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Help purchasing a new scope

Started by astroboy314, 11/02/2004 05:41PM
Posted 11/02/2004 05:41PM Opening Post
Hello! I am a current 8" SCT user and I'm ready for a new scope. Having done the SCT thing, I'm looking at purchasing either an Apo refractor or a good quality Dob (Obsession, Starsplitter)... and I'm looking at spending a few thousand (up to about $5000).

Based on what I know about my SCT, this is what I want in a scope...

I love crystal clear images. My favourite objects are star fields, open and globular clusters, and the planets. Of course I like deep-sky too, but a rich open cluster always amazes me. I also always seem to gravitate back to my MK-70 40mm, because of the wide-field (relatively speaking, for an SCT) view with tons of pin-point stars... I also have a 22mm Nagler and 12mm Radian but don't use them as much as my MK-70. I don't like the dimmer, hazier views given by my higher powered pieces, although perhaps in an Apo this wouldn't be an issue.

So, I'm thinking I'd prefer quality to aperature... however, I think a scope like a 15" Obsession could give pretty clear images and everything would be much, much brighter. ANother selling point for an Apo would be the portability... just taking a scope and going helps me get out more often. I love the thought of getting a 4-5" Apo, but $5000 for an OTA? Wow... is it worth it? I should also mention that I do want to experiment with astrophotography, but right now it's not a big concern.

I know a lot of you are going to say "visit star parties", but I'm not in an area that has star parties... I'd have to drive a ways to get to one. So in the end will anyone really be able to help me out? Everyone has their own favourite scope, I'm sure... I guess this just come down to personal preference? Probably... but any advice would help! Thanks!

Posted 11/02/2004 07:28PM | Edited 11/02/2004 07:29PM #1
David, I'm sure you are gonna get lots of replies, but if you decide to go the Dob way, I would recommend for you to check on Starmaster Scopes, they got the ELT series, which are light, not too large, excellent quality, and enough aperture to enjoy the views! (not to mention within your price range too!)

Clear skies, and good luck!


Ivan Gastaldo 8)
Coconut Creek, FL

Ivan's Observatory
Lat 26N 16' 48" Long 80W 10' 48"
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CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky - Moderator
I like to complain about everything - Moderator
Posted 11/02/2004 07:30PM #2
I think this scope would do everything you are looking for and keep its value.

Posted 11/02/2004 07:30PM #3
I love my APO for wide field visual and imaging, but you might be disappointed in its ability to deliver deep sky images, especially faint nebulae and galaxies. But, if your primary interest was imaging, I would say go for the APO.

If your main interest is high resolution visual observing of planets and deep sky, you cannot (IMO) beat a good dob. I would get at least a 10" or go as large as you can and be comfortable managing yourself. I have a 16" Starmaster and its performance on deep sky and planets is superb. You can also get superb views from many other manufacturers (how's that for trying not to start anything here? :>).

If your interest is portability, you may find your 8" SCT to be fairly portable. It is at least as portable, IMO, as a 4-5" APO on a GEM and probably more portable. If portability is a real issue, go with a 3-4" APO on an alt az mount, but then you lose on high res planetary views as well as deep sky.

I would consider all these criteria (others will probably add other decision points), decide what's important to you and make a choice best on that. Too bad there is no such thing as a highly portable, large aperture scope that is good for visual as well as deep sky. Some may think they've found it--good for them! Manyof us settle for eventually owning two or more scopes that complement each others capabilities.

Best wishes,


Randy Roy
Posted 11/02/2004 07:32PM | Edited 11/02/2004 07:34PM #4

i have a lot of scopes ranging from a Pronto, a Televue Genesis, to a Tak Mewlon 250 to a Discovery 17.5" Dob. For viewing clusters, nebula and galaxies ... the large dob is the best. Smaller fainter ngc DSO's take on a whole new character with the dob and there are a of of them to explore. You just can not do that with 5 or 6 inches of aperture.

For visual enjoyment get a dob. Then sometime if you want, get a APO, if you wnat to do imaging.

clear skies,

Larry Citro
Posted 11/02/2004 08:15PM #5
By a scope like this one
and then take the rest of the money you would have spent on a APO and buy some good EPs, filters and maybe a Digital Setting Circle kit for it.
You will be able to see just about anything you would wish to see, it will not be too big to transport and you will like the resell on it should you wish to upgrade.
You could even buy a small APO with it as well if that is your desire.
Even with all this you could bring it all home for under $5,000 with the small APO or Acro Refractor.

[SIZE="Large"][/SIZE][COLOR="Blue"][/COLOR] Floyd Blue grin
Amateur Imager
Posted 11/02/2004 09:43PM #6
Get a TEC140 APO, sell your SCT and get a universal astronomics mount until you save for a GEM. Do it now and save over the overpriced competitors, do it now before the wait starts to go up, do it now and be the King.
Posted 11/03/2004 10:59AM #7

I too moved from an 8"SCT to a larger Dob, in fact a 15" Obsession.
The difference in images has been remarkable. M13 is simply breathtaking. Obsession makes excellent scopes. They also make a 12.5" model. Check out Astromart since there have been some good deals lately for Dobs. Starmaster, StarSplitter,etc all make quality products.

Good Luck!
Obsession 15/Swayze

Obsession 15/Swayze #643
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