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)
cliffy54
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/14/10

Loc: ma
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: gosox2525]
      #5529448 - 11/20/12 06:35 AM

Out of the three I would agree with KWB the Orion 70mm if you are dead set against a dob. If your not dead set against a dob checkout Orion's clearance center they have an XT 4.5 inch dob for less than $200.00. Anyway good luck with your purchase.

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

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: gosox2525]
      #5529500 - 11/20/12 07:20 AM

Quote:

would you recommend the Orion SpaceProbe 3
Link

the Orion Observer 70mm
Link

or the Celestron AstroMaster 114
Link

All of these are under $200, which is my budget. I live very near chicago, and on the clearest nights see around magnitude 3 or 4 stars. Which telescope do you think would be the best? I do want to view the moon and planets but also am interested in the Pleiades, and other DSO's. Thanks so much!




Personally, I think that in this price class it makes a lot more sense to buy a telescope on an alt-az mount than an equatorial mount. I have reviewed the alt-az version of the Space Probe 3, and think that it's a superb choice for the money.

However, 3 inches is still 3 inches. You would get much better views from a bigger scope.

As for portability -- the alt-az Space Probe is far more portable than a 6-inch Dob. You can pick it up easily in one hand, and it fits handily in a small corner of a car trunk.

On the other hand, it's not clear that this matters. A 6-inch Dob is still very easy to carry in one trip, and fits handily into any normal car, unless you also need to carry several passengers plus extra luggage.

As for views, the difference between 3 and 6 inches is staggering.


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

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: gosox2525]
      #5529512 - 11/20/12 07:26 AM

Quote:

Yea I'm in an Astronomy class and i can navigate the sky pretty well, and could easily line up to Polaris. I prefer and EQ




I like both EQ mounts and alt-az mounts. Each has its advantages, and they have very different feels.

However, EQ mounts only work well when they're made well. I would be very leery of any EQ mount costing less than $100 for the mount alone. If you're going to get an EQ-mounted telescope, get a good one.


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

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: howard929]
      #5529577 - 11/20/12 08:25 AM

While I'm also a fan of the 6" Dob, they don't come much more portable and easy to use. That being said, you are leaning towards refractors. If you have a Costco around, they have a Celestron 90mm 1000mm f/l on an EQ2 mount for $199. This is on-line only and not in the store. In the store, they have the Nexstar 102GT for $199. This is a 4" f9.8 acromat refractor. Because of its length, "coloring" will be mininimal. This is on a somewhat shakey GoTo mount/tripod (the scope OTA is pretty good though). (Warning: The 4" scope requires you use the motor drives, it is not a manual scope).

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


Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: ChicagoLand
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: gosox2525]
      #5529636 - 11/20/12 09:12 AM

Quote:

Yea I'm in an Astronomy class and i can navigate the sky pretty well, and could easily line up to Polaris. I prefer and EQ



Which one would your professor suggest? Maybe see if you can get this to be a class participation discussion?
The group here on CN is pretty dob-centric, for good reasons, but it sounds like you've done some research and have your reasons for these three choices. Between the SpaceProbe 3 and the 70mm Refractor, I'd pick the refractor. They have similar aperture and focal length, but with a refractor you don't have to worry about collimation. The Celestron has greater aperture and focal length, so on paper it should be better. But, an adaquate refractor is nice to have, and aside from it's length, it and it's tripod can fold up into a pretty tidy bundle for storage and transport.


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

Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28° N, 81° W
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5529727 - 11/20/12 10:08 AM

For looking at a planet or the Moon you want power, not light gathering ability. The planets are plenty bright. To get power you want a long focal length.

With power comes a small field of view and the planet passes through the eyepiece quickly. Then you need to reposition the telescope to get the planet back to the other side of the eyepiece. With Alt-Az you have to unlock the alt, move the alt, lock the alt, unlock the az, move the az, lock the az. Any time you lock alt or az the scope tends to move and then you have to start over. With the alt-az you spend most of your time pointing the telescope and very little time looking through it. With the eq mount you only have to turn one knob to put the planet on the other side of the eyepiece. This benefit (of the eq over the alt-az) would be minimized if the alt-az scope had slow motion controls.

Watch this video from 1:25 to 6:00 to see what I'm talking about.


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

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5529745 - 11/20/12 10:17 AM

Quote:

Between the SpaceProbe 3 and the 70mm Refractor, I'd pick the refractor. They have similar aperture and focal length, but with a refractor you don't have to worry about collimation.




Actually, a 76-mm f/9 reflector doesn't really need collimation. Rule of thumb is that if the mirrors are aligned well enough so that you can see both of them through the focuser, the collimation is good enough.

However, the 70-mm refractor certainly does deliver better images. Not by a huge margin, mind you; they're both fine scopes. But you can see the difference.

On the other hand, the refractor tube is more prone to vibration. The reflector's tube, being much wider, is also much stiffer.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Meadeball
sage


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5529815 - 11/20/12 10:54 AM

I see a lot of tugging and pulling going on here. How about a tradeoff -- a little bit better aperture but still a refractor, and GOTO as well, for $200? Costco has sold these for the past two Christmas seasons for $199.95. I think they're all sold out now, but you can still find new-in-box ones on ebay. It's a good scope for a beginner or as a grab-and-go for people who've been in the hobby for 30 years like me. Check it out:

Celestron Nexstar 102 GT

Meade


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

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5529833 - 11/20/12 11:00 AM

Quote:


For looking at a planet or the Moon you want power, not light gathering ability. The planets are plenty bright. To get power you want a long focal length.

With power comes a small field of view and the planet passes through the eyepiece quickly. Then you need to reposition the telescope to get the planet back to the other side of the eyepiece. With Alt-Az you have to unlock the alt, move the alt, lock the alt, unlock the az, move the az, lock the az. Any time you lock alt or az the scope tends to move and then you have to start over.




A few thoughts:

- It is true that one wants to use higher magnifications when viewing the moon and the planets. But the appropriate magnification is does not depend on the focal length but rather the aperture of the telescope, for planetary viewing, the resolution and the contrast depend on both the quality and the aperture of the telescope, larger apertures provide better views of the planets.

- Image brightness is also important. At low magnifications, the image of Jupiter, Saturn, or the moon can be quite bright but as you increase the magnification, the image quickly dims, the image at 200x is 1/16th as bright as it is at 50x. A larger scope provides brighter images that at higher magnifications allow the eye to see more.

- Regarding alt-az mounts, tracking with a properly setup alt-az mount is much easier than you describe. The scope is balanced and you just move it where you want it, there is no need to lock/unlock it each time the scope is moved.

The issues with inexpensive mounts is not the ease of tracking but rather their stability, most are prone to vibration and wobble making higher magnifications difficult because every touch of the scope starts the vibration, focusing is quite a problem...

And too, it is worth noting that these EQ mounts are can be used as ALT-AZ mounts simply by pointing them at the Zenith.

- My problem with the three scope under discussion here as well as most other scopes in this price range is that they are generally rather poorly made. The optics are good enough but the eyepieces, the diagonal (watch out here, often they will be tiny correct image prisms that cause serious image degradation), the mounts, the rest of the scope are all problematic.

I think of my 80mm F/11 refractors that were made 25 years ago, these are serious telescopes with good optics, solid mounts and good to excellent quality mechanicals. They represented a serious investment and 25 years later, it is obvious they will last at least one lifetime. Similar scopes available today just not of the same quality.

So in my view, buying any of these three inch class scopes is merely a trial, if the experience is indeed enjoyable and satisfying, one will soon want something better, some that offers more performance and is better made.

These three current scopes, while being useable, are closer to toys than they are to being a life-long serious tool. One can rework them and improve them, my Black Friday special $40 Powerseeker 70 is actually a reasonable scope once I built a new tripod, replaced the diagonal and used decent quality eyepieces. It was probably similar to the Orion Observer when new...

So in the final analysis, for lunar Planetary observing, the often mentioned 6 inch Dob is a much better scope than any of these $150 dollar class scopes, it's big enough and of sufficient quality that it will not be the limit on what you see... With these three scopes, what you see will mostly be determined the limitations of the telescope.

I do recommend looking for used equipment, Craigslist, Astromart, Cloudy Nights are all good sources. And for the beginner who needs assistance in buying used, this forum and it's members are good resource to help in making a wise purchase of a used telescope. I have purchased 6 inch and even 8 inch Dobsonians used for less than what these three scopes cost...

If I had one now, I'd sent it to you...

Jon Isaacs


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Maverick199
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: KWB]
      #5529852 - 11/20/12 11:12 AM

Quote:

Quote:

would you recommend the Orion SpaceProbe 3
Link

the Orion Observer 70mm
Link

or the Celestron AstroMaster 114
Link

All of these are under $200, which is my budget. I live very near chicago, and on the clearest nights see around magnitude 3 or 4 stars. Which telescope do you think would be the best? I do want to view the moon and planets but also am interested in the Pleiades, and other DSO's. Thanks so much!



Hello and welcome to CN!

I think you should have what you like,especially if money is short and $200 is all you have to spend. With a few exceptions,a number newly purchased budget telescopes in 2012 are better than no telescope. Purchased new,one gets a warranty. Of the 3 telescopes you linked to,I like the 70mm F/10 refractor by far the best. It's mount can be manipulated to be used in the Alt/Az mode for the very simple operation of moving the scope up and down,or right to left. This refractor can show Lunar and planetary detail,plus the ability to split quite a number of double stars that no regular pair of comparable priced binoculars can hope to match.

The 76mm reflector will provide no optical advantage and requires collimation,which isn't a huge task at a focal ratio of F/9. It will also require some time when taken outdoor to acclimate to the outside observing temperatures(the refractor will require practically none).

The 114mm reflector also will have the same requirements as the smaller reflector plus IMO it is of a design that compromises it's optical quality being of a Bird/Jones design. IMO it is best avoided,as in one of the exception I noted above. The design also doesn't make isn't easy to accurately collimate, for even an experienced user.




Best answer by Kenny and best opinion from Tony. If the OP's question is a simple comparison and pick, then this ought to be the reply, unless the OP wants alternate suggestions.


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

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: gosox2525]
      #5530270 - 11/20/12 02:11 PM

Get the biggest one! Seriously it will show a brighter image and more detail.

I strongly suggest doing a search on craigslist for telescope, and you can limit it to max $200 .You will then see at least several suitable beginner's class scopes.
Of those I see right now, the Bushnell Vogager in Homer Glen looks good ,although I would expect to negotiate for a bit better price. It is a 4.5"(114mm) reflector of f8 so collimationis not as difficult as the short-tube models,the seller has the original box so probably has all the original paerwork and accessories included.

I found the Bushnell to be a capable scope in its class.Although my example was found at Goodwill less box ,etc. for $50 tagged price.I have the Bushnell 4.5" Voyager in three styles Dob,EQ,and Az-el. All are good scopes. The az-el is nice for quickly swinging to a new part of the sky ,and the EQ mount much better for following a star or planet.If you are set on buying only new,and only Orion then the 114mm EQ reflector has the most potential.But I believe you are needlessly limiting your choices to one brand.
You may download many manuals from manufacturer or retailer websutes.Meade,Bushnell,and Celestron I am certain ,probably others.


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

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: BigC]
      #5530295 - 11/20/12 02:22 PM

It looks like you could get the Celestron 114mm and the optional motor for a total just above your $200 limit.So that setup definitely is preferable among the three you propose.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BDS316
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/16/09

Loc: Sol 3
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: gosox2525]
      #5530396 - 11/20/12 03:11 PM

I cannot recommend any of the three scopes you are considering. Our club hasa young astronomer's program and every spring we award 5 or 6 6-inch f/8 Dobs to 4th to 8th graders and this decision was made after looking at all of the sub-$300 scopes available.

A 6 or 8 inch Dob has a smaller footprint than any of those tripod mounted eq scopes.


The best beginner scope is a 6 or 8 inch Dob.

Note that in my sig I have an 8 inch Dob and a very nice 80mm refractor on a sturdy, simple alt az mount. Except for the extreme dead of winter, the dob sees far more use.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5530659 - 11/20/12 05:25 PM

While I agree with you to a point. I will say that not everyone has the cash for a 6 or 8 inch dob. I don't think many of these telescopes are as bad as people make them out to be. Certainly Orion's entry level scopes are better than Walmart Meade scopes. And certainly they are not as good as a 6 inch dob (heck, even some expensive scopes are not as good for many objects).

However, I bought my dad the Orion 70mm alt az scope for around 100 bucks. Turns out it worked quite good. The Kellners included worked fine and it provided OK views. The only thing about it I didn't like was the red dot finder. The mount wasn't great, but it worked because the OTA is very light.

All this being said, I'd probably save up to get a better scope. But that doesn't mean it has to be a 6 or 8 inch dob. I very much liked a 4 inch achromat I stared on...as well as the 5 inch SCT I had. Both were great starter scopes. Really just depends on the amount of money we are talking. If you said starter scope under 300, 6 inch dob is the top. Under 1000, there are a ton of good options across all telescope types.


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

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5531984 - 11/21/12 11:06 AM

It is great that your club gives away nice 6" Dobs to youngsters.

But the OP apparently has to use his own limted funds.And wants a scope now, not after "saving some more"-we don't know his situation as to why the $ amount was chosen.

The 114mm Astromaster for $149 to his door will show lots ;but as in another thread, IF just a bit more can be spent the $199 Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ is better capable of showing both planet and some DSOs.

There are reasons one might prefer something other than a Dob-mounted tube!NOt everyone has the same preferences or situation.


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

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: BigC]
      #5532050 - 11/21/12 11:35 AM

Costco has the Celestron-AstroMaster-130EQ-Dual-Purpose-Telescope for $149 right now...

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

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5532340 - 11/21/12 02:05 PM

A new 130 EQ for $149 is a good deal,especially since the buyer has return privileges at Costco if not satisfied and ,I believe, a 2 year warranty from Celestron.

So with the optional RA motor and taxes the beginner still spends right at $200.Not bad.


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

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: BigC]
      #5532346 - 11/21/12 02:08 PM

Just saw it online...It is an online order only item from Costco...comes with a CG3 mount too....really a pretty good buy..

Edited by csrlice12 (11/21/12 02:11 PM)


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

Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Grand Isle, VT
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5532378 - 11/21/12 02:26 PM

The 130mm AstroMaster is not worth even $150.

I started with one. Waste of money all around.

On top of all the shortcomings of the mount, focuser, useless finder etc. The mirrior was shaped like a Pringle potato chip.

Avoid anything with AstroMaster in the name!


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

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Help deciding between 3 beginner telescopes? new [Re: BSJ]
      #5533892 - 11/22/12 12:39 PM

So did you return the scope for a refund?

Do you suppose yours might have been unusually bad?


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


Extra information
4 registered and 22 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  zjc26138, WOBentley, kkokkolis 

Print Thread

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


Thread views: 1700

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics