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#1 Dalew

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:18 PM

Just signed up but have been reading a lot on telescopes.  It gets dizzying....  I had a lower end refractor many years ago but never got into stargazing because of other activities.   But we are amateur photographers and a few milky way sessions out west have renewed my interest in exploring the night sky a bit.  ( I do recall how excited I was to spot Jupiter's moons those years ago)

 

I am suburban with quite a few trees so, I expect to have to transport to the countryside for better seeing, which still might be fleeting since we live in Tampa where night skies can be pretty poor much of the time.   We have made several futile trips to darker sky areas of Florida and gotten totally skunked anyway.

 

I'd like to see some moon and planet detail and would enjoy some easy deep space objects, but not interested in hours of searching for the most remote of objects.  Just some casual and occasional viewing.  

 

I don't expect this to be a starter scope, but an easy and reliable one that I can just have on hand.   I would like ease of use, fairly lightweight and transportable, and the largest image I can get and still be clear and sharp, if conditions are clear.  If I could find one that I could take on a plane it would be a bonus, but not anxious to sacrifice aperture too much. (I guess that is a tall order...)

I am thinking a  4 inch refractor will meet my needs or a little bigger if I can find in my price range of under $500), but not sure it will.

 

I read how much enthusiasm there is for the reflector scopes, especially the "dobs".  But honestly this will sound silly, but I am struggling with that upside-down image.   If I get a go-to model, it's probably not as big a deal except at setup.  But manually searching,  I do think it would bug me.    Maybe it has to do with being a lefty, but I don't want to spend even more time mentally reversing things.  Or moving left but seeing a move to the right.

 

So, is my wish list reasonable or just plain ridiculous?   Any model recommendations or models or makers to avoid?   

 

Thank you!

 

Dale



#2 Napp

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:30 PM

You do understand that a refractor with diagonal produces a left-right inversion?  Without diagonal an upside down left-right inversion?  Yes it takes a bit of getting used to.  No matter which kind of scope you have to deal with something.  Yes you can buy a diagonal that fully corrects a refractor but they are designed for terrestrial use and are substandard for astronomical use.  I have a refractor, an sct and 2 dobs.  You get used to what your scope has with practice.

 

Take some time to go to outreach events and star parties of your local astronomy club.  Look through different types of scopes and see setup, operation and breakdown of different types of mounts.  Ask lots of questions.  It’s one thing to read about and hear opinions.  It’s better to see, feel and try out the real thing.


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#3 SirLoyne

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 12:54 PM

Although the image in a Dob might be upside down and backwards, when it comes to moving the scope, up is still up and left is still left. Even looking at something like the Moon, which you can see by eye, most people wouldn't even notice that the image isn't correct. If you suffer from light pollution an 8" Dob could be just what you're looking for. You're going to need to collect as much light as you can. Orion makes a "push to" model. You need to manually move it, but it tells you the direction. I've seen an 8" on Craigslist for as low as $350, and a 10" for $500. Maybe you should hold off until you can get a deal on a used one. You say you're not interested in deep space objects. That will change once you find your first few.

 

Orion IntelliScope Dobsonians


Edited by SirLoyne, 18 August 2019 - 01:59 PM.

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#4 aeajr

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:17 PM

Nothing ridiculous about your post or your desires.   And we can provide solutions.   Naturally money is always the limiting factor but $500 is a good starting budget.

 

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

 

I would encourage the 90 to 100 mm refractor idea.   But remember that you need more than just a scope, you need eyepieces and other accessories. (4" = 102 mm)

 

 

Here are a few ideas spread over a range of prices.

 

First group are refractors

 

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.
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

 

 

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
https://www.meade.co...nfinity-102-az/

 

 

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
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=2oiPcZy2SQc

 

 

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT GoTo Refractor – 16 pounds – $425  
Includes finder, 2 eyepieces,
https://www.amazon.c...L70_&dpSrc=srch
Setup Guide
https://www.youtube....ivG1M7-R4c&t=4s
Video overview
https://www.youtube....h?v=m-l2G7RGu-M

 

 

Meade Startnavigator 102 NG Goto refractor – $399
https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B01LX9OELD
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=v8GaKek0VIw
Set-up and align
https://www.youtube....h?v=slJlzIBH1Vg
Video – this is the earlier StarNavigator 102 – prior to the newer NG
https://www.youtube....h?v=VhZTuBIFNDI

 

Newtonian Reflectors are also a good choice in your budget range

 

Refractor vs. Reflector – Which is better?
https://telescopicwa...tor-telescopes/

 

 

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
https://www.highpoin...elescope-s11600
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=bDY8extsWH8


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.
https://www.telescop...yPriceAscending
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=zonuiO7h4gs

 

 

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT GoTo scope. – $370
Comes with finder, 2 eyepieces and is capable of using 2" eyepieces.
https://www.amazon.c...=Celestron GoTo
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=m-l2G7RGu-M
https://www.youtube....h?v=t-_Khwl2Iv8
Review and video overview
https://www.space.co...ope-review.html

 

 

 

Don't forget the accessories you will want/need.

 

Accessories to add to your Telescope
https://telescopicwa...ls-accessories/


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#5 SeattleScott

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:44 PM

Any scope will have an inverted image of some sort, just goes with the territory. GoTo might be an option for you but hard to get GoTo with decent aperture on your budget. You could look used or get an entry level GoTo 4” refractor or 5” reflector. Or just get a manual 8” Dob and deal with it.

Scott
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#6 Kipper-Feet

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:50 PM

To the Topic Starter, welcome to the CN forum Dale, and when you get a gap, check out the Inbox in your Personal Messenger.


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#7 vtornado

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:54 PM

For smaller scopes refractors are hard to beat.  No cool down, no collimation, effiecient for their size.

But ... usually  they are on crummy mounts, that make focusing and tracking difficult.

If you can get an 80mm f/11 on a twiglight 1 mount that would work.

 

A 130mm reflector is a nice size too.  That fits on a tw1 mount, or you could get a table top.

 

A six inch dob would be best for your price range optically.  The tube is long, but it is easy to move

a short distance. 


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#8 SirLoyne

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 02:16 PM

How far away from St. Petersburg are you. There's a 100% manual 8" Orion SkyQuest for $300. New it's $400. The ad is a month old, so maybe you can haggle.

 

https://tampa.craigs...6936962186.html


Edited by SirLoyne, 18 August 2019 - 02:18 PM.

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#9 Dalew

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 02:26 PM

Wow, thanks everybody for your responses.   A lot of good info.   Voyager, your links will keep me busy for a while!   I may have been to some of them already but will go back again.

 

Thanks again,

 

Dale


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#10 Sky Muse

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 02:36 PM

It doesn't really matter as to the orientation of an object in the sky, as there are no trees or buildings in the sky with which to compare an object.

 

With a refractor, Maksutov, or Schmidt, and all with the focusser at the rear, they can be easily used for daytime/terrestrial observations; birds in trees, ships at sea, but the field-of-view is narrower with an Amici, erect-image diagonal.  This is what causes the narrower view with an erect-image diagonal, a narrower light-port, and compared to that of a star-diagonal which is used for the sky at night...

 

diagonal types4b.jpg

 

Such diagonals also produce an "Amici line", an illuminated streak across brighter objects...

 

https://i.imgur.com/18Z6qU1.jpg

 

Some, however, feel compelled to use one, and so to match what they see within their star-charts, and phone-apps I suppose.  The entry-level refractor kits generally come with an erect-image diagonal; for examples...

 

https://www.highpoin...telescope-22150

 

This is a relative newcomer, but I don't believe that it's at f/6.5 like the Celestron above; f/6 rather, despite that stated by the manufacturer and their vendors...

 

https://www.highpoin...FxoC5ecQAvD_BwE

 

...which means it will exhibit more false-colour when viewing brighter objects.  Star-diagonals would be needed for either one of those kits, and for best performance at night.  

 

This kit, on the other hand, would exhibit a minimum of false-colour, but the refractor is longer in order to accomplish that, and requires a larger and heavier mount to support it...

 

https://www.highpoin...telescope-21088

 

However, the refractor OTA may had separately... https://www.highpoin...r-ota-21088-ota

 

...and then placed upon a lighter, simpler-to-use alt-azimuth; for examples...

 

https://www.telescop...160/p/10105.uts

 

https://agenaastro.c...ltaz-mount.html

 

The GSO alt-azimuth sells out regularly, and is then re-stocked.  I have that same mount, and for my 4" refractor...

 

FS-102ia.jpg

 

Incidentally, realising an erect-image with a Newtonian is very difficult, if not impossible; not practically in any event.


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#11 MalVeauX

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 03:44 PM

Heya,

 

Your interest and budget sounds a lot like someone who would do well with a 127mm Mak design telescope on an alt-az mount.

 

Very best,


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#12 aeajr

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 04:06 PM

Wow, thanks everybody for your responses.   A lot of good info.   Voyager, your links will keep me busy for a while!   I may have been to some of them already but will go back again.

 

Thanks again,

 

Dale

FYI, if this was directed to me, my screen name is AEAJR.  In my signature you can see my real name is Ed.

 

That Voyager thing is something that none of us really understand.  It has something to do the number of posts.  So there will be many on the forum with the Voyager designation.

 

Don't worry, it confuses everyone, even me. 


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#13 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:45 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights. I have no advice beyond what others have said, but I will say not to discount Tampa skies. I lived in Tampa for many years and although the city seemed to have light pollution worthy of a city five times its size the air was extremely steady and I could often see really nice details.

 

Clouds, however, are a frequent companion in many places.

 

Best of luck.



#14 Dalew

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:57 PM

Sorry, Ed.  I thought I looked everywhere for a name.   Just didn't look far enough down the post.    I see I have the category of "lift off".   Cute... I can live with that. flowerred.gif

 

In the course of 24 hours, I have decided go-to refractor, then cassegrain, then reflector, then basic find em yourself refractor and now back again to go-to refractor.   Yes, I am the queen of analysis paralysis.  

 

Have been to a star party but very few set ups and not a lot of chatting going on.   Didn't get much out of it other than 40 chigger bites.  Must have been a slow night.   I saw an event advertised at the local science museum for later in September, and will see if I have better luck there.  

 

But I think I am going to go ahead and pull the trigger on a 4 inch refractor.  I really think it will suit my needs. Just have to decide if I want go-to or not, and which of several brands to go with. (many ideas offered for sure!)  I like the idea of searching for my own treasures but the automatic tracking sure is appealing.  If I decide later that I want to move up, I'm not married to the thing.    Sometimes you just have to go ahead and jump.

 

Thanks again to you and all others for the help! I will post once I get the beast.  And I will keep the accessories in mind. 

 

Dale 


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#15 Dalew

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 09:14 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights. I have no advice beyond what others have said, but I will say not to discount Tampa skies. I lived in Tampa for many years and although the city seemed to have light pollution worthy of a city five times its size the air was extremely steady and I could often see really nice details.

 

Clouds, however, are a frequent companion in many places.

 

Best of luck.

Oh, yes, Ken.   Clouds have been the main event almost all summer, even during the day.   In July we had 8 days without rain, and I think August has had even less.  Not the usual 3-5 PM daily thunderstorm pattern either!-- sometimes all day rain just like when we lived in upstate NY.   But a new road has opened up in Wesley Chapel that goes east to 301 and has nothing on it so far.  I scoped out a few turn outs over the weekend for another stab at the Milky Way before the season is over.  Then it is only 20 minutes to get home after getting skunked instead of 2 hours.lol.gif


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#16 Stephen1952

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 08:42 AM

I bought a Celestron Astromaster 90EQ from Walmart (around $218 online) with a 90 return and a Celestron Nexstar 5SE from Sam's club with a bunch of accessories for $600.  Both have no question returns.  They were the lowest price available and the best return policy.  Both places have tons of types of binoculars and telescopes for sale with awesome return privileges. I will keep the one that suits me best.



#17 Dalew

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 02:47 PM

Well, I placed my order!  I decided to go with the Celestron XLT AZ 102 refractor scope.   I just couldn't justify the computer version not knowing if this would be a flash in the pan.   Plus it leaves me with more to spend on 'pretties for my precious'.   

 

I watched a video on eye pieces since the scope only comes with a 25X Plossi.  The larger Orion Stratus eye pieces really caught my eye considering that I wear glasses and have experienced eye pieces with tiny lenses that were hard to use on my old cheapie scope.   Are they really that much better for viewing?   I am fine with the extra cost if it is worth it.

 

Are all Barlow's the same or is there a low end to avoid? (2 x probably..)

 

Thanks,

 

Dale


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#18 aeajr

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 09:32 PM

Eyepieces and Barlows are like cars.  They all get you there but the more expensive ones do have advantages most of the time.

 

I don't have any experience with those Orion eyepieces so someone else will need to comment.  These two articles may be helpful. 

 

 

Understanding Telescope Eyepieces-

There are recommendations, based on budget, but the meat of the article is about understanding the issues when selecting eyepieces.
https://telescopicwa...cope-eyepieces/


Understanding and using a Barlow Lens
https://telescopicwatch.com/?s=barlow


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#19 LanceRFerguson

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:32 PM

Although the image in a Dob might be upside down and backwards, when it comes to moving the scope, up is still up and left is still left. 

I think my head just exploded.

All kidding aside, as obvious as it may seem to those more experienced, this might have solved my struggles finding M31 in my 130EQ newt (or my 90EQ refractor, for that matter).  I can find it easily in my 20x70 binoculars but have yet to locate it with the telescope, even using a 32mm EP.  


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#20 LanceRFerguson

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:52 PM

But I think I am going to go ahead and pull the trigger on a 4 inch refractor.  I really think it will suit my needs. Just have to decide if I want go-to or not, and which of several brands to go with. (many ideas offered for sure!)  I like the idea of searching for my own treasures but the automatic tracking sure is appealing.  If I decide later that I want to move up, I'm not married to the thing.    Sometimes you just have to go ahead and jump.

 

That's kind of how I ended up.  I started with a $20 Meade 60 from Craigslist from which I learned a lot of negative lessons about mounts.  Then I picked up a 90EQ refractor and a 130EQ newt for less than $200 all together.  I've been enjoying learning the ropes until and if I decide I want to move up and what it is I really want to accomplish.

Clear skies!


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#21 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 05:38 PM

Well, I placed my order!  I decided to go with the Celestron XLT AZ 102 refractor scope.   I just couldn't justify the computer version not knowing if this would be a flash in the pan.   Plus it leaves me with more to spend on 'pretties for my precious'.   

 

I watched a video on eye pieces since the scope only comes with a 25X Plossi.  The larger Orion Stratus eye pieces really caught my eye considering that I wear glasses and have experienced eye pieces with tiny lenses that were hard to use on my old cheapie scope.   Are they really that much better for viewing?   I am fine with the extra cost if it is worth it.

 

Are all Barlow's the same or is there a low end to avoid? (2 x probably..)

 

Thanks,

 

Dale

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_eba4.htm

 

A 2x-barlow will extend the focal-length of the telescope to an effective 1320mm.  You can do a lot with that.

 

These longer eye-relief eyepieces are quite popular... https://www.astronom...iece_series=478

 

The same are available here... https://agenaastro.c...na_dual_ed.html


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#22 Dalew

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 09:37 PM

Thanks everybody, for all of your thoughts.  I really appreciate all the helpful folks on the forum.

 

As I progress, I will try to return the favor.

Dale


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