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SionR25

What telescope to buy?

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Hi everyone,

I've always been interested in astronomy but haven't had the spare cash to buy a telescope until now. I have about £150 to spend on a telescope and looking around there seems quite a few choices for around that.

Does anyone have any recommendations on a telescope for around that price? I would like to be able to see planets and some constellations like Orion quite clearly.

Many Thanks

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I had looked at that but I am also a keen photographer and heard that you can't mount a camera on a Dobsonian telescope. Is this true?

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With a budget of £150 you will not be taking pictures of any DSO's. No reason you can't capture the moon and planets with the Dob. The weapon of choice is a moded CCD web cam (Phillips webcams are now becoming rare but the XBox Live webacam can be had for <£5)

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

Even advertised as having DSLR connection.

Edited by Tiddles

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Remember that a Dobsonian is simply a name for a Newtonian reflector mounted on a simple Alt/Az mount. You can mount a camera to any telescope. How well it works depends largely on the mount. A non-motorised alt/az mount only going to give pleasing photographic images of the moon (possibly planets too).

You need to be aware the astrophotography is more or less a different hobby to visual astronomy. It is significantly more time consuming and significantly more expensive. They impressive images that you see on the web are taken with expensive gear, have had hours put into them, and require a lot of experience to pull off. I'm not saying this to put you off, just to let you know what it's involved. In my opinion, the best way to get into AP is to start off doing a little visual observing to help you learn your way around the sky, learn about the gear (both how to use a telescope and what gear is available), learn how to observe, etc. This is a good way of testing the waters since it's relatively cheap. If you are still keen on AP in a year then start thinking about assembling a separate AP rig. All telescopes are a compromise and what's good for AP isn't good for visual. You'll have a nicer experience with the right gear for the right task. A 6" Dob will be a great visual starter scope. You'll want to take it somewhere dark to get the most out of it, however.

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I +1 the 150p dob. I was searching the net and some bloke in ireland who uses his 200p dob with a telrad finder and a hd lifecam and uses the telrad and scope like anti air craft gun to keep the planet / DSO in sight his pictures seem to be very good even the bloke on astronomyshed you tube has used this method to image the ISS.

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Thanks for all the replies, will look into finding the extra £50 :).

As an extra what kind of things can I expect to see once I have it set up?

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I really doubt that you can take passable DSO images using hand-tracking. I've seen a few such attempts and they're not pretty. Perhaps you will get something that is recognisable as the Orion Nebula, but that's it.

The reason hand-tracking works to some extent with planets is because they're bright enough for the camera to show up details even at a relatively high frame rate. You can then stack the good frames. DSOs are so faint that on such short exposures you will be pulling in a lot of read noise compared to photons (very low s/n ratio). Futhermore, it's tough to get a good reference point for the alignment so stacking will cause a lot of blur. You will get much better results more easily with a tracking mount. Use the right tool for the right job :)

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Moon will be spectacular, Jupiter and Saturn in fair detail, Mars.....well, its red! and many of the DSO's, Galaxies and Nebulas will be fuzzy grey smudges in all but the best seeing conditions.

The small grey smudges, for me, are very rewarding. Just bear in mind that even the brightest galaxy Andromida is 2.5 million light years away.:):icon_eek::icon_eek:

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I think umadog is right taking pics of deep space objects is out on your budget the 150p dob can with the addition of a webcam take pics of the moon and planets. It also has a dslr connection so that if you get a good mount in the future the scope can be used quite effectively for imaging. At a reasonably dark site most of the messier numbers should be visible not all will be as impressive as the pics but some will. Here is a couple of links one to the messiers and one to a free planetarium programme to help you find them

Messier Objects M1 - M10, Messier Catalog on Sea and Sky

Stellarium

Edited by rowan46

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Thanks again for the answers and thanks for the links Rowan. If I wanted to see more Deep Space Objects what would be the cost of the telescope? If its not to much I may wait a bit and save rather than buy one now for sake of buying.

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You will see many of the DSO's with a 150, BUT when hunting the small fuzzies, aperture is everything!!!!!! Bigger Dob, they go up beyond 400mm and grab lots of light. Beware though they get expensive and very big and heavy.

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imo this is the best value scope around for visual work

First Light Optics - Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

However if you really want to get into imaging at some point this one will be better because you will not have to buy such a large mount at a later stage

First Light Optics - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian

having said that most imagers have a separate visual and imaging setup

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You can easily see all of the Messier objects with a 6" scope (Messier himself found them which a much inferior intrument, after all). There are hundreds of DSOs which a 6" scope can reach. Being able to see them is contingent mainly on the skies being dark and to a lesser extent on aperture. Given the choice between a 6" somewhere dark or, say, a 12" in light-polluted suburbia, most experienced observers would opt for the 6".

Details within the DSOs also require dark skies but it is here that aperture really begins to shine. A bigger mirror means you can magnify the image more before it gets unacceptably dim. Bigger means more details. So you shouldn't think of it so much as "how many DSOs will I see?" but more in terms of "how much detail will I see?" If you can stretch your budget to an 8" Dobsonian, for instance, that would be nicer.

The other thing about details is that it takes experience to see them. Some beginners are disappointed by the views through their scope and think a bigger one will fix everything. They spend lots of money only to find that things aren't so different. If you enjoy the hobby, you'll be happy with a 6" or an 8". If you're not happy with the views through those scopes (even in dark skies) then you won't be happy with anything. If you're happy with a 6" or 8" then, over time, you will appreciate what a larger scope will show. All telescopes will show DSOs as gray smudge-like objects. Don't expect colour. Don't expect sharp, salient details.

These sketches are representative of what an experienced observer in dark skies will see with an 8" scope: Deep Sky Sketches - Deep Sky Watch A 6" scope will be fairly comparable.

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Save a little more and get a Skywatcher 150P Dob!!! :):icon_eek:

Totally agree. Its only a few quid over your budget.

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Thanks again all, I'll go for the 150p dob when i get a bit more money, think i have a camera lens i could do without :).

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Hi again, one last question :). It comes with 10 and 25mm eyepieces, are there any others worth buying?

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save your money till you get your scope the 25mm will be alright for a while then ask again after you have used the scope awhile

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There are, that's were I'm at now, trying to decide on my next move. The 'scope as delivered will keep you happy for a good while. I initially thought both EP's were great. Its only some way down the line that I can find fault with the 10mm.

Don't rush into it, the "DobMob" have sold you the idea of a Dob and that's great (+1 from me) but there are other scopes to consider. Do some reading and try to think about what you want/expect from your 'scope.

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Another question :icon_eek:. Can the 150p be taken off the dobsonian mount and put on a camera tripod? I live in North Wales so if I want to take it away from my garden the ground gets a bit uneven :).

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It'll be too big and heavy for a camera tripod. It will fit on a decent AltAz or EQ mount but you'll be looking at a lot of money for something stable. The big benefit of the Dob is that most of your spend will be on decent optics. The dob mount is basic but sturdy and not expensive for the manufacturers, this allows maximum spend on the optics.

I take mine out all the time, OTA on the back seat and base in the boot. You only need to find a small patch of level(ish) ground to set it up.

Edited by Tiddles

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