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Newbie has $4000 budget for astronomy

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#1 HighestVibe

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:41 AM

Hi Guys!

 

I've been doing a fair amount of research, there's so much to learn!! I'm asking if you had $4000 budget and had to start from scratch how would you spend it?

 

My interests are astronomical and not terrestrial

I live in a light pollution area, outside of Orlando FL

I currently have No equipment so need to assemble my rig from scratch.

 

Here's what I'm leaning toward but wanted to hear from you all before I pull the trigger.

 

1. Oberwerk BT-100XL-ED Binocular Telescope

2. Oberwerk TR3 Hardwood Tripod for XL Series

3. Oberwerk XL Fork Mount

4.  Additional Oberwerk 22mm and 7mm EP

 

= $4014

 

I'm not tied to the Binocular idea completely (for those with telescope ideas) .. I do like the idea of ease of use, ability to compensate for light pollution, and that the BT 100XL - ED seemed to be able to capture most viewable objects in the sky

 

also, I'm pretty handy and can entertain DIY projects.

 

Thank-you very much for your time & consideration!

 



#2 Second Time Around

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:53 AM

With that kind of budget have you considered night vision? There's a separate forum on Cloudy Nights for this.
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#3 gene 4181

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:59 AM

 Welcome to Cloudy Nights .  Sounds good too me ,  its an interesting  way too start .  I'd appreciate that set up myself  "now".   IF thats how and what you want , go for it . Theres no right or wrong ,  just many paths  which we all take sooner or later.


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#4 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:07 AM

Night vision would deal with light pollution very effectively, plus blow your socks off at Chiefland. Unfortunately, it would consume most of that budget. The good news is that NV coupled with a $500 reflector would effectively put you in the big aperture league.

 

Switching to the binocular front - that is quite a rig you have specced out. I had the BT-100-45's and they were nice. I used low power (24 Panoptics) a lot ore than I used high power (13 Naglers). Oberwerk tripod was definitely straining when using the Naglers. Also, my neck does not like 45 degree viewing, 90 degree ergonomics are the hot ticket.

 

Eventually, it was a lot of weight and hassle compared to a telescope. That is kind of a personal thing, I am just more of a telescope guy than a binocular guy. Were I to get binos again the Canon 10 x 42 IS model with a zero gravity recliner would give me everything I wanted from binocular astronomy. But that is just me.

 

If you decide a telescope is for you, allow half of your budget for the scope, half for the accessories. There are more accessories than you imagine and the money adds up fast.


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#5 jupiter122

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:23 AM

That $4000 should get you a nice set up.

 

I currently use a TV85 as my scope mounted on the TR3 (alternatively with the TV Telepod head and the iOptron AZ Mount Pro). The TR3 is a thing of beauty--furniture grade word and rock solid. The BT-100ED looks reallly nice too. 

Maybe someday.  I might consider a fluid ball head (https://oberwerk.com...t/manfrotto-n8/) rather than the fork, but that's me. 

 

BTW, Kevin at Oberwerk is really responsive to questions etc.

 

Good luck and clear skies!


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#6 HighestVibe

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:25 AM

I'm unfamiliar with Night Vision. I'm interested to research it though. Are there products and/or name brands that you would recommend so I can start my research at the right place



#7 Jethro7

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:41 AM

Hello, 

You are almost there with that budget. If you could go a bit higher you are in the realm of a good nightvision device and a good Alt Az mount  and a fast Newt As Jeff Morgan, said "Would Blow your socks off in Chiefland"  Jeff and Eddgie covenced me that it is worth the money to get a PVS 14 and oh my it sure is. A total game changing technology. You will be able to view  stuff that are unavailable to even big aperture Dobs. Without a Camera, and hauling out a computer. 

 

HAPPY SKIES TO YOU AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


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#8 HighestVibe

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:54 AM

Hello, 

You are almost there with that budget. If you could go a bit higher you are in the realm of a good nightvision device and a good Alt Az mount  and a fast Newt As Jeff Morgan, said "Would Blow your socks off in Chiefland"  Jeff and Eddgie covenced me that it is worth the money to get a PVS 14 and oh my it sure is. A total game changing technology. You will be able to view  stuff that are unavailable to even big aperture Dobs. Without a Camera, and hauling out a computer. 

 

HAPPY SKIES TO YOU AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

Could you kindly list the equipment makes/models that you mention above so I can do a deep dive into this idea. I want to calculate how much more I need to expand the budget and how these pieces work together. Thankyou



#9 JohnBear

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:57 AM

Welcome to CN! 

 

How much of a Newbie are you? What telescopes have you used before, and telescope experience do you have?  If the answer is nine or almost none, I would suggest spending just a few hundred dollars to get you feet wet and learn a few important basics - i.e., learn to swim before jumping into the deep end - it actually is more fun and rewarding that way.  Too many newbies want to start with a "Hubble" not realizing what learning curves, long term commitments, and logistics, not to mention money, that involves.

 

The small telescope approach would involve maybe spending $200 for a nice 3-4" achromat refractor or a 5' tabletop Dob Newtonian (AWB ONesky or Zhumell Z130) - either of these compact telescopes will be very useful and serve you well for decades, and they will.

 

If you have some telescope experience then you are getting some good advice already from other members. NIghtvision, EAA, and video astronomy will enable you to see more object, especially in light polluted areas.

 

Also, if you are handy, there are some topics about building binocular telescopes o=here on CN. Then you could start by using one telescope and use it while you are working on the bino-telescope rig  and get the other scope later (just a suggestion to maybe consider - that is often my astronomy project approach). 

 

BTW, I think there is a pretty good astronomy club (or two) in the Orlando area, which might be a big help on your project.


Edited by JohnBear, 20 September 2020 - 11:00 AM.

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#10 HighestVibe

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 11:19 AM

Welcome to CN! 

 

How much of a Newbie are you? What telescopes have you used before, and telescope experience do you have?  If the answer is nine or almost none, I would suggest spending just a few hundred dollars to get you feet wet and learn a few important basics - i.e., learn to swim before jumping into the deep end - it actually is more fun and rewarding that way.  Too many newbies want to start with a "Hubble" not realizing what learning curves, long term commitments, and logistics, not to mention money, that involves.

 

The small telescope approach would involve maybe spending $200 for a nice 3-4" achromat refractor or a 5' tabletop Dob Newtonian (AWB ONesky or Zhumell Z130) - either of these compact telescopes will be very useful and serve you well for decades, and they will.

 

If you have some telescope experience then you are getting some good advice already from other members. NIghtvision, EAA, and video astronomy will enable you to see more object, especially in light polluted areas.

 

Also, if you are handy, there are some topics about building binocular telescopes o=here on CN. Then you could start by using one telescope and use it while you are working on the bino-telescope rig  and get the other scope later (just a suggestion to maybe consider - that is often my astronomy project approach). 

 

BTW, I think there is a pretty good astronomy club (or two) in the Orlando area, which might be a big help on your project.

I have zero experience my friend but have been struck with an overwhelming desire to explore the night skies that began several months ago, since then I've been researching my options... the reason the binocular option was  appealing to me, it seemed to have the lowest learning curve, lowest calibration know how requirements, while still delivering the "visual goods" (and the resale market appears incredibly strong!)

 

I'm very glad I started this thread because I am already intrigued by the different ideas being floated so far

 

In Orlando, the hurricane season lasts for another 6-8 weeks, the best time for astronomy is november - february according to my reading. I want to be ready for this window of opportunity with the right rig :-) 



#11 Jethro7

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 11:57 AM

Could you kindly list the equipment makes/models that you mention above so I can do a deep dive into this idea. I want to calculate how much more I need to expand the budget and how these pieces work together. Thankyou

( I ) have a TVNC PVS 14 NVD. Omni Viii White Phosphorus with Astronomy specs I ordered it direct from TVNC and the Eyepiece adaptor. you can also order these from Televue. 

( 2 ) Losmandy AZ8 Alt Az mount on a Berlebach Planet tripod.

( 3 )  10" Orion Skyquest Dob, but I also use the NVD on a C8 Edge HD with a focal reducer. It also works with my AT102 ED but not as good because this scope is not fast enough at F7. I need to try a focal reducer with this scope but have been busy spending my money on upgrading my existing equipment as of late for viewing planets. The NVD does not work on planets, I do need to buy a 8" ultra fast Newt at some point. On a dream a Takahashi Epsilon,  Probably a Orion or Skywatcher imaging newt will do nicely.

( 4) if you go with a fast Newt you will need a coma corrector and two or three filters to start.  I use a 610 nm. Long pass filter for a darker skies and a 640nm Long pass filter for my backyard. and maybe a higher one 650nm to 680nm filters depending on your level of light polution. If you have a real fast Newt you may like the 640nm Long pass filter better. The other filters  are a 7nm to 12nm H-alpha  filters. Most people doing NV will have a few of each of the light polution Longpass and H-Alpha filters.  This is the coolest thing and worth every penny I have spent. It saved me from the frustrations of AP and from my modestly lightpolluted backyard I have more things to view for a lifetime.and the NVD's mounted on your head is amazing for meteor showers. 

 

Take a walk on the Night Vision Astronomy forum here on CN. You will find the topics interesting I felt like Dewey Cox, after reading the topics on the forum and watching Eddgie's YouTube videos " I think I want that" Food for the Astro addiction. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

 

P.S. oops I forgot I started with a Televue 55 mm Plossl eyepiece it is still a favorite  for NV viewing and a good start. I also use a TV 31mm NT5,  and a TV 41mm  Panoptic. The NV device operates at a F/1.2, this why you want a fast scope and it will narrow your field of view down to 40° but this is okay you will be stunned with the views never the less.


Edited by Jethro7, 20 September 2020 - 12:26 PM.

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#12 CounterWeight

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:14 PM

My recommendation maybe a bit different.

 

As you said you have no real experience, I would HOLD ON TO THE MONEY FOR NOW.

 

Agree with the part of the post earlier to join a club that is active and has star parties, go to meetings, and avoid advice to spend the money.

 

Maybe you'll meet some local gazers with differing setups and get to be an 'observing buddy'.

 

To me this similar to any other pursuit the involves spending money.  Would you buy a car, boat, or airplane purely on recommendations?  I would not, but that is me, and I predate the internet 'like' and 'cancel' culture.

 

This hobby is amazing, many facets, many nuances, and as many ways to go about it as there are observers and imagers.  Getting to observe through others gear for a season will educate immensely, as it will also help with 'expectations management'.

 

Patience unfortunately not something we can buy but here as other places it has large benefits in the end.

 

Lastly I would not get too hung up on buying new gear, there is a lot of quality gear, well taken care of, that comes up on the used market here and AstroMart once you know more about what you want.


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#13 JohnBear

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:26 PM

I have zero experience my friend but have been struck with an overwhelming desire to explore the night skies that began several months ago, since then I've been researching my options... the reason the binocular option was  appealing to me, it seemed to have the lowest learning curve, lowest calibration know how requirements, while still delivering the "visual goods" (and the resale market appears incredibly strong!)

Since you are a real newbie, I highly suggest getting in touch with or joining and astronomy club, and I think the one nearest you will be Central Florida Astronomical Society. Contact/join the and ask to be put into contact with members that use bino-scopes or high power binoculars (or any of the other NV/EAA tech you are interested in). They may even have some telescopes that can be rented out to members. 

 

Support from members of a local club will be the absolutely fasts way to get up to speed on whatever track you choose to follow. Your reason for wanting to start with a bino-scope are very sound, but you can dip into the shallow end of the pool (IMHO, buy or borrow decent astro-binocuars and compare to a friends telescope for example) for a lot less money to see what it is like -  actual experience with equipment beats research just about every time. The club will help a lot for that.

 

Unfortunately the pandemic has halted most star parties and such for a while, and there is also a major scarcity of popular telescopes at his time, so plan ahead.  

 

Good luck & clear skies (with few hurricanes)!


Edited by JohnBear, 20 September 2020 - 12:27 PM.

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#14 25585

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 12:36 PM

NV great for seeing faint fuzzies. But you miss out on the colours of stars and planets, which are part of the beauty of a night sky for me.

 

A 4 inch refractor or 100mm bino scope is a better starting choice IMHO.


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#15 Jethro7

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 01:08 PM

NV great for seeing faint fuzzies. But you miss out on the colours of stars and planets, which are part of the beauty of a night sky for me.

 

A 4 inch refractor or 100mm bino scope is a better starting choice IMHO.

Hello 25585,

this why I have both and do both, But when you look at the Mikyway from a light poluted site you will only see a few thousand stars maybe. With NV it turns into millions upon millions of stars  intertwined with thick dust lanes, Galaxies and nebulae  everywhere viewing in real time. You will never see the Horsehead nebulae in a refractor without a camera. Or the Pillars of Creation without a camera, nor countless other artifacts that are unreachable from even big Dobs From a light poluted zone. Refractors are marvelous and I have been on a Refractor kick lately. So I know where you come from on this but NV is just the most amazing technology for Astronomy. I am so very glad I found out about this technology very early, about 6 months into in my endeavours with Amateur Atronomy. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 20 September 2020 - 01:09 PM.

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#16 Jethro7

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 01:50 PM

 

( I ) have a TVNC PVS 14 NVD. Omni Viii White Phosphorus with Astronomy specs I ordered it direct from TVNC and the Eyepiece adaptor. you can also order these from Televue. 

 

This device runs $3500. Did I find the correct model?

 

Also, could one use the TVNC Eyepiece adaptor for one side of the Oberwerk BT-100XL-ED Binocular Telescope for use as a monocular instead of a binocular?

 

 

 

 

 

Hello,

That would be the thin filmed PVS 14 Omni Viii. And it will work pretty good, the Unfilmed PVS14  Omni Viii will give you 20% more light transmission. This is my fault that I forgot to mention the thin filmed vs the unfilmed. Version, sorry I paid about $4200.00 for mine.

I dont know how it would work on one side of the binoculars I've never heard of anyone doing that. Everything else should be good. If you order direct make sure you tell them you want Astronmy specs.

 

HAPPY SKIES TO YOU AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro



#17 HighestVibe

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 01:54 PM

( I ) have a TVNC PVS 14 NVD. Omni Viii White Phosphorus with Astronomy specs I ordered it direct from TVNC and the Eyepiece adaptor. you can also order these from Televue. 

( 2 ) Losmandy AZ8 Alt Az mount on a Berlebach Planet tripod.

( 3 )  10" Orion Skyquest Dob, but I also use the NVD on a C8 Edge HD with a focal reducer. It also works with my AT102 ED but not as good because this scope is not fast enough at F7. I need to try a focal reducer with this scope but have been busy spending my money on upgrading my existing equipment as of late for viewing planets. The NVD does not work on planets, I do need to buy a 8" ultra fast Newt at some point. On a dream a Takahashi Epsilon,  Probably a Orion or Skywatcher imaging newt will do nicely.

( 4) if you go with a fast Newt you will need a coma corrector and two or three filters to start.  I use a 610 nm. Long pass filter for a darker skies and a 640nm Long pass filter for my backyard. and maybe a higher one 650nm to 680nm filters depending on your level of light polution. If you have a real fast Newt you may like the 640nm Long pass filter better. The other filters  are a 7nm to 12nm H-alpha  filters. Most people doing NV will have a few of each of the light polution Longpass and H-Alpha filters.  This is the coolest thing and worth every penny I have spent. It saved me from the frustrations of AP and from my modestly lightpolluted backyard I have more things to view for a lifetime.and the NVD's mounted on your head is amazing for meteor showers. 

 

Take a walk on the Night Vision Astronomy forum here on CN. You will find the topics interesting I felt like Dewey Cox, after reading the topics on the forum and watching Eddgie's YouTube videos " I think I want that" Food for the Astro addiction. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

 

P.S. oops I forgot I started with a Televue 55 mm Plossl eyepiece it is still a favorite  for NV viewing and a good start. I also use a TV 31mm NT5,  and a TV 41mm  Panoptic. The NV device operates at a F/1.2, this why you want a fast scope and it will narrow your field of view down to 40° but this is okay you will be stunned with the views never the less.

 

( I ) have a TVNC PVS 14 NVD. Omni Viii White Phosphorus with Astronomy specs I ordered it direct from TVNC and the Eyepiece adaptor. you can also order these from Televue. 

( 2 ) Losmandy AZ8 Alt Az mount on a Berlebach Planet tripod.

( 3 )  10" Orion Skyquest Dob, but I also use the NVD on a C8 Edge HD with a focal reducer. It also works with my AT102 ED but not as good because this scope is not fast enough at F7. I need to try a focal reducer with this scope but have been busy spending my money on upgrading my existing equipment as of late for viewing planets. The NVD does not work on planets, I do need to buy a 8" ultra fast Newt at some point. On a dream a Takahashi Epsilon,  Probably a Orion or Skywatcher imaging newt will do nicely.

( 4) if you go with a fast Newt you will need a coma corrector and two or three filters to start.  I use a 610 nm. Long pass filter for a darker skies and a 640nm Long pass filter for my backyard. and maybe a higher one 650nm to 680nm filters depending on your level of light polution. If you have a real fast Newt you may like the 640nm Long pass filter better. The other filters  are a 7nm to 12nm H-alpha  filters. Most people doing NV will have a few of each of the light polution Longpass and H-Alpha filters.  This is the coolest thing and worth every penny I have spent. It saved me from the frustrations of AP and from my modestly lightpolluted backyard I have more things to view for a lifetime.and the NVD's mounted on your head is amazing for meteor showers. 

 

Take a walk on the Night Vision Astronomy forum here on CN. You will find the topics interesting I felt like Dewey Cox, after reading the topics on the forum and watching Eddgie's YouTube videos " I think I want that" Food for the Astro addiction. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

 

P.S. oops I forgot I started with a Televue 55 mm Plossl eyepiece it is still a favorite  for NV viewing and a good start. I also use a TV 31mm NT5,  and a TV 41mm  Panoptic. The NV device operates at a F/1.2, this why you want a fast scope and it will narrow your field of view down to 40° but this is okay you will be stunned with the views never the less.

10" Orion Skyquest Dob  $600

AZ8 ALT / AZ mount with tripod $1000

TVNC PVS 14 NVD  $4200

Televue 55 mm Plossl eyepiece   $250

 

$6000 total for this Rig...   that sound about right?  


Edited by HighestVibe, 20 September 2020 - 01:56 PM.


#18 Second Time Around

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:04 PM

For a good introduction to night vision basics including equipment see the best of NV in the night vision astronomy forum here on Cloudy Nights.
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#19 Jethro7

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 02:24 PM

10" Orion Skyquest Dob  $600

AZ8 ALT / AZ mount with tripod $1000

TVNC PVS 14 NVD  $4200

Televue 55 mm Plossl eyepiece   $250

 

$6000 total for this Rig...   that sound about right?  

Hello,  HighestVibe,

That's about right. Less the filters. Is about my set up. 

 

Please check out on YouTube Search " Night Vision Astronomy"  the Vids to watch are " Dakota Starry Nights" and especially Eddgies, Carpe Nocturnum" videos. You can see what you are getying into. Dakota Starry Nights,  has  a basic course in NV astronomy. Eddgies, has several excellent vids he shot through his scopes.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro



#20 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:57 PM

I'm unfamiliar with Night Vision. I'm interested to research it though. Are there products and/or name brands that you would recommend so I can start my research at the right place

The Night Vision Astronomy forum.

 

The PVS-7 is the device that allows 2 eyed viewing. A bi-ocular device, one intensifier feeding two eyepieces. I'm not familiar with current market conditions (I'm thinking $1500 is the going rate on one of those), but there are PVS-7 owners on that forum that could help you.


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 20 September 2020 - 10:58 PM.


#21 Andrekp

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 08:28 AM

Spend a fraction of that for an 8” Dob and some basic eyepieces.

 

then learn what you are doing, and more importantly, learn whether you really enjoy it.  Anything else is just a waste.  Don’t listen to the gear hawkers here.  The world is FULL of people who once had zeal, and it quickly died and all their gear sits in a closet.  Don’t waste $4000 just to find that out.  This is the only rational advice you will receive here on the subject.  (Night vision - yeah, right)

 

the only thing potentially smarter would be to go even smaller and cheaper for a while first, with good binoculars.

 

don't waste good money on something like this.


Edited by Andrekp, 21 September 2020 - 02:39 PM.

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#22 bobhen

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:26 AM

Spend a fraction of that for an 8” Dob and some basic eyepieces.

 

then learn what you are doing, and more importantly, learn whether you really enjoy it.  Anything else is just a waste.  Don’t listen to the gear hawkers here.  The world is FULL of people who once had zeal, and it quickly died and all their gear sits in a closet.  Don’t waste $4000 just to find that out.  This is the only rational advice you will receive here on the subject.  (Night vision - yeah, right)

 

the only thing potentially smarter would be to go even smaller and cheaper for a while first, with good binoculars.

 

dont wasn’t good money on something like this.

Listen to the advice above.

 

You want to drop a couple grand on something with which you have no experience or even if you will like it.  To quote the late Ken Fulton, "amateur astronomy is not a bed of roses". You’ll have to deal with bugs, cold, late nights, long stretches of clouds, setting up only to be clouded-out, poor seeing, etc.

 

I would start by getting the book, The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide by Dickinson and Dyer.

 

After a "few years" with a modest telescope, you’ll know if you’ll want something bigger or better.

 

Bob


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#23 meansrt

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:30 AM

Shoot for that amount of money you could get a very nice astrophotography setup. As posters above have said, just get an 8" Dobsonian. The Apertura AD8 is a fantastic starter telescope. It would be a shame to spend $4000 and end up disappointed and leave the hobby forever. Instead, try the much cheaper dob as it'll show you much more than the binoculars will for a bare fraction of the cost. 



#24 BradFran

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:45 AM

Another vote for stating a bit smaller. Grab a 10" Dobsonian (or even 6" or 8") and two good eyepieces. You can even go used. If you upgrade to what you're later interested in, it makes an excellent second scope... or you can just sell it (if you buy used, you might even break even).

 

Without much observing under you belt it will be really hard to know what you like and don't like. But if the hardware is your thing and you have the cash, go for it. I just think that everyone changes their interests and observing habits quickly with even a little experience.

 

Another option would be good quality small refactor, like the TV85 ($2000) or even the AT80ED ($400) plus a decent mount and tripod ($100 to $500). Either could also be a lifetime grab-and-go second scope and would also be an excellent way to start out. But I'd still recommend a Dob first. Especially given your location and light pollution.

 

A comfy observing chair, pair of binoculars, red flashlight and an atlas will go with any scope.


Edited by BradFran, 21 September 2020 - 10:45 AM.


#25 csrlice12

csrlice12

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:10 AM

+1 on starting out with a basic 8-10" dob and a few eyepieces....see if this is really the hobby you're looking for....if it is, 4K might be a drop in the bucket (a light bucket).




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