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Hello all, 

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.

thank you. 

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Personally I would go for the scope instead of the binoculars even tho are very good for wide field views of the heavens and some deep sky light deep sky observing you still be able to detect Jupiter’s moons and the rings of Saturn and yes detail on the moon.however regarding the Meade there it will definitely be the next step and will give you more versatility ie a wide range of magnification with various eyepieces up to 175x in good seeing conditions of course the views will be a lot close and personal and be able to detect bands on Jupiter the red spot the rings of Saturn will start to open up in casssini devision etc 

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For slightly less than the Meade, you could pick up one of these. They’re very portable, versatile scopes and punch well above their weight for the price.

The moon and planets will look great with a decent set of eyepieces and a barlow.

It has a larger aperture as well, so using high magnification eyepieces and a barlow will still give respectable results, not sure if the Meade will however, as it has only 70mm of aperture.

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44 minutes ago, Supernova74 said:

Personally I would go for the scope instead of the binoculars even tho are very good for wide field views of the heavens and some deep sky light deep sky observing you still be able to detect Jupiter’s moons and the rings of Saturn and yes detail on the moon.however regarding the Meade there it will definitely be the next step and will give you more versatility ie a wide range of magnification with various eyepieces up to 175x in good seeing conditions of course the views will be a lot close and personal and be able to detect bands on Jupiter the red spot the rings of Saturn will start to open up in casssini devision etc 

Thank you for the advice, do you think the Meade with its 90mm aperture will be enough or do I spend more for more aperture? Personally I don’t want to go dobsonian or anything that will need collimation all the time as it will be in and out Of a car trunk/backseat. 
thank you. 

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well In Astronomy aperture is king of course and firstly before I go any further it depends on your budget!?

As I don,f want to recommend certain scopes to you that go beyond your means the answer is a definitely a yes as I feel regarding the binoculars anyway will not be able to do more serious observing as your limited in that respect.there are some great goto scope packages out there by skywatcher,celestron and yes meade (meade I own myself) without sacrificing that important factor of portability so if you can afford that next up yes is my answer.

with goto it takes all the frustration out trying to find a certain object with the conventional way of useing star charts and maps and for the beginner this is essential  in growing within the hobby not only you can remotly control scope from the supplied hand set the alignment procedure  is quite easy also and opens up new doors for an instance to use meades Stella WiFi device or something similar to use with a iPad mini or smart phone then this allows you to open an app of the whole night sky in a planetarium so you can see the whole night sky in front of you and see a object you wish to observe and just press goto.

and lastly your right about the dob and reflectors not so portable and need constant Colomation of the mirrors so the best thing you can do is give me a budget to work on and will be happy to recommend you some scopes.

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2 hours ago, Supernova74 said:

with goto it takes all the frustration out trying to find a certain object with the conventional way of useing star charts and maps and for the beginner this is essential  in growing within the hobby not only you can remotly control scope from the supplied hand set the alignment procedure  is quite easy

I would disagree a bit there, goto is handy for quickly finding targets but it's not always easy to use, there is a learning curve like that of learning how to use a satnav or a computer (correctly!  Goto systems can be very unforgiving when it comes to mistakes or errors, and they tend not to tell you what the problem is when they don't work).  Likewise, a manual mount requires a simpler learning curve but for me I prefer it because there is less to go wrong, like a simple bicycle compared to a motorbike - you can easily learn to ride and maintain a bicycle but a motorbike requires a lot more knowledge to be able to use and troubleshoot when things don't work properly.

After much frustration and wasted evenings with star alignment failures and hardware issues I sold my goto in preference of a simple mount with tracking only.

I'd say for ultimate portability and beginner ease of use, have a serious look at the StarTravel 80 and the Horizon photography tripod.  If you can afford an extra eyepiece then consider something around the 14mm range, like the BST Starguider 15mm (cheap and cheerful) or the rather stunning Explore Scientific 14mm (worth the money, also consider the 11mm for higher magnification) from the 82 degree range, excellent for lunar observing (don't forget a lunar / ND filter to cut down the glare).

Good luck!

 

Edited by jonathan
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Well I’m sorry to here that however your entitled to your opinion as I’ve never never had any issues with goto mounts etc yet as you had a bad experience with one is there a small possibility it was a user error or perhaps even firmware issues was truly a problem.and. Besides the likes of Meade,celestron and skywatcher are all the major contenders in the Amateur Astronomy market place.ie celestrons skyportal WiFi device is very very beginner friendly you don,t even have to no the name of the stars 🌟 it’s literally level the tripod the hand set usually gives you automatic GPS to your location set day light saving time to yes or no it’s easy as 1,2,3 

Edited by Supernova74
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I don't think a debate on the pros and cons of GOTO is really relevant here. The scope that the OP is considering is $199 I believe. Assuming that is the budget available, GOTO scopes are just not in the running :dontknow:

 

 

 

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Yes I agree John however if the person of interest has,nt made a final decision as considering larger aperture it just maybe go in the realm of an entry level goto scope as an alternative nothing is written in stone😀thanks John you just given me another topic!?

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I second the suggestion to go for a Sky-Watcher Heritage 130. Since you like to see the Moon in detail, the larger aperture of the Heritage over the StarPro will give you a higher resolution and because of that, the ability to see more detail. The simple mount and the red dot finder allow you to locate objects of interest quite fast.

Although the maximum theoretical magnification for the scope is around 250x, this depends to a great extent on the atmospheric stability ('seeing') and most likely will not be achievable on most nights. It is however useful to buy a barlow that will fit between the telescope and the eyepiece and effectively doubles the magnification. The supplied 10mm eyepiece will then provide a magnification of 130x, perfect to study details on the Moon.

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I agree that a scope I’d better than bins for your situation.  For the Moon and planets you’d be hard pressed to beat a MAKSUTOV. Very portable, lightweight and fairly bulletproof.

This one with a great mount is slightly over your budget but you might get a used one for less or you may be able to stretch to this amount with the tripod included - no collimation and forgiving on eyepieces which on this one starter eyepieces are included. You might need a red dot finder for this

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/sky-watcher-skymax-102-az-pronto.html 

Without a mount this is pretty much on budget  - the eyepiece is quite long focal length so you might need a Barlow or shorter focal length eyepiece but the red dot finder is included. 

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/bresser-messier-mc-1001400-optical-tube-assembly.html

You could use this on a camera tripod.

I think you’d be hard pushed to beat a mak for the observing you want to do.

Steve 

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Staying well within your budget, consider the Heritage 130. Easy to grab and go. Decent enough for planetary and lunar viewing but enough aperture to start off observing other deep sky objects, especially if you can view from a dark site.

Here's an in depth review of the Heritage 130p by an experienced astronomer:

http://neilenglish.net/a-newtonian-travel-scope/

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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