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Hi,

I am brand new to star gazing, it started with a second hand £5 kids scope and now I'm thinking of upgrading!

I also do a bit of plane/bird watching. I have read that a good pair of binos is a good place to start, could anyone recommend where to start with these?

I obviously have been looking at scopes as well and am not sure what to go for but have narrowed my choice to a meade starnavigator 102mm aperture goto scope for £300. Is this good value.

I have order Patrick Moore star gazing book on amazon to help in the mean time.

Many thanks

Martin

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If the binoculars are to be used for bird and plane watching then get the standard set of 8x42's. They are pretty good all round and are also useful when pointed skyward.

There are bigger, not sure about better, and if you go for the 15x70's then you need a tripod for them.

Neither of the above will show details on things like Jupiter, you need a scope for that.

And the more you spend on binoculars the less you have for a scope or the longer you have to wait to get a scope.

Never sure what to advise for a first scope, and you will get several suggestions.

I do not know the starnavigator, but will say beware of gimicks on some of them these days.

If you can locate a club within reach pay them a visit and see what is used by the people there, that is always a good guide to a scope or type of scope. The last public event I attended all but 2 scopes were smallish, 5" or 6", Maks or SCT (goto's), not a reflector present which seemed odd.

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have narrowed my choice to a meade starnavigator 102mm aperture goto scope for £300. Is this good value.

I have to be honest and say NO. This is not value for money. I know it's going to be your first scope but for £300, you can do a lot better. A very popular choice for a first scope is something like this:

http://www.firstligh...-dobsonian.html

It really depends on what you want and how portable you want things and a few other factors. There are other types of scope out there besides the Dob, so look around. Dobs offer the most aperture for your money so are a good investment............but as i say............it depends on if you can carry,store,use one etc.

Here is a Go-To scope which fits your budget just incase Go-To is the way you want to go:

http://www.firstligh...an-az-goto.html

(130mm = 5")...........its a good size aperture,good optics and wont annoy the bank manager.

If you are thinking of buying binoculars, then i would suggest buying a pair that are 10X50 as these are a good starting point for astronomy and can also be used for nature observing etc without being expensive or too heavy. I personally would not buy anything less then 10X50 if you intend to use them for astronomy.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Hi Martin,

I would recommend the skywatcher 200p dobsonian as a starter scope, I't obviously doesn't have a goto mount but you get a lot for your money. I have been using mine for a year and have found that having a dobsonian mount has forced me to "star hop" and learn where things are rather than letting a computerised mount do it for me. You can pick the scope up for around £290. I'd recommend changing the supplied eyepieces after you have got used to using it.

I'd also recommend getting hold of the cambridge star atlas and a telrad finder to help with your star hopping. I found it useful to pick one area of the night sky and just spend a few hours looking around, that way you build up a memory bank of each area over the months.

Enjoy!

Glenn.

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I have to agree with the above, those 127's really give great views of the planets for their size, and webcam imaging with it would be much better than the 130p - i got the 130p as a first scope, its not bad at all but looking back the mak 127's do outperform them in planetary viewing and imaging.

If photography is not even slightly important to you then the dobs are great for visual use in general, however a goto system can be helpful when trying to find your way round the sky - I would be quite lost without it.

If planets are ur thing then a skywatcher 127mak is the perfect little scope, and goto can be a great bonus for locating difficult objects.

Best of luck with the mission :)

Regards

Aenima

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Thanks for the advice, a bit more head scratching! I would like it to be portable as I work away from home and would like to put it in my van and get it out when I could, so the celestron 127 seems quite compact. I think I would like the go to as a starter and then maybe work the skies out from there!

I notice it is reflector scopes more recommended, would these be good for bird watching etc?

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The dobsonian recommended is a great scope, but in your original post you did mention goto - so, if you can stretch your budget a little and you are prepared to sacrifice apperture (which is king!) for electronics, then I'd have a look at this

good luck

I did want to suggest the 127, but i couldnt find it for some reason. Its a VERY popular scope.

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Thanks for the advice, a bit more head scratching! I would like it to be portable as I work away from home and would like to put it in my van and get it out when I could, so the celestron 127 seems quite compact. I think I would like the go to as a starter and then maybe work the skies out from there!

I notice it is reflector scopes more recommended, would these be good for bird watching etc?

Might be wrong but I think the average astronomy scope isnt really the right thing for terrestrial observing, they are pretty much night-time only.

Considering the large magnification used in astronomy it might be a bit overkill for birdwatching.

The 127's come on a tripod that stands about 2 to 3 feet and is easy to fold up and pack in a car, and as long as the scope is padded it will be happy sat next to it.

Honestly my choice of 1st scope would be the 127mak instead of my 130p now I look back.....best to ask lots of questions and try a few out if possible, the pictures online dont really prepare you for the real thing.

Regards

Aenima

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Thanks, I think this has cleared up a few issues. I reckon there isn't a multipurpose telescope! So I reckon a good telescope and a reasonable pair of binoculars.

I have to wait til payday to order my telescope. I have been looking on eBay for a second hand one and they don't seem to be much cheaper.

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Thanks, I think this has cleared up a few issues. I reckon there isn't a multipurpose telescope! So I reckon a good telescope and a reasonable pair of binoculars.

I have to wait til payday to order my telescope. I have been looking on eBay for a second hand one and they don't seem to be much cheaper.

U got that right, there are pro's and cons to every type, and no particular one can do it all.

First scopes are really just that, but the 127maks can last you for many years before you'll have exhausted the possibilities.

The main question to ask at the start is photography - its something i wish i'd thought more about - will you be content with moon and planets or do u foresee yourself wanting to learn to do long exposure deep sky imaging ?( an equatorial mount is a must for that, otherwise the mak will be the nearest thing to an all round starting scope and more.)

Regards

Aenima

Edited by Aenima
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If you can stretch the finances a little the Celestron 4SE is a good scope and offers the possibility of very basic photography and the tripod is superior to that of the SLT. I have chosen this as my 'grab and go' option.

BR

Alan

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Yeh, sorry to add to the complex issue it already is, but as a first scope its worth spending time on.

An EQ mount is a bit awkward to use visually as it gets into weird positions when pointing a certain way, but its angled to follow the sky precisely which opens up the opportunity to use tracking for long periods of either observing or taking long exposures (though this is quite advanced and difficult to get right, not to mention extremely expensive!)..

Depending on your budget and level of fitness - an equatorial has weights and needs contortionist skills to look through the eyepiece - you may want to start with the EQ for future astrophotography use, but in that case you'd want to get the larger type which isnt grab n go unfortunately - stability is important.

So, the smaller eq mount might afford a portable option with imaging potential, and the 4SE is a quality scope - I think this will ultimately depend on your plans for some type of photography (not everyone considers it as important).

One thing for sure - those 'AZgoto' mounts are well capable for planetary and lunar imaging and an SLT (or mak or anything with a long focal length) would go nicely with one.

All the best

Aenima

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Thanks for the advice, a bit more head scratching! I would like it to be portable as I work away from home and would like to put it in my van and get it out when I could, so the celestron 127 seems quite compact. I think I would like the go to as a starter and then maybe work the skies out from there!

I notice it is reflector scopes more recommended, would these be good for bird watching etc?

Newtonian reflectors are ill-suited to terrestrial viewing. Refractors, SCTs, and Mak-Cass scopes can be used terrestrially if alt-az mounted. A 4 or 5 inch Mak would do well if you want to bring in really distant wildlife or ships, but they aren't so good on field of view and of course astro scopes aren't weatherproof.
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I am normally completely dobsonian minded but this is for astronomy. if you do want a scope for all round observing (birds, planes and sky) then I think you could do worse than e.g. http://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-120-az3.html

you'd need to check stability of the mount for this scope but it would I believe give decent birding images as it is and you'd be better with a star diagonal for skytime.

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If you can stretch the finances a little the Celestron 4SE is a good scope and offers the possibility of very basic photography and the tripod is superior to that of the SLT. I have chosen this as my 'grab and go' option.

BR

Alan

I would much prefer the SW Heritage 130P as a "Grab n Go" over the Celestron 4SE. Although the 4SE would offer more chance of basic AP then the Heritage, but the OP didnt mention an interest in AP.

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Newtonian reflectors are ill-suited to terrestrial viewing.

You are correct. I wasnt thinking straight. Newt's dont use star diags or erect prisms by design. To use an erect prism for land viewing, you need a refractor scope or a SCT etc..............Newts simply wont suffice.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Thanks for all inputs so far, it's a bit overwhelming but I'm going to try to take it in. I've not really considered photography and I don't think this would be a priority.

I am a total novice so my first point would be good views of the moon and visible planets and then on from there.

I have decided to go for binoculars as well ( it's not far off my birthday so that's the wife's present sorted!) and a good goto scope with a case which may limit my budget a bit.

I'm still in a bit of a daze but I'm getting there and not in too much of a rush as its freezing at the mo!

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Thanks for all inputs so far, it's a bit overwhelming but I'm going to try to take it in. I've not really considered photography and I don't think this would be a priority.

I am a total novice so my first point would be good views of the moon and visible planets and then on from there.

I have decided to go for binoculars as well ( it's not far off my birthday so that's the wife's present sorted!) and a good goto scope with a case which may limit my budget a bit.

I'm still in a bit of a daze but I'm getting there and not in too much of a rush as its freezing at the mo!

It is very overwhelming trying to decide on a scope you'll want to use for a good long time to come.

Sorry if I have over reached regarding photography, its just something I personally wished I'd considered at the start. Lots of people look for a first scope thinking the only thing they want is to look through it at stuff in the sky, but quickly get the urge to record their views and often to enhance the level of detail visible by imaging, and in my case I did just that - i now have two scopes that are excellent for visual use but neither is ideal for astro-imaging (though the EQ mount at least allows a certain amount of photography) so I need to sell one to upgrade the other..

Wah, doing it again! Sorry, will shut-up v soon :p . . . Because astrophotography is so involved, especially long exposure, its a wise choice to keep it simple and go slowly - one thing is, if you limit your budget by getting goto, then make it a goto scope you'll use to the full.

Those 127's keep popping up and for good reason, compact with good high power views (and a great scope for planetary/webcam imaging. :D) if I went back in time....

Also a good read about the various types will help along the way.

Something else Ive noticed many people seem to ask about is observing from indoors, or through a skylight/window but the mix of warm and cold air ruins the view so its strictly an outdoor pursuit. Though dont knock the cold weather as it can make for nice clear skies :).

Hope u get it sorted, and good luck.

Regards

Aenima

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Hey, thanks for the help. I did it! I just bought the celestron nexstar 127 goto scope. Just need it to arrive and have some clear skies!

Cue more questions from me!

Awesome news. Dont worry, your in the right place to ask questions and pick up info.

*Sigh* Buying a first scope.....good times. (only just over a year ago but seems like more) :)

Enjoy.

Regards

Aenima

Edited by Aenima
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Hey, thanks for the help. I did it! I just bought the celestron nexstar 127 goto scope. Just need it to arrive and have some clear skies!

Cue more questions from me!

Seems to be a good scope and popular choice. I was just reading the "specs" and it said it is good for both astro observing AND terrestrial observing, so i am guessing it comes with an erect prism, rather then a star diagonal.

Enjoy.

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