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Orion XT8G too much for a newbie?

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#1 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 03:59 PM

Hello guys and gals. Total newbie here. Since my soon to be 9 year old daughter seems to be interested in space, (and I always have but never had the time to take up the hobby), I am considering a telescope for her and myself. My budget was the $400-$700 area. After looking at many (and many more) reviews, and after further confusion, I have almost pulled the trigger on a Orion XT8G. I realize it is about $500 over budget, but with the goto feature and the better overall optics I think it may have a better chance at keeping her interest rather than just using it a few times and done. I realize this is a pretty big purchase, but I have also always wanted a telescope. I find space fascinating, and this would be a great tool for spending some quality time with my daughter and for a general learning experience for the family. If she loses interest it wouldn't be a total waste because I know I would continue to use it. I am naturally going to purchase the dc power supply. In addition I am considering the Orion 08890 1.25" lens accessory kit. I realize the XT8G comes equipped to take 2" eyepieces, but this kit seems affordable. (Please let me know if it is worth it, or should the stock eyepieces be enough for now?) Is there anything else needed (laser collimator...,?), or will this be all that I have to buy? Does this entire purchase seem reasonable for a newbie, or should I be looking at a cheaper setup? Thanks in advance.

#2 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:00 PM

Just a note, I am located in the east central part of PA.

#3 SeattleScott

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:07 PM

Seems very reasonable. Eyepiece kits can be a cheap way to get started. If you are still going strong six months later, you can invest in high quality eyepieces then. If you want to buy eyepieces good enough to stick around awhile, let us know your budget and we can help out. The Meade 5.5mm UWA is a high value eyepiece in that it performs better than a $130 eyepiece should. It was recently discontinued but is still available new if you hunt around. This could be a good pickup if you want a quality eyepiece now as it won’t be available (new anyway) six months from now.

Scott
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#4 wrnchhead

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:27 PM

It's what I started with, so not too much for a newbie. Added benefit is it's a scope a person could use for their whole lifetime. 

 

(until aperture fever gets you and/or astrophotography, for which there is no cure besides death, haha)


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#5 fallenstarseven

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:28 PM

I'm a newbie too, and for my first scope I wanted something that would get me seeing and observing things fast and offer plenty of light and reach so that I would really enjoy what I find and observe.  I waited for a long time to finally have the time and disposable resources to be able to do this hobby and wasn't about to spend a chunk of money and then be frustrated trying to find things.  I bought an XT10g and haven't regretted it for a moment.  I think the extra pleasure will especially pay off for a youngster who may not have the patience for star-hopping every single time you go out.   It hasn't crimped my learning of the night skies at all--star alignments and using things like Stellarium to find objects and use the hand controller to slew to some objects still have taught me what I wanted to learn while letting me get more instant gratification with the GoTo capabilities.  You will find that some nights your alignment may be just enough off that you still have to do some searching on. your own to nail down a sight.

 

I strongly urge you to get a copy of Turn Left at Orion which nicely lays out the best objects for several kinds of scope by season, with star-hopping directions you can follow when you're so inclined.

 

Enjoy your scope, whatever you finally decide.  Your daughter is lucky that you are introducing her at a young age.


Edited by fallenstarseven, 25 November 2020 - 04:29 PM.

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#6 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:41 PM

Thank you all for your prompt replies. Great feedback and info. I know the XT8G is not for AP, but would a cellphone adapter work with it (say for the moon) or shouldn't I bother? Thanks again.

#7 Bill Jensen

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:42 PM

An 8 inch driven dob like you are considering will give you years of enjoyment, and be easy to share the views with your daughter. 

 

If the stretching of the budget is a concern, don't overlook used dobs, often listed on Craigs list or Facebook marketplace. There are even a few Orion dobs listed here on the Cloudy Nights classifieds, although you would have to drive a bit from PA to pick them up. One that is still listed is the Orion 10G for $900. 


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#8 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:45 PM

An 8 inch driven dob like you are considering will give you years of enjoyment, and be easy to share the views with your daughter.

If the stretching of the budget is a concern, don't overlook used dobs, often listed on Craigs list or Facebook marketplace. There are even a few Orion dobs listed here on the Cloudy Nights classifieds, although you would have to drive a bit from PA to pick them up. One that is still listed is the Orion 10G for $900.

Thanks, I will look into the classifieds here.

#9 SeattleScott

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:53 PM

Cellphone adapter can work for Moon and planets.
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#10 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:56 PM

Cellphone adapter can work for Moon and planets.

👍 Thanks

#11 litesong

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:01 PM

Your daughter might be old already. My interest in aviation started at age 5. My wife’s passion for art started before school age. Since patience is needed for astronomy, that trait must be the first avenue developed. If she really takes to astronomy, that will be a wondrous family bonding! 

If not tho, be careful. Amateur Astronomy will be time-consuming & I’ve seen more than one “astronomy family” end in divorce.

Yes, GOTO telescopes are the only way to go, if you have the money.


Edited by litesong, 25 November 2020 - 05:08 PM.

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#12 Brandon0616

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:02 PM

It's what I started with, so not too much for a newbie. Added benefit is it's a scope a person could use for their whole lifetime. 

 

(until aperture fever gets you and/or astrophotography, for which there is no cure besides death, haha)

I have fallen victim to the latter: astrophotography lol.gif  Also if you want to capture a bit off what you are seeing the as people said get a cellphone adapter and download adobe lightroom on your phone (its free) since it allows you to get a tad of exposure. I was pretty happy with my phone and Lightroom app on the Orion nebula. (M42 is a must see, it can be viewed from any amount of light pollution, M45 is also really amazing for a beginner. 


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#13 drd715

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:05 PM

Good choice for value, performance and quality. I personally like an ED refractor 100mm or larger, but it would be twice the price. 8 inches is a real plus in viewing the not so bright objects.

For eyepieces it appears to come with a 28mm for wide views and a 12.5mm cross hair reticle eyepiece for aiming (goto setup). With a 1200mm focal length i think a 7mm and a 17mm would complement the 28mm it comes with. The subject of eyepieces and the variety of designs gets quite complex. The Televue website has an extensive set of tutorials about eyepiece parameters that you should have a look at. Televue.com - eyepieces - "An Eyepiece Primer"

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#14 Brandon0616

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:05 PM

Your daughter might be old already. My interest in aviation started at age 5. My wife’s passion for art started before school age. Since patience is needed for astronomy, that trait must be the first avenue developed. If she really takes to astronomy, that will be a wondrous family bonding! 

If not tho, be careful. Amateur Astronomy will be time-consuming & I’ve seen more than one “astronomy family” end in divorce.

Yes GOTO telescopes are the only way to go, if you have the money

Age 9 is still young, I just started in the hobby and I am only 14, but I love it with a passion. My mother gave me a spotting scope at age 9 and it sat in my closet for 4 years until I saw Jupiter. Now I spend hours in my yard looking for DSO's in bortle 9.


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#15 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:09 PM

Great info here. Keep it coming. If I do decide to pull the trigger on this scope, I will go thru this thread and try all the suggestions given here.

#16 Roger Corbett

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:25 PM

I'll offer a different opinion!

 

I'd recommend getting two scopes — one that she can call her own and that is matched well — size and weight — for someone young and small.  For example, a tabletop Orion StarBlast 4.5”.  Owning one's own scope is a recipe for interest, taking it out into the backyard when she wishes to, learning at her own pace, doing things independently.  She could teach you things to see and observe.

 

You could observe at first just with that one — and then, if the astronomy bug hit you, get yourself an 8” dob to go with it, and that could belong to both of you.  But that scope is HUGE for a 9-year-old and would be a joint set-up operation,

 

Frankly, I’d skip the go-to.  You're just getting into the hobby, it's way over budget, and your interest may wane.  It's also more involved than merely observing.

 

Saving money on the telescope also means more money for accessories — from a Telrad to eyepieces to magazines subscriptions to star atlases to astro phone apps, etc.

 

It's much more enjoyable to take things slowly; grow into the hobby; see what interests you most.


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#17 spaceoddity

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:26 PM

I think that's an excellent telescope choice but I would opt for couple good eyepieces instead of the accessory kit, one medium and one high power since the scope comes with a serviceable low power ep. Don't go too high power or it won't be usable very often. I'd say 7-8mm would be good. You probably don't want a plossl at focal lengths under 10mm because the eye relief gets very short and then peephole very small. 


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#18 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 06:13 PM

It's all still up in the air on what I will ultimately choose, however, just to show you the wide range of scopes that I looked at, here is one of my first considerations: Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope, German Technology Scope. I know they are miles apart in comparison, but it is all very confusing for a newbie like myself.

#19 Austin Maggie

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 06:41 PM

I almost pulled the trigger on the Meade StarNavigator NG 102mm, but I decided to keep researching. It seems like the more you research and read reviews, the emptier your wallet can become.

#20 litesong

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 06:47 PM

Age 9 is still young, I just started in the hobby and I am only 14, but I love it with a passion. My mother gave me a spotting scope at age 9 and it sat in my closet for 4 years until I saw Jupiter. Now I spend hours in my yard looking for DSO's in bortle 9.

& if you’d seen Jupiter or Saturn at age 6 or 7, you might have taken off. Just because you ignited at 14, doesn’t mean others can’t ignite earlier.

Every time I show new people (at all ages) to astronomy views (before coronavirus), I can feel their new excitement.


Edited by litesong, 25 November 2020 - 06:48 PM.


#21 Bowlerhat

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 07:08 PM

It's all still up in the air on what I will ultimately choose, however, just to show you the wide range of scopes that I looked at, here is one of my first considerations: Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope, German Technology Scope. I know they are miles apart in comparison, but it is all very confusing for a newbie like myself.

 

No no no. Gskyer is probably some achromat made in china, and you're better off with some better brands. 8" dob is reasonable if you have the space for it. 

I wouldn't get the eyepiece kit. You can get fewer yet better eyepieces, like agena starguider ED. Even goldlines are better than generic plossls.

 

You can think on how to divide up the budget: some folks put all the money for telescope first, getting the biggest aperture as they can with generic eyepieces. Some mixed the budget instead: get smaller one telescope, with better eyepieces.


Edited by Bowlerhat, 26 November 2020 - 05:47 PM.

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#22 Bill Jensen

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 07:11 PM

if you contact your local astro club, you may find lots of help there, and potentially some loaner scopes so you could try one out. Our club in the Norther VA area has several loaner scopes, and observing sites. the astro club can often provide you support once you do pull the trigger on a scope purchase. 


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#23 Brandon0616

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 07:40 PM

My personal recommendation would be to go with an intelliscope, it is like a goto but you push the tube to the target until it shows you are on it. It saves a lot of money and is the same thing with out a motor.


Edited by Brandon0616, 25 November 2020 - 07:42 PM.

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#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 07:54 PM

You may some of the information on astronomy, amateur astronomy, and observing in my post (#22) at https://www.cloudyni...mers/?p=5184287 useful, Austin Maggie.


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#25 ShaulaB

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 08:03 PM

Yes! An 8 inch Dob is a great scope for a beginner. Even a 6 inch Dob would provide a wonderful gateway to sky viewing.

Don't worry about getting computerized mounting systems. Your brain will work just fine for finding many objects. Kids enjoy hunting things in the sky.

Best of luck!
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