New member wanting to buy a telescope.

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Alan Miller
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New member wanting to buy a telescope.

Post by Alan Miller »

Hello everybody, just joined the forum and after 25 years of family commitments which have eased off a little, more time for me now.
Im looking to buy a telescope......but what kind ??
I live in the north pennines about ten miles from Alston, altitude 750 ft ,no street lights and the nearest city is carlisle , 20 miles away.
I havnt lived here all my life , only two years and the black dark at night took a bit of getting used to at first.
I have a pair of 10X50 bins which are very good ...but I would like more light gathering
Would anyone point me in the right direction of what to be buying Refractor ? Reflector ? New / secondhand ? I suppose I would be looking to spend £1000 - £ 1500. MAX , less if possible.
Thanks, Alan.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Alan
With that amount of money you have quite a lot of choice (I nearly said scope!).
Quite honestly I personally would have difficulty making a serious suggestion, because there are so many possibilities.
It might be said it depends where your main astronomical interest lies.
You say you have already got some nice binoculars and know how to use them. So I will assume you also know your way around the night sky stars.
However, since you seem to have good dark skies and hopefully your horizons are not restricted then it seems to me you could have a go at almost any sort of observational astronomy.
A big factor might be the question of telescope portability.
If you are a big strong lad then I think a nice big scope would be well nice.
However, if you are a weakiling like me then something smaller might be desirable.
If your main interest is likely to always be making visual observations of the deep sky then a huge dobsonian might be the thing for you.
But if you want to take astro-images then other sorts of telescope with motor drives might be desirable.
At this stage I am reluctant to say more, and anyway I have probably already woffled too much.
Best of luck from Cliff
Alan Miller
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Post by Alan Miller »

Hello Cliff, Thanks for the reply ,your point about motor drives is very relivant, Im a photographer ( my day job ) and would love to have a motor drive for this reason.
What size of scope would give decent images of Andromeda for instance ?
Im not sure what I need to ask so any woffling for however long is appreciated. Alan
First Light Optics
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Post by First Light Optics »

Consider buying buying 2 or 3 scopes. The general purpose telescope is a bit of a myth (though some do come close).

For example, you could opt for a 'light-bucket' (perhaps a 10-12" Dobsonian) a 'planet-killer' (Maksutov or f10ish retractor) and a 'grab & go' (short-tube refractor on an alt-az mount).

HTH,

Steve
Alan Miller
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Post by Alan Miller »

Hi Steve, How do the different scopes perform , apologies for not knowing how to word the question. Ill try again.
What would the "light bucket" be more practical for and then the refractor?
Which would the best for a motor drive ?
I think the amount of knowledge on this forum is going to get me clued up pretty fast.
Thanks, looking forward to getting out this winter.
goodtime
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Post by goodtime »

Hi all,

Steve's right, there's no general purpose scope. Your first scope is a learning experience... so's your second... your third...

You have to weight all of the factors, size, weight, ease of setting up, what you want to look at, photography or not, etc. And what you want to do will change over time.

My advice would be don't go too extreme...

Big help huh? :D
Andrew
Eyes, binoculars, CubePro, AT72ED, EOS 20Da, DSI II Pro,

There's no place like 127.0.0.1
smashing
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Post by smashing »

Hi Alan,
If its imaging you want to do then maybe a APO Refractor on a EQ mount with auto guide capabilities would do very well.
For observing then you cant go wrong with a dob, i have one and when on those rare occasions i get it out of the house (dam the clouds) its perfect.
12" Dob, Skywatcher 130 on HEQ5 mount, Neximage, Canon 350D, 15x70 bins.
Hugh
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Post by Hugh »

(I sound like a cracked cd, I know...!)

Don't blow all your budget on a scope or scopes either. Save a bit for the extras! I spent my budget on a first scope then relaised I could have done with more eyepieces, a moon filter etc!
Hugh

TAL 2M reflector, 150mm (6"), 1,200mm f/8; Soligor 152mm (6"), 750mm f/5; Bresser 10x50 and Opticron 8x42 bins (and desperate for clear skies!)
Alan Miller
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Post by Alan Miller »

Good point Hugh ,looking through the FLO website I was thinking wow I could get that one , or even that one, and I wasn't thinking about extra eyepieces and other stuff.
Thanks for the advice everyone, Im sure I will be asking more questions as Im really out of touch with whats available these days.

40 years ago I saved my pocket money and bought a 2.5 inch refractor for £30, even now a similar scope would be well under £100 . There seems to be tremendous scopes available these days at prices lower than I would have imagined 40 years on.
First Light Optics
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Post by First Light Optics »

Alan Miller wrote: What would the "light bucket" be more practical for...
A 'light bucket' is normally a large aperture Newtonian (sometimes called 'reflector'). Newtonians offer more aperture per £ than any other design and the larger the aperture, the more light is gathered for better views of fainter deep-sky-objects such as nebulae and galaxies. More aperture also provides more resolution. Larger Newtonians (say 10"+) are often sold on simple/affordable Dobsonian mounts.
... and then the refractor?
A well-made short-tube, refractor of about 80mm+ aperture is good for portable 'grab & go' use. It's uninterrupted light-path offers bright, high-contrast, wide-field views. Better quality refractors, particularly those described as Apochromatic, are also popular with imagers. The Skywatcher ED80 and William Optics Megrez 90 are good examples.
Which would the best for a motor drive ?
If you mean 'what type of driven mount is best', it depends on the scope and whether it will be used for regular observing or imaging.

For example, the Celestron 6 SE comes with a driven altaz mount with GOTO that is ideal for quick, convenient observing. For imaging, the choice of mount is arguably more important than the choice of telescope and will often cost more. The German-equatorial (GEQ) Skywatcher HEQ5 and EQ6 are popular choices.

HTH,

Steve
Mike Feist
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Post by Mike Feist »

Consider buying buying 2 or 3 scopes
says First LIght Optics....Well he would say that wouldn't he as a telescope supplier!!!!!!!
However I guess he is right about there not being a 'universal scope' but there again you would have to be a very busy astronomer to want to cover all the observing possibiities!
MF
First Light Optics
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Post by First Light Optics »

Well he would say that wouldn't he as a telescope supplier!!!!!!!
Guilty as charged :P

To be fair, it was suggested as an alternative to blowing the full budget on one single scope.

Steve
dazcaz
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Post by dazcaz »

Mike Feist wrote:
Consider buying buying 2 or 3 scopes
says First LIght Optics....Well he would say that wouldn't he as a telescope supplier!!!!!!!
That's unfair! Steve has never given anything but good, honest, accurate and unbiased advice. He's cheap too... Err I mean his prices are good ;)

If I had 1500 quid to spend, I'd buy 2 or 3 scopes, but a fair chunk would go on imaging kit. Some of the new imaging cameras are amazing (and expensive)

Alan, set aside a few quid to buy books, and maybe software, though most of the better software packages are free!

I'm amazed at what you can buy for little money. The bit that suprised me was that the mounts are the main cost, the actual telescope itself (OTA) is often the cheapest part :)

You'll but a lot of kit for 1500 quid, don't blow it on one super dooper auto guided GOTO 'scope. You'll learn a lot more, and have a lot more fun with 2 or 3 'scopes that you aim at the object yourself. It's the best way to learn the sky and it's a lot more rewarding when you find something for yourself.

Darren
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
goodtime
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Post by goodtime »

Mike Feist wrote:
Consider buying buying 2 or 3 scopes
says First LIght Optics....Well he would say that wouldn't he as a telescope supplier!!!!!!!
However I guess he is right about there not being a 'universal scope' but there again you would have to be a very busy astronomer to want to cover all the observing possibiities!
MF
Everyone into astronomy ends up accumulating scopes. There is no universal observing platform... other than a faster than light space craft. :)
Andrew
Eyes, binoculars, CubePro, AT72ED, EOS 20Da, DSI II Pro,

There's no place like 127.0.0.1
Alan Miller
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Post by Alan Miller »

Thanks to all for the sound advice, I can understand what Steve is saying about getting three scopes, Yes hes a retailer but seems hes a well respected guy who gives good advice.
I initially thought I cant afford three but it is amazing these days what you can buy for £500-£ 600.
From what you all have said I think initially I would go for a" light bucket" and then an imaging refractor, and leave the Grab and go on the back burner for a while.

Three weks ago I went on holliday with the intention of looking for a scope when we got back ,guess where we went ........Devon , and now I find Steves shop is in Exeter !!! AAARRGGH !! I was only a few miles away .

I will be looking to buy something in the next month or so and cant wait for the winter .

I have thought of another question, how would I fit a Canon 30D (8 megapix) to a scope or would an old film camera give better quality ?
I have an old Canon AE1 and a Bronica 645 medium format would they be any good or is the 30D the way to go ?
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