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FairObserver
member


Reged: 03/28/13

First Telescope new
      #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
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/20/13

Loc: Florida
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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Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
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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Reged: 01/20/08

Loc: Markham Ontario Canada
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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Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
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
It's All Good
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Reged: 01/20/08

Loc: Markham Ontario Canada
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
super member


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
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/11/08

Loc: loozyanna
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
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 01/01/13

Loc: Sugar Land, TX
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
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: First Telescope [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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Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
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
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/02/11

Loc: Memphis, TN
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
professor emeritus


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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Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
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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Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
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
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
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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