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Please help me to choose first telescope

Celestron dso equipment SCT refractor
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#1 denis_k

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 02:25 AM

Hello there,
I would like to purchase my first telescope but I don't know which one to choose. I know there is a whole bunch of them, different types for different purposes. I'm not planning to do astrophotography (at least for now), mostly for observing deep-sky objects (planest also sounds neat but DSO sounds more excited)
My budget is $600 - $700 for the entire set (telescope, mount, eyepieces) and I don't want to get 100 dollars telescope and change it after 3 months. I would like to get a telescope which would be with me for years.
I made my research and comes with two completely different models:

  • Celestron Nexstar 5SE
  • ES AR102 + mount + eyepiece

I know it is an absolutely different type of telescopes but anyway price wise they both feet my budget and both capable to do what I want (at least I think both capable to do DSO) and base on feedback on forum both awesome telescopes. Maybe later I would like to try making some simple photos of galaxies or nebulas but not right now but I would like to my future telescope would be capable to do it as well.
Any opinions or suggestions?
And thank you so much, everyone!


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#2 DLuders

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:24 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!  smile.gif   Let's compare those two telescopes:

 

Celestron NexStar 5SE Computerized Telescope --  $699.00; Schmidt-Cassegrain design; Focal Ratio f/10; Aperture is 125mm (4.92"); Focal Length is 1250mm (49"); Magnification with supplied 25mm eyepiece is 50x.

 

Explore Scientific AR102 Air-Spaced Doublet Refractor -- $399.99; Refractor design; Focal Ratio f/6.5; Aperture is 101mm; Focal Length is 663mm; Magnification with 25mm eyepiece is (663mm)/(25mm) = 26.5x  (about half of the Celestron NexStar 5SE).

 

Realize that not one telescope can do everything well; your selection is a matter of compromise and preference.  thinking1.gif  


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#3 SirLoyne

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:03 AM

Is space a problem? How about moving it? If you want to see DSO's, this is more like what you want. I admit though, it's not good for photography.

 

https://www.highpoin...n-telescope-ad8


Edited by SirLoyne, 15 September 2019 - 05:05 AM.

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#4 DLuders

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:48 AM

You could stretch your dollars by considering a gently-used telescope from the Cloudy Nights "Classifieds" section  https://www.cloudyni...om/classifieds/    wink.gif 


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#5 sg6

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 06:04 AM

Rotten truth, you are going to get told each and every option of scope - each will have a reason for buying them (what else) and after 6 months you will want either something better or bigger or different.

 

$600-$700 ?

Includes eyepieces ?

4 eyepieces ate $60 (thinking Paradigm costs) wipes close to £250 off the scope budget.

 

Scope is easy, (this is going to be fun) something cheap maybe nasty. Reason is you get a reasonable mount use the cheap scope, and in 4 months throw it and get a better scope. Better scope that will still fit the reasonable mount.

 

Photographs/images - different world suggest you ignore it. Basic requirement - ED scope, goto equitorial mount, DSLR (yours) T-ring, Nosepiece, Intervalometer. Costs Scope $300, mount $700, last 4 bits $100, if you add a flattener in (useful) $150.

 

How about this {ES firstlight 80/640 package, Skywatcher Az GTi Wifi  mount. at f/8 you should manage to use a few reasonable plossls around £30 each. Take scope off what it comes with and add scope to the Az GTi.

 

System would not get biggest nor have magnifications beyond the mind of mankind, but would be easy.

 

Could well be better to just get the ES Fristlight 80/640 and for the first month use the supplied mount and see how it all goes.

 

All goto's will if set up and given accurate data goto a target. But read the wording - they goto, you set them up, you supply the data, you do the alignment and center the stars. There is a lot of manual input and action required in what you may be considering a computerised automatic scope. They do 1 bit if you do the other 4 bits.

 

Add a location and go find a club, find out if one or two are holding an outreach night. It can be enlightening to see what people actually use. Can have little in common with what you are suggested to purchase.


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#6 clearwaterdave

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 06:57 AM

Rotten truth, you are going to get told each and every option of scope - each will have a reason for buying them (what else) and after 6 months you will want either something better or bigger or different.

 

$600-$700 ?

Includes eyepieces ?

4 eyepieces ate $60 (thinking Paradigm costs) wipes close to £250 off the scope budget.

 

Scope is easy, (this is going to be fun) something cheap maybe nasty. Reason is you get a reasonable mount use the cheap scope, and in 4 months throw it and get a better scope. Better scope that will still fit the reasonable mount.

 

Photographs/images - different world suggest you ignore it. Basic requirement - ED scope, goto equitorial mount, DSLR (yours) T-ring, Nosepiece, Intervalometer. Costs Scope $300, mount $700, last 4 bits $100, if you add a flattener in (useful) $150.

 

How about this {ES firstlight 80/640 package, Skywatcher Az GTi Wifi  mount. at f/8 you should manage to use a few reasonable plossls around £30 each. Take scope off what it comes with and add scope to the Az GTi.

 

System would not get biggest nor have magnifications beyond the mind of mankind, but would be easy.

 

Could well be better to just get the ES Fristlight 80/640 and for the first month use the supplied mount and see how it all goes.

 

All goto's will if set up and given accurate data goto a target. But read the wording - they goto, you set them up, you supply the data, you do the alignment and center the stars. There is a lot of manual input and action required in what you may be considering a computerised automatic scope. They do 1 bit if you do the other 4 bits.

 

Add a location and go find a club, find out if one or two are holding an outreach night. It can be enlightening to see what people actually use. Can have little in common with what you are suggested to purchase.

Is this supposed to be helpful.?? You sound confused to me.,like you can't decide what you want to say.,

  

  You may take a look at the AWB Onesky tabletop 130mm reflector.,There is a very long thread in the beginners forum about it.,cheers.,

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20190327_183143.jpg

Edited by clearwaterdave, 15 September 2019 - 07:01 AM.

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#7 Stu Todd

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 07:25 AM

No photography, no fancy computerised mount needed.

 

Buy an 8 or 10" Dobsonian.

 

Easy to set up and use, great to learn the skies with (and great for the kids to use) and you'll see a good range of clusters, nebulae and galaxies too. You can't go wrong.

Oh, and they are popular so they hold value if you want to upgrade in the future.

 

Clear skies,

 

Stu


Edited by Stu Todd, 15 September 2019 - 07:26 AM.

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#8 denis_k

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 02:53 PM

Guys, thank you so much for all your advice!



#9 MalVeauX

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:23 PM

Heya,

 

For this price range, I'd argue the 8" newtonian reflector in a dobsonian mount and two good eyepieces. That will take your whole budget. You will see way more in this than tiny little fast achromatic refractors and wee SCT/Maks. Real telescope. You won't outgrow an 8 inch aperture. Check out this Apertura 8" dob deal, you get the tools you need and two very useful eyepieces. Money left over can go into a nice zoom eyepiece (suggested for planets/lunar).

 

https://www.highpoin...n-telescope-ad8

 

The only alternative I'd suggest at this price point and purpose, would be a 6" F6 newtonian on a GSO Skyview Deluxe as a portable 6" do-all budget scope that is still light weight and easy to transport and move around.

 

https://agenaastro.c...lector-ota.html

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

$500 shipped for those two. Light & portable.

Leaves $200 for eyepieces. I'd get one 8-24mm zoom ($65). And one wide eyepiece like a 32mm 70 degree SWA 2" or E.S. 28mm 68 degree 2" eyepiece.

 

If you wanted a refractor, I would say you'll be limited to an 80mm ED, which is a fine scope, but it will by way limited compared to a 6" or 8" mirror. On a budget, mirrors are the way to go unless the size/weight is not an option. There are options, like the Astronomics AT80ED F7 and mount it on a Twilight I maybe, leaving same room for eyepieces, but the 80mm aperture limits what you'll see. And if you're in light pollution it will be quite limiting what you can see other than planets. Even 80mm isn't much for planets. For a good ED refractor with no false color on a budget, I'd look at the TS 102mm F11 ED refractor. It's affordable for what it is and can do. But honestly an 8" mirror will still walk all over it.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 15 September 2019 - 03:28 PM.

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#10 SteveG

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:48 PM

Denis, you live in the Bay Area, so galaxies and nebula are going to be disappointing in either of those scopes due to the sky glow of the city lights. You likely won’t be able to even see them at all through a small telescope.

 

I also recommend an 8”-10” dobsonian reflector. You will still need to drive a good way out of town for good views, but at least the larger aperture will give you a fighting chance.


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#11 denis_k

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 12:31 AM

Thank you guys for all the information you have provided me.
I checked Light pollution map in my area and it looks like that. It's really awful.

 

https://i.ibb.co/Qnck5dn/image1.jpg



#12 SeattleScott

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 12:46 AM

Between the two you suggested, it is really about getting a GoTo scope that will find stuff for you (if you can figure out how to use the GoTo), or getting a wide field manual scope that is great for finding stuff yourself and learning the sky. Personally, for a small grab and go, these tend to mostly be used for shorter (maybe even impromptu ) sessions once you have bigger scopes. I typically don’t want to mess with a GoTo alignment for a 30 minute session, and my backyard has too many trees for GoTo anyway, so I would opt for the refractor.

That being said, you will see more detail with an 8” Dob. It just won’t be as convenient.

Scott
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#13 Cali

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 02:51 AM

Thank you guys for all the information you have provided me.
I checked Light pollution map in my area and it looks like that. It's really awful.

 

image1.png

Denis

 

A resource not far from you is the Orion Telescope store (an actual brick and mortar Astronomy store) near De Anza college in Cupertino. V-e-r-y knowledgeable staff. (After _a_lot_ of Q and A this is where I bought a Mak.) Large selection of scopes, lenses, filters, literature, maps, etc. No hard selling. You can just show up and hang out. Try for a week day as it is less crowded.

 

I'm down in Fremont, just south east of you and joined the Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club. They meet in Livermore monthly and have access to Del Valle Regional Park where they throw star parties. The also have access up near Lick. Their monthly meetings are about 45 minutes east of you. Besides access to dark skies they have a very active membership. Their next star party is this Saturday at Tesla Vintners, 5143 Tesla Road, Livermore. (Fairly dark skies. See the web site mentioned above for more info.) Just show up and you can look through just about every kind and size of telescope available. At the last meeting at this site there were at least 40+ people with Dobs, SCTs, Maks, Refractors, Binoculars and people doing astrophotography. Don't be shy. People will trip over themselves demonstrating their equipment for you.

 

On both of these points, go look for yourself and play, man.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 16 September 2019 - 05:46 AM.

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#14 aeajr

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 04:48 AM

Hello there,
I would like to purchase my first telescope but I don't know which one to choose. I know there is a whole bunch of them, different types for different purposes. I'm not planning to do astrophotography (at least for now), mostly for observing deep-sky objects (planest also sounds neat but DSO sounds more excited)
My budget is $600 - $700 for the entire set (telescope, mount, eyepieces) and I don't want to get 100 dollars telescope and change it after 3 months. I would like to get a telescope which would be with me for years.
I made my research and comes with two completely different models:

  • Celestron Nexstar 5SE
  • ES AR102 + mount + eyepiece

I know it is an absolutely different type of telescopes but anyway price wise they both feet my budget and both capable to do what I want (at least I think both capable to do DSO) and base on feedback on forum both awesome telescopes. Maybe later I would like to try making some simple photos of galaxies or nebulas but not right now but I would like to my future telescope would be capable to do it as well.
Any opinions or suggestions?
And thank you so much, everyone!

Welcome to Cloudy Nights and to the world of telescopes.

 

From a light pollution point of view, you are in better shape then I am.  

 

Despite the aperture numbers, these two telescope garther a simlar amount of light.  The 5SE is an SCT which has a central obstruction which blocks some of the light.   So a 125 mm aperture SCT and a 102 mm aperture refractor would be comparable in what they would show and how bright the objects would be.

 

The big decision is do you want a computerized mount? 

 

The 5SE is on a GoTo mount.  I presume this is the package you are considering.

https://www.celestro...rized-telescope

 

Once you do a quick alignment, 5 minute task or less, the 5SE will find and track anything you want to see, within the capability of its aperture.  This is a very popular scope.  Think of GPS in your car.  You put in the address and the GPS tells you how to get there.  In the case of a GoTo scope, there is a little to do, but it is easy once you get the hang of it, then the computer points the scope at the target, tracks it and you observe it.

 

For many the GoTo capability is really helpful in getting started in astronomy because you spend less time hunting and more time observing.  But that assumes you get along with computerized things and can follow instructions.   Just like the computer on your desk, you have to follow the alignment procedure correctly or it won't work.   My first two scopes were computerized. Wonderful!  But over a period of years I learned other ways of finding targets too. I still have two GoTo scopes. I wanted that computerization for my light polluted sky. 

 

 

I presume the ES 102 is this package

https://explorescien...-ar1021000maz01

 

This is a nice scope on a manual mount.  That means you have to find the targets yourself and you have to track them yourself.   You will have to learn how to star hop or how ot use AltAz coordinates and charts or apps to help you locate your targets.  This is like plotting out a trip on a paper road map and then looking for signs along the road so you know where to turn.   You plot the path from star to star in order to find those DSOs. 

 

For some, this is great fun.  For others it is a source of frustration, especially in a light polluted area.  It is a skill you need to develop over time.  I use AltAz coordinates with my biggest scope which is a manual 12" Dobsonian/Newtonian scope.  Works well but I had to learn the process.  Because of the very light polluted nature of my area and sky, I do very little star hopping. 

 

Either scope will be able to reach about 200X if conditions are good. So no real difference there.

 

Field of View

 

This is a major difference between the two. For reference, the Moon is about 1/2 a degree wide.

 

The 5SE has a 1250 mm FL and uses a 1.25" diagonal.  It will achieve its widest fielf of view with a 32 or 40 mm Plossl eyepiece.  Assuming a 32 mm Plossl, which is what I would recommend, that will be about 39X and 1.3 degrees field of view.  That is wide enough to see probably 90% of what is up there. But there will be some large DSOs that will not fit in that field of view.  You can view them but you woudl view them a piece at a time.

 

The ES has a shorter focal length and comes with a 2" focuser/diagonal so it can use 2" and 1.25" eyepieces.  This will allow you to use 2" eyepieces and to get to lower magnification levels and wider views.   Assuming a 2" 38 mm 70 degree AFOV eyepiece you would have 26X and about a 2.5 degree field of view.  That will allow you to view all but the few really big DSOs in one field of view.

 

 

Both will be very portable so that should not be an issue.

 

So it comes down to computerized or not and your preferences around field of view. 

 

There are all sorts of other techincal differences between them but these are the key decision factors when buying a first telescope.   If you find you like astronomy you will likely get a second scope somewhere along the way, most likely a larger one.  It will be less portable but will let you probe deeper and show you more detail on the brighter targets. It will have its own considerations.  But at that point you can optimize one scope for portability and the other one for aperture.   

 

I have 5 scopes. I don't need 5 scopes but they just keep appearing.   Two is plenty.  One "grab and go" which both of these would fit, and one "light bucket".

 

That is how I see it.  I can't tell you which one to buy.  But as a first scope in a light polluted area, I would lean toward a computerized GoTo mount, if you get along well with computers.  It doesn't have to be the 5SE as there are lots of choices.

 

Another option, in your price range, that provides computer assit but which does not track is the Orion Intelliscope series. 

https://www.telescop...pe/p/102012.uts

https://www.youtube....h?v=EmHogk9pwlw

 

These are Dobsonian type mounts with large Newtonian optical tubes. The Intelliscope is a "pushto" system.   You do an alignment, just like the GoTo scopes, and the hand set guides you to the location of the target.  Once you have it, you do the tracking manually.   

 

My first scope was a Meade GoTo scope.  My second was an Orion XT8 Intelliscope.  So I speak from experience. Loved the Intelliscope and over time I learned how to find things myself and so I used the Intelliscope feature less and less. 

 

Now a friend has it and it is helping him enjoy the sky as I upgraded to a 12" scope.  This one is not computerized.  I now know how to find things using AltAz coordinates and that works just fine for me. I still don't use star hopping very much.  And I still have two Meade ETX computerized scopes.   


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#15 aeajr

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 06:19 AM

Denis

A resource not far from you is the Orion Telescope store (an actual brick and mortar Astronomy store) near De Anza college in Cupertino. V-e-r-y knowledgeable staff. (After _a_lot_ of Q and A this is where I bought a Mak.) Large selection of scopes, lenses, filters, literature, maps, etc. No hard selling. You can just show up and hang out. Try for a week day as it is less crowded.

I'm down in Fremont, just south east of you and joined the Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club. They meet in Livermore monthly and have access to Del Valle Regional Park where they throw star parties. The also have access up near Lick. Their monthly meetings are about 45 minutes east of you. Besides access to dark skies they have a very active membership. Their next star party is this Saturday at Tesla Vintners, 5143 Tesla Road, Livermore. (Fairly dark skies. See the web site mentioned above for more info.) Just show up and you can look through just about every kind and size of telescope available. At the last meeting at this site there were at least 40+ people with Dobs, SCTs, Maks, Refractors, Binoculars and people doing astrophotography. Don't be shy. People will trip over themselves demonstrating their equipment for you.

On both of these points, go look for yourself and play, man.

- Cal


Absolutely than advantage of this opportunity.
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#16 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 08:11 AM

I agree that an 8" Dob would be better overall than the two telescopes that you are considering but I would hold off until you can visit the Orion store or you can attend the club star party that Cali mentioned. 


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#17 vtornado

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:52 AM

For the two scopes you have in your post both are going to show you about the same thing visually,

except for the field of view.  The refractor has a much wider field of view, so it is good for panning around manually,

For Jupiter and Mars chromatic aberration will detract from the view in the refractor.

I live in heavy light pollution too, and don't often use wide field viewing, because the sky is so bright.

I spend most of my time viewing small bright objects at 100x or higher.

 

 

The celestron SE has the goto which is helpful in light pollution. This is because there are few

guide stars visible to you to help you navigate the sky.  The motors make

the scope not really manual.  SCTs also have thermal, dew and frost issues,

all of which can be mitigated, but there is time/money involved.

 

As others have said they don't want to go through the trouble of aligning for a short session.

You also will have to buy a battery pack.

Many of the objects in the SE database will be invisible in light pollution, It will get you to

double stars and clusters, which will be visible.

 

AWB one sky or Zhummell Z130 are in the same class as these optically, but have much lower price points.

and are more portable, you will have to learn to collimate this scope, and it has thermal issues.


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#18 aeajr

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:35 PM

The ASB and Z130 are table top dob/Newtonian scopes.   Fairly capable but you need a table and the table needs to be rock steady or everything wobbles.   I have a 100 mm Tabletop Dob.  When I use it I usually take it off the tabletop mount and put it on a tripod.  I find that much more agreeable.  But there are many people who enjoy the tabletop design.


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#19 denis_k

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 12:55 AM

Thank you, guys!
I will visit Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club and try people's telescopes also I will visit Orion store as well.
I could not even imagine how awesome Сloudy Nights community. Thanks again for all your feedback!


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#20 clintmk89

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:47 AM

I like your idea of starting with an AR102 and between that and the 5SE I’d pick the refractor due to ease of use/more grab n’ go.

That being said I think the value of a 8-10 inch dob as a first scope is something (like many have said already) to consider. While a 102 will get things going you may find it lacking since you stated you want to see DSO’s (which from what I’ve learned is just as much about how dark of skies you can get under as the scope).


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