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Help! need some advice


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Hi guys, new here. I want a scope to look at the moon , Jupiter and Saturn. As well as the comet that's due in December. Will this suffice?

Celestron-31150-Computerised-Reflector-Telescope

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-31150-Computerised-Reflector-Telescope/dp/B0036GNNCC/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=OSZYG4QS9APV&coliid=I3TW42EUZ7X4K7

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Hi guys, new here. I want a scope to look at the moon , Jupiter and Saturn. As well as the comet that's due in December. Will this suffice?

Celestron-31150-Computerised-Reflector-Telescope

http://www.amazon.co...=I3TW42EUZ7X4K7

You can do a lot better for that money mate. Don't buy astro from Amazon. Check out first light optics , link in the forum header, for starters.

For planetary and lunar you want something with a longer focal length in my opinion. What are your other requirements such as maximum budget, portability or storage constraints?

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From the description of focal length = 1000mm and a short tube it will be a bird-jones design = someone has stuck a barlow in the focuser. Best avoided. The principle is good but the components used and implimentation will be cheap and so it will simply not give anything worthwhile.

Any paticular part of Wales ?

People might be able to suggest clubs/venues to visit.

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Hi loonarsnook and welcome to SGL. You have come to the right place for advice.

I used to own a 114mm Newtonian reflector I purchased just before comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 'hit' Jupiter and was very dissapointed with it! :sad:

I was expecting to see the area(s) of the impact and all I did see was the four Gallilean moons and main N & S equatorial belts.

On to Saturn. It did show the rings, but I could not see the Cassini division at all even with a 6mm/0.965inch Ortihoscopic eypiece (which I still own). The supplied eyepieces and 2x Barlow lens were :cussing:

The Moon was OK. :smiley:

Onto Venus. I could see a phase, but nothing special. :smiley:

I think I had more 'fun' using a Tasco 4ETE (40x 40mm refractor) :grin: (my first scope) before I gave it away to someone, (and "Yes, I do miss it!" :grin: even though my present scopes are better constructed, optically and mechanically).

I personally would recommend you go and purchase the SkyWatcher 200P Dobsonian. It is under £300.00GBP from FLO, judging by the amount of satisfied SGL members using them in their reviews (and members of the 'other' forums that I have read) you will get the 'best bang for your buck!' as our cousins across the pond would say.

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You can do a lot better for that money mate. Don't buy astro from Amazon. Check out first light optics , link in the forum header, for starters.

For planetary and lunar you want something with a longer focal length in my opinion. What are your other requirements such as maximum budget, portability or storage constraints?

Hi thanks for the reply :-). Ok Im looking to spend anything from 400 to 700 pounds, i want to be able to see the moon fairly clearly, dont mind a bit of wobble, but also i would love to see other planets ect with some clarity . Am i asking too much for so little money? :-(

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Hi thanks for the reply :-). Ok Im looking to spend anything from 400 to 700 pounds, i want to be able to see the moon fairly clearly, dont mind a bit of wobble, but also i would love to see other planets ect with some clarity . Am i asking too much for so little money? :-(

Also ive been looking at skywatchers, they any good? thanks :-)

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Hi loonarsnook and welcome to SGL. You have come to the right place for advice.

I used to own a 114mm Newtonian reflector I purchased just before comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 'hit' Jupiter and was very dissapointed with it! :sad:

I was expecting to see the area(s) of the impact and all I did see was the four Gallilean moons and main N & S equatorial belts.

On to Saturn. It did show the rings, but I could not see the Cassini division at all even with a 6mm/0.965inch Ortihoscopic eypiece (which I still own). The supplied eyepieces and 2x Barlow lens were :cussing:

The Moon was OK. :smiley:

Onto Venus. I could see a phase, but nothing special. :smiley:

I think I had more 'fun' using a Tasco 4ETE (40x 40mm refractor) :grin: (my first scope) before I gave it away to someone, (and "Yes, I do miss it!" :grin: even though my present scopes are better constructed, optically and mechanically).

I personally would recommend you go and purchase the SkyWatcher 200P Dobsonian. It is under £300.00GBP from FLO, judging by the amount of satisfied SGL members using them in their reviews (and members of the 'other' forums that I have read) you will get the 'best bang for your buck!' as our cousins across the pond would say.

Hi thanks for the advice, just been looking @ that scope SkyWatcher 200P Dobsonian, looks nice and the price is well in my range :-) this could well be the one for me, many thanks .

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Hi thanks for the advice, just been looking @ that scope SkyWatcher 200P Dobsonian, looks nice and the price is well in my range :-) this could well be the one for me, many thanks .

The 200p is an excellent choice an gives stunning visuals for the price. It's popularity gives it a second hand value in good condition. Since it's within your budget you should also consider picking up a collimation tool a good starting guide book like "Turn Left At Orion". And if you get really hooked you can start looking at higher quality eye-pieces later. Oh, dont forget a cheap red-light torch.

Best of luck with your purchase.

Edited by VigdisVZ
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The 200p is an excellent choice an gives stunning visuals for the price. It's popularity gives it a second hand value in good condition. Since it's within your budget you should also consider picking up a collimation tool a good starting guide book like "Turn Left At Orion". And if you get really hooked you can start looking at higher quality eye-pieces later. Oh, dont forget a cheap red-light torch.

Best of luck with your purchase.

Thanks ill check out the book, looks like im going with the skywatcher :-) soooo glad i didnt get some tack off amazon.....phew!!

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You have a good price range. I'd double up on the comments above that the 200p is a great serious first venture into the hobby. For many people that's the scope they have for life. It's a great all rounder, nice aperture size, easy to use, good focal length, not too fast not too slow. It'll show planets and lunar very well but due to it's aperture and focal length it'll also show you DSOs like galaxies, nebula, globular clusters and open clusters for nights where the planets are poorly placed and the moon isn't up.

I would say that it's very easy to start thinking about the 250px when shopping for a 200p and I'll warn that although the scope has more aperture than a 8" it is also much much faster and will demand a lot more from eyepieces to maintain a good view at the eyepiece.

You'll probably want a few eyepieces shortly after you start and I'd definitely advise you to use the scope with it's supplied eyepieces first for a while until you get a good feel for what you want in terms of magnifications.

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Oh and a 200p is a dobsonian mounted reflector, so that means it'll pivot close to the ground and the eyepiece can be quite low. Look into getting a height adjustable chair. You can pick up an ironing chair off of ebay for about £30 I think. Or if you observe on a patio maybe a drummers stool or something which are also height adjustable. Get the scope first and then work out how you want to observe with it and pick a chair that suits.

I bought the Mey observing stool from FLO as my scopes are all dobs or used seated like dobs, so I felt a premium seat was the only way to go.

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I have to agree that the 200p dobsonian is a great scope. I started with an 80mm goto, which, to be fair, is very portable, accurate and gives nice crisp star views, but DSO's were very difficult from my location on all but the darkest nights and it struggled with planets, so I got a 200p and haven't looked back since.

Having a Rigel Qikfinder or Telrad will help a lot once you know roughly were to look and can recognise some of the constellations, for which I'd recommend a planetarium and a comfortable reclining garden seat from which you can lean back and stare at the sky for a while.

Finally a word of caution. The maximum magnification you are likely to be able to use consistently is about x200, for which you'll need a 6mm eyepiece. This is driven by the atmosphere, not the scope. At this magnification, the planets will still be unexpectedly small at your first viewing. But I urge you to persevere. One of the pleasures of this pastime is how, over weeks and months of observing, your eye and brain will train itself to be able to resolve more and more from the view. This is one of the reasons that practical astronomy is better than looking at pictures in a book.

Good luck.

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Another word about size - the 200P is manageable, the next size up and the ones after that do get into that 'difficult to manage' territory in terms of physical size (just awkward to carry) and weight. If you do go for 250 or 300 then look at the dimensions and try to picture how big it actually will be, it's relatively easy to end up with a tube as big as a man.

An alternative to the dobsonian reflector is the SCT - this is a reflector that's been compressed into half the height using internal optics, so you get the same long focal length (good for planets) without the physical size. These are typically mounted on Alt/Az or EQ mounts on a tripod, larger ones, 8 inches and above, really need motorised tracking otherwise you'll be constantly turning knobs to keep the target in view (planets move quite quickly at high magnification - this is something all manual dob owners have to contend with, though in their case it's nudging the scope with a finger as there are no knobs to turn). You can spend money on Goto dobsonian mounts, which is useful for the larger ones for the reasons I just stated.

An SCT and tripod / mount will fold away quite well but is usually best left standing on the tripod in a corner of the room somewhere, same for a dob - it will sit in the dob mount quite happily pointing at the ceiling. What ever you decide to buy, consider where you will store it (and a couple of flight cases for eyepieces and other bits) and if you can easily transport it to other sites should you wish to get away from the suburbs or your neighbour's security light.

A quick word about SCTs - they are dew magnets, all scopes are, but SCTs seem to get it the worst so a dew shield is practically mandatory, also for those really bad winter nights (in terms of dew) a dew heater system will be required, along with a power source (required for any motorised mount, besides the lighter ones that can run on AA batteries).

Edited by jonathan
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