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Is what is in the box all we need to get started?

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#1 another lost one

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:24 PM

I am very lost, but thanks to your forum, I am learning a lot, and appreciate any guidance you can offer as to the telescope I've decided to buy, and what I need to complete the package. Here's a brief background:
After years of watching my husband stumble into patio furniture while holding an iPad over his head to match Stellarium to the sky, I decided that maybe I would surprise him with a telescope this Christmas. As part of my research, I have been scouring the beginner forum here – it has been really useful and has helped me make a decision about what to buy him.
We live city-near, and I really wanted the 10 inch Dobson, that is until I saw the specs. Unless it doubles as a sleeper sofa or can be used as a spare closet, we don't have enough room (an no, we can't afford a telescope AND a bigger house – maybe in a few years). Also, I wanted something a little more portable for occasional, impromptu drives to the country, not to mention those times when he goes to take the garbage out and I find him half an hour later, standing at the curb, mesmerized by the stars - I think I could handle carrying telescope/tripod out to him, but I can't see myself wrestling the mini-Hubble out to the street without breaking something.
Anyway, I have kind of decided on getting the Celestron Omni XLT 150 (unless someone has a better suggestion in the $550 price range). Here is what is "in the box" from B&H. My question is, do I need anything more to get started than what is included? Weather permitting, it would be fun to use it Christmas night.

Celestron Omni XLT 150 5.9"/150mm Reflector Telescope Kit
• 25mm (30x) Eyepiece (1.25")
• 6x30mm Erect Image Finderscope
• Dovetail Mounting Plate
• Tripod with Accessory Tray
• 4 lb Counterweight
• 7 lb Counterweight
• 2-Year Warranty
Included Free
• Meade - Series 4000 Super Plossl 20mm Eyepiece (1.25")
Thanks again for any advice, and thanks also for the entertaining and informative forums.
Deanne

#2 Mark9473

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:34 PM

Welcome to the forum. The 25mm eyepiece provides 30x magnification as you wrote, and the extra 20 mm eyepiece will give you 37.5x. It appears you'll be missing higher magnifications which come in useful for looking at the Moon and planets (and a heap of other things). A 3x or 4x barlow lens would do the trick, or else invest in a few eyepieces giving you, say, 90x and 140x magnification.

BTW, you sound (a bit) as if you wouldn't mind spending a bit higher for something that is much less cumbersome and takes up virtually no space. Consider getting him a Canon image-stabilized binocular, specifically the 12x36 would be a great buy. Just the thing for somebody that likes to walk outside and look up at the stars.

#3 JLovell

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:38 PM

An 8" Dob is quite a bit easier to carry around than the 10, and standing straight up on the base it doesn't take up much room at all, and fits in the back seat of most cars. However...

I don't know much about that particular scope, but it seems to me you'd need either a more powerful eyepiece (lower mm, maybe around 10mm) and/or a barlow. The 20 isn't that much more powerful than the 25.

#4 howard929

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:42 PM

Hello and Welcome aboard.

I think you're overestimating the space that a 8" dob would take up. Aimed straight up when not in use, think of it as a loss of a 2 foot circle sitting on the floor somewhere. In my home, it's a fine addition to our living room.

EDIT to add: AND if you do go the 8 or 10 inch dob route, a nice 2x barlow and maybe 1 or 2 eyepieces would be nice to add in.

#5 Maverick199

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:42 PM

That is indeed sweet of you and shows how much you care for your loved one's. The Omni 150 is a decent scope and your husband will surely love to have that. Only problem I foresee is, instead of half an hour out, he may spend hours, but you too can enjoy this together and be mesmerized with the views of Planets, Moon and Deep space.

#6 csrlice12

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

You will need a diagonal (I believe the scope comes with a 1.25" diagonal; you may want to upgrade eventually to a 2" diagonal if you plan on buying any 2" eyepieces in ghe future. Also, if he plans on using the degree circles included on the mount, you will need a polar alignment scope (I believe it uses the same CG4 mount as my 102XLT) which runs about $45-50. Also, down the road, he may wish to install motor drives (at least RA) for tracking. That is a nice scope and does have room for growth. As it is also a longer focal length, it will be pretty easy on eyepieces. Especially if you add motor drives for tracking, you can easily use GSO or cloned plossels. Also, down the road, if you add motors, you will need a 12v power source (i.e. Celestron Powertank).

As far as space goes; if you break down the tripod/mount/scope it can store fairly out of the way, fully assembled, it's gonna take up space (even more space then an 8 or 10" Dob.) Truthfully, a dob will take up less floor space then an assembled scope on a tripod, and the CG4 with scope, does take up about twice the floor space as the dob would. Mostly depends on how up he is to breaking it down for storage since space is limited.

OOOPS!, sorry, thought you meant the refractor, not the reflector....you won't need a diagonal...but the polar scope and space issues are still the same....

#7 CosmoSat

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:54 PM

Yes, a dob is much more easier to setup and use than the EQ mounted scopes and in the 8"-10" sizes takes about 2square feet of space in the house. I would recommend any of these dobs from GSO. Apertura Dobsonian Telescopesor the Zhumell Dobsonian Telescopes

Clear Skies!

#8 Mark9473

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

You will need a diagonal (I believe the scope comes with a 1.25" diagonal; you may want to upgrade eventually to a 2" diagonal if you plan on buying any 2" eyepieces in ghe future.

It's a reflector; why would he need a diagonal?

#9 btb

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:04 PM

Deanne, to answer your question and not give you any of my personal opinions, YES you will be able to get started with the items in the box. At a later
date you can start upgrading the equipment if desired.

#10 csrlice12

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:09 PM

You will need a diagonal (I believe the scope comes with a 1.25" diagonal; you may want to upgrade eventually to a 2" diagonal if you plan on buying any 2" eyepieces in ghe future.

It's a reflector; why would he need a diagonal?


Yea, caught that after I wrote it; thought he was getting the refractor. Nope, he won't need a diagonal, but the space/storage/polar scope issues still are valid. Thanks!

#11 MikeBOKC

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:43 PM

Only thing I would recommend is a 2x Barlow. From there let him learn the mount and scops and see what he wants next. Finally I would find a local astronomy club and include in the package a prepaid one year membership for both of you. It would be a good source of local expertise and fellowship.

#12 Paco_Grande

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:44 PM

..

Celestron Omni XLT 150 5.9"/150mm Reflector Telescope Kit
.


If size, portability, and storage is a concern, I'd recommend you see that telescope package before buying. It doesn't really fit any of those criteria in a positive sense. I think you'll find it's more of a handful to move and setup than a DOB.

Consider this:

http://www.optcorp.c...?pid=1086-13719

It's less expensive, far more portable, easier to handle, easier to use, and will offer fine views for years.

#13 Tony Flanders

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

If you haven't already purchased this telescope, I agree with others that a 10-inch Dob would be equally portable, and an 8- or 6-inch Dob would be considerably more portable. A 6-inch equatorial-mounted reflector is big, heavy telescope -- make no mistake.

As for storage, it all depends on the details. When fully disassembled, a 6-inch GEM-mounted reflector can be stored on one large shelf or two medium shelves plus any odd closet corner for the tripod. On the other hand, Dobs are usually stored in their working position, in which case they take up only the "footprint" of their bases -- a few square feet. Mine is a piece of decorative furniture in my dining room. It would also fit easily in many closets.

But in answer to your primary question, the scope is definitely useable right out of the box. You would probably want to buy a couple of extra eyepieces pretty soon -- but that's true of any telescope. And they don't have to cost a lot.

#14 frito

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:39 PM

I'll echo everyone else's advice. a 6" Newt on a EQ mount is much harder to setup and store than a 6" to 10" Dob if weight is a major concern get a 6" dob and use the rest of the money on accessories. the great thing about telescope accessories is that many are not scope model specific and can and will be used on other scopes down the road if you get another one.

#15 CosmoSat

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:46 PM

The reason the 8" dob is the most recommended scope...decent aperture, size and weight manageability, relatively slower f/ratio, collimation tolerances and use of inexpensive simple design eyepieces among other things..compared to the larger f/5 scopes.

Clear Skies!

#16 frito

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:47 PM

oh and the binocular's and a tripod is also a very good route. quite a few members of our club, even one who has an 18" UC Obsession dob often only come out to party's with a pair a bino's and a simple tripod and have a good time.

#17 GeneT

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:42 PM

I agree that an 8 inch Dob might be good for your situation. You could also look at an 8 inch SCT. I bought my grandchildren 8 inch Celestron NexStars and they sit nicely in the family room.
https://www.astronom...scopes_c11.aspx

#18 panhard

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:42 PM

I am happy to see that someone actually figured out that we where chatting to a Lady not a man. It pays to read the whole thread. The big clue was in the original post.
I will cast a vote for a dob. Cosmo Sat has made some decent points. :bow:

#19 another lost one

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

You guys are incredible! And you are swaying me toward the dob. When I get private browsing time, I will read all these posts more thoroughly (I've been at work). I just wanted to pop in quickly while I had a minute and say thank you for taking the time to help me. I feel better already.
Deanne

#20 rdandrea

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:25 PM

Actually, all you need to get started is a night sky and a neck that cranes upward. The folks who tell you that you need an 8" dob are on their own.

#21 newtoskies

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

I must agree that the 6 or preferably the 8" dob would do best. I have the 6 and it takes up very little space, much less than I thought it would. The 6-8 Dob can be carried with one hand, like a long suitcase.
Besides the scope, a 2xBarlow. I mainly use my 25mm and the 2x when viewing. Also a stool/chair for viewing. I would also recommend a good book, Turn left at Orion, for those nights when it's cloudy ( which will be the first night he has the scope- new scope curse you know )so he can learn about scopes and the stars.

Great that you have been on CN getting yourself informed, and that you are getting that lucky man a scope. Be sure to have him join us here once he has the scope.

#22 frito

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:39 AM

the XT6 you're right you can carry with one hand fairly easily. the XT8, not so much. its much more top heavy than the 6, remember i've owned both. the larger focuser and secondary mirror make it fairly dangerous to carry one handled the top end tends to dive tword the ground. i find that i carry it either by the tube base hanging off it or with two hands one on handle and one on the side of the base to keep it up-right. the second method has more control to it but does not get through doors as well because your carrying at an angle rather than straight up. if either was too hard for someone due to size and/or weight carrying it wherever in two pieces is very easy just watch out for those darned spring rope loops they love to get caught in the wrong places!

#23 PencilCricket

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:23 AM

Uh-oh, I feel Like I'm about to confuse you after all that "get the dob" advice. I've got a 6" reflector that's virtually identical to the Celestron XLT150 you've looked at apart from the mine having a slightly inferior mount. I've had it nine years and I'm very happy with it so I'd definitely recommend it, with one qualification:

Your husband has to be able and willing to spend time setting up the equatorial mount, and unless you've got a particular spot where you can place the tripod in the exactly the same orientation every time he uses it he'll have to do this every time. It's not too hard, and if your husband is good at/enjoys fiddly things then that's great, if he's mechanically challenged you're probably better off spending the money on a larger dobsonian.

Assuming you get the XLT150, then echoing what others have said I would suggest this telescope needs at the very least a 10mm eyepiece which will give a nice view of the whole disc of the moon, and a 2x barlow lens will also come in handy to give nice views of Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. A cheshire collimator, or a laser collimator, will be needed at some point to keep the telescope's optics aligned. A slight luxury in the "nice to have" category would be a motor for the R/A axis, but you can get this at a later date.

Accessories not directly related to the telescope I would suggest include warm clothes/gloves/hat/boots, some red film to adapt a torch (for protecting night vision), and a planisphere.

#24 star drop

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:51 AM

That is indeed sweet of you and shows how much you care for your loved one's. The Omni 150 is a decent scope and your husband will surely love to have that. Only problem I foresee is, instead of half an hour out, he may spend hours, but you too can enjoy this together and be mesmerized with the views of Planets, Moon and Deep space.

Hi Deanne and welcome to Cloudy Nights. Do you already own binoculars? If so suggest that your husband look at the night sky with them. You already have a lot of suggestions but I will add one more. Look on the internet for an astronomy club near you. That way you and your husband can meet other amateurs and get an idea of the type of telescope that best suits your needs. However it probably won't help for obtaining a Christmas present this year.
:scratchhead: As far as the half hour out while taking out the garbage goes you will now have to generate enough garbage to last several hours. :rolling:

#25 another lost one

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:29 AM

I think I have a lot of stuff to think about...this is overwhelming, and I am so glad I asked for help. I spent some time reading last night, and am adding this (below) to my "possibility" list, mostly because of the price, which I know, shouldn't be the decision maker in a case like this, but hey, we might be diving off a fiscal cliff soon...
Anyway, if anyone has experience about this one, I'd appreciate hearing it.
Zhumell Z10 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
Thanks again...this is really educational. Now I must log out and go to work:(






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