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Gorsat
2007-Jun-23, 08:23 PM
I own an 8" dob and some good eyepieces. I've been learning the night sky for a while now and I can readily find lots of cool, deep space objects. However, I live in the Seattle area so transparency is typically poor and light pollution is pretty bad. The objects I really like to observe are very hard to make out Ė little fuzzy blotches that barely stand out from the background. I have a couple of small kids and a wife who is only somewhat understanding of my night hobby, so regularly getting away to a site with better sky conditions isn't an option for me. So I've been thinking that I should upgrade my scope to make the most of my observation opportunities at home. The top priority for me is to maximize light gathering ability so I'm thinking I should go for a large aperture. But convenience is important, too. I need to be able to set up quickly and navigate quickly. I would also like to get into astrophotography some day. So Iíve ruled out moving to a bigger dobsonian. Iíve been looking at the various Cassegrain scopes and, frankly, Iím a bit confused by them. I donít understand all the feature differences. I know I want a big aperture and long focal length, Iíd like a go-to system and stable mount and Iíd like to be able to get the thing in and out of the house without breaking my back. I donít fully understand most of the other stuff they use as selling points for these scopes. Iím okay spending a pile of money on this, but I definitely want to ensure I get the best bang-for-buck. Does anyone have some advice or opinions about this?

Hornblower
2007-Jun-24, 01:58 AM
I would say that a large Schmidt-Cass on a go-to mount would be the scope for you. Perhaps you could find an astronomy club in your area and pick their brains about the details.

aurora
2007-Jun-24, 02:05 AM
Visit the Seattle astronomy club.

You might want to get into imaging. That can be done even under poor skies, although it requires money and practice and some technical know how.

ozark1
2007-Jun-24, 07:04 AM
I own an 8" dob and some good eyepieces. I've been learning the night sky for a while now and I can readily find lots of cool, deep space objects. However, I live in the Seattle area so transparency is typically poor and light pollution is pretty bad. The objects I really like to observe are very hard to make out Ė little fuzzy blotches that barely stand out from the background. I have a couple of small kids and a wife who is only somewhat understanding of my night hobby, so regularly getting away to a site with better sky conditions isn't an option for me. So I've been thinking that I should upgrade my scope to make the most of my observation opportunities at home. The top priority for me is to maximize light gathering ability so I'm thinking I should go for a large aperture. But convenience is important, too. I need to be able to set up quickly and navigate quickly. I would also like to get into astrophotography some day. So Iíve ruled out moving to a bigger dobsonian. Iíve been looking at the various Cassegrain scopes and, frankly, Iím a bit confused by them. I donít understand all the feature differences. I know I want a big aperture and long focal length, Iíd like a go-to system and stable mount and Iíd like to be able to get the thing in and out of the house without breaking my back. I donít fully understand most of the other stuff they use as selling points for these scopes. Iím okay spending a pile of money on this, but I definitely want to ensure I get the best bang-for-buck. Does anyone have some advice or opinions about this?

There is not very much point in increasing your aperture if the problem is a bright background (light pollution) - the background just gets brighter too. This rules out the big dobs. The SCTs and MCTs have an advantage here as they see far less of the background (smaller FOV) - but this has the disadvantages of not being able to view the bigger galaxies and being impossible to line up for CCD imaging.

Personally Iīd head for a 8® Meade LX and a good astronomical CCD (big chip) rather than go for the bigger sizes

redshifter
2007-Jun-25, 06:00 PM
I'm also stuck here in the NW with it's cloudy skies, lousy transparancy, and horrible seeing most of the time. Occasionally the seeing and transparancy are pretty good in summer. Just the other night I was able to push 250X on Jupiter from my backyard with my XT10. It's a very rare night in the Pac NW (at least W of the cascades) when one can do that.

Having said that, if you're interested in more aperature, IMO about the only way to get any benefit out of that aperature will be to get out to a dark sky. You might get some use out of the extra aperature if you bought a nebula filter though. Ozark makes a good point, if you're going the astrophoto route, get high quality CCD.

Dave Mitsky
2007-Jun-29, 02:46 PM
Gorsat,

Increasing aperture does not somehow make light pollution worse. This is a common and persistent telescope myth.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/visualobserving/3305656.html?page=3&c=y

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=4735

Whether it makes sense or not to shell out the money for a large telescope if it is only going to be used under bright skies is another matter entirely.

Dave Mitsky

Gorsat
2007-Jul-05, 12:21 AM
I bought a Celestron CGE1400 (14" SCT on German equatorial mount). I'm very pleased with the results. While this scope is very large and powerful it is also fairly portable, so I hope to take it out to a dark sky site once in a while.