Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Looking to purchase a good telescope

  • Please log in to reply
124 replies to this topic

#1 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 03:32 PM

Hi everybody, I'm new on this forum. I want to say that I've been interested in astronomy since childhood and I'm seriously thinking about becoming a true stargazer. I'm looking for a specific type of telescope that won't give me any problems in lining up an object. When I was a kid somebody had given me a telescope as a gift. It was a rather cheaply made gadget. And I used it to look at the few nighttime objects that were visible in the sky above the city where I lived. I have a bad recollection of the problems I had lining up the object in the telescope's sights. What I mean by that is I had to push the telescope manually to view the object. What I would do is push the telescope to one side and I would completely pass the object I wanted to view. So I would then try to manually adjust the telescope in the opposite direction and the object would speed past the sights again. It was a real pain in the **** to line up the object in the sights. I'm looking to purchase a telescope that has fine tuning knobs for both the declination and right ascension. Knobs that are very similar to those that are used on the scope of a rifle. Any of you who have done target shooting on a range would know what I'm talking about. The knobs should be able to move the telescope at a slow pace so that the object doesn't go zipping by. Can anyone refer me to a make/model of a telescope that will solve this problem?

smile.gif


Edited by erickench, 28 July 2021 - 03:34 PM.

  • Sky Muse and teashea like this

#2 terrypaula

terrypaula

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 566
  • Joined: 20 Feb 2018

Posted 28 July 2021 - 04:08 PM

I asked this question once and I was told, basically, to buy one of every type scope that I fancied and sell the ones I don't like or weren't suitable.

 

But my advice would be to get something in the form of a kit, such as one of the Celestron SE series scopes with a goto mount.  If you're starting out or a novice. 

 

I bought an Explore Scientific FDC-100 f7 102mm.  I believe a nice focal length to start with.  If you're interested in astrophotography it's an easy step up.  I can see visually and image just about anything everyone else can, unless it's a monster 12" dob or something like that.

Mostly your choice should be something easy to handle.  Just remember the mount is the most important part. 

You really can't go wrong with a nice 80mm to 127mmfast  refractor.

There astrograph reflectors too, real light buckets. 8" aperture and a f3.9. 

Sometimes you loose focal length to gain speed.


  • PKDfan, brlasy1, teashea and 1 other like this

#3 Supernova74

Supernova74

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,760
  • Joined: 25 May 2020
  • Loc: Epsom surrey near (London)

Posted 28 July 2021 - 04:12 PM

Hi everybody, I'm new on this forum. I want to say that I've been interested in astronomy since childhood and I'm seriously thinking about becoming a true stargazer. I'm looking for a specific type of telescope that won't give me any problems in lining up an object. When I was a kid somebody had given me a telescope as a gift. It was a rather cheaply made gadget. And I used it to look at the few nighttime objects that were visible in the sky above the city where I lived. I have a bad recollection of the problems I had lining up the object in the telescope's sights. What I mean by that is I had to push the telescope manually to view the object. What I would do is push the telescope to one side and I would completely pass the object I wanted to view. So I would then try to manually adjust the telescope in the opposite direction and the object would speed past the sights again. It was a real pain in the **** to line up the object in the sights. I'm looking to purchase a telescope that has fine tuning knobs for both the declination and right ascension. Knobs that are very similar to those that are used on the scope of a rifle. Any of you who have done target shooting on a range would know what I'm talking about. The knobs should be able to move the telescope at a slow pace so that the object doesn't go zipping by. Can anyone refer me to a make/model of a telescope that will solve this problem?

smile.gif

Hi and welcome to CN

Do you have a specific budget in mind as it might help us guide you in the right direction.

you also mentioned you would prefer a scope with a mount which consists of slow motion controls in both axis in RA and DEC.the problem you have in this day and age the mounts which have these controls are mainly equatorial mounts which from a beginners perspective can be a little tricky to use and does require aligning on Polaris or North Star So the (RA) axis can track the motion of the night sky.however depending on budget you may be interested in a goto mount.


  • spaceoddity, brlasy1 and teashea like this

#4 brlasy1

brlasy1

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 287
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2020
  • Loc: Texas

Posted 28 July 2021 - 04:15 PM

Hi everybody, I'm new on this forum. I want to say that I've been interested in astronomy since childhood and I'm seriously thinking about becoming a true stargazer. I'm looking for a specific type of telescope that won't give me any problems in lining up an object. When I was a kid somebody had given me a telescope as a gift. It was a rather cheaply made gadget. And I used it to look at the few nighttime objects that were visible in the sky above the city where I lived. I have a bad recollection of the problems I had lining up the object in the telescope's sights. What I mean by that is I had to push the telescope manually to view the object. What I would do is push the telescope to one side and I would completely pass the object I wanted to view. So I would then try to manually adjust the telescope in the opposite direction and the object would speed past the sights again. It was a real pain in the **** to line up the object in the sights. I'm looking to purchase a telescope that has fine tuning knobs for both the declination and right ascension. Knobs that are very similar to those that are used on the scope of a rifle. Any of you who have done target shooting on a range would know what I'm talking about. The knobs should be able to move the telescope at a slow pace so that the object doesn't go zipping by. Can anyone refer me to a make/model of a telescope that will solve this problem?

smile.gif

You're talking about a mount, not specifically a telescope.  A good Alt-Az mount, like a Vixen Porta-II, or Celestron Medium Duty Alt-AZ, or Explore Scientific Twilight 1, will do the slow motion controls thing, and hold telescope tubes (optical tube assemblies) of various weights and lengths.  A decent quality achromatic refractor of 80mm will work nicely on a moderately priced Alt-Az mount.


  • ShaulaB and teashea like this

#5 havasman

havasman

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,096
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Dallas, Texas

Posted 28 July 2021 - 04:16 PM

Hi erickench and welcome to the forums!

 

You gotta give us a budget to work with. Your goals can be met by a wider range of costs than you may realize. And there are a wider range of options than you may be aware of. Also knowing your observing site is critical. A good scope used from western Nebraska may not be best if used from Philly.


Edited by havasman, 28 July 2021 - 04:18 PM.

  • teashea likes this

#6 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,832
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Mid-South, U.S.

Posted 28 July 2021 - 04:50 PM

"...knobs for both the declination and right ascension."

 

You're referring to an equatorial mount in that.  Here's my 6" f/5 Newtonian on a supportive, equatorial mount...

 

3ab.jpg

 

Here's the same telescope mounted on a simpler alt-azimuth mount.  It has slow-motion controls as well, for altitude, and azimuth...

 

6 f5ab.jpg

 

A Newtonian(reflector), on an equatorial mount, is not for flitting from one object to another in a span of a few minutes.  Rather, it is for observing a single object for a longer span, one at a time, for sketching or other.  In addition, an equatorial mount, once set up and aligned with Polaris, cannot be moved without re-aligning.   

 

When the reflector is mounted on an alt-azimuth however, the mount can be moved at any time, to this vantage point and that, quickly, at a whim.  Also, the reflector does not require an occasional rotation within its tube-rings to get the focusser in a more comfortable position, as it does with an equatorial mount.

 

An equatorial mount, sky-based, has a learning curve, just as the collimation of a reflector.  An alt-azimuth, ground-based, is easier and simpler to use.  Some say it's more "intuitive".  However, it is simpler to track an object, with slow-motion controls, with an equatorial.  An equatorial, the RA-axis, may also be motorised, and for automatic, hands-free tracking.  The motions across the sky with the two mounts...

 

mount motions.jpg

 

As you can see, the equatorial follows the path of an object in the sky precisely.  With an alt-azimuth, the "staircase method" is used to track; up a bit, over a little, up again, and so on.


  • CeeKay, brlasy1 and teashea like this

#7 Stevencbradley

Stevencbradley

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 223
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2021
  • Loc: Payson, Arizona

Posted 28 July 2021 - 05:46 PM

What you're discussing normally refers to the telescope mount. There are varieties of these, and a telescope often comes with a mount.  In general, beware of telescopes sold through a department store, or a telescope advertised by its magnification.  

However, what I (and most of us) usually recommend is some self education before you buy. 

Here is a great place, and there are beginner forums. YouTube is one of the best resources, and you'll find some excellent advice there. 

I suggest Ed Ting (he has several beginner videos). There are quite a few other fine YT channels. 

However, many of us would recommend a good pair of binoculars. Binoculars are usually handheld, and most everyone opts for binoculars in the 7-10 power range because all your shaking is magnified. You will be very pleasantly surprised by what you can see in binoculars.  You will want to stick with a good brand: Nikon, Pentax Bushnell are often recommended, but one of the favorites here is Oberwerk, an online seller. He markets binoculars specifically for astronomy and welcomes calls. I recently had a friend who bought a pair of 9×60's from Oberwerk and he is well satisfied (in binoculars, the first # is power & the second # is the diameter of the front lens.) 

Hope you find the exact thing.


  • brlasy1, teashea and firemachine69 like this

#8 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:09 PM

Ok. I've been looking at the Celestron-Power Seeker 127EQ Telescope on Amazon.com. It comes with a Manual German Equatorial Mount at the reasonable price of $152.23. I saw some of the videos on the internet about these mounts. I would have to line it up at one of the poles and it has the ability for smooth tracking. Lining up at the poles sounds a bit tedious. Tracking the object isn't all that important. So I'll settle with a good Alt-Azimuth mount. Is there a telescope available that comes with this Alt-Azimuth mount?


  • Sky Muse likes this

#9 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:23 PM

Before finding the Celestron-Power Seeker 127EQ telescope with the GEM I had been looking at the Celestron-AstroMaster 70AZ. This one has the Alt-Azimuth mount that I need, but according to the customer reviews there are some problems with the tripod. What do you guys know about this?



#10 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:30 PM

Before finding the Celestron-Power Seeker 127EQ telescope with the GEM I had been looking at the Celestron-AstroMaster 70AZ. This one has the Alt-Azimuth mount that I need, but according to the customer reviews there are some problems with the tripod. What do you guys know about this?

Don't get the Powerseeker 127EQ. The EQ mount is too weak for the telescope, the eyepieces that come with the telescope are bad, and the telescope itself is a bad design.

 

The Astromaster 70 AZ is a better scope on a simpler alt-azimuth mount, but I hear that the focuser isn't very good on the telescope.

 

Where do you live? Some of the telescope choices depend on that.


Edited by xvariablestarx, 28 July 2021 - 07:32 PM.

  • PatrickVt likes this

#11 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:46 PM

Don't get the Powerseeker 127EQ. The EQ mount is too weak for the telescope, the eyepieces that come with the telescope are bad, and the telescope itself is a bad design.

 

The Astromaster 70 AZ is a better scope on a simpler alt-azimuth mount, but I hear that the focuser isn't very good on the telescope.

 

Where do you live? Some of the telescope choices depend on that.

Right now I live on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bright planets like Venus and Jupiter are visible to the naked eye. I would have to go out to the country to see the multitude of stars without the light pollution.


  • teashea likes this

#12 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:51 PM

Right now I live on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bright planets like Venus and Jupiter are visible to the naked eye. I would have to go out to the country to see the multitude of stars without the light pollution.

Maybe something like this? https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B07J6STWYZ

Not sure how steady the mount is, but it seems to have alt and azimuth slow motion controls.

 

Of course if you want to see wide swaths of stars, it is hard to beat binoculars also.


Edited by xvariablestarx, 28 July 2021 - 07:52 PM.


#13 sevenofnine

sevenofnine

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,448
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2016
  • Loc: Santa Rosa, California

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:52 PM

Welcome to C/N! flowerred.gif  Before you make any decisions on a telescope, buy a decent astronomy guide book. Otherwise, you are very likely to repeat the mistakes made with your first one. Like any hobby you have to have a good idea on the cost of good equipment or you will literally be throwing your money away. A place to start is Terence Dickinson's "NightWatch" He explains all the different kinds of telescopes and equipment. Best of luck to you! waytogo.gif

 

p.s. A free starting point is Ed Ting's "scopereviews.com." He is a mentor to many on this forum. Including me grin.gif


Edited by sevenofnine, 28 July 2021 - 07:54 PM.

  • xvariablestarx, CeeKay, brlasy1 and 2 others like this

#14 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:56 PM

Maybe something like this? https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B07J6STWYZ

Not sure how steady the mount is, but it seems to have alt and azimuth slow motion controls.

 

Of course if you want to see wide swaths of stars, it is hard to beat binoculars also.

This would be good for somebody with a smartphone. I carry an armored flip phone in my back pocket for convenience.



#15 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 08:15 PM

This would be good for somebody with a smartphone. I carry an armored flip phone in my back pocket for convenience.

Yeah there are lot of people on here who take quick photos of the moon etc with their phones.

If you have a budget you can let us know about, that can help with telescope selection also.

A lot of people on here recommend 6 to 8 inch Dobsonian reflectors for beginners, but those don't have the slow motion controls you desire.



#16 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 08:24 PM

I guess the Celestron-Astromaster 70AZ would be the best choice. It only cost about $124.



#17 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 08:30 PM

I guess the Celestron-Astromaster 70AZ would be the best choice. It only cost about $124.

There are some focuser issues with that telescope, I don't want you disappointed. I would think that the optics themselves are ok. It is a pretty long tube refractor so it will be better on the Moon and planets than on galaxies and nebula. Do some research on Cloudy Nights to see how people think of this telescope. I would buy one of these myself, but the focuser issue makes me wary.



#18 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 08:54 PM

There are some focuser issues with that telescope, I don't want you disappointed. I would think that the optics themselves are ok. It is a pretty long tube refractor so it will be better on the Moon and planets than on galaxies and nebula. Do some research on Cloudy Nights to see how people think of this telescope. I would buy one of these myself, but the focuser issue makes me wary.

I looked at the customer reviews on Amazon. There were no complaints about the focuser. Just that the tripod makes it difficult to track an object.



#19 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:03 PM

I looked at the customer reviews on Amazon. There were no complaints about the focuser. Just that the tripod makes it difficult to track an object.

I would not base much on Amazon reviews, more on reviews on this site which specializes in telescopes. The Astromaster 70 mount comes with a pan handle instead of slow motion controls. Ultimately the choice is yours, but I suspect you will outgrow this scope quite soon. When you do get a telescope come back here for suggestions on accessories or ways to improve it.


  • teashea likes this

#20 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:39 PM

I would not base much on Amazon reviews, more on reviews on this site which specializes in telescopes. The Astromaster 70 mount comes with a pan handle instead of slow motion controls. Ultimately the choice is yours, but I suspect you will outgrow this scope quite soon. When you do get a telescope come back here for suggestions on accessories or ways to improve it.

What do you mean panhandle? It has an Alt-Azimuth mount. I should be able to line up the object within sights without it zipping by back and forth.



#21 mpickering

mpickering

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 44
  • Joined: 27 May 2021
  • Loc: Annapolis, MD

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:40 PM

Honestly as a fellow beginner I would up your budget.  Something like a 6 inch Dobsonian would work for you much better.  It has its own mount, will be a lot more stable and will actually let you see things.  Shopping for telescopes on price alone will buy you a lot of disappointment.  There are some great inexpensive scopes but they have to be paired with good mounts and have decent optics to be used and useful.  

 

Do not buy a telescope from Amazon!  It is like the department store toy scopes and you won't save much compared to buying a scope from an astronomy shop.  Please go watch Ed Ting's video on common beginner mistakes and what not to do.  

 

Orion, while some people dislike them, makes decent budget equipment.  They have a 6 inch Dobsonian in stock right now at $379 shipped.  

 

https://www.telescop...yCategoryId=398

 

That scope, while smaller than the recommended 8 inch, will do and see more than a small inexpensive refractor on a shaky mount.  Whatever mount that comes with a beginner, cheap scope needs to be upped to two sizes bigger for proper stability.  My first scope came with such a mount and the shakes annoyed me enough that I bought a heavier mount that cost as much as the scope and mount together ($289).  Much better.  $85 more would have gotten the 6 inch Dobsonian with everything ready to go.  

 

$319 gets you the 4.5 inch version from Orion, likewise in stock, but it is a much smaller scope intended for kid heights whereas the 6 inch is more tolerable for an adult.

 

You can push around a 6 inch Dob easily and see the Moon, planets and deep sky objects.  I have a 5 inch reflector that does ok at this.  While an 8 inch scope is almost a perfect starter scope, the 6 inch will be light, manageable and easy to sell if you find it isn't for you.   You wouldn't be able to give away the Powerseeker 127EQ.  I have a Meade Polaris 130EQ, while ok, is in the same boat.  The tube, at least, is optically ok and I plan on giving it to my nephew this Fall.

 

You get what you pay for in amateur astronomy and there is a floor to a decent starter experience.  $300 is really the floor whether a small Dobsonian or small refractor like a Short Tube 80.  They cost about the same and will be better mounted.  

 

Buy once and be happy.  I had to jump through a couple scopes to find what worked well and I would have skipped a couple side roads and saved a bit of money but spending a bit more upfront.

 

Matt


  • dnrmilspec likes this

#22 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:46 PM

What do you mean panhandle? It has an Alt-Azimuth mount. I should be able to line up the object within sights without it zipping by back and forth.


astromaster70.jpeg

 

 

Maybe there is another word for it, but that is what I all it. You WILL be zipping back and forth, or rather levering the scope back and forth.


  • teashea likes this

#23 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:52 PM

Honestly as a fellow beginner I would up your budget.  Something like a 6 inch Dobsonian would work for you much better.  It has its own mount, will be a lot more stable and will actually let you see things.  Shopping for telescopes on price alone will buy you a lot of disappointment.  There are some great inexpensive scopes but they have to be paired with good mounts and have decent optics to be used and useful.  

 

Do not buy a telescope from Amazon!  It is like the department store toy scopes and you won't save much compared to buying a scope from an astronomy shop.  Please go watch Ed Ting's video on common beginner mistakes and what not to do.  

 

Orion, while some people dislike them, makes decent budget equipment.  They have a 6 inch Dobsonian in stock right now at $379 shipped.  

 

https://www.telescop...yCategoryId=398

 

That scope, while smaller than the recommended 8 inch, will do and see more than a small inexpensive refractor on a shaky mount.  Whatever mount that comes with a beginner, cheap scope needs to be upped to two sizes bigger for proper stability.  My first scope came with such a mount and the shakes annoyed me enough that I bought a heavier mount that cost as much as the scope and mount together ($289).  Much better.  $85 more would have gotten the 6 inch Dobsonian with everything ready to go.  

 

$319 gets you the 4.5 inch version from Orion, likewise in stock, but it is a much smaller scope intended for kid heights whereas the 6 inch is more tolerable for an adult.

 

You can push around a 6 inch Dob easily and see the Moon, planets and deep sky objects.  I have a 5 inch reflector that does ok at this.  While an 8 inch scope is almost a perfect starter scope, the 6 inch will be light, manageable and easy to sell if you find it isn't for you.   You wouldn't be able to give away the Powerseeker 127EQ.  I have a Meade Polaris 130EQ, while ok, is in the same boat.  The tube, at least, is optically ok and I plan on giving it to my nephew this Fall.

 

You get what you pay for in amateur astronomy and there is a floor to a decent starter experience.  $300 is really the floor whether a small Dobsonian or small refractor like a Short Tube 80.  They cost about the same and will be better mounted.  

 

Buy once and be happy.  I had to jump through a couple scopes to find what worked well and I would have skipped a couple side roads and saved a bit of money but spending a bit more upfront.

 

Matt

This wouldn't be bad either. I generally avoid Amazon for scope purchases, because you don't get the customer service, but I haven't heard bad things about this scope. The z130 would be better but I can't see it here: https://www.amazon.c...,aps,296&sr=8-1

 

There is this also https://shop.astrono...ector-telescope

 

Both need a table to set them on, or you need to construct a wooden tripod for them



#24 erickench

erickench

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2021
  • Loc: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:52 PM

That sucks!!! I want something with slow motion knobs.



#25 xvariablestarx

xvariablestarx

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 736
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Limerick, Ireland

Posted 28 July 2021 - 09:56 PM

That sucks!!! I want something with slow motion knobs.

Then there is that Meade I linked you to a few posts back, not that I necessarily recommend that either but if you want slow motion controls, that is the cheapest option.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics