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Supernewby looking for scope advise

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#1 Scout92

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:14 AM

I'm looking for a starter scope in the 200 dollar range. Any suggestion? Refractor? Reflector?

#2 CosmoSat

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:50 AM

There are a few live threads discussing the same topic...look them up..u will get some idea..

Some of the things being advised..

See if u get one in the used market.
Go for a reflector.. preferably a Dob atleast 4.5 inch.
Avoid the bird-jones design scopes.
If u can double up ur budget...u get a very decent scope for the money.


Clear Skies!

#3 Scout92

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:56 AM

Thanks!

#4 panhard

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:23 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights. :band: :band: :band: :band: :grouphug: :bounce: :tomatodance: :tomatodance: :elephdance: :hamsterdance:
Here is a link for you to follow. Planets and the moon are easy to find. Warning don't look at the Sun with your telescope when you get it. Ask questions here first. Here is the link. link

#5 newtoskies

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

Welcome to CN

As was said, many threads here asking the same question. Take a look at the Orion website, they have sales going on all the time.They have quite a few beginner scopes on sale. For a bit more you can get the 6" dob which is a very good starter. That is what I have, and started with. It really got me hooked. Other than the 6" for a decent scope you will have to go a bit higher. The Nexstar 102 can be had for $200 from Costco.

#6 Ed Whitney

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:44 PM

Hi Scout92, Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

Your first scope is Very Important for a lot of reasons, the first being it will be the one that makes or breaks your desire to stay with astronomy. The second is, if you get a reasonably -good- scope then you will naturally become attached to it to the point you will never want to sell it.

Well, first off, you might want to contact Orion and have them send you their new Xmas catalog. Orders over $100 ship free. Orion is a good company with excellent reputation on returns, etc.

But, now, as your first scope, like some others have already mentioned, you should "probably" look into the dobsonian type. It does give the biggest bang for the buck.
And, don't let the fear of collimating it turn you off to it either. You will have to learn this aspect, but it's easy and fun after you do it a couple times.

Other scope types need a separate mount, usually. Long refractors of F/8 or higher need a solid mount that weights at least -twice- what the scope weights.

If you're looking for a simple grab-n-go scope then a short focal length refractor might be nice too. But, be advised, if you get a "complete set up" like a refractor and mount for $200 or so, the mount will be less than adaquate, usually. The Orion CG-4 GEM mount or AT Voyager Alt-Az mount is perhaps the bare minimum for any small refractor, Mak, SCT, etc. The beauty part about "dobs" is they have their own Alt-Az mount and is always very stabil, when compared to tripod mounts.

And it should be said that there isn't "one" scope type that can do it all. But, the dob comes closest to it thou.

FWIW, if I had to start all over again, would get an XT8 or XT10 classic or Intelliscope in a heart beat. :)

Lastly, when in doubt, don't hesitate to post your concerns right here!

Good Luck, Happy Holidays!

#7 kfiscus

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:26 PM

Is this scope primarily for yourself or are you buying for someone for Christmas? If you have the time, inclination, and patience with us and our advice, we can get you a great 1st scope and a great start in this super hobby.

#8 Dennis_S253

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:03 PM

I just wanted to say welcome to CN. I'd recommend a 6" (150mm) to start with. But, I had a 4" SCT for years and seen plenty. Still have it and probably will never sell it.

#9 DavidC

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:07 PM

To start out with I would recommend at least a 6 inch reflector, AND a good pair of binoculars. It really would benefit you to learn the night skies at the beginning. As you get more experienced, you can save your $$$$ and get a larger telescope, like an 8 inch or maybee even a 10 inch. Have fun, that's what this hobby is all about.
David

#10 Tony Flanders

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:30 AM

I'm looking for a starter scope in the 200 dollar range. Any suggestion? Refractor? Reflector?


$200 is cutting things pretty tight. There are some good options in that price range, but you will have to make some painful compromises. Your options would expand hugely if you raised the limit to $300, and at $400 you're in the big times.

You might want to look at my article What to Know before You Buy.

Tony Flanders
Associate Editor, Sky & Telescope

#11 Scout92

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:38 AM

Yes I was sencing 200 was tight. I decided to go with a 4.5 Newtonian for now but am saving up for an Orion 8in dob I got interested in the field by researching them and I just love the look. I figure the 4.5 can go into the car for those chance times to view on the road. I am going to try my hand at building a 6in f/17 rerfactor since I came across the lens on accident so that will add to the bunch. Thanks for all the tips and welcomes. Clear skies!

#12 Scout92

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:45 AM

Tony, great artical thanks for the link. My scope gets here Saturday cannot wait! Hope the rain lets up :bawling:

#13 CosmoSat

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

Whats the stated focal length of the 4.5" newt u r looking at?
Hope its not a bird-jones.. go for the 900mm one.

Clear Skies!

#14 Doc Willie

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:01 PM

On that budget, I would probably recommend not buying a scope. For that amount of money you could get a good pair of binoculars 10 x 50 that you will use the rest of your life, regardless of what scope(s) you eventually own. And you will have enough money left over to by the Pocket Sky Atlas and Touring the Universe through Binoculars and a membership in your local astronomy club, plus a red flashlight. THAT will get you a much more serious start in astronomy than any $200 telescope.

#15 Scout92

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:05 PM

It is a Zhumell Eclipse 4.5 f/8.8 with motor drive. What is a bird jones design? Did I just buy one? Is that bad??

#16 Mike4242

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:20 PM

It looks like that is a Bird-Jones design. The design allows for a longer focal length in a shorter tube by using a barlow lens in the focuser. Typically the barlow lens used to achieve the longer focal length is not the best quality. I don't have any direct experience with one -- only going off what I've read.

#17 CosmoSat

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:25 PM

As a matter of fact...u ordered just that... The bird jones is a variation of the newtonian where a short focal length spherical mirror is used and and corrector lens is placed in the focuser to get rid of the spherical abberation and effectively increase its focal length. Tho the ordinary lenses used in these scopes add to some chromatic abberation. Try calling them and see if they agree to change the product for ur order.. The Meade 114EQ-AR Equatorial Reflector Telescope would be a better deal...or save some more and get the Zhumell Z8 Deluxe Dobsonian which is a great value for money for its size build quality and the supplied accessories.

Clear Skies!

#18 Scout92

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

Its already been shipped :foreheadslap: Ill still be able to get some use out of it right? I am setting aside some money for the dob, should get it in a couple months. You recommend the Zhunell X8 over Orion equivilent?

#19 CosmoSat

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

If this is ur first scope...u sure will enjoy the views...the ring around saturn, bands and satellites of jupiter...clusters of stars...some nebula..u will enjoy the views...infact u might not notice the abberations at all.. I hve used the meade equivalent of this scope for outreach and the ppl used to be very happy with what they saw..being their first time..

btw see if they hve a return or exchange policy or something..

As for the dob...the Zhumell(or Apertura) anytime over the orion...just compare the accessories they both ship with...

Clear Skies!

#20 Scout92

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

Well I got it from telescope.com and they have good return policies from what I have read. I picked Fha scope because of the eyepiece bundle deal. Was not sure who was the best to choose from and it had good reviews. Yeah this is my first scope you are probably right that I may not notice the issues. Thanks for the advise about the robs. Clear Skies!

#21 Scout92

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:48 PM


As for the dob...the Zhumell(or Apertura) anytime over the orion...just compare the accessories they both ship with...


Just looked at the Apertura...very nice looking scope I will keep it in mind.

#22 Tony Flanders

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

Its already been shipped :foreheadslap: Ill still be able to get some use out of it right?


Absolutely! People badmouth the Bird-Jones design, but it's perfectly useable. The biggest problem is that it performs like a long-focus scope in terms of narrow field of view, but performs like a short-focus scope in terms of difficult collimation.

You're unlikely to be able to collimate it within the tolerances that an experienced observer would find acceptable. But if you've never owned a scope before, the images will boggle your mind. You will still see the bands on Jupiter as well as its moons, and our own Moon will look magnificent beyond belief.

Remember, this scope is 100 times better than the one that Galileo made. And just look what he did with that!

#23 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:17 PM

The reason to pick the Orion dobs over the zhummel/apertura/astro-tech is for the Intelliscope or "Go To" versions of the Orion. If your comparing the XT classics to those GSO clones above, the Orion Xt classics are not as good a deal.

I wish we had a few good head to head articles between the GSO dobs and all the Orion lines. It'd be interesting to see some details on mirror quality, mechanics, etc.

#24 orion61

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:57 AM

You can usually find a used Celestron NexStar 4GT computerised scope for that much, I just looked over on EbAy
and there are some prime examples! they have thousands of items in their data base and the scope is Go-To
Push a button and the scope finds the object for you.
It is a Maksutov Cassagrain optical design and Celestron usually has outstanding optics, so things like Jupiters Belts, its Moons casting a shadow as they pass in front of the Planet,Great Red Spot, Saturns rings, Mars Polar caps, and thousands of Lunar Craters, along with the changing Phazes of Venus, Many galaxys and Nebula can be seen with it as well.
As you grow in the Hobby and want a bigger scope this will still be usefull as a Grab and Go scope. plus they are very good for Land Based Nature viewing, you can shut the tracking motors off and use the hand Controller to point at Birds and other Views!!!

#25 Meadeball

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:04 AM

Yes, the Zhumell Eclipse is the barlow design ... according to the owner reviews there's a lens at the bottom of the eyepiece drawtube (and on at least one occasion it has fallen off and damaged the mirror). One other weird little feature -- the user is required to use a screw-on extension tube between the eyepiece and focuser (Zhumell calls it an eyepiece adapter or an eyepiece extender depending on where you look in the manual). You can see it here.

I'd personally recommend Celestron's 102 GT from Costco if there are any left. I've had one for more than a year and it's my only scope at this time, and I'm no newbie -- been into the hobby for 37 years and on more of a budget than some of the other guys here. It has a few forgivable (and correctable) faults -- no scope is perfect -- but it's a steal for $199. Plus, you'll get Goto, more clear aperture than the reflector, and no collimation hassles.

Question: Can scopes like the Zhumell be accurately called Newtonian Reflectors? It would seem that the insertion of a lens in the optical path would make a unique enough difference to call for a change in design nomenclature. (I mean hey, insert a lens in an SCT's light path and you've got a Mak-Cass.) Maybe these things should be called Mak-Newts.

Meade






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