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FairObserver
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Reged: 03/28/13

First Telescope
      #5765377 - 03/29/13 05:32 PM

Hello all. I'm a newbie here. I had an avid interest in astronomy as a kid and now that I'm older (61) I'm starting to regress back to being a kid. Thus I am avidly reading articles about purchasing one's first good telescope. Can anyone give me some advice on a decent telescope in the $300-$800 range that provides good views of planets and deeper space, and can grow with you to be adaptable for photography, computer drives, upgraded eyepieces, and other upgrades, if such an instrument exists? Thanks! FairObserver

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SKYGZR
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 08/14/09

Loc: Planet Earth, Milky Way Galaxy...
Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5765409 - 03/29/13 05:50 PM

That's gonna be tough with 300-800

now 3000-8000..that's doable


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StrangeDejavu
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Reged: 03/20/13

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Re: First Telescope new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #5765423 - 03/29/13 05:59 PM

Hi FairObserver, welcome to CN.

Check out the XLT 120, I have the 102 model and absolutely love it. It's a point-and-go scope, near maintanence-free and easily customizable. They also don't require much cooldown time compared to a reflector type which can sometimes take 1-2 hours before it can be used.

http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/celestron-omni-xlt-120.html

Edited by StrangeDejavu (03/29/13 06:03 PM)


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MikeBOKC
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5765435 - 03/29/13 06:03 PM

Welcome . . . such an instrument exists for viewing planets and deep space objects. It is called a Dobsonian reflector, which is the most visual bang for the buck in astronomy. You should be able to find a good used 6 or even 8 inch one in your states price range. However, it is not motor driven, does not go to and is not suited for astrophotography, which generally requires a motoroized equaltorial mount, guidescopes, etc, and easily runs into the thousands in a hurry.

Does that mean you are stumped? Not at all. Visual astronomy can be done on a budget like yours to great satisfaction.

My first suggestiion would be to find a local astronomy club and attend some of their meetings and especially star parties and observing sessions, which will give you a chance to learn about the varous types of equipment available. You may also find folks there with equipment for sale at very reasonable prices, or who can steer you to the right gear. You will find a lot of gearheads there as well with pretty elaborate (and expensive) scopes, mounts, eyepiece collections etc. That does not mean you can't jump in for a lot less and have fun. A surprising number of people come to this hobby at or near retirement, and I suspect you will find a number of kindred spirits in a local club.

Don't be discouraged . . . everyone walks before running in ths=is hobby, and no one is holding a stopwatch. It ain't competitive, but it is great fun.


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panhard
It's All Good
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: StrangeDejavu]
      #5765448 - 03/29/13 06:07 PM

Read this thread It will give you a better idea of what is required for astro photography. thread
Welcome to Cloudy Nights we will help you however we can.


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MikeBOKC
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5765475 - 03/29/13 06:18 PM

This starter kit from Orion is not a bad beginner's deal and it has go to and a 130mm reflector, plus some handy accessories:

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Reflector-Telescopes/Reflector-Telescopes...


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panhard
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5765526 - 03/29/13 06:50 PM

It would be ok for a beginner, good find mike.

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Ebyl
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Reged: 07/04/12

Re: First Telescope new [Re: panhard]
      #5765585 - 03/29/13 07:30 PM

Welcome, FairObserver.

How portable would you need the telescope setup to be? It can be a really big consideration, because as the telescopes get larger, they get heavier, bulkier, and less convenient to move about.

I would also like to mention that astrophotography at more than a basic level greatly benefits from very robust mounts. And of course, those are big, heavy, and expensive. My personal suggestion would be to focus on visual observing for now with a setup in the range you mentioned, and then look into something separate for astrophotography later.

For a visual, do it all scope with good light grasp for DSO's, it's hard to beat dobsonian mounted reflectors. Maybe a 6-8" depending on how easily you want to be able to move it around? If you're more interested in a refractor, then maybe an Omni XLT 102 or 120 package (comes with the CG-4 mount).

Another option at the top end of your price range would be an SCT like the Nexstar 6SE. Out of the ones I listed, that is the only one with a motorized mount. I believe the 6SE would let you take short exposure photos, with the proper adapters and all that.


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cavefrog
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: Ebyl]
      #5765779 - 03/29/13 09:29 PM

Quote:

That's gonna be tough with 300-800

now 3000-8000..that's doable




Maaaan. don't tell him that! besides being untrue, you are going to give him the idea that this is a very expensive hobby, which it CAN be, but is not necessary to spend a lot of money to enjoy this hobby.

FairObserver , your price range is very doable... especially if you look for used equipment.

ask questions (the only dumb question is the one that goes unasked!) a lot, and read a lot.

Theo


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Jeff2011
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5765939 - 03/29/13 11:38 PM

Fair Observer,

You can think of a telescope as a tool. You can use a slotted screw driver on a Phillips headed screw but it is not optimal. You are probably going to buy a Phillips screw driver before too long. The same is true with telescopes. If you look at people's signature lines, you will see many with multiple scopes. Yes some have only one, but they are usually happy with what that scope was designed to do or are plotting to get a second scope.

A Dob is a great starter scope but is not suited for deep space AP. That is the scope I started with. Like many people, I was interested in taking pictures through it and took AP with it as far as it could go. I even built a tracking platform for it. I then decided to buy that Phillips screw driver, I mean refractor and equatorial mount. I just got the mount in last week, so I have a ways to go before I learn it well enough to do AP with it.

I guess what I am trying to say is, don't try to get a scope that does it all. Prioritize what you want from a scope and go in that direction. If you are like many of us, you will probably pick up one or more scopes down the road.


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GOLGO13
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5765958 - 03/29/13 11:56 PM

based on your requirements I would suggest the Celestron 5SE or 6SE. Great beginner scopes which are light weight. And they have all the bells and whistles. The 5SE actually has a capability to put the scope in polar mode (little steel bar which you can slide the scope up). That would help with photography if you choose to do it.

I had a version of the 5SE (the one before it) and it was great scope. Here is a link to the scope: Celestron 5SE


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buddyjesus
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5766016 - 03/30/13 12:57 AM

my concern with the starseeker scope is that it might not be able to look straight up. It is a pretty long tube for that mount and might just bump the mounting. I would second one of the maksutov cassegrain scopes or schmidt cassegrain as those would work fine with that mount or a nexstar mount from celestron.

food for thought. https://www.astronomics.com/celestron-nexstar-127slt-127mm-go-to-mak-telescop... or https://www.astronomics.com/celestron-nexstar-5-se-5-inch-go-to-sct-telescope...

BTW, often buying used will save you a couple hundred bucks so check astromart or the cloudynights classifieds.


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Agatha
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Reged: 06/04/12

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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5766104 - 03/30/13 03:07 AM

FairObserver,

Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

The choices can be overwhelming. You can certainly get something that will be very satisfying and a lot of fun. You don't need to spend a fortune. I am new at this also and as much as I want a Dobsonian, I don't have room right now where I live. But, refractors...even small ones are really fun. To get something that would be easily adaptable for photography, etc. etc. might be a challenge. There are many people here who have great information.
And there are some great books to read..."Backyard Astronomers Guide" is a good one along with many others.

Have fun with your quest. This is a wonderful hobby with zillions of choices and opinions. You have come to the right place for help.

Best, Linda B.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5766212 - 03/30/13 06:48 AM

Take a look at my article What to Know Before Buying a Telescope.

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Mike4242
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Reged: 11/02/11

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Re: First Telescope new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5766386 - 03/30/13 09:53 AM

Since this will be your only telescope, you're going to want something with a fair amount of aperture -- I'd say at least a 6" reflector or a 120mm refractor. Though I love refractors, I don't normally recommend refractors as an only scope since they're limited in aperture compared to reflectors. If tracking is important for you, I would look at the Celestron 5SE and 6SE. If you don't care that much about tracking and motors, take a look at the Orion XT8i or XT10i Dobsonian telescopes. The XTi model telescopes have a computer to help you locate objects, but you move the scope manually. As far as photography goes, I would put that on the back burner for now until you get a little more experience.

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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: First Telescope new [Re: Mike4242]
      #5766430 - 03/30/13 10:18 AM

I agree that astro photography should be on the back burner at first. I have a 6" reflector on an Equatorial mount and I find tht it is a great all around scope to start with. It gives great views of deep space from a dark site. It also gives very good views of planets (in fact I am impressed how well it does on planets). Now the EQ mount can be a pain at times, but when I don't feel like manually tracking, I simply put the mount in Alt AZ mode (very easy to do) and scan the sky effortlessly. Now, if I do chose to try astro photography in the future, the mount can be fitted with a tracking motor. This scope was recommended to me by my local telescope shop as a great starter scope with flexibility. Below is my scope, but there are similar products from other companies.

http://ca.skywatcher.com/_english/01_products/02_detail.php?sid=383

Eric


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dodomang
journeyman


Reged: 12/20/12

Re: First Telescope new [Re: Mike4242]
      #5766453 - 03/30/13 10:32 AM

+1 for the nexstar 5se. It's a nice goto Schmidt cassegrain with a built in wedge for better astrophotography

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coopman
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: dodomang]
      #5767095 - 03/30/13 04:03 PM

The best advice that I can offer is to delete the requirement for astrophotography and just get a decent scope for visual observing only. There are millions of photos from others on the web to look at. Starting down the A/P road at age 61 is going to be a tough task indeed - actually it's a tough road to go down at any age.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5767159 - 03/30/13 04:54 PM

I recommend bumping it up a little and look at a Celestron 8 inch NexStar.
https://www.astronomics.com/celestron-nexstar-se-telescopes_c11.aspx


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Paco_Grande
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: GeneT]
      #5767816 - 03/30/13 11:00 PM

For sure, spec your first scope with very little, or no, emphasis on AP. You can do simple but very nice AP with a dob! It all depends on your expectations, and as a noob, you have expectations that will be revised as you learn more. Want to publish your images? I didn't think so. You're competing with the Hubble.

So, beyond this, there are so many choices, as I'm sure you're aware, and it can make your head explode.

Safe bets? 8-10" Dob ($400-$600). SE6 or SE8 ($800-$1200). Or something a bit different, like a 130mm Newt on an Alt/az mount ($400). Any of these would be a fine place to begin.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: Mike4242]
      #5768202 - 03/31/13 08:24 AM

Quote:

Since this will be your only telescope ...




Only if he/she decides he/she isn't interested in astronomy after all.

Most people who fall in love with stargazing end up with two or more telescope -- often in fairly short order. Part of the beginning of wisdom is that no one telescope can do everything. And it's generally much more cost-effective to get different scopes for different purposes than to try to get one scope that can do everything.


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Agatha
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Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: First Telescope new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5768823 - 03/31/13 01:37 PM

I hope that I am wrong. But I can imagine that FairObserver may possibly have been turned off by some of the early responses in this thread. An honest and innocent question was asked of the people here and if it had been me, I would have been a bit intimidated and even disillusioned.

I hope that FairObsever comes back and ends up with a nice telescope and then starts another thread expressing the wonder and excitement of viewing the moon and Jupiter etc. And sharing that with everyone.
'Cuz that's what we love to do".

Best, Linda B.


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Oscar56
sage


Reged: 01/25/13

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Re: First Telescope new [Re: Eric63]
      #5769197 - 03/31/13 04:57 PM

Quote:

This scope was recommended to me by my local telescope shop as a great starter scope with flexibility. Below is my scope, but there are similar products from other companies.

http://ca.skywatcher.com/_english/01_products/02_detail.php?sid=383

Eric




Eric:

How is the stability of your scope and mount combo?


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: First Telescope new [Re: Oscar56]
      #5769562 - 03/31/13 07:39 PM

Hi Grant

The mount and scope are actually quite stable with minimal vibrations. I really like using it in az mode for scanning the sky if my AZ4 is not available. Now the AZ4 is also a nice mount for the 150Newt. Very stable and easier to use.

Eric


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Isdaako
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Reged: 03/24/13

Loc: Devils Tower, Wyoming
Re: First Telescope new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5769769 - 03/31/13 10:00 PM

I've recently had lots of experience in reading forum questions like this. Like the OP I'm interested in learning about the resolutions to this question. So, it seems, are a great many others. Thanks for taking the time to give such thoughtful responses.

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Agatha
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Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: First Telescope new [Re: Isdaako]
      #5770326 - 04/01/13 09:29 AM

Isdaako,

Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

Lots of good information here and good people to help. Have fun.

Best, Linda B.


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obin robinson
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5770420 - 04/01/13 10:09 AM

Quote:

Can anyone give me some advice on a decent telescope in the $300-$800 range that provides good views of planets and deeper space, and can grow with you to be adaptable for photography, computer drives, upgraded eyepieces, and other upgrades, if such an instrument exists? Thanks! FairObserver





You want this and for $450 it's a killer deal:
http://www.astronomytechnologies.com/product.asp?id=17402&c=17400

You will need to mount that telescope to this:
http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Tripods/Equatorial-Mounts-Tripods/Orion-SkyVi...

The Skyview Pro can be upgraded with various drives for "go to" observation or sidereal rate photography usage. That will work for visual observation and phototography. If you want to save money check the Classifieds here. Here is an example:

Skyview pro with drives for $300:
http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=77314&sor...

obin


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BoldAxis1967
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Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Kentucky
Re: First Telescope new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5771052 - 04/01/13 03:57 PM

Hi FairObserver,

Do you have any physical limitations? I ask not just because you, like myself are on the over side of 50, but this can be an important consideration. For example, a refractor when trying to find or observe anything close to the zenith can be uncomfortable on the neck and a good chair will be a necessary item. On the otherhand, a reflector is much more ergonimic. The suggestion of Eric63 is a good one for the reasons he stated in addition to the ergonomic factor. The chair you may want a little later but it will not be of immediate importance. Also, the mount and scope are very light, portable and is an easy set-up; and will show you a lot. I believe the Omni 150 by Celestron is the same as the Skywatcher. You may also need a right-angle correct image (RACI) finder scope ($60-90) instead of a straight through if you have any kind of neck-back limitations. Also, a red dot finder such as Rigel Quickfinder($40) is essential. At this stage I totally agree with others, concentrate on the optics and leave the imaging alone, at least for year 1.

Anyway, I just thought that the physical aspects of observing should be mentioned.

Good luck.


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BoldAxis1967
sage
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5771063 - 04/01/13 04:03 PM

Excuse me Obin, I meant to respond to FairObserver.
That SkyView Pro with drives could be a good deal. Good find.


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panhard
It's All Good
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: BoldAxis1967]
      #5771073 - 04/01/13 04:11 PM

The Rigel isn't a red dot finder. Here is what it looks like. Rigel

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BoldAxis1967
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: panhard]
      #5771108 - 04/01/13 04:22 PM

Herb, thanks for correcting my mistake. Sometimes I get a little sloppy with nomenclature.

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panhard
It's All Good
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: BoldAxis1967]
      #5771327 - 04/01/13 05:42 PM

No problem at all. We help each other out here.

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BoldAxis1967
sage
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Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Kentucky
Re: First Telescope new [Re: panhard]
      #5771503 - 04/01/13 07:21 PM

I think Agatha may be correct in that some of the comments may not have been well chosen. Frequently, I think that one of the first and best places to gather information regarding first scopes is to read Ed Ting's "So You Wanna Buy a Telescope... Advice for Beginners." I found his comments extremely helpful. It gave me much to think about, it helped shape my approach entering this extremely complex field, which is perhaps made more complex via its numerous choices. I have thought that CN could have something like Ed Ting's article available for those asking these basic but important questions. It might be better than having ten different responses no matter how objective or informative they may be. With a little bit of knowledge gained from an article like Ed's one may then be in a better posiiton to ask more specific questions without feeling that one is being bombarded from multiple angles. I have seen numerous articles in CN for how to do or select something after buying a telescope but not before. I think Tony Flanders also directed the OP to an article but maybe there should be something within CN as well.

Just a thought since I have noticed over the past few weeks that there has been some discussion regarding what to tell people with questions such as those posted by FairObserver.


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azure1961p
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Re: First Telescope new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5771632 - 04/01/13 08:15 PM

You couldn't so better than a Nexstar 6, second choice would be a dob. Since the Nexstar 6 tracks the stars and planets you can do imaging. Deepsky imaging would be a piggyback camera thing while the moon and planets would be through the scope. The dob is better if you have no interest in taking pictures.

Pete


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FairObserver
member


Reged: 03/28/13

Re: First Telescope new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #5771913 - 04/01/13 10:51 PM

Anything is doable with enough money.

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FairObserver
member


Reged: 03/28/13

Re: First Telescope new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5771916 - 04/01/13 10:53 PM

Thanks for writing Mitch. What is the range of celestial objects you can see with your telescope? Frank

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FairObserver
member


Reged: 03/28/13

Re: First Telescope new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5771934 - 04/01/13 11:08 PM

Thanks to all for your responses to my post and for your helpful advice. This is a welcoming and friendly group, and I look forward to more forum exchanges with you as I progress with this great endeavor called astronomy.
Sincerely, Fair Observer (a/k/a Frank).


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FairObserver
member


Reged: 03/28/13

Re: First Telescope new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5773555 - 04/02/13 05:49 PM

Does anyone have an opinion on a used Meade ETX90 go to in what appears to be very good condition? The asking price is $350.

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FairObserver
member


Reged: 03/28/13

Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5780990 - 04/06/13 01:02 AM

What do any of you think of a Orion SkyQuest XT8i or XT10i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope as a good first telescope? Is there a preference for one or the other (8" or 10")? Here's a link to the website:
http://www.telescope.com/Orion-SkyQuest-XT8i-IntelliScope-Dobsonian-Telescope...


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StrangeDejavu
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Reged: 03/20/13

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Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5781014 - 04/06/13 01:36 AM

Quote:

Thanks for writing Mitch. What is the range of celestial objects you can see with your telescope? Frank




The Omni XLT is more suited for planetary/lunar observing, and it does both very well. Jupiter and Saturn are extremely crisp and full of detail, as well as the Moon; razor sharp and rich contrast. Saturn on a good night will show it's moons, the Cassini Division and some banding on the body.

What scope you get depends a lot on what you plan to accomplish with it. My specific model excels in planetary and lunar observing, but because of the limited aperture, isn't so great for DSO (Nebulae, Galaxies, Star Clusters). If you think you would spend most of your time focused on Jupiter and it's moons, you would probably do well with refractor. If your goal is to observe globular clusters and nebulae, you'd get better results out of a Dob.

It's hard to tell unless you've looked through a scope before. I thought for sure I was going to be a planetary guy, but turns out I am obsessed with DSO's. The Omni XLT isn't particularly bad at DSO observing, but there are definitely better options for the money.

Edited by StrangeDejavu (04/06/13 01:39 AM)


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: First Telescope new [Re: FairObserver]
      #5781294 - 04/06/13 08:43 AM

Quote:

Does anyone have an opinion on a used Meade ETX90 go to in what appears to be very good condition? The asking price is $350.



think you can find them cheaper if you wait and look. I have been following CL and have seen some good deals on these. Keep in mind it's only a 90mm so many DSO's will be out of range. I think it's a pretty nice scope from what I have read on it. But like I said, not very good for DSO viewing.

The 8 and 10" dobs are pretty much in the same area, one costing more. The 2" difference is there, but not as much as between the 6" (mine) and a 10". If you want to view DSO's then this is what you want, and they excel on planets and lunar viewing as well. Keep in mind the weight of a dob if there are any health issues, like a bad back.
You'll only be able to do very limited afocal AP with either the Dob or the ETX, basically iphone and steadypix mount.

I would first start with a dob which will give great views of planetary,lunar and DSO. Learn the night sky (Turn Left at Orion), visit a local astronomy club and ask and read a lot here as the members here are very helpful and will keep you on the right path. I know that without everyone here I would have bought the 'cool' looking stuff, and not what I would actually need or use.

Good luck with whatever you finally decide, but don't worry, it won't be you only scope..lol. Look forward to a first light from you.


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FairObserver
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Reged: 03/28/13

Re: First Telescope new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5841027 - 05/05/13 01:14 AM

Does anyone have an opinion on a Celestron NexStar 6 SE 6” Go-to SCT as a scope for a beginner who wants something he can grow with in this endeavor?

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