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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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diggitye
member


Reged: 04/08/13

Loc: Colorado
Expert opinions requested. new
      #5786807 - 04/08/13 08:40 PM

Hello all, new guy here. So I've always been interested in astronomy but it's ramped up quite a bit lately. I've been doing some naked eye observations which have been great but I want to see a little more. I found a pair of forgotten cheap binoculars in my basement (8x40) but they produce a double image which makes them pretty much useless. This put me in the market for some binocs.

Well, as I researched possible binoc candidates I started reading this forum and various articles on the inter webs. Now I want a 12 inch Dob! But being a practical guy I know should start slow so I am at a decision point.

I would like to get some opinions on my first stargazing purchase. Should I go with some 10x50 binocs or one of the following:

Orion GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor ($120)
Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector ($110)
Or...Other recommendations. I am open to going up to about $250 maybe $300 on this purchase.

This purchase will be a gauge on my overall interest and if I use whatever I get regularly I will most likely upgrade in a year or so (maybe that 12 inch Dob, haha). Also, I want my daughter who is almost 4 to be able to enjoy this hobby with me later as well.

I plan on going to a starparty later this month to try out some telescopes and binocs so I will take any suggestions I get from here and try those as well.

I know there are many knowledgeable folks on here so any advice is much appreciated.


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SeattleScott
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/14/11

Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5786834 - 04/08/13 08:53 PM

Ah, so that's why the table top scopes. I would suggest the 4.5" Orion XT Dob ($240) or the 4.5" Orion table top reflector ($200). My concern with the table top is that it is so short, it really needs to be on a table of some sort for an adult to use it, and your kid could outgrow it in a couple years. The XT Dob is a little better compromise in that you can have it on the ground for stability, and it won't be as hard on your back bending over to look through it, and your kid can see through with the aid of a step stool for the next couple years. Either way could work though.

I would strongly consider getting a green laser and bracket and mounting the laser as your finderscope. Otherwise it will be very hard to aim such a short scope. Unless you want your kid to do the aiming, which could be fun too!

Refractor could be a good option too, height for kids easily dealt with since you view through the bottom of the tube, but 100mm would be better than 80mm.


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5786842 - 04/08/13 09:00 PM

On the low end I'd look at the Orion Observer 70 alt az: Orion Observer 70 or the Zhumell Aurora 70 here: Zhummell Aurora 70 ...skip the go scope. Table top scopes can be a pain without something sturdy to put them on. I'd probably skip that one too.

On the high end 250-300 is tough. You could have a very nice capability with an 8 inch dob like the apertura 8 here: Apertura 8 That's not too far above your budget. With the Orion 6 inch going for $310 right now, I cannot suggest it since you could get the apertura 8 for $395 shipped. That's just plain a much better deal at this point.


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diggitye
member


Reged: 04/08/13

Loc: Colorado
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: SeattleScott]
      #5786845 - 04/08/13 09:01 PM

Thanks SeattleScott. One of the reasons I picked those two models is that they can be put on a camera tripod which I already have. I have seen the others you suggested while researching. I will look at them a little closer. Thanks!

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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5786914 - 04/08/13 09:30 PM

Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector ($110) this one is a good deal IMO

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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5786924 - 04/08/13 09:34 PM

Why wait? Get the 12' dob now.

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Matt2893
super member


Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: ChicagoLand
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5786968 - 04/08/13 09:50 PM

I have the little Orion FunScope, and use it on a camera tripod. It's a cheap tripod I had lying around and really too wobbly. It's nice to have the option of table-top or tripod, just be aware that you'll need a decent tripod.

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mogur
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/29/11

Loc: WI
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: Matt2893]
      #5787041 - 04/08/13 10:25 PM

A 4~4.5" scope is a great size to start with! It can show nice wide field views of star clusters because of a short focal length. With higher power eyepieces, it can show off the moon and planets fine too. It certainly will give you a good idea of what you like about astronomy and will guide you into a future upgrade. Conversely, if your interest wanes, you have very little invested and it can be sold easily or given away. I agree with the thought that a photo tripod may not be a good platform though. A smaller dob can be used seated by an adult, while a small child can stand to see in it. A table-top scope needs a very sturdy table to put it on. Perhaps if you decide to go in this direction you could put it on a short stack of cinder blocks instead. It would be very sturdy and the height would be about the same as a small Dob. Since you already have binos I would go with a small scope next. You'll be amazed what a 4" scope can show, especially if you have dark skies to view in!

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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: mogur]
      #5787252 - 04/09/13 01:54 AM

a bar stool will work great as a "tripod" for your funscope.

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howard929
Member
*****

Reged: 01/02/11

Loc: Low End of High Ground
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5787277 - 04/09/13 02:18 AM

Hello and Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

Your faced with a not so simple choice. On one hand you don't wish to spend a lot just to find out how you like this hobby which is understandable. On the other hand it won't serve you well if you start out with a viewing instrument that's underwhelming or fussy to use or just plain frustrating. Being fairly new to this myself I'd recommend that you try the used market and possibly buy more of a telescope or binoculars then your considering currently and take your time. Don't rush to judgement.


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Gert K A
sage


Reged: 07/16/12

Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5787357 - 04/09/13 04:28 AM

Hi diggitye

Welcome to CN and good luck finding the exact scope you need

Why not try to fix your binos first though? they mite still be good
see this Linky


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5787428 - 04/09/13 06:00 AM

Quote:

I would like to get some opinions on my first stargazing purchase. Should I go with some 10x50 binocs or one of the following:

Orion GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor ($120)
Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector ($110)
Or...Other recommendations. I am open to going up to about $250 maybe $300 on this purchase.

This purchase will be a gauge on my overall interest and if I use whatever I get regularly I will most likely upgrade in a year or so (maybe that 12 inch Dob, haha).




It's mighty tempting to say get both 10x50 binoculars and one of those two telescopes. Here's my reasoning.

With careful shopping, you should be able to find a pretty good pair of 10x50 binoculars in the $100-$200 range. Add another $50, and the options open up even more. These would be versatile instruments that would last you a lifetime and would serve a multitude of purposes both day and night.

However, the one thing they wouldn't do is give a sense of what it's like to own a telescope. For that, you need something with variable (and potentially high) magnification.

Of the choices that you listed, I personally would take the 80-mm refractor, because it has better high-power performance. But they're both a lot of fun -- a great way to break into serious telescopic observing with a pretty tiny investment. And because of their enormous fields of view, they're a great way to learn star-hopping.

To my mind, the biggest drawback of the 80-mm refractor is its inability to reach the zenith.


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diggitye
member


Reged: 04/08/13

Loc: Colorado
Re: Expert opinions requested. [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5788049 - 04/09/13 01:00 PM

Wow, some great suggestions here. I'm a little star struck with a reply from Tony Flanders. I watch SkyWeek every week!

Anyway, I'll see if I can fix my binos using the techniques in that link (thanks Gert K A). There are 2 star parties later this month that I plan on attending and one of them is at a local store so I can try out some specific scopes that I'm intersted in. I haven't looked through a scope in years so that will be helpful in making my decision.

As much as I would love to get that 12" Dob now as Paco Grande suggests, I think my wife would flip if I walked in the door with something that big, haha.

I'm still open to any suggestions. I'll bump this thread when I buy something!


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5788083 - 04/09/13 01:15 PM

Noticed you are in CO. If you are in the Denver area, the Denver Astro Society has loner scope programs. They also have monthly star parties at the Chamberlin Observatory where you can go try out different scopes. They also have monthly dark sky nights at their dark site out by Deer Trail. S&S Optica in Denver is also a great telescope store (yes, we are lucky to have one). CO Springs also has an Astro Society and I believe they have a loner scope program too. They're also happy to answer all your questions there!!

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diggitye
member


Reged: 04/08/13

Loc: Colorado
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5788147 - 04/09/13 01:44 PM

Those are the star parties I was planning on attending this month. I didn't know about the loner program though, I'll have to look into that. I stopped by S&S a few days ago and really liked the shop. I was a little shocked to see the prices though when compared to internet prices with free shipping. I guess they have to pay the rent but it was quite a mark-up. Thanks for the tips!

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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5788170 - 04/09/13 01:51 PM

Depends on what you buy. I got my 102XLT for about $50 more then the internet price...but they put it together, set up the mount, collimated the scope, aligned the finder (at least till it was reboxed!), and showed me how to work it. Later, when I bought the motors from them, they installed them for free since I bought the scope there..and they do quality work. Yes, a little more expensive, but you're also getting "professional installation"....and that, plus their customer service is worth something.....great folks there. All my scopes came from them (and a lot of my eyepieces).

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diggitye
member


Reged: 04/08/13

Loc: Colorado
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5788235 - 04/09/13 02:09 PM

I definitely would prefer to buy from the local shop. They were awesome and explained a lot to me. It sounds like the premium in price is worth it when you consider the service you get.

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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5788545 - 04/09/13 03:41 PM

local shops often have after purchase support and occasionally let you test drive something and return if not for you.

also check out http://www.sciencecompany.com/ as they are also local.


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panhard
It's All Good
*****

Reged: 01/20/08

Loc: Markham Ontario Canada
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5788595 - 04/09/13 04:13 PM

Quote:

Why wait? Get the 12' dob now.


Come on Phil lets stay within budget.

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diggitye
member


Reged: 04/08/13

Loc: Colorado
Re: Expert opinions requested. new [Re: diggitye]
      #5789256 - 04/09/13 10:22 PM

So I just came across an Orion XT8 Classic on craigs list for $100. It retails for @ $350. I emailed the seller to see it.

What do I need to look for to make sure this scope is in good condition?
What questions should I ask to gauge how they used/treated it?
Any relevant info would help.

Thanks!


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