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What telescope for backyard astronomy.

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CX

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:41 PM
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Hi all, i'm sure i've asked this years ago, but since technology changes, i thought i'd ask again for current model recommendations.

We (my two daughters and i) as a family enjoy watching the night sky, but until now have only had the naked eye and some 10x50's. My eldest is also about to begin a GSCE in Astronomy at school, something she is really looking forward too.

It's not a requirement to have a telescope at home, but she will be using them a lot at school. We want one for the house anyway, something to use in the garden or up on the open forest.

So have you any recommendations? Budget isn't immense. but i could stretch to about £400. Would like it to be reasonably portable if possible.

Would also be interested in eventualy using it for some kind of space photography, is this a whole different subject or can you get a general purpose one that covers both general viewing and photos too?

Thanks for any advice on this.

CX.




posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:47 PM
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You should try The Sky At Night website and see their tips on buying a telescope.

www.skyatnightmagazine.com...

I remember some years ago Patrick Moore advising not to spend less than £600 to get a decent piece of equipment. The prices will have come down a lot since then and I think they do reviews and things for stargazers. Get a make and model number from them then try ebay or gumtree to see if you can buy it even cheaper, and spend the change on a warm cardigan and hat.



p.s. they also have a forum. Let us know what you end up with please.
edit on 12-2-2012 by wigit because: (no reason given)


CX

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:59 PM
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reply to post by wigit
 


Thank you wigit, i'll look into that.

Much appreciated.


CX.



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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The only recommendations I have is that you definitely get a refractor and spend time researching to determine what features would be useful for you. Instead of new, you can probably find some good prices for better quality used equipment.

Nice features would include a sky tracking system (maintain position in sky as earth spins), ability to interface with a computer, ability to input sky coordinates and the scope will move to that place, to take and download images (still, motion) etc. You'll have lotsa fun!



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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I can't buy my telescope.
Paypal blocked me. Rastards.

Now I have to pay double for it.



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 02:21 PM
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reply to post by CX
 

Quality viewing is dependent on several things. Location, atmospheric conditions, and basic type of telescope. There are "refractors"---looking "thru lenses", and "reflectors", image gathered from "mirrors". I highly recommend reflector types although they are the most expensive. Do they still call that style "Scmidt Cassegrain"? The kind of viewing you do is determined by the types of lenses you use as well. Wide field or hi power lenses change the view from panoramic to close up study of deep space objects. The basic reflector telescope body comes with a diameter of mirror, usually 4", 6", 8", etc. The larger the diameter of mirror the more light gathering capability it will have. If you want to purchase a new telescope with a variety of accessories that quickly gets expensive. More than 400 pounds.

My advice is to wait and let your daughter learn the different options at school and then look for a used package that someone else is selling as you can get all the goodies for a lot cheaper. By then she will know what type she needs for her "hobby". If you live in a dark region (no city lights), and she is serious then an 8" reflector is the beginning of $erious study.



posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by Manhater
 

I can't buy my telescope.
Paypal blocked me. Rastards.
Now I have to pay double for it.

Ahh poor girl. I remember your thread on that. You were thinking of buying one at the end of the year.
"Rat turds" for sure.



posted on Feb, 13 2012 @ 12:46 AM
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I have a 6" Celesteron reflector with a geman equatorial mount on it. It is a great beginner telescope. I personally believe that learning on manual mounts is important before jumping into computerized mounts. My telescope and eyepiece set ran around 300 for the scope and 150 for the eyepieces. I also have a moon filter which provides excelent views of the moon. One thing I will tell you is the better your eyepieces are the better your views will be. I catch good views of all the bright planets. I have yet to capture Uranus and Neptune, but I have seen Saturns rings, and have had good views of Jupiter and the Galilean moons. Mars is always looks great through it as well. I haven't seen too many deep sky objects but there are a few I look at when I can. The orion Nebula is the brightest one so it is easy to capture. Anyway I hope this helps. As for astrophotography, I'm not sure what equipment you would need but I bet it can get quite pricey.



posted on Feb, 13 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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You should check out your local Astronomical Society or Astronomy Club. They love sorting out beginners with advice. Often members will have equipment for sale and you can be confident that the kit'll be in good condition and that the price will be fair. Failing that, at least check out stargazerslounge.com

The advice I would give is to work out what you need before you part with any cash as it can be an expensive mistake if you buy the wrong equipment.

A quick guide to telescope types...

Catadiptric
Uses a combination of lens and mirrors. The most popular type of telescope currently. A great all rounder and suitable for photography. I wouldn't consider one with less than 5" diameter though. Ideally 6" or more.

Newtonian
Reflecting telescope. Cheapest type of telescope by aperture. Great for deep sky (galaxies, nebulae etc), not so great for planets. Most Newtonians are not suitable for photography with a DSLR due to focal length issues. This explains why...
Iceinspace
Again if you go down this route go for 6" or above.

Refractor
The most expensive type of telescope by aperture. You would need at least a 4" lens. Cheaper models will produce some false colour. Great for planets, not so good for deep sky use unless you hook it up to a permanent polar alligned mount and a specialist camera.

All the above can be bought with computer 'goto' tracking.

One final word about buying second hand. You have no way of knowing if the equipment has been well looked after or what condition the mirrors or lenses are in without inspecting the telescope. Be wary of buying off the internet.

Hope this helps - good luck!




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