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

Starter scope advice

  • Please log in to reply
92 replies to this topic

#1 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 02:06 AM

Hi

 

First post here, but if all goes right then there'll probably be more posts ... but by a younger me. smile.gif

 

Just another dad looking to fulfill there son's wish / demand for a telescope. 12 years old and has formed at fantastic fascination with astronomy. Something I'd like him to keep to.

 

To this end I am hunting for a starter scope on a rather tight budget. It's the usual $200 range, but more like $175 thanks to my currency tanking.

Don't want to get him anything too crazy, but at the same time not something that will turn him off this interest.

 

I also have a limited range of products to pick from here in South Africa unless I seriously start increasing the budget.

 

To this end I have made a short list as follows:

 

1. National Geographic (Bresser?) 114/500 reflector Dobson mount

2. National Geographic 114/900 AZ reflector

3. Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ 70/700

4. Carson RP-100 Red Planet with smartphone adapter 76x700 AZ

 

I have seen numerous Powerseeker 70AZ reviews, but they're all over the place.

The biggest concern there is the provided eye-pieces.

 

I'm leaning towards the 114/500 NG/Bresser reflector.

As a beginner scope is this ok? Or should I rather go with the 114/900 and try and find a Dobson mount in the future?

I've not had much luck figuring which one of these NG are parabolic or spherical mirror.

I also like the fact that it is pretty compact and we can try and take it along on vacations to much darker country areas.

 

The Carson I am not sure about.

 

I would really appreciated input on these scopes. Thank you!

 


  • Sky Muse likes this

#2 osbourne one-nil

osbourne one-nil

    Gemini

  • -----
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,407
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Cumbria, England 54.5ºN 2.5ºW

Posted 29 November 2022 - 02:34 AM

Your currency is tanking? Sounds familiar!

 

I've recommended various scopes for various people over the years, and by far the most used end up being something like this https://www.firstlig...p-flextube.html

 

Despite not looking like a proper telescope, they don't wobble, have a decent amount of light grasp, don't need batteries or complicated set ups, and don't get covered in dew within 5 mins of going outside. 

 

The stability of the mount is vital to prevent the user from becoming discouraged. 


  • SV2HXM, vtornado, Chad7531 and 1 other like this

#3 drd715

drd715

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,516
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Fort Lauderdale

Posted 29 November 2022 - 02:49 AM

Binoculars might be a good first step.   After that  maybe a DOB  is a good step up. Unfortunately good (or should i say quality for the dollar) scopes can be pricey. The DOB is the best performance for the money. 

 

https://youtu.be/w2H-6XpT8Ao


  • Deep13, pj_thomas and 2226cc like this

#4 housewife

housewife

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 630
  • Joined: 03 Oct 2022
  • Loc: Glendora, Cali

Posted 29 November 2022 - 02:53 AM

Hi there OP,

 

I recommend you this scope, I screenshot to you below, it $155 on sale right now. A friend in here recommend it to me, so I recommend it to you. The link to buy below, it a legit store, alot of people here buy scopes from this store before.

 

https://telescopes.n...muth-mount.html

 

The mount is really sturdy, and 80mm is a good aperture for a starter scope.

 

buy.jpg


Edited by housewife, 29 November 2022 - 02:54 AM.

  • drd715, vtornado, sevenofnine and 6 others like this

#5 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 03:59 AM

Thank you.

I was after an Celestron 80mm here, but unfortunately not available anymore.

The downside to the $155 unit, although perfectly in budget, is the $300+ shipping.



#6 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 04:02 AM

Your currency is tanking? Sounds familiar!

 

I've recommended various scopes for various people over the years, and by far the most used end up being something like this https://www.firstlig...p-flextube.html

 

Despite not looking like a proper telescope, they don't wobble, have a decent amount of light grasp, don't need batteries or complicated set ups, and don't get covered in dew within 5 mins of going outside. 

 

The stability of the mount is vital to prevent the user from becoming discouraged. 

Thank you. I found the local Sky-Watcher dealer and will be asking them about this model. Doesn't seem to be available on their site even though they seem to have a ton of other models.

 

I'm liking that compact size.

 

Let me see if they have stock on that item.



#7 Protheus

Protheus

    Vaguely offended

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,607
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Illinois, US

Posted 29 November 2022 - 04:03 AM

I don't know exactly what's available to you easily over there, but from your list, the 114mm, f=900mm instrument is the safest bet.  I would stay away from the shorter focal length reflectors, based on the assumption that they're probably using spherical mirrors.  In a high focal ratio like f/8 or 9, a small enough spherical mirror can still be diffraction limited.  What that means is that the distortion introduced by the spherical aberration is small enough that it won't lower the resolution of the system any; just a negligible amount.  When you go much shorter, though, the aberration gets obvious quickly.  Small details get washed out, and you just can't see much of anything well.  It's bad enough that I would personally consider a wobbly tripod the lesser of two evils, if it comes down to that choice.

 

So, 114/900.  It has the largest aperture of any of those things, it should be diffraction limited.  It is a solid start, which may still require some work on the mount.  Failing that, I'd actually go down to the 76/700 or the 70/700, rather than the 114/500, again, on the assumption that all the mirrors are spherical, and the resolution afforded by the shorter one would be much less than you might think.

 

Chris


  • 2226cc likes this

#8 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,392
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Mid-South, U.S.

Posted 29 November 2022 - 04:59 AM

Hi

 

First post here, but if all goes right then there'll probably be more posts ... but by a younger me. smile.gif

 

Just another dad looking to fulfill there son's wish / demand for a telescope. 12 years old and has formed at fantastic fascination with astronomy. Something I'd like him to keep to.

 

To this end I am hunting for a starter scope on a rather tight budget. It's the usual $200 range, but more like $175 thanks to my currency tanking.

Don't want to get him anything too crazy, but at the same time not something that will turn him off this interest.

 

I also have a limited range of products to pick from here in South Africa unless I seriously start increasing the budget.

 

To this end I have made a short list as follows:

 

1. National Geographic (Bresser?) 114/500 reflector Dobson mount

2. National Geographic 114/900 AZ reflector

3. Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ 70/700

4. Carson RP-100 Red Planet with smartphone adapter 76x700 AZ

 

I have seen numerous Powerseeker 70AZ reviews, but they're all over the place.

The biggest concern there is the provided eye-pieces.

 

I'm leaning towards the 114/500 NG/Bresser reflector.

As a beginner scope is this ok? Or should I rather go with the 114/900 and try and find a Dobson mount in the future?

I've not had much luck figuring which one of these NG are parabolic or spherical mirror.

I also like the fact that it is pretty compact and we can try and take it along on vacations to much darker country areas.

 

The Carson I am not sure about.

 

I would really appreciated input on these scopes. Thank you!

 

https://www.takealot...pe/PLID90221226



#9 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 06:05 AM

Breaking my budget here. grin.gif

 

But quite the bargain. I will find out tomorrow whether I can increase the budget, but this along with what Protheus has mentioned makes this more attractive than the NG 114/900.

 

This is going to snowball and I'm going to getting another mortage, right? laugh.gif


  • Sky Muse likes this

#10 Sandy Swede

Sandy Swede

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,063
  • Joined: 23 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Delaware beaches

Posted 29 November 2022 - 06:19 AM

For someone in your son's age group either a 80mm refractor on a decent mount (will be tough to find new for $200 USD or less) or binoculars.  A scope on a shaky mount will discourage him and it will wind up in a corner permanently.


  • Bean614, JOEinCO and NeroStar like this

#11 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 21,675
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: New Lebanon, NY and Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:03 AM

I hate to say it, but my experience with scopes branded as National Geographic has been uniformly negative. It's a shame that they're willing to put their deservedly respected name onto items without any attempt to vet them.



#12 rhetfield

rhetfield

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,942
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2019
  • Loc: Suburban Chicago, IL, USA

Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:56 AM

Your currency is tanking? Sounds familiar!

I've recommended various scopes for various people over the years, and by far the most used end up being something like this https://www.firstlig...p-flextube.html

Despite not looking like a proper telescope, they don't wobble, have a decent amount of light grasp, don't need batteries or complicated set ups, and don't get covered in dew within 5 mins of going outside.

The stability of the mount is vital to prevent the user from becoming discouraged.

that one will generally outperform any of the scopes listed by the OP. The 114/900 would be a close second - better at high mag, but less field of view.
  • NeroStar likes this

#13 rhetfield

rhetfield

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,942
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2019
  • Loc: Suburban Chicago, IL, USA

Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:58 AM

Thank you. I found the local Sky-Watcher dealer and will be asking them about this model. Doesn't seem to be available on their site even though they seem to have a ton of other models.

I'm liking that compact size.

Let me see if they have stock on that item.

also look for the similar scope from bresser, zhumell, and Saxon.

#14 rhetfield

rhetfield

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,942
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2019
  • Loc: Suburban Chicago, IL, USA

Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:01 AM

Thank you. I found the local Sky-Watcher dealer and will be asking them about this model. Doesn't seem to be available on their site even though they seem to have a ton of other models.

I'm liking that compact size.

Let me see if they have stock on that item.

also look for the similar scope from bresser, zhumell, and Saxon.

#15 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:38 AM

also look for the similar scope from bresser, zhumell, and Saxon.

Bresser I can maybe find. No luck finding Zhummel and Saxon.



#16 NeroStar

NeroStar

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 300
  • Joined: 05 Jul 2019
  • Loc: Texas

Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:49 AM

Don't overlook the importance of the mount.  Quality optics can be completely negated by vibrations induced by a cheap mount.  Lots of bargain scopes can be immediately improved by trashing their 

store-bought mounts in favor of a home-built Dobsonian style mount.  My stepfather wasn't an astronomer;  he worked in a medical laboratory, but he's singularly responsible for my introduction into the hobby 50 years ago because he took the time to study the basics of a good scope, and helped me to build a decent mount. Though I'm not a professional astronomer, I like to believe his attentiveness is a major reason I completed my Ph.D. and went into science. 

 

My credit card companies through the years should be extremely grateful to him for getting me hooked on this hobby.  lol.gif

 

 

Good luck with you quest to get your son a good telescope!    


  • pj_thomas likes this

#17 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:00 AM

I would very much enjoy building a custom mount. It would be such a good excuse not to all the other things around the house.


  • vtornado likes this

#18 vtornado

vtornado

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,750
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2016
  • Loc: NE Illinois

Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:13 AM

Hi and welcome to the forum

 

If you are into building your own mount that opens up the field quite a bit, because

the worst thing about cheap kit scopes are the mount.  You could buy a decent

scope an basically throw away the mount.

 

Look up on this site in the atm section pipe mounts.

The other way to go is with wood and building a dob type mount.

 

Does the telescope have to be new and come in a shiny box?  On my side of the pond,

there are plenty of 114mm f/8 reflector telescopes for sale.  They are a good starter

scope.  If the mount is not up to snuff, you could build one.  If you go this route

make sure that a used scope is both clean, and has a 1.25 inch focuser not .965 inch.



#19 Wardword

Wardword

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2022

Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:41 AM

Hi

 

First post here, but if all goes right then there'll probably be more posts ... but by a younger me. smile.gif

 

Just another dad looking to fulfill there son's wish / demand for a telescope. 12 years old and has formed at fantastic fascination with astronomy. Something I'd like him to keep to.

 

To this end I am hunting for a starter scope on a rather tight budget. It's the usual $200 range, but more like $175 thanks to my currency tanking.

Don't want to get him anything too crazy, but at the same time not something that will turn him off this interest.

 

I also have a limited range of products to pick from here in South Africa unless I seriously start increasing the budget.

 

To this end I have made a short list as follows:

 

1. National Geographic (Bresser?) 114/500 reflector Dobson mount

2. National Geographic 114/900 AZ reflector

3. Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ 70/700

4. Carson RP-100 Red Planet with smartphone adapter 76x700 AZ

 

I have seen numerous Powerseeker 70AZ reviews, but they're all over the place.

The biggest concern there is the provided eye-pieces.

 

I'm leaning towards the 114/500 NG/Bresser reflector.

As a beginner scope is this ok? Or should I rather go with the 114/900 and try and find a Dobson mount in the future?

I've not had much luck figuring which one of these NG are parabolic or spherical mirror.

I also like the fact that it is pretty compact and we can try and take it along on vacations to much darker country areas.

 

The Carson I am not sure about.

 

I would really appreciated input on these scopes. Thank you!

On that list .

 Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ 70/700

 

The rest are garbage/toys.



#20 RobertMaples

RobertMaples

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 744
  • Joined: 14 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

Posted 29 November 2022 - 11:36 AM

On that list .

 Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ 70/700

 

The rest are garbage/toys.

I'd take a 114/900 Newtonian over a 70/700 achromatic refractor any day. Unfortunately, the National Geographic one comes with junk eyepieces and mount, but so does the Powerseeker.



#21 UnityLover

UnityLover

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 589
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2022
  • Loc: Suffolk county, bortle 7

Posted 29 November 2022 - 12:21 PM

I think the orion ~100mm scopes would be nice. This one is cheap, and might be affordable with shipping. 


Edited by UnityLover, 29 November 2022 - 01:07 PM.


#22 UnityLover

UnityLover

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 589
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2022
  • Loc: Suffolk county, bortle 7

Posted 29 November 2022 - 12:27 PM

If you wanna build a mount, try a second-hand shorttube 80.

Great small refractor. 

If you cant up your budget, get the OTA. You can get a finder and and eyepiece for around 50 dollars. https://www.telescop...ts?keyword=st80

This one has eyepieces, a diagonal, and a finder, thought shipping might exceed your budget. Great if you can push the budget by a bit.



#23 ChuppsterXLM

ChuppsterXLM

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 107
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2015
  • Loc: Honolulu, HI

Posted 29 November 2022 - 02:33 PM

Join a club, even if it is a few hours away. Members will let you check out a lot of different scopes, how to set them up, tear them down, what maintenance is required, and most importantly, let you look thru them so you have realistic expectations. Many members may have gear for sale that you can try before you buy. Also, many clubs have loaner scopes and/or scopes set up in observatories for members to use. Lastly, club members can show you all of the different types of astronomy and what it takes to do the facet/s that appeal to you most.

 

But first and foremost, If you're really into astronomy you should start with naked-eye observations. Get a planisphere or an app like Sky-Safari and start identifying what you can see in your skies. Learn all the constellations and their brighter stars (this will be crucial to find deep space object (DSOs). Later you can scan the skies with binoculars (7x50) and hunt the brighter DSOs.

 

Good luck and keep looking up!


  • vtornado and Astrominded like this

#24 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,392
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Mid-South, U.S.

Posted 29 November 2022 - 03:29 PM

Breaking my budget here. grin.gif

 

But quite the bargain. I will find out tomorrow whether I can increase the budget, but this along with what Protheus has mentioned makes this more attractive than the NG 114/900.

 

This is going to snowball and I'm going to getting another mortage, right? laugh.gif

The included mount is an EQ-2, yet may be transformed into an alt-azimuth, easily, and back again; no need for a Dobson base.


  • 2226cc likes this

#25 2226cc

2226cc

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2022
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 29 November 2022 - 03:50 PM

My wife and I had a think about it and we're going to open the option list to binoculars.

Chasing a telescope for the Christmas rush might not be a great idea right now.

We can aim for his birthday for a proper telescope.

This gives time for more research, finding more options, more higher range 2nd-hand units and more importantly being able to grow the budget.

 

He will probably be out there finding/learning more with binoculars anyway.

 

I think building up the budget a bit more will allow us to still get a telescope for a beginner, but with higher quality components.

Or to find someting on the astro societies used pages here. They have some nice units on there.

 

I do like the Heritage-130P. It's come so highly recommended here and elsewhere. We could possibly get a family member to bring that across the pond of the local supplier cannot source it.

 

The Meade 114/1000 is currently top of the list if I had to get a telescope now. Depending on stretching budget,  that is.

 

As for binoculars, we'd drop the budget lower than a telescope.

Having done some quick reading, here is the spec bullet list:

 

- 7x50, 10x50 or go nuts at 15x70 (he'll build some muscle)

- Porro prism

- BAK-4 or BAK-7?

 

Making a quick list in order of price:

 

- Celestron UpClose 10x50 71256 (Porro, BAK-7)

- Barska AB10154 15x70 (Porro, BAK-4)

- Olympus 10x50 Explorer S (single coated, Porro, BAK-7)

- Pentax 10x50 S-Series SP (Porro, BAK-4)

- Nikon ACULON A211 10x50 (Porro, BAK-4)

 

Nikon price is about 33% more than the Celestron just to show price range.

 

Some review on the Olympus indicates optics are excellent giving no difference with the recommended BAK-4. I have no idea.

Unfortunately the Olympus and Barska have availability issues, but I will confirm with the store.

The Barska is enormous! Might skip.

 

What do you all think of these options?

I'm leaning towards the Pentax and Nikon, but another Olympus product in the house would be nice.smile.gif 

Are these decent options for moon gazing, constellation hunting, discovering, etc?

 

Also ... how pervy would I look on the beach with that Barska? grin.gif


  • drd715 and Brianm14 like this


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