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katsu

Buying a starter scope

21 posts in this topic

Hi guys i need some advice on buying a starter telescope....... my partner has a huge interest in astronomy and would love to join our local society, unfortunately they only meet once a month and because of a work commitment the night they meet is impossible for him to attend. I would love to buy him a scope for Christmas and have been looking at reviews and forum advice but am now worried that by buying the wrong product I could put him off. Some sites recommend sticking to a good set of binoculars but somehow that doesn't seem the same. Someone has recommended the Konusmotor 500 but I cannot find out much about this product and not being very techie minded I could do with some advice............. cheers :sunny:

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Welcome to SGL Katsu :lol:.

I think the first question would be, what is your budget??

Tony..

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But will it be easy to use in the location you have in mind?

Thank you for your quick replies. What difference does location have to how easy it is to use, sorry to ask the obvious

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If you have to go up and down stairs, you will need something that is very easy to carry. That Dobsonian would not be suitable in such a case.

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There is also the issue of storage for them big tubes :lol:. Judging by my recent purchase, I recommend the Skyliner's

Vega

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I was imagining it being used in the garden but that would entail moving backwards and forwards as the weather changes, hadn't planned on stairs. I don't think that light pollution is a problem in our area so I cannot see it being transported much either :? Can most low cost scopes be built upon as your experience increases?

ps my budget is under £200 ( his love is cheap)

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You can't keep it out in the garden, though! Anyway, you seem to have room to stow it away indoors and downstairs somewhere and it should be possible to move it about single-handed. ? would suggest getting that scope and spending the rest later on accessories (cameras, filters, eyepieces).

Can most low cost scopes be built upon as your experience increases?

Yes and No. People start buying accessories for their scope which they can use on the next, bigger scope. This scope is the smallest recommended starter scope in terms of light gathering ability and ability to show interesting detail.

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Hi Katsu, you will have no difficulty finding a good scope for under £200 :lol:

I would normally recommend either the Skywatcher Explorer 150P or Skyliner 150P Dobsonian. However, Celestron have reduced their C6-N and C4-R by £50 (to make way for new models) which brings their price down to £199, or £179 after SGL discount.

Hope that helps.

Steve

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Thanks Steve, those look promising.......... :lol:

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Why not go for something like this

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=slt130

I have the 114 and have had no worries with it whatsoever! Its very portable, cost effective and is the simplest way of finding everything in the night sky you could want to see!

Ive been to starparties where people have spent 30mins to an hour getting their kit setup, i go out and within 5-10 mins im sorted and away gazing at the stars!

I can pretty much say he wont be dissappointed!

Hope its not too much out of your price range, but its one of the cheapest with a goto mount which does all the hard work for you

Cheers

Darren :lol:

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katsu, it boils down to this: your money will go either to optics (mirrors and glass) or mechanics (gears, knobs, tripods, motors) or electronics ("goto" systems).

To spend money on optics, go for a Dobsonian. They offer the best views to the human eye.

To spend money on mechanics, go for a C6N. They will maximise your photography options.

To spend money on electronics, go for a NexStar. They will maximise ease of use.

But as Steve said, there are offers all the time from different vendors that complicate the decision. Right now, the C6N from FLO is attractively priced.

PS: I hope I will be corrected quickly if I have said something out of order.

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I think we may be looking at this the wrong way round :lol:

If you want a 'scope that can be used for imaging and tacking the stars then a newtonian telescope on an equatorial mount is the way to go.

If you have never had a scope before and want a nice big 'scope then the dobsonian are the best

If you want a scope that will find things for you and does not need a lot of setting up the SLT130 is the way to go.

The Konusmotor 500 won a best buy award in a recent review in Sky at Night magaine (think it was that mag anyway). I think I still have the mag somewhere so I can idg it out and see if it gives a supplier.

For the money it seems a good buy, good optics, an Equatorial mount (I think) and an electronic focusser.

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I would fully endorse Steve's suggestions. I have a C6N on an equatorial mount. It's a bit of a learning curve to use the mount, but it is an excellent scope. I would not recommend a refractor of less than 90mm or a reflector or catadioptric of less than 127mm for a serious beginner.

The 6" dobsonian is an excellent choice for good views and easy use. I have a friend who is a very experienced astronomer, who doesn't use anything else for observing.

Whatever you choose, get a good guide, such as Nightwatch, or Turn Left at Orion. Some scopes come bundled with a star program on disc.

Good luck with your choices!

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Why not go for something like this

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=slt130

Cheers

Darren :lol:

Looks good but a bit out of my price range..... he's an engineer so I think spending hours fiddling with knobs would probably be half the fun for him, but being a keen photographer I'm starting to get interested in the possibilities of astro photography so might treat myself sometime in the distant future.

Many thanks to everyone for their help you have given me exactly the advice I was looking for, just have to make a decision and then find somewhere to hide the thing 'til Christmas :santa:

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Let us know what you decide. There is another condition - you get him signed up to SGL by Boxing Day and then make sure he gives us a first light report!

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Katsu

I won't add to the debate but do run your thoughts past Steve before you part with the cash.

Cheers

Ian

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Katsu, I know it's a Christmas gift, and normally one would always buy new, especially for someone you care about.

I think telescopes can be classed as an exception. As your partner is just starting out, perhaps it might be a wiser choice to buy a used instrument, as the interest in astronomy may well be a fleeting one. Hopefully not, but it's a point you should maybe consider.

Besides, there are plenty of bargains to be had in the second hand market, and you could get a higher spec piece of kit for the budget you have. Seek advice before you buy though, that's if you decide to take that route.

Ron. :lol:

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Hi Katsu, welcome to SGL :lol:

There are some great suggestions in this thread. The advice of a good pair of binoculars, while not exactly wrong, was better advice 10+ years ago when optics were hand figured and if you wanted a good, cheap telescope you had to make your own or hope you got lucky in a secondhand shop. Now with the mass-production of decent quality optics in China, a good telescope can be had a price that most people can afford.

Gaz

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Thank you everyone for your help, can I just say this is by far the friendliest forum I've ever posted on. I've got plenty to think about and lots of great suggestions and you guys have helped me soooooo much. I'll make sure that I keep you all updated on what I do and I hope that you don't mind helping me out, it's nice to have a little bit of knowlegable advice before parting with a good portion of my hard earned cash. :sunny:

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Your more than welcome! Were here to help and look forward to whatever happens in the future!

Enjoy

Darren :lol:

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