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Thread: I'm hooked... here's what I'm getting

  1. #1
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    I'm hooked... here's what I'm getting

    The cheap telescope I purchased 2 days ago has really whetted my appetite for more. So I decided to visit the local telescope shop and get a good idea of what I could afford in a larger scope.

    I definitely want to go the photography route, so a "go to" scope was a must. I was thinking along the lines of a nice 6" or 8" scope for up to $1500.

    But while looking at the various models in the store (all very expensive!), I noticed that he had a 12" Meade 200LX GPS w/ UHTC coatings for $2500 (lists at over $4000).

    It turns out that another budding astronomer "caught the bug", invested in an expensive telescope, tried it for a few nights, and decided it wasn't as much fun as he thought. After a while, he decide to recoup some of his losses.

    The telescope looks great and we ran through all of the electronic controls. The store is also provided a limited warranty with the telescope (a month).

    Anyway, I am really excited to get a scope this big at such a discount. And part of me thinks that, if I also lose interest like the other guy, then I won't lose as much financially as long as I take good care of the scope.

    What are your thoughts? The only thing I am really paranoid about is doing something to ruin the telescope

  2. #2
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    I'd definitely spend some time just getting familiar with the scope and it's electronics before tackling astrophotography, that's a big jump. Congrats on your new scope and welcome to the club!!

    PS: It's pretty tough to do something that would 'ruin' the scope, just don't drop it, or store it somewhere unsafe.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! What's the best way to store a scope between uses?

  4. #4
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    I'd try to keep it indoors, or at least somewhere out of the weather where it won't get very cold/hot. A cover is probably a good idea, unless you got a hard case as part of the deal. Also, if you have little ones, make sure the scope is somewhere where they can't knock it over or touch the optics. It sounds like you got a great deal on that scope.

    I'll bet the images that scope will put up will blow away the dept. store scope you had, esp. deep sky objects (DSO's). Spring is coming and that means Leo/Virgo will be up; they have tons of galaxies in them. My fave DSO's.

  5. #5
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    Before you buy one, you could attend a star party and check out the options.

    Also lots of colleges and universities have observatories. SFSU is only 3 blocks from my house and I found out that they already possess all of my dream equipment. And they have 3 public nights per week and would probably accomodate a special request if there was an event I wanted to photograph.

    Just a few thoughts to help you try before you buy.

  6. #6
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    If it doesn't come with a case, I would suggest you get one. JMI makes several, including this one with large wheels and "wheelbarrow" like handles (less than $500 incl. S&H):
    http://www.jimsmobile.com/images/case_lx200_14g3.jpg

  7. #7
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    My college (WSU) has an old 12" achromat...and they have public sessions like 5 times a year, and half of them are cancelled due to bad weather!!!!

  8. #8
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    Sounds like a good deal. 12 inch sucks in a lot of light. You should be really happy with the views. As for astrophotography, the Meade DSI and DSI Pro are made for their scopes. Just plug things in and do a little setup and you're in. Enjoy, and don't drop it.

  9. #9
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    I didn't see a location for you ... but if you're near a city, my experience is that even a great scope performs just as well as a small one because of light pollution. And there's also the atmosphere to contend with.

    So be aware when trying astrophotography that you really should start easy -- the Moon. Then I suggest M42 or some open clusters, then go for a planet. I'm still having trouble getting good shots of Saturn because of the atmosphere here at Boulder.

  10. #10
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    It does sound like a good deal but be forewarned that a 12" SCT is a chore to set up on your own. Be sure that you're willing and able to do so.

    Aperture rules, light pollution or no. A large aperture allows higher magnifications to be used when appropriate, which is the best way to reduce the effects of light pollution. A large aperture also makes the use of nebula filters more effective.

    If you own a laptop computer, a Meade LPI or DSI might be the best way to go for imaging, without spending a fortune that is. There have been reports of software problems, however. A friend of mine that owns the 14" LX200 has run into a few of them.

    http://www.weasner.com/etx/astrophot...2005/dsi1.html

    Dave Mitsky

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mitsky
    It does sound like a good deal but be forewarned that a 12" SCT is a chore to set up on your own. Be sure that you're willing and able to do so.
    Well, I've got it set up right now. It wasn't really a problem for me, but unfortunately my first night with the scope is a very cloudy night.

    Aperture rules, light pollution or no. A large aperture allows higher magnifications to be used when appropriate, which is the best way to reduce the effects of light pollution. A large aperture also makes the use of nebula filters more effective.
    Well, I knew that the first rule of telescopes was "aperture rules", so I ended up getting the biggest I could afford. A 14" would have been new and double the price.

    If you own a laptop computer, a Meade LPI or DSI might be the best way to go for imaging, without spending a fortune that is. There have been reports of software problems, however. A friend of mine that owns the 14" LX200 has run into a few of them.
    I've got that set up on my laptop already. I hope the clouds clear up soon!!
    Last edited by baric; 2006-Feb-10 at 04:21 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by redshifter
    I'd try to keep it indoors, or at least somewhere out of the weather where it won't get very cold/hot.
    No, keep it where it wil be ambient/cold and as dry as possible. Cool-down time is critical to good optical performance, and it is possible for coatings to be degraded by mold, so dry is really good. 30-40% RH is a good humidity to avoid mold. If you have to keep the scope in a little utility building, or some other storage space where the temperature excursions can be controlled and the humidity is low, you've done well.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by baric
    I've got that set up on my laptop already. I hope the clouds clear up soon!!
    The clouds didn't clear up and the forecast is for rain overnight

    It's supposed to be clear tomorrow night, so wish me luck!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by baric
    Well, I've got it set up right now. It wasn't really a problem for me, but unfortunately my first night with the scope is a very cloudy night.

    Well, I knew that the first rule of telescopes was "aperture rules", so I ended up getting the biggest I could afford. A 14" would have been new and double the price.

    Edit
    My friend owned a 12" Meade LX200 and "upgraded" to the 14" despite my advice that it wasn't worth the expense, in this case, merely for imaging. He came to regret his decision.

    Dave Mitsky

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mitsky
    My friend owned a 12" Meade LX200 and "upgraded" to the 14" despite my advice that it wasn't worth the expense, in this case, merely for imaging. He came to regret his decision.

    Dave Mitsky
    I'll probably upgrade whenever Meade comes out with an 18" scope. Yeah, right!

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