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#1 BDS316

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 02:03 PM

Hi all, I figured this forum would be the most appropriate to ask this question.

 

Please tell me what you think about our astronomy club's new outreach article on Holiday gifts for newbies.  Thanks

 

Gifts for Aspiring Astronomers

 

We are approaching the holiday gift-giving season. There is a good chance that
someone close to you has an interest in stargazing. If that is the case, read on.
This article aims to help astronomy newcomers and well-meaning gift-givers to
avoid the mistakes that others (ourselves included) have made. We want
people to buy good, usable telescopes because, with care, good equipment will
provide a lifetime of service and enjoyment. Conversely, bad telescopes
frustrate users and quickly sap their initial enthusiasm for astronomy. Bad
scopes are difficult to use and quickly end up in a corner or closet gathering
dust.

 

Before we begin our discussion of telescopes, however, consider that one of the
best gifts for anyone interested in the night sky is a membership in an active,
local astronomy club. Membership provides an opportunity to try out a variety
of equipment and to get lots of valuable, personalized advice before a dime is
spent. Books and online sources can provide the basic know-how of astronomy,
but much more can be learned at club meetings, observing sessions, and star
parties.

 

Our club goes a step further: it conducts “scope clinics” through which
experienced members assist newcomers and people in the community who are
having difficulty with telescopes they either purchased or received as gifts. And
we’ve seen all types–the good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly.

 

  Which is the Right Scope?

 

Okay, so what telescope should you buy for yourself or for that person on your
shopping list? Our club members differ on what constitutes the ideal telescope,
but all agree on two essential points. First, the best telescope is the one that
you will use the most often. A giant telescope is great, but if it takes too long to
transport and set up in the field, it won’t show you as much as a high quality but
smaller “grab and go” instrument. Second, we all agree on which telescopes to
avoid:
• Any telescope sold in a department store, toy store, nature store, etc.
Few of these are serious, quality instruments. Good equipment can
sometimes be found on eBay or Craig’s List, but be careful. See the
scope in person first, if possible, and/or seek the advice of an
experienced amateur astronomer.
• Any telescope advertised by magnification (i.e., power, or “X”). “500
power!” These are scams. Any telescope can be pushed to any
magnification, but most super-high-powers are unusable and show
nothing.
• Any telescope that uses substandard 0.965-inch eyepieces. You want
one that uses standard 1.25-inch eyepieces. Scopes that also take 2-
inches are even better still.

 

What About “Go-To” Scopes?

 

Computerized, “go-to” and tracking telescopes are very popular, but don’t buy
one unless you’re willing to spend at least $1,500. The problem with
inexpensive go-to scopes is that too much of the price goes into the computer
and drives, and not enough into quality optics and a stable mount. This doesn’t
apply to “push-to” Dobsonian reflectors whose simple electronics help you
point to the desired object, leaving the user to do the rest. We like these
scopes; some can be purchased for less than $500.

 

What’s Your Budget?

 

My opinion (though some disagree) is that if you have less than $200 to spend,
you shouldn’t buy a telescope at all. The recipient will be much better off with a
good quality pair of 7×50 binoculars, a subscription to one or both of the leading
astronomy magazines (“Sky & Telescope,” “Astronomy”), and the superb book,
Turn Left at Orion. These are great for beginners and very useful for advanced
stargazers as well. Then start saving for a real telescope.

 

If you have $200 to spend, a great choice is the “One Sky” offered through
Astronomers Without Borders. This compact instrument was reviewed favorably
by Sky & Telescope Magazine and found to be one of the top beginner’s
telescopes of all time. The One Sky has a 5-inch mirror, two good eyepieces, a
red dot finder to help with aiming, and a simple, steady tabletop mount. If
there’s more money in your budget (e.g., $500-$800), a Dobsonian scope, either
manual or push-to, with an 8- or 10-inch mirror can be a lifetime scope. If your
spending limit is even higher, come to a club meeting for personalized advice, or
join one or more of the online forums on Cloudynights.com.

Clear skies and happy holidays to all!

 

Bryan Stone
Past President and current Vice President


Edited by BDS316, 06 December 2019 - 02:04 PM.

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#2 jerobe

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 02:27 PM

Excellent article. It has enough information without becoming overwhelming to a newbie telescope buyer. I assume you will have it posted or linked on your club's website?


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#3 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 02:27 PM

My .02c

 

.965 substandard is perhaps better as discontinued?  

Like the binocular bit, perhaps adding how much can be seen and tripod and may have this at home already?

Is it worth mentioning the type of scope is dependent on what you want to see? Don't want to scare people off though so that is a tricky topic. Get 'em hooked first!

 

edit: sp.  

 

Add:  yes, overall very good and touches all points. 


Edited by B l a k S t a r, 06 December 2019 - 02:29 PM.

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#4 BDS316

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 02:41 PM

Excellent article. It has enough information without becoming overwhelming to a newbie telescope buyer. I assume you will have it posted or linked on your club's website?

Yes!  Thank you for checking it out.  that was our exact goal to be informative but not overwhelming.  



#5 Asbytec

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 03:28 PM

A giant telescope is great, but if it takes too long to transport and set up in the field, it won’t show you as much as a high quality but smaller “grab and go” instrument.

 

We all get what you're saying here, but I'd reword it. You begin to say if it takes to long to set up, then it won't show you as much. Kind of two different thoughts meshed together. If it takes too long to set up, we might not set it up. But, a larger scope can show more if we do set it up. You can emphasize ease of set up and grab and go portability. I think those are important points, but ease of set up is not entirely only grab and go. But, yea, I would not confuse anyone with the difference at this point. 

 

"Larger telescopes are great, but they often require time to set up and can be difficult to transport. A smaller scope of descent quality, even though they will not show as much as a larger scope, is often easy to set up and transport. Many amateur astronomers agree, it's important to get a telescope we will set up and use often rather than worry about large aperture and frills." Something like that...

 

You also mention using a telescope, "in the field", kind of implying a newbie will be making long drives to dark sky sights like many of us do. I'd tailor it to be more generic where we observe, probably from our back yard for most folks starting out. 

 

The problem with inexpensive go-to scopes is that too much of the price goes into the computer and drives, and not enough into quality optics and a stable mount.

 

Not meaning to start an argument over the topic, this statement may or may not be true across the board. I might agree go-to might not be suitable for someone who might need time to lean the sky and some basic skills such as star hoping. If you want to dissuade beginners from go-to, as a frill rather than a necessity, then I might address some aspect of actually learning the sky. If you feel that's important. You addressed the "stable mount" above when you mentioned them as frustrating. So, this comment can emphasize another aspect of go-to as beginners will certainly run across them when searching for a scope. It'll be part of their decision. Higher cost is one you addressed, that's good. 

 

Above is what caught my eye. I like that it's concise and does not delve into optical quality and the curse of having an obstruction. The stuff we argue over sometimes...keeping it simple is nice. Few, if any, of us knew any of this stuff when we got our first scope. We should expect the same from newbies, too. 


Edited by Asbytec, 06 December 2019 - 03:33 PM.

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#6 photoracer18

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 03:41 PM

I agree with just about everything you say. Similar to the speech I used to give when working for a dealer. A few other things to add.

1.Don't buy someone a telescope you THINK they might want. Just because they mentioned something about the sky don't automatically assume they want or need a telescope. As you say binoculars might suffice to see if they have an interest.

2. My personal statistics over 60 years in this hobby. 70% of the time the scope you buy will be the wrong one. Within 6 months one of 3 things will happen. The scope will not really peak anyone in the family's interest and within a year it will be in a yard sale (about 50%, especially if its hard to use or a cheap one). The other 20% is the rare case that someone does develop a serious interest, in which case its likely to mean that the scope you bought is not the best for what that person wants to do. May still end up in a yard sale when something better is bought. That other 30% is for a scope that does get used on occasion and that fulfills what that family wants to use it for.

3. If the person you want to buy it for does have a consuming interest then they are a better guide about what to buy than anyone else. This is one hobby that surprise gifts don't often work well.

4. Never buy a telescope that is near the checkout line at the store. They are there just to get someone to spend money, see Rule #1.

5. Just because someone is willing to buy a decent scope that does not mean it doesn't violate Rule #1.

6. I definitely preferred to have the recipient in the store and not just their parents. See Rule #3.

I forgot one of the important rules:

7. The Rules of Use. The correct scope to buy (or sell) is the one that gets used all the time. Its not too big and heavy such that you complain about taking it out. Its not too complicated to use that it takes you too long to set it up. The time spend using it must be a minimum of 4x the time it takes to get it ready for use. And don't assume since its easy for you to use that a novice can pick it up fast. That is why we use to have clinics after the holidays.


Edited by photoracer18, 06 December 2019 - 03:53 PM.

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#7 sg6

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 03:44 PM

Only part I agree with is avoid 0.965" eyepieces.

The remainder seems a bit bias. Sorry.

 

An ETX80 is not going to cost the minimum of $1500 and these days the younger group actively like and want electronics. Saying the above has to be more is a block on people having a go at the hobby. I started in 1999 with a £200 goto, still have the £200 goto, it has shown lots of people lots of things.

 

Dobsonians I have read as "Specialist" scopes, and will agree. It takes time to learn to use one. And in that time the people just give up. We have stopped using dobsonians as people at the first go just never managed to use one and left disappointed - they saw nothing.

 

The One Sky scopes are one I dislike. But if someone wants to buy one I will help them get whatever out of it. They seem neither one thing or another and to me satisfy neither and fail on all sides.

 

Problem I have is you are saying the same as I have read for years. 6 year olds are now using tablets, phones, wifi, touch screens. The recommendations are 1990's. Remember the 60's saying: "Get with it, man."

 

Consider a 12 year old with an Android phone, who wants a scope to use with the phone. Where is that in the recommendations? That is who you are talking to these days.

 

You are thinking from the perspective of someone in the hobby for several years, not someone entering it for the first time. There is a huge difference.

 

My one recommendation to anyone is get something simple, easy and inexpensive. Simply to see what you think of it, and the people. Then decide on any future direction and expansion.



#8 Jeff Struve

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 03:59 PM

I like the price points... a junk scope I purchased when I was 10 or 12 knocked my interest of astronomy out for the next 40 years... Back then, we saved for what we wanted, and I think that is a lost art these days... an art that needs to be recaptured.

 

Had I saved another 2 years, I could have gotten something decent and maybe would have been in a different vocation.

 

I have never heard of a newbie being dissatisfied with a better quality scope, but I know I'm not alone in being dissuaded by junk. 

 

 

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#9 Greyhaven

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 07:14 PM

Good advice on scopes for the newbies.  I would not push the Astronomy Club as a good gift. All clubs are not equal. A new to astronomy person has to be sure he likes the members and direction the club is heading. Like shoes clubs are only good if they fit you and you fit them. The first club I checked out made it quite clear if you were not prepared to spend thousands of dollars on a mount and scope and state of the art cameras I would not be welcomed. The second club had interesting speakers most months but couldn't organize a successful outreach session.They recently placed an ad for an event  where club telescopes would be available for the public to view with and experienced members to guide and ask questions of. The "star party" was scheduled to start at 6 PM and end at 9PM on a day with a 8:45 PM local sunset. I just shook my head ten years after I tried them on for size they are still fumbling around. 

Grey


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#10 clearwaterdave

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 10:34 PM

Only part I agree with is avoid 0.965" eyepieces.

The remainder seems a bit bias. Sorry.

 

An ETX80 is not going to cost the minimum of $1500 and these days the younger group actively like and want electronics. Saying the above has to be more is a block on people having a go at the hobby. I started in 1999 with a £200 goto, still have the £200 goto, it has shown lots of people lots of things.

 

Dobsonians I have read as "Specialist" scopes, and will agree. It takes time to learn to use one. And in that time the people just give up. We have stopped using dobsonians as people at the first go just never managed to use one and left disappointed - they saw nothing.

 

The One Sky scopes are one I dislike. But if someone wants to buy one I will help them get whatever out of it. They seem neither one thing or another and to me satisfy neither and fail on all sides.

 

Problem I have is you are saying the same as I have read for years. 6 year olds are now using tablets, phones, wifi, touch screens. The recommendations are 1990's. Remember the 60's saying: "Get with it, man."

 

Consider a 12 year old with an Android phone, who wants a scope to use with the phone. Where is that in the recommendations? That is who you are talking to these days.

 

You are thinking from the perspective of someone in the hobby for several years, not someone entering it for the first time. There is a huge difference.

 

My one recommendation to anyone is get something simple, easy and inexpensive. Simply to see what you think of it, and the people. Then decide on any future direction and expansion.

The Onesky is a fine scope.,Have you ever used it.,? just what doesn't it do for you.,how does it fail?? The 5000+ owners of this scope would like to know.,

  As a matter of fact.,it matches exactly what you say you would recommend.,You want something with electronics because "thats what young folk want".,yet you would recommend something inexpensive.,cheap electronic scope.,sounds great.,lol.,


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#11 clearwaterdave

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 10:09 AM

Well I guess we are not going to get a reply about the OneSky's failings.,Not surprised.,I have owned and enjoyed mine for over 2yrs. I have a number of other scopes.,Nothing to fancy.,and the OneSky gets as much if not more startime than the others.,It is also the scope I suggest to newbies.,because for under $300 out of the box there isn't a refractor that even comes close to the overall quality of the OS.,Kudo's to you and I think your suggestions are pretty sound.,People who live with a devise in hand can use it to show them what to and where to point the OS.,win win.,lol.,

  Here is my OS.,all dolled up.,and ready to dance.,

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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 08:35 PM

I don't know. Not the advice I would offer.

 

You can buy a competent scope for $200.

 

The most important attribute of a telescope is the owner.  Curiosity, enthusiasm, perseverance.. you can't package these..

 

Without them, any telescope will be the wrong scope. With them, nearly any telescope will be the right scope..

 

My first scope... $5 at a garage sale and it was no bargain, one 0.965" eyepiece, no finder, a long focal length 60 mm strapped to a broken down $5 photo tripod.  With the encouraging words of the Peterson Guide that a 60 mm was a competent instrument, it was enough. I was almost 40 at the time.  

 

Jon


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#13 Jeff Struve

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 09:13 AM

I don't know. Not the advice I would offer.

 

You can buy a competent scope for $200.

 

The most important attribute of a telescope is the owner.  Curiosity, enthusiasm, perseverance.. you can't package these..

 

Without them, any telescope will be the wrong scope. With them, nearly any telescope will be the right scope..

 

My first scope... $5 at a garage sale and it was no bargain, one 0.965" eyepiece, no finder, a long focal length 60 mm strapped to a broken down $5 photo tripod.  With the encouraging words of the Peterson Guide that a 60 mm was a competent instrument, it was enough. I was almost 40 at the time.  

 

Jon

 

I think different folks are just that, different folks...

 

 

I was just the opposite... when I was a pre-teen... interested in model rocketry, since this was the Mercury and Gemini days, and the Days of JFK sending us to the moon, I was really into science and especially space exploration. I worked my tail off shoveling drives, mowing lawns, washing cars, and even... baby sitting... to save up for my first telescope... and the first night I got it, I took it out and was so disappointed that I basically just left the scope out in the yard where it eventually one of my parents stuck it in the corner of the garage where it eventually got banged up by brooms and shovels also stuck in that corner... I think at some point it slide down and one of the cars backed over it.

 

About 40 years later, I gave astronomy another shot... yep I had changed a bit... but more importantly, for me, I purchased a decent scope... since then, I've joined 4 bricks and mortar clubs, am President of 1, run our annual star party with guest speakers such as David Levy, help run the St Ambrose University Menke Observatory...

 

All I can say is that I firmly believe that is crap scopes did not exist, I may have been some sort of professional astronomer rather than a computer telephony analyst...

 

I have never heard of an enthusiastic beginner being turned off by a quality scope... but in my case, the reverse was a game changer! 



#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 05:14 AM

About 40 years later, I gave astronomy another shot... yep I had changed a bit... but more importantly, for me, I purchased a decent scope..

 

 

You almost certainly changed more in those 40 years than the telescopes.  15 to 55..

 

A nice telescope is a nice thing to have but too many people start with very limited scope and make a go of it and too many people start with expensive telescopes and find it disappointing.  

 

Telescopes are like bicycles, there's a lot of both out there but very few actually get ridden or used. It's not the bicycle or the telescope, it's that the expectations and the reality do not match.  

 

I "knew" Tony Flander's via the internet before he became an editor of Sky and Telescope and an author.  He was an amateur astronomer and a software engineer..  Tony made the switch when he was probably about 50.. Tony has reviewed a number of $100 scopes, he was doing that prior to his involvement with Sky and Telescope.  That might have been part of the reason he was hired... I always figured it was. 

 

Here's review of three $100 telescopes Tony and Joshua Roth tested and recommended.

 

https://s22380.pcdn....opes-review.pdf

 

"Yes, you can buy high-quality scopes for $100 in today’s market."

 

Tony took the $100 GoScope to South America for the recent eclipse and an extended visit.  
 

"Blessed are those with few expectations because they are seldom disappointed." 

 


 

Jon


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#15 aeajr

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 02:11 PM

Hi all, I figured this forum would be the most appropriate to ask this question.
 
Please tell me what you think about our astronomy club's new outreach article on Holiday gifts for newbies.  Thanks
 
Gifts for Aspiring Astronomers
 
We are approaching the holiday gift-giving season. There is a good chance that
someone close to you has an interest in stargazing. If that is the case, read on.
This article aims to help astronomy newcomers and well-meaning gift-givers to
avoid the mistakes that others (ourselves included) have made. We want
people to buy good, usable telescopes because, with care, good equipment will
provide a lifetime of service and enjoyment. Conversely, bad telescopes
frustrate users and quickly sap their initial enthusiasm for astronomy. Bad
scopes are difficult to use and quickly end up in a corner or closet gathering
dust.
 
Before we begin our discussion of telescopes, however, consider that one of the
best gifts for anyone interested in the night sky is a membership in an active,
local astronomy club. Membership provides an opportunity to try out a variety
of equipment and to get lots of valuable, personalized advice before a dime is
spent.
Books and online sources can provide the basic know-how of astronomy,
but much more can be learned at club meetings, observing sessions, and star
parties.
 
Our club goes a step further: it conducts “scope clinics” through which
experienced members assist newcomers and people in the community who are
having difficulty with telescopes they either purchased or received as gifts. And
we’ve seen all types–the good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly.

A club membership is pretty presumptuous.  I realize you are trying to promote the club but not everyone is a club person and club meetings may be at inconvenient times or distances.  You are obligating someone to attend a club meeting who may not want to go.

 

Including joining a club as a suggestion with a new telescope is a good idea.  Even offering to add that to the gift is a great idea. 

 

Which is the Right Scope?
 
Okay, so what telescope should you buy for yourself or for that person on your
shopping list? Our club members differ on what constitutes the ideal telescope,
but all agree on two essential points. First, the best telescope is the one that
you will use the most often. A giant telescope is great, but if it takes too long to
transport and set up in the field, it won’t show you as much as a high quality but
smaller “grab and go” instrument. Second, we all agree on which telescopes to
avoid:
Any telescope sold in a department store, toy store, nature store, etc.
Few of these are serious, quality instruments. Good equipment can
sometimes be found on eBay or Craig’s List, but be careful. See the
scope in person first, if possible, and/or seek the advice of an
experienced amateur astronomer.
• Any telescope advertised by magnification (i.e., power, or “X”). “500
power!” These are scams. Any telescope can be pushed to any
magnification, but most super-high-powers are unusable and show
nothing.
• Any telescope that uses substandard 0.965-inch eyepieces. You want
one that uses standard 1.25-inch eyepieces. Scopes that also take 2-
inches are even better still.


This department store advice may no longer apply.  Sears sells the Celestron NexStar series as well as other Meade and Celestron models.  The same is true of Macy's.  Remember that most stores now have web stores too and in many you can walk up to a terminal and place an order for anything.
 
Seeking help on used equipment is very good advice. 

 

What About “Go-To” Scopes?
 
Computerized, “go-to” and tracking telescopes are very popular, but don’t buy
one unless you’re willing to spend at least $1,500.
The problem with
inexpensive go-to scopes is that too much of the price goes into the computer
and drives, and not enough into quality optics and a stable mount.
This doesn’t
apply to “push-to” Dobsonian reflectors whose simple electronics help you
point to the desired object, leaving the user to do the rest. We like these
scopes; some can be purchased for less than $500.

Which "under $500" push to scope does the article reference?  The only one I know of is the Orion Starblast 6 Intelliscope at $480.   In fact the Intelliscope is the only commercially available ready to go PushTo I know of.   So if you are recommending this one, why not just call it out?  And, again you have the challenges of dealing with a 25 pound tabletop Dob. 

 

 

This comment about computerized GoTo scopes is WAY out of line.   I have a wonderful ETX 80 that cost $299 which got me involved in astronomy which is going strong after 4 years.  I also have the ETX 125.    An ETX 125 is $600 with a razor sharp F15 Mak OTA.  A Celestron Nexstar 6SE is $700 and one of the most popular telescope series on the market.  Even the 8SE is only $1200.  
 
In some cases, today's GoTo scopes  cost little more than the manual scopes.   And the optics are the same on the computerized scope as the manual, just the mount changes. 
 
For example:
 
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
 
Basically the same OTA.  If you adjust for the extra eyepiece in the SLT model, the GoTo mount only adds about $100.
 
 
Whoever wrote the comments about GoTo has very little understanding of the current market and products that are available today.  I would classify this section as bad information and bad advice. 

 

In fact, if you reside in a very light polluted area, as I do, with very few stars in the sky, a GoTo scope may be your best path to quick success.   Star hopping when you can't see the stars in a Telrad can be the height of frustration. 

 

What’s Your Budget?
 
My opinion (though some disagree) is that if you have less than $200 to spend,
you shouldn’t buy a telescope at all.
The recipient will be much better off with a
good quality pair of 7×50 binoculars, a subscription to one or both of the leading
astronomy magazines (“Sky & Telescope,” “Astronomy”), and the superb book,
Turn Left at Orion. These are great for beginners and very useful for advanced
stargazers as well. Then start saving for a real telescope.
 
If you have $200 to spend, a great choice is the “One Sky” offered through
Astronomers Without Borders.
This compact instrument was reviewed favorably
by Sky & Telescope Magazine and found to be one of the top beginner’s
telescopes of all time. The One Sky has a 5-inch mirror, two good eyepieces, a
red dot finder to help with aiming, and a simple, steady tabletop mount. If
there’s more money in your budget (e.g., $500-$800), a Dobsonian scope, either
manual or push-to, with an 8- or 10-inch mirror can be a lifetime scope. If your
spending limit is even higher, come to a club meeting for personalized advice, or
join one or more of the online forums on Cloudynights.com.
Clear skies and happy holidays to all!
 
Bryan Stone
Past President and current Vice President

There are several worthwhile tripod and table top telescopes under $200 that would serve as a reasonable first scope for a lot of people on a tight budget.  However, remember that tabletops need a stable table or other stand to be useful.  And they can be very inconvenient to use and aim.  I own one. 

 

In addition to the One Sky, here are a variety of scopes in the $75 to $200 range that can be good starters for people on a tight budget. I often recommend these.  (prices will vary depending on where you look and are subject to change)

 

 

Meade Instruments 209003 Infinity 70 AZ Refractor Telescope - About 13 pounds – $80
70 mm Includes finder scope, 2 eyepieces and a barlow lens that doubles the mag of each eyepiece.
http://www.amazon.co...cope under $200
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=ck0MQZiSc9Y
Discussion about what can be seen with a 70 mm refractor. Remember that light pollution has a significant influence on what can be seen.
https://www.cloudyni...actor/?hl=+70mm


Explore Scientific FirstLight 70 mm refractor on AZ Mount – $85
https://explorescien...ts/fl-ar90500az
Review and discussion
https://www.cloudyni...-ar90mm-review/

Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope - 6.2 pounds – $100
Optimized for under 100X wide view but can be nudged up to 150X in my opinion
Includes 2 eyepieces and a finder scope.
Can also be mounted on a camera tripod or any mount with a dovetail. 
Consider adding a  Celestron 8-24 zoom or a 14-16 mm Plossl and 3X barlow in the future.
http://www.telescope...25/p/102007.uts
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=-BEzRibaMds
https://www.youtube....h?v=NihZIw8f1-o
Product reviews - SkyScanner 100
https://telescopicwa...r-100mm-review/
http://www.skyandtel...opes-review.pdf
https://www.youtube....m0UWGppOq4&t=9s



Meade Lightbridege Mini 130 – $175 – 14 pounds
Tabletop solid tube Dobsonian includes finder scope and 2 eyepieces.
Consider adding a 2X barlow in the future
https://www.amazon.c...ade Lightbridge
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=xuIwEiHVMVI
 

 

Zhumell 130 tabletop reflector – $199
Includes red dot finder and two eyepieces.  Consider adding a barlow lens for higher magnifications
https://www.highpoin...scope-zhus003-1
https://www.amazon.c...l 130 telescope
Review
https://www.thefreel......-a0499406822
 

 

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

 

 

In my opinion, any of the above scope packages would make good first scopes.  I recommend them often for people on a tight budget.

 

 

Floor mounted Dobs are great, but for some they are too big and too heavy to use.   After hauling them in and out of the house 3 times they may become dust collectors.

 

 

Consider this article.

 

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


Edited by aeajr, 21 December 2019 - 02:55 PM.

  • Crow Haven and BFaucett like this


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