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kev100

General moan about 'beginner' telescopes

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Not all entry level scopes are that bad though. 

IMG_20170719_154208.jpg.83c88b520e3ce51f491458f9f53ae298.jpg

This Orion ST80 was an inexpensive short tube achromat and perfectly usable. These are often supplied with EQ1 mounts, although I think an EQ1 is a bit light for this OTA, by simply replacing the original focuser with a two speed Crayford and using a better mount this becomes a potent little scope that hasn't broken the bank.

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I sufferred most of the above problems with my first purchase including an insubstantial tripod which moved as the OTA moved and made the GOTO impossible.

Two things kept me going and stopped the whole thing from gathering dust in the loft.

1.   My engineering background and patience.

2.   The fact that my supplier allowed a 100% trade in for the first year.

If all suppliers alllowed the trade in and gave all purchasors a contact at their nearest Astro Society, it would go a long way towards stopping the loss of otherwise keen entrants to the hobby.

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Agreed with the points the OP has made here. It is a minefield to navigate scopes and the traditional high street shops like Jessops (are they still going?), John Lewis & Maplin tend to stock sub par Newts or Refractors and sadly the high street lacks *decent* astronomy stores and the shops that do sell them usually are not educated as to what they are selling! 

I researched my first scope pretty carefully, and I am happy with it; though I have a craving for more aperture!! Is there a cure for this aperture fever?

 

 

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I bought the slightly larger 127EQ, cost me £30-£40 so no major cash issue there. It gave me my first real magnified image of the moon and introduced me to polar alignment and setting up the EQ mount, but for my use the scope turned out to be as useful as a chocolate fire guard, for visual use observations, just to much faffing about with the various controls and locks ! Even after much learning and by now, even experienced? I could do no better with the scope even after a full service, and using other eyepieces made no difference either. I had already decided after my first light that something different was needed? The choice was either the TAL100RS or Skyliner 200P. I think I made the right choice from my own assessment, but with lots of guidance from folk here on the forum. Thanks to those folk, and my two eyepiece gurus?I now have a scope and several EPs that give me plenty of satisfaction when the conditions allow. But yeah, anyone thinking of buying a Powerseeker, I’d suggest you think twice and look elsewhere, yet some folk will love their Powerseekers, that’s their choice. 

Edited by Charic
..spelling..

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As a novice, sometimes tryign to impart my limited knowledge to friends looking to get their first scope I recommend what I have which is a Heritage 130p Dobsonian, but pretty much without fail they go for one on an EQ, generally a Nest but on an EQ tripod, which means that rather than being a grab and go they have to set it up each time, and invariably it stays in the shed from first light onwards! Maybe if dobsonians came with 3/8" fittings as standard it would be a good thing

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I think you choose well (my first scope too) and the heritage 130p telescope has been mounted by members on to tripod, particularly easy on a tripod with the right mount or adaptor. It's a shame that potential new hobbyists don't see past a perceived befit of a wobbly eq.

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25 minutes ago, willinliv said:

As a novice, sometimes tryign to impart my limited knowledge to friends looking to get their first scope I recommend what I have which is a Heritage 130p Dobsonian, but pretty much without fail they go for one on an EQ, generally a Nest but on an EQ tripod, which means that rather than being a grab and go they have to set it up each time, and invariably it stays in the shed from first light onwards! Maybe if dobsonians came with 3/8" fittings as standard it would be a good thing

I think your recommendation is a good one - the Heritage 130P is a really good scope, very reasonably priced, easy to operate and quite potent in terms of the views it can give. Many experienced astronomers have a Heritage 130 for quick and easy viewing which speaks volumes for the scope.

I think some of the problems start when folks who don't know what they want wander into a photo equipment store. The knowledge within such shops on astronomy and astronomical equipment is, perhaps understandably, rather limited and this is reflected in some of the puchasing decisions that are made, unfortunately. There probably are some photo equipment store staff that do know more about astro gear but I suspect they are comparitively few and far between.

 

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On 06/01/2018 at 11:59, kev100 said:

Most beginners will be given a telescope as a gift, with little research done, and only manufacturers specs and descriptions to go on

Yep.
The wife got me a Skywatcher Explorer for Christmas. My only other scope previous to this was when I was about 10/12 years old so by comparison, this was massive and the EQ2 mount looked as good/complicated as it sounded. It was chosen because it looked good, sounded great (specs wise) and even had a sticker on it regarding rave reviews from the Sky at Night magazine! I thought I had struck gold and was going to see all these fantastic sights - think Hubble style photos! 
I was ready to start buying AP equipment however after being here at SGL for a week, I realise I don't even understand half of what I'm reading so I'm smart enough to know I'm not ready for that just yet. My DSLR will do just fine piggy backing my scope for now. :icon_biggrin: 

Anyways, I went outside and had a look through the eyepiece, filled with excitement as I continued to try and find objects with my wonderful new telescope and did catch sight of a few and thoroughly enjoyed my evening. I didn't even notice how cold it was until I came indoors!
Fast forward a few days and I found myself here at SGL where my "I've got a MASSIVE telescope so can see anything" (not in an arrogant way, more excited) kinda thinking crashed and burned pretty rapidly when I realised, with my scope and mount the best I'm likely to see is a little white/grey smudge; a fuzzy :icon_biggrin: 

It's not the greatest, it's a pretty darn good first one (IMO), but nevertheless, a plaything for the more serious amongst you. Now, please don't confuse this with disappointment, I'm not in the slightest. I love it but I know deep down another scope is on the cards so I put some thought into it and began future planning, making a list of things that will help me get the most out of this scope, but had to be compatible with any future scope I buy. 
Eyepieces, Mount, Dew heaters, Red torches, T-Rings. All the little fiddly bits that I never knew I needed, some I have, others not yet.
Eventually I will get a better scope. I'm still looking around, learning, but before I decide, I've got to know what I need and probably more importantly, why I need it. 

My point is, I suppose I am one of the lucky ones who got bitten by the bug. I love my new hobby, even just looking up with no equipment trying to recognise patterns is quite interesting. In hindsight, when buying the scope, would I have chosen differently? Probably not. I knew then about telescopes as much as the wife does and if I didn't take to it like I have it wasn't too expensive so was a win win for her! 

I think perhaps a picture on the side of the box pointing out "this is what [Orion / insert object] looks like through this scope using a Xmm EP" would go a long way towards managing peoples expectations of what they will see. Some people don't understand all the jargon, I know I didn't (and still learning) however a picture speaks a thousand words so they say.

Thanks to you guys and gals here at SGL. I can make an informed decision next time when it really matters.  
Now if only them clouds would disappear! (I'm sure I read somewhere buried deep in this forum that somebody had invented a could buster ray gun! I only wish it was true!) :icon_biggrin:

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I actually quite like the 900mm focal length of the 114EQ PowerSeeker - it’s NOT a bird jones, it’s a plain reflector (the 114EQ astromaster is the bird jones).

I still have and use mine. Admittedly it’s had the finder removed and a vixen shoe put on with a 30mm finder, has a 92mm fan taped to the bottom, and now gets mounted on an NEQ6 when I use it (invariable for white light solar) rather than the mount it came with (which, along with the eyepieces, is definitely disposable tat), but still, the OTA itself is as good as any other newtonian reflector OTA with the same FL / AP really.

Edited by Marci
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