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First post on here looking for some telescope buying advise. I've searched and seen some similar topics which have been very useful but thought i'd summarise and see what the experts think.
I'm looking at getting myself and my girlfriend a telescope as an anniversary gift. She's not scientifically minded at all but she really likes the aesthetic of the moon. The house is filled with 3D printed moon lamps, jewelry, cushion covers etc.. We're about to move into a new house in Forest Hill in SE London and the new house has a really large garden backing onto more gardens so quite sheltered from all street lights. We both said to eachother a telescope might be a nice thing to have in the new house and something we can enjoy together in the new garden.
I've got a budget of up to £200 but by no means want to spend that much if I'm paying for features we don't need or will use.
I've got some experience with a reflector scope that was my brothers. He got it years ago and we both obsessed over it for about a month and then once we'd seen the big planets and a few blurry distant clusters we got bored and it never got touched again. That was a 130mm DIA reflector (skywatcher I think). After the initial excitement, my overriding feeling towards it was it was not worth the faff! This was in dark Northumberland as well, not London.
I've tried to explain this to my girlfriend when we've talked about it and said if we don't want the faff we might have to invest in a Go to electric telescope. The logic being if its quicker and easier to see stuff, we'll use it more. I did get then quite excited reading reviews and trying to find second-hand goto scopes and it seems like something in my budget (or slightly pushed budget) is something like a Celestron SLT 127. (have seen second hand ones go for £250).
However having then done a bit of reading on here I think i've worked out that those cheaper Go-to's are still not that quick and simple to use, ultimately i'm I'm still only going to see fairly blurry planets and smudges of deep space clusters. I honestly don't think the girlfriend will be impressed and I'll probably get bored after a while too.
So I think I've come to the conclusion that I want to get a much smaller refractor that would be much more accessible for viewing the moon and would allow us to see a smudgy Saturn and Jupiter on clear nights. A smartphone camera holder would be a bonus too as it adds a simple feature that would keep us entertained for longer.
Do you think that's a fair approach or am I being a little too pessimistic about what I'm going to see? If so then what scopes could anyone recommend? Stepping down to a slightly lower budget there are so many more options and it's a bit bewildering.
Having had difficulty in aligning and never actually managing to get my AVX to track to the standard I know it can, is the Celestron StarSense gadget the answer?
I know I can align my scope accurately if I put the effort in and having moved last year I’ve been unable to have my mount fixed on a pier so I’m seriously considering this piece of kit as an easier way to align and to motivate me to get out more often.
Please share your thoughts.....
I'm new to astronomy, I got my first telescope in November (StarMax 90mm f/13), I was really happy with the view of the moon and double stars, but disappointed I could see but barely make out nebula (initially the ring nebula). I also tried to take a photo of the moon with my phone but trying to get a stable shot was too difficult, even with a basic smartphone adapter.
I did a bit of research, found about about Video Astronomy/Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA) and decided I needed a better mount and took the opportunity to get a faster telescope (StarTravel 102 f5/). I really like the Sky-Watcher -102 AZ GTe with the ZWO ASI 224MC. I've only used it for 4 nights as there is so much cloud about but it's allowed me to take images of things my eyeball wouldn't see. Although my setup is below the minimum specification most would consider for imaging and entry level for visual observations I think I've found a setup that seems to work for me. I like that with SharpCap I can get instant results and the day after when it's back to cloudy I can get a bit more out of the images with Deep Sky Stacker and Gimp. I have tried looking through the eyepiece at the Pleiades, that was a pleasure as well. I can see how observing with a big Dobsonian and amazing eyepieces would be great, but many objects seem better with a camera than eyeballs. The Horsehead nebula wasn't found until astrophotography came into being.
The photo above was taken on my first night with the setup. The January 2019 issue of Sky at Night Magazine has a review of the Sky-Watcher StarTravel-102 AZ GTe and they give it 4.5 / 5. Combining it with an Explore Scientific UHC filter seems to reduce most of the chromatic aberration and increases contrast relative to the stars, and light pollution.
Video Astronomy/EAA seems to offer a great window into both the visual and imaging worlds of astronomy. As First Light Optics say "Your first telescope is arguably the most important because if the views do not amaze and delight, your interest in astronomy will crash and burn on the runway!" I understand cost could be an issue, but if the beginner had a suitable camera Video Astronomy could be as accessible as a Go-To visual setup, and seems more likely to amaze (especially in the skies of a typical house).
My question is why is video astronomy not the first suggestion for beginners interested in both visual and imaging?
Hello all, my name is Harvey and I'm very new to astronomy. After countless hours of reading beforehand, I'd like to start off by saying I know I'm not expecting to see anything close to the pictures seen on the internet from telescopes like Hubble, but something doesn't seem to be right. I have a Celestron AstroMaster 76eq, this is quite a budget telescope due to the fact my budget is less than small. These are the specs:
700mm Focal Length 76mm Aperture Focal Ratio of 9.21 2 lenses of focal length 10mm and 20mm I'm quite young, and I've been super interested in any and all things space, so obviously getting into astronomy was a definite for me. This is hopefully going to be a life long hobby I'm gonna take up, so any tips for the future are well and truly appreciated (alongside any tips at all to help me get started). Please bare with me, I'm trying to condense this down as much as I can. 😂
I've done a lot of research into the telescope that I have, and I've read about many people being able to see deep space objects such as Andromeda's core. I have been able to see this (at least, I'm 99% sure) however, attempting to view other deep space objects (such as M1) proves to be difficult. I'm not entirely sure if this is due to me being unable to navigate the night sky effectively, if I'm doing something wrong or I'm expecting too much. I live in a fairly rural area in England with little light pollution, and when observing these deep space objects I make sure that I'm as far away from the light pollution as I can get. This leads on to my first question...
How much of a difference does the humidity make? England generally has VERY high levels of humidity, and I'm wondering if this is going to make a huge difference to what I can see? I've never really seen the humidity to be less than 75%, so if it makes a huge difference I presume that I won't be able to view any deep space objects? That being said, should my telescope be able to see deep space object with this level of humidity amongst other viewing problems? I try my best to ensure (like I said earlier) that I can make the viewing conditions as optimal as possible where I can (i.e. not viewing objects in the direction of light pollution, making sure that I go out in low levels of cloud, making sure I observe objects as high up in the sky as I can etc). On the subject of the telescope itself...
How much of a difference does collimation make? Will it be the difference between seeing an object or not if the collimation of my mirrors isn't very good? Should a telescope of my calibre be able to make out the major details of planets? e.g. the ring of Saturn and the bands of Jupiter? Or am I expecting too much of my telescope? I have just ordered a 2x Barlow lens to bring me close up to the maximum magnification my telescope can realistically handle (140x), so I'm wondering if this will help me see these finer details or if Jupiter will still be merely a bright light? How much of a difference do filters make at lower magnifications such as 70-140x on planets such as Jupiter, Saturn or Mars? Are they worth the investment this early on or are they more of an investment to make later on? How important are high quality eyepieces? Are they worth the investment early on or later on? The problem with this is that eyepieces can get quite pricey and as I said before, I'm on a very low budget. That being said, is the level of astronomy I'm after even possible on my budget? Will I be able to see deep space objects like M1 and other nebulae? By seeing them, I mean as blurry blobs, not detailed objects. Terribly sorry for the masses of questions (of which I'm sure most of you will have seen a thousand times!), but I've been searching for a long time and haven't found many answers relevant to my situation. As I said, I'm very open to any suggestions, tips and recommendations! Thank you for reading! If there's any more information you need, ask me and I'll try my best to give you it!
I noticed the sky was clear enough to get the telescope out for the first time tonight since getting it for Christmas (newbie), my phone mount to take images properly hasn't arrived yet but with my Note 9 pointing straight upwards I took a few photos (max 10 second exposure, F1.5 and ISO 800) and believe I have captured M45/Pleiades and California Nebula, please correct me if I am wrong though. Thought the second photo was also cool.
Feedback and tips would be greatly appreciated.