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New to the hobby and eager to learn information about where to start. Mostly interested in planet viewing, especially the moon. Looking to start out and need the portability as i may have to get out of town a ways to really get a good look at the heavens. I'm considering either a set of 20x50 or 20x80 binoculars (tripod mounted) or getting a Meade StarPro AZ 90mm telescope. Both are within 50$ of each other online. Wondering what would be my best bet for starting out, I will be staying focused on the moon for now, and thats my #1 priority (seeing the moon in extreme detail) but may soon get into farther planets/galaxy observation.
I greatly appreciate any advise.
Hi everyone, about a month ago i got my first telescope. Wasn't sure what to get but i wanted something portable and easy to setup and use. After some internet "research" i decided to go for a refractor on a manual alt/az mount. The telescope was on a 50% sale so i decided to go for it , the Meade infinity 90.
The scope came in one big box, everything was inside. Included was the optical tube, the mount, 3 eyepieces (6.3mm, 9mm and 26mm), a 2x barlow lens, 90 degree diagonal, red dot finder, an eyepiece holder for the mount and a few manuals. The optical tube:
The tube has a 90mm (3.5in) aperture and 600mm focal length. It looks and feels as a quality instrument, it has a small dew shield and the focuser is smooth when you move it back and forward. As expected the lens looks to be coated. It has a dovetail bar on it with 3 holes for screws. The mount:
Light but stable, made of aluminium. It has 3 extendable legs, and 2 slow motion cables (alt/az). One screw to mount the tube on on top (adjustable back and forward). The eyepieces and barlow:
All 3 are modified achromat eyepieces, the lenses are made of glass and are OK for the beginner, but i would suggest upgrading if you can. The barlow is bad i even think that the optics are plastic (not sure), it is usable if you don't have other options but this should be the first upgrade in my opinion. Observing: First light:
The telescope arrived in the morning so the first thing i did after a quick setup was to adjust the red dot finder. I looked at some mountains about 20km away, the view was nice and very detailed using all eyepieces. Combining the 6.3mm with the barlow got me a bit blurry view, but the barlow in combination with the other eyepieces was ok. Night came and it was a moonless and clear night (only light pollution from the city i live in). I saw orion right infront of me, "marked" it with the red dot finder where i thought M42 should be and looked through the 26mm eyepiece. It was a bit blurry but after adjusting the focus i could see some nice pinpoint stars and also something fuzzy, i realized it was the orion nebula. After letting my eyes adjust to the view for a few minutes i started seeing 2 faint "wings" on both sides and in the center were 4 very tiny stars, i didn't expect to see that on my first night. I followed my target for about 15 minutes using the slow motion controls , it was easy to do. Also tried the 9mm eyepiece and with it the 4 stars were more easily seen but the faint clouds got fainter so i moved back to the 26mm. Next target was venus, i tried all eyepieces + with combination with the barlow. It looked like a very bright half moon without any details. When using the barlow the view was ok but purple glow was showing around the planet, without the barlow the purple wasn't noticeable. I also looked at the star Sirius which looked nice, bright and much bigger then any other star i could see that night. After Venus went down i decided it was enough for day one. Moon:
I expected it to look good, but not this good. I was observing the moon for a couple of nights until it got full. I could see a lot of details at the terminator , with low and high magnification. When the moon was full it was very very bright and it looked best with the smallest magnification using the 26mm eyepiece. Jupiter and Saturn:
I got 2 opportunities to look at these 2, the first time i think the "seeing" was bad. I could only see Jupiters 4 moons and the planet was a bright disc without any details at any magnification i tried. Saturn also wasn't very good, i could see the rings but they were blurry and "dancing" around. But the next time i had the chance to look at these planets the conditions were much better, first target was again Jupiter. With the 26mm eyepiece i could see a white disc with 4 moons.With the 9mm i could see the moons again but now the disc had very faint 2 bands without any color. The view was best with the 6.3mm eyepiece, the 2 bands were clearly visible and on the upper belt on the right side there was a small dark dot, i am not sure if it was anything . Next target was Saturn, event with the 26mm eyepiece i could see that it has rings, i switched to the 6.3mm right away and wow there it was, Saturn and its rings clearly visible, i even think i could spot the cassini devision, but it might have been my eyes playing tricks. I tried using the barlow on both targets but it was making the image blurry, but at this point i had purchased a higher quality barlow and the views were very nice with it , but the max magnification i could use that night was 133x, anything higher and the image was getting wobbly (probably that was due to the atmosphere that night). After that some clouds came in and it was time to get back to bed (got up just to see the planets in 4am). Conclusion:
I think i got what i wanted, a small and very portable telescope for some basic amateur observing. I do recommend this telescope to anyone as a first telescope or even to an experienced astronomer who is looking for something light, portable and being able to set it up and start observing in 2 minutes. Also i would recommend you replace all of the eyepieces and the barlow. I got me a few plossl eyepieces and a nice barlow, it was worth it.
Feel free to ask me anything regarding this telescope i will be more than happy to answer.
Sorry for any spelling mistakes this review probably contains
Also i am attaching a few images i took directly off the eyepiece using my smartphone (handheld).
I'm trying to get back into astronomy (had a Meade DS 2090 Mak when I was 10 but was too young to get into it) and I'm having a very hard time choosing a telescope.
My main goal is to observe a bit of everything. Planets and the moon are great and I definitely would want to observe them, but my main focus would be DSO's. That being said, I would also like to have the possibility of doing some basic astrophotography afterwards. Not expecting to do 2 hours of long exposure and getting some insane images, but having a telescope (or rather a mount?) that can track would be nice to get some decent images. Basically, visual observation is a must, AP would be great but only basic, no need to get one JUST for that. I realize that visual observing and AP are 2 very different things, but my question is if it is possible to find something that is mainly used for VO and is somewhat capable (even if it's not great) to do AP with. Furthermore, a push to or goto would be fantastic as well since I'm not too familiar with the night sky. Is it really difficult to find DSOs yourself without reading and learning for hours and hours?
My budget would be around 800 euros, that is everything included, telescope, mount, eyepieces etc... (If it's a little bit more than that that's fine as well).
After hours of doubt and searching I thought the Orion Skyquest Xt8 Intelliscope would be good (push to) (around 750 euros), however being like most dobsonians, this one wouldn't track. This made me think :
Should I rather look for a newtonian reflector with an EQ mount, or just give up my basic AP wish and go for a dobsonian that doesn't track? Some people have suggested to drop AP for now and go for the dob, is there a possibilty to upgrade later to make the dob work for AP, like putting it on an EQ mount, or would I have to buy a new telescope again?
Any telescope, mount and added equipment like eyepieces and filter suggestions would be reaaaally appreciated, cause everything just feels overwhelming and I don't know what to look for anymore.
Thanks in advance!!