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BeerMe

Ever found astro gear for sale in unexpected places?

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BeerMe    272

I'm thinking car boot sales, charity shops, bric-a-brac markets, etc?

I passed a shop in the west end of Glasgow today and it looked like a treasure trove full of crap.  If I wasn't in such a hurry I'd have liked a good rummage, but I'm sure they had some optical equipment.  I bet there's some great bits of kit lying about in such places.

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Relpet    279

When I first got interested in astronomy a couple of years ago I saw a 4" Newtonian on an EQ1 mount for 50 euros in a Troc in SW France.  A Troc is where people put unwanted goods for sale and share the proceeds with the proprietor.  Knowing nothing about the normal price of s/h scopes of this kind I thought it looked a cheap way to the stars and bought it.  It came with some eyepieces and filters which gave me an extra thrill.  After playing with this thing for a while I realised the tripod was damaged and flimsy in any case.  So a new tripod from Astroboot.  The thing was over a metre long and a bit unwieldy so a new OTA half the length, again from Astroboot.  The eyepieces and filters were rubbish and soon replaced.  The metre length tube I dismantled and saved the misted mirrors so I could show interested people how a Newtonian works.  I later bought some tube rings and a dovetail to mount the OTA on a better platform.  So my €50 'scope is a bit like Grandad's fifty year old broom.  Four new heads and three new handles but still as good as new.  I've learned a lot since then, principally, there is no cheap way to the stars.

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BeerMe    272
3 hours ago, Relpet said:

When I first got interested in astronomy a couple of years ago I saw a 4" Newtonian on an EQ1 mount for 50 euros in a Troc in SW France.  A Troc is where people put unwanted goods for sale and share the proceeds with the proprietor.  Knowing nothing about the normal price of s/h scopes of this kind I thought it looked a cheap way to the stars and bought it.  It came with some eyepieces and filters which gave me an extra thrill.  After playing with this thing for a while I realised the tripod was damaged and flimsy in any case.  So a new tripod from Astroboot.  The thing was over a metre long and a bit unwieldy so a new OTA half the length, again from Astroboot.  The eyepieces and filters were rubbish and soon replaced.  The metre length tube I dismantled and saved the misted mirrors so I could show interested people how a Newtonian works.  I later bought some tube rings and a dovetail to mount the OTA on a better platform.  So my €50 'scope is a bit like Grandad's fifty year old broom.  Four new heads and three new handles but still as good as new.  I've learned a lot since then, principally, there is no cheap way to the stars.

I love your journey, but I respectfully disagree (with a big grin).

Astronomy can almost certainly be done 'on a budget' - everyone is different of course but at the lower end of expectations it's still possible.  The second hand market is very active, and plenty of bargains are available for the patient.  The Dob in my profile pic was a steal at £155 but I've heard of better.

Even £20 bins can show stuff that most of the world doesn't understand. 

The Trigger analogy made me wake the wife tho :-)

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Relpet    279

Thanks, Paul,

The point I meant to make but forgot to add is that I could have bought the whole package I ended up with for signifcantly less than the total I ended up spending.  For beginners there are certainly bargains to be had - they just need to know where to look and what they are looking for (which I didn't in that particular case) and to check the cost against the new retail cost.  You may not necessarily find the best deal in an unexpected place.

Peter

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BeerMe    272
3 hours ago, Relpet said:

Thanks, Paul,

The point I meant to make but forgot to add is that I could have bought the whole package I ended up with for signifcantly less than the total I ended up spending.  For beginners there are certainly bargains to be had - they just need to know where to look and what they are looking for (which I didn't in that particular case) and to check the cost against the new retail cost.  You may not necessarily find the best deal in an unexpected place.

Peter

All too often there are posts from people who have dived straight in and find themselves owning a scope that is unsuitable to their needs.  I'd have made the same mistake with a 70/700 refractor from Lidl if I'd had the cash handy when I seen it.  Thankfully, I didn't but seeing a scope selling so cheaply made me realise that this hobby might not be as far out of my reach as I first thought.  Luckily I found this place, learned that reflectors were best suited to my needs and started out my journey with a 5" Heritage.

As an aside, I've found ebay is ridiculously expensive for new astro equipment which surprises me.  The 10" Skywatcher regularly retails for ~£530 on ebay, yet it's £429 from FLO.  You can get some excellent bargains from the auctions though. 

OT:  Love your avatar!  I've got a keen interest in WWII fighters, but it's not good enough to identify those markings or the plane.  Can you put me out of my misery please lol ;-)

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davehawkins    50

Sorry to but in, it's the insignia of the Free French on a Hawker Hurricane ( you probably know the plane ).

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L8-Nite    1,552

Here in the UK, I found a Carton 60mm refractor at a local boot sale type market. Purchased three 1.25" eyepieces in boxes at a charity shop, which were on a shelf mixed in with some cheap obsolete camera stuff.  Decades ago, in California, I found my childhood dream scope at a garage sale. It was a Sears 6339-A refractor, complete in its wooden case; twenty years before, I wore out the Sears catalogue wishing my parents could afford to buy such a scope.  Charity shops are great for finding astronomy books. :smiley:

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Stub Mandrel    5,394
21 hours ago, BeerMe said:

All too often there are posts from people who have dived straight in and find themselves owning a scope that is unsuitable to their needs.  I'd have made the same mistake with a 70/700 refractor from Lidl if I'd had the cash handy when I seen it.

It was getting one of those that got me into this game!

They may not be perfect but it showed me so much I had to get something even bigger. I have managed some worthwhile pics with it.

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Relpet    279
4 hours ago, davehawkins said:

Sorry to but in, it's the insignia of the Free French on a Hawker Hurricane ( you probably know the plane ).

Sorry to be late replying but you are spot on.  As I commented to another member a couple of years ago I do my observing mainly at our second home in SW France.  There are memorials all over the region to commemorate those who died in the Resistance and innocent victims of Nazi atrocities.  It was just a way of recognising the part they played in preserving what, for us, is a beautiful place to spend the years that are left to us reaching for the stars.

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davehawkins    50

Nice place to observe. As you probably guessed I've a bit of an interest in the second world war.

To get back on theme Ive never found anything worth buying to do with astronomy in any second hand / charity shops or car boot sales, but I'll keep looking though.

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Relpet    279
7 hours ago, davehawkins said:

Nice place to observe. As you probably guessed I've a bit of an interest in the second world war.

This place is not far from us, Dave, and we take a walk up there about once a year.  As you are interested I thought you might like to know about it.

http://www.in-touch.ukvet.net/112/112ann.htm

It's said to be the highest elevation military cemetery in the world.  It's so tricky to get to the War Graves Commission are quite happy to leave the reverent care in the hands of the villagers.  Better close this now.

Peter

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jnb    467
On 5/16/2017 at 19:22, Relpet said:

Thanks, Paul,

The point I meant to make but forgot to add is that I could have bought the whole package I ended up with for signifcantly less than the total I ended up spending.  For beginners there are certainly bargains to be had - they just need to know where to look and what they are looking for (which I didn't in that particular case) and to check the cost against the new retail cost.  You may not necessarily find the best deal in an unexpected place.

Peter

You could have bought the whole package for less but the piecemeal approach does mean that you learned a lot en route. That you couldn't have bought by going straight to the final item.

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Relpet    279

Dead right, JNB.  Generally speaking, as a result of that learning curve, I have since bought much more judiciously - new and second-hand - and Grandad's Broom still sweeps around the night sky occasionally.

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