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Beginner Telescope with $300 budget

Beginner Refractor Equipment
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#26 bbasiaga

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 08:44 AM

Bookworm, I'm just going to lay it out there, at $300 for a scope / mount costco / walmart type store you are not going to use it much before you get frustrated.  

 

Refractors are nice, once you get to a certain point, AT 72 maybe a $400 and up.  Optically you best useable value would be a Dobsonian.  Both are you find / you aim / you track, but the dob will be brighter, clearer, maybe even sharper, and smoother when tracking / following.

 

My advice, when it comes to supermarket telescopes, run away do not walk away. I'd buy a pair of decent binoculars and sit in a chair looking at the sky before I get a supermarket telescope.  

 

My opinion, to do what you want to do with a refractor, or something you can use with ease next year is a  minimum $1500.   Celestron C6 / C8 for visual.   AP is a different story / animal.

 

My opinion,  a really good starter set up for viewing, if going the refractor route, a small 70 - 90MM refractor, on a CEM 26 / 28 mount with a few eyepieces and a barlow.

 

Remember, we all know that no hobby is cheap, unless your hobby is walking.  By the way, walking is priceless.

 

Just my views and opinions,   Joe

Luckily, instead of buying the first thing they saw at Walmart, the OP came here and got some info on better stuff in the same price range!    

 

Not everyone has $1500 to spend on gift for someone, or themselves, or aren't willing to spend it on a hobby they are not sure they'll like. And thank god that there are usable telescopes for much less than your suggested budget.  Otherwise this hobby would be dead already. 

 

-Brian


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#27 firemachine69

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 09:26 AM

My wife couldn’t resist and picked one up today.  We’re in California and another member posted the same deal from a Costco on the opposite side of the country in Virginia.

 

If you can find one for $159 it’s an incredible bargain, and probably the best current bargain in beginner scopes.  Add an inexpensive but proper star diagonal, and a couple of inexpensive but decent Plössl eyepieces, and for under $300 the OP can put together a pretty decent scope quite a bit better than the plastic competition.

 

 

The tripod is an absolute piece of garbage. I handled the display at my local Costco and couldn't help but laugh. Even my old Twilight Nano tripod was ten times the quality than the junk Celestron bundles with that scope, and it didn't even have slow motion controls! 


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#28 CharLakeAstro

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 10:10 AM

Astronomers without borders... US delivery only... lol.gif

 

The AWB OneSky deserves some consideration. It's back in stock at $249 This is a decent portable table top Dob that many members use for their camping scope it seems borg.gif

 

https://shop.astrono...ector-telescope.


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#29 Polyphemos

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 10:13 AM

The tripod is an absolute piece of garbage. I handled the display at my local Costco and couldn't help but laugh. Even my old Twilight Nano tripod was ten times the quality than the junk Celestron bundles with that scope, and it didn't even have slow motion controls! 

The tripod isn’t great, but it’ll get him started and it can be replaced or repurposed in the future. It’s best to never let perfection stand in the way of good enough.


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#30 CharLakeAstro

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 10:24 AM

Too bad the Edmund Astroscan is no longer made. Decent quality optics, a simple tabletop ball mount, came with a couple good eyepieces, and it was priced for entry level.



#31 UnityLover

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 10:42 AM

My spaceprobe is great, but has an equatorial mount. Its not the best for beginners, but I found it easy. Had some cons though. Main con of mine was the balancing. It is REALLY annoying to balance this. I reccomend using marks to mark the tube rings and the dovetail, so you can balance it instantly. You have chosen the omni 102, which is a great scope. Easy to use. Sturdy for the most part. And has nice aperture for star clusters.


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#32 bookworm

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 11:00 AM

Absolutely! There’s only so much books can help and as there’s no club near us, a forum full of passionate people is the next best thing

 

welome to cloudynights.  Please tell the new hobbyist about us!


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#33 Polyphemos

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 12:35 PM

Here’s an entertaining and informative video for those out there who are still considering a Celestron AZ 102:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=WdEh4EODjV8
 

The Allan wrench the author can’t find is in a holder in the front of the mount head, so absolutely no tools other than those included are required. 


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#34 jwnrw59

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 08:07 AM

Here’s an entertaining and informative video for those out there who are still considering a Celestron AZ 102:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=WdEh4EODjV8
 

The Allan wrench the author can’t find is in a holder in the front of the mount head, so absolutely no tools other than those included are required. 

John Read is a poor man’s Ed Ting. I follow both regularly and greatly appreciate the level headed approaches both these gentlemen bring to the hobby. And  fwiw- +1 on the Costco deal. 


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#35 Sacred Heart

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 09:07 AM

Luckily, instead of buying the first thing they saw at Walmart, the OP came here and got some info on better stuff in the same price range!    

 

Not everyone has $1500 to spend on gift for someone, or themselves, or aren't willing to spend it on a hobby they are not sure they'll like. And thank god that there are usable telescopes for much less than your suggested budget.  Otherwise this hobby would be dead already. 

 

-Brian

Brian, Okay, this telescope looks better than the one's I see in the stores around here.  I try to stay away form Costco and Sam's during the Holiday season.  There are no off peak hours there. 

 

I just seem this video on this scope.

 

 

Here’s an entertaining and informative video for those out there who are still considering a Celestron AZ 102:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=WdEh4EODjV8
 

The Allan wrench the author can’t find is in a holder in the front of the mount head, so absolutely no tools other than those included are required. 

For a starter, to get your feet wet, yes for $300.  But put that scope on a better mount soon,

 

Joe



#36 CBM1970

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Posted 10 December 2022 - 10:45 AM

Here is more of a question than an answer:

 

I saw another thread around here talking about telescopes now being sold by Amscope (generally known for microscopes). 

 

Anyway, this eyepieces and OTA specs of this scope seem to be identical to the discontinued Meade Infinity 90mm f6.7: https://amscope.com/...mm-focal-length

 

The similarity extends to the 26mm, 9mm amd 6.3mm focal lengths of the eyepieces that come with it.

 

I know that many here will not be too keen on this option, but I have seen the Meade Infitity 90mm f6.7 reviewed quite favorably on Telescopic Watch (here): https://telescopicwa...ty-90az-review/

They liked it more than any of the other Infinity series.

 

Also, there was a Sky and Telescope review of this 90mm scope (the Meade version) along with the Orion Starblast 4.5" and the 130mm Onesky. The Infinity 90mm came in solidly second behind the Onesky on planets, and it received a pretty positive review overall. The eyepieces were deemed serviceable (except for the barlow). Even the mount was said to be, for want of a better description, less terrible than what is usually found on an entry level achromat.

 

Does anyone know if this is truly identical to the Meade version (in terms of tripod and mount as well?)

Just wondering.

 

At $239 it is a bit more expensive than it used to be (like everything), but I wonder if, for a young person (10 or 11 years old, for example) it might be a reasonable way to start. At least in terms of the OTA, and eyepieces, it would be way beyond the 60mm f11.7 achromat I started with at age 9 on every metric except chromatic aberration. It would also compare favorably with the Orange tube C90 that I got a couple of years later, likely besting it in some categories.

 

Anyway, it seems like it might be an interesting collimation free option for some, even if not the OP in this particular case.

 

**Edit - not sure about the diagonal. That might be the Achilles heel of the setup.**


Edited by CBM1970, 10 December 2022 - 11:53 AM.



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