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Need advice for 1st telescope ...

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#1 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:21 PM

Hope someone can help me deicde on a 1st scope.  Never used telescope in my life - and wife has been asking me for a while, and alaways put it off.  Always been interested, but never gotten around to buing a telescope.  I figured this is the year to do it - finally.  Now, recently have been doing some research, read through some of the beginner guides here - and overwhelmed with number of options - refractor, reflective, dobsonian etc etc.

 

Was hoping to get some advice on narrowing down my search to few recommended telescopes.

 

My criteria:

-  Want spend around $300 on the telescope (plus perhaps bit more on accessiories).   Just don't want something too expensive/complicated that might sit around unused.  Ideally one package that has everything i need to start with - and then i can buy accessories later on as needed.

 

-  Want something not too large - i read biggest bang for the bucks are the dobsonian - but they look for the most part fairly large & heavy.  Want something that can be neatly packed up and stored in garage if necessary.  Plus something easy to carry on mid size SUV like Murano.

 

-  I live in bayonne, New Jersey - it is a reasonably busy city - not sure if that impacts choice of scope or not.

-  Need to have a some type of star finder/goto computerized feature - so i at least get to look at objects quickly without getting too frustrated.  

-  Something that doesn't require too much of assembly/setup every time i use it. 

-  Was reading through another forum and bumped into this deal for NexStar 90GT Refctaor+ at BH Photo for $160 - it has the goto feature.  Some people recommending it as good for starting out - any thoughts?  Or basically give me some other suggestions.  

thanks,
peter



#2 Taosmath

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:51 PM

First of all welcome ! Enjoy Cloudy Nights - there's a lot of incredible expertise here, so until some of it comes along to answer your question, here is my 2 cents.

 

The standard ( and very valid) answer to your question is to buy a used 8" Dobsonian, like an Orion XT8. It is within your budget, is simple to set up & use, is robust, will enable you to see lots of objects & will fit in your car.  However it doesn't have goto.

 

I'm a great believer in buying gently used equipment - there's a bunch of it available in the classifieds here or on Astromart.com.  It's very low risk if you buy from a seller with good feedback - I have had an occasional problem (usually damage in Shipping) but it's ALWAYS been resolved properly and to my satisfaction.  I have never been stiffed on a Cloudy Night or Astromart Purchase.

 

That said, if you are willing to go that used route, and you must have Goto, then I'd suggest you look for a used Celestron Nexstar 5SE or a 127SLT.  5SE is better in my opinion (better mount and faster scope) but the 127SLT is pretty good too.  They are both robust and compact.

 

If you won't consider used equipment and want to buy only new stuff, then I don't know what to recommend on your budget.  I'm sure others will.

 

Others will have other opinions, but if I had to do it, I'd get a used dob .  I started with a Celestron Nexstar 6SE (outside your budget) but I soon bought a dob & while I still like, have and use my 6SE, my Dob is the scope I use most often.

 

Good luck with it and have fun!


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#3 Justin Fuller

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 01:52 PM

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.


Edited by Justin Fuller, 14 November 2017 - 02:20 PM.

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#4 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:23 PM

First of all welcome ! Enjoy Cloudy Nights - there's a lot of incredible expertise here, so until some of it comes along to answer your question, here is my 2 cents.

 

The standard ( and very valid) answer to your question is to buy a used 8" Dobsonian, like an Orion XT8. It is within your budget, is simple to set up & use, is robust, will enable you to see lots of objects & will fit in your car.  However it doesn't have goto.

 

I'm a great believer in buying gently used equipment - there's a bunch of it available in the classifieds here or on Astromart.com.  It's very low risk if you buy from a seller with good feedback - I have had an occasional problem (usually damage in Shipping) but it's ALWAYS been resolved properly and to my satisfaction.  I have never been stiffed on a Cloudy Night or Astromart Purchase.

 

That said, if you are willing to go that used route, and you must have Goto, then I'd suggest you look for a used Celestron Nexstar 5SE or a 127SLT.  5SE is better in my opinion (better mount and faster scope) but the 127SLT is pretty good too.  They are both robust and compact.

 

If you won't consider used equipment and want to buy only new stuff, then I don't know what to recommend on your budget.  I'm sure others will.

 

Others will have other opinions, but if I had to do it, I'd get a used dob .  I started with a Celestron Nexstar 6SE (outside your budget) but I soon bought a dob & while I still like, have and use my 6SE, my Dob is the scope I use most often.

 

Good luck with it and have fun!

 

Many thanks - i've seen it another forum as well - 8" dob seems to be recommended in most places.  I'm just afraid, i would spend too much time finding objects. Nexstar 127 seems around $450 in amazon (new) ... so not too bad - if i want to stress my budget a bit (plus they might have some deals on black friday in 2 weeks).

 

Questions:  

  1) either the 127 or 55SE: how does the goto mechanism gets powered?  Does it require a separate battery pack?

  2) If i get a dob, is there any accessories like iphone App or some other external device that can help locating objects?  

  3) How complicated is for a beginner to get started with a 8" Dob vs. a nextstar with goto?  



#5 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:27 PM

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.

thanks .. that's what i want to avoid.  After reading a site, it suggested to start with a binocular first .. which i did, bought the recommended binocular - and never heard the end  of it from wife lol.  Very very disappointing.   If i need to - i can go to $400-$600 range - as long as I'm sure it is easy to use & something i can handle.

 

What is the minimum apertures you recommend?



#6 Sam M

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:33 PM

I Have not used the NexStar 90 GT, but it looks like a reasonable choice, given your criteria.  I had a Celestron NexStar 130 SLT which has a similar mount, and I can vouch that it worked as advertised.  The only thing to be careful of is that it is limited how high it can point so that it doesn't hit the tripod legs during goto.  Mine wasn't set as a default, so you might have to go through the menus and set it. 

 

The advantage of it being a refractor is less to tweek (collimation) and generally less fragile than a Newtonian reflector.  It's cheaper than a Mak with similar clear aperture (one must remember to subtract the central obstruction from the aperture on reflecting scopes).  Disadvantage is it's not a lot of aperture, which makes everything better looking.  Also, on brighter objects you will have some false color created by the lenses.  Also, on a scope that long, the eyepiece can go pretty high or low depending where you are looking in the sky.  So, you'll want to have a low chair with you when you use it.

 

Goto is nice because it tracks as the earth turns, and it makes it easier to find things.  It can also be frustrating when the computer takes you to things that are beyond the capability of the scope.  There are lots of those, so you'll want to do a little homework about what to look for.  Goto can also be annoying, because you have to align it, and use the hand controller to move the scope around, and have fresh batteries.  It's not a bad way to get started, but you'll probably get sick of it eventually.

 

All that said, any scope is a compromise of factors, and this looks pretty good.

 

That scope has a fairly long focal length, that will increase your magnification.  You will probably want to get a lowest power, widest true field of view possible 1.25" eyepiece right off the bat.  Maybe a 32mm plossl, or a 24mm 68 degree afov.  That will help you hunt around, and give you nice wide field views.

 

If you want to save a couple bucks, you might decide to watch craig's list, and/or the cloudy nights classifieds.  Often people buy scopes, don't use them, and then sell them, and you can do pretty well, if you live near a big city and/or are patient.  If you do that, you might also want to consider a great deal that isn't what you were planning on.  I got an 8" dob for $250, and that'll fit in your car easily, and show you a lot more in the sky.

 

Hope this helps.  Enjoy!



#7 Justin Fuller

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:34 PM

 

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.

thanks .. that's what i want to avoid.  After reading a site, it suggested to start with a binocular first .. which i did, bought the recommended binocular - and never heard the end  of it from wife lol.  Very very disappointing.   If i need to - i can go to $400-$600 range - as long as I'm sure it is easy to use & something i can handle.

 

What is the minimum apertures you recommend?

 

For planets, there definitely seems to be noticeable leap in what can be seen (to me anyway) at around 4.5"-5"  vs. 4" or less. 5" vs. 4" has a noticeable bump up in light gathering for things like the Orion nebula, and many many star clusters.  I recently had an 80mm (3.5") ED refractor out along with my 16" using a 5" off-axis mask (since the atmosphere was not particularly steady) at a star party, both scopes operating around 120x magnification. When people viewed Saturn for the first time in the 80mm, they would say things like "ooooh neat", then when they moved to the 5" masked scope, they said "WOOW!", the Cassini division was much easier to see in the 5" aperture, and subtle cloud color was visible that wasn't noticeable to most people in the 80mm. I suggest trying to find a star party near your area this coming Winter, and take note (bring a notepad) of all of the scopes you look through, unfortunately the good planets (Jupiter, Saturn) will be absent most of the night this winter; but there will still be many things to see. People that bring their scopes to star parties are often very friendly and willing to answer any questions on their setup, and will often let you try out the computer or point the scope manually, etc. if you ask nicely.


Edited by Justin Fuller, 14 November 2017 - 05:10 PM.


#8 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:02 PM

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.

Just want to make sure .. this is the same scope right?  The price is $150 lower than your link ... so was wondering if it is same or not.

 

https://www.amazon.c...=Nexstar 127slt



#9 OleCuss

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:05 PM

If at all possible, go to some star parties with a local astronomy club before you buy a telescope.  You are far more likely to learn what you like, what you don't like, and what it is worth to you before you pay out the hard-earned money.


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#10 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:28 PM

If at all possible, go to some star parties with a local astronomy club before you buy a telescope.  You are far more likely to learn what you like, what you don't like, and what it is worth to you before you pay out the hard-earned money.

 

thanks for the advice.



#11 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:30 PM

 

 

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.

thanks .. that's what i want to avoid.  After reading a site, it suggested to start with a binocular first .. which i did, bought the recommended binocular - and never heard the end  of it from wife lol.  Very very disappointing.   If i need to - i can go to $400-$600 range - as long as I'm sure it is easy to use & something i can handle.

 

What is the minimum apertures you recommend?

 

For planets, there definitely seems to be noticeable leap in what can be seen (to me anyway) at around 4.5"-5"  vs. 4" or less. 5" vs. 4" has a noticeable bump up in light gathering for things like the Orion nebula, and many many star clusters.  I recently had an 80mm (3.5") ED refractor out along with my 16" using a 5" off-axis mask (since the atmosphere was not particularly steady) at a star party, both scopes operating around 120x magnification. When people viewed Saturn for the first time in the 80mm, they would say things like "ooooh neat", then when they moved to the 5" masked scope, they said "WOOW!", the Cassini division was much easier to see in the 5" aperture, and subtle cloud color was visible that wasn't noticeable to most people in the 80mm. I suggest trying to find a star party near your area this coming Winter, and take note (bring a notepad) of all of the scopes you look through, unfortunately the good planets (Jupiter, Saturn) will be absent most of the night this winter; but there will still be many things to see. People that bring their scopes to star parties are often very friendly and willing to ask any questions on their setup, and will often let you try out the computer or point the scope manually, etc. if you ask nicely.

 

thanks ... that helps - i'm guessing i would not like something lower than 5" .... want to have  a "woow" factor when looking up planets.



#12 ShaulaB

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:31 PM

Regarding portability. I can fit my 10" f5 Dobsonian, all my accessories, and my spouse in my VW Golf Sportwagen, a much smaller vehicle that what you have. I vote also for a gently used 8" f6 Dobsonian. Since most of the optical tube is empty space, it does not weigh all that much. You can get great views of planets and enjoyable views of deep sky objects.

 

Regarding needing a GOTO. You would be surprised how, with practice, you can track down and view what you want in the eyepiece. If you are not depending on computerized electronics, you will actually learn the sky, and how it moves. Before 1990, unless they were filthy rich, or unless they had extraordinary skills with computers, nobody in the amateur community had a GOTO scope. Don't be scared, learning something new is really quite fun.

 

Having a good Telrad or other finder (not the cheapest red dot finder) helps tremendously--plus knowing how to align the finder. Having actual large-scale paper charts and books also help. Phone and tablet apps might not represent the sky adequately for a complete beginner.

 

As others have said, if you stay in your budget and get a GOTO scope new, you will probably get frustrated at the poor image quality, and you might give up on astronomy altogether.

 

If there is an astronomy club near you, the friendly members will help you get started.


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#13 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:32 PM

I Have not used the NexStar 90 GT, but it looks like a reasonable choice, given your criteria.  I had a Celestron NexStar 130 SLT which has a similar mount, and I can vouch that it worked as advertised.  The only thing to be careful of is that it is limited how high it can point so that it doesn't hit the tripod legs during goto.  Mine wasn't set as a default, so you might have to go through the menus and set it. 

 

The advantage of it being a refractor is less to tweek (collimation) and generally less fragile than a Newtonian reflector.  It's cheaper than a Mak with similar clear aperture (one must remember to subtract the central obstruction from the aperture on reflecting scopes).  Disadvantage is it's not a lot of aperture, which makes everything better looking.  Also, on brighter objects you will have some false color created by the lenses.  Also, on a scope that long, the eyepiece can go pretty high or low depending where you are looking in the sky.  So, you'll want to have a low chair with you when you use it.

 

Goto is nice because it tracks as the earth turns, and it makes it easier to find things.  It can also be frustrating when the computer takes you to things that are beyond the capability of the scope.  There are lots of those, so you'll want to do a little homework about what to look for.  Goto can also be annoying, because you have to align it, and use the hand controller to move the scope around, and have fresh batteries.  It's not a bad way to get started, but you'll probably get sick of it eventually.

 

All that said, any scope is a compromise of factors, and this looks pretty good.

 

That scope has a fairly long focal length, that will increase your magnification.  You will probably want to get a lowest power, widest true field of view possible 1.25" eyepiece right off the bat.  Maybe a 32mm plossl, or a 24mm 68 degree afov.  That will help you hunt around, and give you nice wide field views.

 

If you want to save a couple bucks, you might decide to watch craig's list, and/or the cloudy nights classifieds.  Often people buy scopes, don't use them, and then sell them, and you can do pretty well, if you live near a big city and/or are patient.  If you do that, you might also want to consider a great deal that isn't what you were planning on.  I got an 8" dob for $250, and that'll fit in your car easily, and show you a lot more in the sky.

 

Hope this helps.  Enjoy!

thanks ... now i'm being awfully tempted about the 8" DOB ... as i see it getting recommended repeatedly.



#14 Taosmath

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:33 PM

 

First of all welcome ! Enjoy Cloudy Nights - there's a lot of incredible expertise here, so until some of it comes along to answer your question, here is my 2 cents.

 

The standard ( and very valid) answer to your question is to buy a used 8" Dobsonian, like an Orion XT8. It is within your budget, is simple to set up & use, is robust, will enable you to see lots of objects & will fit in your car.  However it doesn't have goto.

 

I'm a great believer in buying gently used equipment - there's a bunch of it available in the classifieds here or on Astromart.com.  It's very low risk if you buy from a seller with good feedback - I have had an occasional problem (usually damage in Shipping) but it's ALWAYS been resolved properly and to my satisfaction.  I have never been stiffed on a Cloudy Night or Astromart Purchase.

 

That said, if you are willing to go that used route, and you must have Goto, then I'd suggest you look for a used Celestron Nexstar 5SE or a 127SLT.  5SE is better in my opinion (better mount and faster scope) but the 127SLT is pretty good too.  They are both robust and compact.

 

If you won't consider used equipment and want to buy only new stuff, then I don't know what to recommend on your budget.  I'm sure others will.

 

Others will have other opinions, but if I had to do it, I'd get a used dob .  I started with a Celestron Nexstar 6SE (outside your budget) but I soon bought a dob & while I still like, have and use my 6SE, my Dob is the scope I use most often.

 

Good luck with it and have fun!

 

Many thanks - i've seen it another forum as well - 8" dob seems to be recommended in most places.  I'm just afraid, i would spend too much time finding objects. Nexstar 127 seems around $450 in amazon (new) ... so not too bad - if i want to stress my budget a bit (plus they might have some deals on black friday in 2 weeks).

 

Questions:  

  1) either the 127 or 55SE: how does the goto mechanism gets powered?  Does it require a separate battery pack?

  2) If i get a dob, is there any accessories like iphone App or some other external device that can help locating objects?  

  3) How complicated is for a beginner to get started with a 8" Dob vs. a nextstar with goto?  

 

1) The 5SE has a cavity in the mount which you can put 8 AA batteries.  However I prefer to mount a 12V external battery pack (you can get ones like this   www.amazon.com/Talentcell-Rechargeable-6000mAh-Battery-Portable/dp/B00MF70BPU/  from Amazon for about $30) since it can be recharged and is cheaper in the long run.  If you put some velcro on the pack you can stick it onto the arm and you don't have to worry about cables wrapping round itself.  I used this solution also on the SLT mounts I used, which I don't believe have an internal battery cavity.

 

2) There are several iPhone star charts & Apps you can put on your scope to help with finding objects.  Two you could look at include Sky Map & Star Chart.  I don't claim these are the best; others may offer better suggestions, but they use the phones compass and other sensors so that by fastening the phone to the scope the app can show you where you are pointing in the sky.

 

3) If you have a dob, a star chart and a finder plus a buddy or a local astronomy club, it's easy to get started.  Even with the goto you need to be able to set it up and be able to point the scope at 2 or 3 stars that you know.  This permits the scope to figure out which way it's pointing.  Then you press the buttons to goto a specified object and it will usually (but not always!) put the thing you are looking for in the field of view - it helps to have an eyepiece with the largest field of view your scope can provide.  With a 5SE that might be a 32mm or 40mm plossl, which will give you a field of view around 1.1 to 1.2 degrees.  The 5SE also has a feature called 'sky view' which lets you point at any 3 bright stars and IT figures out which stars they are and which way it's pointing.  You don't need to know the names & location of any stars.  I assume that feature works - I've never used it, because even as a beginner I didn't need to use it.



#15 Napp

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:41 PM

If at all possible, go to some star parties with a local astronomy club before you buy a telescope.  You are far more likely to learn what you like, what you don't like, and what it is worth to you before you pay out the hard-earned money.

+1 on going to star parties, outreach events, club meetings first.  You need to see the equipment and be able to ask questions that will be generated.  See what type scope works for you.  I would not buy anything just off online advice.  You need some experience first.  Otherwise you risk setting up someday around other scopes and realizing "if only I had known....".


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#16 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:48 PM

Although an 8" f/5.9 Dob is generally what I recommend, a 6" f/8 Dob will fit into your price range and will provide wider field and somewhat brighter views than a 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain.  One of my "quick look" scopes that I use for observing from my red-zone front yard is a 6" f/8 Orion SkyQuest XT6.

https://www.telescop...RRoCIvUQAvD_BwE

http://www.skywatche...sonian-6-152mm/

 

Attending a public or astronomy club observing event to get a realistic picture of what various telescope designs and apertures can and cannot do is a good idea.

 

Dave Mitsky

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#17 vtornado

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 03:59 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum.

 

For the money, nothing beats the views of a 8" dob.  But it does come with a price.

1)  it is big and bulky (I don't find it heavy, setup is easy).

2)  you don't have go to or tracking.

3) with this lack of traking you are going to have to do the dob-bump,

    which means turning the scope once a minute or so to keep something your looking

   at in the eyepiece.

4)  for high power views you have to make sure it is adjusted (collimated) and it is about

     the same temperature as the outside.   (if you are storing it in your house and taking it

     outside on a cool night this might take an hour).

 

Also a plus about dobs is that they are really simple.  Nothing to really break, and the scope

lends itself to user modification to make it work better.

 

One of the mods for dobs are adding manual setting circles which can get you close to targets.

I have made a pair of these, and usually they can put an object into my finder scope, which

then I can center it and get it in the main scope.

 

 

If you have a goto type scope the following issues occur.

1) you will have to have batteries or power.

2) the goto mount is expensive, and hence a low cost goto will be coupled with a low cost telescope.

3) you have to align it before use, and if you pick it and move it during your session. (tree dodging)

4) some goto scopes cannot be turned without the hand controller.  So if your batteries die you are done.

5) if you go with an SCT they are prone to dew and frost forming.   (this can be remedied with additional equip)


Edited by vtornado, 14 November 2017 - 04:04 PM.

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#18 Starkid2u

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:32 PM

O.K. Well, what you want and what you can afford are two different things here. You know, if you want a computerized go-to scope, you have to know all the major stars in order to achieve a two star alignment. They never tell you that. Besides, getting one like that for $300 is a tall order. I'm going to be the next one to recommend a 6 or 8" dob. Affordable, transportable and easy to learn. You should probably get a book, too, so you can figure out where everything is first. I'm getting the sense that patience isn't your strong suit. So you'll have to practice that, too. Learning anything from scratch takes time and patience and is half the fun! Get the Pocket Sky Atlas from Sky & Telescope and don't forget to get a red flashlight! You'll need it. That's my two cents. Good luck on your choice!

 

STARKID2U


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#19 Gary Z

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:37 PM

 

 

thanks .. that's what i want to avoid.  After reading a site, it suggested to start with a binocular first .. which i did, bought the recommended binocular - and never heard the end  of it from wife lol.  Very very disappointing.   If i need to - i can go to $400-$600 range - as long as I'm sure it is easy to use & something i can handle.

 

What is the minimum apertures you recommend?

 

I can tell you my experiences....I first bought a MEADE ETX-80 Refractor because I wanted the light weight and manageable setup.  Yes the meade ETX -80 refractor proved light weight.  GOTOs were horrible or never worked well.  I replaced four of these during the one year warranty.  I then purchased a Celestron 8 SE.  Worked like a champ even with my learning out to use it.  It has served me very well over the years and that two year warranty is very nice to have.  I did later buy a used EVO-8 mount which is also very wonderful to use.  But if you can, let your first goto mount be a new one.  I love a bargain as much as the next guy, but you will be learning how to use the mount and if you run into issues, having that two year warranty while you are learning the mount will give you piece of mind.   Also, be advised the 2 year warranty with Celestron is not transferrable.  I've had my OTA replaced, and the red dot finder.  Totally good experiences too. 

 

I like the SLT line also, which is what was recommended to you.  The 6 SE is a solid scope as well. 

 

All this being said, do consider going to the star parties as recommended.  Just think of being able to sample the various telescopes and being able to ask a ton of questions as you are also enjoying the night sky. 

 

I'm sorry you had a disappointing experience with the binoculars.  I love bringing mine out to our star parties along with the telescope. 

 

Do take your time to decide. You'll be happier in the long run.

 

Best wishes on your choice!

 

Gary



#20 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:40 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum.

 

For the money, nothing beats the views of a 8" dob.  But it does come with a price.

1)  it is big and bulky (I don't find it heavy, setup is easy).

2)  you don't have go to or tracking.

3) with this lack of traking you are going to have to do the dob-bump,

    which means turning the scope once a minute or so to keep something your looking

   at in the eyepiece.

4)  for high power views you have to make sure it is adjusted (collimated) and it is about

     the same temperature as the outside.   (if you are storing it in your house and taking it

     outside on a cool night this might take an hour).

 

Also a plus about dobs is that they are really simple.  Nothing to really break, and the scope

lends itself to user modification to make it work better.

 

One of the mods for dobs are adding manual setting circles which can get you close to targets.

I have made a pair of these, and usually they can put an object into my finder scope, which

then I can center it and get it in the main scope.

 

 

If you have a goto type scope the following issues occur.

1) you will have to have batteries or power.

2) the goto mount is expensive, and hence a low cost goto will be coupled with a low cost telescope.

3) you have to align it before use, and if you pick it and move it during your session. (tree dodging)

4) some goto scopes cannot be turned without the hand controller.  So if your batteries die you are done.

5) if you go with an SCT they are prone to dew and frost forming.   (this can be remedied with additional equip)

- 1 hour to adjust the temperature!  I guess i can always leave it outside 1 hour prior to when i plan to use it? 

- Thanks for explaining the "dob-bump" .... might have to take that into consideration.  Didn't think about that.

-  I was wondering what happens if battery dies - thanks for pointing out for some model can't be used without the battery power.

 

And thank you for explaining it the trade off.



#21 prozario

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:49 PM

Can someone explain how this star parties work?  let's say i want to see a 8" dob or some other model referred here.  So do they publish type of telescopes that'll be available to view?  Do i just go there - and ask people if I can see their telescope?
 

Is there website that you recommend to lookup location of star party?



#22 Justin Fuller

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:56 PM

 

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.

Just want to make sure .. this is the same scope right?  The price is $150 lower than your link ... so was wondering if it is same or not.

 

https://www.amazon.c...=Nexstar 127slt

 

 

 

If you can wait and spend a bit more, I think you should, and get something like https://www.celestro...rized-telescope This will give great views of the planets, and will frame most deep sky objects well. I think you may find smaller apertures  (lens or mirror size) a bit disappointing on most objects but the moon. These optics will provide much better views than a 90mm Achromatic refractor, and will still be very portable and relatively maintenance free.

 

It will be difficult to find a scope you'll enjoy with the features you're looking for, for $300. In that price range, you'll be paying mostly for the computerized mount, and the telescope quality will suffer to stay within that price range. I recommend patience, and saving for a ~$600 price range scope if a go-to computerized mount is a priority.

Just want to make sure .. this is the same scope right?  The price is $150 lower than your link ... so was wondering if it is same or not.

 

https://www.amazon.c...=Nexstar 127slt

 

Yes, same scope. If possible, I suggest looking for a local-ish dealer (within reasonable driving distance), they may price match Amazon, and will likely provide better customer service. These, and any other mass produced scopes can have QC issues, and it will be easier to deal with potential issues in person, than constantly sending back and forth a scope through Amazon returns.



#23 Justin Fuller

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:02 PM

Can someone explain how this star parties work?  let's say i want to see a 8" dob or some other model referred here.  So do they publish type of telescopes that'll be available to view?  Do i just go there - and ask people if I can see their telescope?
 

Is there website that you recommend to lookup location of star party?

Generally it's totally random. Some of the club members show up with their scope(s), and usually there is no fore-knowledge about what will appear. So I'd recommend finding the largest club in your area to ensure there will be a lot of scopes. Just go up to each person and ask what they are using, I highly recommend bringing a notepad, and taking good notes on telescope type, eyepiece used, your impression of the view and general impression of how the scope works. You should feel free to ask just about any type of question.

 

http://www.skyandtel...rgazing-events/ This is a list of some of the bigger events if you want to ensure you'll have a lot of scopes to choose from, these usually occur every year around the same date.



#24 Napp

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:02 PM

Can someone explain how this star parties work?  let's say i want to see a 8" dob or some other model referred here.  So do they publish type of telescopes that'll be available to view?  Do i just go there - and ask people if I can see their telescope?
 

Is there website that you recommend to lookup location of star party?

Yeah, basically you go and ask if they will show and tell you about their scope.  However, the rules are different depending on what type event is being held.  If it's an outreach event feel free to ask anyone there whatever you want.  If it is a club observing session or a star party, first see if the person is really focused on viewing (ie. taking notes, etc.) or astrophotography.  If so you should probably leave them alone unless you see them interacting with other folks.  Many people will be very open to answering your questions and showing you their equipment.  You should be able to easily determine who they are.  Just be respectful of their time and what they are trying to accomplish.  You will be amazed at what you can learn.  It will also help establish realistic expectations of what you actually can see through a scope.


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#25 Diana N

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:03 PM

- 1 hour to adjust the temperature!  I guess i can always leave it outside 1 hour prior to when i plan to use it? 

 

 

Can someone explain how this star parties work?  let's say i want to see a 8" dob or some other model referred here.  So do they publish type of telescopes that'll be available to view?  Do i just go there - and ask people if I can see their telescope?
 

Is there website that you recommend to lookup location of star party?

Or you can store the scope in a place where it will always be close to outside temperatures (like a garage).  Which raises the question:  where do you live?  Dobs are not terribly heavy, but they are bulky; a Dob is easier to use if you live in a house with a garage where you can store the scope.  If you're going to have to carry the scope up and down stairs to get it outside, a refractor or (especially) an SCT is a more practical choice..

 

As for star parties and how they work:  it differs from club to club.  Most clubs have both public outreach events and members-only observing sessions.  If you can attend a club-only observing session, you are more likely to be allowed a hands-on use of the attending members' scopes, but attending either will at least let you  see a variety of scopes and their relative sizes.  Your best bet is to contact your local club directly, tell them you're a beginner researching a telescope purchase who'd like to see some different types of scopes, and ask when their next event is going to be held.  Here's a website where you can find a listing of most of the active astronomy clubs in the US:  https://www.astrolea...clubs-usa-state


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