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Looking for my first scope


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Hi All,

 

I have been given a really cheap 700x76 scope with what may as well be bamboo canes for legs which allows me to see the lines on Jupiter and rings of Saturn albeit the size of a pin head and a bit blurry. My kids loved it so we need to move upwards.

I have seen a meade starnavigator 130 that I can get under £200 but cannot find much on them. Are these any good?

Will start with planets and then some dso and the goto mount should help us learn more about stars and positions.

 

Thanks,

Mark.

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Mark - there's a huge choice in this sphere, and you'll get a wide range of views.  I've just got a second 'scope - a Skywatcher Startravel 120 - which gives great panoramic views, and moderate magnification.  A Barlow lens will increase that for planetary use.  It comes on a serviceable mount, for under £250, and is not too long.  You can get a 102 for under £200.  (I would recommend the alt-az mount rather than the equatorial - much easier to use.)

I would say that a GoTo 'scope will cost a lot more, and my main 'scope has this feature.  It's great, but doesn't really help you find your way round very much.  An app on a tablet shows you the main objects in the sky, then you can really find your bearings with your 'scope and a Sky Atlas.

Have fun, and be prepared to let the moths out of your wallet!

Doug.

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Thanks gnoumus,

I was looking at these but as I am limited for viewing space in my back garden I need something portable and was under the impression these are not. I should invest in a chainsaw and improve my views.

As I live on the somerset levels light pollution is not an issue. My village has two street lights so I do get very clear nights but need to move 5 mins up the road for a really good 360 view.

 

Also I was not sure on the spec need for an external power supply for the meade.

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No worries.  These Dobs are relatively bulky, but are perhaps less heavy than they appear.  You may find that a 'smaller' scope/mount could be heavier and more difficult to lug around.   

If it is mainly moon and planets you are after then aperture might not be so important and focal length may be more so, since these things tend to be quite bright.  If you want the fainter DSOs then aperture is king, and focal length less important (many of these objects are huge).  

Whatever you do buy, be prepared to spend a bit more on 'accessories'.  Books such as 'Turn Left At Orion' and/or 'Nightwatch' would be useful.  I hope you have already found and downloaded Stellarium (which is free) and I use Sky Safari on my iPad (which is not free).  If you get a Dob you will need to have some tools to help you colllimate it, and you may find that something like a Telrad would be handy.  

GOTOs are great but they do need to be set up correctly, and you may still find that you need something like a Telrad to help you find your 'alignment' stars.  I'd agree that an AltAz mount is simpler to set up than a GEM.  I might be tempted to spring for something on the NexStar platform if I was going for a GOTO, but that is quite a step up price-wise.   

I find that the astronomy game is quite difficult enough, and I became frustrated fighting with sub-standard equipment.  Of course, you can go mad but I would counsel thinking long and hard and buying the best quality you can afford - indeed,I would suggest that you spend just a little more than you can afford. :evil4: 

 

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51 minutes ago, spillage said:

Thanks gnoumus,

I was looking at these but as I am limited for viewing space in my back garden I need something portable and was under the impression these are not. I should invest in a chainsaw and improve my views.

As I live on the somerset levels light pollution is not an issue. My village has two street lights so I do get very clear nights but need to move 5 mins up the road for a really good 360 view.

 

Also I was not sure on the spec need for an external power supply for the meade.

The Starnavigator 130 is a Jones-Bird catadioptric newtonian reflector telescope which uses a combination of spherical primary mirror and a corrector lens to achieve a focal length of 1000mm and corrects the spherical aberrations of the spherical primary mirror.  The optical design is not as good as a classic newtonian and are more difficult to collimate.

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My opinion here is if you are looking to spend sub £200 to introduce you & the kids to the hobby go for this:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-skyhawk-1145p.html

I started with this telescope. For £124 its unbeatable!. I paid £280 for the scope 20 years ago, and did a huge amount of astronomy & learning with it. The left over money will allow the purchase of some eyepieces, which will be worth buying I assure you to get the most from the scope. So with all that in mind, lastly an astronomy book to help you. Below is a link to wonderful book to start you out.

http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/9780713679397?gclid=CLXyoNmzp80CFRG3Gwod0QoDIw

Welcome.. and Clear Skies to you

Rob

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To help advise for a family telescope it would help knowing your children's age range. Some telescopes will be totally wrong for a 5 year old for example. The mount used also falls into this. A young child may struggle with an eq mount as the eyepiece if the telescope is a reflector will go in strange places.

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I would invest in a Dobsonian as a start up scope. Good imaging for your investment, point & view operations will negate the foreseeable early frustration that comes with EQ mounts. 

These scopes are portable, easy to store & will satisfy early stage expectations. Used equipment from a dealer could save you money, eBay or Gumtree sellers ought to be considered, all my scopes were 'used' & I think most astronomical equipment is generally well cared for, in my experience that is.

Clear Skies...

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Agreed, a dobsonian is probably one of the best "first scopes" available.

As many already said, even if they do look bulky, they're actually not that heavy, and most importantly they are extreamly easier to assemble - unless you have a truss version, which is often still easier than an EQ mount.

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I have now taken the plunge and purchased a celestron 127slt used a couple of times with a neximage 5 and starwatcher power pack plus other bits for just over £300. Will have to wait until next week to give it a test run. Thank you for all the advise and will keep saving to also purchase a big app dobsonian (after I get some good quality eyepieces).

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Sounds like a good choice. The AZ mount will be easy to understand for children and the scope is very portable. You don't need to collimate it either.

You are very lucky that you have dark skies, they are seldom. In dark skies this telescope can easily see the Messier objects.

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