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jnb

10k to spend on a scope what would you get

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No, I haven't got 10K to spend but my wife came home this evening and told me that one of her colleagues is trying to raise 10k to buy a new telescope for the school. Catch is that it needs to be portable which made me wonder what they might be considering. It's a school so there will be no VAT so that's  real budget of £12500. So what would you buy?

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no need to spend that kind of money, maybe a C14, but that would be a big scope to set up

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Apparently it's a refractor they're considering. That still seems a lot of budget for a 'scope for a school!

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a bit of an overkill for my eyes to be honest.i would be seriously concerned and worried to have a bunch of kids jumping around super expensive piece of equipment.... even a couple of grand will give them an awesome refractor.10k is serious professional level equipment and i doubt will get used that professionally.  

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A good Ha solar telescope, it could be uded by the school more often and at convenient times. :smiley: 

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in my experience, one scope = frustrated kids waiting to use it. more scopes = happier kids. there's so little to go on but you could buy three-four great dobs and a few sets of great eyepieces and filters for 10k. you could also buy a couple of psts.

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Solar scopes would be better I would think, as in the summer most scopes wont get a lot of use.

Perhaps some small easy to setup scopes (like 4/6inch maks/scts) to compliment some PSTs or other solar scope types

You might consider some camera obscuras (you can get wooden ones which are pretty robust) for an intro to solar observation safety

If they are still made the plastic galileoscopes (http://galileoscope.org/)  are a great little kit to introduce telescope making & basic ideas about lenses.

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A portable telescope sounds to me like a terrible idea for a school. It implies that it will have no permanent "home" and just be stored in a cupboard, somewhere. That's a recipe for bits to go missing, as it will be continuously (OK, a few times a year) be taken out and assembled, then dismantled and put back.

What they should consider is getting together with the local astro-soc. to choose a suitable instrument and host it at permanently the AS's observatory.

If they really are planning on a refractor, then it sounds to me like the prime mover either hasn't much idea about practical telescopes, or has a personal reason to want a big 'frac. You could make a formal approach to the school governors and offer your services as an advisor.

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I think we need a bit more detail here about what they are trying to achieve at the school. Are they kitting out an observatory? Are they preparing for an astronomy course, or part of a physics course? Are they looking for scopes to take to a dark site the school owns somewhere? The idea of offering astro consultancy services to the school is a good one - these questions can be answered (and more).

Finger in the wind I would suggest two or three different types of scope would be a good idea 1) to demonstrate the differences and 2) to help cope with numbers. £2K buys a lot of scope these days - a big'ish Cassegraine, a good size Dob, and a triplet Refractor would all fit into that budget very easily - add in a couple of half decent mounts like an NEQ6 and an AZEQ6, then they'd also have good demonstrations of different mount types.

Quick tot up takes you to around £8.5K. That leaves a good bit of budget over to accessories them and maybe fit in a modest solar scope too. And most of it is portable when broken down. But variety and flexibility will be the key I would think. :)

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in my experience, one scope = frustrated kids waiting to use it. more scopes = happier kids. there's so little to go on but you could buy three-four great dobs and a few sets of great eyepieces and filters for 10k. you could also buy a couple of psts.

Yep. Children are curious and impatient with equal measure. A small fleet of scopes, eyepieces etc would make far more impact than a single expensive scope, in my opinion :smiley:

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Certainly seems like a good plan to not just get one scope.

Maybe for the "main" scope, an SCT and get Fastar/Hyperstar and a compatible camera for it. If you've got lots of kids and not much time, f/2 imaging seems attractive. Also, if it's for science teaching, a spectrograph would seem obvious.

Then I'll second a quality solar scope, since night doesn't coincide with school hours much. Maybe even get another refractor as well for white light, and they could share a mount.

And heck, the school could get a whole bunch of Heritage 130s and loan them out, have the kids take them home for their projects. Of course finding the storage space in the school might be tricky...

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Hope they go buy several scopes of a variety of sizes and types. If not they are going around it wrong.

Any scope up at that cost will be of significant size so would need a pier to mount it on.

See no location on your signature so where about in the world is the school - there are places with small observatories and scopes that they could possibly look at to get an idea of the situation they will be facing.

If the intention is as described 10K for a scope then I think it sounds very ill thought out, 10K for 5 scopes even seems a bit high per scope I would have thought 8 scopes would have been a better target. For eyepieces they could buy 5 sets of BST's.

My "fear" is that someone has the idea of one nice big expensive scope that looks good but would end up unused and not benefit anyone really. Except perhaps the person that pushed for the purchase.

The person doing the purchasing hasn't always wanted a nice 150mm APM refractor on an EQ6 goto, backed up by some TV eyepieces have they ?

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Without making any speculation on the choice of a refractor versus any other design, or the choice of a portable instead of a fixed setup, I would recommend a Takahashi TOA 130 mounted on an EM-200 Temma 2M. Undisputed quality, great integration between scope and mount and minimal fussing over the mount setup (apart from its weight).

Current price list seem to be around £10,500. Any money left could be used to buy a few premium eyepieces.

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Hello, I agree with P.Drew, a large solar scope on a portable mount ,in my opinion, would be ideal.   The children are at school during the day, not often at night.  A Lunt 152mm Ha scope, which can also be used, without the Ha filter for normal viewing, moon etc.  Not cheap but VERY good.  John.

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depends on the school!

If we're talking a junior school, looks like someone is wanting to spend all the money for the sake of spending it!

if its a 6th form college thats heavily into science, physics, astronomy, has lots of photography clubs etc - then I can see it getting lots of use and having it portable for trips out to dark sites etc... all good stuff!

In which case i would suggest a couple of scopes so they can do observing and AP. Maybe a couple of nice 10" dobs with a couple of sets of sky watchers SWA 70deg eps for visual stuff. Then for teaching them ap, a solar scope and an ed80 with a heq5. Bung on an atik camera / guider finder etc

probably take up a chunk of the budget nicely!

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A bunch (10?) of Heritage 130p, as othersallready suggested ;-)

Easy to handle for even young kids, and as Moonshane said: One telescope for a group of Kids is borring for them, stressfull for the teacher.

Each with at least a 30/32mm Plössl (£10-20 though the kit eyepiece is OK), a 9 or 6mm 66deg eyepiece £27, and a 2x barlow for 13£.

This way No worries about expensive equipment getting touched, dropped or stolen.

As Main telescope a 5" goto or c8 or similar with solar Filter and Astrophoto.Co.uk camera + netbook or screen.

This way they can See more Details then visually while still keeping it more portable then a 12" dobsonian.

A few solar telescopes where you can't Get your head/eye into the optical path easily, perhaps something along http://starlab.com/starlab-blog/no-sunspots/ (or DIY, or a small refractor with a glued-on Filter!).

where multiple Kids (4 or more) can view at the Same time

As for DIY/Learning: Reading glasses Plus jewlers loupe work well for under 1£. And every Student can keep it. At least for younger students ideal.

http://www.ringohr.de/tmp6/lesebrillen-teleskop/bt5.jpg

For older students the Astromedia Newtonian kits (or just the optic) and the small drain pipe mount refractor could be a simple and affordable source for optics.

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The school is the local secondary. They supposedly specialise in technology but that's such a broad remit that it doesn't really tell me anything. The pupil's age range is 11-18. The teacher driving this is new to the school so I've never met them but I'm trying to arrange that now. They already want to approach STEM to work with them and as I'm already a volunteer fr STEM and my local observatory it sounds like I should be talking to them.

I have several ideas about this. One is that my wife misremembered the budget but 10K is a nice round figure that's difficult to forget, alternatively the person driving this may have no idea of current prices, or they may have a personal reason for wanting something for them to play with. What I would hope is that 10K is a total budget for equipment and not just a price for one scope. I shall have to talk to them and find out what's really happening.

Personally for 10k in that environment, I'd go with a couple of dobs, a equatorial refractor and an equatorial newt or SCT. That lot could all come in under 10k. In fact you could get 2 dobs, evo 120 / eq5, 300pds and C11 for 5k leaving 5k over (7.5 if we can ignore VAT) which would cover accessories, perhaps a solar scope. I wonder what it would cost to build a small obs? That would give them a range of kit some of which is portable and still have a small campus based obs.

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Yep. Children are curious and impatient with equal measure. A small fleet of scopes, eyepieces etc would make far more impact than a single expensive scope, in my opinion :smiley:

I suppose it depends a great deal on what the teacher's intentions are. With many small scopes, you can bet your pension that most of the time the kids will be bored as they won't be able to find whatever object they're aiming for. The teacher will be running round like a blue bottled fly trying to aim for them, fix collimation, focus, dewing, etc.  (apart from the risk assessment of a dozen++ children in the dark :evil: ) and then hoping the clouds don't roll over.

And at the end of it, what will be the outcome of the lesson?

However, if you have a single computerised scope with a camera attached - maybe something like a Mallincam and feed that through to a large monitor in the classroom you can spend almost all the lesson time teaching, rather than fixing. You could also have recordings / photos from the one hour of clear sky that week, and use that during the daytime, too.

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I think you need to get as much as you can out of the minimum number of instruments. We have loads of telescopes at the Astronomy Centre, three of them in their own observatories, our problem is having enough experienced "staff" to operate them when we are busy. As mentioned, one teacher would be run off his/her feet trying to supervise several setups.  Modern youngsters are used to screen images so would feel at home with electronic cameras providing almost realtime presentations that a group could view simultaneously, the solar dimension would cover daytime potential and an off the shelf instrument would be perfectly safe. :smiley:

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I think if this is for the kids ( and not a personal scope for the teacher) then it should be treated like an outreach event. You don't need a huge scope, but a few useable ones., that can be used by a few children at a time, or viewed by many.

I would suggest a Lunt 60T and a pst for solar obs and a few pairs of solar glasses. A SW ED80 Pro kit+reducer and a portable SCT or MAK. A couple of goto mounts and a few ep's and barlows. Add a Mallincam extreme and a DMK and you can display on a big screen for group viewing.

With a bit of technical help from the IT folks you could probably download straight to the network so that everyone could view on a laptop or iPad on the school network. This would give you summer solar and winter night obs with a handful of kids or a whole class, and still be well within budget.

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