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Which telescope πŸ” ?

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#1 *** Venus ***

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 04:54 AM

Hi there, 


Firstly I apologise if I have posted this question in the wrong place. 

Anyway we would like to buy my brother a telescope for his birthday and I've no idea what I should be looking for!? 🀦

He is a novice but always very interested in the skies and astromemy. 

We've a couple of hundred pounds to spend.... Could anyone recommend one? 


Many many thanks! X

#2 F.Meiresonne


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Posted 03 June 2020 - 05:46 AM

How old is your brother?

#3 junomike



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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:13 AM

Most likely a dob will be best for Aperture to cost ratio.

#4 rhetfield


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Posted 03 June 2020 - 08:33 AM

Look at the skywatcher heritage 130 and zhumell 130. Other 5"/F5 scopes are also good to look at. They are in the right price range, not too big, not too small, have good optics, and are good general purpose scopes. The heritage is popular as a compact grab and go travel scope that many keep around after moving on to bigger/better scopes.

#5 Cali


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Posted 03 June 2020 - 09:33 AM

Here ya go. Good, affordable starter scope. I'm sure someone here can recommend a tripod.


- Cal

Edited by Cali, 03 June 2020 - 09:37 AM.

#6 drd715


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Posted 03 June 2020 - 09:38 AM

An age old question. It comes down to a cost to usability factor.

Dollar for dollar a dobsonian reflector at least 6 inches would be a contender. But many see a refractor as the quintessential "telescope " .

Lower cost telescopes and especially very low cost refractors can be disapointing. For a refractor I would recommend an 80mm Long focal length scope around F-10. If you could swing a bit more cash the TS 102ed F-11 is a real performer for a smallish scope on the moon and planets, which is probably where a new amateur astronomer is going first. Costs can add up quickly for decent astronomy gear. You are going to need eyepieces, accessories and a mount. Probably a finder (the Telrad is economical). Very low cost gear is disappointing. You may want to visit a local dedicated astronomy retailer - just be careful that they are a professional shop and not just a seller of department store cheapo telescopes. Find a real astronomy shop where the owners and the staff are actual users of the equipment.

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#7 Taosmath



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Posted 03 June 2020 - 09:50 AM

Hello & welcome !


Since you are spending in pounds, I  assume you are in the UK.


I agree with Retfield & Junomike.  You could try this 6" Skywatcher Dob from First Light Optics which is 219 GBP




or at lower cost (149 GBP) the heritage 130




The first one is a little larger and stands on the ground. It will gather a bit more light than the heritage, so you might see a few more details in objects.


The heritage is small and collapsible, so easy to store or put in the car to take it outside of the city lights, but it needs to be placed on a table or a chair to use.


With either on you might find a Barlow lens like this one useful:




it's basically a magnifier so you can see the object at twice the magnification.


I too also like the Zhumell 130, which i have been quite impressed with.  It's the same sort of thing as the Heritage, but non collapsible.  Very good optics.  However FLO don't sell that brand.


Even though I live in the US, I have bought from First Light and can recommend them.  You could do worse than give them a ring and see what they have on offer.  I do note that they seem to have long delivery on some items, so you'd better check that first.


Good luck and hope your brother enjoys whatever you get him!

#8 JohnBear



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Posted 03 June 2020 - 10:26 AM

Hi Venus, and welcome to CN. Is your brother a CNer? 

If not, Step 1 is to get him signed up as a member.  I also recommend adding your location to your CN profile, since there is likely an experienced CN member living near you that may be able to offer help or support.


Since there are many different kinds of telescope in a variety of configurations (including a few lower price ones that most CNers consider to be "bad" telescopes), I do not recommend surprising someone over 12 years old with an expensive telescope that may not be what they want. You should have their input!


For first telescope buyers, I propose that buying a telescope without at least seeing and using it in person is a fool's mission. The solution for that is easy and essentially cost free, and will likely avoid wasting money and having a lot of frustration and regrets: Join you local astronomy club!  Did you know that a lot of clubs, even some libraries, offer loaner telescopes for members to use? 


For beginners, I highly recommend starting with Rhetfield's recommendation for a 5" tabletop dobsonian telescope like the Heritage 130 and Zhumell 130 (or AWB Onesky in the USA). Quite capable, yet very easy to use and portable, telescopes that can serve an astronomer well for decades.They are not "Kid scopes" although they are easy enough for kids to use and their simplicity inherently teaches users a lot of essential information about telescopes and astronomy. The should also cost no more than 200 pounds - Best Bang for the Buck in a beginner telescope in that price range.


These won't be his only telescope if he stays interested in astronomy, but they are "Keepers" and will continue to be useful and almost essential as his "grab & go" telescopes in the future.


Along with the telescope, your brother should also get a few extra low cost items: 

- A good easy to use astronomy book like "Turn Left at Orion"

- A free cell phone astronomy app and planetarium software like Stellarium (amazing features).


But most of all - Join your local astronomy club, just google to find one.


Best wishes and clear skies.

Edited by JohnBear, 03 June 2020 - 11:31 AM.

#9 sg6



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Posted 03 June 2020 - 10:51 AM

If possible add where in the UK you are, just the town or whatever.

Someone once asked about some eyepieces and I said if you added a location and were close you could try mine, their reply was "Little chance of that". Turned out we were at the same club. He lived North, I lived South of it.


You will get the almost standard Dobsonian option. All fair but they need a little learning. Allow say 2 weeks if there are sufficent clear nights. Would he be happy to learn to use the scope for a short while.


One I sugget is the Bresser (ES) Firstlight 80mm refractor. Agreed smaller but an easier scope to get on with, at least initially and almost maintenance free.

Just looked at the Bresser (Sale) pages and there is one there for 135€ around Β£110. I bought a 102/600 refractor from that sale site some years ago. Have to say excellent.



The other aspect of it is future possible "enhancements".

The scope is easy to add a solar filter to for looking at the sun, a rather boring sun at the moment and it would be in "white light" so never the orange detail often seen in images. That is different technology. But allows sunspots to be viewed.


The scope could be switched over to a Skywatcher AzGTi goto mount, would just be in specification and then he has a goto. Christmas present maybe if he stays in the hobby.


So agreed smaller aperture but to my thinking greater flexibility.


Until he knows a bit more and has gained more experience and ideas easy and flexible are a good approach.


Both the 150 Dobsonian and the Bresser are around f/8, technically on the slow side but that is immaterial. Does mean that either will work reasonably with a reasonable plossl eyepiece. Mention as within 3 days he will want one or two more.


Avoid the idea of a 4mm or a 5mm. Not worth the trouble and most of us have done it. I did it, bought a 4mm. Useless.

#10 JohnBear



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Posted 03 June 2020 - 11:28 AM

I agree that a decent 80mm Refractor is also a good beginner telescope option. That is why I highly recommend trying both (and others) before buying - which you should soon be able to do at a club star party.  Either would be an excellent choice, but they are very different types of telescope, so an informed pre-purchase trial helps avoid making the wrong choice.  


One "birthday present" option to ensure everyone's happiness for this situation is to give him a gift certificate to spend on a telescope of his choice. This takes you "off the hook" for potentially giving him a "wrong" telescope.

#11 phillip


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Posted 03 June 2020 - 11:52 AM

My youth tremendously enjoyed my Swift 60mm refractor, turns out better optics than the discount store models. 


Refractor an excellent choice, just do the research and find one that does perform.


For the Dollar can't beat the Dob models, classic scopes for your buck, your case Pound!


As mentioned if can find local astronomy club, can check out the models out there for the investment.


Indeed fun ahead, only the Best! 



XT8i, XT10 Dobs

Clave 8mm, Pentax 7.5mm eyepieces enjoy planets

4.8 Televue Nagler those rare steady sky


Clear Sky 

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