Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5667070 - 02/07/13 01:14 PM

Quote:

The Dob will definitly be easier to view thru then a refractor, where they'll end up in some uncomfortable positions.




Why do you say that about refractors? I certainly wouldn't recommend a big refractor, but short refractors -- anything with a focal length less than about 500 mm -- are fantastically easy and comfortable to use. And I agree with whoever said that for kids in particular, the ability to use them on terrestrial subjects is a big plus. Though I've known plenty of kids who happily viewed things upside down in reflectors, too.

With something like the 80-mm Go Scope or the ubiquitous 80-mm f/5, you just have to accept that you're not going to use high magnification. In which case tracking (or the lack thereof) is a total non-issue.

That's just as well, because Go To scopes present a significant entry barrier. But Go To scopes are the easiest motorized scopes to use by a huge margin. The entry barrier posed by equatorial mounts is much, much higher.

35X may not sound like a lot to an experienced observer. But to somebody who's never been above 1X -- or even somebody who's used to 8X in binoculars -- 35X is totally mind-boggling. Especially on the Moon.

As others have said, the biggest argument against a Dob is its physical size. That can be an issue both practically and psychologically. On the other hand, Dobs are probably the easiest scopes of all to use. And obviously they will provide by far the most impressive views of any scopes mentioned so far in this thread.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Erik30
super member


Reged: 10/16/12

Loc: Cottage Grove, MN
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5667101 - 02/07/13 01:31 PM

Quote:

What a great thing, David

I'll also agree with Tony.

To sweeten the deal you have my permission to throw in a free membership to Cloudy Nights!




How about talking to your local Astronomy club to see if they will throw a free year membership in with the scope also?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jarrod
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/20/13

Loc: SE USA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5667119 - 02/07/13 01:42 PM

Regarding the many Dob recommendations in this thread:

I completely understand that this provides best view per dollar, and agree it is one of the best recommendations for someone who is already motivated. For example, to someone who comes to an astronomy forum and asks "what is the best beginner telescope?"

But that isn't the use case here. David is essentially asking multiple people to bid against each other to make an impulse buy. The manufacturers have already done the market research on impulse-buy scopes for you. How many times have you seen a Dob pop up in a Wal-Mart or Costco?? Exactly.

This is as much a marketing exercise as it is an astronomy one. The goal is to raise money for the school *and* give someone the opportunity to have a good first experience. Both considerations must be weighed equally. I think you are putting the first consideration at a disadvantage if you put a Dobsonian in a school auction. Its appeal will be limited primarily to people who already know what they are looking at, not the average parent.

And John's point about bedtimes and daytime use is very practical. Although this point is not likely to be obvious to the prospective buyer, it is still a good one. Also, he had great idea to put a book in the package. I recommend NightWatch by Dickinson. It's a terrific intro to all the main aspects of astronomy - I'm still getting through my copy and it's tremendous.

Edited by Jarrod (02/07/13 01:51 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: Erik30]
      #5667122 - 02/07/13 01:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What a great thing, David

I'll also agree with Tony.

To sweeten the deal you have my permission to throw in a free membership to Cloudy Nights!




How about talking to your local Astronomy club to see if they will throw a free year membership in with the scope also?




Now there is a FANTASTIC idea.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kenrenard
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5667155 - 02/07/13 02:01 PM

What do folks think of the Starblast 6 inch? I see that is just under $300 and pretty portable. Even kid height. Just curious!


Ken


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5667223 - 02/07/13 02:46 PM

Quote:

What do folks think of the Starblast 6 inch? I see that is just under $300 and pretty portable. Even kid height. Just curious!


Ken




Ken:

I am not a big fan of Table top mounts, they seem like they would be cool but a solid table that also allows one to view comfortably is represents an investment all by itself.

An 80mm F/6 or F/7 achromat on a reasonable alt-az mount is pretty sweet, it's got a wide enough field of view for terrestrial viewing and for finding one's away around the sky. It provides decent views of many easy objects. "It looks like a Telescope." John Kuroaka's 90mm Mak is nice and handy too, the field of view is pretty narrow which can be frustrating. In any case, the mount is at least as important as the scope.

It's a difficult problem. When I donate equipment, it's equipment I already own.

Jon


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: davidpitre]
      #5667245 - 02/07/13 02:56 PM

Nice idea.

I doubt anyone will bid the actual worth(price) of whatever you donate.

As great as Dobs are ,I think a refractor is more familiar to the public and likely to be accepted.

Like another poster I think a goto alt-az is great considering you are gooing to show the winner how to use it.

A 102GT ,like the Costco model, or the Meade Starnavigator is in your budget.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kenrenard
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5667268 - 02/07/13 03:08 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What do folks think of the Starblast 6 inch? I see that is just under $300 and pretty portable. Even kid height. Just curious!


Ken




Ken:

I am not a big fan of Table top mounts, they seem like they would be cool but a solid table that also allows one to view comfortably is represents an investment all by itself.

An 80mm F/6 or F/7 achromat on a reasonable alt-az mount is pretty sweet, it's got a wide enough field of view for terrestrial viewing and for finding one's away around the sky. It provides decent views of many easy objects. "It looks like a Telescope." John Kuroaka's 90mm Mak is nice and handy too, the field of view is pretty narrow which can be frustrating. In any case, the mount is at least as important as the scope.

It's a difficult problem. When I donate equipment, it's equipment I already own.

Jon




I understand. We have a Sky Scanner 100 for my daughter. It was a family starter scope which is now mounted to a wide book shelf type case. Its kid height. On occasion I mount it to my UA dwarf star and it works pretty good. I know Tony Flanders has mentioned in his articles about the 4.5 starblast which I believe he owns. I was curious if the 6 would be a good starter since it is not that much more than the 4.5 with some good light gathering power. I can see the benefit if someone is looking for a cheap scope to bring on a family trip and they want something like this. I see f/5 so it may have collimation challenges for a beginner?

I think the full size 6 inch is the way to go. But bringing something large on a family camping trip may be the difference between not bringing anything at all. So I see where the starblast is perfect in that respect.

Ken


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
davidpitre
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/05

Loc: Central Texas
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: BigC]
      #5667296 - 02/07/13 03:27 PM

Quote:



I doubt anyone will bid the actual worth(price) of whatever you donate.





I've done this before and gotten more than the true value.
I will be spending an long evening with the family out on my farm which sweetens the deal.
Agreed that a good book would be appropriate.
I'm leaning towards either an 8" simple dob or an ST80.
I'd agree more could be had used, but this needs to be new.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: davidpitre]
      #5667321 - 02/07/13 03:41 PM

An 8" Dob, Including Training on How to Use It?

That's priceless.........forget the SST80...If you're going to provide a night of training (and there's truely not much to train on for a dob, and once you show them collimation, it won't be the monster everyone makes it out to be; If you can walk and think at the same time, you can collimate a scope). The 8" with even a night of trainig will give them years of use, the ST80 will just wet their appitite and leave them wanting more.....


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5667341 - 02/07/13 03:51 PM

Quote:

What do folks think of the Starblast 6 inch? I see that is just under $300 and pretty portable. Even kid height.




The 6-inch Starblast is too low for anybody older than a toddler. On the other hand, it's a bit too high -- and probably too heavy -- to use on a standard folding table.

The 4-inch SkyScanner works great on a card table -- as well as mounting to a standard photo tripod. And the 4.5-inch StarBlast isn't so bad on a card table, either, as long as you don't want to use high power.

But the 6-inch StarBlast is enough of a scope so that it really seems to want a custom-built support. Either that or use it sitting on the ground.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kenrenard
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5667383 - 02/07/13 04:05 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What do folks think of the Starblast 6 inch? I see that is just under $300 and pretty portable. Even kid height.




The 6-inch Starblast is too low for anybody older than a toddler. On the other hand, it's a bit too high -- and probably too heavy -- to use on a standard folding table.

The 4-inch SkyScanner works great on a card table -- as well as mounting to a standard photo tripod. And the 4.5-inch StarBlast isn't so bad on a card table, either, as long as you don't want to use high power.

But the 6-inch StarBlast is enough of a scope so that it really seems to want a custom-built support. Either that or use it sitting on the ground.




With a Alt-Alz mount tripod could make a nice grab and go for someone not wanting a full size dob.

Thanks Tony


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Matt2893
super member


Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: ChicagoLand
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5667435 - 02/07/13 04:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What do folks think of the Starblast 6 inch? I see that is just under $300 and pretty portable. Even kid height.




The 6-inch Starblast is too low for anybody older than a toddler. On the other hand, it's a bit too high -- and probably too heavy -- to use on a standard folding table.

The 4-inch SkyScanner works great on a card table -- as well as mounting to a standard photo tripod. And the 4.5-inch StarBlast isn't so bad on a card table, either, as long as you don't want to use high power.

But the 6-inch StarBlast is enough of a scope so that it really seems to want a custom-built support. Either that or use it sitting on the ground.




I was seriously looking at the 6" StarBlast Intelliscope, but ended up getting the 6" Intelliscope Dob (XT6i). What sold me was the additional focal length, and not having to deal with the additional support issue. Unfortunately, I seem to have gotten one of the last XT6i in December under the 'build-a-scope' option as they don't offer it anymore.

Back on topic, it sounds like the school families in Central Texas have a better understanding and appreciation for astronomy than in my neck of the woods. Good luck with the auction, hope the school raises all the money it needs.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mman22
journeyman


Reged: 01/05/13

Loc: Western Montana, USA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5669459 - 02/08/13 05:22 PM

Although I am a beginner at astonomy, I have some experience with fundraisers including auctions. Here is my advice in that regard.
1. Define your main goal, are you wanting to raise the most money possible or help spark an interest in astronomy?
2. Know your audience. Are there some amateur astronomers among the parents (and possibly the faculty). If so, getting a scope that would spark their interest and be something that many wouldn't have would help raise interest.
3. Is this a silent auction, where people will write down bids or is it the more known English Auction (Ascending Price Auction) where people are openly bidding against one another. If you have the English auction with multiple people who have an interest, the price can go higher than the original cost. Otherwise, you probably won't get more than what you paid for it. If you have a silent auction where your scope will have its own spot for people to look at, place some literature (sales description, reviews and possibly some photos that are representative of the views possible) with it.
4.If your goal is wanting to get kids interested in astronomy, it might be nice to donate it to the science class. Either way, speaking with school's science
teacher(s) would probably help in determining what level of interest there would be.
Ultimately it's a great idea and a generous donation!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dpwoos
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/18/06

Loc: United States
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: mman22]
      #5669811 - 02/08/13 09:35 PM

In my experience, giving a scope to a science teacher/school is not a good idea. Unless a teacher already has a strong interest in doing observing the scope will end up in a closet, and if a teacher does have a strong interest they probably already have one. When folks ask me if they should donate a scope to a school, I always recommend that they provide something else that can be used during the school day, and leave the observing to us (the local club).

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
palmer570
super member
*****

Reged: 09/04/12

Loc: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5669893 - 02/08/13 10:23 PM

Would be nice if the auction was in the evening when its dark and you could set it up so they could take a look through it on their way into the auction.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
drbyyz
sage
**

Reged: 11/04/12

Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: palmer570]
      #5669934 - 02/08/13 10:58 PM

I have no personal experience with these scopes but maybe someone else can chime in...what about the Meade ETX series??

They are GoTo which could be a plus, don't require collimation, small and portable, and have decent optics from what I've heard. I think new they are probably right at the top of your budget, but possibly find a gently used one on here or elsewhere if you have time?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5670189 - 02/09/13 06:19 AM

Quote:

With a Alt-Alz mount tripod could make a nice grab and go for someone not wanting a full size dob.

Thanks Tony




A tripod capable of handling a 6 inch F/5 Starblast represents a significant investment and in the end will require more effort to setup than a full sized Dob.

Jon


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
davidpitre
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/05

Loc: Central Texas
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5670364 - 02/09/13 09:32 AM

Looking around, I don't see any 80mm refractors in the f/6 to f/8 range other than ED versions that are out of my budget. It also appears that most in this class are on EQ rather than Alt/Az mounts.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
davidpitre
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/05

Loc: Central Texas
Re: Best scope? Beginner family with unknown interest new [Re: davidpitre]
      #5670397 - 02/09/13 09:48 AM

What do ya'll think of the 90mm Celestron alt/az refractor paired with a "SkyScout" mounted to it?
I don't know anything about the SkyScout, but it might help with the complete novice family.
http://www.opticsplanet.com/celestron-skyscout-scope.html


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)


Extra information
8 registered and 36 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  WOBentley, kkokkolis 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 1558

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics