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As has been said, practically any telescope provides impressive views of the Moon - it's a "wow" even with my little 70mm refractor and very sharp. Practically everthing else is visually much less impressive, especially to the inexperienced observer. I've realised this having spent quite a bit of time showing folks the sky at outreach events. Even what we consider to be "showcase" objects can leave folks underwhelmed with comments such as "lovely but so tiny" and "it's very faint" or sometimes even "I really can't see it" being quite common. And thats been with me using my 12" scope !

Once you gain some experience of using a telescope, a little  knowledge of what you are looking at and how far away it actually is, then these subtle, faint and small targets in the eyepiece do develop a fascination. Enough to keep people in the hobby for a lifetime !

The Moon though is an "instant win" target - nothing else really comes close for the novice :thumbright:

 

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Thanks to everyone who has posted, Ive been amazed at all of the reply’s and help you’ve all given me.  I will let you know how I get on, I will be making the purchase beginning of December so it

Hello again, this is the scope I think I will get. A few people on here have mentioned the 127 Maks and I think it will have more chance of getting used as it seems very portable and easy to store whe

You seem to be attracted to the 150pds. ?  It will give a marginally better view than a smaller instrument, (130mm) provided that viewing conditions are good.  Sharper? No, just slightly better detail

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3 hours ago, pipnina said:

Also worth considering that equatorial mounts may not necessarily be the most intuitive for visual observing - often the tube must be rotated multiple times per session to keep the eyepiece in a usable position which can disturb balance, also there is the possibility of scope-mount collisions (with small scopes not so much of an issue).

I think a beginner looking for visual-only at first will be best served by some form of alt-az, being that a dob platform or a fork mount etc, because it will be comfortable out of the box and intuitive to use. I'd say use EQ mounts when imaging and at no other time if possible.

Another thing to think about with visual is go-to as mentioned above, but I think that part of the hobby is learning the sky and go-to can rob you of this somewhat if you come to rely on it. Also I do not think go-to will fit within your budget in a nice way (it adds hundreds to the cost of any scope). I think it would be best to go for something small and cheap, but without the expectation of things being mechanically perfect or electronically assisted.

Maybe something like the SkyWatcher heritage 130-p would be a good start. It's well below budget (I think once we see how much we can spend I think we can forget that we don't need to spend it) and is a well-received item by beginners. It gives you an entry to the hobby and can be used to keep you interested while you build up an idea of what you will want later down the line (i.e. you might save for a big imaging rig, or a larger electronic visual scope, once you see the ups and downs of a telescope for yourself).

Thanks for the advice. 

After looking into the photography side of things a bit more I don’t think I will have time to do all of the post processing and I didn’t realise how many photos are stacked to create an image.

Im thinking that visual only is the way I am going for now but I would like a scope that I can fit a camera to if I felt like having a go.

I definitely want to learn the sky as that’s what interests me the most. 

Thanks again

 

 

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3 hours ago, John said:

As has been said, practically any telescope provides impressive views of the Moon - it's a "wow" even with my little 70mm refractor and very sharp. Practically everthing else is visually much less impressive, especially to the inexperienced observer. I've realised this having spent quite a bit of time showing folks the sky at outreach events. Even what we consider to be "showcase" objects can leave folks underwhelmed with comments such as "lovely but so tiny" and "it's very faint" or sometimes even "I really can't see it" being quite common. And thats been with me using my 12" scope !

Once you gain some experience of using a telescope, a little  knowledge of what you are looking at and how far away it actually is, then these subtle, faint and small targets in the eyepiece do develop a fascination. Enough to keep people in the hobby for a lifetime !

The Moon though is an "instant win" target - nothing else really comes close for the novice :thumbright:

 

The moon is what I will be showing the wife and hopefully she will understand why I’ve spent a fortune ?

I think a lot of people expect to see perfectly sharp images of Jupiter or the likes that fill the eyepiece. I think a Hubble telescope is a bit out of most people’s budget though. 

Thanks for the reply 

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50 minutes ago, Ray Mondo said:

Thanks for the advice. 

After looking into the photography side of things a bit more I don’t think I will have time to do all of the post processing and I didn’t realise how many photos are stacked to create an image.

Im thinking that visual only is the way I am going for now but I would like a scope that I can fit a camera to if I felt like having a go.

I definitely want to learn the sky as that’s what interests me the most. 

Thanks again

 

 

If visual only then a dob is probably the way to go, 8" would allow you some budget for eyepieces etc

Camera wise, you can have alot of fun pointing almost anything down the eyepiece, particularly at the moon. Smartphones these days take amazing pictures even in non motorised/goto scopes

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54 minutes ago, Ray Mondo said:

After looking into the photography side of things a bit more I don’t think I will have time to do all of the post processing and I didn’t realise how many photos are stacked to create an image.

Collecting subs is normally automated, as is stacking, so you can be doing other things while they chunter away. Bear in mind you might only get half a dozen images a month, the time  isn't huge compared to may hobbies.

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4 hours ago, Stu said:

If visual only then a dob is probably the way to go, 8" would allow you some budget for eyepieces etc

Camera wise, you can have alot of fun pointing almost anything down the eyepiece, particularly at the moon. Smartphones these days take amazing pictures even in non motorised/goto scopes

I looked at the xt8 a while ago but I think the mounts are too limited really. 

Thanks for your reply 

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Collecting subs is normally automated, as is stacking, so you can be doing other things while they chunter away. Bear in mind you might only get half a dozen images a month, the time  isn't huge compared to may hobbies.

To be honest I thought one image a month would be an achievement.  

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Thanks to everyone who has posted, Ive been amazed at all of the reply’s and help you’ve all given me. 

I will let you know how I get on, I will be making the purchase beginning of December so it gives me a bit of time to confuse myself a bit more. 

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Hello again, this is the scope I think I will get. A few people on here have mentioned the 127 Maks and I think it will have more chance of getting used as it seems very portable and easy to store when not in use. I know it’s not great for DSOs but I will have fun finding the smudges. https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/skywatcher-skymax-127-azgti-telescope.html#tab-3

If im making a mistake or you think there is a better scope for the money please let me know. 

I’m not buying until December so no rush.

Thanks again for your valued help and advice. 

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21 hours ago, Ray Mondo said:

Thanks to everyone who has posted, Ive been amazed at all of the reply’s and help you’ve all given me. 

I will let you know how I get on, I will be making the purchase beginning of December so it gives me a bit of time to confuse myself a bit more. 

The first thing that struck me when I joined this forum was how helpful and friendly people were, a breath of fresh air :)

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3 minutes ago, Ray Mondo said:

Hello again, this is the scope I think I will get. A few people on here have mentioned the 127 Maks and I think it will have more chance of getting used as it seems very portable and easy to store when not in use. I know it’s not great for DSOs but I will have fun finding the smudges. https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/skywatcher-skymax-127-azgti-telescope.html#tab-3

If im making a mistake or you think there is a better scope for the money please let me know. 

I’m not buying until December so no rush.

Thanks again for your valued help and advice. 

I think that seems reasonable. I have no experience with that style so hopefully others will be able to be more helpful on specifics. You could get that to work with DSO more by getting an eyepiece such as a 32mm plossl, plossls are relatively cheap and 32mm vs 25mm gives a big difference to exit pupil size and magnification. (2.1mm vs 2.7 - 60x vs 46.7x)

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The 127 maks are good scopes - I've seen some great planetary and lunar views through them and they show deep sky objects as well as any 5 inch aperture scope can. It's only the large, extended deep sky objects that can't fit into the field of view - but you can still see them a bit at a time !

One accessory that you will need from the off is a dew shield. The front corrector plate on the maks (and SCT's) is a "dew magnet".

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Ray Mondo said:

Hello again, this is the scope I think I will get. A few people on here have mentioned the 127 Maks and I think it will have more chance of getting used as it seems very portable and easy to store when not in use. I know it’s not great for DSOs but I will have fun finding the smudges. https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/skywatcher-skymax-127-azgti-telescope.html#tab-3

If im making a mistake or you think there is a better scope for the money please let me know. 

I’m not buying until December so no rush.

Thanks again for your valued help and advice. 

If you would have asked me a couple of months ago I would have run a miile from the long focal length of this scope, now Im buying an F11 refractor and spending more on nice widefield eyepices to compensate. By all accounts the 127 mak is a fantastic little scope.

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One more thing to look into as if there wasn't enough already, do some research on versions of mobile operating systems that work consistently with the wi-fi, I've read that some users have had problems with some versions of android.

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Another positive vote for the 127 Mak.  One of my first telescopes and still a pleasure to use.  It has travelled with me to France on quite a number of holidays.  It works very nicely with a DSLR for lunar and white light solar imaging and with a high frame rate camera for planetary imaging as well as being very competent for visual work.

James

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53 minutes ago, Paul67 said:

The first thing that struck me when I joined this forum was how helpful and friendly people were, a breath of fresh air :)

 

54 minutes ago, pipnina said:

I think that seems reasonable. I have no experience with that style so hopefully others will be able to be more helpful on specifics. You could get that to work with DSO more by getting an eyepiece such as a 32mm plossl, plossls are relatively cheap and 32mm vs 25mm gives a big difference to exit pupil size and magnification. (2.1mm vs 2.7 - 60x vs 46.7x)

Thanks for the reply and information 

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53 minutes ago, John said:

The 127 maks are good scopes - I've seen some great planetary and lunar views through them and they show deep sky objects as well as any 5 inch aperture scope can. It's only the large, extended deep sky objects that can't fit into the field of view - but you can still see them a bit at a time !

One accessory that you will need from the off is a dew shield. The front corrector plate on the maks (and SCT's) is a "dew magnet".

 

 

 

Thanks for that, I will look into getting a dew shield. 

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41 minutes ago, Paul67 said:

One more thing to look into as if there wasn't enough already, do some research on versions of mobile operating systems that work consistently with the wi-fi, I've read that some users have had problems with some versions of android.

I will look into it thanks. I’m on iOS so hopefully that works ok. 

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5 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Another positive vote for the 127 Mak.  One of my first telescopes and still a pleasure to use.  It has travelled with me to France on quite a number of holidays.  It works very nicely with a DSLR for lunar and white light solar imaging and with a high frame rate camera for planetary imaging as well as being very competent for visual work.

James

Thanks, I’m guessing I just need a ‘T’ mount?

Do I need a moon filter and where in the chain does it fit?

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I've never used a filter for lunar imaging, just the T ring.  I put a T ring on the camera and remove the diagonal from the scope.  There's a thread on the visual back that fits the T ring.  It might actually be easier to remove the visual back and fit that to the T-ring, then put the visual back onto the OTA again.

With a crop sensor camera (I use a 450D) the full moon pretty much fills the frame.

Some examples here:

 

James

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6 minutes ago, JamesF said:

I've never used a filter for lunar imaging, just the T ring.  I put a T ring on the camera and remove the diagonal from the scope.  There's a thread on the visual back that fits the T ring.  It might actually be easier to remove the visual back and fit that to the T-ring, then put the visual back onto the OTA again.

With a crop sensor camera (I use a 450D) the full moon pretty much fills the frame.

Some examples here:

 

James

Your images are really nice and thanks for the information. 

What would one exposure look like? I can’t get my head around why so many photos are needed. 

I can understand bracketing 3-5 shots for exposure but not more than that. 

As you can tell I have no idea. 

Thanks

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Different image, but this is a single frame (just a teeny bit over-exposed, this one, but you want as much dynamic range as you can get):

frame11.png

and this is what a collection of frames ended up as:

moon-2013-04-23-small.png

 

By taking lots of images, picking the best and averaging them out it's possible to remove much of the noise from the image.  Filters can then be applied to undo some of the effects of atmospheric distortion and make the image sharper.  If the noise weren't removed first, you'd be sharpening that as well, which never looks good :)

James

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1 minute ago, Ray Mondo said:

@JamesF

After having a quick read I can now understand that the stacking software uses multiple shots so it can calculate what is the noise and what are the stars. 

 

Exactly so.

James

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