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total novice with no idea

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#1 greatgb

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 10:34 PM

Hi all 

 

I am a complete and utter novice when it comes to telescopes, I had a small one as a child but that's as far as it goes.

 

What would be a decent starter telescope from viewing in my back garden (birmingham, uk)

 

I've got a budget of around £400 give and take to spend 

 

I have looked at the skywatcher skymax 127  with the goto mount, is this any good?

 

Looking forwards to your recommendations 


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#2 Tanager4

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 10:44 PM

Welcome to CN

Would suggest reading up about different types of telescopes (a simple Google search will get you there) and figuring out what you want to see. There are tons of threads here with beginners asking questions, would suggest to read through at least a few. The book "Turn left at Orion" would be a good start, it has illustrations of what the view from a telescope looks like for many objects.
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#3 Jim Waters

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 10:46 PM

Find and join a local astronomy club.  Attend meetings, ask questions and try to look through telescopes.  Then decide what direction you want to go in. 

 

https://www.birmingh...stronomy.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/basastronomy/

https://www.go-astro...my-clubs-uk.php



#4 Taosmath

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 11:00 PM

Hello and welcome to Cloudy nights from an ex-pat brummie (I lived in Yardley - where are you? - that may be relevant).

 

What do you want to look at?  Some people are specialists in Planetary or Deepspace objects or double stars.  If you don't know, yet let's just assume you want a bit of everything.

 

Next do you want a computerized scope which after you've aligned it will find things for you and then track them as you observe?  The tracking part is the really useful bit, in  my mind.

 

If you are OK with a completely manual scope , which would be my recommendation, then you can spend more money on Optics and less on electronics.   The advantage of a manual scope is that you learn the sky and can start observing faster (you're not fiddling with set ups and electronics).

 

If the former option is OK , The skymax would be fine, but it's a long focal length scope, which is great for moon & planets , but not so great for fainter deep sky objects.

 

If you're Ok with manual scope, then an 8" dob is hard to beat (larger aperture = more light = more details visible) .  The 8"  skywatcher dob is about 240 quid from First light optics, leaving you money for other things (star charts, an observing chair, red headlight, laser collimator if you get a dob)

 

However - and this is where the location comes in-  you will get much better viewing from a dark site.  If you really are stuck in the center of Brum , then a large aperture will help you see things amidst light pollution.  OTOH a computerized system will help you find things more easily.

 

If you can drive your scope to a darker site nearby then that's best - it's easier to find things when the sky is darker and either the skymax or an 8" dob will fit in a small car.

 

As the others have said, try to find a local club and do some reading.

 

I always recommend Ed Ting's site to beginners.:  I think it's an excellent summary https://www.scoperev....com/begin.html

 

Do some research, go to some club meets, (though I expect they're shut down now due to Covid, but you could email for advice) and let us know how you get on!

 

Colin


Edited by Taosmath, 26 September 2020 - 11:03 PM.

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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 11:01 PM

Hi all 

 

I am a complete and utter novice when it comes to telescopes, I had a small one as a child but that's as far as it goes.

 

What would be a decent starter telescope from viewing in my back garden (birmingham, uk)

 

I've got a budget of around £400 give and take to spend 

 

I have looked at the skywatcher skymax 127  with the goto mount, is this any good?

 

Looking forwards to your recommendations 

It's one excellent choice.  Better on the planets/Moon than on Deep Space Objects, F12.7 is "slow" and they won't be very bright.  Star clusters will be fine, galaxies and nebulae less so.

 

A 6 inch Dob is more versatile, but substantially harder to move around.

 

A Celestron SCT splits the difference in most all regards, but is above your budget.

 

All is tradeoffs, at that budget.


Edited by bobzeq25, 26 September 2020 - 11:02 PM.


#6 Jethro7

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 11:29 PM

Hi all 

 

I am a complete and utter novice when it comes to telescopes, I had a small one as a child but that's as far as it goes.

 

What would be a decent starter telescope from viewing in my back garden (birmingham, uk)

 

I've got a budget of around £400 give and take to spend 

 

I have looked at the skywatcher skymax 127  with the goto mount, is this any good?

 

Looking forwards to your recommendations 

Hello,

I concur with joining a Astronomy Club, you will get hands on and you will get a much better idea what type of gear you need for what kind of Astronomy that fits your desires. You also may find some good deals on used equipment that will save you money. I also recomend that you buy this book before you buy anything.

 

"NightWatch"  Revised Forth Edition by Terrence Dickerson. It is the best Amateur Astronomy Primer in print.  

 

HAPPY SKIES TO YOU AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


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#7 greatgb

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 08:09 PM

Hello and welcome to Cloudy nights from an ex-pat brummie (I lived in Yardley - where are you? - that may be relevant).

 

What do you want to look at?  Some people are specialists in Planetary or Deepspace objects or double stars.  If you don't know, yet let's just assume you want a bit of everything.

 

Next do you want a computerized scope which after you've aligned it will find things for you and then track them as you observe?  The tracking part is the really useful bit, in  my mind.

 

If you are OK with a completely manual scope , which would be my recommendation, then you can spend more money on Optics and less on electronics.   The advantage of a manual scope is that you learn the sky and can start observing faster (you're not fiddling with set ups and electronics).

 

If the former option is OK , The skymax would be fine, but it's a long focal length scope, which is great for moon & planets , but not so great for fainter deep sky objects.

 

If you're Ok with manual scope, then an 8" dob is hard to beat (larger aperture = more light = more details visible) .  The 8"  skywatcher dob is about 240 quid from First light optics, leaving you money for other things (star charts, an observing chair, red headlight, laser collimator if you get a dob)

 

However - and this is where the location comes in-  you will get much better viewing from a dark site.  If you really are stuck in the center of Brum , then a large aperture will help you see things amidst light pollution.  OTOH a computerized system will help you find things more easily.

 

If you can drive your scope to a darker site nearby then that's best - it's easier to find things when the sky is darker and either the skymax or an 8" dob will fit in a small car.

 

As the others have said, try to find a local club and do some reading.

 

I always recommend Ed Ting's site to beginners.:  I think it's an excellent summary https://www.scoperev....com/begin.html

 

Do some research, go to some club meets, (though I expect they're shut down now due to Covid, but you could email for advice) and let us know how you get on!

 

Colin

Thanks colin that was a great reply, I live in bearwood area.  I really do not know what i want to look at, after reading your reply I think I may go for a dobsonian, but that may change by tomorrow haha  


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#8 DouglasPaul

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 08:57 PM

Hi all 

 

I am a complete and utter novice when it comes to telescopes, I had a small one as a child but that's as far as it goes.

 

What would be a decent starter telescope from viewing in my back garden (birmingham, uk)

 

I've got a budget of around £400 give and take to spend 

 

I have looked at the skywatcher skymax 127  with the goto mount, is this any good?

 

Looking forwards to your recommendations 

Welcome fellow novice! I suggest doing some reading right here on different telescopes and their abilities, there is a ton of information and I'm still wading through it. I went a different route and picked up a few used ones but to each their own. That looks like a pretty nice scope you're looking at.



#9 Taosmath

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 01:56 AM

Thanks colin that was a great reply, I live in bearwood area.  I really do not know what i want to look at, after reading your reply I think I may go for a dobsonian, but that may change by tomorrow haha  

Well Bearwood's very close to the center but you're only a couple of miles away from some  darker skies if you head out towards Hagley or Clent.

 

If you can handle a Dob, then thats' what I'd go for.

 

I started with a 6" SCT 6 years ago and loved it, but then aperture fever struck and I started to get bigger aperture scopes.  I currently have 3 working Dobs (17.5", 12" & 8") which do 80% of my viewing and I have 2 refractors (120mm & 80mm) which I use for double stars.  I have a 10" SCT, but haven't used it for 2 years - My dobs are a lot easier to drag in & out.  My 10" SCT weighs about 60lb and that's close to my handling limit these days.

 

Anyway, if you buy a used scope (look on Stargazers lounge in the UK https://stargazerslounge.com/) you should be able to get a used dob for a couple of hundred and if you later  decide it's the wrong thing for you, you can resell for close to the same money.



#10 rhetfield

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 08:23 AM

The heritage 130 and zhumell 130 are nice general purpose grab and go scopes in your price range.  Alternatively, look at a 6" dob for a little more money or see if there is an 8" on the classifieds in your area for a good price.  In your price range, non-dob mounts tend to be a bit wobbly.  Also, plan on spending about 150 on accessories.  Scopes normally come with low to medium power eyepieces and no filters.  You will want at least a 2x barlow that converts to 1.5x, one high power eyepiece, a variable polarizer filter (cut brightness on moon and planets) and maybe a UHC filter to help out with nebulas. 



#11 BugsInSpace

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 06:11 PM

Ummm

Welcome to the dark side.... Hope you enjoy many years of exploring the universe....

I would suggest getting a decent pair of astro/birder/sports binocs (back in the day when I started down this slippery slope   lol.gif   Nikon 10x50's were recommended to me---still use them) first and doing a bit of exploring of the heavens... Download a good astro app... and just poke around for awhile... The binocs will be part of your observing collection for the duration I suspect.

 

When start to find some avenue that interests you then find an appropriate scope.... $$$$, mobility, dimensions...and don't forget the eyepieces......

 

Just my thoughts...




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