Looking to buy your first telescope? Part 1

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adrenalynn

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Saurc,<br /><br />A 10" Dob with a scratched mirror? [ouch - I don't know if I even wanna know how that happens. . .]<br /><br />If they're surface scratches, they can probably be polished out. If they're gouges, a new mirror would be the solution. But it's starting to sound like whacking something like an Orion XT 10 tube onto that mount would be the way to go. They're pretty darned reasonably priced for the performance they deliver. And if you want to play with "creating" your own motorized scope using peices-parts, certainly that pricetag is within reason. Do the encoders/steppers/controller work ok?<br /><br />Oh - have you tried collimating that scope? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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timejump

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what about this one: Orion StarBlast 4.5 EQ Reflector<br />is this one a good one for beginners or should i go for something else.
 
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tfwthom

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On the first page of this post I posted Budget Scopes.<br /><br />We have a man (Roy) from TN that shows up at the GCSP with one when he can't bring one of his main scopes. (Airtravel, etc) He uses his Televue eyepieces (Naglers and Panoptics) so the views are outstanding. We all laughed the first year that he set it up but after we all looked through it the laughing was over.<br /><br />If that's all you can get use a sturdy table and it will work better then some of them out there. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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shadow735

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Isnt there a way to make your own telescope that is just as good as the 54k scopes but cost under $500 in materials. I would assume the lenses would be the most expensive parts. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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No there's not.<br /><br />Big scopes collect more light due to their mirror size. (All large scopes are reflectors, using a mirror rather than a lens to focus the light, though the eyepiece is always a lens.)<br /><br />Big mirrors are hard to make.<br /><br />Even high quality small scopes, whether they are refractors (lens in front) or reflectors (mirror) are hard to make.<br /><br />Cheap stuff is easy, cheap, and low quality.<br /><br />To a certain extent, when it comes to the mirror and glass, you get what you pay for.<br /><br />Or, to do it less expensively, you can build your own, which allows you to control the quality.<br /><br />For a large scope, the Mirror, Optical Tube Assembly, and Mount are all the expensive parts <img src="/images/icons/smile.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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shadow735

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OMG, I just got my telescope catalog. I cant believe that for $500 bucks or around there you can get a telescope that can see so much. I am really amazed, now I am going to have to start saving for a kickin scope.. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Testing

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A Vision of TMT (1908)<br />"It is impossible to predict the dimensions that reflectors willultimately attain.Atmospheric disturbances, rather than mechanical or optical difficulties, seem most likely to stand in the way.But perhaps even these, by some process now unknown, may at last be swept aside.If so, the astronomer will secure results far surpassing his present expectations.“<br />-Hale, Study of Stellar Evolution, 1908 (p. 242) writing about the future of the 100 inch.<br />(quote provided by Richard Ellis)<br /><br />http://www.tmt.org/business/presentations/2-overview.pdf<br /><br />This could be a start, I considered the 12.5" myself.<br />http://search.bay.com/_W0QQsassZhubbleoptics<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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jasonpply

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what would you be able to see with a good set i am assuming not planets and maybe a little of the moons surface
 
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adrenalynn

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Welcome Jason!<br /><br />You would be able to see planetary discs, but unless they're a VERY good set, you don't have the magnification to see planetary details. Lunar? Sure. A decent set will get you quite a bit of detail.<br /><br />Deep sky objects - depends upon how dark your sky is and how big the binoculars are (light gathering). Many say that the absolute best way to see most of the Messier objects is with a good pair of binoculars. I certainly wouldn't deny it.<br /><br />Brighter comets, like the one we're all on about here (Holmes), look great in binoculars.<br /><br />Let me ask you this - what is it you WANT to do with a pair of binoculars or a telescope? A decent used telescope is getting so reasonable these days that it's not that tough a trade-off. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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jasonpply

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Well first ty for the welcome and i am very interested in getting a telescope but it seems that i dont know really where to look i try alot of places and have found a few but they seem like kids toys none of them give details on what it is they can do all the give is ratios ie; 1:125 or 25/50 and dont say if they are reflectors or refractors i hve been interested in the night sky for a long time and i can tell you where most of our constellations and planets are in our solar system without any aides what i would like to do is look for things like asteroids and galaxies and study more in depth our planets i know nothing you can buy would give images like the hubble but would prefer to se em first have for my self maybe even see things like the icecaps on mars or the rings of saturn i am working with a bit of a tight budget like 500 maybe somme ideas might help on where to get a second hand one i live in halifax nova scotia and work night shifts so have alot of time to look at the stars
 
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adrenalynn

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Totally unequivocally agreed.<br /><br />I used to live just a few miles from their retail storefront. I was a regular "just came in to hang out" kinda visitor.<br /><br />Their free catalog is totally drool-worthy. Although they don't do as much in the upper-end as I'd like these days.<br /><br />Absolutely everyone they hire is knowledgeable and friendly and concerned with getting you the right scope. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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Testing

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I will defer to Adrenalynn and others who have been in longer. Get comfy with the sky with binocs. Do go to a star party and look at the sky thru different scopes before you buy. You test drive a car, right. The view thru my 5" reflector is shamed by my friends 10". As are the amature pictures. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Testing

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By the way, the last two pics I sent you were thru a Celestron 130 relector. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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jasonpply

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my only problem with the Orion site is the credit card issue I am looking for something local to help me advance my search. binoculars dont show you planet surfaces, or in most cases theirs atmospheres the only slightly inhance what can be seen by the naked eye yes the moon looks a little cooler through em but I want to explore. I want to see the 6x the earth size storm on jupiter for myself not pics i want to see the crazy atmosphere surrounding venus and for some reason i dont think the walmart special or the sears phony will do that for me but maybe I am wrong maybe I am looking too big for what I want. I dont know...
 
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adrenalynn

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You could also try eBay. There have been some screaming deals on 'scopes recently. I scooped-up a couple that would probably have been outside of your budget...<br /><br />Something to remember: If your night under perfect skies with a very good scope, much of what you see in pictures will be out of your reach. Most photos (including the ones I post) are either very very long exposures and/or shorter exposures "stacked" together.<br /><br />A camera looking at an object for twenty minutes can gather a lot more light than your eye can every 1/30th of a second or so. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Good recommendation, my 8" Orion Dob has been busy since Comet Holmes appeared!!<br /><br />If the parental units balk at that level of spending, a 6" Dob isn't a bad compromise, but if you get it, you'll want more soon <img src="/images/icons/smile.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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jasonpply

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wow awesome feedback ty guys i have one more question for the moment. I know that most companies if buying will explain, but would kinda like to know now when talking about the difference between 6" and 8" up to a 10" is this the size of the top lense, mirrors, or something else? ty for the help thus far.
 
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jasonpply

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consider me uneducated in the way of the metric and standard measurements if i was to get an 8" aperature what would that be in millimeters I am canadian so I am certain thats how it would be explained ty again eddie you rock or should i say meteorite
 
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tfwthom

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Some equipment is in mm some in standard.<br /><br />8 inches equals 200mm<br /><br />4 inches equals 100mm<br /><br />12 inches equals 300mm<br /><br />I have an 8" LX90.....203mm mirror<br /><br />My TAK is an FS128 128mm or a 5" refractor<br /><br />My TV85 is 85mm or a 3.5 inch refractor<br /><br />You just ballbark mm to inches whatever works. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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don't forget that Google does math and conversions on the fly these days.<br /><br />Just type<br /><br />200mm to inches into google.<br />Or<br />8in to mm<br />Or 9 in to millimeters<br /><br />It's pretty smart. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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Don't get "aperture fever" either.<br /><br />If your skies aren't terribly dark, the amount of aperture that's useful is sorely limited.<br /><br />As 'Eddie notes, you want a scope that you're going to use. And that means light and easy to set-up. <br /><br />Although I can field a great big scope, my 5" is the one I use every day. It's one-hand-able (one for the scope, one for the tripod, accessories shoved in pockets, camera over my shoulder), and quick to set up (five minutes for visual, 15mins for photography). And it's the perfect amount of aperture for my light conditions here in the suburbs.<br /><br />Whatever your budget, make sure you leave a good chunk of it for accessories! Eyepieces, battery power, a red flashlight, etc. These things really improve the experience (and are basically requirements) and add-up fast.<br /><br />I'd rather have a small used refractor or very small (6") dob for ~$200 and still have $300 to put into accessories. The quality of your optics is even more important than the amount of aperture.<br /><br />http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds has a sale site for used scopes. Many in your price range. My advice is to avoid Zhumel. I've been lured into buying that name before and always always always regreted it. Also avoid anything listed as "Vintage" - unless you *really* know what you're doing.<br /><br />There's a Meade (not my favorite brand, but...) 90mm GoTo computerized refractor with the AutoStar hand controller up there that just listed. It'll go fast at $150 ask. I'm tempted. It'd make a great spotting scope for my big scope.<br /><br />A 4" Achromatic Refractor for $195, non-computerized/non-motorized.<br /><br />A Celestron 80mm GoTo for $179.<br /><br />In the reflectors - 6" dobs going for $150-250<br />A 10" Hardin for $500 ask.<br /><br />Some Orion 8" XT's in your price range.<br /><br />I suggest if you find a scope used that you're interested in, post it <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Especially mportant for meteor observers, but that's off topic <img src="/images/icons/smile.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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jasonpply

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hey me again wife i guess bought me a scope for our anniversaryi know it has a good name on it for binoculars it s a bushnell 420xpower reflector telescope<br />says it includes :<br />2.4x barlow lens <br />iterchageable eye piece 1 1/4" eyepiece in<br />25 mm 12.5mm 4mm<br />it has a lunar filter too <br />just wondering if someone might tell what the eyepieces do apparently it never came with instructions<br />and mybe what I could see in way of planets and others?<br />
 
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adrenalynn

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<br />Having "420x power" concerns me a bit. A quality telescope won't list that. Are you sure it's a "reflector" and not a "refractor"? Bushnell does make some reflectors, but they primarily sell refractors.<br /><br />What you need to know is what size the aperture is. How big around it is.<br /><br />As the numbers on the Eyepieces (aka "EP") go DOWN, the magnification goes UP. And the field of view (how much you can see) goes down as the magnification goes up.<br /><br />Every telescope has a theoretical limit to how much magnification can be used, based on its focal length and light gathering ability. <br /><br />The 2.4x Barlow is what's called a "doubler". It has optics in it that will multiply the magnification of each EP by 2.4x. <br /><br />As the magnification goes up, the amount of light gathered is also reduced. That's where having a larger aperture is everything.<br /><br />Having 1.25" EP and focuser on the scope is good. 1.25 and 2" are the standards.<br /><br />The 4mm lens is for planetary and lunar work. It's probably too much for that 'scope on the best of nights. On an average night without really dark skies and really bright objects, it's worthless. I can run a 4mm on my 5" scope looking at Mars, but the moment I put a planetary filter on, it's garbage. Or if the night is less than perfect (like tonight), it's just jittery junk. And that's with 5" of aperture, and really good optics and top quality eyepieces.<br /><br />The 25mm will be the EP you use most, I'd bet. The 12.5 and the 12.5 in the Barlow will probably be about the most magnification you can use realistically.<br /><br /><br />If you let us know the model on that scope, we can figure out the focal length, speed, and aperture - and then give you a more accurate rundown on it!<br /><br />Grats on your starter-scope! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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