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Looking to buy my first telescope!

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#1 Rogue Wanderer

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 01:42 AM

I've finally decided to get a telescope in the very near future.

I recently found a used celestron nexstar 130 for $200.

I was previously looking seriously at a nexstar 8se.

So I was just looking for some input if I might be better off getting the 130slt to use for a while then upgrading to a better scope.

Or would i be better off just saving some more money to get a better scope initially.

Any info or advice would be appreciated!

Thanks
Chris

#2 ShaulaB

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 02:26 AM

For around $400 you can get an 8" Dobsonian, which is the perfect beginner's visual scope. Hold off on astrophotography, as it is a money pit.


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#3 macdonjh

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 06:37 AM

That 130mm scope will show you a lot and allow you to get started for not much money.  If you enjoy astronomy you'll be upgrading anyway, so my advise is to get the 130mm scope and start observing right away.  While you use your first scope you'll find out whether or not you really like astronomy, what kinds of objects you like to observe, and what the sky conditions are like in Nacogdoches.  All that will affect the kind of gear you eventually collect.  You may find the 130mm Celestron is the perfect scope for you.


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#4 Rogue Wanderer

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 07:19 AM

For around $400 you can get an 8" Dobsonian, which is the perfect beginner's visual scope. Hold off on astrophotography, as it is a money pit.

I spotted a zhumell 12" used. For sale this morning. For $450.
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#5 sg6

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 07:50 AM

I started out with the same question to myself sometime around 2000.

A Celestron 8SE or a smaller less expensive ETX-70.

I bought the ETX, still have it, still use it. Never did get an 8SE.

 

The 130 is probably a better general scope, it will do a lot fairly well, just not one specific aspect brilliantly. If it is easy to set up and use then you will set it up and use it more often. An inexpensive general scope is I think more applicable as a first one. Realise any limitations of whatever you buy, and for interest the 8SE has limitation of not really producing nice wide views of the sky. Framed views of M42 and M45 are not easy without additional outlay.

 

Have suggested that instead of looking at the positives make a list of the negatives. Could turn up something that you cannot live with.

Long focal length = high magnifications = narrow views.

Big mirror = good light gather = heavy.

Big mirror = Fast scope = critical on collimation and setting.

Nice apo = sharp images = costly.

 

If AP is a future thought then think a little carefully. The 8SE can do AP but it is in many ways the wrong scope for it - do not mix up a good visual scope equalling a good AP scope. Also AP means an equitorial mount and the 8SE is basically Alt/Az.

 

Treat AP as a completely seperate area from visual.


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#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 07:56 AM

I don't find an astronomy club close to you. but there is an observatory at SF Austin University close by that has public nights. You might go to one of those and see what scopes they are using and get a feel for how various scopes operate. Kind of like test driving a car before buying. You will also be able to ask the student astronomers about their experiences with various types of scopes and it may be that some local amateurs will be on hand who can assist you as well.


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#7 rayco

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 08:12 AM

I've finally decided to get a telescope in the very near future.

I recently found a used celestron nexstar 130 for $200.

I was previously looking seriously at a nexstar 8se.

So I was just looking for some input if I might be better off getting the 130slt to use for a while then upgrading to a better scope.

Or would i be better off just saving some more money to get a better scope initially.

Any info or advice would be appreciated!

Thanks
Chris

Make a list of all the accessories that don't come with the scope and add that to your purchase price.  Things like dew heater/controller, remote battery power supply, AC adapter, eyepieces, barlows, filters, scope covers, connecting cables (for firmware updates), etc.  Some of these items might be included with one scope and not another.  Some items you might not feel necessary.  Just know your true cost before pulling the trigger so you don't come up short.


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#8 wky46

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 09:35 AM

I spotted a zhumell 12" used. For sale this morning. For $450.

That sounds really good!


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#9 Starkid2u

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 12:16 PM

+ 1 on the Zhumell. Aperture rules. Big aperture sees all. Go for it!

 

STARKID2U


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#10 Chesterguy1

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 12:38 PM

While I agree that the available Zhumel is a good deal (if optics & mechanicals check out), don't forget that lugging a 12" dob is not for the fainthearted and is a substantial bump in size, girth, and weight from even an 8" and certainly in a league altogether different than the 130mm.

 

Keep in mind--as was mentioned--that you will need EPs (some may come with it) and soon other components will call (Telrad?, coma corrector?, for sure a viewing chair perhaps a cart for moving it as well as a good collimation set.  All, but a finder, coloration gear and at least a couple of EPs can come down the road.  Straight through finders are literally a pain in the neck.

 

As Stark said aperture rules, but there are always a trade-offs and in this case you have to understand the value (and issues) with getting a big scope--and a 12" solid tube dob is entering the playground with the big boys.  As someone who owns a 120mm, 8" and 15" I can tell you that it's hard to beat 15" of aperture on ANY object, but practically speaking I use my 8" the most, followed by the 120mm and the 15" only on the best nights or going to dark locations.  I have a very light 8", but still put it on a two-wheel dolly.  The older one gets the more careful one is lifting heavy gear.

 

Are you confident it will fit in your vehicle?  How far will you have to move it?  Are you willing to wait for a mirror to reach ambient temp?  Willing to star-hop instead of computer assist?  These are all questions that you need to answer before jumping in.

 

Ultimately, many here own more than one scope as there is no true "Goldilocks" that does everything.  However, you will see a 6-10" dob frequently recommended as a starter scope and my feeling is that 8" is nearly perfect for may applications--although admittedly, not all.

 

Gogiboy


Edited by Chesterguy1, 23 June 2018 - 12:46 PM.

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#11 Gneissic

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 01:39 PM

I went through this a couple years ago.  I found a local club and used a few loaners from them.  I ended up buying a Zhumell Z8.  I like it a lot.  Being a dob., it helps me learn the skies because everything is manual.  When  asking around, everyone has their favorites and they all have pros and cons.  Best advise; find some that you can try out and pick what you like best.


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#12 kfiscus

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 02:08 PM

The Z12 is a very good deal but not what I would recommend for a beginner.  I don't want that to sound condescending.  The bulk will be a turn off and the narrower field of view will make finding targets a little harder.


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#13 Mike W.

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 02:32 PM

here's a link to a Celsetron video on thew 130 slt so you can get a visual about what's involved with it.

In the video you'll see then installing batteries, you'll d this a lot or get a remote battery.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=t-_Khwl2Iv8

 

Dobs are fun, but they too are not just plug & play, there's collimation to learn.

 

Agreed that aperture is nice but so is portability.

 

Pro's and con's for each.


Edited by Mike W., 23 June 2018 - 02:32 PM.

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#14 Eddgie

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 02:44 PM

My recommendation for a beginner scope is 8" or 10" dob.

 

People will say that you will use the smaller scope more and that may be true, but this is the way this pans out.

You might use a smaller scope more because it is easy, but you wind up going back to the same 100 targets because they are the only ones you can see well enough to enjoy.

 

You might use the larger scope less (maybe) but every time you go out, you have the chance of seeing something new.

 

The very vast majority of people on CN have at least two scopes and many have a room or garage full of scopes and I have several myself so I get to choose the one I want for a given day.

 

Think about that when you think about what scope you want.   Easy to use, or capable of seeing more.    Does not have to be more complicated than that. 


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#15 Rogue Wanderer

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 04:02 PM

+ 1 on the Zhumell. Aperture rules. Big aperture sees all. Go for it!

STARKID2U

Sale is already pending so I'm sure it's gone at that price.

#16 Rogue Wanderer

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 04:05 PM

I don't find an astronomy club close to you. but there is an observatory at SF Austin University close by that has public nights. You might go to one of those and see what scopes they are using and get a feel for how various scopes operate. Kind of like test driving a car before buying. You will also be able to ask the student astronomers about their experiences with various types of scopes and it may be that some local amateurs will be on hand who can assist you as well.

I've tried contacting the sfa observatory, in the past. By email and on Facebook with no luck. I was hoping to get a chance to go to one of the public viewings.

#17 Mike W.

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 04:09 PM

also there's the mirror cool down to consider, well that's when you move your scope to a cooler location, there's a thermal boundary layer of air that forms on the surface of the mirror, and the mirrors in Newt's/Dob's of larger apiture are known to hang onto this view hindering layer of air.

6" and up will take upwards of an hour to cool to almost ambient temperature but as the night wears on the mirror temp still plays keep up with the drop in ambient air temp.

 

A boundary layer fan will reduce the wait time much faster than a fan blowing on the back of the mirror known in general as a cooling fan.

I used very small fans around the perimeter of the mirror and they work very well and no vibration like you might get from a larger cooling fan.

 

Then there's coma, in the focal ration of f/5 and lower/faster optics, so eventually as you partake in wider field of view that a Newtonian design has, like twice that of an equal aperture SCT style scope.

 

Edit: True that a dob is a great beginners scope, you'll generally find them on Craigslist going for great prices ,just beware of spider webs in the tube, means there may be mirror damage from spider waste.

 

Take your time and do your research. Star's no going anywhere while you make up your mind..


Edited by Mike W., 23 June 2018 - 04:16 PM.

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#18 nickcodybarrett

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 05:11 PM

I spotted a zhumell 12" used. For sale this morning. For $450.

If you don't mind something heavy, get it.


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#19 vtornado

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 09:22 PM

Hello Chris and welcome to the forum.

 

For beginners I do not like SCT's unless they are on a goto mount.   The field of view is quite narrow and this makes it hard to find targets.

Especially if you have light pollution.   If you have goto this can be used to find things to look at, but that adds setup time and money.

 

A 130 newt is a good option.  So is the aforementioned 8 inch dob.   So is an 80 or 100mm refractor.  So is a 114mm long tube reflector.

 

I think the nexstar mount may limit you not being able to move the telescope without the motors.   Which means you always need batteries,

and you can't quickly sweep the sky.

 

The 12 inch you mentioned above is a great scope.   Just really big,  and really heavy.  Can you move your water heater?   That is how big it is.


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#20 Mike W.

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 07:44 AM

you must have a small water heater, the ota weight is around 40lbs, so is the base but the capabilities for that scope capturing photon's to sort out stomp sct's and refactors.


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#21 penguinx64

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 08:06 AM

$200 for a 130mm goto reflector sounds good to me. 


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#22 Mike W.

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 08:57 AM

The real down side of the 130 the op is discussing is the wiggle factor,the tripods  don't support well and the single arm mount is prone to wiggle factor every single time you touch the scope, especially when focusing, that's one of the main reasons these types of scopes are so easy to come by in the ad's and inexpensive.

And then there is also the tripod dance, that's where the observer is side stepping around the pods legs in the dark and catches a foot on one of them, throws the alignment off and even sometimes you spend some time picking up the pieces.

 

get a dob!


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#23 Sky Muse

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 02:03 PM

Save up for this instead...

 

https://www.highpoin...WRoCeT4QAvD_BwE

 

That one will instill a sense of pride-of-ownership, like no other, and best of all no collimating is necessary.  Sitting there directly behind the refractor, like a pilot on a ship, you'll be Cap'n Astro piloting his spacecraft across and throughout the Cosmos.


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#24 Rogue Wanderer

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 02:45 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far! The NexStar 130 sold already and the 12” dob is still pending.

Keeping an eye out for anymore that pop up locally.

As far as light pollution it’s not to bad at my house. Me and my daughter play around with landscape Milky Way pics in the drive way.

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Edited by Rogue Wanderer, 24 June 2018 - 02:45 PM.

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#25 Sky Muse

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 03:06 PM

Yep, that home-sky is begging for that 12" aperture.  But the 5" aperture of a refractor would be no slouch, either.


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