Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

stargazine_ep29_banner.thumb.jpg.da7f3b163f7bd35187cb558b0346baf6.jpg

EnceladusEuropa

First telescope - which one to buy !?

Recommended Posts

Greetings !

I am what you would call a novice to telescopes but not a stranger to astronomy as I've studies it in my spare time for years now however I am i need of some advice as to what telescope to purchase as a first time buyer. My price range would be between £40.00 - £70.00 . I've been looking at a few and some have caught my eye , so i'll post up with the ones I've seen and I would appreciate any feedback . I am primarily looking for a telescope that can see planets , in detail as far away as Jupiter and Saturn !

Thank you in advance !:coffee22:

 

  • Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ
  • Celestron Astromaster 70AZ
  • Sky-Watcher Mercury 607

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of the three you mention, the Astromaster 70 would in theory be slightly better, with 10mm more aperture (70mm compared to 60mm).

However, to be quite honest, no new telescope at this price range is going to give particularly good views of the planets. Keep an eye out for second-hand - as a very minimum I would recommend 80mm aperture for a refractor telescope (lenses) and perhaps 114mm for a reflecting telescope (mirrors).

Unfortunately cheap telescopes not only have small apertures, they are generally intended for a public without a specialised interest in astronomy. Hence quality is often an issue, and eyepieces, focusers, finders etc. can be very poor, and you will risk being disappointed.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Putaendo Patrick said:

Of the three you mention, the Astromaster 70 would in theory be slightly better, with 10mm more aperture (70mm compared to 60mm).

However, to be quite honest, no new telescope at this price range is going to give particularly good views of the planets. Keep an eye out for second-hand - as a very minimum I would recommend 80mm aperture for a refractor telescope (lenses) and perhaps 114mm for a reflecting telescope (mirrors).

Unfortunately cheap telescopes not only have small apertures, they are generally intended for a public without a specialised interest in astronomy. Hence quality is often an issue, and eyepieces, focusers, finders etc. can be very poor, and you will risk being disappointed.

 

Ah , thank you for the info is there any telescope in particular you would recommend for a first time buyer with a budget ? thanks 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started with a Meade Infinity 70 (AZ) Refractor - very easy to use, and it gave reasonable results with the Moon, some double stars, Orion Nebula, some larger clusters, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.  And inexpensive.

But I soon wanted something better.  Why not use binoculars at first, and meanwhile save for something a bit better?

Doug.

Edited by cloudsweeper
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe you can find one of these below as a second hand for a good price.

This Bresser tends to go for 50 euros on a Dutch second hand site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bresser-telescope-Skylux-EL-900/dp/B00ALNC356/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1475495036&sr=1-2&keywords=bresser+skylux+70+700

This reflector is slightly bigger and reflectors are relatively cheap:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skywatcher-HERITAGE-130P-Dobsonian-Telescope/dp/B005KIXM66

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can get over to Dundee, you might take a look at a second-hand Celestron Powerseeker 80 EQ currently on Ebay for 69.99 pounds "buy it now": http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Celestron-Powerseeker-80eq-Telescope-/282182489246?hash=item41b363149e:g:EsQAAOSwzaJX3wYc  Certainly not the bargain of the century, but a fair price nevertheless for a telescope which will be a considerable improvement over a 60mm refractor (providing of course it really is in perfect, like-new condition :icon_biggrin:). 

Two problems with this scope are 1. the mount is not especially solid and 2. the high magnification eyepiece is rather poor. However in the future you should be able to pick up an inexpensive second-hand 6mm Plossl-design eyepiece for about 20 pounds or less which will perform much better and give a magnification of x150 - useful for observing planets. The tripod can be made more stable by hanging a weight (for example a heavy bottle of water) down from the centre.

You should also take Celestron's idea of magnification power with a very large pinch of salt. Maximum magnifications in the UK are often limited to about x200 due to atmospheric conditions, and the telescopes themselves are roughly limited to magnifications of about double the aperture in mm. About x160 in this case. The Barlow designed to increase magnifications by x3 will be virtually useless.

Another misleading feature of Celestron's packaging of this telescope are the fantastic photos, taken from multi-million pound professional observatories. What you will see will be far less impressive! Even so, you should get quite good views of Jupiter and Saturn - which will really be breathtaking the first time you see them for yourself!

Any telescope will benefit enormously from dark skies, and this is very true for smaller scopes. If you can get away from big city light pollution, this type of telescope can provide some very impressive observation.

Edited by Putaendo Patrick
Spelin & Grama
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys I'll keep those scopes in mind when making my purchase which I will hopefully be doing in the next couple of weeks once I get my scope I'll be sure to let you know which one I picked up as I'm a newbie to telescopes.

 

Thanks again ! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently sold my lovingly cared for Skywatcher Evostar 90mm refractor for just £80 (practically new condition which cost £135 new). This was a great scope, one I miss due to it's portability and quick set up for planetary viewing. Keep a look out on here and ebay, I have a feeling there are a few brands putting their name on this scope (although I might be wrong) so keep your eyes peeled, but for your budget I would definitely go bigger and second hand rather than new and smaller.

Edited by Jimtheslim
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A difficult position to be in - trying to find a usable scope on that budget.  Your best bet, as others suggest, may be some careful brand-name second-hand shopping.  Even though value for money has improved over the decades, astronomy is still an expensive hobby. A good-quality eyepiece on its own costs £50.

As an alternative, consider spending the money on a pair of binoculars, or a spotting scope, which you could also use by day.

Some people recommend the 70/700 mm refractors sold by the Lidl supermarket from time to time as a good starter scope. (They sell for around £60-£70.) I had one, and it was certainly great value for money, as most of the components, including the mount, were no worse than you might get in a kit costing three times as much.  I eventually upgraded because I was dissatisfied with the optical performance (I later acquired a vintage 70mm brass Ross refractor which has a much better objective lens), and because I was frustrated at being unable to find some fainter objects (a Goto scope fixed that.)

I sold the Lidl scope on Ebay as I needed the space, and got about £25 for it, then rather wished I'd kept the accessories which were worth more than that. :-(

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Jimtheslim said:

I recently sold my lovingly cared for Skywatcher Evostar 90mm refractor for just £80 (practically new condition which cost £135 new). This was a great scope, one I miss due to it's portability and quick set up for planetary viewing. Keep a look out on here and ebay, I have a feeling there are a few brands putting their name on this scope (although I might be wrong) so keep your eyes peeled, but for your budget I would definitely go bigger and second hand rather than new and smaller.

I have to agree that 90mm is the smallest size aperture to get good views of planets and the moon. My first telescope was a skywatcher evostar 90 and can make out 3 or 4 bands on Jupiter and just about make out the outline of the great red spot on nights with exceptionally good viewing conditions. On the moon it is extremely good. If you ate new the astronomy and on a budget a good start would be to use binoculars but as far as the planets are concerned the best to expect is to make out Jupiter about 2 or 3 mm round and the 4 moons  as small dots. It would be a good idea if you could find a local astronomy club and have a look through some members equipment to see what to expect before making a purchase 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/4/2016 at 12:50, Cosmic Geoff said:

A difficult position to be in - trying to find a usable scope on that budget.  Your best bet, as others suggest, may be some careful brand-name second-hand shopping.  Even though value for money has improved over the decades, astronomy is still an expensive hobby. A good-quality eyepiece on its own costs £50.

As an alternative, consider spending the money on a pair of binoculars, or a spotting scope, which you could also use by day.

Some people recommend the 70/700 mm refractors sold by the Lidl supermarket from time to time as a good starter scope. (They sell for around £60-£70.) I had one, and it was certainly great value for money, as most of the components, including the mount, were no worse than you might get in a kit costing three times as much.  I eventually upgraded because I was dissatisfied with the optical performance (I later acquired a vintage 70mm brass Ross refractor which has a much better objective lens), and because I was frustrated at being unable to find some fainter objects (a Goto scope fixed that.)

I sold the Lidl scope on Ebay as I needed the space, and got about £25 for it, then rather wished I'd kept the accessories which were worth more than that. :-(

 

Thanks for the advice @Cosmic Geoff  , there happhens to be a Lidl store just down the road from , I'm going to check it out next time to see if they do the refractors  you were talking about ! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that they do them all the time so you will probably be quite lucky if they do happen to have them. Either way the model they sell is the Bresser Skylux, which now seems to have been renamed the Bresser Jupiter. I doubt that it would be any better than the 70mm Astromaster you were looking at to start with. Here's a mis-spelt az mounted one on ebay

You say you've been interested in astronomy for a time now so I assume that this isn't going to be some flash in the pan thing. Could you save for a while first to increase your budget? As a general rule of thumb the maximum magnification is twice the aperture in millimetres and I would suggest that for planets you really want to be observing at 150-200x so a 90-100mm instrument wold be better if you could stretch that far.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Ricochet said:

I don't think that they do them all the time so you will probably be quite lucky if they do happen to have them. Either way the model they sell is the Bresser Skylux, which now seems to have been renamed the Bresser Jupiter. I doubt that it would be any better than the 70mm Astromaster you were looking at to start with. Here's a mis-spelt az mounted one on ebay

You say you've been interested in astronomy for a time now so I assume that this isn't going to be some flash in the pan thing. Could you save for a while first to increase your budget? As a general rule of thumb the maximum magnification is twice the aperture in millimetres and I would suggest that for planets you really want to be observing at 150-200x so a 90-100mm instrument wold be better if you could stretch that far.

It's definitely better to look out for something used that's a bit bigger. When I considered my first scope I read the following guide thoroughly. Coming back to it after a few years it still makes a lot of sense;

http://www.ebay.co.uk/gds/Choosing-Your-First-Telescope-for-Astronomy-Complete-Essentials-/10000000013136783/g.html

So I would recommend being patient and waiting for something the right size to come up at the right price. This might take a while, but don't get impatient, the extra time waiting for the right scope might mean you can save a bit more toward your budget?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As well as ebay there's also this site:

http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/index.php

(which is where a lot of us buy and sell stuff).  - but unlike ebay you're on your own if something goes wrong.

Some real bargains  also come up on this site:

http://www.astroboot.co.uk/AstroBoot

though you have to pay attention to what you're actually getting (and what accessories you might need to buy), but the site is reliable.  There's not much on it at the moment but they do list some good stuff occasionally.

 

also, you might be interested in the following page (from the forum sponsor) on recommended beginners scopes:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes.html

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With care you can source some decent equipment off Gumtree too. I got an Orion binocular mount and a Skytee 2 mount off there. However, if sourcing a scope then go for local ones that you can see and test before you buy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd hold out for a telescope, binoculars won't whet your planet appetite.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best bang for your buck would be a reflector - but it will be a relatively small aperture for your particular budget. Here's a good example:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-100p-tabletop-dobsonian.html

It's a little over what you want to spend but you might find a second hand one in good nick for around £70 or less. You'll need to stand it on a solid table to use it successfully - but you will see Jupiter, Saturn, and a lot more. Do note, planets aren't ideally placed right now - we often wait months or years for our favourite objects to come into good viewing positions in the sky. Hth :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks gents for the further info , I wont be buying until the end of the month (pay day) so it does give me a while to check out all the scopes you guys have recommended !  I think I will be gunning for the 90-100mm size .. Just need to get it for a good price .

 

Again thanks guys !!!! I'll post up with my purchase when I get it.:coffee22: 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can find some good buys in astroboot.com. Also keep an eye out for a Tal1 they can go for as low as £50 but have very good optics providing they are in good second hand condition and are built like a Russian Tank. 

The SGL classifieds are also a good place to find second hand bargains. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a newbie to astronomy and found buying a new scope a little overwhelming.  I have an old 60mm refractor but wanted something a little better without having to spend a fortune.  After a lot of research I chose the Celestron Astromaster LT80AZ.  This scope is much better than the 70mm Astromaster my mate bought.  You get a 20mm eyepiece (45x magnification) and a 10mm eyepiece (90x magnification).  The mount is a little twitchy but the tripod is solid.  It states on the specs the aperture is 80mm, focal length is 900mm and focal ratio is f11.    

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎09‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 13:30, Christory said:

I am a newbie to astronomy and found buying a new scope a little overwhelming.  I have an old 60mm refractor but wanted something a little better without having to spend a fortune.  After a lot of research I chose the Celestron Astromaster LT80AZ.  This scope is much better than the 70mm Astromaster my mate bought.  You get a 20mm eyepiece (45x magnification) and a 10mm eyepiece (90x magnification).  The mount is a little twitchy but the tripod is solid.  It states on the specs the aperture is 80mm, focal length is 900mm and focal ratio is f11.    

  

Sounds like a decent start, welcome to astronomy! You'll start to see some great things with that scope which I am sure you will enjoy. When the bigger planets come back into view that scope should show you some details during good seeing conditions. DSO's will be more of a struggle but planets and the moon should keep you occupied for a while.

The eyepieces sound like the stock ones that come with a lot of scopes. It may have already been said, but upgrading the higher powered 10mm will probably be the first thing you want to look at changing once you get going. When I had my 90mm frac I first upgraded to used plossls which did make a difference but ended up buying a 10mm Baader genuine ortho. This eyepiece, coupled with a 99% dialetric diagonal made a massive improvement, so eyepieces and a diagonal might be something to consider in future to get the absolute best performance from the scope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, Jimtheslim.  Thanks for the advice.   Other people have also advised me to buy a couple of plossls and a new star diagonal and I'll take that advice. Are the Solomark plossls any better than what I have?  I have thought of buying a third eyepiece (8mm) to push the magnification over the 100x mark but would it be worthwhile?  I thought buying a scope was hard work!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A generic Plossl should be better than the eyepieces you've got although you'll probably find it easier to see an improvement over your 10mm than your 20mm. However, eye relief is proportional to the focal length and so the shorter Plossls can become uncomfortable to use and at short focal lengths it is probably worth spending more on a different design with better eye relief. I always recommend the BST Starguider/Explorer (£50) or Celestron X-Cel LX (£60) as good, relatively cheap examples.

In theory you can go to a magnification that is double the aperture in mm so a 6mm or longer eyepiece should provide acceptable performance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Christory said:

Hello, Jimtheslim.  Thanks for the advice.   Other people have also advised me to buy a couple of plossls and a new star diagonal and I'll take that advice. Are the Solomark plossls any better than what I have?  I have thought of buying a third eyepiece (8mm) to push the magnification over the 100x mark but would it be worthwhile?  I thought buying a scope was hard work!  

I can't comment on Solomark as I have never come across them until you mention them, maybe a little research is needed. Ebay often has brands such as Meade come up for sale and you'll find that as with a lot of astro equipment these will have been well looked after and well worth a punt at £20 or so that they usually go for. 

Again, I haven't tried out your scope but going over the x100 magnification mark shouldn't be too taxing but as others will likely tell you it all depends on seeing conditions. With my 90mm frac I probably had 2 or 3 nights where going up to x180 was any use. I bought a 6.4mm plossl and again, still enough nights to use it were few and far between, but on a night of good seeing it would bring out some nice planetary detail on Jupiter and Saturn at x140 mag. Just bear in mind that the higher the magnification, the more you will bring highlight atmospheric turbulence and the flaws in cheaper eyepieces. Looking for something that will sit between the x100 and x140 mark would be ok.

As for diagonals, these can be a bit harder to come by second hand. A 99% dialetric might go for around the £30-£35 mark. An extra 9% reflective light might not sound like much, but in this game even the slightest margins can represent big leaps! As with beter eyepieces, the coatings on better diagonals tends to be a lot better and cuts down the amount of stray (unwanted) light bouncing around inside the optical train of your scope. 

Happy hunting, don't rush in to buying something unless it's right for you and your scope. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all and thank you.  Now I get it! Your information makes sense to me.   I visited a local camera store (also sells telescopes) and I don't know if I was having a Homer Simpson moment or the salesman was speaking gobbledegook but I left the store more confused than I was before I went in.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.