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Asking For Some Telescope Advice ...Please

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posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 04:56 PM
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Hi
Approaching the middle of my life Iam burning to reaquaint myself with the night sky, as a child I spent countless nights with my naked eye and a Tasco 70 refractor with wobbly table top tripod
searching the heavens.

Trouble is there is so many scopes to choose from, I have trawled the net and feel I have a study knowledge of the different types of scopes available today.

I am teetering betwen a 8 inch collapsible dobsonian , a 102mm Refractor, or a 150mm Reflector on a equatorial mount, they are all in the sme price range of $600 to $1000 AUD (aussie) as that is where I live presently and its all I can afford reasonably.

I want to introduce my children to the wonders of the heavens also.

What Iam asking is ...is there much difference in actual viewing enjoyment betwen the 3 scopes?

The three types of scopes will be either Saxon brand or Skywatcher or Celestron.

Telescopes in Australia are very expensive compared to the USA and the UK, and it is very difficult to find an online store who will ship from the USA without charging a lot for insured shipping.

I would love to buy an Aussie made scope, but it seems they are mostly either way too expensive or are cheap Tasco toys.

Anyway again the crux of this post is will it be noticeable the actual differences between the three scopes, I would like to hear from people who have actually looked through the different types for a period as I have read all the sites that explain the physical differences of the scopes, but they say little about the asthetic differences of the actual viewing experience.

Anyway thanks.



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 04:59 PM
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Celestron Astromaster 130,
Given to me as a gift ,I thought i would be able to see fricken everything with this sucker.Wrong.
Give me some binoculars anyday



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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A dobs will give you the most bang for your buck. I personally want a custom built 20 inch mirror but you can get large dobs for very little money. They are very simple to set up and operate and some can be fitted with a computer driven motor kit.

In the past I would have recommended one of the starter version computer scopes but you can get star mapping programs for laptops, iPhones, etc now which make pointing the scope much easier. I'd rather use my iPhone for aiming help and put my money into the biggest mirror I can afford.

I just sold my scopes a few months back, including a nice Schmidt Cassegrain. I finally decided it was time to work on building my own scope given I can't afford the 34,000 price on a pre-built 20 inch.
edit on 16-7-2011 by ecoparity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by Dr Expired
 


What a tough question as everyone has their favorites.

Most universities have astronomical societies attached. Try to get to one as they have star parties where everyone brings their scope. You can check out all of the ones before you buy. The dobsonian can gather the most light but the quality of the optics varies. I think the big names can be more reliable but look at Sky and Telescope on line.

A good pair of binos on a good stand also works well. Also you can get a phone app for your smartphone that can give you the sky above you where ever you are so perhaps the need for a computer goto scope reduces if you don't know the sky.

I would go slowly and find out what suites you.

T



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 05:40 PM
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With children I would start with a dobsonian it's easier to pan around and usually they are cheaper. I miss my old scope I had a 16 inch scope when I lived in the country. I worked for three summers hauling hay and cutting tobacco to earn the money and it was worth it. Have checked out ebay you may find a good used one pretty cheap.



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 05:46 PM
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Yes thanks for the replies so far ,its just you know when you have that itch burning, its hard to go slow, but they say its more fun browsing and dreaming than the actual reality
...the aperture of the Dobsonians sound great, but as has been said if the optics aren't up to scratch(sic) then it may dissapoint.

They say refractors offer sharp images of planets and stars, but I want to explore the whole sky, make it a serious part of my life and if they are willing my childrens and who knows even my wifes , who doesn't want me to spend over a grand on my new obsesion as she calls it


I would like to buy a bigger an dmore expensive scope, but there it goes, a dobsonian is heavy also, but I like the idea of its simplicity and ruggedness.

I have a pair of binoculars a decent pair but they wobble terribly and I haven't got a tripod , the views are limited also.

My 70mm tasco was great but hugely frustrating when it wobbled all over the place , is a 102mm refractor much of an improvement as far as viewing goes?



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 06:12 PM
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Here is some more info to consider:
www.abovetopsecret.com...
www.abovetopsecret.com...

spec



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 06:16 PM
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My son and I just started exploring the night sky too. We have a 6" dob made by Orion. It was less than half your price range and I wish we'd started with an 8".
If your planning on really going after the deep space objects you should spring for the 8".
The dobsonian we got has been great for seeing Saturn and jupiter but we're struggling with the Messier objects.
If you've got the scratch, go for as big as you can. I would also recommend buying a 5mm eyepiece for extra magnification but get it with a 60 degree viewing angle. It will make star hopping easier.
Good luck!



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 06:59 PM
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Thanks everyone ,espescially for the links as there was a post by var78, that clearly and simply provided me with the exact info I was asking for , it is worth checking out for anyone wondering what they may see through a telescope ie detail.
Iam still dreaming and perusing online , the dobsonian appears to be the best bet for seing greater detail on fainter objects, but they sure are big and heavy even the colapsible ones.
Something I have been finding out too whilst perusing, is that many famous brands are now made in china of varying quality...and remember some in slave shops.

God I wish we could keep making our own stuff.



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 06:25 AM
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reply to post by 12voltz
 


I have a twelve year old Bushnell 525x magnifying scope with a three inch reflector. I used it to look at the moon when it was at close approach earlier in the year. I would recommend it, but its hard to get the parts these days, which is a bummer, because its a great scope. Over the years many of the optical attatchments of various magnification levels have gone walkies, and the elevator arm has come loose in the socket on the side of the scope, which means unless you keep hold of it, it wanders off target... but in terms of quality of image, I love it.

Bushnells more recent out put is good quality for what it costs, but you may be more of a perfectionist than me
Good luck in your search.



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 07:21 AM
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reply to post by faithparadigm
 


Orion make some great scopes. I heard th best combination for price is an Orion scope with a losmandy mount.

See if you can get access to "Sky at night magazine which is a UK magazine that does a lot of telescope tests. It is another good mag but does not really cover the Southern hemeisphere sky :-(



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by Dr Expired
Hi
Approaching the middle of my life Iam burning to reaquaint myself with the night sky, as a child I spent countless nights with my naked eye and a Tasco 70 refractor with wobbly table top tripod
searching the heavens.

Trouble is there is so many scopes to choose from, I have trawled the net and feel I have a study knowledge of the different types of scopes available today.

I am teetering betwen a 8 inch collapsible dobsonian , a 102mm Refractor, or a 150mm Reflector on a equatorial mount, they are all in the sme price range of $600 to $1000 AUD (aussie) as that is where I live presently and its all I can afford reasonably.

I want to introduce my children to the wonders of the heavens also.

What Iam asking is ...is there much difference in actual viewing enjoyment betwen the 3 scopes?

The three types of scopes will be either Saxon brand or Skywatcher or Celestron.

Telescopes in Australia are very expensive compared to the USA and the UK, and it is very difficult to find an online store who will ship from the USA without charging a lot for insured shipping.

I would love to buy an Aussie made scope, but it seems they are mostly either way too expensive or are cheap Tasco toys.

Anyway again the crux of this post is will it be noticeable the actual differences between the three scopes, I would like to hear from people who have actually looked through the different types for a period as I have read all the sites that explain the physical differences of the scopes, but they say little about the asthetic differences of the actual viewing experience.

Anyway thanks.


It is about the light (which is why the cheap ones try to make you think it is about the magnification)..

If you want to do planetary work, and only that-- maybe look at craters on the moon and bands on Jupiter-- then a reasonably priced manufacturer of a refractor will do.

For deep sky-- chasing all the Messier objects and getting your Messier Certificate-- and everything from gas clouds in Orion to barely visible blue quasars listed on your charts as an x-ray source then a reflector is the way to go.

I have a 17.5" alt-az (dobson) at f5.4 and know I made the right decision-- twenty years ago. When I do planetary/lunar (rarely, but I did look at the black spots from the comet impact years ago on Jupiter) I stopped down with a ply-wood disk I placed over the opening with a 6" hole cut out).

Collapsible is a great option-- no matter the mirror size-- you'll use it more if you can transport it and store it easily.

One great thing about a reflector that is not quite so obvious as other advantages-- there is something neat to see almost anywhere you point it. The entire sky becomes as "art" to be appreciated.



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 10:07 AM
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reply to post by Dr Expired
 

The choice of optics depends on what type of viewing you intended to do; solar system or deep sky? Refractors are quite good for observing planets, reflectors are better for gathering the light from distant, diffuse objects.

I do have a very strong recommendation in term of your mounting, however. The german equatorial mount is by far the best type of mounting, especially if you want your children to understand how the Earth and the sky relate to one another. Go To mountings are a bit like using a GPS system in your car instead of planning the trip on a map; you get where you're going, but you don't know how you got there!



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by DJW001
reply to post by Dr Expired
 

The choice of optics depends on what type of viewing you intended to do; solar system or deep sky? Refractors are quite good for observing planets, reflectors are better for gathering the light from distant, diffuse objects.

I do have a very strong recommendation in term of your mounting, however. The german equatorial mount is by far the best type of mounting, especially if you want your children to understand how the Earth and the sky relate to one another. Go To mountings are a bit like using a GPS system in your car instead of planning the trip on a map; you get where you're going, but you don't know how you got there!


Yes.

And keep in mind that photography requires ability to track and ability to track requires a good (German) equatorial mount. Most of my friends from clubs migrated to photography over time. For me, it is always about seeing what there is to see, finding what I want using only charts, and the awe of the "eye-candy" my ocular (eye-piece) provides.

Oh-- and for eye-viewing-- make sure your telescope can use the common sizes: 1.25" is a must, 2" is nice.

The .995" (or whatever Tasco uses) is not anything I have ever seen available except in toy stores. They may be fine and useful-- but will set you apart from, say, my own favorites that just are not made in that size.

There is one Tasco exception: They have/had a little Newtonian reflector, red plastic, with the mirror housed in a ball at the end. So small and light you can use it with the provided sling (but I used it little base on the roof of my car). I used one for several hours and found it delightful. That was over a decade ago-- so do some research, but the one I used was excellent for its size. I think I heard they don't make them anymore-- but ebay could be perfect for you.

One last thought... my brother bought a good 10" mirror and made his own-- for about US$350.00 if I recall-- it was not difficult (except for painting the middle of the inside of the long sonotube black-- only I could reach!). As for mirror kits-- I know of no one satisfied with the results given the time and effort required.



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 12:17 PM
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Originally posted by DJW001
reply to post by Dr Expired
 

The choice of optics depends on what type of viewing you intended to do; solar system or deep sky? Refractors are quite good for observing planets, reflectors are better for gathering the light from distant, diffuse objects.

I do have a very strong recommendation in term of your mounting, however. The german equatorial mount is by far the best type of mounting, especially if you want your children to understand how the Earth and the sky relate to one another. Go To mountings are a bit like using a GPS system in your car instead of planning the trip on a map; you get where you're going, but you don't know how you got there!



Agreed.

I have a Celestron Nexstar 8 SE with the GoTo mount and quite frankly, I never use it. I prefer to scan deep space manually... gives me a little more pride when I'm able to pinpoint a messier object by my wits alone.

The GoTo feature is great for beginners who want instant gratification, but eventually you still need to learn how to set up and search manually in order to learn the skies, rotation, right ascension/declination coordinates, etc.

For anyone who wants to jump into amateur astronomy, keep one thing in mind: A big, heavy, bulky scope is a little more of a pain in the butt to haul around, set up, etc and therefore requires more dedication/determination to the hobby. Whereas a smaller, lighter scope will get used more on a daily basis due to the ease of quick set up and use.

Start smallish, and once you've developed a true love for the hobby, then invest in a big sucker for those all night viewing sessions.



posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 01:08 PM
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As long as you have a high quality (accurate) main mirror, an 8" Dobsonian will give very good results with a good eyepiece. A basic 8" one was very affordable last time I looked, even a collapsible one which is far easier to store. I currently have a 5" Newtonian (tripod mount) which gives fair results but I'm looking a larger option perhaps a 12" mirror because it's all about the size of your 'light bucket' when trying to view faint and distant objects.



posted on Jul, 20 2011 @ 07:16 AM
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Couldn't wait any longer ,purchased a Dobsonian eight inch collapsible for $570 Aud.
Its a saxon model...made in China, but apparently all beginner to intermediate scopes under $1000 are these days?
It is sad because they don't seem that complicated to make.
Anyway put it together earlier , will try it out tomorrow night.
Thanks everyone who replied there was plenty of good advice.
Now I can start looking for the flags on the moon



posted on Jul, 20 2011 @ 07:28 AM
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reply to post by Dr Expired
 



Anyway put it together earlier , will try it out tomorrow night.


Happy first light!



posted on Jul, 20 2011 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Dr Expired
 

If I were you I would post this question to some amateur astronomy forum, as I bet the people there have more clue than the average ATS member.



posted on Jul, 21 2011 @ 01:08 AM
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reply to post by juleol
 

Perhaps ...but there will be plenty of ATS members who are astronomers, it would be good to have a dedicated Astronomy forum on ATS, as the astronomy sites are sometimes dangerous to view , there was a UK site I visited which had porn entries all over the place.
Uk dobsonians or something like that, it is sad to visit a page in earnestness and have that crap on the site.
It is on the first pages of google , when one is looking for uK dobsonian sites, (on safe search).
Iam sure there are lots of knowledgeable astronomy (buffs , nerds and physcos
here on ATS.



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