruising Sciforums.com. And so, I invite you to add anything you want about your telescope set up. Also, if you have questions regarding a telescope to buy, or how to get started, post them here. You've got some really good questions; we've got even better answers.

So without further ado, I now open this thread to lots of good talk about Telescopes and the like!

(*gong*

)

Later,
T

Last edited: Feb 19, 2004

3. ### BachusRegistered Senior Member

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1,271
Well, let me be the one kicking it off

I recently purchased an electronic oculair from meade. I haven't been able to test it yet though, i was wondering if anyone else here had tested it and if it was satisfactory. I bought it so that a couple of friend and myself could see what the telescope sees on a tv screen (trying to get their interrest)

5. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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964
My main telescope rig has changed quite a bit since last time I posted it. One of my buddies at a star-party called it "The Little Spaceprobe that could" because it is small, but rigged like a larger telescope. I don't really have an inclination to buy a bigger telescope. I'm more inclined twards planets, the moon, sun, the occasional close-by comet or asteroid, and sometimes bright deep sky objects. As such, my telescope reflects the niche of Astronomy I reside in.

Orion Spaceprobe 3" Equatorial

Orion EQ-1 Equatorial Mount:
Two Counter-weights, EQ-1M Clock Drive with hand controller and custom made 6v battery pack (uses 2 Lantern Batteries), Custom-Made Polar Alignment scope bracket /w finder, 2 bubble T leveler in accessory tray, 3 vynel eyepiece holders on a strip attached to a tripod leg, anti-vibration pads

Spaceprobe 3" Telescope Tube:
76mm Primary Mirror, 1/8 Wave Accurate, 700mm Focal Length, rack and pinion focuser, Celestron Small Telescope focus motor, Telrad Reflex Finder, original finder scope mounts removed

CCD Guide Scope Refractor:
60mm Tasco Telescope (rebuilt), focal extention tube, Galileo CCD-1 Electronic Imaging System, mounted on custom made dovetail mount with pipe clamp rings to attach to Spaceprobe 3" tube, 95mm Vixen Guide Scope Rings

Eyepieces:
Hygenian 22mm .965, Ramsden 10mm .965, Plossl 30mm 1.25, Kellner 25mm 1.25, Kellner 10mm 1.25, Plossl 6.5mm, 2x Short-tube Barlow

35mm Astrophotorgaphy Camera:
Pentax K1000 Camera body, variable 1.25 camera adapter w/ T-Mount, 20" shutter cable w/ locking mechanism

7. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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964
I ordered Orions Monochrome CCD camera when I got my camera adapter for my Pentax K1000. I am wondering how it will do... probably crappy since I don't have a focal reducer for it yet.

So Bachus, how did that electronic eyepiece work out for you? I also have the Galileo CCD camera... it is junk.

8. ### BachusRegistered Senior Member

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1,271
Not tested yet, haven't been home alot

9. ### EctropicRegistered Senior Member

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195
Yeah... I see a lot of words that are totally new to me here thus far. I am a total telescope newbie and I need some help.

I always have been interested in space, but only recently have I done some real learning. I have read a reasonable amount and spent quite a bit of time in Starry Night Pro, so now I want a telescope of my own.

Here are my questions and loose requirements.

1: How far from a city do I have to live to get a good look at local objects in the sky like Planets and Comets? I currently live about 10 miles from a smaller city (Toledo) but reasonable near the turnpike, so often the night sky is a hazy orange red.

2: What is a good telescope for a beginner? I want something as cheap as possible without being total garbage. What am I looking for when shopping for a telescope?

3: Is there a simple way to aim at locations when I know where they are in the sky (Remember, total newbie, flames unnecessary)

See ya,
T

12. ### BachusRegistered Senior Member

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1,271
As it looks now I will be able to test the damn thing tonight

13. ### BachusRegistered Senior Member

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1,271
Damned clouds

yea was unable to test

Next try will be tomorow

14. ### kajolishotRegistered Senior Member

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627
Hey all.

I've been interested in this field for a while now but just recently I have enough money to purchase a telescope. My main interest would be observing deep space objects, mostly planets and the moon.

I am looking at getting an Orion 6" reflector...Another thing I need/want is to take photographs and so I was considering purchasing a digital camera.

I would like your suggestions as to a good mid-low level telescope and what other tools are needed for attaching a digi camera to the eyepiece. I read Astronomy (the magazine) but hardly is there ever a guide/review of digital cameras suited for astronomy photography.

It's good to be here and hopefully I can get some enlightenment from you all.

15. ### BachusRegistered Senior Member

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1,271
You would need an EQ mount if you want to make pics and a camera adapter. For scope reviews try cloudynights.com (or something). Orion has good stuff (and you damned yankees can get it cheap

)

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The best suggestion I can offer you is Orion's Astroview 6" telescope for $365. As far as Astrophotography goes, you don't need to go CCD if you don't want to - a good manual 35mm SLR camera does the job well, along with a proper adapter and some descent eyepieces. 17. ### kajolishotRegistered Senior Member Messages: 627 Thank you guys for the suggestions. I will be doing more research into what I really want and will post it here before purchasing. Xevious....some of Orion's reflectors are labelled as "deep space" use and others as "plaents, etc" use. How does your Orion handle both uses? Thanks again. 18. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member Messages: 964 My telescope personally? Mine is the Spaceprobe 3". It was meant primarily as a beginners first telescope, but also makes a fine planetary scope for the advanced amature. Jupiter's bands show up, as well as all the Galilean satilites of Jupiter, and a few other moons with less light pollution. Saturn is very observable, with the rings themselves standing out very clearly, and the Cassini division quite noticeable at high powers (though somewhat dim). One can also spot Titan. Uranus shows up as a bright green star, and Neptune as a deep blue one. Pluto can't be told apart from the background stars. Mars shows as a deep red star-like speck, but most other smaller telescopes won't resolve it any better either. It isn't until you get something like a 8" reflector that you can find some detail on Mars. The phases of Venus are always a splender, and Mercury is easily observable. Celestron makes a solar filter for it's FirstScope 76 which works beautifully on my Orion. With an orange filter in the eyepiece, the sun shows up in true-colors. Oh, and don't even get me started on how beautiful close lunar study is on this telescope Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! Now, think of what else can be done for lunar and planetary study! You have all the power to get very high detailed images of the Moon and Sun during eclipses. For planetary work, the Spaceprobe 3" is a SOLID pick. It is very inexpensive (mine was on sale for$79 - they cost $130 normally), includes some descent Kellner eyepieces, a reflex finder (not a crap finder), a solid equatorial mount for it's size, and accesories are very inexpensive as well. You might say "Oh, CHEAP 3 inch reflector" but it's a 1/8 wave accurate mirror down in that tube, and it has about as much light grasp as an 80mm refractor - which is what many serious amatures use for planetary work, and they pay around what$250-$350 for a quality refractor OTA that size? For far less you get nearly equivalent performance packed into an equatorial newtonian. Sure it isn't quite as crisp an image as a refractor, but it is far more color correct, and as I mentioned, the parts and accessories for it are very inexpensive. Just because it was made for beginners doesn't mean it doesn't have it's niche in the heart of a serious amature. I LOVE my Orion... and I think you would be happy with this telescope too. 19. ### EctropicRegistered Senior Member Messages: 195 I'm glad to hear I don't have to spend a small fortune to get somethng descent. I will look in to buying that telescope. 20. ### kajolishotRegistered Senior Member Messages: 627 21. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member Messages: 964 Orion used to offer this telescope in two colors - classic white, and metallic blue. Since the Classic White telescope didn't sell too well, Orion decided to liquidate them at$79+shipping each, and afterwards they now only sell the telescope painted in Neputne Blue Metalic, for $130. However my Spaceprobe 3" EQ is a slightly older model and has a major difference from the current production run. Mine came with one of the old crappy finderscopes, so I spent the extra money to buy a Telrad reflex finder. Only a few months later, Orion started shipping the Spaceprobe 3" EQ with their EZ-Finder II Red-dot reflex finder, eliminating the need to upgrade the finder on these telescopes. Accessories and Additions What my telescope is capable of is a result of over a year of buying accessories and equipment to go with it - which in the long run is actually more expensive than the telescope itself, particularly for beginners just starting out. A more serious amature usually owns several telescopes, but most of the accesories are shared between all the scopes - like the eyepieces, finder scopes, camera adapters, ect. - such things you really only need one of each. Some things though, are just for a particular telescope. Oh, and when you see that middle-aged grey-haired amature Astronomer and his collection of telescopes, eyepieces, filters, ect. which make you drool, remember that he's been in this hobby since before I and probably you were ever born - he's had years to accumulate all that equipment, so don't fret! Build up your collection of eyepieces and accessories slowly, and keep in mind that much of that equipment will be ready for you and highly useful when you get a large aperture telescope. But since we are discussing the Spaceprobe 3" EQ, I'll share with you my experiences. This is a list of useful eyepieces and accessories which will complement the Spaceprobe 3" EQ. Eyepieces Orion's Explorer II eyepieces (two come with the Spaceprobe 3") are teriffic at around$30 each, but their are eyepieces of better quality for the same price. The best price / performance buy in eyepieces I have found so far are made by a company called GTO. They are available from a company called "Hands on Optics"

http://www.handsonoptics.com/

GTO makes several differnt lines of eyepieces. Their entry-level Plossl eyepieces are $30 each ($40 for their 40mm). All of these eyepieces are multi-coated, some are fully-coated. Accept for the 40mm, all of these eyepieces have an incredible 52 degree field of view, and a sharp image which is noticably superior to Orion's Explorer II Kellner eyepieces. In fact, the GTO Plossl is probably far more like Orion's Sirus Plossl eyepieces.

For $35 each, you can buy an even better eyepiece - the GTO-MC Super Plossl. These are the same Super Plossl shipped by Celestron, often referred to as "Silver Tops", which win review after review in popular magazines like Astronomy and Sky & Telescope. For the money, I'm not sure you can buy anything better... or can you? For around$40 each, one can buy the GTO-SP True Plossl. These eyepieces are the best Plossl which GTO makes. I have not tried one personally, but from what I heave heard, they are about as good as the Orion High-Light Plossl eyepieces.

Solar Filter
It would be nice if Orion had made a sun filter for the Spaceprobe 3", but they never did and it's a real shame. Orion's glass solar filters show the sun in true color, and are reputed to be some of the best solar filters made. But, none of them fit the Spaceprobe 3". What to do!?

Ask Celestron. The telescope you and I know as the Spaceprobe 3" is made in China by a company called Synta. Orion doesn't really make them, but instead import the telescope and markets it under it's own name. Celeston also imports this telescope. They call it the Firstscope 76. Thus, any accesories made by Celestron for the Firstcope 76 will work, without any kind of modificaiton, on the Spaceprobe 3". It just so happens Celestron makes a solar filter. Celeston makes their filter out of Baader safety film, which isn't quite as nice as glass but it does the job just fine... and guess what? It's only around $25 compared to over$50 for Orion's filters.

MORE TO COME

Last edited: Jun 16, 2003
22. ### XeviousTruth Beyond LogicRegistered Senior Member

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964
Last but not least, of course get a clockdrive like Orion's EQ-1, and a Barlow. THe vari-power 2x-3x is best for that extra omph, but the more magnification you push out of that little Spaceprobe, the dimmer the image will be, the image will be a lot harder to recognize when your tripod has the shakes. Their are lots of things you can do to make the tripod more stable, though.

23. ### HDE226868Registered Member

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3

I have studied astronomy/cosmology as a hobby for the past 20 years or so, but I've only recently gotten interested (in any way) in optics. For years I was satisfied to read, read, read and for me what Spica looked like was hardly as interesting as its characteristics and its evolution.

Anyway, earlier this year, in fact about a month ago I bought an Orion XT6 Dobsonian mounted telescope. I went for a 6 inch reflector for considerations of price, mirror size and at least partial portability (40 pounds aint too light).

It came with two eyepies both of the Plossl variety, 10mm and 25mm. The telescope as it is now, can detect up to about 1.8" seperation in binary stars, and the limiting magnitude is 13.6. (Ironically Wolf 359 is probably not visible from my scope, D'oh!)

After I got the scope I focused mainly on binary stars and clusters, and I got some flack as people suggested I would have done better with a refractor for binary star viewing, however since I was new to the optics thing anyway, I didn't really know what would be the most fun. And of course observing from Houston is a crapshoot. Last night the observing was great even with the moon, the night before hardly anything was visible (and the skies were clear).

I'm trying to get more organized with my observations, but I have had a pretty good run. Iota and Kappa Bootis are interesting as you can see two binaries in the same field. And the small globular near G Scorpii is an interesting comparison with the large size of M4 near Antares. (Where I am Scorpius is the most readally observable constellation).

Anyway, thought I'd share all that, Mars by the way appears to me as a small red-dot, with some visible features in the XT6, though it is quite a bit smaller in apparent diametar than Jupiter.

Cheers.