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Hi all.  I'm looking to get my first Telescope. I live in a remote place so clear sky us a given.  What do you recommend. Looking to spend up to £200.  UK based. Thank you

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The Dobsonian telescope will be by far your best bet at this price. Optically these are classic Newtonian reflectors but the mounting is simple, inexpensive and both stable and intuitive to use. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

OK, this is £19 over budget but it's a grand tradition on SGL to regard stated budgets as negotiable!!! :icon_mrgreen:

You'll also need maps of the sky to use the scope productively. Stellarium is a free planetarium software which would allow you print paper charts for an observing session. Some take PCs outside, dimmed with a sheet of red transparent plastic but I prefer to keep my dark adaptation by using paper and a red torch.

Olly

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+ 2 for a dobsonian. I got the 200P for my first scope and it cost me less than your budget, it was used and in as new condition. With an 8” diameter it gives some great images.

Edited by banjaxed

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Going for second-hand is always a good idea. Generally, astronomers take good care of their kit, and something as simple as a Dobsonian doesn't really wear out readily.

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theres still many factors to consider, each will have pros and cons

do you live in a house with a backyard? and if so will it be setup in the living room or somewhere close to the back room where yopu can just take it outside let it cool?

do you live in a apt/ condo type where you have to take it down in parts or carry out inside elevator to the outside? where portabililty is more important?

do you a scope that you have to colimate every couple months? scope like reflector dobs and sct needs this some more then others. this means both mirror have to be aligned for good views .

do you want to deal with this as a brand new person?

scopes like refractors norm are set so they don't have to.

ok so if you pick a dob 6" in this price range.

yes best bang for your price basically means biggest for the money. you will see the most with it but a dob needs to be collimated sometimes if u bump it travel with it or are rough with it. 

Its only like 3.5ft tall so even looking upwards you will be bending down and halfway on the sky you will be on your knees. You can get a small 2x2 table BUT it has to be sturdy if its not it will shake it and the scope. Plus this is another cost to consider. As I said b4 if you live in an apt/condo type then another item to carry out which may be a deal killer.It has no manual slow motion controls of any kind so you cant track the planet as it moves in the sky. at about 200 power and more the planet can be in the ep like 20 to 25 sec max. Do you want to keep pushing and pulling the tube every 20 secs? and I found the basic dobs Teflon is not smooth enough for micro movments at high power compared to a slow motion controls.

if its a reflector on a eq it prob be a 4.5" or 5.1" on a eq2 type. Don't get one that's on a eq1 that mount may be a tad too small. it too may need to be collimated every few months unless you are just putting it from the living room to the back yard without any hard bumps or with travelling with it. A eq mount may be abit harder to use at first BUt once u do I find it ok. even at the lowest height will be perfect for a teen or adult. BUT you have to get used to using a EQ mount as it has some weird angles and getting used to how to polar align too. It does have slow motion controls tho and u can put a drive on it later so it follows the planet as it moves. Of course that costs more about $50. make sure this kind has a parabolic mirror.

if refractor prob be a 80mmrefractor on eq2. everything is same on this mount as the reflector type. BUT you don't have to worry about align this kind it will be set. Of course a 80mm referctor will see a lot less then the 6" dob. The refarctor can also be used in daytime too, but you may need a low power ep and a 45 degree diagonal at extra cost of course but u have this option.

so there are the pro and cons there are probally bit more for each but that should be enough for you to decide whats type is best for u.

joejaguar

 

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57 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

The Dobsonian telescope will be by far your best bet at this price. Optically these are classic Newtonian reflectors but the mounting is simple, inexpensive and both stable and intuitive to use. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

OK, this is £19 over budget but it's a grand tradition on SGL to regard stated budgets as negotiable!!! :icon_mrgreen:

You'll also need maps of the sky to use the scope productively. Stellarium is a free planetarium software which would allow you print paper charts for an observing session. Some take PCs outside, dimmed with a sheet of red transparent plastic but I prefer to keep my dark adaptation by using paper and a red torch.

Olly

I had seen a one in Jessops. It's the Celeston PS1000.  Is this any good as an entry level. Some of comments I've had is like double Dutch to me ...very confusing sorry 

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no that's not a dob click on his link and u will see it

a dob just sits on a woden base (kinda like a lazy susan) if you guys use that tern over there in UK? and it sits on the ground instead of a tripod and mount.

joejaguar

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4 hours ago, Traceyh said:

I had seen a one in Jessops. It's the Celeston PS1000.  Is this any good as an entry level. Some of comments I've had is like double Dutch to me ...very confusing sorry 

It is difficult to know which comments are causing confusion, but I'll take a few guesses! 🙂

(1) A 'dob' is short for Dobsonian and in basic concept it is of a similar type of telescope to the Celestron PS1000 - they are reflectors. Dobsonians normally sit in a wooden 'cradle' that sits on the floor, whereas Newtonians normally sit on a 'mount' on a tripod. They are both known as reflectors because the light comes in through the open front and goes down to a curved (concave) mirror which reflects the light back up the tube to another very small mirror set at 45 degrees. This one redirects the light to a viewer/eyepiece that sticks out of the side of the tube.

(2) Refractors are the traditional style of telescope that have lenses at the front that focus the light to the bottom of the tube where the eyepiece sits. These lenses can be expensive to make and cheap refractors have only a small aperture at the front. Mirrors are cheaper to make because they do not rely on high quality glass for lenses.

(3) The aperture. The bigger the hole at the front of the telescope (the aperture) the more light is collected and focused to the eyepiece. Whilst stars are relatively bright and require very little aperture to be seen, some deep sky objects are very faint and require a large aperture to collect more light so there's a greater chance of seeing them.

Dobsonians (dobs) are the best value for money when it comes to aperture because the money goes in to making the telescope and not the mount that holds it. Olly Penrice suggests the SkyWatcher Skyliner 150P and if anyone knows what he's saying it's Olly Penrice! 🙂 This telescope has a 150mm aperture and would be a very good starting point. I can find very little information on the Celestron PS1000, apparently it has a 127mm aperture (but generally not a recommended telescope). A 200mm aperture reflector would be even better than 150mm but it also becomes more awkward and heavier to carry.

With a simple Dodsonian there are no directional adjusters, you basically push the telescope around on a low friction 'cradle'. This is not such a problem once you know your way around the sky, but you always have to nudge it to keep it looking at your chosen object - the Earth's rotation is the issue there. Newtonians are normally mounted on an EQ - equatorial - mount that has manual adjusters to move the telescope up/down and left/right. With Dobsonians/Newtonians it may be necessary once in a while to check the alignment of the mirrors, this is known as collimation - not really an issue with refractor telescopes.

All telescopes need eyepieces to look through in order to see whatever it's pointing at. Usually they will come with one or two and it is necessary to ensure this is the case or you will have to buy at least one - 24mm is standard and cost somewhere around £30 for an inexpensive one. The telescope should also come with what is known as a finderscope. This is normally a very small secondary refractor telescope that you use to look through when trying to point the main telescope in the right direction for the chosen object. Olly Penrice mentions Stellarium and it is a free piece of software for either PC/laptop or smartphone and it shows a detailed view of the night sky - what's out there and where to find it.

Finally I should mention 'GoTo' telescope mounts. These are computerised mounts that point the telescope at an object selected by you; they are the astronomy equivalent of vehicle SatNav. The SkyWatcher Explorer 130P ( https://www.firstlightoptics.com/az-goto/skywatcher-explorer-130p-synscan-az-goto.html ) is a good example of one and would be a good starting point, but it's £325 - but if you can stretch to that it would be much easier to use.

I do hope that some of this helps just a little and I wish you all the best and a Happy Christmas

 

Edited by DKNicholson
Update and clarification

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Nobody here would advise you to buy that telescope Celestron PS1000 . The only consensus here is to avoid telescopes like that (Bird-Jones design) a Newtonian where the focal length (1000mm) is longer than the tube itself. Any scope from a telescope retailer (like FLO) will be decent. Some people prefer refractors but nearly everyone recommends something like the first suggestion here. Look again at the first poster and his reputation count. If you aren't going to observe on a cramped balcony, that could well be the one for you. 

Good luck and welcome to a great hobby.

 

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1 hour ago, DKNicholson said:

I can find very little information on the Celestron PS1000, but it most likely only has a 100mm aperture

The Celestron PS1000 has an aperture of 127mm and a focal length of 1000mm. The tube length is about half that because the telescope uses Jones-Bird optics. There is a small lens element, similar to a barlow lens, built into the focuser to correct for spherical aberrations (spherical primary mirror) and also adjust the focal length. That's all you need to know about the PS1000...except for the location of the nearest stockist of barge poles.

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3 hours ago, Traceyh said:

I had seen a one in Jessops. It's the Celeston PS1000.  Is this any good as an entry level. Some of comments I've had is like double Dutch to me ...very confusing sorry

Hi Tracey, never consider a telescope from a high street store, they know little of mechanics, the scope you highlight is of particularly poor design.  Always consider buying a telescope from a specialist supplier, like the forum's sponsors FLO, they are no more expensive than cheap suppliers like those on the high street.  With a proper supplier you also get good service and fast delivery, and expert advice if you need it.  Good luck with your choices!

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The big problem with these low priced scopes in particular is the cheap EQ mount. Those cheap EQ mounts are horrible things.

Would be better considering something like this. Better telescope and the AZ5 mount is far easier for the beginner to use. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az5-deluxe/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az5-deluxe.html

Edited by johninderby

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As you give Northumberland as a location is Keilder close enough to you as I believe there is some sort of observatory and public interaction there.

Likely a good idea to pay them, assuming there is, a visit.

Scopes are in basically 3 varieties and each has it's plus points and it's minus points. Easiest is I guess a smallish wide field refractor. Something around f/8 to minimise the chromatic aberration that is present.

I think Bresser or ES sell one that is 80mm aperture and 640mm focal length. There are others that are 90mm aperture and 900mm focal length. Would suggest that you have a look and if possible a try of one or two before anything. Also keep in mind that almost immediatly after the scope you will want a couple of eyepieces. And 2 plossls will come to around £60-£70.

Also there is this: http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/Clubs/Counties.aspx

It only lists 2 clubs in Northumberland, and I would expect one of those to be the Keilder one. But if possible have a look and don't rush it.

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Thank you all so much you have been very helpful. I don't feel as list now.  This us a great forum so pleased I found you.  Have a great Christmas one and all 

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17 hours ago, domstar said:

Nobody here would advise you to buy that telescope Celestron PS1000 . The only consensus here is to avoid telescopes like that (Bird-Jones design) a Newtonian where the focal length (1000mm) is longer than the tube itself. Any scope from a telescope retailer (like FLO) will be decent. Some people prefer refractors but nearly everyone recommends something like the first suggestion here. Look again at the first poster and his reputation count. If you aren't going to observe on a cramped balcony, that could well be the one for you. 

Good luck and welcome to a great hobby.

 

Thank you very much. You made things sound less complex. Your explanations were really clear.  

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21 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

The Dobsonian telescope will be by far your best bet at this price. Optically these are classic Newtonian reflectors but the mounting is simple, inexpensive and both stable and intuitive to use. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

OK, this is £19 over budget but it's a grand tradition on SGL to regard stated budgets as negotiable!!! :icon_mrgreen:

You'll also need maps of the sky to use the scope productively. Stellarium is a free planetarium software which would allow you print paper charts for an observing session. Some take PCs outside, dimmed with a sheet of red transparent plastic but I prefer to keep my dark adaptation by using paper and a red torch.

Olly

Thank you Olly.  I'm going with your suggestion as you have a very good reputation on  here.  Thank you for taking the time to assist.  That goes to all who replied also.   

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13 hours ago, PEMS said:

As you give Northumberland as a location is Keilder close enough to you as I believe there is some sort of observatory and public interaction there.

Likely a good idea to pay them, assuming there is, a visit.

Scopes are in basically 3 varieties and each has it's plus points and it's minus points. Easiest is I guess a smallish wide field refractor. Something around f/8 to minimise the chromatic aberration that is present.

I think Bresser or ES sell one that is 80mm aperture and 640mm focal length. There are others that are 90mm aperture and 900mm focal length. Would suggest that you have a look and if possible a try of one or two before anything. Also keep in mind that almost immediatly after the scope you will want a couple of eyepieces. And 2 plossls will come to around £60-£70.

Also there is this: http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/Clubs/Counties.aspx

It only lists 2 clubs in Northumberland, and I would expect one of those to be the Keilder one. But if possible have a look and don't rush it.

Yes live very near. Will drive up and take a look. Good idea

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