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Total newbie trying to pick a telescope for my wife, need advice


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Hi All,

I am a total newbie trying to pick a telescope for my wife, I have looked around and am pretty well 100% confused.

She does not want a manual telescope, she just wants a point click motorized one

We live in the country near Bedford in the UK, not too much light pollution

We would not be moving around with the telescope it would always be at home

Budget ... tricky one, up to say £600 - £700 ish, can go higher but not much

Also what kind of things could you see with a telescope like this, eg could you see the rings around Saturn ?

Any help really appreciated - am kind of lost out here :smiley:

Many Thanks

Dave

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Having a manual dob I can't comment from personal experience of a GoTo but if had the budget I would buy this:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-flextube-goto.html

This presumes that you / wife just want to view things visually, if you want to be able to take photo's of DSO (rather than just moon and bigger planets) you will need a different mount. Someone who knows about that will be along and cover soon I'm sure.

You would defo see the rings around Saturn, cassini division, Jupiters Great Red Spot , polar ice caps on Mars with this on a decent seeing day.

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Saturns rings arent a problem for most telescopes at all :)

Im not up to advising people on new scope yet, but is imaging something she may be interested in at all? That makes abit of a difference on choice of scope.

Aslong as you buy from a reputable dealer (for example SGL's sponser First Light Optics or Telescope House) they should be able to give you some very sound advice aswell, although Im quite sure someone will be along here soon and recommended several things you could look at that will fit the bill.

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GotoMounts are not point&click (setup and some knowledge of the sky is still required!), plus visual astronomy is all about observing a object a longer time with different magnifications, trying to make out faint details.

A telescope you have to point yourself will teach you about the night sky much more in multiple ways, cost less, and requires less stuff to take along.

Planet's are so easily found that no GoTo is necessary, and with the right finder and book deepsky objects will be easy to spot too. Much more importaint is a large aperture, thus buying a small telescope on a goto mount will show less.

Lidl sells a 150€ Goto telescope with a small-ish & short 70mm refractor telescope, and you will only see a fragment of the GoTo objects in it's compter controller :-)

The 8" is nice, though be aware you pay up to three times as much for the Goto-Telescope compared to a simple dobsonian mount telescope you have to move by hand.

A 20€/18gbp telescope will show you the rings around saturn and jupiter's moons and it's clouds a little.

A 170-250€/150-200gbp telescope (5"-6") will show you a little more (deepsky; outer stars of star clusters, shapes of galaxies, on some even faint details such as hints of their spiral structure, but only under dark and clear conditions; With 8-10" it really starts though...)

Drawn cmparison 6, 8 and 12.5" telscope

http://www.clarkvision.com/visastro/m51-apert/index.html

But keep in mind this was done under good & dark conditions, PLUS observation of several minutes and magnifications to spot all the faint details.

Beginners will see faint dots/smudges of deepsky objects at first, even with larger telescopes...

German but the telescope measurements should be clear

http://www.binoviewer.at/beobachtungspraxis/teleskopvergleich_deepsky.htm

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Given your location I would get in touch with Neil at 'Greenwich' , an extremely knowledgeable and helpful man.

They are in Great Gransden , about half-way to Cambs from you.

He has stuff on show and can talk you through the range and variations available.

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As mentioned, all goto scopes require setting up, but this is nothing more than either pointing the mount North and then running through a simple alignment program built into the controller. Alignment procedure for both alt-az mounts and equatorial mounts is well documented on this forum, should you wish to read up on the process.

There are two approaches to choosing a scope. One is the upgrade approach, where you stick to a low end of the budget, purchase a scope that seems to fit your needs, but then sell it shortly after to fund the purchase of a scope with more features, larger aperture or one that allows you to take pictures with a dslr camera body. The other approach is to purchase at the top end of your budget and get a scope that from the start will cover such things as imaging etc from day one. In your £700 budget is the 150PDS on an goto EQ5 mount http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/explorer-150-pds-eq5-pro-goto-mount-with-free-dvd_d4774.html - This should give reasonable views of the Moon, larger planets and brighter deep sky targets. It will also allow the connection of a dslr camera body (canons are the preferred make) so you can venture into the world of imaging if you wish. Also being mounted on an EQ5 there is sufficient weight capacity should you wish to add a small guide scope for long exposure or stacked images. OK this is something that you may not think about doing now, but saves you having to upgrade if you wanted to take images and share them with friends and family etc.

As you are in Bedford I would suggest you make arrangements to visit Greenwhich scopes and see some scopes in the flesh so to speak. You will also be able to ask questions and get advice on the scopes they have on display, and hopefully will help you make the decision

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This is the point and click scope you asked for http://www.firstligh...rodigy-130.html

and this is the goto equivalent that requires a little knowledge http://www.firstligh...ar-130-slt.html or http://www.firstligh...an-az-goto.html

all of these are the same scope but on slightly different mounts the first does everything for you the other two require you to punch a couple of buttons and enter a few numbers and to put that into perspective they are the same optics as this

http://www.firstligh...p-flextube.html personally i don't have a problem with goto and sky prodigy but as you can see they do eat up the pounds and if I had that sort of money to spend and wanted a fairly no fuss goto that was easy to use I might consider this it sees more and is a bit more compact but still requires some user input and a bit of knowledge http://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series/celestron-nexstar-6se.html

Edited by rowan46
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Hi All,

Many thanks for all your input, Just went and saw Neil at 'Greenwich' (Thank you Brown Dwarf) who was really really helpful for such a newbie as myself.

Got a good idea of what I am going to go for but am going to follow the links you guys have posted just to make sure. Also increased the budget a bit to about £1k, I am kind of getting a bit interested too so looks like it is going to be a joint telescope :grin:

Many thanks once again

Dave

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Many thanks for all your input, Just went and saw Neil at 'Greenwich' (Thank you Brown Dwarf) who was really really helpful for such a newbie as myself.

Dave

Brown Dwarf is his title which corresponds to the amount of posts he has made :)

Glad to see that your interest has been perked aswell, its a great hobby for anyone to get into.

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Good luck finding & buying the right telescope! :-)

But keep in mind the best telescope is the one that's used often (not the one too heavy to move around and won't do much good due to local light pollution)

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So much depends on what SHE wants to do. Visual, Imaging? What does she expect? How enthusiastic is she? Will cold nights put her off? When you are considering spending that sort of money it is a good idea to find out. And if she is keen and willing to spend an hour or two out in the cold, then do as suggested and go to Greenwitch who are not that far away. Star parties have finished now until the Autumn otherwise that would be the best option before buying.

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Having read the OP and the fact his wife would not be happy with a manual scope, and the budget allowed. I think this would be a good start:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series/celestron-nexstar-5se.html

Yes, there is a bit of initial setup, but that only takes a couple of mins.

So much depends on what SHE wants to do. Visual, Imaging? What does she expect? How enthusiastic is she? Will cold nights put her off? When you are considering spending that sort of money it is a good idea to find out. And if she is keen and willing to spend an hour or two out in the cold,

Very very true.

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Having read the OP and the fact his wife would not be happy with a manual scope, and the budget allowed. I think this would be a good start:

http://www.firstligh...exstar-5se.html

Yes, there is a bit of initial setup, but that only takes a couple of mins.

So much depends on what SHE wants to do. Visual, Imaging? What does she expect? How enthusiastic is she? Will cold nights put her off? When you are considering spending that sort of money it is a good idea to find out. And if she is keen and willing to spend an hour or two out in the cold,

Very very true.

I was thinking of that one because of the price but ultimately decided against. for the very same reason. I used to have an old nexstar 5 which was the same mount as the 8 but the newre 5se uses the same mount as the 4se which makes it a little undermounted. I thought the 6se although more expensive shares the same mount as the 8 which makes it sturdier
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I used to have an old nexstar 5 which was the same mount as the 8 but the newre 5se uses the same mount as the 4se which makes it a little undermounted.

I didnt know this. So you are saying the new 5SE (which used to have the same mount as the current 8SE), now has the same mount as the current 4SE?.

That may make it slightly more unstable..............but not by much.

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I used to have an old nexstar 5 which was the same mount as the 8 but the newre 5se uses the same mount as the 4se which makes it a little undermounted.

I didnt know this. So you are saying the new 5SE (which used to have the same mount as the current 8SE), now has the same mount as the current 4SE?.

That may make it slightly more unstable..............but not by much.

but the mount was designed for the 4se putting the 5 on it is just a cynical way to maximise profits
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Hi All,

Well we ended up with a Celestron Nexstar 6se ... WOW ... Last night bolted it together and pointed it to the moon ... absolutely amazing clarity !! ... Wife is super pleased. She is in declining health and has always had a dream of owning something like this. Am having an issue with set-up but will post under help and advice

Cheers

Dave

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Hi All,

Well we ended up with a Celestron Nexstar 6se ... WOW ... Last night bolted it together and pointed it to the moon ... absolutely amazing clarity !! ... Wife is super pleased. She is in declining health and has always had a dream of owning something like this. Am having an issue with set-up but will post under help and advice

Cheers

Dave

Great choice of scope. The set-up can be tricky the first couple of times you use the scope, but once you master it (a 3 star align is going to be best), its so simple.

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Hi All,

Well we ended up with a Celestron Nexstar 6se ... WOW ... Last night bolted it together and pointed it to the moon ... absolutely amazing clarity !! ... Wife is super pleased. She is in declining health and has always had a dream of owning something like this. Am having an issue with set-up but will post under help and advice

Cheers

Dave

Congrats on the new scope! I am sure both of you will enjoy a lot with the scope! :)

Clear skies!

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