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Advice for Second Scope

Started by Harry Drutok, 02/26/2005 03:30PM
Posted 02/26/2005 03:30PM Opening Post
Hi Folks,
I recently sold my back-up scope (Vixen FL 102) and am looking to buy something with a bit more aperture. I own a C-14/G-11 so deep space objects are covered. I would like a planetary killer and don't want to spend more then $3K. Scopes I'm thinking of are: 7" LX-200, 6.5" DGM OA, and an 8" Portaball. I realize the 7" has cooldown issues, the 6.5" may be a challenge to collimate and the 8" may take a long time to get.

Any other ideas?

Thanks!
Harry
Posted 02/26/2005 04:24PM #1
The Starmaster V8 comes to mind with rocker box just over $3000,again Zambuto mirror and metal construction.
Starsplitter has a Zambuto 10" f/6 for about $2500.
Also a Spooner mirror in a good 8" Dob would be great.
Remember that optics are the key for this type of scope. You want to be able to use magnification for planetary.
Solid tube or truss would be fine.
My opinion and I am building one myself so I am doing as I say. 8)

[SIZE="Large"][/SIZE][COLOR="Blue"][/COLOR] Floyd Blue grin
Amateur Imager
Posted 02/26/2005 05:11PM #2
hi,

consider a 6" Mak-Newt, mine is great on the planets


clear skies,

Larry Citro
Posted 02/26/2005 07:40PM #3
Check out Rob Teeter's stuff (astromart sponser!). He makes longer focal length dobs and they are really really nice looking. He has some great woodwork and some novel ideas. I had a few chances to use a 10" Planetkiller of his design and it was fantastic.
Posted 02/26/2005 08:03PM #4
This looks like the price range for a used Starmaster ELT. If you get a really great deal - throw in a binoviewer.

I don't own an ELT or a binoviewer - I do own an 8" Portaball and owned a 6.5" DGM - very nice scopes and fairly comparable I thought.

Bob Davenport
Posted 02/26/2005 10:04PM #5
Harry,
The 7" Mak LX-200 will take about 30-45 minutes to cool down in the winter if you use the fan. One approach I took was to put the scope outside before dinner so it would have a chance to adjust. I would take the mount \ OTA unit outside without the tripod and let it sit without the fan running. After dinner I would put it on the tripod and get everything setup. With this approach, I would sometimes still need to run the fan for 10 minutes to finish the cool down. Once the OTA was settled down, I would have no trouble for the rest of the evening. I live in Wisconsin.

Note: I have learned a flexible dew shield is important in the summer and the winter with the Maksutovs.

Another option to consider is to purchase only the OTA. Meade sells the OTA with UHTC coatings. When you purchase the scope in this configuration, Meade does not install the rear counterweight needed for balance in the fork mounts. I am guessing the lack of the OTA weight will help speed the cool down, but I do not know for sure. My scopes were all fork mounted. Add a dovetail, mount, and dark sky.

I had several of these scopes and I think they are very good value for the money. I found the images to be nice and sharp along with displaying high contrast. Last year I had some wonderful views of Saturn with my (now sold) LX-200 7" Maksutov.

I found my 7" Meade Maks gave images that were much brighter and had significantly more detail then my 4" APO. Compared against a C-11 (no averted vision), and the 7" using averted vision, I came close to matching brightness, but not (as you would expect), the C-11's resolution. The Mak displayed higher contrast then the C-11.

In addition to the Meade Maksutov, if you have not checked into it, ITE, an AM sponsor, sells a Russian made 7" F15 Mak. The deluxe version of this OTA includes a fan to help with cooling. I have had mine since last fall and I really, really like it. The color, sharpness, and contrast are all terrific. The CO is small, there is no focus shift, and the OTA is easy to handle. It is however, more money then the Meade OTA.

Good luck,
Paul G.
Posted 02/27/2005 07:05AM #6
You didn't say much about portability, imaging, or other needs, so this might not do it for you.

But, you could sell the C14/G11, and take the money (plus a bit more) and go get a mint, used 14.5" Starmaster w/GOTO and tracking. This would give you the aperture you want, and very likely, better image quality and more FOV than your C14. Very portable too. And it might be cheaper than keeping the C14 setup and spending another $3K on an additional scope.

Doug
Posted 02/27/2005 08:01AM #7
Henry,
Of those choices, I prefer the 8 inch Portaball, which will give you fine, high contrast planetary images, and a good clock drive is an accessory for it.
My own preference in your price range would be a Starmaster ELT, which sells for 3,295. I own one and it is a fine scope. This will give fine deep sky images and fine planetary images, with high resolution and great contrst. But the Paracorr and the SkyCommander and the anti-dew heater for the diagonal mirror will be extra costs. I have them and it is well worth it. This scope can be obtained with go-to but it is expensive. It is not necessary for this sizs scope in my opinion (and I believe in Rick Singmaster's opinion too.
But the Mag 1 8 inch Protaball would be a simple solution.
People have suggested a Rob Teeters long focus Dob planet-killer, and that might work fine for you too. I think I would prefer an 8 inch Teeters planet killer to the 6.5 inch DGM, as I think it would have better resolution, comparable contgrast, and better light-gathering power.
A ten-inch Compact Precision Telescope from Mark Wagner, with a Bob Royce mirror, would be another fine choice. I own one and it is a fine scope.
If money were no object, an 8 inch TEC Mak-Cass would be a good planetary scope.
I would stay away from the 7 inch Meade.
Bill Meyers
Posted 02/27/2005 01:01PM #8
Hi Folks,
Thanks for all the GREAT responses. I have considered a mak-newt, but my G-11 is way back on my property and not really a quick look/second scope option. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but you all have given me many different options. I may sell the C-14/G-11, take the money I got from the sale of my other scope, and bite the bullet and get a big dob.

Thanks again!
Harry