How To Looking to buy your first telescope? Read This!

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3488

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GalaxyFunGirl":1iz1eqbp said:
...Thank you for the informative thread, I plan on buying a new telescope by the end of the year........I will probably purchase it from Orion Telescope Company........
Wise choice.

A word of warning to potenmtial telescope buyers who do not have deep pockets.

Many stores may sell cheap, substandard telescopes which can seriously disappoint a budding Astronomer & put them off observing. Here in the UK some years ago, a certain catalogue store that is to be seen in practically every British town centre (my home town has two of them), sold a cheap budget telescope that on the packaging boasted, that you could 'observe Jupiter's moons one with volcanoes erupting, referring to Io) & that you could see stars with planets around them & that many wonders of the Universe were visible as galaxies sped away from each other. I demanded to see the instruction booklet & it was full of Voyager spacecraft & Hubble Space Telescope images, insinuating that with the telescope that is what you would see. There was never any mention that these were NASA images.

I was one person who complained about the false advertising & presentation of this telescope & indeed many astronomers & science proffessionals took the store to court under the trade descriptions act (I provided some evidence concerning the booklet that came with it) & we won. The product was withdrawn & could only be sold if it was presented as the useless piece of cheap tat that it was. A £20 telescope surpassing Hubble. It was a scam.

So please be very careful about choosing equipment. With Orion Optics, there will be no issues though, as they produce outstanding equipment & they never make false claims.

Andrew Brown.
 
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rekk1986

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My daughter had a Telescope when she was 15 years olds, last Christ but now my wife thinks that it is not good. She is passionate so that she always wants to use it all night. Please help me?
 
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Caley

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rekk1986, I think it is wonderful that your daughter loves the hobby so much. You didn't mention what telescope she started with, so it would be difficult for anyone to recommend something to upgrade to, without that knowledge.
I've been looking to get back into viewing after some 30 years away. I am pretty much sold on the Dobsonians, though don't wish to expend a whole lot of money. After quite a long period, my mind is pretty much settled on a Starblast 6. It won't pick out a lot of stuff, but is enough to keep you busy searching the sky, and will do well if you can get to a dark viewing site. Caley, also a woman addicted to the wonders out there.
 
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Fallingstar1971

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My very first telescope was a 2.5" reflector (little plastic thing). Not much at all. But I was able to see the phases of Venus. I was 9 years old at the time. Im 38 now.

Years later after drooling over many scopes, I purchased a Celestron 4.5" Reflector. Was a wonderful scope but it was incorrectly cleaned and all my optics got trashed. Needless to say I was not pleased, but the perpetrator was only trying to help, Oh well, lesson learned.

Just this last Christmas my son got a "department store" refractor from some friends. The mount is very shaky, last night the sky was crystal clear, but of course its wintertime where I live and all the distortions (heat especially) causes the image to waver, plus if you breath on the scope the image wavers, walk by, heck, I bet tidal forces from pluto are causing the thing to waver.

SO.......Two days ago I got my tax return and was talking to my wife about some activities we could do with our son, and I looked over at his telescope, spun around in my chair and ordered THIS:

http://www.telescope.com/control/produc ... t_id=08943

I considered the intelliscope for its ease of use, however, I can read a star map and pick out the constellations with ease. I can located the more common objects, like the ring nebula for example. I agonized for hours on deciding between the 6inch dob intelliscope or the 8" dob without the intelliscope option. I decided on the 8 simple because I can teach him what I know and at the same time he will need to learn his way around a star map anyway if hes going to get serious with astronomy.

I live directly across the street from a cemetery in a small town, If you can get over the creepiness of all the dead people its actually quite dark. I plan on getting a radio flyer wagon later on today(God I feel old) because there is a small field and a park within walking distance, and the scope weighs in at about 40 lbs. I used to cart my celestron around town in the same way, those wagons are quite convenient and it saves on gas.

So now we have an activity that we can all take part in AND I figure as he gets older, if he gets serious about astronomy, the 8 inch would be a good stepping stone to the more expensive scopes.

AND if he decides to go back to his guitar, well, my wife and I will have activity in any event.

In any event, it should be here in about a week. Once I try it out I will come back and give a review.

Star
 
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serosang

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any suggestions for me i'm looking into geting my first telescope (22years old) ? i have about a $235 limit
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes, the first suggestion is to read this topic discussion. $240 is a pretty tight budget, so I'd suggest you take your time and read it carefully. It is worth the effort.
 
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serosang

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MeteorWayne":2am5tlqb said:
Yes, the first suggestion is to read this topic discussion. $240 is a pretty tight budget, so I'd suggest you take your time and read it carefully. It is worth the effort.
i saw on another site it said not to buy one from a department store why's that?
 
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MasterComposter

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serosang":2j1w864e said:
MeteorWayne":2j1w864e said:
Yes, the first suggestion is to read this topic discussion. $240 is a pretty tight budget, so I'd suggest you take your time and read it carefully. It is worth the effort.
i saw on another site it said not to buy one from a department store why's that?
Most department store scopes in the price range you are talking about are junk. The advertising on the box is extremely misleading --- you won't see anything like the pictures they show. Often the mount is so wobbly that it becomes extremely frustrating --- every small movement you make sets the image shaking, and focusing is nearly impossible.

Personally, I recommend to people that they visit an astronomy club, or go to a star party and try out a few different kinds of scopes before laying down any money, if possible.

The other thing I HIGHLY recommend is just getting a good pair of binoculars and a star chart, kick back on a patio lounge chair or a blanket on the ground with a pillow under your head, and see if you even like looking up at the sky as much as you think you do. It's a great way to start, it doesn't cost much, you will see a lot more than you think you will with just binoculars --- and if it turns out you don't like astronomy all that much, at least you will have a good set of binoculars for watching birds or hot chicks on the beach.

Almost all astronomers use binoculars as well as their telescopes, or even MORE than their telescopes, so it's not like you would be getting something you wouldn't use later.

Good binoculars for astronomy have big front lenses and not a lot of magnification. For example, 7x50's are great --- 7x magnification is low enough you won't wobble while holding them, and 50mm objective lenses bring in a lot of light for bright views. You can definitely get an excellent pair of quality fully multi-coated 7x50 binoculars for less than $240 that would be great for getting started with astronomy and would be good for the rest of your life. But if you spend $240 on a telescope, you might not be quite as happy, and there is a good chance it will be junk and very disappointing. If I had a choice between quailty binoculars and a junk telescope for the same budget, I'd get the binoculars.

Probably the very best option would be to borrow a pair of 7x50 binoculars ...

The basic rule of thumb is that good astronomy binoculars have about a 7mm exit pupil. Calculate it by dividing the last number by the first. 7x50's have an exit pupil of 50/7=7.1. You could try 6x42, or 9x63. But don't try something with high magnification or small front lenses --- don't try 8x25 or 10x30.

Good luck.
 
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jessysmithpoo

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a great one indeed! thanks for sharing!

/*Spam Link Removed, Spammer Banned*/
 
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Johnlitz3

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I am new in this hobby and I must say using Binoculars can be fun. I will be purchasing a telescope in the near future and I am so thankful to have read this thread. Thanks guys for making it an easier task of picking one out.
 
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Neptune3263

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I just got my telescope a few weeks ago, and was outside looking at Jupiter and 3 of its moons, and the moon. I love watching the stars, and the planets, plust the constellation Pisces was also out tonight and that was really cool! :)
 
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warpfactor999

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Hi... I was just wondering about my second scope. I no longer have my first...homebuilt Edmund mirror 6" reflector.

I was wondering about the Celestron Advanced Series C6-RGT....6" refractor. Comes with pro mount w/computer finder database for about $1,100.00 USD.

Any opinions.....or...feedback??...Find it on Celestron's website. Thanks
 
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molecsur

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Hello all, I have an unusual situation. I joined a group of folks that have just formed a non-profit and one of the things we will be doing is an Astronomy Club. They elected me leader of this club and I'm shopping for a telescope. Good advise here. The purpose of the club is to do public outreach to kids and adults to show them the wonders of the universe. The money is coming from several individuals who will donate the cash to the non-profit to buy the scope. None have experience with astronomy but they are smart and the enthusiasm is good. So the plan is to buy it early next year and we all learn before hosting star parties. We're in western Oregon so it won't be easy to find clear nights.

I'm looking at the Orion Dobsonian 8 inch goto model. We have several able-bodied guys to lug it around and set it up. We should be able to do planets and faint fuzzies with it, right?

So what's my question? Lenses and astrophotography and wheelchair access. One of the founders of the non-profit is in a wheelchair. But the idea is to do the observations via laptop when he is with us. Is this a good scope for putting a camera on and sending to a laptop? What lenses should we get for when not hooked up to the laptop? The budget isn't unlimited but we want to get the right stuff for whatever we get.

Thanks a lot.
 
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adrenalynn

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Welcome to SDC!

Web cameras just don't have the sensitivity for realtime observation. At best that's the realm of expensive astrophotography cameras. And the speed of the dob doesn't lend itself well to that. When you see shots from a webcam, they're imaged over the course of minutes, hours, even days, then the frames are "stacked". Blended together so that the photons that hit the camera become additive.

It's really just not practical in the consumer space to be doing live video.

You'd likely be better served with a large set of binoculars and a binocular specific tripod which will easily put the binoculars in reach of a wheelchair.
 
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molecsur

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Thanks!

I've already told him that binocs are the way to go. I'm actually thinking that multiple good scopes and binocs will serve us better than one super scope. We have time to think this through.

I get what you are saying but my job is to present alternatives and costs.

The wheelchair guy is a computer wizard. Are there advanced cameras or software that we can consider? I take it that as good as Orion is, this is too specialized for them. Even an option where the camera way outclasses the scope is something he would like to consider.
 
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adrenalynn

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Something like a FLI MaxCam (FLI = Finger Lakes Imaging), or Yankee Robotics. One of the larger SBIG. Something with at least a Kodak 3200 imager.

Entry-level should be around $6000-$6500 for the camera. Then figure in the focuser, filters, etc. If you shop used you should be able to get the camera with everything you need on it out the door for $7000. $12,000 new.

A guide camera will show you some imaging of bright objects in realtime for only a couple thousand, but you're not going to get anywhere close to the eyeball for that.

Long exposure or a lot of money or a lot of money AND a long exposure. :) Depends what you want to see.

Planetary imaging is a lot easier/cheaper than deep sky.

If I were going to invest in a FLI or Yankee or SBIG, I'd be looking at 14 inches at least to sit in front of it.
 
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molecsur

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adrenalynn":26t0hs4o said:
Something like a FLI MaxCam (FLI = Finger Lakes Imaging), or Yankee Robotics. One of the larger SBIG. Something with at least a Kodak 3200 imager.

Entry-level should be around $6000-$6500 for the camera. Then figure in the focuser, filters, etc. If you shop used you should be able to get the camera with everything you need on it out the door for $7000. $12,000 new.

A guide camera will show you some imaging of bright objects in realtime for only a couple thousand, but you're not going to get anywhere close to the eyeball for that.

Long exposure or a lot of money or a lot of money AND a long exposure. :) Depends what you want to see.

Planetary imaging is a lot easier/cheaper than deep sky.

If I were going to invest in a FLI or Yankee or SBIG, I'd be looking at 14 inches at least to sit in front of it.
Wow. OK I get it now. Holy cow. Wow. That is serious stuff! Thanks!

Returning to reality now . . . :)

So it looks like the Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imager III on the XT8g Go To Dobsonian would be a good choice, but we shouldn't expect much on the laptop when looking at deep space objects.
 
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adrenalynn

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Well, assuming you expose long enough, you'll get some great imagery. Except that the Dob isn't really suitable for long exposure work. The mount wasn't intended for that. Mounting the tube on something like an Atlas mount would give you the exposure times to get something worth looking at though!
 
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MeteorWayne

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To reinforce what adrenalynn said, the dob is a good way to get a big scope at a relatively small price. Great if you are going to look through the lens with your eye. But is not really suitable for astrophotography or long exposures with a CCD. For that you need some kind of tracking mount, the higher the quality the better.
 
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adrenalynn

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Agreed. The Atlas can handle the weight of a Dob's tube and still give you enough stability in no to low winds. But I'd probably go with a MakCass if I were going that route. The Dobs, being so inexpensive a design, don't offer the speed (optical term, not physical speed) to really be useful for photography/videography.

Orion sells the Atlas mount, and it's at the top of my current wish-list to replace my 8"inch'ers mount.

The upshot is, and I'm [hoping] MeteorWayne will agree with me - Astrophotography/Videography is a gold-card sport. It's never cheap and you're never done. And you can spend year after frustrating year dragging the finest images you can from a $1000 scope, and some noob with a $5000 scope comes along and embarrasses your best attempt.
 
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molecsur

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So the Go-To drive on Orion's Dob doesn't track well enough? The web page says it tracks but because it's new (?) I have to ask.

I'm guessing that while it tracks, it does it step-wise and not continuously and that's the problem?

Is this the Atlas mount you mean?

Thanks a lot for the help!
 
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adrenalynn

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Yup! That's the Atlas. After the new year I'm picking up a couple... Been on my list for several years, just never got around to it. GREAT mount!

The problem isn't that it doesn't track well enough (I don't know to be honest how accurate the tracking is long-term), the problem is HOW it tracks. For imaging you need an equatorial mount. Briefly - you point one axis at the north star and it doesn't move. The telescope is then tracking true celestial movement instead of both left/right/up/down (right ascension/declination). Moving in two axis simultaneous, as you get further from the north celestial pole the images will be blurred from the movement.

That's a moderately accurate summary. A much longer treatise could be presented. (ie. don't yell at me, it's simplified to one paragraph... ;) )
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes, that's basically it. With an equatorial mount, you point the axis at the north (or south) pole, then all you have to do is track along the one plane of movement. It's really a clock that rotates 360 degrees in 23 hr 56 min.

At the NJAA, we even have a mechanical system that was used before electricity made it up there (ahhhh, the darkness). It used a weight to drive a precise clock mechanism.

With an alitude/azimuth system (like a dob go to) it has to step up and down and sideways at the same time. While that system is used (for example in the NRAO current massive radiotelescope) unless you plan on spending a few hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars, the stepping causes the accuracy to suffer.

MW
 
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believer_since_1956

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MeteorWayne":3g7uxb23 said:
Yes, that's basically it. With an equatorial mount, you point the axis at the north (or south) pole, then all you have to do is track along the one plane of movement. It's really a clock that rotates 360 degrees in 23 hr 56 min.

At the NJAA, we even have a mechanical system that was used before electricity made it up there (ahhhh, the darkness). It used a weight to drive a precise clock mechanism.

With an alitude/azimuth system (like a dob go to) it has to step up and down and sideways at the same time. While that system is used (for example in the NRAO current massive radiotelescope) unless you plan on spending a few hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars, the stepping causes the accuracy to suffer.

MW
You should see the 16" Alvin Clark Refractory we have at Cincinnati Observatory it still uses a counter weight system. We keep it for the historical significance. Cast Iron pier anchored to the bead rock, not bad for an 1872 observatory still in use today.
http://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org
 
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