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JOC

What do I need to buy please?

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Budget = approx. £500

I want a useful set-up for a dark countryside garden, but don't want to end up having to buy extras like mounts for camera's, better magnifiers, a computerised drive to keep the instrument automatically aligned, a suitable tripod.  I want something of fair decent quality that is going to allow me to look at more than just the moon - a decent view of something like Jupiter would be good and maybe some decently detailed nebulas.  Can I buy a kit that will contain all this sort of equipment for the price I am looking at (as I won't be able to work it all out myself or work out what else I might need to buy after I get the initial instrument) and can you please suggest some instruments/kits that I might find it useful to look at please.  I have no time to get involved in visiting experts and societies - I just want a semi-decent set-up I can use in my own time in my own garden.  Can this forum help please?

Edited by JOC

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If you don't want a computerised one then I can almost  guarantee that about 90% of people are going to recommend getting the skywatcher 8" dobsonion. Fantastic scope and ready to, it also comes in well below your budget which will give you left over pennies to upgrade your eyepieces. I know you said that you don't want to have to faff around with extras but believe me upgrading eyepieces is one if those 'if you can you should' things as they are important as the scope when it comes to the optics. Hope this helps

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This would be my shopping list:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/telrad-finder-astronomy.html

http://www.telescopehouse.com/eyepieces/televue-eyepieces/televue-plossls/televue-15mm-plossl-eyepiece-1-25.html

http://www.telescopehouse.com/eyepieces/televue-eyepieces/televue-plossls/televue-11mm-plossl-eyepiece-1-25.html

 

Thats £492

Then later this:

http://www.telescopehouse.com/eyepieces/televue-eyepieces/televue-plossls/televue-25mm-plossl-eyepiece-1-25.html

£110

 

In fact if you look on astro buy sell & here in the sale section you could probably get all 3 eyepieces for around £200 keeping you in budget !

The scope comes with a few but they won't be good ones to keep you interested. 

 

Edited by jabeoo1

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5 minutes ago, jabeoo1 said:
 

Good advice above I think. I also found this book helpful https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/turn-left-at-orion-book.html 

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Happy person here - that's the sort of replies I needed - a shopping list!  X will work with Y and you could also have fun with Z.  I assume that if I bought all these bits its reasonably self explanatory where they all fit together?  If I purchased all those links above they don't appear to include a tripod - I assume I'd need a tripod?  Any thoughts on that please?

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7 minutes ago, JOC said:

Happy person here - that's the sort of replies I needed - a shopping list!  X will work with Y and you could also have fun with Z.  I assume that if I bought all these bits its reasonably self explanatory where they all fit together?  If I purchased all those links above they don't appear to include a tripod - I assume I'd need a tripod?  Any thoughts on that please?

Yep its obvious where all the bits fit, you will get the hang of it quickly.  A 'dobsonian' telescope does not need a tripod :) it has a mount (see the image again and look how the tube is slotted onto a base with a pivot point, it can be steered around the sky.....easy !  Its a great invention.  

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Before you jump in and press the buy button I suggest you check up on Dobsonian Telescopes, judging by your initial enquiry you dont want to be fussed with this that and the other. There is some minor maintenance on these types of scopes , its called collimation, its an easy process but still , it requires attention now and again  

These telescopes do not have a tripod , it sits on its own base which require you to build , its simple and easy 

Edited by cosmojaydee
spillinj misteakes

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Also if you decide to get another scope, or swap one for another one those Televue eyepieces are really really seriously good in any scope.  They are life-time keeper.  I love them !

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2 minutes ago, cosmojaydee said:

Before you jump in and press the buy button I suggest you check up on Dobsonian Telescopes, judging by your initial enquiry you dont want to be fussed with this that and the other. There is some minor maintenance on these types of scopes , its called collimation, its an easy process but still , it requires attention now and again  

All true, but a refractor with enough aperture for decent views of planets and nebulae with a mount a 3 decent eyepieces for £500?  Can it be done?  I am unsure. 

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1 minute ago, cosmojaydee said:

If the OP wants to keep it as simple as possible then I would suggest a good pair of binoculars :)

But they won't show the kinds of targets the OP wants to see, Jupiter etc

To be clear, and for the avoidance of any doubt, the 200P dob is a great starter scope which can serve you well for years. It is totally manual though, so you have to find and track targets yourself, and is not suitable for astrophotography. If either of these are issues then you need some different answers, so do let us know!

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All great advice and one other small thing is to check you have somewhere to store it indoors? Turn left at Orion is a great book and I recommend it thoroughly. I would supplement it though with planetarium software. There are free apps or some available for a small fee. I say this because when you use the app you will realise that the planets are poorly placed for viewing at our latitudes for some time to come. Jupiter is best placed but not for much longer.

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11 minutes ago, Stu said:

But they won't show the kinds of targets the OP wants to see, Jupiter etc

To be clear, and for the avoidance of any doubt, the 200P dob is a great starter scope which can serve you well for years. It is totally manual though, so you have to find and track targets yourself, and is not suitable for astrophotography. If either of these are issues then you need some different answers, so do let us know!

Yes you will probably also need a book or two, planisphere and possible a free software program called 'stellarium' to help you find targets- but we can go into more detail with all that when your ready-concentrate on one thing at a time me thinks!!

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19 minutes ago, Stu said:

But they won't show the kinds of targets the OP wants to see, Jupiter etc

To be clear, and for the avoidance of any doubt, the 200P dob is a great starter scope which can serve you well for years. It is totally manual though, so you have to find and track targets yourself, and is not suitable for astrophotography. If either of these are issues then you need some different answers, so do let us know!

 

 

6 minutes ago, popeye85 said:

Yes you will probably also need a book or two, planisphere and possible a free software program called 'stellarium' to help you find targets- but we can go into more detail with all that when your ready-concentrate on one thing at a time me thinks!!

 

 

I think the op needs to be more definitive if it's visual or Astro photography he wishes to concentrate, before he buys .As  these have different answers up to a point. And on limited budget one scope does not really do it all . Also do you wish to star hop to locate objects or want a goto tracking system?

Is its AP you are into you probably are looking for something like an ed80 frac on a eq mount . Or something like a C 9.25 . May need to buy kit used to get on your budget. Need big budgets usually when doing Ap, So as the list of kit gets large and expensive 

If it's visual then is more your game then you will get more bang for your buck with a reflector. A skywatcher 200p on dob mount or push the aperture a bit more and go for a 250 or 300p second hand . Great scope and will see you from beginner to advanced. But check size of dob as these do get small adult size . The advantages of getting bigger aperture is you get more light in and therefore can magnifying the image more .   

As for eyepieces then some used skywatcher Nirvana or William Optics uwan would be worth considering.

Tracking systems obviously cost more money than manual tracking system so you could be spending a great deal on a tracking system and this can take money away from your scope. 

The above gives you an idea of what's available, but really you do need to decide your prime interest and if your budget can accommodate.

I hope the above helps☺

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The impression I get is that they are just after a basic scope for observing that they can just go to as and when.

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OK, all sorts of very valid questions/observations.  In no particular order.

Stellarium - I think we already have this downloaded on a computer and have played with it.

The ex. had a reflector - no idea which one, but I recall that it wasn't that cheap.  It came on a tripod, but had nothing to automatically find things to view and you had to position it manually and move it manually to track the movement of the item being viewed.  More than a slight movement and you tended to lose things very easily.  IIRC there was nothing to dial in a particular direction/azimuth setting so it was roughly find in the sky by eye what you wanted to see and then find it.  It was also somewhat prone to moving in any sort of wind.  Rather hit and miss I found and I'd be looking for something easier and automated if I could run to it.  It did give an excellent view of the moon and we could see about 4 moons around Jupiter.  Venus appeared as a slightly elongated disk.  I'd like to see slightly more detail than that if I could.

An instrument that requires me to build my own stand???  To build such a stand that wouldn't wobble seems to imply to me that I'd need to create quite a solid object - sounds heavy and wooden - this sounds fairly non-portable???  Do you end up with a static object in the garden that stays there all the time and you just take the instrument to it when you use it?  With the refractor you set it all up when it was needed - took the tripod outside, instrument on top of it etc.  I presume that this sort of instrument is not in any way (wet) weather proof - I'd kind of expect to move it inside when it wasn't being used.  In terms of storage we used to store the reflector in an indoor room, is a warm environment preferred or can these items stand storage in a garage - either is not a problem, but a garage could be easier.

What do I want it for, well we have a portion of the family that just wants to find interesting things and 'look and wonder', but I have a 'teen' with a very keen theoretical interest who might get into school courses

Eyepieces - these are starting to sound the real crux of things.  We just used what the reflector came with.  Does the magnification of the eyepiece improve the detail or just the size of what you view?  I assume the resolution is down to the size/aperture of the scope whilst the size of the viewed image is down the magnification of the eye-piece - so what is the best combination?  It would be great to take photos, but only if the quality of the view was worth taking pictures of.  Canon digital SLR is available.  Is the fitting for an eyepiece a standard size i.e. are most eyepieces interchangeable?

Does this information help to provide more focussed advice?  Many thanks

Edited by JOC

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The base will come with the scope you just have to put it together abit like flat pack.You can use a modified web cam to get pictures.

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Ok, sounds like you are after something with goto, and more portable than a dob.

I shall stick my neck out, and blow your budget at the same time ;)

Here you go:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series/celestron-nexstar-6se.html

This has goto, enough aperture to show you good lunar and planetary views, plus the brighter/smaller DSOs. It has a longish focal ratio so is quite easy on eyepieces so cheaper ones will work well.

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Super giant, now that looks like its getting closer to what I had in mind.  A tripod based system is an easy thing to work with and the video suggests that it wouldn't be difficult to put together.  You have guessed right - an ideal budget is around £500, but if I can't get something that I will find easy to use and that gives the sorts of results that I'll get something out of then I'd be paying £500 for something I probably won't get a lot of use out of.  On the other hand that sort of kit seems attractive to set up and use and sounds like it would give me a fair view of things including DSO's (deep sky objects - yes?  Got to love Google haven't you!).  I've got some cash about to come my way in about 6 weeks and in the big scheme of things what's another £300 if I was going to blow £500 - I could save £100, but just not buying fireworks this year!  So that celestron nexstar 6se - that's reasonable kit is it?  There is no point in really reading online reviews - you never know whose written them, but a public forum probably has less of an axe to grind.  I presume it would meet the requirements of both those that just want to look and wonder and a 'teen' who might want to make some serious observations?  NB.  I am very competent with the IT side of things and we are a household of scientists if not astronomers yet! 

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The Nexstar 6 SE is a very good all round scope with go-to. It will however consume a lot of AA batteries; most people use an external 12v power source, either a rechargeable battery unit available from auto accessory shops, or if you use it near to the house etc., a extension lead and 240-12v adapter.

The Nexstar 6SE comes with one eyepiece - a reasonable (but not exceptional) 25mm which will give a magnification of x60. For the Moon, planets, double stars etc you may want a couple of eyepieces in the x120 to x180 range. This type of scope has a slow focal ratio, which basically means it will work well with most eyepieces and there's no need to spend a fortune. The BST Explorer line are very well considered by many people on this forum and represent excellent value:

http://www.365astronomy.com/8mm-BST-Explorer-ED-Eyepiece.html

http://www.365astronomy.com/12mm-BST-Explorer-ED-Eyepiece.html

A small accessory you might want to include in your initial order is a Moon filter, this reduces the glare from the Moon and, for many people, makes for more comfortable viewing. http://www.365astronomy.com/365Astronomy-ND06-Neutral-Density-Filter-with-25-Transmission-1.25-M28-ND96-0.6.html

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4 hours ago, jabeoo1 said:

......the selection from jabeoo1 is sound. I own the 200P, my first eyepiece was the  8mm BST Starguider, no regrets whatsoever with this combination. The supplied 25mm works well enough to keep a little longer, but the 8mm replaces the supplied 10mm!
Over the TeleVue brand the Starguider has much better eye relief and a wider field of view, its just a more comfortable eyepiece to use and won't break the bank. I also own the 11mm TeleVue, I'd still pick the 8mm Starguider. £275+49, Done and setup up for Christmas! and the start of the 2017 season?

A Dobsonian mounted, Newtonian Telescope  is as easy as they come to use and setup. 

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Here's another one to consider- this is the scope I have and it is a grand piece of kit! You will need a power pack but that will be the case for any GOTO system you are after. The freedom find I'd a great feature and I can only recommend it.

 

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200mm SW dob, 24mm ES 82,Baader 18mm,10mm Classic ortho, Baader Q barlow, Cheshire collimation tool and a Rigel Quickfinder. FLO has it all.

I would also purchase an Astronomik OIII filter for nebula work with the 24mm ES 82. A map like the Sky and Telescope Pocket Atlas would be a good addition too.

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Nexstar 6 SE or Sky watcher star discovery 150P there appears to be a significant difference in price for two 6" instruments - can someone explain the probable quality differences and if one is better than the other and why please?

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The star discovery is better I feel because the mount is fluid the one mount can be full goto, or just use it for tracking, or just use it totally manual you move the telescope in your hands, freedom find gives great flexability of use. And on the non eq challenge thread a member is imaging to the full limits of a alt-az mount (telescope would need focuser mod but could use dslr with lens straight away) (another member is using the 6SE mount too but with a refractor) And price very keen.

The two telescopes are very different.

150p is a reflector has wider field of view good general purpose 

6SE is an SCT narrower field of view very long focal length better for plannets less good for wide DSOs

Edited by happy-kat
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