SSM Equipment
The most asked question is what scope should I buy? The answer to that is very simple. One that you will use. No one can make that decision for you, because only you will know if you can set up and operate the scope mount, what you’re mainly interested in using the scope for, what your seeing conditions are and what you can afford.

Stay away from department store, toy store, and the "Nature/Science" store telescopes. They are not of the best quality. The scopes come in colorful boxes with beautiful pictures from the Hubble and unrealistic claims of high power. They have plastic focusers, .975" eye pieces, a flimsy tripod and mount. Though useable, these scope are more a frustration as they are hard to focus, hard to adjust and are not stable enough.

Inexpensive binoculars, are most times a better substitute for a cheap telescope. A pair of 10X50's would make a great star gazing tool, for the beginner and would also make a good companion to a telescope.

During my research, I learned many interesting facts. Saturn or Jupiter are the same size through any scope. Their size is dependant on the magnification used. The usable magnification of a telescope is limited to the diameter of the objective lens or the main mirror. It is easy to figure by taking the diameter in mm and multiplying by two or the diameter in inches and multiplying by 50.

After several months of reading astronomy magazines and searching the web for telescope reviews. I chose a reflector telescope with a dobsonian mount. The reasons are fairly simple. Inexpensive, easy to use, stable and no setup except for collimation of the mirrors.

The primary purpose of a telescope is to gather light. With all things being equal, beginners should buy the largest aperture telescope they can afford. A 6" or 8" Dobsonian reflector is an excellent first telescope.

I had started out with an Orion XT6, a 6" reflector on a Dobsonian mount. I had quite a bit of fun with it and did learn alot about star gazing. Since then I have wanted to do a little astro photography and the Dob is not well suited for that. So I purchased my second scope an Orion AstroView 100mm achromatic refractor on an EQ mount. I was very pleased with the views i got through this scope. They were as good in some cases to way better than the 6" Dob.

After I attended a star party I came home with the thought of a goto scope, or at least a goto mount for my 100mm refrac. I finally decided on a Celestron C6R-GT achromatic refractor on a Advanced Series go-to EQ mount. This scope I am also pleased with as well as the goto mount. The scope is great and with some more practice on set up the mount will be too.

For software I use WinStars on the pc for planning and 2Sky on my Palm Pilot when out gazing.

My Equipment

Orion AstroView 100mm EQ Refractor, fl=600mm, f/6 equatorial

600mm focal length, f/6
6x30 finderscope and bracket
10 and 25mm 1.25" Sirius Plossl eyepieces
2" focuser with 1.25" adapter
1.25" star diagonal
CG-4 German Equatorial Mount
Aluminum legs

The Orion AstroView 100mm f6 is nicely finished with a glossy black main tube with aluminum castings for the lens cell and focuser assembly. The 2 inch to 1.25 inch adapter is threaded to accept a camera T-ring. A 4 1/2 inch deep metal dew shield comes attached to the front of the scope. The only plastic parts are the focusing knobs and the little dew shield on the finder scope. All other parts are metal. The 2 inch rack and pinion focuser seems quite smooth, it showed no tendency to shift focus either. The OTA alone weighs 6 pounds. With finder, diagonal and eyepiece the scope is just under 7 pounds. Overall length from dew shield to outer corner of star diagonal is 27 inches when the focuser is fully retracted. This one can be a one tripper as it will fit through a standard door.

Bright stars for the most part were sharp When bright stars were centered in the field and centered in the eyepiece i didn't notice any spurious colors at 24x. Now on an almost full moon. With the moon centered in the eyepiece i saw no colors around the outer limb. However, similar to my observations with bright stars, though with adverted seeing i did see some violet/purple fringing on the opposite lunar edge. Viewing the double cluster is amazing, as both clusters can fit in the field of view. I'm certainly pleased with the views and quality of this scope. On the other hand, i don't really have experience with any high quality refractors. But i'm very happy with the scope.

orion 100 astroview astroview 100 equipment storage scope storage equipment storage and transport

Celestron 6” fl=1200mm f/8 C6R-GT Advanced Series achromatic go-to equatorial

1200mm focal length, f/8
9x50 finderscope and bracket
20mm 1.25" Plossl eyepiece
1.25" Celestron diag.
2" focuser with 1.25" adapter
1.25" 2x barlow with photo adapter
Heavy duty CG-5 Eq Mount with Computerized Go-To (40,000 object database)
Rugged adjustable height 2" steel leg tripod with center brace/accessory tray

The C6R is big and heavy. It won't fit through the door. It's a four trip operation. First the tripod and head, then 20 plus lbs. of counterweight then the scope and last the power supply. The combination of the lens cell and the heavy dew shield puts the scope way far back in the mount in order to balance the mount. I have replaced the plastic focus knobs with 2" brass knobs and am using a 2" Williams Optical diagonal. This adds some weight, but not enough yet, to get the scope far enough forward for easy viewing. My next step will be to come up with a lighter dew shield and maybe a counter weight on the inside of the focuser end of the tube. The ASGT tripod is fairly stable, with 2" diameter stainless steel legs. The mount is the same as an eq 5, and handles the scope weight fairly well. The mount came with a 25 foot power cord fitted with a cigaret plug, no battery pack. So, I picked up Xantrex Xpower Powerpack 400 plus from Sears, which looks to be able to last a weekend. I also went to Radio Shack and picked up a universal adaptaplug dc power cord, which had an 8 foot coiled cord. This will keep the tangle of power wire to a minimum.

The C6R has provided me with some great views. I have spent several nights comparing the views in the C6R to the view in my Astroview 100. Although there is some false color in the C6R on bright objects, there is none at all on deep sky objects. The C6R seems to give greater depth of view, though smaller field of view, than the 100. Viewing the double cluster, the field of view too small to see both clusters at once, many more faint stars showed up than I had ever seen before. Anywhoes, the C6R ASGT is a large scope. Takes more time for setup and takedown than my Astroview 100. It needs more weight added to the focuser end to eliminate the need to sit on the ground to view. However, this is quality glass for the money.

fat mann little boy comparison of the 100 and the C6R scope storage scope storage and transport

6 X 30 finder scope
9 X 50 finder scope
9 X 50 RA finder scope
2 Orion polar scopes

1.25" Orion diag.
2" Williams Optical diag.

1.25" 4mm Plossl Celestron EP
1.25" 6mm Plossl Celestron EP
1.25" 9mm Plossl Celestron EP
1.25" 10mm Sirius Plossl EP
1.25" 15mm Plossl Celestron EP
1.25" 25mm Sirius Plossl EP
1.25" 20mm Plossl Celestron EP
1.25" 32mm Plossl Celestron EP
2" 30mm SV GSO EP
2" 42mm SV GSO EP

1.25" 2X Barlow Celestron
1.25" 3X Barlow Orion
2" 2x Barlow Astrola

1.25" Celestron Moon Filter
1.25" Celestron Yellow #12 Filter
1.25" Celestron Orange #21 Filter
1.25" Celestron Red #25 Filter
1.25" Celestron Green #56 Filter
1.25" Celestron Green #58A Filter
1.25" Celestron Blue #80A Filter

2" to 1.25" Celestron adapter w/ T-thread
2" to 1.25" Orion adapter w/ T-thread
2" to 1.25" Astrola adapter
2" to 1.25" Williams Optical adapter

10X50 Jason Binoculars
15X70 Barska Binoculars

Red LED Flashlight

Celestron Ausccessory Case

Xantrex Xpower 852-1900 Powerpack 400 plus400

Xantrex 802-1500 xPower 15001500

All photos have been down sized, and resolution is reduced, from originals.

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