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Old 11-03-2008, 09:12 PM   #1
Nick
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OMGHi2U GoTo Telescope advice...

I have an old Meade ETX-70, that I've enjoyed quite a bit, and I was interested in upgrading, but frankly I know nothing about the different types of lens/refraction setups so I don't know what's really better. I'm considering upgrading to a Meade ETX-125PE.


Aperture: 127mm (5.0")
Optical Design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
Focal Ratio: f/15
Focal Length: 1900mm
http://www.meade.com/etx_premier/index.html

My primary interest is in a goto scope because I want to be able to get the most enjoyment with the least amount of frustration, and I'm already familiar with the meade autostar setup.

Is this a good scope for the price (I found it for $800, but going rate is $900), are there other better units from other manufacturers that would be significantly better?

My main purpose of this scope would be general observation of planets and other major objects. I would also like to use it for photography. I've found the adapaters I would need to use my Canon XSi with it, and they are fairly cheap.

So I guess botom line I'm looking for some advice... is Meade still a good choice, is there a better choice for the money? I like the compact nature of the ETX scopes because they are easy to transport and setup. A goto scope is a 100% must though.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:39 PM   #2
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You may have actually found a topic OT knows nothing about. Impossible!!

Edit: Paging davenow.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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For $800 that is a decent scope. Meade, for consumer grade scopes, is hard to beat.
I was looking at a S/C by Celestron with their version of the "goto" computer drive and I think it was a) a little bigger and b) a lot more money...

brb for price check and linky
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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I wish I could have a telescope... Detroit is too bright and smoggy though
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:44 PM   #5
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:50 PM   #6
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http://www.telescope.com/control/pro...oduct_id=09684


$1500 for the scope I was looking at but it is an 8" Schmidty.

Here is a 127mm Mak similar to the Meade you are looking at for around $600 but you have to add on the goto drive for around $100:

http://www.telescope.com/control/pro...oduct_id=20008

So yeah, an $800 Meade Mak w/ goto is a good deal.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_guapo View Post
You may have actually found a topic OT knows nothing about. Impossible!!

Edit: Paging davenow.
Heh... do I win something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IONist3hfast4r View Post
http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category_id=cassegrains/~pcategory=telescopes/~product_id=09684


$1500 for the scope I was looking at but it is an 8" Schmidty.

Here is a 127mm Mak similar to the Meade you are looking at for around $600 but you have to add on the goto drive for around $100:

http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category_id=cassegrains/~pcategory=telescopes/~product_id=20008

So yeah, an $800 Meade Mak w/ goto is a good deal.
Well I can't say I was unhappy with my current one... it was a cheap too... like maybe $175 when I bought it. The goto makes it all worth while for something like me who knows dick about astronomy, but enjoys admiring it. The goto on the Meade also has a guided tour with text details on the objects... so it's informational, not just a this is X... this is Y.

It's going to run me like $1K, all said and done for the scope, case, and adapters I want. So I guess I'll give this a few days... and see if I can't draw on the power of OT, to show me why I should buy it, or why I should get something else.

EDIT: Here is a link to the gallery on Meade for the ETX scopes: http://www.meade.com/photogallery/etx_gallery.html
The one major issue I see though is that they are piggy backing the ETX-125 onto a $4000 telescope setup for those shots, so obviously the motor in the 125 isn't up to snuff for super long exposure shots.

Last edited by Nick; 11-03-2008 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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ask RiftsWRX... He has a pretty nice setup he uses for astrophotography... I'll try and find the thread.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:56 PM   #9
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sweetie, if you want to watch me undress, all you had to do was ask.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qcanfixit View Post
sweetie, if you want to watch me undress, all you had to do was ask.
I thought you were shy...


I can't believe the OT Collective doesn't have more knowledge about telescopes. I'm gobsmacked!
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:44 AM   #11
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Why would any of us heathens be anywhere near interested in exploring the heavens? We're too busy weaving our handbaskets for our journey south...
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I thought you were shy...


I can't believe the OT Collective doesn't have more knowledge about telescopes. I'm gobsmacked!
Aye, but we have a very thorough knowledge of binoculars. Go figure!

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Old 11-04-2008, 10:50 AM   #13
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I for one would welcome our Vega System overlords.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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Telescope.com


Orion Telescopes is a client of mine. They make some incredible stuff. I'd give their customer service department a call.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:14 AM   #15
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Nick, have at look at some of of the Orion scopes, http://www.telescope.com/control/main

The biggest thing, for me, with the scope you're interested in is the focal length for use with stated purpose. If it were a refractor, that focal would work but with cassegrains it might be better to stick with something around 7.0 or less. Orion makes decent scopes and uses the same optics of major scope manufacturers. You might be able to coem up with something better, for less.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:59 AM   #16
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I got an 8" lx200 gps a few years ago. I'm really happy with it, and the autostar makes observing fun and easy. I just checked Meade's web site, and it appears that they have changed the optics in the lx200. I think the lx90 is far closer to my lx200 than the new lx200s. Though it is a great scope, it seems to be about twice what you are looking to spend.

I have looked through an etx127, and I was impressed with it, but unless you're in an area with little light pollution, it might not be big enough to see lots of the cool stuff. For the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and some of the brighter clusters and nebulae, it will be fine, but for most deep sky stuff, it won't be adequate.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxered View Post
Nick, have at look at some of of the Orion scopes, http://www.telescope.com/control/main

The biggest thing, for me, with the scope you're interested in is the focal length for use with stated purpose. If it were a refractor, that focal would work but with cassegrains it might be better to stick with something around 7.0 or less. Orion makes decent scopes and uses the same optics of major scope manufacturers. You might be able to coem up with something better, for less.
Can you photograph with a refractor like you can with the ETX?

Like I said, I don't know enough about the lens designs, can you elaborate on what you mean between the refractor and the cassegrains?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 573 View Post
I got an 8" lx200 gps a few years ago. I'm really happy with it, and the autostar makes observing fun and easy. I just checked Meade's web site, and it appears that they have changed the optics in the lx200. I think the lx90 is far closer to my lx200 than the new lx200s. Though it is a great scope, it seems to be about twice what you are looking to spend.

I have looked through an etx127, and I was impressed with it, but unless you're in an area with little light pollution, it might not be big enough to see lots of the cool stuff. For the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and some of the brighter clusters and nebulae, it will be fine, but for most deep sky stuff, it won't be adequate.
That LX series is crazy expensive, but looks amazing. I'm nowhere near any major cities, so I don't think light pollution will be an issue. I didn't really expect to see most of the deep sky stuff. I really imagine to get real views of that sort of thing you are talking about a $5K+ scope. That's WAY out of my budget.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:20 PM   #18
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I have a telescope i made out of tin foil and a cardboard tube . It was very cheap and could be easily photographed through. Roughly 6" long, very lightweight and portable. You can see the the moon and stars. No fancy "refractors" or "cassegrains" to worry about. If you buy 2 they can also be used as telephones with simple modifications.

For you $12.99 plus shipping.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Can you photograph with a refractor like you can with the ETX?
Generally speaking, refractors are much better for astrophotography. They have lower f/ numbers, meaning that more light passes through the system. More light = shorter exposure times = cleaner image. The other thing you'll want for astrophotography is an equatorial mount tripod. The Meade you linked to comes with a field tripod, which is fine if all you want to do is visually track an object, but for longer exposures, you'll find that the object rotates in the field of view, so it'll be blurry in a picture. That's the real reason they piggybacked the ETX on the more expensive scope for those shots. ;-)
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Can you photograph with a refractor like you can with the ETX?

Like I said, I don't know enough about the lens designs, can you elaborate on what you mean between the refractor and the cassegrains?
Refractor = straight through viewing with one larger aperture lens and a smaller focusing lens. Good for planetary viewing at higher power, tends to have a longer focal length, not good for deep space/wide angle viewing. You can get a lower focal-length refractor(better for astrophotography) but they are $$$$ (however Orion has some damn good prices on these)

Cassegrain = Light passes through a outer lens and two reflectors are used to bring the light to a focal point. These are usually short focal lengths for maximum light gathering power. Not the best resolution but, long exposures + light-gathering power = nice deep space shots.

The Mak you are looking to buy is good (I have a meade refractor) but I think it's worth a few bucks extra to try to find one with a lower focal length if astophotog is high on your list.

here's a decent one, fully loaded. http://www.telescope.com/control/pro...oduct_id=24716
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
That LX series is crazy expensive, but looks amazing. I'm nowhere near any major cities, so I don't think light pollution will be an issue. I didn't really expect to see most of the deep sky stuff. I really imagine to get real views of that sort of thing you are talking about a $5K+ scope. That's WAY out of my budget.
I envy your lack of light pollution. If I want to get good views through my scope, I have to drive north.

If you do ever want to view the deep sky stuff(It's amazing) you could always go to a star party or do what I did and become friends with somebody who has ridiculous gear. This guy I know has put at least 100k into astronomy over the years, and the views through his telescopes are unbelievable. Just imagine looking into a 30" reflector that is so tall you need a step ladder to use it. If the thought of that hasn't caused your pants to fit funny, just imagine looking through that scope with a 4th gen night vision image intensifying eye piece.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilonad View Post
Generally speaking, refractors are much better for astrophotography. They have lower f/ numbers, meaning that more light passes through the system. More light = shorter exposure times = cleaner image. The other thing you'll want for astrophotography is an equatorial mount tripod. The Meade you linked to comes with a field tripod, which is fine if all you want to do is visually track an object, but for longer exposures, you'll find that the object rotates in the field of view, so it'll be blurry in a picture. That's the real reason they piggybacked the ETX on the more expensive scope for those shots. ;-)
Ahhh... ok... I was trying to understand that... found a good article that does explain it in detail here: http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/MOUNTS.HTM

But thank you... now I get it... At first I was like... mine tracks objects just fine... but didn't think about the rotation around the object because the mount can't twist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boxered View Post
Refractor = straight through viewing with one larger aperture lens and a smaller focusing lens. Good for planetary viewing at higher power, tends to have a longer focal length, not good for deep space/wide angle viewing. You can get a lower focal-length refractor(better for astrophotography) but they are $$$$ (however Orion has some damn good prices on these)

Cassegrain = Light passes through a outer lens and two reflectors are used to bring the light to a focal point. These are usually short focal lengths for maximum light gathering power. Not the best resolution but, long exposures + light-gathering power = nice deep space shots.

The Mak you are looking to buy is good (I have a meade refractor) but I think it's worth a few bucks extra to try to find one with a lower focal length if astophotog is high on your list.

here's a decent one, fully loaded. http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category_id=cassegrains/~pcategory=telescopes/~product_id=24716
See... this is why OT rocks... alright so that mount is in fact a real deal motor driven EQ mount so it will not rotate the image, right? This type of setup is going to be my best shot at getting long exposure photographs?

I see that setup is a little down on power from the Meade, is this one a bit closer to the meade's magnification specs? http://www.telescope.com/control/pro...6C5232.ivprod2

But that looks like an amazing setup! But $1400 is only a little more than $1150 right!

That site is dangerous... the "Step Up to" options are very bad for wallets. It's almost like a challenge!

The only real downside to these setups is that they require direct power. But not a big deal, I have one of those Duracell jump batteries I can plug into for portable power.

I have a box of celestron eyepieces I bought for my current scope, would I most likely be able to reuse them? I believe they are 1.25"

Last edited by Nick; 11-04-2008 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Ahhh... ok... I was trying to understand that... found a good article that does explain it in detail here: http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/MOUNTS.HTM

But thank you... now I get it... At first I was like... mine tracks objects just fine... but didn't think about the rotation around the object because the mount can't twist.



See... this is why OT rocks... alright so that mount is in fact a real deal motor driven EQ mount so it will not rotate the image, right? This type of setup is going to be my best shot at getting long exposure photographs?

I see that setup is a little down on power from the Meade, is this one a bit closer to the meade's magnification specs? http://www.telescope.com/control/pro...6C5232.ivprod2

But that looks like an amazing setup! But $1400 is only a little more than $1150 right!

That site is dangerous... the "Step Up to" options are very bad for wallets. It's almost like a challenge!

The only real downside to these setups is that they require direct power. But not a big deal, I have one of those Duracell jump batteries I can plug into for portable power.

I have a box of celestron eyepieces I bought for my current scope, would I most likely be able to reuse them? I believe they are 1.25"
Yeah, the EQ mount would be better for long exposure shots, without question. Some serious astrophotogs even use a 5 gallon bucket, loaded with sand, tied to the center of the mount to eliminate vibration during extra long exposures.

The Celestron eyepieces will work, no problemo.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:31 PM   #24
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My friend has a etx 125. Great scope!!! I remember him showing me all sorts of cool stuff and it was good for taking pics with. I have a link if you want but all of his pics are from when we were in hs and having a 1mp camera with a floppy drive was high tech. If you get it make sure you get a solar filter to check out the sun too.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:42 PM   #25
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I was just researching that 150 unit... trying to find a PDF, just so I can read a bit more about the scope. Setup seems pretty serious though. That scope itself is like $950, the GoTo kit is $500, so they give you $50 if you buy it together... how nice of them...

That's an amazing setup... but I'll really have to think about it.
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