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Looking for telescope help!

Celestron Meade beginner equipment
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#1 annnaliese

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 11:26 PM

Hello! I am a beginner, after doing a unit of astronomy at uni I would love to purchase a telescope of my own.
I am based in Australia and was wondering what the best kind of telescope would be for me?

I'd love to be able to view the moon, planets, star clusters and nebulae.
Please let me know! Also let me know of any tips and tricks you're willing to share with a keen newcomer in the field.
Thanks in advance! flowerred.gif


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#2 oshimitsu

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 11:35 PM

What about the Apertura 8" Dobsonian? I really like Dobs for beginners, you get a lot for the money honestly. 


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#3 bjulihn

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 11:54 PM

Hi Annaliese;

 

This question is asked frequently here and if you do a search I think you will find lots of help. One of the first questions you will face is your budget. There is a lot cheap stuff out there that will only frustrate you and turn you away from the hobby. How serious are you about exploring this hobby?

 

So some tips. 1) the mount is at least as important as the telescope itself. Most cheap mounts vibrate and make it difficult to see anything. That is why a Dobsonian is usually a good way to start. It is a very stable platform with a Newtonian telescope on it. It is much cheaper than a similar size refracting telescope and aperture is very important if you want to see nebula and galaxies.

 

2) Do you want a "goto" system that is computerized to find and track the stars or are you willing to learn some constellations and how to "star hop" to a fainter target manually. This is an important choice and affects the budget a lot.

 

3) Watch out for cheap finder scopes! You normally need a finder because it has widefield of view to get you close to things visually. The field of view through any telescope will be too small to find things. But cheap scopes have even cheaper finders. Be prepared to upgrade the finder or many people use a "red dot" finder that projects a light onto a clear screen. It's inexpensive and it works well.

 

4) Don't worry about finding the perfect setup for your first scope. EVERYONE who has stuck with this hobby has found that they wanted to try some else, or something different, or something bigger, or something more portable. I started with a 10 inch Dobsonian telescope with a carboard tube. It was a great first telescope. I have owned a Celestron 9.25 SCT, an expensive Takahashi refractor, a 17.5 inch giant Obsession dobsonian, and now I am more into photography and portability.

 

5) You will need a book or two to help you get started. The book that helped me most was "Nightwatch" by Terence Dickenson. I learn almost half the northern constellations in a single night using it. It was amazing.

 

Good Luck


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#4 B 26354

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 12:02 AM

Hmmmm... assuming that the university's science department has a telescope, I'm surprised that the introductory astro class didn't include a "laboratory", with hands-on use of it. Possibly no such telescope exists. Perhaps there's an "advanced" class that does have a laboratory session?

 

Living near a university suggests the possibility that there may be a local astronomy club which you could join... and which would give you the opportunity to have hands-on telescope experience via their star-parties.

 

Knowing your approximate location in Australia would let us know what sort of light pollution you'll be dealing with, which will make it easier for us to make realistic equipment recommendations. An approximate budget would also be helpful.

 

I would also suggest getting these two books. I believe the first one does include coverage of the southern constellations:

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1645670163/

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1108457568/

 

Keep us posted on your progress!

 

grin.gif


Edited by B 26354, 06 June 2020 - 12:04 AM.

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#5 Chris Y

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 12:06 AM

Hello! I am a beginner, after doing a unit of astronomy at uni I would love to purchase a telescope of my own.
I am based in Australia and was wondering what the best kind of telescope would be for me?

I'd love to be able to view the moon, planets, star clusters and nebulae.
Please let me know! Also let me know of any tips and tricks you're willing to share with a keen newcomer in the field.
Thanks in advance! flowerred.gif

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

If you can swing it, I tend to agree with oshimitsu.  An 8" Dob would be a great choice.  It has enough aperture to soak in lots of photons for DSO's and resolve them well, and it will work quite nicely on the planets too.


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#6 Taosmath

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 12:08 AM

Hello & welcome to Cloudy Nights !

 

There are a lot of factors to consider that you haven't provided, such as your budget, do you want a computer  controlled or manual scope, will you need to move the scope a lot to take it to a dark observing site or can you use it from your home etc etc.

 

That said, in the absence of any additional information, an 8" dob is a good option for most people.  Easy to use, manual, so you learn the sky, good light grasp so you can see a lot of objects, very good performance to cost ratio, transportable across the back seat of most cars (assuming you have a car).

 

Assuming you buy a new Dob and that it has a focal length of about 1200mm (8" f6) other things you would need in my order of priority:

 

1) An observing chair to sit on - you can see more when you do.

2) A star atlas such as the Pocket sky atlas or an app for your phone/tablet/computer -  Stellarium is excellent and free.

3) A local astronomy club or observing buddy to help you find and see things

4) A device to help you keep your scope collimated - laser collimators are good and easy -IF they're aligned correctly when you get them - otherwise a cheshire tube

5) a wide angle Eyepiece - a 32mm /68 degree EP is a good place to start - good for star hopping and finding things before you go to higher power to observe in more detail

6) a higher power EP (5-8mm ) This can be done with a single short focal length EP, a barlow which you use with an existing EP to double the magnification of each EP you have ( I assume the scope will come with a 25mm EP & a 10mm EP) or a zoom lens such as the Celestron 8mm-24mm, which is my preference.  With a 32mm EP and a 8mm to 24mm zoom I can get 90%+ of my observing done.

 

There's a ton of other gewgaws you can get (and probably will eventually if you stick with it) but that is my list.

 

Have fun!

 

Colin


Edited by Taosmath, 06 June 2020 - 12:12 AM.

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#7 barbarosa

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 02:43 AM

Have you visited or called any shops in Australia?  If you are in Brisbane area  Sirius Optics  maybe a good resource. I've never been there but one of the staff is a regular visitor to NightSkiesNetwork.com and he is a very competent astro imager.

 

Not all shops are equally good of course, sometimes they go by the rule that the scope in stock is the best one for the customer,  but if you have shop near you it can be worth a visit.

 

My first scope rule. Don't overspend and don't buy a bunch of accessories, eyepiece kits, books, planispheres, glow in dark star charts etc. Do download a free planetarium program for your PC or tablet. I like Stellarium but there are others. Have modest expectations about what you will see and how it will appear. Not going to look like the pictures, and mostly not in color.  I observe from a suburb with near urban sky. I would not have anything but a go to mount. For me the thrill is seeing the target and not a challenge to find it. But if you sky is full of stars, and those glorious southern nebulae the hunt might be fun.

 

Oh what did I buy? A crap refractor. Then a small SCT. Then a larger SCT on a go to mount. Then a bigger one, then a good quality refractor... and last a Celestron RASA 8.  A good refractor and a RASA perfect. And very early I replaced the eyepiece with a camera for EAA style observing. You can't beat an eyepiece, but with a camera you can see  more and in color. You see with a camera what you could never see by eye and you don't need a big scope to do it. About an f/5 to F/7 80 or 85mm refractor and a CMOS camera would give you a lot of choices.


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#8 sg6

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 02:59 AM

I suggest small and relatively simple.

Do it the other way, what are the negatives of each scope?

Refractor - Generally small aperture, can have chromatic aberration and good ones are expensive.

Reflector - The dobsonian is manual, do not expect to find anything in the first 2 weeks, fairly big as that is the purpose of them. You get the biggest aperture per $, so bigish. Needs some general maintenance/adjustments.

SCT/Mak - Long focal length, reads good for magnification but small field of view and without good tracking objects drift out fast. Can be quite heavy.

 

In ways both the Reflector and SCT/Mak are slightly specialist.

 

I have suggested to people the ES Firstlight 80/640 achro on their Nano mount that they have basically for the reasons of cost and they are a reasonable general purpose scope. Guessing in Aus around A$300 (?) The other aspect is possible "enhancements".

 

The scope can easily have a simple white light solar filter added for solar observing. Nothing fancy but easy to do. Mind you Aus is not keen on people standing in the sun a lot.

The scope will fit on the Skywatcher Az GTi so if you stay in the hobby you can add one and have a goto system.

 

In effect the scope is a fair introduction.

If at Uni do they have Outreach, many do. Again the scope is kind of suitable as it is small and inexpensive. Here I find people seem to like the small ones not the large ones. Sort of opposite to what is often suggested here.

 

Add a town in to your profile, just useful.

Add the Uni as also, good to know. Only one I know of is Swinburn but they are heavily into Astronomy, think Brisbane has Astro also. Other will have some.

 

Remember that you will want likely 2 extra eyepieces, immaterial of the scope.


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#9 alvarete

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 04:17 AM

I sugest you one second hand apochromatic refractor over one altazimutal mount. Light cheap fantastic easy to resell combo. The scope in the 60-80 mm range.
Good luck and wellcome CN
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#10 Celestialoptics

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 04:17 AM

Here is an article I wrote on buying your first telescope.

 

https://celestialopt...irst-telescope/

 

If you have any questions let me know. 


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#11 rhetfield

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 08:41 AM

The 130mm, F5 reflectors are generally nice scopes that are inexpensive. The have a decent amount of aperture and make good general purpose scopes. The tabletop dob versions are good as grab and go travel scopes.
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#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 11:17 AM

Hello! I am a beginner, after doing a unit of astronomy at uni I would love to purchase a telescope of my own.
I am based in Australia and was wondering what the best kind of telescope would be for me?

I'd love to be able to view the moon, planets, star clusters and nebulae.
Please let me know! Also let me know of any tips and tricks you're willing to share with a keen newcomer in the field.
Thanks in advance! flowerred.gif

What's your budget?  How dark are your skies?

Generally speaking, a Newtonian reflector on an alt-azimuth mount, commonly known as a Dob, offers the best "bang for the buck".

https://www.bintel.c...?v=322b26af01d5

There's a list of astronomy vendors in Australia at https://www.asnsw.com/node/738


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#13 FredOz

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 04:16 PM

1) An observing chair to sit on - you can see more when you do.

Taosmath is assuming you will use a Dobson mount, which is short.

 

If you get a chair, you will need one adjustable in height.  An alternative, especially if you travel to a dark site or observe from rough ground where a chair is awkward is a stool to lift your scope to a convenient height,

 

I just built a 3-legged stool which is described at:

https://www.cloudyni...-wdobsom-mount/

 

Have fun!


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#14 Echolight

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 04:39 PM

I wonder how much room you have to store it and mode of transportation.

 

Living in a dorm perhaps?

 

Bicycle, bus, small car to get around?

 

Oil or diamond mine heiress? Or more limited budget?

 

Not knowing anything about your situation, I'd likely recommend a small refractor on a photo tripod or light alt/az mount. See some stuff without a large outlay of cash. Easy to store and transport. Little to no maintenance. And no dew management or temperature acclimation to deal with. Beauty in it's simplicity.


Edited by Echolight, 07 June 2020 - 04:41 PM.

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#15 Taosmath

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 05:42 PM

Taosmath is assuming you will use a Dobson mount, which is short......

 

Actually I wasn't restricting my suggestion to a just dob.  

 

I  think a chair is a good idea for just about any scope where the eyepiece is often below shoulder height.  If you stand & crouch over to look, it makes you tense and messes with your back, so the discomfort reduces both your observing time and quality compared to what happens if you sit, relax and take a while looking around.

 

My refractors often put the EP down really low, so a chair is a frequently a good idea for them.  My SCT likewise.

 

As for Dob mounts being short; maybe for 6 -10" dobs, but at Zenith with our club 30", the EP is about 11' up in the air, and not even a tennis umpire's chair would be any use for that.  So it's only large scopes where a chair doesn't help much and even then there are designs like a Mersenne ( see this link if like me you'd never heard of a Mersenne - http://televue.com/n...opes/#more-5117 ) which are specifically designed to let you observe while sitting.

 

Observing while sitting is to be encouraged IMO.


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#16 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 07:58 PM

What about the Apertura 8" Dobsonian? I really like Dobs for beginners, you get a lot for the money honestly. 

Thank you so much! I'm not too familiar with this website's layout so i hope you see this!



#17 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:00 PM

Hi Annaliese;

 

This question is asked frequently here and if you do a search I think you will find lots of help. One of the first questions you will face is your budget. There is a lot cheap stuff out there that will only frustrate you and turn you away from the hobby. How serious are you about exploring this hobby?

 

So some tips. 1) the mount is at least as important as the telescope itself. Most cheap mounts vibrate and make it difficult to see anything. That is why a Dobsonian is usually a good way to start. It is a very stable platform with a Newtonian telescope on it. It is much cheaper than a similar size refracting telescope and aperture is very important if you want to see nebula and galaxies.

 

2) Do you want a "goto" system that is computerized to find and track the stars or are you willing to learn some constellations and how to "star hop" to a fainter target manually. This is an important choice and affects the budget a lot.

 

3) Watch out for cheap finder scopes! You normally need a finder because it has widefield of view to get you close to things visually. The field of view through any telescope will be too small to find things. But cheap scopes have even cheaper finders. Be prepared to upgrade the finder or many people use a "red dot" finder that projects a light onto a clear screen. It's inexpensive and it works well.

 

4) Don't worry about finding the perfect setup for your first scope. EVERYONE who has stuck with this hobby has found that they wanted to try some else, or something different, or something bigger, or something more portable. I started with a 10 inch Dobsonian telescope with a carboard tube. It was a great first telescope. I have owned a Celestron 9.25 SCT, an expensive Takahashi refractor, a 17.5 inch giant Obsession dobsonian, and now I am more into photography and portability.

 

5) You will need a book or two to help you get started. The book that helped me most was "Nightwatch" by Terence Dickenson. I learn almost half the northern constellations in a single night using it. It was amazing.

 

Good Luck

Hey! Thank you so much for this. I am quite willing to explore this hobby, so price is not really a problem for me! These tips are incredible, thank you again!



#18 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:02 PM

Hmmmm... assuming that the university's science department has a telescope, I'm surprised that the introductory astro class didn't include a "laboratory", with hands-on use of it. Possibly no such telescope exists. Perhaps there's an "advanced" class that does have a laboratory session?

 

Living near a university suggests the possibility that there may be a local astronomy club which you could join... and which would give you the opportunity to have hands-on telescope experience via their star-parties.

 

Knowing your approximate location in Australia would let us know what sort of light pollution you'll be dealing with, which will make it easier for us to make realistic equipment recommendations. An approximate budget would also be helpful.

 

I would also suggest getting these two books. I believe the first one does include coverage of the southern constellations:

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1645670163/

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/1108457568/

 

Keep us posted on your progress!

 

grin.gif

Hello! Unfortunately we didn't get any labs this sem due to covid. I will definitely look into a club. I'm in victoria near the city and price is not much a problem if that helps with the questions. I will definitely look into these books thanks heaps!



#19 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:03 PM

Welcome to the forum!

 

If you can swing it, I tend to agree with oshimitsu.  An 8" Dob would be a great choice.  It has enough aperture to soak in lots of photons for DSO's and resolve them well, and it will work quite nicely on the planets too.

Thanks for the welcome, I will definitely look into this one!



#20 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:04 PM

Hello & welcome to Cloudy Nights !

 

There are a lot of factors to consider that you haven't provided, such as your budget, do you want a computer  controlled or manual scope, will you need to move the scope a lot to take it to a dark observing site or can you use it from your home etc etc.

 

That said, in the absence of any additional information, an 8" dob is a good option for most people.  Easy to use, manual, so you learn the sky, good light grasp so you can see a lot of objects, very good performance to cost ratio, transportable across the back seat of most cars (assuming you have a car).

 

Assuming you buy a new Dob and that it has a focal length of about 1200mm (8" f6) other things you would need in my order of priority:

 

1) An observing chair to sit on - you can see more when you do.

2) A star atlas such as the Pocket sky atlas or an app for your phone/tablet/computer -  Stellarium is excellent and free.

3) A local astronomy club or observing buddy to help you find and see things

4) A device to help you keep your scope collimated - laser collimators are good and easy -IF they're aligned correctly when you get them - otherwise a cheshire tube

5) a wide angle Eyepiece - a 32mm /68 degree EP is a good place to start - good for star hopping and finding things before you go to higher power to observe in more detail

6) a higher power EP (5-8mm ) This can be done with a single short focal length EP, a barlow which you use with an existing EP to double the magnification of each EP you have ( I assume the scope will come with a 25mm EP & a 10mm EP) or a zoom lens such as the Celestron 8mm-24mm, which is my preference.  With a 32mm EP and a 8mm to 24mm zoom I can get 90%+ of my observing done.

 

There's a ton of other gewgaws you can get (and probably will eventually if you stick with it) but that is my list.

 

Have fun!

 

Colin

This is super helpful thanks for the advice, and the welcome!! :)



#21 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:06 PM

Have you visited or called any shops in Australia?  If you are in Brisbane area  Sirius Optics  maybe a good resource. I've never been there but one of the staff is a regular visitor to NightSkiesNetwork.com and he is a very competent astro imager.

 

Not all shops are equally good of course, sometimes they go by the rule that the scope in stock is the best one for the customer,  but if you have shop near you it can be worth a visit.

 

My first scope rule. Don't overspend and don't buy a bunch of accessories, eyepiece kits, books, planispheres, glow in dark star charts etc. Do download a free planetarium program for your PC or tablet. I like Stellarium but there are others. Have modest expectations about what you will see and how it will appear. Not going to look like the pictures, and mostly not in color.  I observe from a suburb with near urban sky. I would not have anything but a go to mount. For me the thrill is seeing the target and not a challenge to find it. But if you sky is full of stars, and those glorious southern nebulae the hunt might be fun.

 

Oh what did I buy? A crap refractor. Then a small SCT. Then a larger SCT on a go to mount. Then a bigger one, then a good quality refractor... and last a Celestron RASA 8.  A good refractor and a RASA perfect. And very early I replaced the eyepiece with a camera for EAA style observing. You can't beat an eyepiece, but with a camera you can see  more and in color. You see with a camera what you could never see by eye and you don't need a big scope to do it. About an f/5 to F/7 80 or 85mm refractor and a CMOS camera would give you a lot of choices.

Thank you heaps for this - I will look into a few shops!



#22 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:10 PM

I suggest small and relatively simple.

Do it the other way, what are the negatives of each scope?

Refractor - Generally small aperture, can have chromatic aberration and good ones are expensive.

Reflector - The dobsonian is manual, do not expect to find anything in the first 2 weeks, fairly big as that is the purpose of them. You get the biggest aperture per $, so bigish. Needs some general maintenance/adjustments.

SCT/Mak - Long focal length, reads good for magnification but small field of view and without good tracking objects drift out fast. Can be quite heavy.

 

In ways both the Reflector and SCT/Mak are slightly specialist.

 

I have suggested to people the ES Firstlight 80/640 achro on their Nano mount that they have basically for the reasons of cost and they are a reasonable general purpose scope. Guessing in Aus around A$300 (?) The other aspect is possible "enhancements".

 

The scope can easily have a simple white light solar filter added for solar observing. Nothing fancy but easy to do. Mind you Aus is not keen on people standing in the sun a lot.

The scope will fit on the Skywatcher Az GTi so if you stay in the hobby you can add one and have a goto system.

 

In effect the scope is a fair introduction.

If at Uni do they have Outreach, many do. Again the scope is kind of suitable as it is small and inexpensive. Here I find people seem to like the small ones not the large ones. Sort of opposite to what is often suggested here.

 

Add a town in to your profile, just useful.

Add the Uni as also, good to know. Only one I know of is Swinburn but they are heavily into Astronomy, think Brisbane has Astro also. Other will have some.

 

Remember that you will want likely 2 extra eyepieces, immaterial of the scope.

Hello! Thank you for all this, I will definitely look into the eyepieces and scope. And will add a town! Thanks again.



#23 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:10 PM

I sugest you one second hand apochromatic refractor over one altazimutal mount. Light cheap fantastic easy to resell combo. The scope in the 60-80 mm range.
Good luck and wellcome CN

Hey! Thanks for the suggestion and the welcome :)



#24 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:11 PM

Here is an article I wrote on buying your first telescope.

 

https://celestialopt...irst-telescope/

 

If you have any questions let me know. 

Thank you!!


  • Celestialoptics likes this

#25 annnaliese

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 08:11 PM

The 130mm, F5 reflectors are generally nice scopes that are inexpensive. The have a decent amount of aperture and make good general purpose scopes. The tabletop dob versions are good as grab and go travel scopes.

Thank you heaps!




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