It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

To those who enjoy Space, I have a question.

page: 1
3
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 06:08 AM
link   
I'm looking into purchasing a telescope, but not one of those usual telescopes which come to mind. I was searching online and came across what seems to be a really good scope: one I'm hoping will enable me to make out such huge stars as VY CAm and the like.

The scope I'm checking out is the ETX -90 MAK Portable. It's a Maksutov-Cassegrain with an internal star database of 30,000 bodies in its library. The specs are 48x and 128x, is 90mm with a focal length of 1250mm (f13.8).

Here is the link to it. Scope

I'm not wanting to merely 'check out the moon'. I'm serious about getting into the farther reaches of space (wish I could afford my own Hubble but haha. Unrealistic) and I know a typical refractor scope won't cut it when it comes to the kinds of stars I wish to map out and see. I have checked out a few other models but this one really appeals to me. However, as it's a first buy, I'd love to have some input from those of you who are Astronomers or just serious hobbyists. The stars have been around forever. I won't be. I'm not getting any younger and I want to start this out properly. I can see myself putting tons of hours into this purchase (for almost 500 US Dollars, you know I will) and really would like some honest opinions about this particular scope.

Thanks everyone!




posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 06:25 AM
link   
reply to post by sarra1833
 


Congrats on wanting to spend time looking up instead of at your feet!


Purchasing a telescope can be hard if you don't know what you are doing, and unsure of what it is you want to look at. According to your post, you want to look at stars.

Keep in mind that stars, even in a telescope look like bright points of lights. Even with the most powerful telescope that you could buy with your money (in the thousands of dollar range), stars will still look like bright points of lights. You won't see anything like we do with the sun and special filters (IE sun spots, flares, etc).

If you are interested in looking at planets, the scope you linked will do just fine, you'll be able to see Mars with it's polar caps (but not a lot of detail), Jupiter's cloud bands (but it's moons are so tiny that they'll look just like bright points), Saturn's rings.

If you are interested in looking at deep space objects (nebulas, galaxies, etc), then I would recommend a telescope with a larger light gathering. Like a 8 inch Dobsonian or larger:

en.wikipedia.org...

The larger the reflecting mirror of the scope allows you to "gather" more light, allowing you to see clearly fainter objects in the sky.

For details (magnification) that actually is dependant upon your eye pieces and not so much the telescope itself. The more powerful the eye piece the better you can zoom in. Do some research on eye pieces as you'll want to buy others besides the standard 20 or 25 mm one that comes with your telescope.

Astro Pics: if you want to take pictures with a telescope, then you are on the right track with the telescope you linked. Dobs are a lot harder to use, especially when you need to zoom in, due to the earth's rotation.

Why take pictures? Well, the other thing about using a telescope is this: all those really colorful pictures you see of other galaxies and nebulas are not what you'll see with your eyes. The light is so faint, even with a large telescope that they'll look bluish / grey in color. Our eyes are just not made to see color at such a low level of light.
But a camera, either film or the wonderful digital CCD cameras can.

Just make sure of this: that you know what you want to do, and what telescope would be best for it before you buy. This is NOT a cheap hobby! I always recommend getting a cheap scope for those that just want to try it out first. Then if they decide they're not that excited about it, they didn't waste too much money. Or if they decide that yah, they love it, they can then invest in a much larger and more expensive equipment.

Good luck and may you have clear skies!



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 06:45 AM
link   
reply to post by eriktheawful
 


All excellent advice. Also be aware that, depending on where you live, you may need to transport your equipment to find darker skies. The easier it is to transport, the more likely you are to use it. If you are interested in whether or not a specific piece of equipment is a good purchase, "Sky and Telescope" and "Astronomy Magazine" publish both monthly and annual reviews. If you go to your nearest library and browse through past issues, you might find some useful feedback.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 06:57 AM
link   
I have looked through a friends 'typical' refractor telescope many times and hours would go by and I'd be sad to have to stop so my friend could go to sleep.
I'm beyond drawn to every aspect of Space and while his scope was nice and gave me hours of study, awe, and enjoyment, it was never 'enough' in every aspect of the definition. ^_^

Reading about seeing the snowy caps of Mars and all just made me beam so hard. Wish you could have seen it.

While looking up scopes I indeed did read about how we won't see galaxies and nebulas in color with just our eyes and that even distant stars will still be white. It did raise my eyebrows but then it does make sense as we just can't see certain things as you stated. I would have to look into cameras for this scope as I'm not familiar in that area - yet. I definitely will be but I'll be doing more searching unless you know of some good links off hand.

And thank you SO much for the eye piece information. I didn't know that was possible to change them out. I"m so grateful that you found my post and are helping me out. It really makes me smile and feel even more excitement. I can't afford a scope costing a grand or more yet, but I'm beyond positive I'll be getting better products as my learning increases. I suppose as that increases, so does the size, magnification and price of the scopes.


Was checking out the Dobsonians the other day as well. Rather bulky things, aren't they? Yet makes me salivate at the thought of seeing nebula and galaxies. I think I'd tear up at that point. I live in a very rural area where the skies are plastered with stars. It's an amateur astronomers dream come true. I used to live in the Chicago burbs. You'd be lucky to see the big dipper and Orion. When I moved to southern Illinois, I just ...well. .. this:
and knew it was time. The only way I'd move back to Chicago land is if I got a job at the Adler Planetarium; yet it's in Chicago. A city. Bright lights. Somehow it doesn't seem as good as Southern Illinois in my back yard. 'Course I don't have the huge scope they do either.

I'll start out with my scope and hopefully not too far off, I'll have learned much more and can step up the ladder to bigger and better.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 07:02 AM
link   
The best piece of advice I ever got about buying a telescope is the best scope you can buy is the one that you will use. I would seriously think about investing in a good pair of binoculars, or a simple but functional scope first, and really learn how to use it well. Choose one that is easy to transport and easy to put together. Try to find a skywatching club near where you live and hang out with them. There will be a lot of folks with a ton of experience that can you help you. Good luck!



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 07:43 AM
link   
this makes me want to get a new tele. I have a very small (3 inch) one that my dad left me...but i'd like to get something more advanced.

and connecting with "star watch" groups is an excellent idea. I'm sure there's a lot to be learned (about scopes AND space) from the veterans and experienced sky watchers.

now that i see there are experienced users here, what would be a good/useful/efficient/cost friendly beginner's scope?



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:04 AM
link   

Originally posted by metalshredmetal
this makes me want to get a new tele. I have a very small (3 inch) one that my dad left me...but i'd like to get something more advanced.

and connecting with "star watch" groups is an excellent idea. I'm sure there's a lot to be learned (about scopes AND space) from the veterans and experienced sky watchers.

now that i see there are experienced users here, what would be a good/useful/efficient/cost friendly beginner's scope?


That again depends on how you'll use it, your experience, and as stated above, your location. If all you have to do is drag your scope outside, you can consider larger telescopes. If, on the other hand, you have to load it in a car and drive somewhere to get some dark skies, it could hold you back.

Last: money. How much your want to spend will also be an issue.

Here's a link to Orion Telescopes, they have a lot of good "beginner" telescopes and a section of their web site helps you figure out what type of telescope you should get:

www.telescope.com...

I think one of the most frustrating things for most beginners, is getting "lost". there are many who want to try and look at deep space objects ,but are so faint you can't see them with you eye, so it's very hard to get the telescope pointed at them.
"Old School" method was to:

A) learn the sky. Learn where things are using your eyes only (stars and constellations).
B) manually align your telescope with our polar north (or south depending on which hemisphere you live in), so that you can "dial in" the correct coordinates for faint object (Declination and RA)
C) Manually dial in those coordinates.

Now a days, you guys have such wonderful tools now. They have telescopes (cheap ones) that you don't even have to align really. Just plop it down. Point it at two or three objects in the sky, and a built in computer system "knows" where the telescope is at. You can then simply tell it that you want to see "M42 - Orion Nebula") and motors will automatically swing the scope into place for you, and even track the object!

These are called "Go To" telescopes, and I'd recommend them for beginners as it makes finding things in the sky a lot easier and keeps some people from giving up in frustration.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:20 AM
link   
Many good suggestions here. One I didn't see (or missed), is to seek out a local astronomy club in your area. Sometimes a local college might have one if there are no other formal ones.

Some clubs even have loaners. Trust me when I tell you, I'm an avid astronomer (or I should say was), with a nice 8" cassigrain, that hasn't been use in years
.

Still, love the night sky and sometimes just go out and do visual astronomy, or with binoc's.

Good luck!



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 08:56 AM
link   
reply to post by sarra1833
 


There's a lot of good advice being posted here. You specifically asked for opinions on the scope you are considering.

It's too small. Don't buy that one.

Too small meaning the aperture size. It's only 3 1/2 inches! Yikes. The most IMPORTANT factor is the light gathering ability of your scope. The smaller the aperture, the less light it gathers. Make that your primary concern when considering your purchase. Buy as much aperture as you can afford, because like stated, it can be a very expensive hobby. Don't buy anything under 6 inches. With your budget, you can afford an 8 inch.

You seem to be wanting to see deep sky objects, and also are concerned with "automatic" pointing, so I'll list my recommendation. I'm not touting any particular brand, as long as you stay in the 8 inch range.





The Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Computerized Dobsonian Telescope is capable of providing you and your family with years of entertainment under the stars. Its 8" (203mm) aperture parabolic primary mirror serves up jaw-dropping images of the planets, cloudy nebulas, star clusters, and galaxies. Outfitted with great accessories, the XT8i IntelliScope Dobsonian includes two 1.25" telescope eyepieces, a removable eyepiece rack, base handle, collimation cap, and a finder scope. The 25mm and 10mm included Sirius Plossl eyepieces provide magnifications of 48x power and 120x power respectively for a variety of viewing options right out of the box. The included finder scope is our Orion 9x50 Right-Angle Correct-Image model which allows convenient and comfortable aiming and alignment of the telescope. The XT8i Dobsonian’s precise Crayford focuser accepts 2" and 1.25" telescope eyepieces, and provides silky-smooth, backlash-free motion that eliminates image shift, making it easier to achieve the sharpest possible focus.


Now, mind you, you can get the classic version for about 200 bucks less, but the computerized pointing is a very nice feature. The initial investment is all about the aperture size. Bigger is better.

Also, note that the focuser (the thing you put your eyepieces in), will accept the standard 1.25 inch eyepieces, as well as 2 inch eyepieces. In other words, you start out with an awesome light gathering bad boy that would make any young lad cream in his jeans, but also you can upgrade to any eyepiece you want to buy down the road.

A quick note about eyepieces. If the aperture is how much light you can gather, the eyepiece is the second most important factor to consider. It is what lets you "focus" the light to your eye. Often times, you'll sight an object at a lower magnification, then switch to a higher magnification (different eyepiece) for a better, or alternative view.

I'm not a big fan of the Go To systems. They work fine, but if you are out in the field, they suck the life out of your batteries, and your scope becomes nearly useless. They are for beginners, IMO, and rob the delight that can be found in "star-hopping", and actually being able to navigate the heavens on your own. In that sense, I am a purist, so please ignore anything derogatory I may say about Go To units.

Myself, I have a 6 inch Celestron refractor. Tripod mount, with manual controls. No batteries required. I have 16 different eyepieces, for many different configurations, from 10x clear up to an almost worthless 720x magnification. The only "cheat" I use is my smartphone with Google Sky to identify objects I am pointing to. I used to use star charts, but they've become obsolete with the advent of such conveniences. Personally, if the power goes out, I am more than capable of pulling out my old star charts and spending an evening gazing at the stars.

If you are serious about being an amateur astronomer, remember to keep a logbook of all the objects you've sighted. Sometimes, when viewing conditions aren't right, you may want to review your notes and re-sight an object that was previously obscure.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 09:56 AM
link   
While it is possible to do some astrophotography with the ETX (I know a guy who does it with an ETX-70AT: home.freeuk.com... ), one of the keys is that he's using an f/5 refractor (the 70AT, not the ETX-90). The ETX-90 is an F/13.8 scope, which is an incredibly slow focal ratio. It'd be good for viewing the planets and moon, but deep space astrophotography of the stars? No way, at least not on the mount it comes on, the required exposure time would drastically exceed the capability of the mount to keep the stars as pinpoints at the focal length of the 90 (which is almost a full meter longer than the 70).

It'd be fine if it were piggybacked on a much bigger scope with a better mount, but not on the ETX mount which in my experience is less than stellar (admittedly I'm spoiled by the LX200 mount). At this price point you have a conundrum. Do you want to see great views of the planets, the polar cap on mars, etc? Or do you want a scope with which you could feasibly do some very basic astrophotography of the stars but have a more limited view of the planets?

At this price point I would normally recommend starting out with a dobsonian as others have mentioned. Even if you go with the ETX-70 (I don't think they even make it anymore, so you'd have to buy it used which is what I did when I had one), it would take a good bit of knowledge and experience just to make it do what Nytecam made it do as seen above. Yeah, it can pull that stuff off, but it's not something you're going to be able to do right away. Precision polar alignment, a proper deep space camera, and a lot of skill are all required to do that kind of astrophotography with a scope like this. You seem really interested in space, so I actually wouldn't hesitate too much about recommending investing in a much more expensive, much more capable scope despite how much that goes against conventional wisdom (and indeed you would still need to learn or know the sky and constellations), that way you can grow into it rather than rapidly outgrow it and still be left wanting to do astrophotography. Be forewarned that whatever scope you buy, you won't see deep space objects like you do in photos; even bright galaxies just look like faint fuzzy colorless splotches and most require averted vision. Cameras can collect light over long periods of time for a single image, the human eye can't.
edit on 10-2-2012 by ngchunter because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 10:11 AM
link   

Originally posted by Druid42
I'm not a big fan of the Go To systems. They work fine, but if you are out in the field, they suck the life out of your batteries, and your scope becomes nearly useless.

That's why you need one of these and a power inverter:
www.batterymart.com...

They are for beginners, IMO, and rob the delight that can be found in "star-hopping", and actually being able to navigate the heavens on your own.

Yikes. Yes, I agree it's very important to learn how to star hop, but there's really no reason why you can't do that with a GoTo scope provided it has a viewfinder and/or telrad finder. Ultimately though it's nice to have GoTo as it's really the easiest way to do deep space astrophotography. I star hopped for years, but now I do video astronomy or just regular deep space astrophotography, and star hopping just isn't practical for that. If that's what you ultimately want to do, then ultimately you need GoTo. For visual astronomy though, I agree, GoTo is a bit of a cheat.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 05:43 PM
link   
I don't do astrophotography, and I'm quite happy with my ETX-90 because of it's portability and ease of set-up. I have a larger scope (a Celestron C8) that I love, but I wind-up using my ETX more.

Go-to telescopes are for wimps.



posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 06:11 PM
link   

Originally posted by Saint Exupery
I don't do astrophotography, and I'm quite happy with my ETX-90 because of it's portability and ease of set-up. I have a larger scope (a Celestron C8) that I love, but I wind-up using my ETX more.

Go-to telescopes are for wimps.

Bah, try to do DSLR deep space photography and frame the shot blind, and then tell me goto's for wimps lol.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 12:37 AM
link   
I believe I'm going to go with the Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Computerized Dobsonian Telescope after all. It seems much better and a hundred dollars more. I really like what it offers.

www.telescope.com... 27/p/27183.uts#tabs-6


I'm so excited! Now to look into cameras for this. I trust it's a certain kind; not any one can find at walmart etc, right?



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:51 AM
link   
reply to post by sarra1833
 


Excellent choice. You'll have a powerful scope with plenty of power, with going to the bulkier 10 inch model.

They sell adapters for ANY camera, believe it or not, but there are specific kinds you'd want for astro photography. ngc would be the expert in that area, a good starter model that won't break your budget, and hopefully he'll pipe back in.

Myself, I made an adapter for my webcam, and sometimes take a laptop out on the back deck for planetary shots. It's functional, a wire streaming to my usb port, and live resolution on my screen, but far from the optimal setup. I got the idea from a you tube video. I let post processing software (Registax) take care of the rest.



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:34 AM
link   

Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by sarra1833
 


Excellent choice. You'll have a powerful scope with plenty of power, with going to the bulkier 10 inch model.

They sell adapters for ANY camera, believe it or not, but there are specific kinds you'd want for astro photography. ngc would be the expert in that area, a good starter model that won't break your budget, and hopefully he'll pipe back in.

Myself, I made an adapter for my webcam, and sometimes take a laptop out on the back deck for planetary shots. It's functional, a wire streaming to my usb port, and live resolution on my screen, but far from the optimal setup. I got the idea from a you tube video. I let post processing software (Registax) take care of the rest.





No kidding, webcam?! My jaw understandably hit the floor with that. If NGC is a user here, I hope he will come back then. I'm so gung ho for this. I've been living in this entire space forum topic for a while now. It's so much nicer than the political junk going on. And not as many haters. I love that break. This area made ATS fun again and it's like one awesome school of amazing knowledge that you all post. I'm adopting all of you as my fellow Astronomy Family if you all don't mind.



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:49 AM
link   
reply to post by Druid42
 


That is exactly the problem I have with mine...I get lost, and frustrated...it goes back in the box for a few years. If I was going to invest in another one, I would get one with computerised guidance. It is so vast up there, and upside down or back to front...my spatial awareness and co-ordination are poor at the best of times. So, for the OP, unless you have experience of using telescope, get one which has some sort of in-built guidance thingy, as Druid42 suggests. Otherwise you will end up spending alot of money on something that only makes you want to scream at your own incompetence. And, check out where your nearest observatory is, they are usually open to the public on certain days, and more than happy to help you get your bearings.



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:58 AM
link   

Originally posted by sarra1833
I believe I'm going to go with the Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Computerized Dobsonian Telescope after all. It seems much better and a hundred dollars more. I really like what it offers.

www.telescope.com... 27/p/27183.uts#tabs-6


I'm so excited! Now to look into cameras for this. I trust it's a certain kind; not any one can find at walmart etc, right?


Just reading the reviews for this...looks fabulous...but seemingly not quite idiot enough proof for the likes of me...


I'd recommend the Orion XT8i to beginners or to anyone looking to upgrade from a starter scope. But keep in mind that the Intelliscope finder must be installed precisely and used with exact alignment or else it will be so off from its altitude/azimuth that it won't work properly.


www.amazon.com...

If in doubt, I'd suggest getting Druid42 over to set it up for you



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 03:31 AM
link   
I can see why an 'idiot proof' cam would be better! I'm not familiar at all with how to even set it up but I can understand why you'd need it set up perfectly aligned. If the cam sits above the scope as I've seen in some pics, it won't be pointing right at the same thing the scope sitting inches below it would be. But to have a guidance cam, it would no doubt cost big bucks :/

For now, I'd get the scope, learn where various places are in the skies, learn how to find the right coordinates and get very comfy with that before putting the learning curve of a camera onto it too. I think it'd be easier to learn one step first. Cuz coordinating in the sky light years away has to take time to learn.

edit to add: HAHA I'm tired. I thought you were talking about cameras to take astrophotos with. xD
well, that's my stand on cameras then. Added without any nudging from the other forum goers here

edit on 12-2-2012 by sarra1833 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 06:13 AM
link   
A lot of good advice in this thread.

That 8" dobsonian will be a great scope. I have always wanted one myself.

A few things to remember though.

Make sure to really zero in the attached spotting scope. You will discover, if you do not already know, that the stronger the eye piece you use, the harder an object is to locate, and the dimmer it will appear in the scope. I have found that it is best to locate a target using the weakest eye piece I have, then swapping out eye pieces for stronger ones until I reach the point where the image quality is too poor for good detail. You will also discover that the higher the magnification you use, the quicker the earth's rotation will take it out of your field of view. I did not read the details of the scope you linked, but if it has electronic tracking, it will will help in that regard.

Also, some things are better viewed in low magnification. You can watch the 4 Galilean satilites change position over the course of an evening through a small bird watcher's scope. The moon is best viewed in a phase as opposed to full. You can see more detail and depth at the teminator as it passes over the mountains and craters. Pretty cool stuff. A full moon is too bright and that brightness will wash out depth and may hurt your eyes. They make filters for that but still, I like to watch the terminator move over the surface over the course of a few nights.

The Orion nebula is beautiful in low magnification. I could go on all day!

Enjoy your new scope and be sure to share your discoveries!



new topics

top topics



 
3
<<   2 >>

log in

join