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First telescope, which one should I get?

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posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:28 PM
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I have been watching the skies for years and years yet never bought a telescope, why you are asking, I just do not know why I have not bought one yet, but alas I am in the know and want one. I thought, I will just go buy one,
not that easy as I quickly realized. There are differnet types with different abilities. Refractor, Reflector and Catadiotric telescopes are the main types, then there is the apenchure, the lens zoon the telescope length, so I thought I would give a short detail of what I want and then hopefully get some good advice on which one to get. I want to beable to look at planets up close, see through the galaxie at other galaxies with as clear an image as I can afford, wide lens for a wider view. I think a good lens can range from 6 to 10 ? What about the telescope length, does it need to be lonjg to get the best image or can it be small in length I saw some nice telescopes that can mount onto a tri pod. my price range is around $350.00 or lower.




posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:31 PM
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I also want to beable to look at the unidentifiable objects I see from time to time so therefore it will also need to beable to see closer ranges.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:37 PM
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I have a 6in reflector. If i knew what i know now i would have got a 8 or 10in. I still have lots of fun with it but the 6in makes it hard to see galexeses (spelling) the 6in is good for planets but nothing more.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:40 PM
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8 inch Dobsonian. Nearly too big to transport, Just big enough to see A LOT. Or go for a Collapsable 8 inch Dob.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:42 PM
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Originally posted by LightAssassin
8 inch Dobsonian. Nearly too big to transport, Just big enough to see A LOT. Or go for a Collapsable 8 inch Dob.


yeah, go 8in, just save up some more money. trust me. you will be disapointed with a 6in



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:46 PM
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Best advice, find a local telescope club and try some out to see what suits you.
They are not " easy " to use and you dont want to be turned off the hobby buy getting one that is " difficult " to use.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:48 PM
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I recommend saving more $, or getting a cheap 'starter' telescope for under $100.

otherwise, there's this
Which is a little bit over your price range, but doable, I'm sure.

Browse the higher ratings and look for something with a motor that can track. All that stuff in the sky 'moves' quite a bit quicker than you'd expect.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by nineix
 


How right you are, the sky is a fast place, and hard to track :-)



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:52 PM
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reply to post by nineix
 


I would agree BUT you actually learn nothing about sky viewing when you have it all done for you.

Plus, for all that fancy motor and computer you can just buy a simple telescope that can see A LOT. Trust me, if you buy an iOptron, the ease of finding the object will be outweighed by the underwhelming feeling that you could see more if you did away with the 'technology' and kept it simple.
edit on 13-10-2011 by LightAssassin because: buy



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:55 PM
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Originally posted by LightAssassin
8 inch Dobsonian. Nearly too big to transport, Just big enough to see A LOT. Or go for a Collapsable 8 inch Dob.


The key word here is Dobsonian. That's the way the telescope is mounted. It will be tempting to get the kind with all the cool axis of movement etc, but they take way more effort to point correctly and all the little bells and whistle dials etc on them are just frustrating.

Have you considered getting a nice pair of big binoculars? They are way more portable and for about 150 bucks you can get all you need.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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reply to post by adept2u
 


When people refer to 8inch Dobs, they are almost always referring to an 8 inch reflector/newtonian? (I think).

Yeh, I agree, buy a good pair of binoculars first. Any telescope under 8inch will leave you wanting. Trust me, I've been and done this. After you have learned more about the sky, constellations and star jumping then you move up to an 8inch. Or just make the jump straight away.
edit on 13-10-2011 by LightAssassin because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:04 PM
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Spend the money on quality optics and forget about the GOTO (auto-positioning) gadgets. You end up having to fine-tune it anyway.

A 6" Dobsinian is a perfect starter telescope for under $400.

Here is a great article that gives some pretty sound advice:
www.rocketroberts.com...

Good luck!



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:06 PM
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Here is a great book for the budding astronomer. www.amazon.com... Not only does it give great primers on what to look for and how, but it also goes through buying telescopes and binoculars etc.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by LightAssassin
 


when talking about the 8 inch...is this the size of the telescope lens or the eye piece? I can go a little higher on what I buy, I dont want the telescope finding the constillations and different galaxies for me, I want to trip on them and be awed. I have a really good digital camera that I can see venus and saturn, I cant get the image to take on my camera but I cansee them, it was last week that I saw a planet for the first time and know im like hooked on seeing more. I have been looking at walmart.com at there telescopes, they have a few 8 inch oarion types, please look at walmart site and see if there is anything in there i can get. Where i live is way out in the middle of nowhere with little offer so whatever I get will haev to be shipeed to me, I felt wal mart had some good stuff and good prices..



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:13 PM
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You can purchase a decent celeston or meade for under $350 to $400. I recommend a variable lens which is easier to work and a Barlow (2x). That is enough to get you started. As above, look at different sites for scopes. Try this site to review scopes. IAC

That is just an astronomy forum, it will give you much education on scopes and the variety out there along with your price range. I am not affiliated with them besides a member,which is free, and learned a lot from them.
Go to telescopes.com, There you can compare everything and with your price range, along with reviews.
Because I have purchased through them, I will recommend them.
As stated above, look for a local astronomy club in your area, much cheaper to view from them, if astronomy is not what you are looking to do.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by Adaven
 


6inch is a tease. You always want to see more, or bigger once you have viewed through a 6inch.

reply to post by lbndhr
 


That measurement is the diameter of the telescope width. The wider the diameter, the more light it catches. The focal length determines, somewhat, the magnification of the object (I think).



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:21 PM
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Originally posted by LightAssassin
reply to post by Adaven
 


6inch is a tease. You always want to see more, or bigger once you have viewed through a 6inch.

reply to post by lbndhr
 


That measurement is the diameter of the telescope width. The wider the diameter, the more light it catches. The focal length determines, somewhat, the magnification of the object (I think).



Thanks I need to know this, I will deffinately get the 8 in. And seriously walmart has a large selection of all types all price ranges.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:25 PM
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reply to post by lbndhr
 


If you don't plan on transporting it, an 8inch Dobs is good.

Just make sure you keep an eye on brand name because some brands have poor optics and that would ruin it for you.

SAXON makes good Dobs I believe.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by lbndhr

to look at planets up close,

That points at a refractor-- with a relatively high focal length.





see through the galaxie at other galaxies with as clear an image as I can afford, wide lens for a wider view.

That points at a reflector, with a relatively short focal length.



I think a good lens can range from 6 to 10 ? What about the telescope length, does it need to be lonjg to get the best image or can it be small in length I saw some nice telescopes that can mount onto a tri pod. my price range is around $350.00 or lower.


6 to 10? You mean millimeter? Those small mm optics (the technical term for the "eye-piece," which some call the lens) will be very powerful for magnification, and not well suited for deep sky objects because with magnification comes darkness. Galaxies will be so dim as not to be seen.

If you mean 6 to 10 inches of telescope aperture-- that would be a huge refractor and a medium sized reflector.

For deep sky (e.g., galaxies, clusters, nebula), I generally worked the sky with a 32mm on my reflector (17.5" primary mirror), and switched to no lower than 18mm for detail-- that was my preference. Comets, also, are best viewed with reflectors because they are usually quite dim. Magnification is not really an issue for most deep sky objects.

For planetary viewing, you will find increasing magnification will also lower the contrast so what you see is bigger, but with even less detail-- especially with low-end quality and price optics.

Planets and lunar observing are suited for refractors. And magnification does become a consideration-- because they are so bright. You can easily magnify beyond the abilities of your telescope-- so do not let that be a major sales point. A well known department store brand has long advertized on the magnifying "power" of their telescopes. But that "power" is useless unless in bright sunlight, looking at a deer a mile away-- even though they show pictures of galaxies and planets on the box.

Mind you, the craters of the moon, the rings of Saturn and the bands of Jupiter get pretty boring. Deep sky objects never are boring to most. I rarely saw refractors at any club gathering, and at large star parties, the owners also had reflectors.

For very casual viewing, a really good pair of binoculars on a tri-pod fits your price and has the ability to pull in most if not all Messier objects as well as allow some fun with planets and moon. The few beginners who take that advice are pleased, but rare.

As for the length of the telescope-- it tells you very little about the scope. How much light can get through the big end is a major factor-- and the quality of the primary lens or mirror is the other primary factor.

Earning my Messier Certificate kept me out in the field at nights-- because I had a goal, because I learned the sky, and because it pushed me to learn my scope and its limits-- to know what optic (eye-piece" I wanted to buy next), and was simply FUN.

I would not a buy a telescope that could not pull in the faintest Messier objects..

Here are some links I stumbled upon:

www.astro-tom.com...
www.astronomy.com...
www.astronomytoday.com...
www.astroleague.org...


You need to do some more research to find what you want.

Look for a local club offering an observing session (also known as a "star party") where you can look through a variety of different types and find what you want. Your budget is right at the low end of the serious small amateur astronomy telescopes.

You'll want to look into what size optics can be used-- the serious amateur typically uses 1-1/4" or 2" receptacles. If you buy a good instrument, you can start with cheap-ish optics and improve as you have the money with the better optics.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 06:40 PM
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Full marks for researching - it'll save you money in the long run! Sounds to me like you need an all rounder. Just make sure you buy from a brand with a good reputation. There are loads of cheap telescopes on ebay that look impressive but are practically useless - so don't be swayed by price.

I don't know if you get Skywatcher telescopes in America, but if you do I'd get one of these as they are great value for money and good quality.

Also Celestron and Meade are excellent.

Orion telescopes are great value and are also quite good quality - but I've heard (so check this) that they're not as good quality as the three makes that I've allready mentioned.

You may know this already, but if not it's quite important. A focal ratio with a low number (f4 or 5) will give you a bright, wide field view Ideally suited to deep sky objects rather than planets - although still usable for planets, it's just that the image is smaller than a higher focal ratio. Conversely a higher focal ratio (f10+) will give you a dimmer image with more magnifaction which suits planetary observation rather than deep sky.

The focal ratio is the focal length of the telescope divided by the diameter of the objective mirror or lens.

The biggest factor on cost is the type of mount. The cheapest is a Dobsonian mount which is totally manual and comes with a Newtonian scope.

Advantages:
Cheaper
Quick to set up
Simple to use
Portable

Disadvantages
Not motor driven
Not computer controllable
Not suitable for photography except the Moon

Equatorial Mounts
Advantages
Can be motor driven
Can be driven with hand operated controls
Can be computer controlled
Suitable for photography if polar aligned and driven (preferably by motor)

Disadvantages
More expensive
More complicated
Less portable

Altazimuth Mounts
Don't go there unless computer controlled!

In fact there are currently a lot of telescopes on the market that are reasonably cheap that offer this - typically they're fairly small catadioptric scopes (I'll come to that in a minute).

Telescope type:

Newtonians are the cheapest type of scope. The most common of these have a focal ratio of f4 or f5 and are best suited to deep sky work, but if you can get one around f7 or f8 this would be a good all rounder. They do however need regular collimating, particularly f4 and f5 scopes. You do this yourself and after a bit of practise doesn't take long.

Refractors are quite expensive. The cheaper ones tend to suffer with false colour. Unless you can afford one with an aperture of at least 5 inches diameter they're not really suitable for deep sky. However they don't need collimating.

Catadioptrics: There are various types and are certainly cheaper now than they used to be. They also tend to have a focal ratio of 10+ making them suitable for planetary observation. They also give bright images making them suitable for deep sky too. They rarely need collimating.
There are small (4" and 5"diameter) scopes on the market now that are computer driven. many of them are catadioptric - either Maksutov Cassegrain or Schmidt Cassegrain.

I wouldn't consider anything less than a 5" scope.

If aperture is your priority then go for a Dobsonian unless my ticklist above puts you off.
If you'd like computer control (altazimuth), then there might be a 5" Newtonian or Cat that's in your price range. Skywatcher and Celestron do a range of these.
Any scope with a computer controlled equatorial mount is probably outside your price range,
Skywatcher (maybe others) offer Cats with manually controlled equatorial mounts.

But the best thing you could do would be to join your local astronomy club/ society and talk to members there. You'd also be able to try different types of scope and maybe even borrow one. That'd be the best way of deciding before you part with any cash.

Also buy 'Sky and Telescope' magazine - loads of ads!

Finally, proper telescope shops (not department stores) will always give good advice and won't rip you off. They know that if the bug bites, they've got a customer for life.




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