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Views through a 14" Celestron SC

Started by joburg-astro, 02/01/2005 04:48AM
Posted 02/01/2005 04:48AM Opening Post
Hi all

I had the oppertunity to visit the Hartbeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory(http://www.hartrao.ac.za) here in South Africa over the weekend. Very informative I might say.

At the end of the evening they pulled out their Celestron scope for us to view Saturn and the Orion Nebula.

Seeing conditions were great I thought (never saw so many stars since I have been observing - with bino's). Anyway I thought that the view of Saturn was not much better than the view through my 6" Newt in light poluted Johannesburg.

The Orion Nebula was better - could see quite a bit more of the nebula and it had a slight green tint to it.

My point is that I now cannot see that I'll ever spend $10000 on a scope when you get similar views through a $500 scope. The price difference is just not justified.

Anyway what are your thoughts and have you had similar experiences.

Regards
Douw
Posted 02/01/2005 05:21AM #1
If it was a club scope, the collimation or cleanliness could have been poor. Also, if you notice, most people don't knock the longer focus 6" newts smile They have a reputation for giving great planetary views.

Although a 14" SCT should out do it handily, I'd believe the collimation was off. It could have been poor atmospheric conditions though. Some nights the sky will seem really clear for deep sky objects, but the air boundaries aren't steady enough to support high magnification for planets. Often times, a hot and slightly hazy night is best for planets and lunar viewing.
Posted 02/01/2005 06:41AM #2
Well, if that scope was pointed at some galaxies you're familiar with in your 6inch scope, you probably would have left with a different impression! Also, lots of things (seeing being number 1) can limit planetary performance - the views through 14 inches of aperture are *potentially* a lot better than a 6 inch scope. Still, lots of planetary observers stick with a 6 inch scope (or so) for most observing. And the Orion Nebula looks fantastic in a 6 inch scope anyway.

But it's certainly true that $10000 views are NOT 20x better than $500 views. My experience is that the Mega-scopes aren't worth the extra expense and hassle for me. My plan is to end up with something like a 10 inch scope, and be friends with people who have the really Big Guns. wink
Posted 02/01/2005 06:59AM #3
Douw,

Thanks for the comments about your observations.

I think the posts on this thread contain some grains of truth about aperture vs cost vs what one can see. I think a lot depends on the observer's skills, experience and practice. A person can get a lot of pleasure with a smaller scope or binoculars it that's all they can afford.

Rick W

8" Zhumell Dob
90mm f11 achro refractor
4-1/2 f4 rich field newt reflector