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Best Beginner Telescope

beginner equipment
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#1 arxhie

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:36 AM

Hello!

 

I was wondering what all of you think would be the best telescope for someone like me!

 

I am quite new in the world of astronomy, however, I have always had a huge interest in space!

I live in Sydney, Australia, the area doesn't have terrible light pollution although it isn't great. I currently have a little table top dob which isn't terrible but i'd love to look at something other than the moon ahah. I was looking at getting a Dobsonian telescope (around 8+ inches) but i'm not 100% sure. My backyard is kinda small with heaps of huge trees and some bushes which hang over it, front garden is bigger with a better view of the sky but hosting a telescope up and down might be a tad annoying (I would probably still go down but its not ideal). 

I have had my eye out on some telescopes on gumtree as they're quite cheap (8"-12" dobs from around AU$350-$550) :)

 

any advice is good advice so please, comment it all :))



#2 Dynan

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:44 AM

The James Webb would be best...and work your way down from there. smirk.gif

 

Always remember, your future in this wonderful hobby is based on the MOUNT you use. Make it the priority, for visual or imaging, and you'll be happier longer. As far as scopes, after your mount (or the one included in any kit you buy), get what you can comfortably afford. Because there are many peripheral purchases headed your way. waytogo.gif


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#3 CWard

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:47 AM

Since you have a little bit of experience with your little tabletop dob, what kind of objects are you looking to see.

 

You can never go wrong with an 8" dob which is basically the defacto beginner scope.  Of course you can never go wrong with a good pair of binoculars.


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#4 Jeff Struve

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

Are there astronomy clubs in Sydney that you can visit? I would do a Google search for them. A few visits can give you first hand experience on many different types and price ranges of scopes. Many clubs have loaner gear, and many times there are club members that have great used gear for sale at a great price and with the bonus that they come with one on one training on that specific piece of equipment.

 

just my 2 cents and a plug for bricks and mortar clubs!

 

...and Welcome to Cloudy Nights!


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#5 arxhie

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:58 AM

Since you have a little bit of experience with your little tabletop dob, what kind of objects are you looking to see.

 

You can never go wrong with an 8" dob which is basically the defacto beginner scope.  Of course you can never go wrong with a good pair of binoculars.

I guess i forgot to mention that aha. I'd love to be able to look at some deep sky objects as well as the planets :))



#6 Taosmath

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:01 AM

An 8" Dob should be great for your needs.  It gives good light grasp and isn't too heavy or bulky.  I am 63 & can carry my 8" dob in a single piece, but you can also split it into the base & tube if you want to limit the weight of an individual carry.

 

Another option is to strap it to a moving Dolly to wheel it down the steps.

 

8" may also help with dealing with any light pollution - as might a LPR filter.  However you could try observing without a filter to start with and then get one if you think it might help.


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#7 arxhie

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:03 AM

Are there astronomy clubs in Sydney that you can visit? I would do a Google search for them. A few visits can give you first hand experience on many different types and price ranges of scopes. Many clubs have loaner gear, and many times there are club members that have great used gear for sale at a great price and with the bonus that they come with one on one training on that specific piece of equipment.

 

just my 2 cents and a plug for bricks and mortar clubs!

 

...and Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

Thank you very much smile.gif I haven't really looked around for any clubs so i will make sure to do some research smile.gif


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#8 arxhie

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:06 AM

An 8" Dob should be great for your needs.  It gives good light grasp and isn't too heavy or bulky.  I am 63 & can carry my 8" dob in a single piece, but you can also split it into the base & tube if you want to limit the weight of an individual carry.

 

Another option is to strap it to a moving Dolly to wheel it down the steps.

 

8" may also help with dealing with any light pollution - as might a LPR filter.  However you could try observing without a filter to start with and then get one if you think it might help.

Thank you very much :)



#9 Jeff Struve

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:06 AM

Thank you very much smile.gif I haven't really looked around for any clubs so i will make sure to do some research smile.gif

Looks like a few of them...



#10 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:18 AM

The James Webb would be best...and work your way down from there. smirk.gif

 

Always remember, your future in this wonderful hobby is based on the MOUNT you use. Make it the priority, for visual or imaging, and you'll be happier longer. As far as scopes, after your mount (or the one included in any kit you buy), get what you can comfortably afford. Because there are many peripheral purchases headed your way. waytogo.gif

Yes, we're all chomping at the bit to see the Webb aloft.


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#11 cst4

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:21 AM

I just bought my first scope a little over a year ago, so I don't have experience with much astro equipment.  However, I realized there is a lot of value in getting something that can be moved around in one piece while set up.  It's just easier... and as they say, the best telescope is the one you use.  I went with a light 8" cass and a Stellarvue M2 mount on a heavy duty photo tripod.  Works great and has plenty of aperture, but probably the weight limit for me on being able to move everything around in one piece.  If it was any heavier I probably wouldn't bother getting it out some nights.  A 5 or 6 inch SCT or newt on a twilight 1 or porta mount would be hard to beat as a first scope.



#12 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:24 AM

An 8" f/6 "Dobsonian" might be just right.  A 6" f/8 might be too small in aperture, but it would be somewhat easier with which to wrangle, and easier to collimate.  An 8" f/6 can travel in a car, and to darker sites. 

 

A 10" f/5 is the same length, yet a bit wider in girth.

 

What size is the table-top?



#13 Mitrovarr

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:28 AM

An 8-10" dob is a good first scope. Not too heavy and extremely capable. 12" dobs are powerful but get kind of heavy and big, you need to be ambitious to get one. It might be best saved for a future purchase once you have absolutely confirmed you want one.

Also note that a 12" solid tube dob will not fit into a standard sedan. It's better to have a 10" scope you will take to dark skies than a 12" you will not.

If you can swing the extra money an 8" SCT on an electronic mount is also great. Some people love goto and tracking. It won't see more than a dob of equal size, though, and it's significant more expensive.

#14 Jim Davis

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 11:26 AM

The James Webb would be best...and work your way down from there. smirk.gif

 

 

I hear you can pick up a used Hubble space telescope in the near future.


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#15 cuzimthedad

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 11:43 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights arxhie. My club recommends an 8" dob for beginners. It takes you over the threshold into good deep space territory. However, since you mentioned 8-12" in your post, I would suggest going with the 10" dob or if size and weight are not an issue buy the 12". Whichever you decide on, you will get more than your money's worth and have years of wonderful viewing enjoyment ahead of you. Again welcome to CN!


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#16 Taosmath

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 12:25 PM

I hear you can pick up a used Hubble space telescope in the near future.

I wouldn't recommend this.  I suspect buyer would have to arrange shipping, plus collimation would be a pain, since I hear it's got some ****-a-mamie image corrector device like those Bird-Jones reflectors.


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#17 Jeff Struve

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

Problem with the Hubble is that you need a long ladder to reach the eyepiece.


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#18 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 01:16 PM

I currently have a little table top dob which isn't terrible but i'd love to look at something other than the moon ahah.

What tabletop Dob do you own? Whatever it is, I can guarantee that it will show you a whole lot more than the Moon!

Pretty much any telescope will show Jupiter's four Galilean moons, and any but the absolute worst will show Jupiter's two main belts as well. And Saturn's rings. For you, lucky dog, Jupiter and Saturn are almost directly overhead right now -- wish I could say the same here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Oh, and a few hundred deep-sky objects too.

Not saying that you shouldn't get an 8-inch Dob; it's an excellent purchase. But you're probably underestimating the capabilities of the telescope you already own.


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#19 arxhie

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 03:51 PM

What tabletop Dob do you own? Whatever it is, I can guarantee that it will show you a whole lot more than the Moon!

Pretty much any telescope will show Jupiter's four Galilean moons, and any but the absolute worst will show Jupiter's two main belts as well. And Saturn's rings. For you, lucky dog, Jupiter and Saturn are almost directly overhead right now -- wish I could say the same here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Oh, and a few hundred deep-sky objects too.

Not saying that you shouldn't get an 8-inch Dob; it's an excellent purchase. But you're probably underestimating the capabilities of the telescope you already own.

I can see Jupiter's 4 Galilean moons, however, from what I've seen it can't really pickup on Jupiter's red bands nor do Saturn's rings show :( I'll experiment with it a tad more and see if things improve :) thanks for your help btw!



#20 Rac19

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:04 PM

I wouldn't recommend this.  I suspect buyer would have to arrange shipping, plus collimation would be a pain, since I hear it's got some ****-a-mamie image corrector device like those Bird-Jones reflectors.

They can probably arrange for it to crash into your backyard, maybe in a few pieces, requiring re-assembly.

 

BTW, this is primarily in response to post #14.

 

I hear you can pick up a used Hubble space telescope in the near future.

 


Edited by Rac19, 17 June 2019 - 04:53 PM.

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#21 Bowlerhat

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:42 PM

Gumtree is no joke, remind you this is AUD so around 250-350 USD. I think 8'' is a good starting scope.

Are you going to use it for planetary?

 

I have never seen a 12'' dob on gumtree with that kind of price, that's amazing.


Edited by Bowlerhat, 17 June 2019 - 06:44 PM.


#22 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:09 PM

I can see Jupiter's 4 Galilean moons, however, from what I've seen it can't really pickup on Jupiter's red bands nor do Saturn's rings show frown.gif I'll experiment with it a tad more and see if things improve smile.gif thanks for your help btw!

At present, Jupiter is at opposition, meaning that it is at its largest and brightest.  The brightness is key here.  Does Jupiter appear as this through the table-top...

 

Jupiter flares.jpg

 

...overly-bright, washed-out?  If so, that will prevent seeing the details on the planet's surface.

 

https://www.opticsce...=U#.XQhP-LxKiUk

 

That filter is beneficial for dimming only a few objects: Jupiter; Venus to see its Moon-like phases more distinctly; and the Moon itself at half-phase or greater, if its brightness proves bothersome.

 

In that an even larger aperture is being considered, then its acquisition might become even more urgent.  With my 6" f/5 Newtonian/"Dobsonian", I've seen Jupiter as this...

 

variable-polariser2.jpg

 

Collimation must also be spot-on for viewing the planets at the higher powers.  What's good enough for the Moon is not necessarily good enough for the planets.

 

Jupiter, and the rest of the planets, are rather low-lying in the sky at this time, and for the next few years I've read.  The further one observes away from the equator, in either direction, the lower.  The atmosphere is at its thickest(think soup) at or near the horizon; and thinnest at the zenith, straight up above the head.  However, Sydney is at 33° South.  Here, at 34° North, the planets are not that low in the sky, therefore there in Sydney they should be riding a bit higher there as well, high enough up out of the soup that is.



#23 gnowellsct

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:24 PM

Are there astronomy clubs in Sydney that you can visit? I would do a Google search for them. A few visits can give you first hand experience on many different types and price ranges of scopes. Many clubs have loaner gear, and many times there are club members that have great used gear for sale at a great price and with the bonus that they come with one on one training on that specific piece of equipment.

 

just my 2 cents and a plug for bricks and mortar clubs!

 

...and Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

I'm going to go with Struve on this one.  Experience with other people's scopes had some profound impacts on me.  A friend's G11/C11 sold me on SCTs.  (He moved on to a 15" Obsession for about 8 or 10 years and now is working refractors and SCTs and Cassegrains, the Obsession got sold, much to my regret.)



#24 arxhie

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:44 PM

At present, Jupiter is at opposition, meaning that it is at its largest and brightest. The brightness is key here. Does Jupiter appear as this through the table-top...

Jupiter flares.jpg

...overly-bright, washed-out? If so, that will prevent seeing the details on the planet's surface.

https://www.opticsce...=U#.XQhP-LxKiUk

That filter is beneficial for dimming only a few objects: Jupiter; Venus to see its Moon-like phases more distinctly; and the Moon itself at half-phase or greater, if its brightness proves bothersome.

In that an even larger aperture is being considered, then its acquisition might become even more urgent. With my 6" f/5 Newtonian/"Dobsonian", I've seen Jupiter as this...

variable-polariser2.jpg

Collimation must also be spot-on for viewing the planets at the higher powers. What's good enough for the Moon is not necessarily good enough for the planets.

Jupiter, and the rest of the planets, are rather low-lying in the sky at this time, and for the next few years I've read. The further one observes away from the equator, in either direction, the lower. The atmosphere is at its thickest(think soup) at or near the horizon; and thinnest at the zenith, straight up above the head. However, Sydney is at 33° South. Here, at 34° North, the planets are not that low in the sky, therefore there in Sydney they should be riding a bit higher there as well, high enough up out of the soup that is.



That‘s exactly how jupiter looks! I‘m pretty sure my collimation is off but I am not too sure how to fix that :( the scope doesn‘t seem to have any nobs to change the primary mirror but i might be able to adjust the secondary mirror!
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#25 JohnAkai

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:55 PM

arxhie, For info on clubs & all things astro in Australia, contact Lachlan MacDonald. Along with some other great & helpful blokes, he runs the popular star safari "OzSky2020." This is held every March at Coonabarabran. I attended this year & enjoyed the southern skies. Lachlan@Ozsky.org.

 

My first scope was an original Stellarvue AT1010, 80mm f6 refractor. I mounted it on a camera tripod and used a simple Alt-Az mount. I downloaded and used Taki's 8.5 star atlas (free PDF) to learn & to navigate the sky. Cheers. Mario




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