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Equipment Lessons Learned

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#51 Jason B

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:04 AM

I went through the "scope trader" phase.  Looking back, wasted a lot of money. Very happy with my line up now, maybe some slight changes in the future as my astro-priorities have changed.


So my lessons learned:

  1. Look through as many scopes as you can before you buy
  2. Don't go cheap on the mount, especially if you have the imaging bug
  3. Eyepieces are forever, get the set you know you will use regardless of scope and you don't have to be brand/line loyal.  Mix and match to get what's best FOR YOU.
  4. If it's not broke, don't "fix" it!
  5. You're never really done buying....lol.gif  but as you get what you want, you do buy less often....

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#52 peleuba


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:17 AM


If we do this right, we may be able to help each other avoid some financial regrets and missed opportunities. I’m particularly interested in why we chose each scope and why we moved on to something different.



The problem with threads like this as there is no substitute for making mistakes in life, whether in a hobby or professionally.  So, I will keep my recommendations somewhat general in nature, but still precise enough to help.




1.  Visual Astronomy is a hobby of subtlety and nuance.  I am dubious of and almost always take equipment reviews with a grain of salt especially when the author claims that telescope A "blew away" telescope "B".  That just does not happen with any sort of regularity with equal apertures unless something is very wrong with one of the telescopes.  Even on the test bench, where differences are easier to see, they are rarely dramatic; noticeable, yes.  I have seen truly striking differences in like apertures and designs only twice.  Each time the issue was poorly figured optics.  



2.  The mount is a critical and sometimes an overlooked piece of equipment - EVEN FOR VISUAL.  Its not as $exy as the OTA/lens/mirror/camera but is nearly as important to delivering diffraction limited views.



3.  When you buy a telescope, you've bought a compromise - make sure you understand this.  



4.  The last 10% of performance can double (or more) the cost of the telescope/mount.



5.  Enjoy what you have.  Even modest telescopes can show amazing things that 99% of the population has never seen.

Edited by peleuba, 14 August 2019 - 10:22 AM.

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#53 rajilina


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 02:55 PM

5.  Enjoy what you have.  Even modest telescopes can show amazing things that 99% of the population has never seen.

As a newbie to telescopes, this is an incredibly important piece of advice. I just purchased my first telescope and because of financial limitations and other hobbies, I won't be able to trade and upgrade to the extent that some here do. I read a lot of talk on these forums by people with tens of thousands of dollars to spend, who will probably tell me my stuff is nice crap, but I did the best I could by doing a lot of reading and researching first, talked to lots of folks, and ultimately bought what seemed to be the best compromise that fit my budget. Moreover, it was something I could carry and set up myself without assistance; a prime consideration because I don't have a really good spot for viewing right out my back door, so it has to be able to be put in a car and taken an hour away on whatever weekend I find I have free. As for eyepieces and accessories, I'll upgrade to mid-to-top-shelf as budget allows, but for now, I'm making do with what I have.


That said, my modest telescope is doing exactly what I wanted it to do. On my first evening out with new equipment, seeing the moon in big, sharp detail out of my light polluted suburban backyard was awe-inspiring, and it was upped the next evening when I found and saw the moons of Jupiter with my own eyes. It is absolutely about managing expectations. I'm a newbie to telescopes, yes, but I've been in the advertising world for far longer than I care to admit and I know that companies put the best spin on things just to sell a product whether or not it is a realistic expectation of what a user will actually experience. I have been reading on another thread here about seeing Messier objects and that visually, they aren't going to be the super brilliant multicolored pictures that are in the astronomy equipment sell sheets, and there is so much truth to that. If you understand that going out, you won't be setting yourself up for disappointment. I was thrilled to pieces to see the dark smudges on dark skies that were nebulae and galaxies on my last weekend out and it was nothing like those "Hubble" pictures represent, but yet... still awe inspiring, because.... GALAXIES! And I can't agree more that my modest telescope is allowing me to see things that 99% of the people don't even know are up there.


Whatever keeps your spark lit, is worth having.

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#54 zirkel 2

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 03:26 PM

1. observe with what we have... do not be jealous of what others have
2. the quality of the sky prevails over any other quality

3. the best instrument is the one we use

Edited by zirkel 2, 14 August 2019 - 03:33 PM.

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#55 Steve Allison

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 04:05 PM

1) If you want a refractor, don't let someone on this site talk you into buying a dob...


2) Don't worry about the glass type, worry about what you can see in the eyepiece.


3) Instead of buying a brand new, bargain priced apo, find a used but excellent condition Tak for the same money.


4) If you don't want to spend a fortune on rare, classic telescopes, refrain from watching any of Dave Trott's You Tube videos.


5) If you want a rare, classic telescope watch the CN classifieds for ads by Dave Trott.

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