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help with beginner go-to for PC and DSLR

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Hi all,

I have always loved astronomy, but have always been equally cash-strapped. Always wanted to get into observation, and now I unfortunately got some inheritance money, and I intend to finally get started.

My idea is to get a versatile set-up for a beginner. I live in the city but have a couple of large windows on a high floor, with an open view on the south-hemisphere sky almost 180° from SW to S. with usually clear skies, close to the sea but dry, hot weather. 

I want a decent telescope with Go-to that I can have connected to the PC, but I would like one that can also be used for visual astronomy and daytime observation. It would be especially desirable something that could also give me the possibility of use with DSLR, since I also inherited a couple and know how to use them pretty well. However, I don't want to go crazy and spend too much, I'm looking for good value, but willing to pay a bit more for something that will attend to all those possibilities to a reasonable extent. A Scope I would be able to carry other places every once in a while would be cool, but it will probably not move too often.

I have been considering the Celestron Nextar 5SE, but I am still not sure. I do think an open reflector like a newtonian wouldn't be very good here, as we have a lot of breeze with considerable dust, so something closed and of easy maintenance would be preferable.

Any suggestions? Thank you very much in advance!

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Are you mainly interested in Lunar and planets or deep space objects as the focal length needed for each is often incompatible. Most scopes are upside down or back to front or both, so if you want it for daytime terrestial use that will limit your choices too, others will no doubt give you some model numbers.  It can be a long road, but I'm learning that taking your time and getting it right pays dividends in the long term

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I have a notion of the basics of locating and observing stars, but other than that I am pretty much a beginner, so I guess that for starters it would make more sense to go for nearer objects, moon and planets. However, for everybody (I think), deep space objects are much more fascinating, although obviously harder to see well and I probably would have to fork out more if want to go that way. The best option would probably be to focus on lunar/planets, and maybe a scope that would let me see a few DSO as well but nothing specialized on that. I don't know, that's why I'm looking for suggestions. 

Daytime terrestrial use possibility would be a bonus, not an essential requirement really. As for the mount, since I want to use it from an apartment window and the angle is limited, I can't really point too high towards the zenith, so what would be the best option? 


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I live in the city but have a couple of large windows on a high floor, with an open view on the south-hemisphere sky almost 180° from SW to S.

If you are inside or fairly restricted then a goto will be difficult. To perform an alignment they need to have open skies with the ability to locate stars for alignment in more or less any part of the sky, North, South, East and West.

It is possible to tell the scope where it is pointing and then for the scope to go from that BUT it is 100% reliant on the scope being in effect on a fixed polar aligned pillar. However you would not have that available.

Also if imaging is the main purpose then the 5SE is the wrong mount type and the wrong scope type.

You can manage a sort of alignment on a Meade with just one star or none depending on how they describe it because the Meade scope have a defined start position that is independant of the sky - they MUST start level and pointing North. If you do that accurately then the scope will assume it is perfect and goto whatever you ask on the 100% assumption that it started absolutely level and North. So no stars for this "alignment".

I am not sure similar exists on Celestron and Skywatcher, cannot say I have read of it or heard of it.

One aspect your situation is you really need a scope with a wide view to make life easy.

The other goto mounts that are around are the iOptron's.

They do one called The Cube, Cube Pro or Cube 2. These are alt/Az mounts but may have a feature like the Meade that has a defined start position - will however not be great use for imaging - Alt/Az mount again.

They also do a SmartEQ, goto and equitorial, sold sometimes with the WO ZS71 scope as a light weight imaging setup. BUT being equitorial it ill need to have Polaris visible to perform polar alignmnet.

The advantage and disadvantage of the iOptron is that the mount and scope are generally seperate and a 70-80mm refractor would be better for you then a Mak or SCT.

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I think the 5Se would be a pretty good choice. Versatile, compact and lightweight. Good planetary performance and enough aperture for the better DSO's if used with a good low power eyepiece. Also a good terrestrial instrument with a 45 degree erecting prism. Used looking through an open window, although better than looking through the glass of a closed one, is not ideal, much better to use it outside if at all possible.  :smiley:

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Thank you all for your replies!

I understand the limitations of internal use. It is a decent sized window with 3m wide each, but it is still just a window. I will definitely take it outside as much as I can, but it will be probably be used more from my apartment. The idea of connecting it to the PC is because my computer is right next to the window and that would be cool. The Go-to just looks awesome and I really wanted to try it, but if it is totally not feasible I can drop the idea. 

Imaging is definitely on my mind as I love photography but I understand the challenges and cost of taking it seriously. I do not intend to fully invest on it, just wanted to dip the toes in the water to try it out. It is not the priority, but would be cool if I managed to have a gear that allows for some experimentation with it.

What would you recommend then for internal use? what type of scope? The catadioptric cassegrains seem very versatile, also compact and light like Peter pointed out, so that is why I was initially leaning towards one, but that can change. Any suggestion is welcome!

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