Looking to buy your first telescope? Part 1

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mytheory

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Hello a quick question about buying a telescope. Should I bother going out and buying a 4" 120 mag. telescope if I want to see mars tonite? What would I see and how much would it cost me roughly? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <span style="font-weight:bold" class="Apple-style-span">@LEX</span> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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No.<br /><br />Any telescope listed by its magnification <b>will</b> be a disappointment and poorly spent money.<br /><br />Have a look here: http://www.telescopes.com<br /><br />What kind of budget are you looking at? <br /><br />Mars will still be there tomorrow night, pending anything super cataclysmic <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this is a substantial purchase and putting some planning into it will make the difference between throwing your hands up in disgust and walking away from the obsession - errr - hobby the first night, or having a new lifelong appreciation for astronomy.<br /><br />That's my advice, anyway. <img src="/images/icons/smile.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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killer09

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Ok so, I've read through many of the posts on this thread and among the great tips and advice, I have noticed that the experts are suggesting the Orion telescopes. <br />I've searched online and can't find alot of comparisions between the telescopes available as far as quality vs. price vs. features vs. included accessories etc. I'm getting a pair of 15x70 binoculars for Christmas, which I can't wait to start using. But I've also started looking at telescopes for a future purchase. <br />While there is no immediate plan to buy one (even within the next couple months) I'm currently looking at a 10" Dobsonian and have narrowed it to the Orion (based on the numerous suggestions from this thread) and the Zhumell 10". Based on what's been said, the best value for what is included with the different telescopes (the Zhumell advertises a built in cooling fan) and the price (Zhumell is $170.00 cheaper), I'm leaning towards the Zhumell. (Neither are the GoTo models)<br /><br />So now I'm wondering if the Zhumell is not very high qaulity which is why the experts on here are suggesting the Orion, or (lol) is it because Orion advertises on Space.com. <br /><br />This is definitely not a knock to any of the individuals that have answered questions on this site. As I said, I've read through many of the posts on here, and the specific individual insights and tips have been invaluable. My question is what do our experts think of the other types of telescope manufacturers? I know some of it is personal preference, but I was wondering if there was more objective information regarding the differences between the Zhumell and the Orion (Skyquest).<br /><br />Thanks to everyone for the advice.
 
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adrenalynn

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I have purchased and returned a handful of Zhumell scopes. Apparently there are a few people with decent ones. I've had zero luck (and been out a lot of shipping dollars) with the Zhumell.<br /><br />The Orions have better quality focusers. Better quality "bearings". Better quality mounts. They are just a better overall scope BEFORE we even talk optics. <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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killer09

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Thanks for the great advice. How important then, is the built in cooling fan with the Zhumell? Does it heat up while it's being used? Does it need to cool down for awhile before using and the fan speeds it up that much faster? I mean is that fan a good value?<br />I've also read reviews about the Zhumell manufacturing problems and have seen people make "minor" changes like using lock screws or washers. Is that a pain to do?<br />Adrenalynn, you had also mentioned optics. Have you noticed an actual notable difference between the two manufacturers. Because when it comes down to it, I think optics are the most important. I'll sacrifice maneuverability if I get a fantastic view, you know?<br /><br />Thanks again.
 
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adrenalynn

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Optics are a big part, certainly.<br /><br />The fan is intended to cool the large mirror down to ambient temperature. Once you start observing, the fan should ideally be switched off.<br /><br />If the mirror temp doesn't match the outside temp (ie. reach equalibrium) then the air in the tube will create a minature "weather system". The air will swirl and create unsteady images.<br /><br />Zhumell isn't doing anything that any serious "light bucket) owner hasn't done themselves with a $6 computer case fan for _ever_...<br /><br />Don't downplay the value of a stable mount that's moved easily and smoothly but that requires intentional action to manipulate.<br /><br />You could have the best optics in the world and they'd appear to be junk if the tube so much as vibrates from the flap of a butterflies wings, especially for high-power planetary work. Any vibration is being magnified hundreds if not thousands of times. The mount *must* be rock-solid stable or it's garbage. I can't stress that enough. I'd buy lower quality optics and a higher quality mount any day, but fortunately, Orion seems to have largely addressed that.<br /><br />My experiences with the Zhumell (several, but probably all built on the same line the same day since they were ordered for inventory by the store at the same time) were not favorable with their optics. I found the images (using top-quality Televue Nagler eyepieces that cost nearly as much as the scope) to lack edge sharpness much sooner than the Orion. (Orion uses US-Made Pyrex glass for their mirrors [for the IntelliScope, not sure on the "classic"].) There was definite ghosting out at the edges on the best of the Zhumell's that I tried to like that left much to be desired. (Both scopes laser collimated). I found it was a lot harder to get the Zhumell to collimate, and once it was, it wouldn't hold it for a full session for me (probably the reason you reference lock screws). The focuser, compared to Orion's 2" Crawford focuser (that is <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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killer09

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Well gosh, I'd have to say that's pretty darn thorough! LOL....Though I know you are sold on the Orion, the reasons you give as comparison between the two, sounds very informed and since you've used both, that's what I was really looking for as there is not a lot of comparsions between models out there. I would definitely agree about the mount with you and it's stability. I guess I was thinking more of, as an example if I had a 50 lb telescope and a 70 lb that was the same type (features and such) but it had better optics, I would make the effort to lug the thing around so I could see what I wanted to see. That's the whole point of the scope to me....but like you said it's more than just the picture itself, it's the stability too.<br /><br />Thanks for all the advice, it sounds like I'm now leaning back towards the Orion, and with good reason. I will definitely have a look at the Discovery models too and even the Celestrons. It's not an immediate purchase but one I would like to gather as much info on before shelling out that kind of money.<br /><br />Thanks all.
 
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adrenalynn

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Absolutely agreed. And you should get other opinions besides mine too. I know I read *everything* and consult everyone I can before I shell out the money, generally.<br /><br />Good luck, clear skies (it'll rain for a week after you buy a new scope, that's just the way it works <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />), and let us all know when you make your decision and pick a new 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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pirated

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Anyone have any experiences (good/bad) with a Meade 10" LXD75 Schmidt-Newtonian?<br /><br />I use to have an older Meade DS-10 Newtonian but I bought it used and the primary mirror needed recoating, i ended up selling it. <br /><img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>Peace. </p><p><font color="#33cccc">-------------------------------------------------------------------</font> <strong><font color="#993300">I'm a Rock!</font></strong></p><p><font color="#33cccc">Little Johnny was a scientist. Little Johnny is no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.</font></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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I've never been a big fan of Meade's middle-end optics. I'd rather have a 9.25" Celestron.<br /><br />I started a discussion over at another forum regarding the LXD75 mount vs the Celestron C5-GT mount for astrophotography. No clear winner there. The C5 is arguably more stable, but the LXD75 has PEC (periodic error correction). Otherwise, they're pretty even.<br /><br />I'm sorta contemplating putting my Nexstar tubes on the LXD75 mounts, since they're ~$150 less expensive and have PEC.<br /><br />The high-end Meade "r" series (The Ritchey/Cretian type) scopes are very good. But very very expensive. <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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pirated

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yeah i read a few reviews about the lxd75, and they were talking about how the 10" was reaching limit of the mount and they were having issues with the scope being stable.. (as in every time they focused they would have to wait for scope to stop shaking).<br />but that review was like three years old.<br />i also read somewhere that Meade had addressed this issue since then. but i'm not sure about that.<br />the only trouble i've read about the optics was from someone who didn't let the optics cool down, so the image was on the blurry side. he was trying astrophotography. <br />everyone else seemed to like the optics alot. (at least for the money)<br />i really like the features, focal length, looks, and size of the scope. (my other 10" was huge and a bear to lug around) and @ under 15 hundred, it's right around the most i'd want to spend on a scope at this point. <br /><br />happy new year everybody.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>Peace. </p><p><font color="#33cccc">-------------------------------------------------------------------</font> <strong><font color="#993300">I'm a Rock!</font></strong></p><p><font color="#33cccc">Little Johnny was a scientist. Little Johnny is no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.</font></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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Personally, I'd go to a couple star parties and check out both the Celestron 8" and the Meade 10". I think you'll find with even a couple inches difference that the Celestron will resolve much more sharply than the Meade for about the same money. The 9.25 is probably out of your budget.<br /><br />Meade addressed the issues to some extent by going from a 1.75" diameter leg to a 2" like the Celestron. But the XLT optics still decimate Meades offerings. <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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pirated

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didn't i read somewhere that you were thinking about getting an lxd75 in one of your posts a couple of weeks back? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>Peace. </p><p><font color="#33cccc">-------------------------------------------------------------------</font> <strong><font color="#993300">I'm a Rock!</font></strong></p><p><font color="#33cccc">Little Johnny was a scientist. Little Johnny is no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.</font></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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Just the mount, not the OTA (optical tube assembly). Honestly, I wouldn't own a Meade unless it was an RCX. I put them in the same department as a Zhumell. "Maybe you'll get lucky". I've never had anything but excellent luck with Celestron, so if I'm shopping the "big name" scopes, it's Celestron or nothing. (The Orion XLT SC's are Celestron optics, btw) <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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pirated

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o.k., and that's mostly because of the poc feature, right?<br />hmm. you might have something there.<br /><br />wonder how much it costs just for the mounting system. and what kind of warranty there would be on the mount only.<br /><br />gonna have to do some research. i kinda like the idea of that. <br />building my own custom ota....<br />aaar, good excuse to get one of those Crayford focusers with motorized unit on it. }:^} <br /><br />aye.. definitely goona have to do some research.<br /><br />thanks for the idea. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>Peace. </p><p><font color="#33cccc">-------------------------------------------------------------------</font> <strong><font color="#993300">I'm a Rock!</font></strong></p><p><font color="#33cccc">Little Johnny was a scientist. Little Johnny is no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.</font></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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"PEC" - Periodic Error Correction.<br /><br />The LXD75 Goto GEM is about $600 street. The C5-GT Goto GEM is about $700 street. There's pros and cons to each. I'm just not certain which way I'm leaning yet.<br /><br />Either way, rather than build my own (been there, done that), I'll hang one of my Celestron OTAs on that mount. Probably the smallest. The difference betwixt 5" and 10" isn't enough for imaging to counter the additional vibration and load, IMHO. I'd rather have a super solid, super well balanced 5" than a shakey 10" where long exposure DSO photography is concerned. For visual, if my sky was really dark, I'd rather have the aperture. <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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freezian

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I would love to buy one. I had looked through a friends one and saw "Saturn",amazing, but it really hurt my eyes? Anyone else with this problem? What would be the best one to get for home use unless you can afford a Observatory? LOL.
 
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adrenalynn

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Can you be more specific about "hurt your eyes"? <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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Really. Saturn is not that bright no matter how big or small the scope is.<br /><br />Now a Full Moon, that can hurt your eyes, and ruin your night vision for a week <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <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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adrenalynn

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That's why I'm wondering about the more clearly defined story. Hurt as in bright? Hurt as in eye-strain? Hurt as in it fell on him? [;)]<br /><br />Any of those are fixable. . . <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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keykeep

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Hello!<br />I got a telescope as a late christmas presant now newly, its a Star-watcher skyhawk.<br />I've had a little bad luck with fog, pollution and such, but when I eventually moved it to where I live, on the country-side with clean and innocent night-air <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> I'm pretty happy with it, I mean I don't know what to expect. I presume it take a little training to navigate the EQ1 mount and such. <br /><br />Anyway, I like it, nice for a starter. But I'm wondering if I really want to have "mind-blowing" views of nebulas and so forth, is it the wrong telescope or do I just need to get some proper lenses? I'm currently using the 10mm super, 25mm (or 24...eh) and occasionally the additonal 2x Barlow lense. I'm uncertain about the correct terms, everything is in Norwegian.<br /><br />I probably should buy that shiny book everyone is pestering me to buy.. *DIY person*<br /><br />Anyway, Thanks on advance.<br />Ef.
 
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darkhelmet01

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<p>ok i have decided to buy a telescope and get more into astronomy. i have read lots of articles on what i should look for in a telescope and such, i have also looked at a lot of websites offering various telescopes, i have narrowed it down to these telescopes.....</p><p>Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic</p><p>and </p><p>Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic</p><p>i have two questions: how much better is the 8 inch telescope than the 6 inch in one? is it worth the extra hundred bucks? the 6 inch telescope is rated as a beginner scope, the 8 inch as intermediate. i would rather have a telescope i would grow into rather than one i would out grow. so my second question is:&nbsp; is the rating defined by how much it costs or is the 8 inch telecope harder to use than the 6 inch?</p><p>thanks</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>ok i have decided to buy a telescope and get more into astronomy. i have read lots of articles on what i should look for in a telescope and such, i have also looked at a lot of websites offering various telescopes, i have narrowed it down to these telescopes.....Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classicand Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classici have two questions: how much better is the 8 inch telescope than the 6 inch in one? is it worth the extra hundred bucks? the 6 inch telescope is rated as a beginner scope, the 8 inch as intermediate. i would rather have a telescope i would grow into rather than one i would out grow. so my second question is:&nbsp; is the rating defined by how much it costs or is the 8 inch telecope harder to use than the 6 inch?thanks&nbsp; <br />Posted by darkhelmet01</DIV></p><p>As far as ease of use, the two scope would be about the same.</p><p>If you have the $100 to spare, I'd say probably go with the 8 inch.</p><p>Please wait for some more astute scope people respond before taking my advice though, as I'm a meteor guy, not a scope expert.</p><p><br /><br />&nbsp;</p> <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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TahaSiddiqui

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<p>Hi, i'm interested in a few telescopes and im hoping that someone can determine which is better. My price range is under 350, although I could push it up a bit if it makes a difference. I am interested in the&nbsp;Celestron Nexstar 114 SLT (with the goto thing)&nbsp;for $369, Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ for $259, Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ for $269, and Sky-Watcher 5.1 w/ 2x barlow and moonfilter&nbsp;for $289 (all of these are reflectors btw). There are a few Orion telescopes, however I can't find any shops which sell those around Mississauga or Toronto, Ontario. I have 1 more question too, in the description of the 114 SLT it says you will be able to see Messier objects such as the Great Orion neb. and stuff, but in the 114 EQ astromaster it says more light gathering for nebula's (but for every Astromaster series,&nbsp;regardless of price or size, it was sayin more light gathering ability for nebula's).</p><p>Suggestions please :)</p>
 
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