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Mid range DSO travel scope recommendations/options

30 Oct, 2018 04:57
Hi guys,
Always inspired by the great images seen here on AB!

Several years ago I did some basic astrophotography on the venerable Skywatcher ED80 with an HEQ5 mount.
Would like to get back into AP this winter but don't have any dark skies except for 2-3 hours drive away.

Could you recommend a few OTA options for a mid range  - pricewise and size -  travel scope for DSOs?  I'm mostly into spiral galaxies.
Ideally the scope will be able to withstand bumpy roads and travel rigors (hold collimation well and not easily damaged).
Was thinking about a 100ED or 127ED doublet, or maybe a small to mid-sized RC with a reputation for holding collimation well (if one exists..).

The scope will be mounted on an EQR-6 but still would like to go on the lighter side where possible.
thanks in advance!
Edited 30 Oct, 2018 05:14
30 Oct, 2018 19:31
SCT's are probably more suitable for travelling than RC's, collimation is needed only in extrem cases. Size of Celestron 8 is still ok with EQ6.
31 Oct, 2018 06:13
Hi Xordi,
Thanks for your reply.

I had also thought about an C.925 or C8 edge. I wasn't sure how sharp of star images a SCT would produce when imaging DSO's.
But I guess it would be ok to crop close to the galaxies.

I guess a SCT + OAG combined with something like an ASI 294MC cooled camera would work.
How long of exposures are you using with your C8?
31 Oct, 2018 18:29
You can check here many pictures created with SCT's, there are some also in my gallery. On darker objects I often use more than 15 min subs, but of course it also depends on camera settings like binning, gain.  Imaging on f/7 is not very fast but on the other hand the C8Edge is a fine and handy tool especially when travelling.
Edited 31 Oct, 2018 21:18
01 Nov, 2018 12:52
Being fan of reflectors before, I would recommend use APO as a travel scope, 100 mm f6 seems reasonable for galaxies. SC is too large and heavy for travel, I think.
02 Nov, 2018 04:25
Hey Adel,
Thanks for the reply. Is there a specific model you recommend?

I'm familiar with SCT's for visual, but my problem is I don't know how small or large I should go with refractors for picking up details in galaxies. My ED80 was "nice" but not large enough to pick up signficant details. Not sure 100mm would be a major increase in performance.

Of course I would like to see results that prove otherwise.
I'm thinking if refractor, then at least 127mm would be required for significant galaxy details. But am open minded to all options still.
02 Nov, 2018 13:40
Orion 104, Orion 115, Astrotech 115 (the best of all), Skywatcher Espirit 100 etc… (if you are not limited financially - here is a heaven of excellent refractors). I would not use reducers but flattener only to keep original focal lenght (800-900 mm), for galaxies should be good. After being a slave of reflectors (damned collimation, termostabilisation, ckeaning mirrors periodically, fighting coma, astigmatism, bulky sizes and heavy load- refractors sound like heaven for me). Over 115 mm the APO getting pretty heavy but again - up to you, with car it does not matter so much smile clear skies! smile
02 Nov, 2018 16:25
Also I would recommend to heck this application This wonderful toolbox allows you to see real FOV with different scopes, cameras and all DSO, I always use it before imaging to know how DSO fits or not.
04 Nov, 2018 19:40
With an SCT at f/10 I typically do 5-15 minute exposures for LRGB, it all really just depends on the target and your transparency. The 9.25 is a good option imo, small enough to just fit m101 but big enough for most of the galaxies that your skies limit you to. With a zwo osc your mount would handle the weight just fine I think, people have put them on the AVX before.
05 Nov, 2018 04:25
Hi Adel,

Thanks for the follow up information and the link.
I appreciate it.

Will look into the OTAs you recommend.
05 Nov, 2018 04:29
Hi Medderx,

That's an awesome shot of NGC 7129 in your gallery!
Definitely shows the power of aperture. Do you use the 9.25 XLT or HD edge version?

Also could you recommend a good OAG (+ spacers + flattener combo if you use these)?
C9.25 would be at the limits for portability but the aperture would help a lot.
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