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Hi All,

I have aways wanted to start exploring the sky and now have the time to start. I have never owned a telescope so the first thing I will be looking into is what is a good one to start with on a budget of £200. I have read so many articles that I think I have totally confused myself. Any advice would be very welcome. My wife also wants to get involved. I posted this in the welcome forum but was advised that I may get a better response here.

Many thanks

Les

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Welcome to the forum. Have you considered a set of binoculars at all as an introduction to astronomy? Not everyone gets on with them, I find the wobble distracting, but it's a cheap and easy way to dip your toe into astronomy. Otherwise, a small dobsonian scope would give you the best bang for your buck as the mount is simple.

I can recommend the free software planetarium Stellarium, if you give it your location it will show you what is visible in your local sky at any time.

Edited by Knight of Clear Skies
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To help you choose, other members will probably want to know, what kind of things do you want to look at, how portable does it need to be, imaging or just visual, where are you going to store it, does it need to be easy to set up or do you want to do some setting up. Sorry about the big list xD

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I would say the Sky Watcher Evostar 90 on the EQ3-2 mount from FLO.

Little above £200, it is £230.

But not too big, easy to use, no maintenance, think it is f/10 so easy on eyepieces.

Make sure that the idea of an EQ mount is not going to make you not use the scope, some people look at them and (metaphorically) run for the hills.

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Hi Les and welcome to SGL :)

I'd recommend that you look for used equipment on your budget. You should get a nice 8" dobsonian for just under £200 or there abouts for a scope under 2yrs old and in good working condition. It's a bit better than a starter scope of smaller aperture and will show you most objects of interest in the deep sky as well as planets/moon. Plus they're a doddle to use once you get accustomed to searching for stuff. Something like this might appeal:

http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=97446

Hope that helps. :)

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If you do end up wanting to go down the 8" dob route there is also one on Astroboot's Bargain Zone at the moment for £225 - free postage. It's good advice to buy used if you can as if you don't like what you've bought you won't suffer as much of a hit if you sell it later compared to buying something new.

There's lots to think about though as it depends what you want. There are pros and cons to everything!

Keep asking questions and good luck!

Graham.

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As your wife wishes to get involved if you got yourself binoculars you might  put your heads

very close together each using one eyepiece. You would then see the same things to discuss.

Would also make for a very cosy and intimate astronomical relationship. :grin:

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Hi Les,

The used dob on ASB&S is also in Woodley, so should not be far away. I would also say find your local astro group and go along to one of their meets. You may be able to see what suits you both best.

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Thanks for all the advice so far. I am going to take a look at the second hand market as suggested. The 8 in Dobsonian in Woodley is close to me in Wokingham

So I may see if I can take a look at the weekend. Can't make it before then. I don't know what I will be looking at to begin with but it seems from the advice that this scope would be a good starting point. I would be using it in the back garden and we back onto a field with no street lights so the view of the sky can be good. Also looking at software for PC but would also like to know if anyone can recommend any Android Apps for a tablet that would help with mapping as it would be handy to have the tablet near the scope.when I use it. Could this scope stand on a table when it's used ? and will it need much setting up and servicing.

Thanks for the kind comments and help. Really looking forward to getting started.

Les

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Thanks for all the advice so far. I am going to take a look at the second hand market as suggested. The 8 in Dobsonian in Woodley is close to me in Wokingham

So I may see if I can take a look at the weekend. Can't make it before then. I don't know what I will be looking at to begin with but it seems from the advice that this scope would be a good starting point. I would be using it in the back garden and we back onto a field with no street lights so the view of the sky can be good. Also looking at software for PC but would also like to know if anyone can recommend any Android Apps for a tablet that would help with mapping as it would be handy to have the tablet near the scope.when I use it. Could this scope stand on a table when it's used ? and will it need much setting up and servicing.

Thanks for the kind comments and help. Really looking forward to getting started.

Les

the cosmos celestron navigator has been very helpful for me, it is free and works great on my Android phone!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.celestron.cosmos_navigator

just search for cosmos navigator on google play and you should be able to find it!

Edited by Gutross
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As an owner of an 8" dob myself, I can safely say that they are really easy to maintain. However, it will need collimating every now and again, you'll find several threads on here about it and various YouTube videos. It will be too large to put on a table as it is about 1.5 metres tall when vertical. Other than collimation it shouldn't need much maintenance, however the condition of the mirror may change this. Dust is normally okay (mine has a layer over it but still gets good views) Dobsonians don't need much setting up either. They can be moved in two parts the ota (tube) and the Base, then the two sticks screw into the sides. From there it is just point and view! I don't know if that one you're looking at has a telrad finder, but if it does then there are websites where there are charts that you can download and print which have the telrad circles on it, these are what I use when observing. I use Cartes du ciel on PC (don't worry it is in english) on tablet and phone I use stellarium (which is free on Apple products but costs on android)

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Hello les,

have you thought about skywatcher heritage 130.

They are ballpark 130 new and can go on a table/builders bucket. Or can go on an alt az mount (134 for mount at rother valley optics)

I am looking at getting one as a secondry scope as its pretty much ready to go out the box and dont take much room.

there is also the heritage 100 at about 90 new.

these are both table top dobsonians.

Al

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dWell I took the plunge and got the Skywatcher 200p that was up for sale near me.  Its bigger that I thought but is in great condition and the seller was very helpful. Now need to read the manual and spend some time setting it up.  Not going to rush things like I sometimes do.  Have found a couple of useful aps that are on my phone and tablet that will help with locating things.  I really am a complete novice but I can see that there will be help available here when I need it.  Many thanks for all the advice and I will be back with more questions I am sure.

Les [/ size]

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hi mate you have got youself a good scope skywatchers are well made and easy to use, you are going to see some amazing stuff from planets to nebs to cluster and just about everything else.i wish you clear skys...charl.

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Can't go wrong with a pair of 10x50 binoculars, a constellation wheel or pocket sky atlas, and a GOOD and STURDY pistol-grip tri-pod. Will teach you the constellations & cosmos and how to star-hop, which is crucial with a telescope, which will cost much more usually. Can get good binoculars, a star atlas, and a tri-pod for $200-300 easy. Personally I used the Pentax 10x50 binoculars with Ravelli pistol-grip tri-pod and a Pocket Sky Atlas and discovered all of the winter Messier objects with that. A GREAT intro book is 'NIGHT WATCH' by Terrence Dickinson, will teach you quite a bit and I recommend this before you even get started. Also serves as a star atlas to compliment binoculars or a cheap scope. 

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dWell I took the plunge and got the Skywatcher 200p that was up for sale near me.  Its bigger that I thought but is in great condition and the seller was very helpful. Now need to read the manual and spend some time setting it up.  Not going to rush things like I sometimes do.  Have found a couple of useful aps that are on my phone and tablet that will help with locating things.  I really am a complete novice but I can see that there will be help available here when I need it.  Many thanks for all the advice and I will be back with more questions I am sure.

Les [/ size]

I wholeheartedly recommend the book NIGHT WATCH by Terrence Dickinson and the POCKET SKY ATLAS and STELLARIUM computer program (free) to compliment your endeavors! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

At long last I got into the garden last night for the first real atempt at using my scope. Took some time to get organised an I was not expecting to much as I stil need to study where thing are. Had a quick look round and then found Saturn and that was it. Could not belive what I was seeing. Just followed until it disappeared behind a tall tree. If this is anything to go by I will be staying up late on clear nights. My son got me Turn Left at Orian for fathers day and that looks like it's going to be a big help. Do I need a barlow? I used the 10mm EP and the image was quite small but very clear. Should not say this but looking forward to winter as last night waited till 10.30 befor starting.

Les

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At long last I got into the garden last night for the first real atempt at using my scope. Took some time to get organised an I was not expecting to much as I stil need to study where thing are. Had a quick look round and then found Saturn and that was it. Could not belive what I was seeing. Just followed until it disappeared behind a tall tree. If this is anything to go by I will be staying up late on clear nights. My son got me Turn Left at Orian for fathers day and that looks like it's going to be a big help. Do I need a barlow? I used the 10mm EP and the image was quite small but very clear. Should not say this but looking forward to winter as last night waited till 10.30 befor starting.

Les

Good to hear. Nobody ever forgets their first look at Saturn. Trying to keep your interest levels up will be a challenge, I mean how many times can you look at Saturn. I've found the more you learn about the night sky, the more you want to get out there and have a look.

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