What kind of telescope do you take camping

Discussion in 'Astronomy / Star Gazing' started by astronomynv, Oct 22, 2010.

What kind of telescope do you take camping

  1. Refractor

    13 vote(s)
    22.4%
  2. Reflector, Newt, Dob, etc

    12 vote(s)
    20.7%
  3. SCT, MAk, etc

    7 vote(s)
    12.1%
  4. Bino's big or small

    16 vote(s)
    27.6%
  5. Spotting Scope

    6 vote(s)
    10.3%
  6. Do you have a scope and choose not to take it?

    4 vote(s)
    6.9%
  1. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    My favorite type of star gazing is done lying on my back on a blanket in a mountain meadow.

    That said, we take along my 27x Kowa shooters spotting scope on nearly every trip. Mounted on a camera tripod instead of the usual rifle match rig it gets used for watching wildlife, checking scenery, and yes, looking at the heavens.

    I stand in awe and feel pretty insignificant when looking up from the middle of the Shirley Basin in central Wyoming. The Shirley is not the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from there. There are no electric lights visible, and only the barest hint of the light dome from Casper. The coyotes sing every night.........
     
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  2. Cpt_Canuck

    Cpt_Canuck New Member

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    We were given an old bushnell with spotting scope and brought it to algonquin for thanksgiving but I think it's either damaged or missing parts because the spotting scope shows everything upside down and you can't see anything through the main scope.
    I still need to research a decent and worthwhile starter scope for next season as we would certainly use one. I always have a pair of binoculars in the van though!!!
     
  3. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    Yea, I have a pair binos that that i think are damaged ever since i backed over them w the TV! [:(]
     
  4. maxbo

    maxbo New Member

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    It all depends on the weather or camping location.
    Celestron 8" SCT - GEM mount
    Orion Short-tube 80 w/Coronado Ha solar filter
    40 and 70mm binos
     
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  5. Hoomi

    Hoomi I write everything the voices in my head tell me.

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    Here's one of my old Light Buckets.

    [​IMG]

    I also have the 8" Coulter, from way back when Coulter was still in business. Even after all these years, they're still great scopes.
     
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  6. Hoomi

    Hoomi I write everything the voices in my head tell me.

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    Dobsonians such as mine are very good starter scopes. They're typically budget friendly, rugged, easy to set-up, and very stable to use. Their drawback, which I also consider one of their benefits, is that they do not employ any kind of computer control, so they tend to force learning your way around the night sky ("star-hopping"). For aiming, I use a device called a Telrad, which is a zero-power, heads-up display kind of system. A trio of concentric circles is projected by red LED onto an angled piece of glass, which the user looks through. When aligned with the scope, all I need to do is place the object I want to view in the center red ring, and it will be in the eyepiece. You can see the Telrad in my photo above - it's the black plastic block object with the number "10" written on it in white paint (indicating which of my two scopes it's aligned for).

    If you don't have a local astronomy shop to browse, you can check out online stores such as Orion Telescope for ideas of what is available and the price.

    Best caveat is to ignore promises of high-power magnification. As I recall, every time you double the magnification, you need to square the amount of light coming in to maintain the apparent brightness in the eyepiece. Additionally, high magnification also intensifies any instability in a scope. If there is the least vibration or shake in your mounting, at high power, it will show in what you see. The best viewing is most often done at lower magnification.
     
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  7. CO Hiker

    CO Hiker Active Member

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    I pack my 10x25 binoculars routinely and will be taking my Meade 114 Dob Reflector this year. Got to make a padded case for it to travel safely. Once you're west of Colorado Springs and Denver the light pollution is minimal and the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Yay!!
     
  8. Hoomi

    Hoomi I write everything the voices in my head tell me.

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    My wife gave me one of Celestron's "First Scopes" for Father's Day, while we were on our Utah trip last week. Her thinking was that it would easily allow me to take along a scope, without having to worry about cargo space in the TV (the 10" Dobsonian easily takes up half the space in the back of the Sequoia).

    The First Scope is a 3" f4 Newtonian on a small Dobsonian style base. These are inexpensive scopes (you can find them on Amazon for as low as $49.99), and come with 10mm and 20mm Kellner eyepieces. Mine is the National Parks Foundation edition, purchased at the Visitor Center in Bryce Canyon last week. The NPF edition costs a little bit more, has some nice graphics on the tube, and benefits the National Parks Foundation.

    For about $17, I ordered a red-dot finder off Amazon that attaches to two pre-installed posts on the scope.

    This scope is small. I picked up a Husky 22" plastic tool box from Home Depot, and with a bit of scrap packing foam, made a carrying case for it. The base is about 8" in diameter, and at full extension, the scope is about 14" tall. It's easy to use, and sitting on a decent picnic table, very stable (as opposed to the shaky tripods found on most other low-priced scopes).

    Image quality, so far, has been pretty good. With a waxing moon last week shining bright in the early evening sky, I did mostly planetary viewing with the scope. The 20mm eyepiece produces about 15x, and the 10mm produces about 30x magnification. At 30x, without any filters, I could see the distinction between Saturn and the rings, with at least one of the moons visible to one side of the planet. Detail on the lunar surface is good, though even at only 3" of aperture, it's a very bright image. Jupiter, likewise, was rather bright, such that the light washed out the bands I normally see on the planet. I'll have to check it out with a higher-power eyepiece that both gives a larger image and reduces the apparent light.

    Provided the skies cooperate, I hope to take it out to a dark area this weekend and try some of the deep sky objects, so I can compare how it does to either of my larger scopes.
     
  9. CO Hiker

    CO Hiker Active Member

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    Was doing a little star hopping at Mueller State Park, CO last week when I realized the ISS would pass right overhead. Cool is hearing 13 campers, young and old, all proclaim their excitement at the same time! I was amazed that none of them had seen that before. Thankfully we got a 3 minute viewing before the clouds blocked it!
     
  10. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    how about a picture of your set up?
     
  11. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how I missed this section of the forum!!! when we camp, daytime activity, eat, hike and kayak (if there is water) Night time activity is always star gaze. looking up in awe at skies so dark it's hard to recognize the constellations because there are so many more stars!! we have some of the darkest skies here in NM and neighboring AZ and CO. we try to choose a site that has some open areas, avoid crowded campgrounds make no campfires, and always bring a telescope or two. back when we were making money, we bought a takahashi fluorite 109 mm and that is the one that I feel the most worth bringing, but am nervous about carrying it around. It is on a pretty portable vixen mount. we also have a little televue ranger that is only 60 mm, but sharp and crisp as anything. you can see a lot of detail, just miniature it sits on a sturdy camera tripod. That is the scope that pretty much lives in the camper. At a second hand store I ran across a very light and portable celestron next star. no automatic controls, but a nice mount and that may be a good camping scope. I'd guess it at about 4". It was $10, so I can't go wrong. red lights, scopes warm clothes and hot chocolate. really heavenly!!
     
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  12. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    600mm Nikon Supertelly add a 1.4 converter hooked to a DX body gets me plenty of reach....what pack a telescope when the 600mm accompanies me on every trip.
     
  13. MikeJ65

    MikeJ65 New Member

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    OK, I'm glad I found my people!

    One of the primary reasons I am looking at purchasing my first camper is to go stargazing! I own a late 70's vintage Celestron C8 that my uncle bought new. He and I spent countless hours at his home learning and finding everything we could back in the day. I was in high school, and I'm 53 now. My own father died when I was 6; my uncle Jim made sure to spend all the time he could with us. He and my aunt had no children, so my 2 brothers and I were "his boys". My uncle passed in 2005 after the stress from Hurricane Rita, and my aunt passed that beautiful orange tube to me. Last August, my wife and stepson and I drove 900 miles from Southwest Louisiana to Fairmont, Nebraska to see the eclipse. I'm sure my uncle would have been there had he still been with us.

    Anyway, that rekindled my star fever. I refurbished the scope, cleaned it and made repairs, fixed the clock drive and it works spectacularly well.

    I've scoped out dark skies and now have a list of upcoming trips, hopefully starting this fall!!

    I'm looking forward to being a fellow pop up stargazer!

    And I will have NO problem with toting that footlocker along with me!
     
  14. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

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    I take a celesteron 6 in act. I don't take it often cause most places I go are to dense to see much
     
  15. Hoomi

    Hoomi I write everything the voices in my head tell me.

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    I drove a bit farther, from Tucson to Alliance, Nebraska, to view the eclipse. Well worth the drive!
     
  16. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    I have a Meade etx 90 and a 20 yr old 10 in Meade SCT.
     
  17. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I bought an Orion 11043 reflector telescope last year. It was inexpensive but nice. A good starter scope. I keep it in my clipper for camping trips. Last trip, a neighboring family of campers helped out a couple times due to my broken hand, so that night I pulled out the telescope and let them play with it. The next day another camper saw it and came to ask questions. I'm still learning but it has been enjoyable. My hope is to connect my camera to it at some point.
     
  18. Hoomi

    Hoomi I write everything the voices in my head tell me.

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    Here's the Celestron NPF "First Scope." I'll get some photos of the toolbox carrying case I made for it later today. It's not the kind of scope I would try to do any serious deep-sky observing with, but it works decently, and packs easily.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Completely "doable" adapters to whatever size eyepiece tube you have and whatever camera mount you use are available. You will want to make sure your camera body is on the lighter side though....and live view capable is a god-send for viewing.
     
  20. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I posted in this thread years ago. I will be using my celestron nexstar 8i. we got to our dark camping site last night, venus, jupiter, saturn and mars were all beautiful to the naked eye. Lower humidity tonight should make scope viewing outstanding.
     

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