I am preparing a presentation for our club on how to help those new to the hobby. What questions to ask and what kind of equipment to recommend. I spend a lot of time helping new people at the club and on cloudy nights. Lately I am thinking that I might be overlooking EAA as a valid entry point.
Naturally budget is a big driver but if we ignore budget for the moment, I was wondering what you thought of recommending EAA to newbies and, if so, what kind of equipment?
Up until now I have not suggested EAA to newbies. I took a brief turn into EAA several years ago with the Revolution Imager 2 kit. It worked fine but there was all these pieces and parts and wires and batteries and stuff. Setup time started to become annoying. If I wanted to capture stuff and do something with it, now I needed a computer and table and software and time to learn how to use it all. It went back in the box and I stayed visual.
For this reason I have not considered EAA as a reasonable entry point and have not recommended it. Now I am revisiting the question in terms of recommendations to newbies.
The other driver of what has brought this up is the emergence of the "smart telescopes" from Dwarf Labs, Vanos and Unistellar, and perhaps others I don't know about. These seem to make EAA so easy that EAA might now be a valid entry point to the hobby rather than a visual only telescope. Heck, the Dwarf II is only $400 right now and looks like it will blow away my 12" Dob for what I would be able to see.
If you add up all the pieces and parts one might bring together for an EAA system, the $2500 price of the Vespera or eQuinox might not look all that bad. Or is my impresson wrong?
So, what do you think? Is EAA a valid entry point to the astronomy hobby for someone who has nothing? Or is this still too complex with too large of a learning curve?
Do these Smart Scopes cut it as entry level EAA scopes for newbies, assuming they have the budget?
If you feel building your own EAA system from parts is a better recommendation than the smart scopes, what would you suggest? I presume you can build up over time so the inital investment doesn't have to be for a full EAA system, but should consider the full path.
Thanks for any thoughts you might wish to share. And feel free to point out how I might be looking at this the wrong way.
Note: Despite the vendor badge, I don't sell any of this stuff. I don't sell anything so I am not trying to promote any products by asking this question.
Edited by aeajr, 03 February 2023 - 12:35 PM.