Looking to buy your first telescope? Part 1

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houtex73

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I know this question has been asked a million gazillion times...but i do need some advice. I am looking at buying "gasp" my first scope. Now, everyone is different for what they want to see. I have a budget of around 1k plus or minus a few hundred. I know I want to see basically everything. Planets and moons to far out deep space. I also want something big enough that i will not out grow it to fast. I live north side of houston, so we have some light pollution around here. I was thinking of something like skyquest xt12 classic and or the skyquest xt12 intelliscope. I know i will need some eye peices to go with as well and some filters. I would really like to do photogrophy as well, even tho it has been stated "STAY AWAY!!", what can i say i go against the grain on that one. I appreciate any insight that anyone has and or other choices that would be within that budget!! Thank you
 
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nevers

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Hi houtex73,<br /><br />If it were me, I'd go with the XT12 Classic simply becuase you don't really need all that electronic 'cr*p' - it's just another thing that can go wrong and/or break down. In the beginning, depending on how well you may already know your way around the night sky, you might have some difficulties but I think in the the long run, you'll be better off learning the sky by yourself.<br /><br />The only reason I could see the Intelliscope being better is that it might assist you in the beginning to find objects quicker especially in light-polluted skies. I too live in LP skies (in the center of Las Vegas!) and I believe if you can't find it by yourself, it's probably not worth looking for. Meaning, if you are able to find a certain object, the quality will be so reduced because of the LP that you might not even be able to recognize it as the object you wanted to see. What good would the Object Locator be to you then? In dark skies, objects will be so apparent in a 'scope of that size I don't believe the computer assisted 'finder' would be that useful. In time, especially if you've had to learn the skies by yourself, you'll be able to take that puppy out and point it to exactly where you want! You have a built in computer already - your brain. And, it stands less of a chance of running low on power at the least opportune times!<br /><br />Also, the 'Classic' looks like it's now being offered with a 'Bonus Pack' - a sweet laser collimator and the SkyMap. (I LOVE that map!) With the savings you'll be getting you could order some other stuff like you already stated. Plus, the intelliscope is that awful brown color - eeewwww! It's nice to see they've added the Right-Angle 9 x 50 finder scope to both options.<br /><br />As far as Astrophotography goes and I know you already said you've asked about it and know it will be difficult, I can tell you first hand: it's nearly impossible. But, go ahead and found out for yourself, we only learn from our mistakes. I will
 
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houtex73

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Thanks for the reply nevers. I am a techno geek so that is why i was asking about the go to stuff. <br /><br />Is there something comparable in the refractors, and or casses? if you were to compare the 2 i stated above they would be compared to what?
 
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ianke

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While I realize that cost is a big factor, remove it for a post or two. Is there anyone here that can tell me the pros and cons of a Schmidt-Cassegrain vs. Dobsonian styles? I know that size is different , but what about the functionality?<br /><br /><br />Thanks in advance!<br />Ianke <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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houtex73

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I am sorry to ask another ???, but are the eye peices interchangeable from brand to brand? If i get a Naglar eyepiece for the skyquest xt12 will it also work with an orion short tube 80eq?
 
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ianke

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No appology neccessary houtex73. I don'y know, but someone sure does here and will be glad to answer you I'm sure.<br /><br />Ianke <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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nevers

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There is rarely anything that beats aperture - unless you are willing to spend thousands on an APO Refractor. Even then the differences would only be for certain, few objects. Yes, the EP's are interchangable. With the XT you'll get a 1.25 focuser with the 2" adapter. Naglar huh? You must be rollin' in the dough! I'd stay away from them unless you are really, really, really, really, really, super really, absolutely, positively, really sure about spending ALOT of time looking thru them. They are not over-rated, just extremely expensive to me. For what you're doing, I don't think the cost would justify the expense.<br /><br />Oh, and the intelliscope is not a true 'Go-To'. It's just an aide to let you know your pointing the 'scope where the computer thinks the objects is located. Your hand is the 'Go-To' in this case - you have to push the 'scope around the sky: there is no tracking whatsoever. There is nothing more accurate then your own knowledge and developed skills.<br /><br />Just to let you know, I have a Meade 16", the Orion XT 10" and a couple other lesser sized Refractors. I do have that Orion ST80 - it's fun and that's about it but 'yes', it accepts the 1.25 EP's that would come with the XT12: Naglar's too. Oh, one more thing - don't be sorry for asking! <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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nevers

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Hi Ianke,<br /><br />I'm not very knowledgeable about SC's - I'm a Dob/Refractor person. I've seen thru a few SC's and thought the view was dimmer then with the 'fractor/'flector type 'scopes. I do remember seeing Mars one time thru Thom's 8" SC and being very, very impressed with the view. One time somebody had a 14" Celestron SC at a Star Party in Death Valley (very dark skies!), I was impressed with that 'scope but it seemed more like an electrical, computer nightmare that requires a lot of attention to detail in setting it up properly. In a way, it was even more behemothy then my 16" Dob which basically you plop it down, put the tube on the stand, mount the mirror, attach the finder, put in a EP (waiting for it to cool down can be a drag sometimes) and start looking. I've never had a problem with dew as SC's I've heard are notoriously bad.<br /><br />Oh yeah, SC's are delicate, not like a good 'ole Dob - they're some tough beasts and the big ones really grab an audience. (Which can be a bummer sometimes!) Anyway, hope that helps. Hopefully somebody else will come by and answer your questions in a better fashion!
 
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ianke

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Hi NEVERS,<br /><br />Thanks for the post. I am new to even considering a telescope. In fact, I didn't even know what a Dobsonian was until I looked it up recently.<br /><br />I am seriously considering getting into the hobby. Like a poster here said (I don't remember who)... "Getting photos on the web just isn't the same as the experience of looking through an eyepiece".<br /><br />I figure that at my age I get maybe one chance at buying an instrument so I want to get it right the first time. I think that ease of use, at first, and upgrade ability are the key. So you would recomend the Dob then?<br /><br />Ianke<br /><br />edit for clarity:<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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I'll repeat advice given again and again.<br /><br />Find a local astronomy club that will let you "test drive" some scopes.<br /><br />Hang around on an observing night and watch them set up their scopes. If it takes 2 hours to set up, how often are you going to use it? (figure another hour to break it down.)<br /><br />I can set my dob out on the lawn (3 minutes) and as soon as it cools down, I can use it. Might take an hour or so on a hot day, but I don't have to spend that time fiddling with it. I can go eat dinner, check out the weather on the computer, organize my plan for the night. With a scope that takes an hour to set up, all that time gets added somewhere else.<br /><br />For photography, figure not only the set up time, but a few months to learn how to take good pictures. Finding out how accuaretely your scope tracks, tweaking it.<br /><br />This is a full time commitment, are you sure you're ready without even trying it once? I wouldn't be <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Another scope might take a half hour to set up and align, or even an hour.<br /><br />What is the view/effort tradeoff, compared to the amount of time available in YOUR life? Until you see that in action, you are speculating with a big chunk of Bucks and time.<br /><br />Just some more perspective to throw in your pot <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Meteor Wayne (who doesn't use his scope that often, since he's a meteor guy. 5 minute setup, and 15 minute "eye" cooldown (dark adaptation <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> ) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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houtex73

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I do thank yall for all of your insight. It is helping alot. So here is a scenario. You find 800-1200 dollars in your mail box and it says here is your free money, and you must buy a telescope and accesories. Knowing 1st of all you want to look at deep space objects (galaxies, nebulas, etc. 1st, and then planets and moons 2nd). How would you spend the money and why that certain brand you would buy?
 
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houtex73

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"You must be rollin' in the dough! I'd stay away from them unless you are really, really, really, really, really, super really, absolutely, positively, really sure about spending ALOT of time looking thru them."<br /><br /><br />That was just a scenerio, first one that came to mind after hours of reading LOL....dont think i will own one of those for quite sometime. Cant believe and EP cost more then some pretty decent scopes
 
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MeteorWayne

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Just let me reinforce what ce said so hopefully you will get it.<br />If you want to throw away a grand (burnin' a hole in your pocket?), go ahead, but we've tried to give you good advice; it almost seems like you don't want to take it.<br /><br />I sincerely hope you will, you've gotten a lot of good answers and insight.<br /><br />From ce <font color="orange"><br />" <b> Buying huge telescopes is a common mistake among beginners. They find them so cumbersome to set up and store that they wind up gathering dust in the garage, and the person's enthusiasm for astronomy dwindles. I made this mistake myself with my first telescope, so my advice is: be practical in your purchases and realistic in your expectations. </b> You can always buy bigger and better later, after you're convinced you love this hobby!" </font><br /><br />Wayne <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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houtex73

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<br />From Wayne:<br /><br />"Just let me reinforce what ce said so hopefully you will get it. <br />If you want to throw away a grand (burnin' a hole in your pocket?), go ahead, but we've tried to give you good advice; it almost seems like you don't want to take it."<br /><br /><br />I honestly dont know where you came up with that? I just asked a few questions, I never said anything about not listening to anyones oppionion. Why do you think i asked the hypothetical ??? It was so i would have a basis to start with. And thanks for everyone who has pointed me in the right direction. I do thank you.
 
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ianke

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Can someone give me some opinions on the differences between these 3 types of telescopes other than price?<br /><br />1.Maksutov <br /><br />2.Schmidt-Cassegrain<br /><br />3.Ritchey-Chretein <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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No problem, houtex73. Perhaps my impression was mistaken. I just wanted to reinforce that point. It's an important one.<br />A scope you seldom use is a terrible thing to waste <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />In any case, good luck, and let us know what you decide! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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ianke

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Thanks crazyeddie,<br /><br />Yes I did look up the different types on Google. My question was more oriented on the last paragraph(although I should have made that more clear). I am mostly interested in the preferences of those in the know like you as to which type seemed to work best for the amateur. <br /><br />As the expense is high, I just need to hear from people like you as to what to go for. Strangely I was particularly interested in the Celestron 9.25". Again thanks for your opinion on the issue as I find that looking at the adds can be missleading as to the value. I find discussing such instrument purchases with those who know is a much better guage of value. <br /><br />Ianke <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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ianke

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Add on:<br />I, like you, am also interested in the GO TO function when I make my purchase. I can do the finds myself, but it is a function that would seem to make the viewing time more productive. Perhaps to the point of making up for the temperature acclaimation time. <br /><br />This is a major jump for me as my last telescope was a 4.5" reflector, But I want to get the most out of a one time purchase as possible and These types seemed to offer what I was looking for. I think that you have confirmed my being correct in leaning towards the Celestron 9.25" over the other styles. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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ianke

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"which can be used comfortably seated.....I get tired of straining into contortions to use the refractor. "<br /><br /><br />You got it!<img src="/images/icons/cool.gif" /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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ianke

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How often do I have to collimate the SC? Will it be every time I move it, or are they rugged enough to travel well? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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houtex73

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i know i know i know....another question from Houtex. Ok I am done with appature "fever". I realize i need to go moderate and not big (right away). So I have narrowed it down to a few scopes, and wanted to get some feed back, i may get two if it is feasible.<br /><br />1. SkyQuest XT8 Classic - a good reflector, everyone seems to point this way with a dob. It looks like a good scope and my question is how hard or easy is it to collimate?<br /><br />2. AstroViewâ„¢ 120ST EQ Refractor <br />3. SkyView Pro 120 EQ Refractor <br /><br />both good scopes, from what i read. Now I am at a cross roads, and i just dont want to "buy" one to have one. Are the 2nd and 3rd scopes good for beginners as well? I know the mount for the dob is more intro friendly while the eq mounts can take a bit to learn (or am i wrong about eq mounts). I am pretty good with the nekkid eye and point to where most things are (not all). I do know how to use a sextent as we had to use them in the military, and celestial navigation. I will never get lost (woo hoo). THank you for all the help yall have offered. I hope this will be the last question until i buy my scope and then the questions will come about accessory peices LOL....
 
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ianke

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This might be a stupid question, but are all 2" eye pieces from other manufacturers interchangable? In other words, can you use any brand of eyepiece on any scope? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes all 2" are interchangeable. *<br />All 1.25" are interchangeable *<br />There are even adapters between 1.25 and 2.<br /><br />* This is subject to possible limitations in focusing range.<br />With certain lens/scope combinations you may not be able to reach a focus point. Not being a scope expert, I don't reacll the details. Hopefully ce or another scope expert can clarify my recollection. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Thanx eddie, I knew you'd come to my rescue. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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