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Check out FLO, our site sponsors. You also need to confirm if you want this mainly for planetary viewing or deep space objects, the scope choice may be different depending on your answer.

Good luck,


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hi, yes for planetary and deep space purposes, I live in a very small village with a very high out of the way back garden the light pollution is very low and clear night sky's are amazing, so would like some thing to put on my table or on a tripod instead of holding up my Celestron Skymaster 20 X 80 Binoculars, thanks for the advice

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Your high back garden sounds intriguing, might want to consider will it be easy to take a telescope and mount to your observing location. Some set ups are heavier than others.

Free software to help locate objects is stellarium.

Edited by happy-kat
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It's probably not necessary to say, but just in case, I'd suggest that you buy your first set up from a specialist telescope shop that can provide advice and an ongoing service – not from ebay and not from some supermarket or photographic store where the staff will generally have no knowledge of what they are selling. If you haven't already had a peek, First Light Optics comes highly recommended as one of Great Britain's top class astronomy shops and, of course, SGL can help out a lot :grin: .

When looking around at your new potential purchase, although there are excellent reasons to buy a refractor the general precept is that aperture rules and so you'll find that if a visual newcomer asks 'what should I buy?' 99% of those answers are always going to suggest the biggest Newtonian (reflector) you can afford and carry about, and more than likely a Newtonian which is Dobsonian mounted rather than GEM (EQ) mounted, simply because the former mounts are generally easier to use and set up and are cheaper, so in effect you're putting more money into the optics and less into the mount.

After you've got your scope with its supplied EPs (usually a 10mm and 25mm) you will want to get a couple more eyepieces, but do that after you've practiced a little. That way you'll be able to make a much more informed enquiry and decision. But, if you do decide to buy a Newtonian, your telescope will require collimation. You will need a special tool to do this, so you ought to budget yourself for a Cheshire which are about another £30.

Another thing to look out for are astronomy sketches. You can find them on SGL at the observing sections and imaging/sketching section, or a from many sites on the web. If you have a look at the type of telescope from which the sketch was made this is the kind of thing you will see when observing from a telescope of similiar aperture. From time to time folk do crop up who are very disappointed with astronomy-stargazing, they thought they were going to see those colourful galaxies and nebulae and wide and super bright globular clusters seen in the photos, only to see a fuzzy in grey, a planet the size of a pea.

If possible, try to get along to a local astronomy club and look through the type of telescope you think you may purchase and see if the view meets your expectations. Most stargazers will be only too happy to help.

I hope this helps a little and please don't hesitate in asking more questions :grin:

Oh, and welcome to SGL, Mike :icon_salut:

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