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pidgeyjake

Equipment for £500 ($600)

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If you were starting new and had a spare £500 approximately - what would you buy?

I have been looking through various telescopes, and I think my initial interest would be in seeing rather than photography - but it would be nice to maybe take some 'record shots'. Do you recommend a telescope and tripod immediately? Or should another simpler set up be a good start up

If it's worth extending the budget slightly, I am possibly also persuadable.
Thank you for your answers

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Before jumping at  dob (they are good - I have one) I would suggest you tell us a bit more about your planned use.

Are you in a light polluted area? Do you have to negotiate narrow doors and stairs to put a scope outside? Storage?

For example my 10" dob is quite a lift on it's base to go in and out of the house. Splitting base from tube is a good idea.
A 6" or 8" dob is much easier to handle.
A short tube refractor and Alt az mount are very easy to handle.

There is a saying that the best scope is the one that gets used the most.

HTH, David.

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Best start is a pair of 8x40 or 10x50 Binoculars and a star guide to find your way about the sky.

Then a great step is:

Skywatcher 200 Skyliner Dob £289

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

and some eyepieces £47 each x 3 £141

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

leaves some cash for a couple of guides and a red torch.

All simple, all work, all reasonable price and easily resold if you don't take to the hobby.
or do the same but used via the For Sale section, but it might take a little while to get it all.

Good luck with your entering this fine hobby.

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It might be helpful to run through a number of questions to help hone your pursuit:

  • where will I be viewing from?
  • where will I store the gear?
  • what are the sky conditions like in terms of light pollution?
  • if I need to carry the scope/mount etc is this easily done from the storage area?
  • what do I expect to see or image?
  • from my own homework what basic set up is needed for visual astronomy and what can I expect to see?
  • from my own homework what basic kit is necessary to start astro-photography and what results can I expect?
  • have I budgeted for all the other bits and pieces which maybe necessary (collimation tool, atlas, tracking mount, webcam, warm clothing, case, extra eyepiece, etc)?
  • what kind of weight and size would I be comfortable with?

It shouldn't take too long to get a rough gist of what is involved. Then, with these ideas in hand, the wizards of SGL will be able to help tenfold :thumbright:.

Edited by Rob Sellent
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These Dobs look great! I may have to go for something smaller though for starters.

I live in a city but often cycle/train/sometimes car to darker areas.

So a little bit of portability would be good, I also was potentially thinking about taking it on a plane to the Scottish highlands later this year as we happen to be going on a New moon!

I guess I'll be going to dark sky areas enough to need the portability - but if a Dob could produce anything on the level of a smaller scope with a dark sky then I would go for that to do something more regular!

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8 minutes ago, pidgeyjake said:

These Dobs look great! I may have to go for something smaller though for starters.

I live in a city but often cycle/train/sometimes car to darker areas.

So a little bit of portability would be good, I also was potentially thinking about taking it on a plane to the Scottish highlands later this year as we happen to be going on a New moon!

I guess I'll be going to dark sky areas enough to need the portability - but if a Dob could produce anything on the level of a smaller scope with a dark sky then I would go for that to do something more regular!

 

Just to clarify for you , a Dob really is the mount set up , not a telescope. Usually a larger reflector is mounted on a dob mount . But the smaller reflector is also mounted on a AZ or Eq mount. Confusing isn't it 🤔

Don't worry we were all beginners at some point ,so keep posting the questions.

If I had your budget(but not portability restrictions) ie access to a car . I would get myself a good quality second hand 200mm reflector sat on a dob mount or a second hand AZ mount . A good quality 200mm reflector is a great scope for lunar , planetary, DSO. Suitable for beginner's and intermediate, A proper scope. Probably the best bang for buck scope available.

And a reference book Turn left at Orion , to get you started on the night sky

 

Hope this helps

 

 

 

 

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After doing a little bit of research - I should add I already have a DSLR and a pair of (8x42) binoculars. 

After looking at your advice and realising portability will be pretty important as I am generally quite mobile - I've looked at spotting scopes and found maybe https://www.wexphotovideo.com/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti-wi-fi-go-to-maksutov-cassegrain-telescope-1645634/

I have also ordered the book you have recommended, a friend will be bringing from UK next week I hope :)  

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59 minutes ago, pidgeyjake said:

I've looked at spotting scopes and found.....

That's a Maksutov scope and you'd save yourself quite a tidy sum just going through FLO. Although I don't agree with all the conclusions, you can find a nice review of the Mak 127 here

On a side note, spotting scopes are designed for terrestrial viewing and will probably not show good views of astro related objects.

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The Bresser 127 mak is a bit more but you do get a full 127mm aoerture unlike the Skymax 127s aprox 118mm actual aperture. A bit better performer than the Skymax as well.
 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-mc-127-1900-maksutov-cassegrain-ota.html

Edited by johninderby

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If you want a system that is air-transportable between Geneva, Scotland and London, then it is worth considering the Skymax Synscan  127 GoTo system.

1415466808_SkymaxBackpack-Annotated(R).jpg.f600dea71b036a1776b62fb3ad37f0a8.jpg

The Mak. design is very robust. I have one in the UK, and a second one that I have transported across France. Neither of them have required any collimation  adjustment. The whole setup weighs about 11kg.

Geoff

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So another scope that's semi big but portable is the 6 inch sct. It may be a bit better than 5 mak cause its 1 inch bigger so you will see more.

The mak also has a smaller field of view so the sct may be a better all around scope.

U can also bring it on planes as it just fit on carry one. It weights 6 lbs.

U can also use a eq2 for lighter packages since it's so light for the weight

Joejaguar 

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Hi @pidgeyjake and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

If you do a lot of travelling between Geneva 🇨🇭 (GVA) & London 🇬🇧 (LDN), then I too think the Mak will be a good choice and it is just within the 'airline/airplane carry-on' rule if sensibly packed. I have a Meade backpack/rucksack ---> 1259864919_ETXbackpack.jpg.e4a67ec5959839c70cee5c43767ed135.jpg for transporting my 're-modded' ETX105 and a few eyepieces + accessories, (the mount and tripod gets packed in a suitcase/other), if I am relying on aircraft or public transport, etc.

The are a few downsides to owning a Mak. Below is a few... 

  1. notorious dew-magnets - a dew-shield is a must have accessory.
  2. take a longtime to cooldown - I usually leave mine for 30-40minutes minimum.
  3. narrow field of view.

Another popular portable 'scope that has good reviews is the SkyWatcher Heritage 130p Flextube - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html.

BTW - my review of the review of the Meade backpack/rucksack is here...

 

Edited by Philip R

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