Fancy scope options

Keep thinking about buying a big fancy new telescope. I know it’s foolish to spend $2000+ on a hobby I barely do once a month, but shopping for gear is fun. Here’s what I want:

  • Something very easy to set up. If it takes 30 minutes to polar align, I’m not going to use it.
  • Computerized Go-To. Programmable, at that, with an open interface. The SkySafari SkyWire compatibility list is useful here as is the expanded list for SkyFi.
  • A mount capable enough to do guided hour+ exposures. The advice I’ve gotten means that means I need an equatorial mount, the cheaper alt/az mounts just aren’t accurate enough to hold a long exposure. Some possibility a double-fork alt/az mount might work (Meade LX or Celestron CPC) with a wedge mount.
  • Optics: ??? Honestly no idea. I want something that will make it possible to do astroimaging, hopefully with DSLR prime and/or a high quality webcam. I need to understand focal length and speed and that stuff before buying anything.

Possibilities in the ~$2000 range:

  • Celestron CGEM or CGEM HD. Equitorial.
  • Celestron AVX: Equitorial, lighter than the CGEM.
  • Celestron CPC. Dual fork alt/az option.
  • Meade LX90, LX200. Dual fork alt/az.
  • Meade LX80. Funky multi-mode mount. Too much the budget option? Not in online store.

Things to learn about:

  • Wedge mounting
  • Astroimaging mounting options
  • Telescope optics: focal length, speed, etc
  • Protocols for mount control
  • Alignment programs, convenience and speed
  • Is it possible (sensible?) to build my own mount?
  • Do I have a clear view of Polaris from the house?
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