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Trying to determine what scope to get my wife

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#1 azgarod

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 04:25 PM

A little about my situation. I am what one would consider about as uneducated in this topic as possible. I've been reading pretty heavily about telescopes for the past few nights. My wife periodically talks about her old telescope when she was growing up. I've decided to possibly get her a new telescope but I don't want to get her the wrong one, go overboard, get something that wouldn't match her or her now/future needs. I had settled on a Celestron SE8 (referenced here for an idea of my pricepoint), but I am now, after another guy in my unit found out about my search and posed some questions, questioning my decision. So, onto the actual questions.

 

1. My wife has astigmatism. Thick glasses to the point she is nearly blind without them. Granted she could just wear contacts while viewing, but is there something I need to be worried about when looking at scopes for her (or informing her to consider is she investigates her own)?

 

2. We live in louisiana. Is there something to consider in accessories or type of telescope based on the atmospheric conditions/light polution of the region?

 

3. Is there another recommendation for a scope? The celestron is looking pretty solid to me especially since I independantly settled on it and the guy in my unit recommended it after my settling, but again I'm as about as new to this hobby as I could be and I don't have a personal interest in it beyond my wife's happiness. 

 

Thank you in advance for any information.



#2 havasman

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 04:40 PM

The Celestron SCT's ARE solid options that many people use happily to get great views. Whatever you choose, somebody will argue with your decision. It is much easier these days to make a very good scope choice than a poor one.

 

I really think you should get her involved and support her decision if it's going to be her scope.

 

Refractors like this 4" from Astro-Tech make wonderful scopes too.  https://www.astronom...ractor-ota.html

 

I have mild astigmatism. Yeah I can see it if I look for it but I've seen the world with it for a very long time now & it does not detract from my observing, which I always do wearing contacts.

 

Welcome to the forums and happy observing to you and your wife!!


Edited by havasman, 18 July 2019 - 04:40 PM.

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#3 azgarod

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:03 PM

I don't disagree with you and Even though I have a distinct love of surprises, Ill likely get her involved directly at some point in this proccess. 


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#4 ShaulaB

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:05 PM

In agreement with Havasman. Make sure your wife has input into what would make her happy. Will you always be with her when she uses it, or will she want to use it by herself?

 

If she will be using the telescope herself, make sure she has the strength and agility to carry and set it up. I use a C8, and I am a 60 plus year old woman. The OTA (optical tube assembly) with its mount goes in a wheeled case from my car to where it will be set up. It is at the upper limit of what I can safely carry. The heavy duty tripod is carried in a separate trip from the car, and again, it is at the limit of what I can carry.

 

Regarding wearing glasses, you and your wife will need to pay particular attention to eyepieces and their "eye relief" measurement. This is millimeters away from the glass your eye needs to be to get the image at focus. An eyepiece with an eye relief of 12mm or longer accommodates most glasses-wearers. When you go shopping (online) for an eyepiece, click on the "Specifications" tab. The eye relief measurement will usually be found there. Very high power eyepieces (those with shorter focal lengths) sometimes have eye relief of only 2 or 3mm.

 

You will really want more and different eyepieces than the one, or maybe two, provided with a new telescope.

 

And don't forget bug spray with high levels of DEET.

 

I live in a humid place, so dew abatement accessories will be needed. At least a dew sheild, and, if you are near electricity, a hand-held hair dryer. My C8 corrector plate, eyepieces, and finder get dewed up and un-useable if I don't take precautions.

 

A Celestron 8 inch SCT is a classic starter scope for serious people.


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#5 Jond105

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:10 PM

Welcome to CN. If you’re going to get her involved, just make sure it’s something she’ll move out to the yard and observe. Not too heavy, not too bulky. Not sure how heavy these are, but 8” of aperture on a GoTo mount are extremely hard to go wrong with. But if weight is too much even a 6” SCT is more than enough scope. Just whatever you choose make sure it’s something she’s comfortable moving. Though I’m sure you’ll get involved as well with her when it gets started. 



#6 azgarod

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:33 PM

Shaula: Thanks, I think the topic is misleading (entirely my fault) I'm more gathering information. Sort of like if she was going to "Get a laptop" for me. I have an interest in computers as i build one or more every couple years. I don't intend to outright spend upwards of 2k on parts to a (hobby?) that she may potentially enter without her input in the end. That being said onto your points. 

 

I didn't consider the carrying weight or what she would be using it for. I imagine yard use except for trips we'd inevitably plan to darker environments. I imagine I'd generally be present to assist unless i'm deployed which appears to be happening more and more -.-

 

I'll definitely be paying attention to the eye relief. I also wear glasses but my vision is much much better than hers. I don't actually need my glasses, they just help when viewing small lettering such as menus and such. 

 

Bug spray is always required in louisiana lol

 

Gemini: I'm glad everyone is bringing up the weight thing. It'll definitely have to be a consideration.

 

 

 

I think my current issue is it's an overwhelming hobby using equipment and concepts im not very familiar with. I'm going to have to look into some starter resources. 



#7 StarBurger

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:57 PM

Very difficult question to answer IMHO.

My wife has very poor vision but the problem is I don't know how things look to her even in day to day life.

Without glasses she has to have a newspaper page only inches from her eyes and claims that that is the best for her.

Working in front of a computer screen she is constantly leaning in and out to see script without glasses.

Although she has strong glasses I cannot discern when or what it is she needs them for, except when we are out under the night sky and she can certainly see stars focused correctly, with binoculars and when we go birding.She has learned the stars and constellations very well under my tuition.

Forget driving but then that is a matter of awareness and irrelevant!

At the telescope I am always asking if she can see this or that feature on Jupiter or Saturn but usually she can only see it if I give a good description of what she SHOULD see! Sometimes I feel she is only saying it to keep me happy!

We have tried with and without glasses at the EP and she claims no difference.

I have yet to learn which EP's give her the best views considering the different exit pupils, focal reliefs and FOV.

It's a problem with anyone EVEN WITH PERFECT EYESIGHT to learn how to "see" in an eyepiece, let alone a novice struggling to figure out how the image moves in an inverting situation.It is not intuitive.

Wifey has learned well though and I am proud of her. I can just leave her at the DOB, probably the most difficult scope to learn, while I am busy taking images on the EQ setup. 

Not only do I wish I could see the world as my wife does (through rose tinted spectacles) but also the sky (through my 8 inch reflector) as she does.

 

Oh, to see our world as others see it!

 

 

 


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#8 vtornado

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 08:04 PM

Hello azgarod and welcome to cloudy nights.

 

An 8 inch SCT is a very versatile scope.   That is why they sell thousands every year.   They are portable for 8 inches of aperture, and because they are small, they don't tax the lightweight mount a lot.

 

Here is what I don't like ... (there is always something).

An 8 inch SCT has a very narrow field of view.   To an amatuer it is hard to find objects unless it is goto.  Now the SE is goto, but do you always

want to do that?  Do you just want to move the scope around sometimes by hand?   The SE is hard on batteries and you will want to get an upgrade battery soon.  Then you have the problem of you have to keep the battery charged which is not hard for an organized person, but hard to remember for a scatter brain like me.  I think (i'm not an owner) you, if you slew the scope without using the motors, once you do this you have to re-align.  If you move the scope (to dodge trees) you have to re-align etc.

 

goto is very helpful to find objects in light pollution, but many of the objects in its database will be invisible in light pollution.

 

Living in Lousiana you will have to get a dew strap.  Otherwise the corrector plate will dew over in minutes.

Living in Lousiana, planets will good, they will be higher in the sky than for me, and I think your air will be more stable than mine.

 

A big decision you have to make is goto vs push to vs full manual.   A lot of it is personal taste,  do you  want view some showcase objects,

that you don't have a good idea where they are, because the computer got you there?

or do you find it more rewarding to find things by yourself?

 

Another option popular is the orion XT8i.  It is a dobsonian so it is much larger than the 8SE, but its geometry makes it just as easy to set up.

It is slightly less prone to dewing than an SCT.  The field of view is wider. Is is nicer to manually point than the SE, but ... unlike the SE it does

not automatically point the intellescope feature just tells you which way to push the scope to get an object in view.

 

Going out of the box the small starter scopes I really like are.

I have all of these and use them regularly.

 

ST80 on a twilight 1 mount.   No frills here, nothing to break, nothing to mess with.  The scope's view is so wide it points very easy.

It does not work well on high power.   For $500 more you can get an 80mm skywatcher ED.  It can be used at high power, and has a better

focuser.

 

AWB one sky, a table top reflector.  You will have to collimate it, but is points easy, and provides excellent views.  You will need something to

bring it up to viewing height, if your wife wants to sit on a chair.  Sometimes I sit on the ground with a blanket.

 

Celestron C5, the most aperture you can get in a super small package.  will mount on the same twilight I mount.  you will need dew control.

view is not quite as wide as the ST80 or AWB.  I use this scope when I have to hike to my observing site.  It can fit in a school backpack.

 

BTW regarding astigmatism.  I have it too, if you are viewing at high power it does not come into play that much because you are only using a small portion of your eye lens.  It comes into play when you use eyepieces that result in a large exit pupil.  Any refractive error can be fixed by the focuser.


Edited by vtornado, 18 July 2019 - 08:07 PM.


#9 Napp

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 08:10 PM

Why not take your wife out to an astronomy club outreach event or star party.  She and you can check out the various scopes.  Tell the folks what you are doing and ask lots of questions.  See what works for her vision.  If you want to surprise her then present her with a “gift certificate” for a new scope.


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#10 whizbang

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:15 PM

The Orion XT8i is a good suggestion.

 

I recently picked up a Skywatcher 127mm Mak for my EVO mount.  On a whim, I tried the Mak on a Twilight mount.  Nice set-up.  You might consider that combination.

 

I agree with the others that your wife should get involved in the decision.

 

And yes, I am a fan of SCT's especially the C8.  The SE mount, not so much.  The SE is hard to hold, hard to handle, easy to drop.  The whole thing is rounded off like the football, which is exactly how you have to carry it so you don't drop it, like a football.

 

If you decide on a SCT or MAK, you will need dew protection.  I like both dew shields and dew heaters.  Always use the shield.  When the shield starts getting damp, turn on the heater.

 

Good luck.



#11 SeattleScott

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:43 PM

A key thing to figure out is GoTo versus learning the sky and starhopping. Figure that out and it can help guide the decision on the scope.

If not sure you could get an Eq Mount that can be used GoTo or manual, or an Orion intelliscope.

Scott

#12 aeajr

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:54 PM

A little about my situation. I am what one would consider about as uneducated in this topic as possible. I've been reading pretty heavily about telescopes for the past few nights. My wife periodically talks about her old telescope when she was growing up. I've decided to possibly get her a new telescope but I don't want to get her the wrong one, go overboard, get something that wouldn't match her or her now/future needs. I had settled on a Celestron SE8 (referenced here for an idea of my pricepoint), but I am now, after another guy in my unit found out about my search and posed some questions, questioning my decision. So, onto the actual questions.

1. My wife has astigmatism. Thick glasses to the point she is nearly blind without them. Granted she could just wear contacts while viewing, but is there something I need to be worried about when looking at scopes for her (or informing her to consider is she investigates her own)?

2. We live in louisiana. Is there something to consider in accessories or type of telescope based on the atmospheric conditions/light polution of the region?

3. Is there another recommendation for a scope? The celestron is looking pretty solid to me especially since I independantly settled on it and the guy in my unit recommended it after my settling, but again I'm as about as new to this hobby as I could be and I don't have a personal interest in it beyond my wife's happiness.

Thank you in advance for any information.


Shaula: Thanks, I think the topic is misleading (entirely my fault) I'm more gathering information. Sort of like if she was going to "Get a laptop" for me. I have an interest in computers as i build one or more every couple years. I don't intend to outright spend upwards of 2k on parts to a (hobby?) that she may potentially enter without her input in the end. That being said onto your points.

I didn't consider the carrying weight or what she would be using it for. I imagine yard use except for trips we'd inevitably plan to darker environments. I imagine I'd generally be present to assist unless i'm deployed which appears to be happening more and more -.-

I'll definitely be paying attention to the eye relief. I also wear glasses but my vision is much much better than hers. I don't actually need my glasses, they just help when viewing small lettering such as menus and such.

Bug spray is always required in louisiana lol

Gemini: I'm glad everyone is bringing up the weight thing. It'll definitely have to be a consideration.



I think my current issue is it's an overwhelming hobby using equipment and concepts im not very familiar with. I'm going to have to look into some starter resources.

Welcome to Cloudy Nights

Here are my thoughts.

The Celestron NexStar 8SE (a link to the scope package you are considering is a good idea) is a great scope for someone who is very happy to be working with a computerized mount. This scope can not be used without the computer control. How is she with computers?

Before it can be used each night, after you set it up physically then it has to be taken through an alignment process so the computer knows where it is. If the alignment is done correctly, the scope will be able to find almost anything. However, if the alignement procedure is not followed correctly, it won't find anything.

Would you be better to get her started in a smaller manual scope?

I have several scopes. Three of them have been on computerized mounts. Three are on manual mounts. I enjoy the both.

Something like a 90 to 102 mm refractor on a manual AltAz mount might be a simpler way to ease back into the hobby. This is what we call a "grab and go" scope. Pick it up, fully assembled, in one hand. Walk to the observing area, point it at a target and observe. Very simple to use. Also makes a great travel scope.

The larger scope could be the second scope, if she finds she enjoys astronomy and wants to get back into it in a big way.

Nothing wrong with an 8SE. Just offering a different persepctive. Only you can judge what will work well for her.

As for astigmitism, this is about your choice of eyepieces. No mater what scope you get you will need eyepieces that you can accumulate over time. You can take the use of glasses and such into account with those purchases. The scope won't matter in this respect, in my opinion.

Same for weather and location. If you have high humidity and dew issues, you are going ot have that in one form or another with any scope and you will add accesories to help with that. Dew heaters and dew shields can be added.

Personally, I place a very high premium on convenience. If the scope is convenient to use, it will be used. If it is a major effort to move it or set it up, it is likely to gather dust.

That is my persepctive..



#13 sg6

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 01:58 AM

Find a club with a public night or two:

US-Astro

 

Then take wife along and ask her what variety of scope she prefers, likes, wants.

 

People with scopes, myself included, will suggest the scope variety that they like. There is no guarantee that your wife will want the same. If someone gave me a 10" Newtonian I would think they had lost it, if given a 100ED then very pleased. If a 10" SCT then I would know they had lost it.

 

As an aside TV eyepieces can have an astigmatism corrector added to some, might be an option. But there is the relevantly high cost of a TV eyepiece and then the corrector. I suggest that this option is placed to one side at present, simply on cost and makes it more complicated.



#14 JOEinCO

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 04:38 AM

"Lightweight" and "easy to take outside" gets my vote if you decide against GoTo. C6 on a Twilight I mount. Six inches of affordable, extremely portable aperture. Slightly wider field of views with it's 1500mm focal length, compared to the C8's 2000mm. 

 

Get a reducer-corrector if you're sticking with 1.25" eyepieces and now it's a 6" scope with only 945mm of focal length. One third wider field of views, which really helps with many deep space objects. A simple 32mm Plossl eyepiece gives you just over a 1.6° field of view - nice!

 

...Joe 

 

EDIT:  Or..... Buy a 6SE and a Twilight I. Then you have GoTo when you want the computer, and Grab-N-Go when you want simple. waytogo.gif waytogo.gif 


Edited by JOEinCO, 19 July 2019 - 07:53 AM.

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#15 watchplanets

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:03 AM

I went through this in late 90s.
Mine is small and I know wint want to lift carry anything heavy. So light weight portable and probably goto, as most people kinda interested in it sorta dont wanna learn star hopping or learn the sky.

At that time the best I thought for her was a nexstar 80gt. Small leight weight and goto. I think that was like $500.

I'm not sure if yours is big and strong, but even a 8se is a bit heavy for most ladies. That's my personal opinion. Most may be ok with it some maybe not.

I may recommend 6se its same tripod mount but ota bit smaller or the 5se still decent size and this mount is but smaller still.

They also have the slt versions too.

I like se mount and have 2 8se 6se I even had the nexstar8 when that came out 99.

The 8se is probably the largest portable scope u can get at 35 lbs. I carry it with 1 hand by the fork arm. Up to 50 meters.

Buy best rechargeable batteries like 3500mn about $20 for 2. I have never used anything but batteres nor has it ever died and thsts owning it since 99, u dont need a power tank, unless u using regular batteries or even from the ones from dollar store won't last.

Again my first choice would be 6se or 8se talk to show different ones maybe she can handle the 8se


Edited by watchplanets, 19 July 2019 - 06:06 AM.


#16 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 07:38 AM

Weight and portability are big factors. I have an older 8" SCT that (together with wedge and tripod) weighs about 50lbs. While I can set up on my second floor covered porch, to really use my scopes I have to carry them down an outdoor flight of stairs in the dark. I also have a lot of trees in the yard, so I have to relocate when I switch to a different target, which would make a GOTO scope annoying. While the view in the 8" scope is slightly better than my 25lb 130mm scope I'm a lot less likely to take it out on a whim if I'm not able to be out for a couple hours so I don't get out as often as I did when the Polaris 130 was my biggest scope. These days I use my 60mm Tasco just as often as the 8" SCT because it's so much easier to carry out and set up (and is fun to use for the moon and planets). "The best scope is the one that gets used" means that smaller scopes sometimes have a lot going for them.


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#17 gkarris

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:42 AM

Weight and portability are big factors. I have an older 8" SCT that (together with wedge and tripod) weighs about 50lbs. While I can set up on my second floor covered porch, to really use my scopes I have to carry them down an outdoor flight of stairs in the dark. I also have a lot of trees in the yard, so I have to relocate when I switch to a different target, which would make a GOTO scope annoying. While the view in the 8" scope is slightly better than my 25lb 130mm scope I'm a lot less likely to take it out on a whim if I'm not able to be out for a couple hours so I don't get out as often as I did when the Polaris 130 was my biggest scope. These days I use my 60mm Tasco just as often as the 8" SCT because it's so much easier to carry out and set up (and is fun to use for the moon and planets). "The best scope is the one that gets used" means that smaller scopes sometimes have a lot going for them.

 

Getting into again, I got the Meade Infinity 80, a small refractor. The tube is under 3 lbs, the tripod/mount is good, but sometimes for me a bit heavy/cumbersome.

 

I also wanted a Grab 'N Go and got the tabletop Orion Skyscanner 100 - I've actually used that quite a few times already - easy to grab and set up (got one of those planter stands for it).

 

I also wanted a small Mak also and got the Celestron C90. They are heavy/dense and it weighs almost 6 lbs - I have trouble gripping it with my small hands and fear dropping it each time I try to put it on a mount, then I fear carrying it on the mount. It is a great scope but again, weight and ease of setup. I did put it on the Skyscanner 100's tabletop mount and it worked great (Orion has a Mak 90 package also for Tabletops).

 

The big thing I found were eyepieces. I was told you can't see the band of Jupiter on these small scope (except for the Mak), but I can. On a clear night plus better eyepieces and barlows I can. You will be getting better eyepieces anyways for your Wife's eye condition.

 

Reconsider that SE8 - it weighs 42 lbs total.

 

You should try these Orion Tabletops, there are many different ones to choose from and is a good intro into scopes and the different ones available - affordable and easy to setup and if you want to upgrade, you'll have a Grab 'N Go on standby:

https://www.youtube....h?v=o4vFEQm2foY

 

Orion SkyScanner 100 on Plant Table

Edited by gkarris, 19 July 2019 - 02:47 PM.

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#18 aeajr

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:54 AM

My 5 scopes live in an unheated garage. So they are on ground level, no stairs to navigate. They are stored fully assembled.

The 80 mm refractors, 100 mm tabletop, and 127 mm Mak can be lifted and carried out easily.

My 12"/305 mm is a 90 pound Dobsonian/Newtonian. I have it married to a hand truck so I can just roll it out, almost as easily as the smaller scopes.

The point is that, if you plan to use the scope at ground level and can store it at ground level, weight becomes much less of an issue. So, where you store it and where you use it makes a big difference.

If it was stored inside, and stairs were involved I would not have that big scope.

#19 aeajr

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 01:29 PM

Here are some articles that may help you understand the answers you are reading here as well as things to consider when buying a new scope.  They are written at a beginner level. 

 

 

New Astronomer Quick Start Guide - Getting started with binoculars - possibly something you can do today as many people have binoculars.
https://www.cloudyni...art-guide-r3143

 

How Much Does a First Telescope Cost?
https://telescopicwa...telescope-cost/

 

Different types of Telescopes
https://telescopicwa...-of-telescopes/

 

 

Understanding Telescope Eyepieces- This relates to your wife's vision and what you need to know about eyepieces.   Pay particular attention to the section on eye relief.

Many telescopes come with basic eyepieces which can get you started but may not meet your needs long term.  t is common to add eyepieces to your equipment. They don't have to match the brand nor the design of the included eyepieces. 

 

The article has recommendations, based on budget, but the meat of the article is about understanding the issues when selecting eyepieces.

https://telescopicwa...cope-eyepieces/



 



#20 macdonjh

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 09:39 AM

What ever you decide, make sure it's better than your scope.  smile.gif 


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#21 azgarod

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 05:54 PM

I appreciate all the responses. She's having a bit of a mental breakdown in college right now so i'm putting a pin in this and I'm going to cut her in when i get home in a few months.



#22 emflocater

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:31 PM

"Trying to determine what scope to get my wife"

 

I prefer the minty tasting kind!

Cheers

Don



#23 db2005

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 11:23 AM

Lots of wisdom in the above posts waytogo.gif

 

I will add a few things:

 

Eyepieces:

Since your wife specifically needs to wear eyeglasses due to astigmatism it's very likely worthwhile to spend a bit extra on high-quality and very comfortable eyepieces. The most comfortable eyepieces I am aware of are the Pentax XW's. The 10 mm and 7 mm are my favorites. Another excellent choice is the Televue Delos and Televue Delite series. All these eyepieces have plenty of eye relief (20 mm), allowing for extremely comfortable observation with eyeglasses. Televue make specific astigmatism correctors ("Dioptrx") which can be attached directly to most Televue eyepieces (and a few eyepieces of other brands for that matter). You'll have to look up the "cylinder" spec on your wife's eyeglasses prescription and order the matching Dioptrx corrector.

 

Weight:

Since your wife will most likely need to be able to carry the telescope herself when you are not home, I'd think very carefully about getting a setup heavier than approx 30 lbs unless she is physically very strong. Alternatively, consider something on wheels that can be rolled out for observing. If you know which size and type of scope your wife owned when she was growing up, you might get an idea about which scope she might also enjoy now. Did she own a refractor before? Then another (slightly larger) refractor on an alt-az mount might be the best choice, maybe even an ED refractor. Did she own a 3-4.5" reflector? Then maybe a 6" dob might be a great choice. Does it have to "look pretty" when exhibited in the living room? The maybe a "classic/romantic looking" refractor could be a very good choice.

 

An 8" SCT is a very capable scope (I own one) but it's so large and heavy that it's not to be considered a typical beginner's scope IMO. And its narrow field actually makes the scope less versatile than a smaller refractor. IMO a C8 should not be an observer's only scope, but a second scope to complement a smaller scope, typically a 3-4" refractor.

 

Also, you may want to consider getting a beginner's book for your wife in addition to a telescope, such as "50 things to see with a small telescope" by John A. read. It contains 50 easy targets for observing together with easy to follow guides for finding them.

 

Clear Skies,

Daniel



#24 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 07:26 AM

Getting a good book is, in my opinion, more important than what type of telescope to buy. The nicest telescope in the world isn't a lot of fun to use if you don't know how to find cool stuff to see with it, or in the case of GOTO scopes, if you don't know what you're looking at when the scope finds it.

 

"Turn Left at Orion" is a good book for helping find things as well. It gives step by step directions for finding hundreds of objects, gives detailed (but not too detailed) information about them, and also includes an image that gives you an idea what the target should look like in the eyepiece. It's broken down by season so it's not hard to figure out what things you can see at any given time. It also has a separate night-by-night "moon tour" that walks you through many of the more interesting features visible each night of the moon's cycle. That's one of my favorite features. It's also basically a tutorial and walkthrough for star hopping, so it inadvertently trains you to find things using star charts. I personally find much of the fun in using a scope to reside in the process for tracking down objects and the satisfaction in knowing I found something myself. Then again, I'm a sailboat guy and not a powerboat guy. Other people feel differently and have just as much fun using high-tech gadgets to locate things. That's one of the beauties of the hobby: there are many different ways to enjoy it, and all are valid.

 

50 Things isn't a *bad* book per se (it's the one I started with, after all) but I did find it to be a bit of a cop out. 5 of the things, for instance, are Jupiter and its four largest moons. Two are Saturn and Titan. One is airplanes, one is distant scenery, one is meteors (good luck), and one is basically "pan around in Sagittarius and hope you stumble across one of the many things there." One is UFOs. And because the book covers the year 'round sky, at any given time there are only a small handful of things you can see. It's enough to get started, but I outgrew my copy in a couple weeks, ordered TLAO and gave away 50 Things. I still use TLAO nearly every time I take a scope out.

 

"Nightwatch" is another popular book, though it contains more in the way of science and less in the way of "how to find things to look at".



#25 trapdoor2

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 11:16 AM

Find a club with a public night or two:

US-Astro

 

Then take wife along and ask her what variety of scope she prefers, likes, wants.

 

Big "amen" to that.

 

Our local club has a variety of "club scopes" that they have available for any member to use at the club site...with a training session to boot. You don't have to be a member to look thru them...just show some interest.

 

Also, I have found that if you can find a nearby planetarium, they often will host 'sidewalk' star parties, inviting local hobby astronomers to do 'outreach'. Great place to try out a variety of scopes. 


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