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Telescopes - What to buy?

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posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:02 AM
Hi all,

I am thinking of buying a telescope soon, but I dont really know where to start.

which brand?

what magnification?

how much to spend?

I want a good one that is not too crazily priced. There seem to be lots of magnification options etc.

what do you really need for a good look at the night sky?

thanks, G.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:23 AM
reply to post by grantbeed

There are lots of threads here regarding which telescopes are the best.

Here is one of those.

Choosing a decent amateur backyard telescope

Try using the search future. And lets hope more threads pops up.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:27 AM
reply to post by peacejet

thanks for the links peacejet. i did search but never saw anything, but i searched again and i see what you mean!!

cheerrs for the links.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:32 AM
Been into astornomy since i was 12, im 34 now
Well, it all comes down to what you want..
Refractors, the long thin scopes, arre suposed to give you the cirspest views, as the light entering the eyepice dosnt bounce of a secondary mirror..but you wont find one over 5 inches, and their MAD MAD expensive... Theirs reflectors thats your best bet..yuo can get a 12.5 inch reflector for like $500! that is considered backyard observaotry, for the record...yuo really dont want anything over 16 inches..because its not going going to be able to be on an equatorial mount at all, and they produce alot of vibrations...
thiers schiddt and muskatov cassegrraines..which is what is mostly advertised..they all come on equatorail mounts, and a built in computer..yuo can get a 10 inch one for $1,200 and up..
Rememebr, all those beutiful pictures we see of galxys, nebulas, rich in color, yuo will not see form any earth based teelscope...even the big meter scopes ontop of hawaii, aka MT.palamor, KEck ect will not show much color at all. Thise photos, were taken tracking the object across teh sky over huors of fil exposure time...thys yuode need an equatorkal mount and LOTS of patience....
As for planets, the bigger the scope, the more yuo see..they are close enough to use to see lots of awesome detail
to an extent.. as for globular and open clusters, yuor eyes wil be amazed..
for eyepeices..the hgiher the number, the more it pushes the object away..thier for wide views of the sky yuor looking at. the lower the number on the eyepiece... the closer yuo are bringing it too yuor eye, for detail. IDe recommend a 7.5 mm, 34 mm and a 40 mm eyepice. I alwasy liked the explorer series form Orion telescopes...thier affordable!
I dont really like ro trust MEAD telescopes...their just too overpriced. thats where i think your going to find the best deals and values, brand new, and reputable name and assistance.
again, ide recommend a Dobsonian refflector... loko at a 10 to 12.5 inch. anyting over 16 inch is not regarded as ok, becasue the earths atmosphere cotnains yuor going to be magnifying air turbalnace as well, thus not producing so good images.
Hope this helps!

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:37 AM
another recommendation..a a fitler that mya help with vewiing, especially if yuor in or near city lights... skyglow filters. they filter out UV light and manmade light. They also make Oxygen III fitlers, (for diffuse nebulaes) and H alpha fitlers, for red and hydrogen nebuales..aka the horsehead nebuald, laggon nebuale..our eyes cant really see in redshift, so H alpha fitlers bring out the hyrdrogen so we can see them. DO NOT ever point yuor telescope at the sun and view..yuo risk the mirror seriosuly cracking and burning yuor retinas andpupils out..incase yuo wanna look at sunspots. Their are filters , usualy over $100, that yo place over the front of the telescope so yuo can safley view its surafce, and prominences coming off its sruface.
good luck yuor selection and keep viewing

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 02:06 AM
reply to post by ziggy1706

hi ziggy. thanks for this information!! a big help for me. I think i will keep saving and try and spend a bit more to get something good.

Maybe i will win lotto tonight .

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:34 PM
My personal recommendation would be either a Celestron or Orion on what is referred to as a Dobsonian mount. I would go for something at least 6 inches in diameter but if you can afford it go with an 8". That 2 inches in diameter will almost double the surface area of mirror/ light gathering ability. And light gathering is the name of the game. Do NOT buy ANY telescope advertised based on magnification. These are cheap department store knock offs with junk optics.

For your first scope you will want something that is easy to set up and use. Skip the fancy computerized ones. Learn to navigate the sky on your own before trying to use a computer. Trust me on this one. A dobsonisan is the only way to go for a beginner.

I agree with a lot of what Ziggy said with a few exceptions. Oxygen filters and Hydrogen Alpha filters are going to be a hefty investment for someone just getting involved in the hobby. The skyglow filters I am kind of iffy with. I don't know how well I like them. Zummel sells a kit of 4 eye peices and a set of colored filters plus a lunar and a polarizing filter for around 110.00 USD. Its a great set and will have pretty much everything you need. 32mm eye piece for wide angle viewing, 15mm eye piece, a 6mm and a 4mm. Also included is a 2x Barlow which basically doubles the magnification of each eye piece. BUT for a 6 or 8 inch scope you are really going to be at the edge of useful magnification with the 4mm eyepiece. Rule of thumb, the smaller the eyepiece the more magnification and narrower field of view.

I would recommend a good pair of binoculars over any other item though. A nice pair can be had for less than a hundred dollars and will show you many things you have never seen before. I have spent many years in this hobby and still spend hours just sitting in a chair with my binoculars viewing various clusters and even galaxies.

Feel free to U2U me with where you are from and I can most likely get you in touch with an astronomy group in your area. Most clubs have monthly observing sessions and would be more than happy to have you come out and get a better idea of what you are looking for first hand.

Ziggy, I have to ask where you found a 12.5" reflector for 500 USD. I might be interested in making a purchase.

Edit:fixed spelling and clarified a few points

[edit on 13-6-2009 by zombiemann]

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:41 PM
Another good rule of thumb is that if you live in the city, with lots of light pollution, buy a refractor. If you live in the burbs or better yet the country with lots of darks skys buy a reflector.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:47 PM
I would have to disagree Neo. For a refractor of any quality you are going to pay astronomical prices (pun intended). Not the kind of investment I would recommend for someone new to the hobby.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:48 PM
Just abuot everything zombiemann said, take his word for it
zombiemann, around xmas time, i got an orion teelscope brochure in mail, they also sell ceelstron scopes. They had a celestron 12.5 inch dobsonian with gotto computer, for like $600......tha was xams time. I dotn know if they had kept the price lower,c asue fo the ecenomy, to make some slaes or not, but worth a look!
Ive always wanted one..i rememebr when i was 13, and SO bad wanted a MEAD lx200 schitt cassagrraine on a frokmount..has a 14,000 object database, and wa about $1,200. that was thier are much better scopes for cheaper. I mostly had a celestron 4.5 inch reflector..that was my first scope. I spent months and huors catalging the sky wth pape, colroed pencils and some artwork

YEs, as zombiemann said, learn to navigate the sky...belive me too..learning how to star hop, as its reffered to, beats any gizmo or GPS trackinging device. IN effect, yuor teaching yuorself HWO to properly navigate teh skys, how nature intended it, and elarning how to read maps, rather than relying on a computer so yuo dont have to hink...

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:51 PM
great info guys. thanks for the help.

i just need to save the cash now!! looking forward to looking at the skies though.

Ive just ordered a set of binoculars to get me started. the telescope will come later hopefully in a few months time.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:52 PM
I also have to correct myself. I said in my first post that there was a 15mm eye piece in the Zhumell kit. It is actually 12.5mm.

Ziggy, those had to be Christmas prices, lol. I wish I had known about it then. I have a Celestron 6" Dob that has done great for me over the years, but I would love to get a bigger one.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 10:58 PM
For what its worth...maybe this will give you an idea..with a 4.5 inch reflector.. yuo can see 4 major moons of jupiter, and 5 moons around saturn..this is with high power..7.5 mm..anything less it gets blurry..have a 5 and 4 mm eyepiece, .965 mm in a .965-1.25 inch adapter..7.5 was the max poer i could push it without having to stand and fine tweak and play with the eyepice adjsuter constantly, without squinting my eyes till thier strained. 4.5 inch revield not much to really see..jupiter showed only 2 main cloud belts, and the great red spot, isnt visible,yuod need at leat an 8 inch scope for that. saturns rings were just yellow leat 8 inches would have shown cloud detail for sure as well as much better detail in its ring system.
as zombiemnaa said, look at a 6 inch or higher. I had recommended up to 12.5 inches, casuse f yuo catch the deal right, yuo get and see much much more than yuo can ever have imagined

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 11:00 PM
zombiemnaa..i do know that as standard can get at celestron..a 5 inch refractor! on a german equatorl mount, wih something like a 40,000 object databse, for like $1,200~~ thats a bargain in and of itself!!! in fact im gunna go check it out in a little

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 11:00 PM
A good way to start is with a good pair of binoculars. That way you can learn your way around the sky and see if you like it without spending a lot of money. And if you don't like it, you still have a good set of binos to look at other things. Or even borrow a pair.
There's of course a lot to it but don't get too caught up in magnification at first. Light gathering and good optics are far more important for the tele or binoculars.
Plenty of info on the web but I don't think you can go wrong with the binoculars and a good book or two on the subject to start.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 11:04 PM

Originally posted by zombiemann
I would have to disagree Neo. For a refractor of any quality you are going to pay astronomical prices (pun intended). Not the kind of investment I would recommend for someone new to the hobby.

Zombiemann, I should've agreed with you first re the suggestion to buy a pair of binoculars before putting big money out for a telescope. I've suggested that to many people myself. I was only suggesting a type of telescope for a beginner if they were in fact serious about purchasing one.

posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 01:36 AM
Neo, sorry if I came off sounding arrogant there. I think we are definitely on the same page. Also I think if you look into the history of the Dobsonian a little you will find they are designed for inner city use. How about we split the difference and go for a Schmidt Cassegran or a Mk-C? The mead LX200 10" are the greatest thing since sliced bread, if you have 3 large to spend and want to take 30 minutes to set up.

posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 03:55 AM

Originally posted by zombiemann
Neo, sorry if I came off sounding arrogant there. I think we are definitely on the same page. Also I think if you look into the history of the Dobsonian a little you will find they are designed for inner city use. How about we split the difference and go for a Schmidt Cassegran or a Mk-C? The mead LX200 10" are the greatest thing since sliced bread, if you have 3 large to spend and want to take 30 minutes to set up.

I've worked on 24" Schmidt Cassegran before in the interior of British Columbia. That was pretty cool. We could see, with filters, the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.

I own a 10" Dobsonian reflector though, looks very similar to this: Quick setup and very basic. I've found that it always looks most impression in the deep, dark sky of the country. They gather so much light that the diffused light of the city washes out much of the crisp edges. Soft nebula, for instance, are very hard to see in the urban light.

[edit on 14-6-2009 by Neo__]

posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 08:34 PM
reply to post by zombiemann

Sorry to repeat you ZM. I guess my speed reading isn't too good.

Just so I don't get in trouble for not writing enough I'll repeat you again. OP- You'll be surprised how much you see with a good pair of binos. Plenty of deals online.
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