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Hi I’m a newbie here and even though I’ve loved space and the planets I’m now having problems with my SkyWalker. EQM35. I’m wanting eventually to be able to take pictures, reason for this tripo. I’m wheelchair bound and even on the lowest setting it’s far too hight for me to reach the eyepiece. I live in a third floor flat with a south facing balcony and have a decent view of the southern sky. Any help would greatly be appreciated

 

 

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Are you using a telescope with a diagonal?

 

nkWylEIl.jpg

 

It's possible to rotate the diagonal downwards. Most astronomy needs to be done while seated comfortably anyway. I'm physically disabled and often need to sit underneath a tripod with the diagonal rotated. Also, an extension tube can help lengthen the distance between eyepiece and diagonal.

 

VvWGh7fl.jpg

 

Not all extension tubes are 2". Some are 1.25".

 

pBySujXl.jpg

 

I don't know if this helps.

Edited by Nightspore
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Hi Nightspore,

                        Thanks for your input and yes I’ve got a skymax127 for starters but I’d like a70mm scope the Skymax was given to me by a friend that tried astronomy but moved away and did not have time. He said if I did not like to sell it. Yes it has a diagonal and 1.25 eye pieces. I’ll look into that but doesn’t it  it swollows more light with it having to travel through an extension. I’m sure I’m wrong so I will look into that so thanks again for your quick reply

 

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48 minutes ago, Ukjonathan said:

Hi Nightspore,

                        Thanks for your input and yes I’ve got a skymax127 for starters but I’d like a70mm scope the Skymax was given to me by a friend that tried astronomy but moved away and did not have time. He said if I did not like to sell it. Yes it has a diagonal and 1.25 eye pieces. I’ll look into that but doesn’t it  it swollows more light with it having to travel through an extension. I’m sure I’m wrong so I will look into that so thanks again for your quick reply

 

 

 

I have a 127mm SkyMax.

 

2iPzcJBl.jpg

 

To use mine while seated I'd rotate the diagonal to the right usually. Although the AZ5 mount can be lowered enough for me to use binoviewers.

 

jo1u8Wgl.jpg

 

My 127mm Mak was bundled with the AZ5 although I usually use it for smaller refractors.

 

1bQFWeLl.jpg

 

I can either set the tripod low like in the above picture or raise it higher and rotate the diagonal. The Altair 60 EDF actually has a rotating collar to achieve this.

 

vGjmAoEl.jpg

 

I have an ST80 with an aftermarket rotating focuser especially for this as well. I'm partially paralysed on the right side of my body. So my right arm and hand have limited range and dexterity. Being able to rotate the diagonal safely with one hand is important to me.

 

Yli17Qzl.jpg

 

You might find something like the ST80 and a light alt-az tripod a lot easier to use. 

 

yScYQWc.jpg

 

Above you can see my ST102 with a rotated aftermarket (Long Perng) focuser. That particular focuser is now on my 80ED DS Pro. 

 

DwLgdxrl.jpg

 

I doubt there will be any in-focus problems with an extension tube on a 127mm Mak. 

 

xV2cBN7l.jpg

 

It's worth pointing out that there are 45 degree diagonals as well. Many give a corrected image and are known as Amici prisms. Amici prisms can also be 90 degrees. Ignore any claims in this link. The SvBony 45 degree diagonal has a mirror and gives an upright but mirror reversed image.

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Hi Nightspore,

                        You sure do have some nice scoops there and a couple I’d like to own at some point. I am trying to research various pieces to start me off. I’d sooner try buy a decent item that I can continue using and this I think will hopefully stop me having to buy again. Sort of middle of the road items. Thanks for showing me you collection of telescopes

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That's not even half of them lol. Although your earlier statement that you'd prefer a 70mm refractor is a good choice. Refracting telescopes are quite different to catadioptric reflecting scopes like Maksutov Cassegrain or Schmidt Cassegrain types.  Refractors have a sharper, more contrasted view generally. Astronomy isn't always about size of aperture and a 70mm refractor can be as effective as a 100mm reflector in many ways.

 

The most inexpensive refractors are basically achromatic doublets. These can show some chromatic aberration (CA) however. My ST80 and ST102 are achromats. The CA can be seen as a light blue or purple haze around bright objects. Although it's often unnoticeable at lower magnifications on many deep sky objects or open clusters. Focal ratio is also a factor. Your Maksutov has a 'slow' focal ratio. This is good for high magnifications but also only has a relatively narrow field of view. A faster small achromat will have a wider field of view. To get higher magnifications you just have to use something like a Barlow lens. 

 

OOIWYSy.jpg

 

My 102mm achromat (above) was about 170 quid when I bought it. They are surprisingly good for the money.

 

TbzQZ6Gl.jpg

 

The green MoonLite focuser it now has was £360. It was worth it as this is a fairly portable but large scope for me. 

 

RXUX31Y.jpg

 

I've had two different after market focusers on it in the past. I never used it with the stock focuser as it didn't rotate. Short fast achromats can be very effective scopes for observing star fields and faint objects like nebulae. Achromats do suffer from CA though.

 

WPhTb7el.jpg

 

A way around CA is to use a scope with Extra low Dispersion glass. Above and below show my 72ED DS Pro Evostar. A 72mm fast achromat with ED glass. It's incredibly versatile. This and my Altair 60 EDF are probably my most used scopes. Small fast refractors like this can be used for relatively high magnifications on lunar/planetary targets, yet also can be used at wide field low magnifications. Moreover, they are very portable and easy to set-up.

 

7rzcpmMl.jpg

 

A doublet refractor with ED glass ameliorates CA to some extent. There are also triplet and quadruplet refractors. These are heavier and much more expensive usually. 

 

JByAOwDl.jpg

 

A small ED doublet refractor can be an ideal compromise between weight, size and expenditure.

 

pS4LKZOl.jpg

 

The Altair 60 EDF above has really good Japanese Ohara ED glass. It's only 60mm but I've seen transits of some of Jupiter's moons with it. 

 

tnOcF4kl.jpg

 

Even better; I can get a small refractor and the AZ5 into these bags. So it's definitely worth thinking about a short tube refractor. 

Edited by Nightspore
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4 hours ago, Ukjonathan said:

Hi Nightspore,

                        You sure do have some nice scoops there and a couple I’d like to own at some point. I am trying to research various pieces to start me off. I’d sooner try buy a decent item that I can continue using and this I think will hopefully stop me having to buy again. Sort of middle of the road items. Thanks for showing me you collection of telescopes

You will realise that Nightspores collection seems to be limitless. We are fortunate to have him in The Yard as his collection of numerous scopes, eyepieces etc etc enables him to provide worthwhile comments on various pieces of equipment that he has experience of using.

I have made more than one purchase, having taken his advice onboard (along with others on the forum) and have always been pleased with the end results.

 

With regards to your initial comments stating that the lowest setting of your tripod still leaves it to high for you.........by how much? How much height do you need to reduce it by to make it comfortable?

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Speaking of 'limitless' here's my Sky-Watcher 80ED DS Pro Evostar as it is now:

 

0PEELd3l.jpg

 

As it was as stock:

 

hUk6Issl.jpg

 

And as it was with the MoonLite:

 

RgNk58Ll.jpg

 

Unfortunately the second MoonLite had to be returned as it was a bit of a borker. The base never really fitted the OTA properly and it had other mechanical problems. The stock focuser is quite good however and has a dual speed for fine focusing. It fits in its case with the Long Perng focuser. 

 

B4BtmrRl.jpg

 

If I had to recommend just one scope for a beginner it would be the 80ED. There are several reasons for this:

 

1/ It's fairly portable (under 3kg with stock focuser).

 

2/ It's competitively priced (it can be purchased on its own in a flight case or bundled with a 28mm eyepiece, 2" diagonal and finder).

 

qA4PhSkt.jpg

 

3/ Excellent optics (Schott and Ohara S-FPL53). I've never actually seen CA in mine.

 

4/ It has superb balance and is easy to manipulate on a lightweight mount.

 

5/ With a focal ratio of f/7.5 it strikes a good balance between a rich field (low magnification) and high planetary/lunar magnifications.

 

6/ An 80mm aperture (3.1") is a good compromise between light gathering and portability. It will have a 1.45 arc second resolution (Dawes Limit) and a limiting magnitude of 12.22.

 

KEDLIvg.jpg

 

To put this into perspective it will be better than the unaided human eye by a factor of approximately 130.61x.

 

 

 

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Hi,

      I’m in aw looking at these scopes and it reminds me of my childhood  in a toy shop. I love the 80 & 60 Altair scopes along with the AZ5 tripod. The one I’ve got is a bit on the heavy side and I need help setting it up due to my disabilty but they do say you haven’t lived until you’ve struggled.

I think this is a good 6” too tall and it would have been better if these legs were shorter then I could use the telescopes extender ones to fine tune it, if I had to. There is no way I think could ever go out on my own with this tripod as I would not have any energy left to drive let alone to try setting it up. It was supposed to be lightweight. I love the idea of a smaller scope that I could on my own load in my car and set up. I like  & value my independence and it’s taken time to except the help of others in a phyisical sense.

my wheelchair stood in the corner of the room for over two years for me to admit I needed one. It was known as the unwelcome guest. I think I’m going to have to maybe come to terms with the gear I have and sell it to get a better more suited set up. If I’d have found this site sooner I would not have made this mistake. So a big, big thanks to Nightspore for putting me on the right track

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Hi again

            Sorry for having to write another reply but would I be better keeping the Skymax 127 scope for planets or would the Altair 70 or 80 be able to handle this?

 

thanks again for all your input & help

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I have no experience of the skymax 127, but it is a scope I was considering at one point and I did a fair bit of research on it (including getting views from nightspore🙂). “Sky at Night Magazine” gave it a good review and stated that it was a good scope for viewing planets and the moon.

 

I believe the weight of the OTA is a little over 3kg, which is similar to the small refractors that Nightspore has mentioned (which you seem to like).

Therefore it should also be suitable for a similar mount /tripod. In this case you have a number of possible options.

You could obtain a mount/tripod that allows you to comfortably use the Skymax 127. You could then use this scope while you made the decision on how to progress, either exchanging it completely for one of the mentioned small refractors which could me mounted on the new tripod/mount, or keeping the 127 and obtaining a small refractor, to complement it, which could share the same mount/tripod, merely swapping them over depending on which scope you wanted to use.

 

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The Mak's good for planets, although a refractor will always be sharper and more contrasted. I find my 127mm difficult to manage but I can set it up. If you're predominantly interested in visual astronomy rather than mainly photography a good ED doublet will suffice. In fact good ED doublets have some advantages over the much more expensive triplets and quadruplets. They cool down faster and have more visual acuity. It all depends on how much you want to spend lol. Personally I prefer doublets. But I am not interested in astrophotography.

 

On the other hand a 127mm Maksutov can take nearly an hour to cool down outside. Internally it has an enclosed 'ecosystem' which needs to acclimatise to the external temperature.  Larger Newtonians also need to cool down when taken outside even though they are open ended.

 

T7MnWwHl.jpg

 

My 150mm Newtonian often needs 40 - 50 mins before the swirling hot air in the tube stabilises and cools enough to achieve a sharp image. A good doublet refractor will cool down literally in a few minutes. A small triplet refractor probably wouldn't be far behind though.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about a smaller refractor being able to handle high magnifications. Refractors can be pushed far more than reflecting scopes. I've seen transits with a 60mm refractor.

 

I've discussed the differences with a small Mak and a refractor in the link below:

 

I’m a bit ambivalent about comparisons between the Evostar and the StarMax. The Maksutov effectively has a limiting magnitude of 12.74 compared to the 11.99 of the smaller ED doublet. I can often reach around 140x with either of them for planetary observing. Although, at the end of the day, I personally prefer the better visual acuity and contrast of the smaller refractor. The 102mm aperture has a Dawes limit of 1.14 arc seconds in comparison to the 1.61 arc seconds of the 72mm. The question is does 0.47 of an arc second and 0.75 of magnitude really make that much of a difference? These are basically backyard telescopes small enough to be carried in a flight bag.

 

I'm not a huge fan of GOTO's but there is an AZ5 version. Also there is the Vixen Porta II mount. Seen below with the TL-130 tripod. The AZ5 was basically modelled on the Porta.

 

npWrIJ7l.jpg

 

I use both, although I now use the Porta for my 127mm Mak  or 102mm Starwave. Basically as the Starwave is 4kg (5kg with accessories). It's portable but a bit heavier than the AZ5.

 

uPFacBWl.jpg

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40 minutes ago, Marmot said:

 

 

I believe the weight of the OTA is a little over 3kg, which is similar to the small refractors that Nightspore has mentioned (which you seem to like).

 

 

 

I don't believe the 127mm SkyMax is totally stable on an AZ5. It's definitely not similar to short tube refractors between 60-80mm. That 3.17kg is massed together in a short tube. It feels and acts a lot heavier. Synta often supply mounts that only just hold a telescope as it's more economical.

 

LPpVIGXl.jpg

 

When I've used it on the AZ5 I've had to have the tripod legs low. Nudge it and it would fall over. Even if it doesn't fall the return is a couple of seconds. It was precarious with bino's at best. I only used it a couple of times with the AZ5. Ironically I never actually wanted the AZ5 and only bought the bundle because the Mak's dovetail was in the correct position for a Vixen type mount. If it isn't the finder shoe ends up at the 7 o'clock position. Like my 102mm SkyMax below.

 

OD3SdrJl.jpg

 

I can still use an RACI, but I prefer a reflex sight.

 

vsmIwWVl.jpg

 

Otherwise I'd need to use a Rigel finder. However, the AZ5 has proved remarkably capable with my smaller refractors. The 80ED DS Pro is quite nicely balanced on it. The 127mm Mak is a tad precarious. The Starwave is positively scary on it lol.

 

7H8Dfyom.jpg

 

Synta claim the AZ5 will hold up to 5kg. IMHO it wouldn't do it safely.

Edited by Nightspore
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The above remarks make good reading. As I said, Nightspore has first hand experience of using the kit and therefore his observations are very informative. Very interesting to hear that the 127 handles differently due to the weight being in a differently shaped package: there is so much to be aware of in this interest/hobby.

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8 minutes ago, Marmot said:

The above remarks make good reading. As I said, Nightspore has first hand experience of using the kit and therefore his observations are very informative. Very interesting to hear that the 127 handles differently due to the weight being in a differently shaped package: there is so much to be aware of in this interest/hobby.

 

I'm probably a bit more aware of it due to my own disability. I was quite surprised how heavy the 127mm Mak was compared to the 102mm Mak. The 80ED is only really the same weight, but the balance is totally different. 

 

CxzChGc.jpg

 

You'd be surprised how much the extra 25mm of the 127 weighs compared to the 102 and 90. 

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1 hour ago, Ukjonathan said:

Hi,

      I’m in aw looking at these scopes and it reminds me of my childhood  in a toy shop. I love the 80 & 60 Altair scopes along with the AZ5 tripod. The one I’ve got is a bit on the heavy side and I need help setting it up due to my disabilty but they do say you haven’t lived until you’ve struggled.

I think this is a good 6” too tall and it would have been better if these legs were shorter then I could use the telescopes extender ones to fine tune it, if I had to. There is no way I think could ever go out on my own with this tripod as I would not have any energy left to drive let alone to try setting it up. It was supposed to be lightweight. I love the idea of a smaller scope that I could on my own load in my car and set up. I like  & value my independence and it’s taken time to except the help of others in a phyisical sense.

my wheelchair stood in the corner of the room for over two years for me to admit I needed one. It was known as the unwelcome guest. I think I’m going to have to maybe come to terms with the gear I have and sell it to get a better more suited set up. If I’d have found this site sooner I would not have made this mistake. So a big, big thanks to Nightspore for putting me on the right track

 

You're welcome. Go with a refractor! 

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Hello, I have a Skywatcher EQM35 also and the USA version of the 127 mak. I would think that the problem is not the mount. It works great and will be hard to find one shorter. I would try to use extensions to the eyepiece holder. Nightspore showed a 45˚ diagonal which may be very useful. The 127mak has lots of focus adjustment, this may bring the eyepiece further down. Eyepiece extensions can be put before or after the diagonal. Extensions and diagonals are less expensive than a new telescope and will be used even if a new telescope is needed. This has been one of the best threads I've read.

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Just looking at images of the EQM35, looks like the bottom collars on the legs can be removed. If so then the legs can be shortened to suit.

Another option might be something like a TAL tri-pier, I'm sure they can be shortened as well and would get you closer to the scope.

Edited by MarkAR
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9 hours ago, rwillits said:

I would think that the problem is not the mount. It works great and will be hard to find one shorter. I would try to use extensions to the eyepiece holder. 

 

i30syYOm.jpg

 

The largest tripod I own is for my 235mm SCT. The legs when not extended are about 36cm long. I can just about manage this as the Evolution OTA length allows me to look at or near the zenith and also much lower without altering the tripod leg height. I have to rotate the diagonal as the objective approaches the azimuth.

 

jhp4ni0m.jpg

 

The AZ5 is only about 28cm when not extended

 

ELDwyHXm.jpg

 

The AZ5 does include a pillar although this is probably for long tube refractors.

 

Dl6G0HJm.jpg

 

The trick is having the OTA at a height on the tripod that it is easy to look at or near the zenith and nearer the azimuth.

 

cBbP8bEm.jpg

 

The other trick is being able to adjust the tripod length easily outside when you have a physical disability.

 

G0KQtrWm.jpg

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