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Newbie , bought a skywatcher Capricorn ( around £100) but still unopened as I have some unexpected money and wonder what to do .

options I see are ; 

Use the Capricorn and get to know the sky and how to align the eq mount. Move on if I get the bug , maybe get a couple of better eyepieces.

Return for refund and choose one of;

Use my approx £350 budget to get a 90+ aperture scope .

Blow the budget on an entry level GOTO scope , don’t bother learning stuff but just observe.

What would you do ? To be honest I think the learning thing is part of the fun but GOTO scopes seem to be the ‘in’ thong

 

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I've been in the hobby fully for just over a year now and started with an AZGTI and 127 mak. I don't have a great sky view from my garden so alignment stars were always a bit of an issue. I didn't really get on with the phone app so bought the synscan handset. To cut to the chase I've sold all the gizmos bought a solid manual altaz mount and paired the mak with a 150 reflector. I've used this combo extensively now and really enjoy the simplicity of it.

Steve

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If you buy a sky atlas (Sky and Telescope do an excellent one, under £20 for the jumbo one I believe), a decent quick finder like a telrad (£40) and a free phone app like sky safari, stellarium or skyview, you can learn your way around fairly quickly without goto. Goto is good for the harder to find, smaller objects not located near any easily identifiable stars. I have goto on one scope, it's fun, fast and at times handy, but don't need it. If you have terrible light pollution, it helps I suppose. I've not been observing that long, less than a year. It's fun to navigate to objects without goto as well, though can be a little frustrating. The biggest advantage of goto if you are married is that you see more objects before your wife rings demanding you come home.

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The trouble is that the GOTO function eats up a lot of a £350 budget leaving proportionaly less for the scope itself wheras without GOTO that budget would get you firmly into the 200mm aperture class.

It's a tricky decision I grant you.

 

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I started with a 70mm scope from Lidl. It really gave me the astro bug. If I were you I'd point it at the moon, then the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, the Double Cluster, the Great Globular cluster in Hercules, then some double stars and the planets when they are around. The mount might annoy you but I envy what lies ahead of you. 

You will definitely want to upgrade wherever you start (if stargazing is for you) so start with the scope you already have. Just crack it open and don't worry about setting up the EQ mount perfectly. I expect you can get advice on how to use it as an AZ mount. 

Good luck and enjoy it. You already know you won't see Hubble like views just let your mind be blown by the faint stuff that you can see.

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Get a manual scope mount,learn sky get bigger scope like 6 inch f5 relector on eq3 or eq4 mount

Joejaguar 

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Keep the scope and learn to do everything manually. Its worth the effort. 

Rob

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Hi 

Return the scope.

Get yourself the best bang for buck scope out there IMO a 200 mm reflector. On either a dob mount or AZ manual mount. They come up second hand on this forum at very reasonable money. And in my opinion are a "proper" scope that will keep the beginner and intermediate amateur going in the hobby for years without the need to upgrade. A good 200mm reflector is the best bang for buck scope for planetary, lunar, DSO out there IMO.

 

I hope this helps

 

 

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Star hopping and the sense of elation when your target slides into view is one of the things that makes you say, “YES!”, in a dark and empty dark sky site.

IMHO

John

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7 hours ago, Ceebee58 said:

Use my approx £350 budget to get a 90+ aperture scope

Start slow. But with 350£ you can have a scope much bigger than 90mm; look at the Bresser dobsonians.

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Welcome to SGL. The best astronomy forum in the world.

Don't forget that if you buy a decent scope on manual mount, you don't have to stick with this.

If you like the scope, when the funds allow, look around for a good quality goto mount for your scope, if you feel you need this.

The problem with technology is that goto is sometimes 'go somewhere in the general direction' and you can spend all evening fiddling around with wires, buttons and screens.

When I started out, goto was extremely expensive and scopes were more expensive in real terms.
That forced(?) me into an 8" newtonian reflector on an EQ5 manual mount.
I really really enjoyed my time with that combination.

Since then I have played with refractors, reflectors and compound scopes. Mounts from a basic alt/az up to the Alter D6 with AWR goto.
Nowadays I find a 150 or 200mm reflector on a dob mount is a very quick 'go out and enjoy the view' package.
Goto, EQ mount, etc are more for  when I really want to see and track this specific (hard to locate) object and maybe grab a photo.

Keep asking the questions on SGL. There is lots of good advice on here.

Is there a local club where you might get hands on with a scope or two? Face to face chat with users of paqrticular scopes?

Enjoy the journey,

David.

 

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Depends what you think you want out of the hobby. There is no 'right' answer.  Some people like the simple approach and swear by 'learning the sky'. Others like lots of tech.

Personally I have never seen the point of 'learning the sky' and most of my observing projects involve the use of GoTo.

Equatorial mount - for the beginner a manual equatorial is probably more trouble than it's worth. A motorized equatorial would be handy for visual observing.  Heavy duty equatorial mounts (nearly always GoTo these days) are used for serious astrophotography.

 Also be aware that modern electronics and cameras can considerably enhance the reach of even a small telescope. GoTo makes faint objects rapidly findable. Planetary imaging can reveal detail that is hard to even glimpse visually.  And if you see what a small scope set up for EAA (electronically assisted astronomy) can do, you may start to wonder what's the point of a bigger scope, at least for fainter objects not requiring high resolution.

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200mm Dob and a Star Atlas and a red torch. I advise all beginners to start there and forget all this fan-dangled goto stuff.  Goto will make you bored; press the button... look.... yawn.....  Press the button again....look...yawn....  Hmm, Coronation Steet on now love?????   Let's head inside.    It's missing the whole point of star hopping and learning the sky.

A 200mm dob is a very good and respectable instrument.  A dark sky and you wil see a ton of things with it.  It is also very portable.  If you do decide to upgrade later it is very re-sellable.

 Still have these things even now 25 years later.

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15 minutes ago, kirkster501 said:

Goto will make you bored; press the button... look.... yawn.....  Press the button again....look...yawn...

Stephen my good fellow, I've just been observing Saturn and Jupiter at 375x in great detail with my Goto, both planets perfectly centred in the EP and me not having to touch the scope, just look, concentrate  and enjoy for a long, long time.

If you want to keep nudging your scope every few seconds in the hope of keeping your subject in view at high powers then all power to you.

Me, I love my Goto, it allows me to observe and concentrate at high power effortlessly and for as long as I desire.

Each to his/her own preference. :) 

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50 minutes ago, Geoff Barnes said:

Stephen my good fellow, I've just been observing Saturn and Jupiter at 375x in great detail with my Goto, both planets perfectly centred in the EP and me not having to touch the scope, just look, concentrate  and enjoy for a long, long time.

If you want to keep nudging your scope every few seconds in the hope of keeping your subject in view at high powers then all power to you.

Me, I love my Goto, it allows me to observe and concentrate at high power effortlessly and for as long as I desire.

Each to his/her own preference. :) 

Good for you.  I was referring to a complete beginner. 

Indeed, each to their own.

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From my experience, I learned so much about the sky from trying to align the GOTO than my manual EQ scope. Note that aligning the GOTO scope is not a straight forward task for a complete beginner, you would have to learn the bright stars and their positions in the sky with a map/app to align your scope to it. It requires patience in the first sessions. + it's an Alt-Az mount, so you can push it manually any time.

A manual scope, however, would force you to learn more of the sky extensively on the long run. Also, an equatorial manual scope will require you learning Right ascension-declination grid to set-up your mount, the scope doesn't move in an upright motion on an equatorial mount

If you ask me, a manual EQ scope is a good choice early on on the hobby. If you consider the GOTO, I would recommend that you search more on how to use GOTOs before buying it, hopefully it will lead to an informative decision.

 

Edit: just noted that the scope you bought has an EQ1 mount, note that both EQ1 and EQ2 are note that sturdy.

Edited by PlanetGazer

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I have found that the most rewarding times have come from doing things myself rather than leaving it all to electronics. Sure, the idea of a GOTO is fantastic but the simplicity of just using a tripod, mount and scope mean you can focus on learning the basics. Once you are on top of this, then worry about complicating your setup later when you are more confident.

I started with a basic manual 5 inch reflector and that taught me enough to allow me to upgrade later on and feel comfortable with a bigger, more complex setup that I wouldn't have gone near without any experience first time- so it might be a good idea to keep it simple for now.

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I would start out again, as I did back then, without goto. Maybe a simple motor for the RA axis for relaxed and jitter-free observing, but a steady hand on a not too fragile mount will achieve the same. In my opinion, and as others already have stated, this is a basic experience and it lets you focus on the sky. Not batteries. Or cables. Or loose connections. Or handsets with gloves. Or longitude and latitude. Or timezones. Or n-point alignment when you have no idea what you are doing in the first place.

Get a book, a scope and look at the sky, and with nothing distracting and adding complexity, it is such a soothing and rewarding experience

Goto can be added later.

 

Actually I miss this. My mount is only used for imaging these days. I guess I have to get a Dob or small backup mount.

Sven

 

 

Edited by freiform
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I've been in this hobby 4 years now.

Started with my 120ed but on a manual mount for the first 3 years.

Recently bought a William optics zenithstar for a wider field of view and to use if im out camping. 

And bought my first goto this year .

I prefer the use of a standard manual alt /az mount rather than goto.

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I love the idea that having goto means you don’t learn anything. You will be looking up.... so the learning begins. Forget what scope, draw in the heavens.
 

Marvin.

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Took me over twenty years to get a goto mount and then only because it was a real steal. But even now I still prefer my old equatorial mount. If im in a real hurry, and only planning maybe a five minute session, then I might grab the goto. But thats not often. I really enjoy using equatorials.

Rob

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As Geoff Barnes mentioned above, Goto gives you tracking; almost essential at high magnifications. I have struggled to find Uranus and Neptune with manual mounts, but had no problems with my Synscan mounts. With tracking, you can try different eyepieces, and the target stays centred; with a manual mount, the target drifts off.

I often use my 127mm Mak. OTA on my Virtuoso mount. I point the finder roughly at Polaris, power-up, and then use the direction buttons or manual movements & re-tighten clutches, and I have decent tracking without the need for full Goto alignment. If I want a wider view, I use the OTA  from my Heritage 130.

Geoff

Edited by Geoff Lister
typo due to predictive text

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I don't object to Go To at all, per se, but I do object to the amount it eats up in a £350 budget. 8 inch Dob, red light, star charts, just as Steve said earlier.

Olly

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Hi

Get a refund. But first...

...go along to an astro club gathering and have a look through some telescopes. I was very disappointed at what I saw through any telescope, including one that was 300mm diameter; my binoculars gave clearer views.

Unfortunately during a visit I made, one couple was into astronomical photography and -far worse- showed me a sample of the images they produced. I'm surprised fellow forumeers haven't yet warned you about what that means!

Cheers, clear skies and good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Edited by alacant
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Ah yes astrophotography.

Sell your house. Cash in your pension. Sell the dog. .......

No seriously. Stick to visual first. Enjoy the experience.

Then maybe dip a toe in the photo pool with phone photos, a webcam. A low cost DSLR (used price half your scope budget).

David.

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