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New people should buy any kind of telescope?

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#1 Edwardstark


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Posted 12 August 2019 - 11:58 PM

I don't know what kind of telescope I should buy, because I'm a newcomer, haven't had much experience in this, please help me

#2 Barlowbill


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:13 AM

Here is what you need to do:  Tell us how much you want to spend.  What you want to look at.  How often do you think you will use it.  Where you live.  In town with a lot of light pollution?  Out in the country?  There are tons of youtube about becoming acquainted with telescopes.  The internet is full of articles about different kinds of scopes.  You can find articles on this site that cover just about every conceivable aspect of telescope observing.  Look at the Classifieds section to see what kinds of scopes people sell on this site.  The scope is the main instrument but then you get into all the other stuff you need....like eyepieces.  A whole nother can of worms.  

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#3 ngc7319_20



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:14 AM

Greetings!  We can probably help better if you give some more information.  What are your interests?  What do you want to look at?  Are you in the city where the sky is bright, or in the country where it is dark?  Will you observe from home, or do you need a portable telescope?  What is your budget?

#4 Jim Waters

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:16 AM

The best thing you can do is to find a local Astronomy Club and join.  Attend the meetings and learn and don't make any decisions for 1 or 2 months.


EDIT / UPDATE - attend star parties, look though other peoples scopes and figure out what your area of interest is.  IMHO you should consider a 8" DOB.  Something like these.




Remember you need to get stuff like eyepieces, red flashlight, star chart ...etc.  If you have limited funds you should save up more money.

Edited by Jim Waters, 13 August 2019 - 05:37 PM.

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#5 db2005


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:34 AM

Welcome to the forum!


A lot of people are likely to weigh in on this and give you all sorts of suggestions. They will ask you about budget, observing interests and a few other things. I know starting in amateur astronomy can be very daunting, so I'll give you the simplest possible answer (so please be advised that this is not an exhaustive answer):

  • If you have the option of visiting an amateur astronomy club and/or star party, do it. Look at the skies and talk to experienced observers; they will let you through different types of telescopes and they will be helpful pointing out differences between telescope types. Maybe they even have some second-hand equipment up for sale. Many of us do occasionally.
  • If going to a star party is not possible, try to find a brick-and-mortar telescope store. Check out which scopes they have on display. Ask for help and advice.
  • If you don't own binoculars get some. 8x42 or 10x50 or 7x50... all three types will do fine, and even much smaller binoculars will help you explore the night sky. Just don't buy too cheap; i would set 200 USD as a (flexible) minimum.
  • Now, finally getting to the telescope part: Consider how much equipment weight you are willing to carry around and set up if you had to do it every night of the year. If you don't know, set that limit to around 30-40 lbs. Then buy the best scope you can afford within that total weight limit. That would typically be a 80 mm refractor on an alt-az mount or a 4.5-6" Dobsonian telescope. The Dobsonian offers most aperture for the money, but refractors are simpler and easier to use. Pick your poison according to your needs and preferences.
  • Keep some money in reserve for eyepieces. Better eyepieces usually improve a lot on the eyepieces bundled with a telescope, and you will soon want to spend maybe 100-200 USD on good eyepieces.
  • Don't be taken in by aperture fever: Getting the largest scope you can afford often means it will be too large and cumbersome to use. Rather, get something small to start with; if your interest in amateur astronomy grows, you can always upgrade later. More people have lost interest in amateur astronomy due to too large and unmanageable scopes than due to too small scopes.
  • SCTs and MCTs (catadioptric scopes) may look "cool" to beginners (they have that special "tech-sciency" look), but for several technical and practical reasons they are not great for beginners. A dob or a small refractor are better, lower cost, general purpose choices.
  • Don't skimp on the mount. If you have a choice between a small scope on a sturdy mount and a large scope on a wobbly mount... pick the small scope. A sturdy mount multiplies the values of whatever scope it holds, whilst a wobbly mount can make even the most expensive scope next to useless. Again, try to see the scopes in real life, and try to look through the scope while giving the mount a sharp push. Seemingly small vibrations magnified 100x will show you why the importance of the mount should be emphasized.

Clear Skies,



Edited by db2005, 13 August 2019 - 12:36 AM.

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#6 Jond105



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:54 AM

Welcome to the forums. What you have asked is a very serious question. Research Research Research. If you have time for a star party near by, it will help you along so much to begin with. I really can’t recommend you anything off the question asked as it is so open. Everyone has asked you questions already that could potentially get us moving along to help you further along this process of getting into astronomy. 

#7 Cali



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:04 AM



First tell us how much disposable income do you have.


- Cal

Edited by Cali, 13 August 2019 - 01:04 AM.

#8 Edwardstark


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:45 AM

I have about $ 300

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#9 Edwardstark


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:46 AM

I tried to find out, but I don't know which one would suit me

#10 sg6


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:46 AM

As a possible answer you have basically 3 common types: Newtonian, Refractor, SCT/Mak (sometimes called "compound").

I would suggest NOT the SCT/Mak - reason is they have by design a long focal length and ultimately that means a norrow field of view. Simply getting things in view is more difficult and assuming manual they drift across "faster".


So Newtonian = Reflector. Least cost are the Dobsonian mounted scopes. A 6"/150mm is nice and "small". There are f/8 ones that are easier in terms of general maintenance. Personally I dislike the "table top" forms that are smaller, 130mm, often faster (more maintenance) and I suppose you need to have a table.


Refractor - probably an Achro so will show color on bright objects. Suggest something in the f/8 area. Again personal but suggest you avoid the 80mm f/5 and other f/5 offerings. One at 80mm that comes to mind is the ES Firstlight 80/640. There are 90mm and 100mm ones at f/10. The 90/900 is a good start.


I suggest scopes that are "easy", maybe not the biggest in aperture or magnifications, just easy. Remember that after the scope comes more eyepieces, then other bits.


I have assumed Manual only, not goto. Also no imaging.


Add a location for yourself (profile). It helps even on questions that seemingly don't need it.

Edited by sg6, 13 August 2019 - 01:51 AM.

#11 Cali



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:20 AM

Given Edwardstark only has $300 to spend, maybe we should introduce him to a good pair of binoculars. Something that leaves enough money for a Planisphere, a Star Atlas and some introductory books.


- Cal

Edited by Cali, 13 August 2019 - 09:47 AM.

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#12 Gary Z

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:26 AM

I don't know what kind of telescope I should buy, because I'm a newcomer, haven't had much experience in this, please help me

ok, before you go and spend money on gear, please stop, consult a  local or as local an astronomy club as you can.  Let the local club guide you by explaining to you the different types of optics.  Even if you had say plenty of money to spend on premium gear, without properly knowing what's out there and what you want to do with it, you could be wasting money and time.  We've all been where you are now and recommend you hold off the bug to buy your first gear.  There's unfortunately a lot of bad gear out there that will only serve to frustrate you.



Keep the questions coming, and we'll be happy to answer them.



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#13 SirLoyne


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:30 AM

Are you in the US? Many states libraries have telescopes you can borrow.


Library Telescope

#14 MalVeauX


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:42 AM

I have about $ 300

At this price point, a reflector is the only way to go really in my opinion without knowing your preferences or the subjects you're most interested in. You could get a small refractor (it will be an achromat and show a lot of false color and be short on a poor mount with a bad focuser, which is my point). Same with a small Mak/SCT design (long scope, poor mount, but no false color). That leaves reflectors, which you will get much more aperture (so more brightness and more resolution under any sky) with an ok focuser in an alt-az (dobsonian) base which is good. But you have lots of good options here.


130mm F5 tabletop alt-az with accessories & eyepieces (this would be if you need it to be super portable, as portable as possible):




150mm F8 dobsonian with an eyepiece (this would be if you have a little room):




That'll get you started for literally anything. From there, it's all about just getting outside under the sky and start learning the sky and develop your own opinions and you'll know where to go from there.


I'd suggest the 150mm (6") F8 dob linked above. You cannot get more scope than that for the money and it is a real telescope with good components.


If you feel the need to dabble and just prefer the idea of a refractor, here's an inexpensive 80mm F11 on an ok alt-az mount to start out with for cheap:




Very best,

Edited by MalVeauX, 13 August 2019 - 06:56 AM.

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#15 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:44 AM

For $300, you can't go wrong with this...




Astronomics, of Norman, Oklahoma, is the host and sponsor of this website, Cloudy Nights.  Mention your CN username, "Edwardstark", when ordering, and you'll receive a discount.


A 6" f/8 Newtonian, now mounted on a Dobson alt-azimuth, is a classic...




Back then, a 6" f/8 came mounted on an equatorial, as shown.  Nowadays they're mounted on much simpler and easier-to-use Dobson alt-azimuth mounts.


A 6" aperture is no slouch under the night sky.  You'd see a LOT with it.  Over time, you can get extra eyepieces to complement the observing experience.  The kit already comes with 10mm(120x) and 25mm(48x) Plossls to start out.  It's a value-packed kit all round. 

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#16 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:48 AM

The Sky-Watcher 6" f/8 "Dobsonian" is a better choice over the Orion 6" f/8, as the Sky-Watcher comes with a 1.25"/2" metal focusser; the Orion with a plastic 1.25" focusser, and full of headaches.  To be fair, the primary-mirror cell of the Orion is superior, but the focusser is much more important.  Go with the Sky-Watcher, for the long run.

#17 Richie2shoes


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:35 AM

For $300, I'd recommend the AWB Onesky @ $200.  That leaves enough left over for a 2x barlow, a 32mm plossl and another plossl, maybe 6mm.  

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#18 vtornado



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:38 AM

Welcome to the forum Edward


For a beginner the best thing is a wide field (short focal length) telescope on an alt-az (altitude-azimuth) mount, In layman's terms moves  straight back and forth, straight up and down. A dobsonian is this kind of mount..


Unfortunately at $300, a lot of telescopes have poor mounts which make them frustrating to use.


As others have said above, I recommend a AWB one sky or Zhummel 130mm f/5 table top dob, or

a 6 inch dob.  These are versatile scopes that are easy to use.  I use my table top often when

I don't want to drag out a bigger scope.


This leaves you some money for a few eyepieces, red-beam flash light. or a few other doo-dads.

Edited by vtornado, 13 August 2019 - 07:41 AM.

#19 watchplanets


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:54 AM

300 is a good start altho iam not sure what money from what country your in


u need to tell us if planets sun and moon are what u wanna see then maybe a refractor like a 90mmf/10 on eq2 or eq3. Not sure your budjet can get a 4" refractor.


or maybe a 5.1" reflector on eq2


these are 2 good starts


is portabililty a concern? do u live in an apt or high rise apt that u must carry then outside everytime u need to look?

even if you have a balcony, facing south (which is best if u had to face one way) u always get blocked by the balconys above and your  building to the sides, so this is not idea but better then nothing. then something lightweight that u can carry? or do u have a house and a backyard with no lights and clear sky?


the more info u give the better we can suggest.


if u go dob consider a 6" is only 4ft tall at the zenith (looking up) and looking at 45 degree or less you will be on your knees (if the floor is wet muddy or dirty then that's not good.and these kind u push/pull so high powers are not easy as the Teflon pads and gears are not fully smooth. theres also no manula slow motion controls nor can u add motors like a eq version can. so I would steer away from these . yes its cheaper but is cheaper better or easier?

Edited by watchplanets, 13 August 2019 - 07:58 AM.

#20 SeattleScott


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:56 AM

6” Dob is probably your best bet at $300.

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#21 clearwaterdave



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:36 PM

IMHO.,Newbies shouldn't buy a telescope.,They should try to find a club nearby and go to a meeting.,or get a planisphere or astro app. and get out under the stars.,try to learn a few constellations.,see if you really like being out at all hours., in the cold or buggy nights.,

  You do need to give a bit more info for us to advise though.,are you strong.,is there light pollution where you live.,scopes can be heavy.,you may want to drive to darker skies.,will you mostly observe alone or with others sharing the scope., good luck.,

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#22 Napp


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

Absolutely go to star parties and outreach events of your local astronomy club.  Look through the various types of scopes and see setup, operation and breakdown of different types of mounts.  There are many other considerations than just budget.  You need to learn more so you can get equipment that will meet your requirements and desires.  No better way to learn than joining and observing with experienced observers of the club.  At the two clubs I am a member of you don’t need to have a scope.  One club has loaner scopes.  Right now just pick up a pair of 10X50 binoculars (great tool for learning the sky).  There is no need to spend more that $50 for them.  Also get a copy of the book “Turn Left at Orion” and join an astronomy club.  Be patient, learn a little and then buy a scope.

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#23 watchplanets


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:24 PM

for me tho I wouldn't have gone to a club etc. in my city there 1 club another club in the next city over and getting there back then in the 90s on ttc wouldn't have worked carry the scope and all. the science center sometimes hold night outings but when u have 50 people there u almost get no time at the  ep anyway. and again taking a taxi back then no thx


I found getting a scope with plainsphere learning the stars then constellations was abit tough at the start but it becomes easier and easier the more often u do it gets easier. I was outside almost every clear night, except important family outings.


so for me going to clubs or driving out to dark sites wouldn't work and I probally wouldn't be into this hobby if I went that way. even my countries largest star party is in a yellow zone.i did that for 3 years after that I finally got a cottage in a blue zone y would I go to the star party with crappy skies just to talk to people?

80% of the time your talking about your scope gear or ep yaddy yaddy and really not really doing obsevering.


for me getting a scope and learning the hard way is y im still into it

Edited by watchplanets, 13 August 2019 - 01:27 PM.

#24 aeajr


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 04:16 PM

I don't know what kind of telescope I should buy, because I'm a newcomer, haven't had much experience in this, please help me


I have about $ 300


First of all, these articles may be helpful.
How Much Does a First Telescope Cost?
Refractor vs. Reflector – Which is better?

Different types of Telescopes
So my questions always start this way:

  • Where will you store it?
  • Where will you use it?
  • How much weight can you comfortably handle?
  • Will you need to put this in your car to take it to an observing site?  What kind of car?

Do you you have any experience with telescopes?  Do you have someone to help you?  Are you a member of a club?
Do you have binoculars?  If so, have you ever used them to observe the sky?
All telescopes gather light.   In cars we talk about power in horsepower.  In telescopes power is measured by the aperture, expressed in mm or inches which will determine how much light the can gather. 
So, what can you get for about $200 - $300?   Here are a few examples of scopes that I would recommend.  I would enjoy having anyone of these scopes.  
Meade Infinity 90mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope - 600 mm FL - About 12 pounds $189
Received Sky and Telescope Innovative Astronomy Gear in Jan 2016. 
Includes slow motion controls, finder scope, 3 eyepieces and a 2X barlow for 6 magnifications.
Product review
AWB 'ONESKY' REFLECTOR TELESCOPE – Tabletop - 130 mm - 14 pounds – $199
Reviewed in Dec 2015 Sky and Telescope – gets many good reviews.  Collapsing design makes it very compact for storage and for transport. Includes finder scope and 2 eyepieces
Frequent out of stock situations so plan your purchase.
Consider adding a 2X barlow in the future
Product review
Meade Instruments Infinity 102 AZ Refractor Telescope - About 14 pounds – $229
Includes 3 eyepieces and a 2X barlow and slow motion controls.  Gets many great reviews
https://www.amazon.c...02 AZ Refractor
Detailed Product Review
Celestron Omni XLT 102mm AltAz refractor - all up around 14 pounds -  $289
Includes a 25 mm eyepiece,  Red dot finder, slow motion controls, correct image focuser for day or night use
You would want to add a second eyepiece, perhaps a 10 mm, and a 2X barlow
https://www.amazon.c...actor telescope
Meade ETX 80 Observer GoTo Refractor – $299   About 15 pounds
2 Plossl eyepeices, 90 degree star angle for night and 45 degree correct image angle for day as a spotting scope Bubble compass, backpack and tripod
I own this scope.  This was my first telescope and I still use it often.  The GoTo is great.  Can be used on or off the tripod.
Tripod is a little light weight as it is optimized for portability. 
https://www.amazon.c...ds=meade ETX 80
ETX80 Observer Review
Skywatcher 6” Dobsonian – $315, about 34 pounds ( can be moved in two pieces)
Includes 2 Plossl eyepieces, 2” focuser with 1.25” adapter, 6X30 finder scope, tension adjustment knob
Orion SkQuest XT6 kit – $329 – 34 pounds
Popular 6” Dobsonian scope package with useful accessories beyond what is part of the standard scope.   $299.   Includes 2 eyepieces, 2X barlow, Planisphere, Moon map, beginner observers guide and red flashlight.  All things you will need.  This is a floor standing scope that is very stable and very easy to use.

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#25 Sketcher



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 05:20 PM

There's more than one route to take.


I would suggest looking for a telescope that possesses certain qualities:


1) a telescope that's solidly attached to a mount that allows for smooth motions, yet it 'sticks' where you point it once you release you hands from the telescope, mount, tripod (if there is one), etc.


2)  If the telescope is on a tripod, the tripod should be "solid" -- free from flexure (the "jiggles").


3)  The telescope should be capable of providing a true field of view of at least 2.5 degrees.  Less can work out, depending on the person; but more will make the beginner's learning curve a bit less steep.  It will make it easier to manually point the telescope at one's desired "targets".  There's already more than enough challenges for a beginner to overcome without having to make it more difficult to point a telescope at objects.


4)  I don't really have a 4, but I wanted to say that the type of telescope isn't so critical provided 1, 2, and 3 have been adequately taken care of.


So, perhaps look for a telescope that you think might work, and then ask the people here if that telescope would meet 1, 2, and 3 above.

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