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Which telescope?

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bbrock

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Good Choice. When you get the telescope and Starry Night software, use the program to locate any object in the sky. Then step outside and look at the same spot. Then use the telescope on the same spot, starting with the lowest power eye piece. Locate your target first, then go to higher magnification. <br /><br />If you do this, you will quickly learn the night sky, and where many interesting objects are. Remember also, galaxies will not look the same as with timed exposure photography in magazines. <br /><br />Clear Skies<br />Bill
 
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frostbrewed

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<font color="yellow"> Starry Night software, use the program to locate any object in the sky.</font><br /><br />Assuming you are running WindowsXP or MacOS10.3 or higher. <br />If you have an earlier version of windows 95/98/98SE/ME/2000 you can download a TON of software that will help you. Just google up "astronomy software" and choose the programmes you think will be helpful. OR buy yourself a fresh copy of almost any distro of Linux *(if you are moderately computer friendly)* that comes bundled with an Excellent astronomy package.<br />"aLinux 12.5 (formerly Peanut)" is a good starter if you are new to Linux. It's a complete OS that looks ALOT like Xp-professional but is much more powerful and flexible. You can run it right along side your current operating system since it will automatically partition your HD for you and will not touch anything on your computer except "free space" <br />The CD costs 5 bucks!!!! If 5 bucks is to high for you, you can download the 750 MB for free. <br />SUSE Linux($15.00) also comes with the astronomy package and an endless amount of web browsers, one of which I am posting to you from right now. <br />Just a thought <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Frost
 
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scopenoob

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lol I'm already doing that and I didn't even order yet<br />lol I use lol too much
 
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jbenfield

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Along the same lines....<br /><br />My son has just started to show an interest in astronomy that I'd like to develop. My wife also has a casual interest, so if I can hook her as well, even better. (much more freedom in spending money if it's for "family time" <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />So...I want to get an inexpensive scope that's going to help develop that sense of wonder and excitement while minimizing the complication and cost.<br /><br />I had thought about picking up a used Astroscan and some decent eyepieces for casual realtime sightseeing. (the wide field and decent light gathering seemed like a good way to go....plus I lusted after these things 25 years ago and couldn't afford one.)<br /><br />I'd also considered a factory refurb Meade GOTO/tracking scope to see if I could capture some decent images. (are cheap trackers any good for astrophotography or are they just fancy toys?) The one that got my attention was the DS-2130AT, but the consensus doesn't seem to be that great. I thought that Meade made decent scopes?<br /><br />I had also tossed around the idea of a larger dob, but was concerned about keeping an object in FOV while rotating my wife and son in to look.<br /><br />I'm limited by moderate light polution (I'm in central NJ) and I'm really looking for a decent "throwaway" that can can be used locally to get everyone motivated. My intent is then to justify dragging them out to dark fields and shelling out for a decent scope if the interest is there. <br /><br />I'm terribly afraid of buying a piece of totally useless crap that will put everyone off astronomy forever. I'm equally concerned about buying a better piece of kit that ends up overcomplicating the experience. <br /><br />What would you recommend?
 
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jbenfield

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Thanks for your response CE. It's funny that you mention the Orion XT-6. The XT-6 and XT-8 were high on my list until I started thinking about what sort of damage I'd cause dragging them around. I had also looked at a used Celestron C-10 that was going for a song on eBay. Now I wish that I'd just bought the darned thing when I had the chance.<br /><br />I guess that I may have been a bit misleading in my question. My wife and son have *never* looked through a telescope in their lives. I used to have a crappy department store scope when I was a kid and I've used a friend's 12" Dob with his guidance. Unfortunately, it doesn't give me a lot of insight into the middle of the spectrum. <br /><br />What I'm really looking for is the cheapest/easiest scope that will get me a "Wow...this is cool...we should do more of this" from my wife and something that will spark the imagination and excitement of a 5 year old kid. I really do intend it to be somewhat of a throwaway (or more appropriately, an eBay resale). But to get over the initial "hump" it has to be something small and cheap. If it's a hassle to get outside and setup, it's not going to get used. If it's too expensive, I may not live long enough to use it <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />If I can get past the hump, the next step would be a *significantly* more expensive Schmidt-Cassegrain or some other compact design. I realize that they're not the best bang for the buck, but I know that my family has a lousy track record with anything that tends to be a hassle. I'd rather spend more for less scope and have it used than have a less expensive, but superior 5+foot tube that came out once a year. <br /><br />The Astroscans are going for ~$100 on eBay and the loaded DS-2130AT is $169 at the Meade Factory Outlet. Both are normally ~$400. At that price, it seemed like a good cheap way to get my foot in the door. But from your comments, I'm probably better off putting the money into trips to the planetarium until we're
 
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chaslittell

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No, don't go down the dreaded 'some other time' direction. Delay is the surest form of denial! (Don't believe me? I'll explain in a minute.) XT-4.5's are 36 inches 17 pounds under $200 new maybe cheaper on eBay. A cheapie Moon filter and a cheapie 2x barlow to give the max gee-wiz magnification views ($30? on eBay), and you will be set for a long time. It would be a throw-away that you could, if you wish, sell, even scratched paint and all. The family would love it. Just don't let it out in the sunshine without adult supervision, avoid the smell of burning optics and potential hospital bills. If my dad had bought one like that instead if the Sears white baseball bat we had, I would have it yet.
 
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jbenfield

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You've hit the nail on the head....that "baseball bat" is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. I remember being really excited about my first telescope and then becoming rapidly disillusioned. (Hey...I can't see ANYTHING that's on this box unless I point the scope *at* the box <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> )<br /><br />I got bit by the bug again when I got a chance to look through my friend's scope...but was put off by the high-priced (and what to me seemed like poor quality) scopes that I saw in the mall science stores. I was really close to buying a $800 scope then (now going for about $350) and I'm still relatively glad that I didn't. <br /><br />Now, a few years later, the quality seems better and a guy I work with got me going again with his Celestron 9 1/4" Nexstar. That and the enthusiam that my son is showing for stargazing on the back deck is really making me feel like the time is near.... I just really am in analysis paralysis. <br /><br />You guys definitely have me thinking in the right direction though and you're certainly helping me feel like buying *something* is the right thing to do. I hadn't looked at the XT 4.5s, but that might be a good starter.<br /><br />I'll definitely let you know.<br /><br />Thanks!
 
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tplank

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I just wanted to take a second to thank the many people here who have taken the time to help us newbies with the basic questions. My Orion XT6 is on its way and I feel very good about the choice.<br /><br />The downside is that once Christmas arrives, I'll be back with lots more questions. But I've learned a lot just reading here. Thanks a million. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>The Disenfranchised Curmudgeon</p><p>http://tonyplank.blogspot.com/ </p> </div>
 
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tplank

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Thanks for the links. I had a couple of them already, but the news ones have already been profitable. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>The Disenfranchised Curmudgeon</p><p>http://tonyplank.blogspot.com/ </p> </div>
 
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