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First Telescope?

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#51 Cobalt*Blue

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 08:18 PM

You may be able to get a loaner telescope from your local library. Ours has an Orion 4.5 mini Dob that us yours for a week. You get to try before you buy. Just a thought. Chris.
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#52 Dogamite

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 10:09 PM

I have a 114 PowerSeeker EQ. The scope isn’t as much the problem as the EQ1 mount which is frustrating, sloppy, undermounted, and has thin bolt axis. Paired with a lousy focuser with as much slop in it was something that sat around for 10 years being “not used”

#53 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 10:49 AM

I take a different approach.

 

I started with a 76mm reflector and a 50mm refractor my wife bought me for Christmas a few years back. I used the 76mm reflector for a year before upgrading to a Meade Polaris 130, and I was amazed at how many things I was able to see with the little scope. Prior to my upgrade, for $20 I picked up a 60mm Tasco on an EQ-1 mount to try out equatorial mounts and fell in love with them and knew that my next scope would have an EQ mount. I had zero interest in a Dobsonian scope. I have to carry my telescopes down a steep flight of stairs outside in the dark to use them, so weight and the ability to carry everything I needed in one trip was important to me. I also learned that I really liked manually tracking down objects (in fact, that was most of the fun for me) so I knew that GOTO was something I also had zero interest in. If I'd started with a GOTO scope I probably would have lost interest in the hobby very quickly. "Oh, that's all there is to see?"

 

I like my Polaris 130. At around 26 lbs it was the heaviest thing I felt like I could safely carry down the stairs one-armed in one trip. It comes with better eyepieces (3 eyepiece plus a 2x Barlow) than the Celestron 130 does. Otherwise it's pretty much the same telescope, and is often cheaper (got mine for $149 on a black friday sale with free shipping). Granted, it still benefits from a modest upgrade to Ploessl eyepieces but it's not as imperative to upgrade immediately as it is with the Celestron's H20mm and SR4mm eyepieces. It's not perfect, but it's usable. It's relatively light, easy to transport, quick to set up, is available with a carrying bag as an accessory. With a drive motor and minor modifications it can be used for very basic astrophotography if you already have a camera and wanted to try dabbling with it later on. There's some debate about the mirrors, whether they're parabolic or spherical, and whether they're the same as the Celestron, Orion, etc. Mine said "parabolic mirror" on the back of the box. Newer ones may be different. I don't think the Meade and Celestron customer service reps actually know anything about their entry-level products, so take what they say with a grain of salt. I've seen a number of things that they've supposedly said that were flat out wrong.

 

In any case, the advantage of starting with a less expensive scope is that they are less intimidating. I've bought three nice, mint condition telescopes (ETX-90, Meade 2045 4" SCT, and LX-10 8" SCT) for peanuts from people who thought they must start with a "nice" telescope only to find that they were more complicated to use than they thought and after trying to use them a couple times the scopes sat in the closet for 20 years before they decided to get rid of them. A small, light weight scope is more likely to be taken out on a whim and thus more likely to get used than something that weights 50 pounds and takes half an hour to set up and get ready to use. You also are less worried about you (or your child) accidentally breaking it, which takes some of the stress out of the whole experience.

 

Another advantage of starting modestly is that you can try observing different things and figure out what you like before you shell out big bucks on a more specialized scope. Even then you haven't wasted money because you'll notice that most folks on here have more than one scope. A big one ("light bucket") and a small one ("grab and go") and maybe a few specialists or sentimental scopes so the one you start with will always be useful. It's also possible that the first scope can be a hand-me-down to the kid if you upgrade later.

 

As far as kids go, my children (3 and 7) like looking through my telescopes but only for a few minutes and then they're off to do something else. I got the older one his own usable "toy" scope when he was 4 (a 50mm Tasco with a 40mm eyepiece: total cost $20) so he could use it on his own and it wouldn't matter if he abused it or broke it. He took good care of it and used it to look at the moon and Jupiter (proudly showed Jupiter's moons to his grandma on his own), so a couple years later I upgraded him to a used 70mm travel scope with carrying bag ($20, but I didn't like the tripod and mount so I got a used heavier duty tripod and mount similar to the Celestron Astromaster series for another $20--now he has a travel tripod and a home tripod). He doesn't use it often but did use it for a 1st grade school project where they were supposed to sketch the phases of the moon (naked eye viewing). He drew in the prominent craters and features he could see with his scope on his sketches and blew away his teacher and classmates and got to brag about having his own telescope at school. In any case, he spends more time outside if he has his own scope than he does if he's just looking through mine. Waiting your turn in the dark is boring for a kid. It's more fun if they have their own thing to play with while you are finding the next thing to see. Then after they come see it in your scope you can show them how to find it in theirs. My criteria for a kids' scope: light weight, easy to set up and use, LOW power (so it's easier to find things), and expendable because kids aren't always the best at taking care of fragile things.

 

My only minimum recommendation for starter scopes would be these: not less than 70mm, comes with Kelner, MA, or "Super" eyepeices (not Huygens [H] or Ramsden [SR]), though Ploessl eyepieces are better. That's enough to be able to see *something*, even in pretty light polluted skies. More important than the scope (to me) is having some idea how to find interesting things to look at. I like the book Turn Left at Orion, but Nightwatch is also popular.



#54 dthom74

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 08:35 PM

I take a different approach.

I started with a 76mm reflector and a 50mm refractor my wife bought me for Christmas a few years back. I used the 76mm reflector for a year before upgrading to a Meade Polaris 130, and I was amazed at how many things I was able to see with the little scope. Prior to my upgrade, for $20 I picked up a 60mm Tasco on an EQ-1 mount to try out equatorial mounts and fell in love with them and knew that my next scope would have an EQ mount. I had zero interest in a Dobsonian scope. I have to carry my telescopes down a steep flight of stairs outside in the dark to use them, so weight and the ability to carry everything I needed in one trip was important to me. I also learned that I really liked manually tracking down objects (in fact, that was most of the fun for me) so I knew that GOTO was something I also had zero interest in. If I'd started with a GOTO scope I probably would have lost interest in the hobby very quickly. "Oh, that's all there is to see?"

I like my Polaris 130. At around 26 lbs it was the heaviest thing I felt like I could safely carry down the stairs one-armed in one trip. It comes with better eyepieces (3 eyepiece plus a 2x Barlow) than the Celestron 130 does. Otherwise it's pretty much the same telescope, and is often cheaper (got mine for $149 on a black friday sale with free shipping). Granted, it still benefits from a modest upgrade to Ploessl eyepieces but it's not as imperative to upgrade immediately as it is with the Celestron's H20mm and SR4mm eyepieces. It's not perfect, but it's usable. It's relatively light, easy to transport, quick to set up, is available with a carrying bag as an accessory. With a drive motor and minor modifications it can be used for very basic astrophotography if you already have a camera and wanted to try dabbling with it later on. There's some debate about the mirrors, whether they're parabolic or spherical, and whether they're the same as the Celestron, Orion, etc. Mine said "parabolic mirror" on the back of the box. Newer ones may be different. I don't think the Meade and Celestron customer service reps actually know anything about their entry-level products, so take what they say with a grain of salt. I've seen a number of things that they've supposedly said that were flat out wrong.

In any case, the advantage of starting with a less expensive scope is that they are less intimidating. I've bought three nice, mint condition telescopes (ETX-90, Meade 2045 4" SCT, and LX-10 8" SCT) for peanuts from people who thought they must start with a "nice" telescope only to find that they were more complicated to use than they thought and after trying to use them a couple times the scopes sat in the closet for 20 years before they decided to get rid of them. A small, light weight scope is more likely to be taken out on a whim and thus more likely to get used than something that weights 50 pounds and takes half an hour to set up and get ready to use. You also are less worried about you (or your child) accidentally breaking it, which takes some of the stress out of the whole experience.

Another advantage of starting modestly is that you can try observing different things and figure out what you like before you shell out big bucks on a more specialized scope. Even then you haven't wasted money because you'll notice that most folks on here have more than one scope. A big one ("light bucket") and a small one ("grab and go") and maybe a few specialists or sentimental scopes so the one you start with will always be useful. It's also possible that the first scope can be a hand-me-down to the kid if you upgrade later.

As far as kids go, my children (3 and 7) like looking through my telescopes but only for a few minutes and then they're off to do something else. I got the older one his own usable "toy" scope when he was 4 (a 50mm Tasco with a 40mm eyepiece: total cost $20) so he could use it on his own and it wouldn't matter if he abused it or broke it. He took good care of it and used it to look at the moon and Jupiter (proudly showed Jupiter's moons to his grandma on his own), so a couple years later I upgraded him to a used 70mm travel scope with carrying bag ($20, but I didn't like the tripod and mount so I got a used heavier duty tripod and mount similar to the Celestron Astromaster series for another $20--now he has a travel tripod and a home tripod). He doesn't use it often but did use it for a 1st grade school project where they were supposed to sketch the phases of the moon (naked eye viewing). He drew in the prominent craters and features he could see with his scope on his sketches and blew away his teacher and classmates and got to brag about having his own telescope at school. In any case, he spends more time outside if he has his own scope than he does if he's just looking through mine. Waiting your turn in the dark is boring for a kid. It's more fun if they have their own thing to play with while you are finding the next thing to see. Then after they come see it in your scope you can show them how to find it in theirs. My criteria for a kids' scope: light weight, easy to set up and use, LOW power (so it's easier to find things), and expendable because kids aren't always the best at taking care of fragile things.

My only minimum recommendation for starter scopes would be these: not less than 70mm, comes with Kelner, MA, or "Super" eyepeices (not Huygens [H] or Ramsden [SR]), though Ploessl eyepieces are better. That's enough to be able to see *something*, even in pretty light polluted skies. More important than the scope (to me) is having some idea how to find interesting things to look at. I like the book Turn Left at Orion, but Nightwatch is also popular.


I like your approach on getting a telescope so I think I will take that advice giving here.
I do want to chime in with a couple of books.

I just finished reading 50 things to see with a small telescope which is great book for a beginner and the other one I'm reading is the total skywatchers manual very good so far.
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#55 aeajr

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 11:39 PM

snip...

B. Your kid, and maybe others in the family, show interest in stargazing and the scope gets used a lot. For six months. After which point everyone agrees that you should spend $400 to get a better one to replace it.

snip..

I think your target scenario here is B. Yes, the $200 is still money down the drain, but at least you were able to determine that there was indeed interest before dropping $400 on a better scope. And maybe you have a better idea of what scope to get for $400 now that you have had six months to experiment. At least maybe you know what scope not to get. So this is the problem with the approach most beginners take: the first telescope is money down the drain because they only got a good enough one to test the waters.

The obvious solution is to spend some time with these clubs and try some scopes out. For me, a public star party opened my eyes. I dropped $750 on a new scope the following month.

Scott

you said that this scenario is the one that matches you best. 

 

yes, I think this is pretty much where I find myself

I agree spending time with a club or someone who has scopes you can try ( like me) is your best bet.  

 

However if you are eager to buy something, still looking at new, let's look at lowest cost starter sets that will give you enough to see if a scope is something you and your family really want long term.   Even if you buy something bigger later, these will continue to be used as grab and go or travel scopes. 

 

 

Meade Instruments 209003 Infinity 70 AZ Refractor Telescope – $65 - About 12 pounds

Nothing needs to be added

70 mm Includes finder scope, 2 eyepieces and a barlow lens that doubles the mag of each eyepiece.
http://www.amazon.co...cope under $200
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=ck0MQZiSc9Y
Owner comments
https://www.cloudyni...e/#entry8934583
Discussion about what can be seen with a 70 mm refractor
https://www.cloudyni...actor/?hl=+70mm

 

 

 

Orion FunScope Astro Dazzle 4.5” Reflector Telescope  $129
Be sure to watch the video on the Orion site and the owner review
Comes with 2 eyepieces, collimation cap and a moon map.
Consider adding a 2X or 3X barlow in the future  ( $35) 
https://www.telescop...pe/p/106929.uts
Video
https://www.telescop...or/p/115093.uts
https://www.youtube....WCA&app=desktop
Product review
https://www.telescop...ope-kit-review/
http://www.skyandtel...ctor-telescope/

 

 

Super Simple Tabletop telescope stand
https://www.youtube....h?v=HsGD9mU8cR0
http://www.eyesonthe...eTripod2x4.aspx

 

 

 

Meade Infinity 80 mm refractor - $150 - Nothing else needed

3 eyepieces and barlow included

https://www.amazon.c...under+$200&th=1

 

 

 

 

Meade Infinity 90mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope - 600 mm FL – $190  About 12 pounds

Comes with everything you need.   Nothing to add

Received Sky and Telescope Innovative Astronomy Gear in Jan 2016 Sky and Telescope.
Includes slow motion controls, finder scope, 3 eyepieces and a 2X barlow for 6 magnifications.
https://www.amazon.c...inity+90mm&th=1
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=FniHZOPwzYI
https://www.youtube....h?v=0mfGjiT_PPc
Product review
http://www.skyandtel...ds/3-scopes.pdf

 

 

These are the lowest cost scopes that I will recommend.  They will all get you into the sky. They all come with enough to get you started and are under your $200 budget.   Frankly I would enjoy owning any of these myself. 


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#56 aeajr

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Posted Yesterday, 12:02 AM

Here is a package deal on Craig's list that is hard to resist.  Two scopes for $150.   

https://newyork.crai...6744595135.html

 

Only comes with one eyepiece, but I can loan you some eyepieces to get you going. 



#57 OldNo7

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Posted Yesterday, 01:17 AM

hey everyone!!

 

sorry for my absence the past few days but been busy with family and work. I GREATLY appreciate everyone's help and insight. It's nice to come here, talk and ask questions, and be welcomed without being looked down upon. So here's my update:

 

I met up with aeajr at an observatory somewhat near us for a public outreach night on Saturday night, where he introduced me to NYJohn S. For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of meeting aeajr, he's the epitome of a class act. Both of them took the time to talk to me and show me numerous things in the sky...and introduce me to binoculars. As I've previously professed, I'm less than a novice and would've NEVER thought about binoculars. But after Saturday night and looking through binoculars, I actually came away with a better grasp of just how much there is to see up there with only a little extra oompf...

 

After reading through different people's recommendations on this thread, I started looking at used scopes since I'm on my tight "budget". I came across an extremely generic ad on Craigslist 5 minutes from my house, so I figured what did I have to lose. I went to check it out. I sent the ad to aeajr before going and he identified the scope for me as a Meade DS-2080AT-TC (D=80mm F=800mm f/10). I went to go look at it Tuesday. It powered on and the screen on the handset looked good. I went through the beginning portion of the setup menu with no glitches, everything seemed to look in decent shape. Pretty dirty overall, but appeared to just be overly dusty from sitting in a corner or garage or something, not from abuse. However, it only has a 9mm eyepiece. Not a huge deal, but without knowing much I left it. I went home to do a little more research on that particular scope and price out decent eyepieces and a barlow. I got a message from the lady selling it about two hours after I left (her father was there to show it to me) asking me if it's not what I was looking for. I briefly explained that I was new to telescopes, but would need to buy additional eyepieces and was going to see how much the total cost would come to...Then she says I could have it for $20 because it was her friends and that's all he was looking for. Then 2 minutes later, she tells me just take it because she doesn't even know if it works and refused to take my money. So I'm now the proud owner for the low, low, price of FREE!! SCORE!!

 

I figured for that price I couldn't go wrong!! I initially was torn about looking for a GoTo, especially after talking to NYJohn S on Saturday night. A GoTo kinda feels like cheating to me and then like John said, you miss out on other stuff while you're scanning and moving to your next target. However, with the extreme light pollution where we are at, a GoTo would ensure I am on target. So given my primary mission of my 4 y/o son, I started kinda leaning towards a GoTo if I could find one on the cheap because I'd hate to be aimlessly scanning without knowing what exactly I'm see as a point of reference to find something I'm actually looking for. As a result I just fell into this and obviously couldn't be happier...now onto my next thread start in the eyepiece section, which ones first?? haha

 

Thank you to everyone, all of your responses and input were and are still greatly appreciated...


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#58 aeajr

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Posted Yesterday, 05:41 AM

Congratulations on your new scope.

I strongly disagree with the comments on GoTo. I think they are wonderful and can lead to early success.

I look forward to our time under the stars together.

#59 organge

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Posted Yesterday, 08:10 AM

We all know how quickly kids get bored so you need something that will be up and running quickly and will show you the image at the eyepiece in no time. For that you need goto and tracking. It will be easier for you especially in light polluted sky.

 

After many telescopes bought and sold I settled on 102 Mak ( I do have others but this one is used 90% of the time lately ). I bought the whole package with AZ Gti WIFI mount and tripod. I am up and running quickly with this setup and it gives phenomenal view of some open clusters and double stars. Albiero is an easy target and showing colours will be of great value to keep the little one interested.

 

Get a new prism diagonal and Baader zoom and you will have a very capable package for years to come.



#60 Jond105

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Posted Yesterday, 08:25 AM

Congrats on the scope. And class act from aeajr and NYJohn. You're lucky to be able to meet up with guys from here to help you out. Don't feel bad about getting goto. It's definitely not cheating. I don't have it, but I wouldn't stop anybody from giving me a goto scope.
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#61 Slslinde

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Posted Yesterday, 09:17 AM

Try to get a Explore Scientific refractor cheaper than most but unfortunately will cost more than two hundred, the old adage is you pay for what you get!   Perhaps a finder scope to start with



#62 JohnnyBGood

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Posted Yesterday, 10:01 AM

Awesome! Sounds like you've gotten yourself a good scope at a great price. For what it's worth, I would have bought that scope for what the original asking price probably was if I saw one for sale locally. I've been casually on the lookout for something similar if I can get it inexpensively enough just to try one out. Even if the GOTO didn't work at all the optical tube itself should be excellent, and it's not hard to put a scope like that on a different mount if it turns out you don't like GOTO or if it conks out. Hopefully it will work, though, because I can see where it would come in handy with kids. I will admit my scopes with motorized tracking mounts are much easier to let the kids look through because the target stays in the field of view.

 

That should be a very sharp scope for looking at the moon and planets, and you'll be able to see quite a number of other things with it as well. Better than what I started with! It's a good-looking scope, too, at least to my tastes. I think you and your scope will have lots of fun together, especially if you have a little guidance. Your journey begins : ) Let us know if we can help with anything!



#63 tony_spina

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Posted Yesterday, 01:59 PM

One option to look at is building a simple pipe mount if you don't want to use the tracking/ goto mount that this scope comes with

 

If you search the CN forums/Google you will get several hits on how to build one



#64 OldNo7

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Posted Yesterday, 04:00 PM

Here is a package deal on Craig's list that is hard to resist.  Two scopes for $150.   

https://newyork.crai...6744595135.html

I actually kept coming back to this and it was going to be my next on my list to check out. Out of curiosity anyone have any dealing with a 6" Bushnell Voyager? What would I expect to see or how would it look differently compared to the Meade DS-2080AT-TC (D=80mm F=800mm f/10) that I picked up??



#65 aeajr

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Posted Yesterday, 04:41 PM

The Bushnell is a manual Dobsonian mount with a  6"/150 mm Newtonian optical tube.  So it would gather 3.5X as much light as an 80 mm which is a huge difference.

 

Review

https://www.cloudyni...ew-first-light/

https://www.opticspl...et-edition.html

 

I have two 80 mm/3.1", a 127 mm/5" and a 203 mm/8" so I have a good basis for comparison.  Aperture rules! 

 

As you go up in aperture you see more detail.   Think of it as turning the dimmer switch on your lights.  The more light you put in the room the more detail you see.   As you turn it down, detail fades or disappears.   

 

By gathering more light we are also able to apply more magnification to the image.   The atmosphere can impede that but generally I would expect to be able to take the mag significantly higher with the 150 mm than the 80 mm.

 

And lastly there are dimmer targets that you would be able to see in the 6" that you would not see at all in the 80 mm.  Of course this all assumes that the 6" is in good condition and everything works as it should. 

 

Flip side to this is that the Meade is a GoTo scope so it finds and tracks, assuming the GoTo is working.   The Dob is a manual scope so you have to find the targets and you track them. 

 

When I am looking for targets with the manual scopes I use an azimuth setting circles on the base and an angle gauge on the tube to help me find targets. This process works well.  Then I have to track manually.  We can add these to the 6" fairly easily and cheaply, maybe $10. 

 

While I use them all, the larger aperture scope gets about 70% of the sky time across all of my scopes.  

 

 

It is funny we are having this conversation as this is what happened to me.   I bought my ETX 80, my 80 mm GoTo scope.  I used it for about 6 weeks when I came across a great deal on the Orion XT8i, my big Dob, and picked that up used.    You could be in almost the exact situation.



#66 Deepskyclusterstruck

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Posted Yesterday, 06:25 PM

Star Quest 4.5 Newtonian.Dobsonian to be exact. Collimation not difficult for you to learn, looks cute, its probably his height,and even has a handle. Great on moon and Jupiter for the size. It will draw the amiration, , and wonder of his friends too. It can survive a hefty jostle too. You can always lift it onto a low platform, bench or something where both can view. You can even just move it to areas the sky that look densest with stars. Comes with good eye pieces. Big enough not to topple easily but fun to push. Can combine his intellectual curiosity with his sense of play. Maybe...

Edited by Deepskyclusterstruck, Yesterday, 06:30 PM.


#67 OldNo7

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Posted Yesterday, 08:31 PM

Get a new prism diagonal and Baader zoom and you will have a very capable package for years to come.

new prism diagonal? is that a common weak link? are Meade's no good? is this a commonly upgraded item??

 

while a Baader zoom would be great, I don't have anywhere near $300 to pony up, haha...

 

BUUUUUT, this does bring me to what else I should be looking to add to my kit since the Meade DS-2080AT-TC (D=80mm F=800mm f/10) only came with a 9mm eyepiece. I think I'm leaning towards just getting the celestron zoom (covers a wide range and I won't have to fumble with eyepieces in the dark as another member here suggested). I imagine a Barlow would be a great addition. Are filters a necessity? Would there be that much of a benefit with this scope? And now possibly a prism??

 

as always...thank you everyone for your responses, suggestions, and opinions!!



#68 tony_spina

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Posted Yesterday, 08:47 PM

For scopes f/7 or slower like your f/10 it is recommended to use a prism diagonal instead of a mirror diagonal 

 

The celestron prism diagonal is very good

 

 

https://www.amazon.c...celestron prism



#69 OldNo7

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Posted Yesterday, 10:34 PM

For scopes f/7 or slower like your f/10 it is recommended to use a prism diagonal instead of a mirror diagonal 

 

The celestron prism diagonal is very good

 

 

https://www.amazon.c...celestron prism

$40?! FINALLY!! something that doesn't break the bank!! thanks for the link...

 

so what exactly would this improve? just a better general picture? sharper image? better color?



#70 Sky Muse

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Posted Yesterday, 10:57 PM

Belay the Celestron zoom.  If you consider a zoom, consider the Meade.  It's quite the exact same unit as the Celestron, made in the same factory overseas.  The marketeers tried to hide the fact, but not from me I daresay.  I have one, and it has extra, helpful markings on it; the Celestron doesn't...

 

https://www.amazon.c...h/dp/B00020XDKW

 

Here's my own...

 

Meade MZT8-24 - comparison3.jpg

 

It's a whopper; the Celestron is the same size.  But you do get multiple eyepieces in one, and the views through the Meade are not bad; not at all.  I got it mostly as a curiosity, although I do plan to use it on occasion in future; for a comparative analysis in part.

 

There is one odd thing about zoom oculars.  Normally, a 24mm eyepiece will show a respectably-wide view of the sky.  An 8mm will not, unless it's a wide-angle model.  But with a zoom, the 24mm setting exhibits a narrower view over a standalone 24mm eyepiece, whilst the 8mm is rather wide at its setting; an operational and observational reversal.  A zoom is for quick peeks, like when it's cold out and the much-warmer inside beckons.  Also, you can zoom in and out to this power and that, much like a spotting-scope. 

 

Congratulations on the longer achromat; an 80mm f/10; well done.  You'll enjoy that one.  80mm is a good size for a refractor. 

 

These days, I've been getting in some entry-level kits, and sprucing them up; mainly a 70mm f/13 and 90mm f/10 achromat.  I get a lot of the material used to enhance their performance from Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's.  Sometimes I'll need something special from the local hardware, or online, but it's never expensive, and the results have been revelatory; oodles and oodles of improved contrast, and more than an achromat has a right to expect.


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#71 tony_spina

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Posted Yesterday, 11:01 PM

$40?! FINALLY!! something that doesn't break the bank!! thanks for the link...

 

so what exactly would this improve? just a better general picture? sharper image? better color?

It's important to have a good diagonal,  but unless there is something wrong with the prism diagonal that came with the scope you should be fine.  I would spend your mon getting eyepieces. The Celestron zoom is a good choice 



#72 Sky Muse

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Posted Yesterday, 11:25 PM

$40?! FINALLY!! something that doesn't break the bank!! thanks for the link...

 

so what exactly would this improve? just a better general picture? sharper image? better color?

A prism is more durable than the probable mirrored-diagonal that came with your Meade kit.  The one that came with the kit is a mystery.  I can only find references to it being a "diagonal".   Or, it might be an Amici-diagonal, which has a narrower view and suited primarily for daytime/terrestrial observations.  Here, a star-diagonal and Amici-diagonal compared...

 

diagonal types2.jpg   

 

Entry-level refractor kits generally come equipped with Amici-diagonals.  You can use an Amici at night, but you'll see a line zipping through the brighter objects...

 

Amici line.jpg

 

The image is also degraded as a result, in addition to the narrower view.

 

You want a star-diagonal for use at night, and the Celestron suggested is a great bargain.  I have one, and spruced it up even...

 

blackening14.jpg

 

I'm going to have to work on it some more however, as I neglected to blacken the slim, stoned edges, although the initial improvement has been well worth the effort.



#73 tony_spina

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Posted Today, 12:31 AM

According to the scope manual from the Meade website the diagonal included with the scope the OP got.  Assuming it's not damaged he should be good to go



#74 Sky Muse

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Posted Today, 12:49 AM

According to the scope manual from the Meade website the diagonal included with the scope the OP got.  Assuming it's not damaged he should be good to go

Yes, I see it now: a prism, but it doesn't say what type.  However, I would bet that it's a star rather than an Amici.  When I got the Celestron, I chose it over the Meade due to reports of astigmatism with the latter, although that's not to say that the same detriment would be evident with the OP's.



#75 aeajr

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Posted Today, 05:46 AM

My advice would be to got the scope cleaned up, tested and working first before going out and buying any add-ons.  

 

Fortunately we live near each other.   We are going to find some time to get together to work on the scope.

 

We can try a variety of eyepieces in the scope and see what works best. 


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