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

Need help choosing first telescope

  • Please log in to reply
81 replies to this topic

#26 Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 5,468
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2004
  • Loc: Scottsdale, AZ

Posted 29 January 2023 - 09:05 PM

One can go that way, but I don't want the OP to be scared off.

 

Alternatively he could spend $351 (DX102 on amazon) ...  maybe go with a $20-$30 barlow and/or $50-$75 zoom. And that's it, he's done. Or hunt down a cheap used eyepiece or two here in the classified.

 

A folding chair can work. Libraries have free books. There are free apps. And so on...

waytogo.gif  "And that's it, he's done" you must be joking! One he's bit by the bug, iit'll never be done! lol.gif


Edited by Bob Campbell, 29 January 2023 - 09:08 PM.

  • Dave Mitsky, Anony, Jethro7 and 1 other like this

#27 Anony

Anony

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,001
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Long Island, NY

Posted 29 January 2023 - 09:16 PM

waytogo.gif  "And that's it, he's done" you must be joking! One he's bit by the bug, iit'll never be done! lol.gif

To be more accurate, I should have said: "And that's it, he's done" (for now)

 

It's enough to get him going. If he gets bit, then he'll keep going. But it's enough to start with.

 

And there are cheap ways to go. I seem to be collecting a lot of used scopes at pretty low prices...  and I never caught the eyepiece bug myself. The used market is a way to get extras and not spend too much.You don't have to go crazy with this and buy everything.


Edited by Anony, 29 January 2023 - 09:17 PM.

  • Bob Campbell, Jethro7, Nick Dangerr and 1 other like this

#28 pj_thomas

pj_thomas

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 423
  • Joined: 03 May 2021
  • Loc: SW Connecticut

Posted 29 January 2023 - 09:20 PM

First telescope should be a good pair of binoculars.  A good pair of binoculars are good to have anyway.  Also consider used equipment. Lots of bargains show up on Facebook Market place. A lot of hobby killer telescope but with patience some good bargains can be found.


  • Bob Campbell, Bungee, jmwright and 2 others like this

#29 WillR

WillR

    Mercury-Atlas

  • ****-
  • Posts: 2,842
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Stroudsburg, PA

Posted 29 January 2023 - 09:30 PM

Another vote for the Astronomers without Borders One Sky. It was my first and I saw a lot with it, including the entire Messier catalog. Currently $250 I think. Comes with a collimation tool. Take the extra $50, stretch it maybe $10-20 and buy a 12mm Dual ED paradigm, either from our sponsor or Agena. Perfect for that scope.


  • Bob Campbell, pj_thomas, Paul Murphy and 1 other like this

#30 CarolinaBanker

CarolinaBanker

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,217
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2020
  • Loc: Eastern North Carolina

Posted 29 January 2023 - 09:39 PM

First telescope should be a good pair of binoculars.  A good pair of binoculars are good to have anyway.  Also consider used equipment. Lots of bargains show up on Facebook Market place. A lot of hobby killer telescope but with patience some good bargains can be found.

I think that binos are fun, I use them often, but with a goal of mostly lunar and planetary they’re not a great choice barring binoscopes which are much more expensive than the given budget.


  • Bob Campbell, stevenf, Echolight and 3 others like this

#31 UnityLover

UnityLover

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,399
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2022
  • Loc: Suffolk County

Posted 30 January 2023 - 08:00 AM

Hey

Welcome to a new world then smile.gif

 

Given that you will mostly aim at observing the moon, planets, a little nebulae, don't intend to go into astrophotography and in modest pricerange, i would definetly recommend a dobson.

 

300USD should get You a 150mm f/8 dobson.

Should you later on want to do more serious work (photo) you can supplement it with an EQ mount.

 

Unless of course ease of use and/or portability also is at stake?

In that case i would recommend along achromatic refractor like skywatcher evostar90 AZ

 

(Normally i would also recommend a good pair of binocular for nebulaes, but they won't get you close enough to planetary objects)

 

BR Henrik

Sadly not anymore, $500 USD is needed now.


  • Paul Murphy and AT2008 like this

#32 JetLinkin

JetLinkin

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 68
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2021
  • Loc: Pearland, TX (Houston suburb)

Posted 30 January 2023 - 08:16 AM

At that price point, I would think that a ST-80 or a C90 and a decent mount would be the way to go. Both these scopes come up for sale fairly often in the classifieds as well.


  • AT2008 likes this

#33 Skyfisher

Skyfisher

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 340
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2022
  • Loc: Rochester NY

Posted 30 January 2023 - 08:26 AM

Hi, I recently started getting into astronomy and I have absolutely no idea what telescope I should buy, I have a budget of roughly $300, I don't intend on getting into astrophotography (yet).. maybe a few pictures with my phone here and there but mostly just visual astronomy, mostly gonna be looking at the moon Jupiter Saturn etc. Maybe a few deep sky objects if sky's allow, any suggestions within my price range? Thanks.

$300 is going to be tough since prices have risen.  To narrow down what you want, you might want to borrow or purchase the 4th edition of "Backyard Astronomers Guide" which is outstanding on the subject of getting started.   Also, have  a look at you tube videos.  Ed Tings and John Read have some informative.  If you haven't already downloaded it, Stellarium is a great app everyone could enjoy.   I would suggest looking for used but not abused telescope locally.


  • Jethro7, Paul Murphy and AT2008 like this

#34 UnityLover

UnityLover

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,399
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2022
  • Loc: Suffolk County

Posted 30 January 2023 - 11:08 AM

Some suggestions are:

  • Zhummel z130
  • AWB onesky 130 or 150.
  • Spaceprobe 130ST
  • Starsense DX versions if you can stretch your budget a bit.
  • starblast 4.5 if you wanna save some cash and spend the extra hundred on eyepieces, barlows, etc.
  • Small maks with small mounts.

  • Paul Murphy and AT2008 like this

#35 Notdarkenough

Notdarkenough

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,529
  • Joined: 17 Jan 2021
  • Loc: 5000' ft @ 41° North

Posted 30 January 2023 - 11:40 AM

Interesting posts. Newbie, excited with small entry fee. 34 folks posts and only 2 of us encouraged the OP to connect with a local astro club. 

 

OP, where are you at? Nothing specific is needed, but a general sense of location will help. You'd be surprised at how many folks here on CN live by you.


  • Paul Murphy likes this

#36 rhetfield

rhetfield

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,044
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2019
  • Loc: Suburban Chicago, IL, USA

Posted 30 January 2023 - 12:21 PM

Interesting posts. Newbie, excited with small entry fee. 34 folks posts and only 2 of us encouraged the OP to connect with a local astro club. 

 

OP, where are you at? Nothing specific is needed, but a general sense of location will help. You'd be surprised at how many folks here on CN live by you.

I personally do not tell people to go to the local astro club or look for used equipment because I do not know if such things exist in their area.  This is especially true for people who we don't know where they live.  If they live in a remote area, such resources may not be available to them and nobody may live near them.  Even if they live in a populated area, such resources may not be available to them if the local population does not engage in astronomy for one reason or other.

 

I live within a 30 mile radius of over 10 million people.  There is surprisingly few local astronomy resources locally for such a large population.  That is because very few do astronomy locally.  Largely because most live under B9 or brighter skies with poor seeing that are frequently covered with thick cloud cover.

 

Even if the OP has an astro club nearby, they may be inactive or they may be like my local club - heavily dominated by AP (not so good for looking for examples of inexpensive entry level visual equipment).


Edited by rhetfield, 30 January 2023 - 04:36 PM.

  • Dave Mitsky, Echolight and AT2008 like this

#37 Echolight

Echolight

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,068
  • Joined: 01 May 2020
  • Loc: Texas

Posted 30 January 2023 - 04:13 PM

Interesting posts. Newbie, excited with small entry fee. 34 folks posts and only 2 of us encouraged the OP to connect with a local astro club. 

 

OP, where are you at? Nothing specific is needed, but a general sense of location will help. You'd be surprised at how many folks here on CN live by you.

I am not a member of an astro club, and don’t personally know anyone who is.

 

But of course, I have a half dozen scopes from 90 Mak to XT8 that I could let go of for under $300. Some well under. I’m sure there’s someone in the OP’s neighborhood with similar surplus.

 

But if he/she wants new, a 102 f6.5 achro or 130 f5 tabletop dob would fit.


Edited by Echolight, 30 January 2023 - 04:16 PM.

  • Jethro7, Paul Murphy and AT2008 like this

#38 AT2008

AT2008

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2023
  • Loc: Greenville TN.

Posted 30 January 2023 - 05:27 PM

thank u all for the replies, you've helped me narrow down my search ALOT, so far the best fit seems to be the AWB onesky 130 but I'm still not 100% sure, but if i don't like it or later on decide that astronomy just isn't my thing I can always return it so I suppose its not a huge deal, thanks again for all the help! smile.gif

 

 

Edit - almost forgot!, the Skywatcher evostar 90mm refractor also seems to be a good fit, i prefer it a little more over the onesky simply bc a tabletop design really isnt the best for where i live as i dont really have any flat ground or anywhere stable to put it, a tripod is muuuch better for me.


Edited by AT2008, 30 January 2023 - 05:53 PM.

  • Echolight and pj_thomas like this

#39 Anony

Anony

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,001
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Long Island, NY

Posted 30 January 2023 - 07:32 PM

thank u all for the replies, you've helped me narrow down my search ALOT, so far the best fit seems to be the AWB onesky 130 but I'm still not 100% sure, but if i don't like it or later on decide that astronomy just isn't my thing I can always return it so I suppose its not a huge deal, thanks again for all the help! smile.gif

 

 

Edit - almost forgot!, the Skywatcher evostar 90mm refractor also seems to be a good fit, i prefer it a little more over the onesky simply bc a tabletop design really isnt the best for where i live as i dont really have any flat ground or anywhere stable to put it, a tripod is muuuch better for me.

 

I'm seeing $295 for that refractor. Unless cheaper, I'd say splurge and spend the extra $56 for the Starsense 102 AZ on amazon.

 

An EQ mount isn't always so newbie-friendly, and starsense is pretty neat... I suggest reading up on it if you haven't already.


  • Notdarkenough, pj_thomas, Paul Murphy and 1 other like this

#40 KWB

KWB

    James Webb Space Telescope

  • *****
  • In Memoriam
  • Posts: 19,027
  • Joined: 30 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Westminster,Co Elev.5400 feet

Posted 30 January 2023 - 07:38 PM

 

 

Edit - almost forgot!, the Skywatcher evostar 90mm refractor also seems to be a good fit, i prefer it a little more over the onesky simply bc a tabletop design really isnt the best for where i live as i dont really have any flat ground or anywhere stable to put it, a tripod is muuuch better for me.

If you have any doubts about a recommended setup, don't buy it. You have to please yourself and no one can do it for you.

 

There is no hurry to buy anything. The sky isn't going anywhere and it will be there when you get your first telescope. Stay tuned to this forum and read the threads as it educational. Save your money. $650 will get you into as close to a jack of all trades telescope that I think a beginner can get there hands on - an 8 inch F/6 dobsonian. It does many things well as an only telescope. Purchased new you have a warrantee and a chance to exchange the telescope if dissatisfied.

 

Good luck in your search. waytogo.gif


  • vtornado and AT2008 like this

#41 Jethro7

Jethro7

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,795
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2018
  • Loc: N.W. Florida

Posted 30 January 2023 - 08:10 PM

Interesting posts. Newbie, excited with small entry fee. 34 folks posts and only 2 of us encouraged the OP to connect with a local astro club. 

 

OP, where are you at? Nothing specific is needed, but a general sense of location will help. You'd be surprised at how many folks here on CN live by you.

Hello Notdarkenough,

I have two Astronomy clubs near me and I am a member of neither club. Both of them are solely geared for AP and I have no use for them and they for me. After reading post from others, that their local  astronomy clubs have also gone in the same direction. I just quit encouraging clubs to beginners all together. I have managed to figure things out pretty well by my self, by reading books, YouTube, trial-and-error and posting questions now and again, here on CN when needed. How ever getting up with other Backyard Astronomers that live near by for a show and tell mini Star Party would be awesome.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 30 January 2023 - 08:11 PM.

  • KWB and AT2008 like this

#42 WillR

WillR

    Mercury-Atlas

  • ****-
  • Posts: 2,842
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Stroudsburg, PA

Posted 30 January 2023 - 08:12 PM

thank u all for the replies, you've helped me narrow down my search ALOT, so far the best fit seems to be the AWB onesky 130 but I'm still not 100% sure, but if i don't like it or later on decide that astronomy just isn't my thing I can always return it so I suppose its not a huge deal, thanks again for all the help! smile.gif

 

 

Edit - almost forgot!, the Skywatcher evostar 90mm refractor also seems to be a good fit, i prefer it a little more over the onesky simply bc a tabletop design really isnt the best for where i live as i dont really have any flat ground or anywhere stable to put it, a tripod is muuuch better for me.

I put the One Sky on a upside down milk crate and sit an observe. You can also make a simple tripod/table for it, either standing or sitting height. I built one. Here is the basic design by David Fuller.  https://eyesonthesky...diy/2x4-tripod/

 

A 90mm refractor is nice too, but that extra aperture of the 130mm will show a lot more.


  • Paul Murphy and AT2008 like this

#43 AT2008

AT2008

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2023
  • Loc: Greenville TN.

Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:17 PM

I'm seeing $295 for that refractor. Unless cheaper, I'd say splurge and spend the extra $56 for the Starsense 102 AZ on amazon.

 

An EQ mount isn't always so newbie-friendly, and starsense is pretty neat... I suggest reading up on it if you haven't already.

I'll definitely have to consider starsense, anyone know the main differences between the LT and DX versions? There seems to be quite the price gap between the two question.gif .


Edited by AT2008, 30 January 2023 - 09:18 PM.

  • aeajr likes this

#44 aeajr

aeajr

    James Webb Space Telescope

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 18,013
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:33 PM

I'll definitely have to consider starsense, anyone know the main differences between the LT and DX versions? There seems to be quite the price gap between the two question.gif .

LT 80 is OK.  LT 114 is a bird jones type, don't buy it.   The LT mount is light weight and kinda wobbly, at least that is what I read.

 

DX 100 is OK.  The DX 102 has better coatings and I believe it has a better focuser.  DX 130 and DX5 are good.  The DX mount is much stronger than the LT and is well matched to the optical tubes.  It also has slow motion controls.  

 

The ones I have used were on the DX mount.   

 

Lots of people buy the LT80 to get the Starsense Explorer license, strip off the phone cradle and throw away or give away the scope.  They buy this one because it is the cheapest.

 

Hope that helps. 


  • tony_spina, vtornado, Jethro7 and 3 others like this

#45 AT2008

AT2008

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2023
  • Loc: Greenville TN.

Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:50 PM

LT 80 is OK.  LT 114 is a bird jones type, don't buy it.   The LT mount is light weight and kinda wobbly, at least that is what I read.

 

DX 100 is OK.  The DX 102 has better coatings and I believe it has a better focuser.  DX 130 and DX5 are good.  The DX mount is much stronger than the LT and is well matched to the optical tubes.  It also has slow motion controls.  

 

The ones I have used were on the DX mount.   

 

Lots of people buy the LT80 to get the Starsense Explorer license, strip off the phone cradle and throw away or give away the scope.  They buy this one because it is the cheapest.

 

Hope that helps. 

Oh OK, that helps alot, thanks for the info!



#46 CarolinaBanker

CarolinaBanker

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,217
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2020
  • Loc: Eastern North Carolina

Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:56 PM

Oh OK, that helps alot, thanks for the info!

I own a DX102 and really love it, optically it’s sharp and StarSense is really a game changer.


  • Jethro7 and AT2008 like this

#47 star acres

star acres

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,881
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2022

Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:58 PM

I believe in diving in and getting wet. When you have a sense of the form of telescope you want, start nibbling on the cookie. Check out eBay, here, and whatever you can stir up. I found Amazon to be a bit vague and irritating. I can't stress enough, if it's a mirror telescope, make sure the big mirror is a parabola, not a sphere ( cut out round ). When your images get multiplied, bad mirrors will blur your results. Always study specs, ads, and genuine reviews. Know the neighborhood.
  • vtornado, Jethro7 and AT2008 like this

#48 Anony

Anony

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,001
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Long Island, NY

Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:59 PM

Oh OK, that helps alot, thanks for the info!

One issue with the LT80, besides the mount, is that one could argue that starsense has limited use the smaller the scope gets. It still helps, but there will be a number of targets that an 80mm scope simply isn't ideal for.

 

A 102AZ is a bit better in that regard... you can see more. It won't compare to an 8" dob, but at least you can see a faint fuzzy... or star clusters fit in the field of view.

 

As for the mounts, I own a DX5 ... mount is a touch shaky and needs some settling down, but it's good enough for me. I'd expect the LT mount to be sort of the bare minimum, usable, but probably annoying at times.


  • Jethro7, pj_thomas and AT2008 like this

#49 pj_thomas

pj_thomas

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 423
  • Joined: 03 May 2021
  • Loc: SW Connecticut

Posted 31 January 2023 - 02:46 AM

 

Edit - almost forgot!, the Skywatcher evostar 90mm refractor also seems to be a good fit, i prefer it a little more over the onesky simply bc a tabletop design really isnt the best for where i live as i dont really have any flat ground or anywhere stable to put it, a tripod is muuuch better for me.

The eq2 mount that comes with the evostar isn't stable. The mount is just as important as the optical tube. For an entry point telescope, table top dobson works well enough to get you going.


  • Paul Murphy likes this

#50 CarolinaBanker

CarolinaBanker

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,217
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2020
  • Loc: Eastern North Carolina

Posted 31 January 2023 - 10:15 AM

The eq2 mount that comes with the evostar isn't stable. The mount is just as important as the optical tube. For an entry point telescope, table top dobson works well enough to get you going.


I’m generally not a fan of table top designs because they require having a steady table available or building something to put it on.
  • JOEinCO, Jethro7, Echolight and 1 other 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