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Beginner looking to purchase telescope


drukqswarp
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There may be many but my choice on the budget would be an 8" skywatcher dob.

If there is an all rounder this is very close to one and will leave you being happy with what you get to see. Good for planets and plenty satisfying for deep sky to, it will keep you grinning for years. You could start looking at goto but you will compromise the quality of your views drastically. If you don't mind learning the sky and finding your own objects one of these will never let you down..

This will leave you with spare cash to get a cheshire collimator a couple of nice extra eyepieces a decent star atlas and maybe if you fancied a telrad finder to add.

Oh, Welcome to the forum... :) there are many experts here, I'm not one of them..:)

Edited by foundaplanet
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Well I'll start the ball rolling with an 8" dob, like this: http://www.firstligh...-dobsonian.html. A good scope with a decent sized aperture, on a simple easy to use mount. Because there are no electronics or motors, all your cash goes towards the optics. It will leave you with money left over for a collimation tool, and a Telrad or Rigel finder.

Edit: Foundaplanet beat me to it :D

Edited by Black Knight
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If possible locate a club, go along and see what they have and what you think of the various types.

Fedastro

Say this as I visited a club 3 months back there was 1 8" dobsonian there, everything else, 8 to 10 scopes, were SCT's and refractors.

Also asking what scope is difficult to answer, so far 2 have said the same, so out you go and get one. Next post is how do I get into astrophotography with this ? The sensible answer is throw it in a bin and buy a equitorial mounted scope with motor drives, preferably goto.

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I also cannot recommend enough going to a club meet and trying a few scopes before you buy.

When you know what you want Astro Buy Sell UK is a great website for second hand gear if you want to get more bang (bigger aperture!) for your buck.

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The 8" dob has been mentioned already but I got to say that it is an excellent choice for a first scope. I have the Orion 8 inch dob and for the price it cant be beat. It gives awesome views of deep sky as well as lunar and planetary objects. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles as some of the other scopes do and sometimes I wished it did, but still its a fantastic scope. Collimation of a dob can be a bit tricky and unsettling at first but with time and practice (and a laser collimator) thats not hard at all.

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thanks for all your suggestions everyone, I have definitely got a bit of research to do on all the extra parts your all talking about.

The main thing I would say about accessories is this.

  • Use the scope for a while, get used to the stock eyepieces that come with it before splashing out on new ones. It'll give you experience and more of an idea whether you want a high magnification eyepiece or a wider field of view, or whatever.
  • If you buy a reflector you'll need a collimation tool. A Cheshire collimating eyepiece is normally a good start rather than a laser collimator, which itself may need collimating.
  • Many people find something like a Rigel or Telrad finder easier and more convenient to use than a conventional straight-through finder on dobsonian mounted scopes.
  • A red light torch is useful and will help preserve your night vision.
  • There are many books of star charts etc which you may find useful, or there are many available for free online.
  • For visual observing the book Turn Left at Orion is highly recommended, though I don't own a copy myself.

In the meantime, download a copy of Stellarium from http://www.stellarium.org/. It's an excellent (free) planetarium.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Black Knight
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I've already posted on this subject elsewhere tonight. Buy a book, and I suggest " The Backyard Astronomer's Guide", and read it. You're asking for advice on a subject you know little about, so how can you evaluate what you're being told? You're getting honest opinions, but what's being suggested may be the opposite to what you need, and you won't discover that until you've spent your money. I can assure you that the £20 book purchase from Amazon will be forever worthwhile.

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  • Many people find something like a Rigel or Telrad finder easier and more convenient to use than a conventional straight-through finder on dobsonian mounted scopes.

I second this. Having a straight-through 9x30 finder and a simple red-dot finder (such as Rigel or Telrad, there are others too) makes finding targets a breeze - start off wide with the red-dot finder (no magnification), then move to the 9x30 (or 9x50, etc) and you should already be within sight of your target, just a few nudges will bring it into the centre of the finder scope and thus the eyepiece.

This is probably true for any telescope / mount combination.

Edited by jonathan
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Surely thats why you ask for advice in the first place isnt it?i started by doing a few months with a pair of 15x70 skymasters then i asked for advice on here and nobody said to buy a book.

I knew i wanted just to observe deep sky so a dob was the best choice.if i had wanted planetary i would have purchased a refractor and if i wanted to do some photo visual then a reflector on a decent mount.all down to what you want to see.you can learn this without wasting money on a book imho

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Hi there. I started off with a 200p on an eq5 mount. I then bought the dual motors, the Goto upgrade, the low profile focuser, the lx webcam, the bahtinov mask... :) It's a fantastic scope to start off with. You can see deep sky stuff as well as planetary. I still use it and love it....and all for about £400 to start!

Dave

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My first scope was / is a Skyliner 8" Dob as my budget was £300. If I really had £500 to spend I'd have considered a larger aperture potentially as carrying around an 8" isn't a problem for me at all. It's such a good scope. I love it.

The only other issue I have really is that it's uses in imaging are limited and that is really where my interest lies. If I had £500 I would have bought something that would have helped me with imaging further down the line, but my want to image also stems from the Skyliner being so good, so it's a paradox really.

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Surely thats why you ask for advice in the first place isnt it?i started by doing a few months with a pair of 15x70 skymasters then i asked for advice on here and nobody said to buy a book.

I knew i wanted just to observe deep sky so a dob was the best choice.if i had wanted planetary i would have purchased a refractor and if i wanted to do some photo visual then a reflector on a decent mount.all down to what you want to see.you can learn this without wasting money on a book imho

I never thought I'd see books described as a waste of money on SGL.

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If I started again with a £500 budget, I'd get a 10 inch Skywatcher dob. But it is quite a big scope. We have a ten inch GSO dob and though it's quite big, it's not that heavy and is very little effort to put outside. I feel it's about the biggest you can go before things start to feel a bit of an effort to move, but that's just me. Good luck deciding, my first scope was £35 so I'm sure you'll get something much better, and the £35 scope blew me away when I saw the moon through it :)

Edit:The reason why I'd go for a dob is that in general, they are about the cheapest for the most aperture. The bigger the aperture, the more faint things you can see. And I also find that solid tube manual dobs are pretty low hassle. They can take a little while to "cool down" (if you try to use them straight away as soon as you put them outside, you might find that things look a bit blurry at higher magnification at first until they cool down to the temperate outside), but that's the only small hassle I can think of.

Edited by Luke
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I take it you aren't familiar with "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide"? It supersedes the excellent "Nightwatch" written by Terence Dickinson and is co-authored by him and Alan Dyer. It details all telescope types, lists their pros and cons, deals with binoculars, filters, eyepieces, accessories and there's a twenty-two page profusely illustrated section on setting up an equatorial mount. The book devotes several chapters to a beginners guide to the night sky, and covers everything someone starting out needs to know about observing.

If "newbies" were to buy and read even sections of it, they would be better prepared to absorb the considerable expertise available on the various SGL forums.

Gaining knowledge is never wasted money, and frankly, I wish this book had been around when I started observing some sixteen years ago.

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One potential issue with asking what was a quite open question on the forum (no offence intended to the OP) is that a couple of answers which appear to agree ie 'buy a 200p' may convince them that is the only route to go.

I would have asked a few questions before answering such as....what are you interested in seeing ie DSO's/planets etc, do you want to do imaging or visual, what sort of skies do you have, do you have easy access to a dark space or a couple of flights of stairs to go down. The answer will vary depending upon all the above.

Some background reading, whether web based or a book can help inform how to ask the questions and so get a more appropriate response.

Cheers

Stu

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