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.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_dslr_mirrorlesss_winners.thumb.jpg.9deb4a8db27e7485a7bb99d98667c94e.jpg

Recommended Posts

I know this question has been asked probably a million times and I hate to be the noob to do it again, but which scope should I buy? My budget plan is between 200-600$. I would like a scope that will last me awhile without having to upgrade anytime soon. I would like to see as far and as much as I can but I would give a little of that up quality views. This is just for my own viewing pleasure and to take some quick pics here and there with my iPhone. Online reviews lead me from scope to scope with no clear answers or direction. I’m as lost as I would be in deep space so any info or direction anyone could give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome to SGL!

I think we could do with some more information. Where will you primarily be using the scope? At home or some place else? Is portability important etc. 

A lot of bods here recommend a good 200mm dobsonian to begin with. Plenty of light gathering ability, nice and portable and set up nice and quickly. Plus it would leave some of your budget for some extras.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Js303 said:

Online reviews lead me from scope to scope with no clear answers or direction.

That's because all telescopes are good but for most people, the most versatile, largest for the cost, and easiest one to use is the dobsonian. Maybe you already know, but a larger diameter increases resolution and brightness so a big scope is a big help to see better. But, you might not be like most people, so your personal best beginner scope could be another type. By all means find an astro club near you and try as many telescopes as you are allowed to, I don't know stargazers who don't let newbies try their scope and discuss it.

Then come back here with the remaining questions. However, if you can't go to a star party, don't fear, you can't go wrong with any largish, simple reflector or refractor in the usual beginner range. A standard 10x50 bino is a great starter, too, and you'll keep it forever. After a lifetime of stargazing with scopes up to 12" I just bought myself a "small" top-notch 10x50 last month, and I've been in a binocular skygazing frenzy ever since.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, welcome.

This would be your scope: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html
You'd have some money left for an eyepiece or two. You could even take some pics of the Moon with your smartphone.

Planning you do with Stellarium, available for free from stellarium.org. Smartphone aps work as well.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do that and order a couple of these while you re at it

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html

The eyepieces you get with your scope are barely usable. With your budget BSTs are a great value.

If you want something cheaper (more suitable in longer focal range ie. 15-32mm), you should go for cheaper plossls like these.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astro-essentials-eyepieces/astro-essentials-super-plossl-eyepiece.html.

Don't go crazy yet and buy all focal lenght just yet but 2 or 3 (say 5mm, 15mm, 32mm) would be a great addition to your new scope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the input I will be primarily using it in the back yard in south Florida 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Js303 said:

Thanks for all the input I will be primarily using it in the back yard in south Florida 

If you live far enough from cities you should be fine otherwise going to a darker place will yield great results 

https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=4&lat=5759860&lon=1619364&layers=B0FFFFFTFFFFF

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't beat @Ruudexcellent suggestion.

The Dob will offer you 8" of aperture and so in terms of resolution will resolve detail more than any other scope within this price range. It will give you low-power rich field viewing and with reasonable dark skies you'll be able to view galaxies, nebulae, globulars, and so on. It will also train you in the relatively simple art of collimation which will stand you in good stead as a general astronomer or if you ever fancied a Mak or SCT in the future.

You will get more than sufficient magnification on objects (limited like all the other scopes on atmospheric conditions and aperture), it comes with a good solid mount so you don't need to buy one. Like a refractor it isn't susceptible to dew formation, so techniques such as dew shields and heater strips become unnecessary as they would necessaily be for Maks and SCTS, but unlike an achromatic refractor, you won't get chromatic aberation. Furthemore, it won't take as long to cooldown as a Mak or SCT and on good seeing nights should give really nice contrasty views on planets. If this weren't enough inch for inch, it's also the cheapest option and fits right into your budget 😀

There are a couple of downsides to the Dob. Some folk find collimation annoying but to be honest, it's really no more than a little tweak of the mirror every session. Some folk don't like diffraction spikes when viewing bright objects and with a focal ratio of f5 these scopes are more demanding on eyepieces, so you will probably have to spend a little bit more on quality eyepieces than you would if you had a longer +f10 scope.

Inch for inch, then, Dobs are a lot cheaper than Refractors, Maks or SCTS and because you can afford more aperture for less, you're getting more resolution, brighter images, and the possibility of going deeper and seeing more.

For a first time, all round, general purpose scope to help you enjoy the wonders of the night sky, I really don't think you can go wrong with an 8" or if expenses allow, a 10" Dob.

Hope that helps a little

Edited by Rob Sellent
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

Can't beat @Ruudexcellent suggestion.

I say Rob, you just beat me on argumentation.

thtoppoints.gif.47be2f48cc0314cc4db55dea4554caa7.gif

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Js303 and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

Though I do not own a 'Dob', you cannot go wrong with one. Place on a level[ish] surface... 'point & go!' or 'grab & go!' 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the suggestions for a 8" dobsonian are right on point as they are the best bang for the buck! Dobsonians, by virtue of their design spend most of your money on the optics, i.e. the primary and secondary mirror and the eyepieces. Hence, if all you intend to use the scope for is visual astronomy, then a dobsonian is perfect for you. An 8" dob is perfect as it hits that sweet spot between the scope being too bulky to move around and the aperture being large enough that you can see a whole bunch of objects. In fact, you can spot all of the messiers with an 8" dob in a nice dark sky! 

Since you said you will be observing in South Florida, I would suggest you check out High Point Scientific, specifically https://www.highpointscientific.com/apertura-ad8-8inch-dobsonian-telescope-ad8 this scope. It is a great deal and I would definitely recommend going for this! As others have said, you can buy a couple of eyepieces and maybe even a barlow lens with the leftover money.

Might I suggest also that you consider buying the book Turn Left at Orion: https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972. I say this because this book has a great list of objects that you can see with your telescope and it also has tutorials on how you can go about hunting those objects down, i.e. what guide stars to look at and stuff like that!

Good luck and clear skies!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JS

303, is that rule 303, by which rule you execute me, Breaker Morant

There is 2 simple rules when coming to purchasing a new scope for the first time

What do I want to use  it for:

Observing planets, moon, other Deep Sky Objects, to want to into Astrophotography

If just for observing, then cannot go far wrong with s SW 10" Flex Dob

For AP, then you will need a scope on a equatorial mount, such as a SW ED80/120 on a EQ5pro, or HEQ5 mount

Have attached pics of both of mine, and with correct Baader filters, can also do solar viewing

You can now also get a WiFi adapter for SW SynScan controller,which uses a SynScan App

John  

 

Skywatcher 10 inch Dobson.jpg

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

SynScan wifi adaptor.jpg

Screenshot SynScan APP.jpg

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are planning for viewing only, a good dobsonian is good, you can dismantle it and take it with you to a dark place. If you want to go with astrophotography, then that is usually the wrong question to ask, you should buy a good EQ mount before the telescope..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A question for those that have one of those 8" and above Dobs - just how mobile are they? I haven't seen or used one first hand so I don't have a good grasp of it but they seem quite cumbersome compared to, say, a fast Newt?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 8” is easy for most to move about. The 10” requires a bit more strength but still no problem for most. Usually ypu lift the tube off the base and move both parts separately. The 12” is a big step up in size and weight and harder to move about.

The big advantage of a dob over an EQ mounted newt is there is no setting up when you move them to a new location. 

 I like the Bresser dobs as they don’t need the improvements that the Skywatchers really do. Already done for you. Well worth the bit higher price. Also the alt bearings are proper full sized ones and the tube can just be dropped onto the base. The big alt bearings also make great carry handles. As the tube is mounted using tube rings the tube can be moved for balamce or rotated to put the eyepiece at the right angle.

Bresser Messier 10” Dob

 

CF23C587-6696-4CD0-BDE1-D5B1D3C48A3C.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, mattjanes100 said:

A question for those that have one of those 8" and above Dobs - just how mobile are they? I haven't seen or used one first hand so I don't have a good grasp of it but they seem quite cumbersome compared to, say, a fast Newt?

I have a 10' Dob Full tube and I consider it pretty mobile. Once taken appart, the tube sits on the back seat of a small car and the base fits easily in the trunk. It's not too heavy. I guess an average adult can move in two parts (the previous owner of my dob added rings and a dovetail which make a very convenient handle). And setting up takes instants.

I wouldn't go bigger than 10' in full tube as the 12' (skywatcher at least) is significantly longer (about 1,5m for 12' compared to 1.2m for the 10'). I beleive that flex tube is kind a mobile up to 14'... This should be confirmed by someone who has one of those. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

I like the Bresser dobs as they don’t need the improvements that the Skywatchers really do. 

 

What does the Bresser have that skywatcher doesn't? The only improvement I did was to install a lacerta 1:10 micro focuser (bought £35 second hand).

I do agree that the Alt brearings seem to be better

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can find a local astro club to you I would suggest you go along as see what's being used and how big telescopes are. If the telescope you choose and it's too big doesn't matter what it could see it will sit and gather dust. The best telescope is the one you'll take outside and use.

Keeping to the other end of your budget is the highly portable 130p OneSky Link leaving room for eyepieces and a book etc. In your budget. The telescope can be mounted on other mounts as it will come off the dobsonian base.  Great discussion thread here link

Edited by happy-kat
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a higher quality scope. Just about every part has been upgraded and improved compared to the Skywatcher.

 

Edited by johninderby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an 8" flextube version

skywatcher sm.jpg

 

The lad sitting next to it is 6'1".

This is a flex tube - it slides shut to about the height of a dining chair (and is about the same size to store) and is very rigid and maintains good collimnation - it takes about 15 seconds to detach the OTA from the base and to reattach it - one large knurled screw.  The one has a goto in the base - this makes the base heavier than non-goto units, I can lift it and waddle about 100 yards with it easily - it is more the awkwardness of the shape with the weight that makes it slightly awkward, though you can just see it does have handles on 3 sides which help and a non-goto would be lighter.  The tube is really easy to carry just a hand under the tube edge at each end - there is just enough room for a hand at the back.  Two quick trips (base and OTA) and it goes anywhere and fits in the back of a family car easily - the picture above is in Basildon town centre.  The thing with a Dob (if you don't have a goto) is no setting up time.  Plonk it on the deck point it at a target manually and view - just nudge it a bit to keep up with rotation.  With the Goto you can spend a bit of time setting it up and it will track an object for about 20 minutes before you need to re-centre.  This can be useful if you want to advance from a bit of iphone photography through the aperture to adding a DSLR with a, so called, T ring which allows the camera boday to lock into the focusser (or indeed attach to some EP's with the correct additional ring fittings) and the goto would then help with slightly longer exposures.  Possibly up to 15-20 seconds so you can then play with stacking.  My Avatar moon is a single frame taken with the camera attached to the focusser of the tube.   You could also attach a cheap and cheerful webcam to the focusser and use a portable computer to process the input for more impressive results HTH

telescope outreach sm.jpg

 

NB, you can see from the shadow we were not pointing at the sun, that shadow was there for about 15 seconds and solid cloud cover all the rest of the day - we were going to do solar filter and the sun, but in the event it's looking at a distant television aerial!

FWIW and something that only coalesced for me after many hours reading SGL is that it tends to be the Eyepiece that gives the magnification.   If you want to see FGF's (feint grey fuzzies) - far distant objects that are little more exciting than a literally feint wisp of grey smudge in the Eyepiece then it is true that the bigger the mirror the easier these will be to see and they might be just a tad bigger.  However, if you want to see stars (which will always be distant points of light unless its Sol!), planets, the Messier objects and most other named lists you can probably see a large number of them with the 8" above.  It's focal length and EP size which tend to give 'magnification' of objects - OK larger scopes often have more focal length, but the difference may not be huge, especially if you are limited by your atmospherics - in the UK about x200-240 'magnification' is often our limit due to our local conditions rather than the massive theoretical possibilities stated on some websites.  You will likely never get close to what is theoretically possible as I imagine every location will be limited in some way unless you are living on top of a mountain somewhere dry and cool.  People get 'aperture envy' and yes, of course someone with the 12" version of mine is going to get better views, but the more I look into things I am not sure I'd ever find a use for something bigger than what I have just to want to drop it outside on the odd occasion and have an interesting hour or so looking at what I am capable for finding.

Edited by JOC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buy used if you can, I know its obvious to say but will get a lot more for your money that way - I have bought large aperture dobs (12" and 14") used which would have been un-affordable new

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mattjanes100 said:

A question for those that have one of those 8" and above Dobs - just how mobile are they? I haven't seen or used one first hand so I don't have a good grasp of it but they seem quite cumbersome compared to, say, a fast Newt?

You can separate the scope tube from the base, flexitube versions are obviously much lighter to move

I have a 14" dob now - had an 8" and 12" in the past, 8" you can move as one unit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, PaulM said:

You can separate the scope tube from the base, flexitube versions are obviously much lighter to move

I have a 14" dob now - had an 8" and 12" in the past, 8" you can move as one unit

I do not beleive this to be true. According to astroshop.eu the 10' Full tube weighs in at 12kg whereas the Flextube weigh in at 15kg (OTA only). I don't beleive that this difference is significant and the smaller volume when storing/transporting might be worth it for some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • 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.