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New Telescope for my husband - HELP


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Hello everyone, 

By now I'm sure everyone is sick of these posts asking what to buy. But, that's what I am here asking. I have been researching for weeks, and I think I've only made my dilema more difficult by over-reading and over-thinking. My husband loves astronomy. He has a cheap telescope that was given to my son almost 20 years ago. Everything just looks like a blob in the scope. I want to get him a good telescope (with in my budget). One where he can look through and see - clearly - the rings of Saurn or the colors of Jupiter. My budget is between $400 and $600. Preferably lower than higher. I've looked at everthing from the Celestron Omni XLT 150, to the Celestron NexStar 8SE, to Sky-Watcher Classic 200P Dobsonian, to the Orion StarMax 127mm, and many, many more. I'm now so mixed up I don't know what to do.

I need to get it by Christmas, if possible. And, if I have to buy lenses/mount etc. I need it to stay in that $$ range. I know that a really good one would cost much, much more than I am willing/able to spend at this time.

Any advice? Suggestions? I really appreciate the advice and help.

Thanks, Dawn

Edited by mrsbuzzy
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Oh and I found this offer used: 

"Brand new explore first light telescope. Comes with everything needed. Tripod, telescope, 25 mm eye scope, two phone holders to take photos, and a zoom in lense which I paid 80 dollars for. Zooms in 180 times more. Great for viewing moon and planets."

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From the scopes you’ve mentioned best value by far is the Skywatcher 200 Dobsonian.  Your mention of $ means you’re  not in the UK and over here astronomy kit is in short supply.

The SW 200 Dob is a manual scope but a large part of the price goes into good mirrors rather than the electronics.  The supplied eyepieces are useable but not the best. But that applies to most scopes.

A warm welcome to SGL 👍

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6 minutes ago, NGC 1502 said:


From the scopes you’ve mentioned best value by far is the Skywatcher 200 Dobsonian.  Your mention of $ means you’re  not in the UK and over here astronomy kit is in short supply.

The SW 200 Dob is a manual scope but a large part of the price goes into good mirrors rather than the electronics.  The supplied eyepieces are useable but not the best. But that applies to most scopes.

A warm welcome to SGL 👍

Would you recommend specific eye pieces to purchase in addition?

Yes, I am in the U.S. I should've mentioned that in my introduction.

Thank you!
Dawn

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Skymax 127 on the AZ GTI mount is a combo I am planning on for solar system work. 

Personally while I think the big dob is a great option it's one you may regret in terms of size portability and ease of use. So you will need a place to keep it and he will need to learn to find targets himself.bthe skymax on the az gti mount is controlled from a phone and can find and track objects automatically. 

Edited by Adam J
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2 minutes ago, Adam J said:

Skymax 127 on the AZ GTI mount is a combo I am planning on for solar system work. 

Personally while I think the big dob is a great option it's one you may regret in terms of size portability and ease of use. 

Would you recommend any specific add ons, lenses etc?

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12 minutes ago, mrsbuzzy said:

Would you recommend any specific add ons, lenses etc?

In the UK at least it comes with what you need to start out. Red dot finder two eye pieces and a Barlow. Of you wanted a better eyepiece then you could start out with a zoom to make life easy. Assuming this package or similar is available via a local supplier, FLO ship internationally but it's out of stock. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html

You won't get one in the UK at the moment but maybe more luck in the USA. Covid is causing supply issues. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ovl-eyepieces/hyperflex-9-27mm-zoom.html

It's always hard to recommend something when someone is asking for someone else as you can be sure of their area of interest. 

 

Adam 

 

Edited by Adam J
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Hi @mrsbuzzy/Dawn & husband and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

As per what @NGC 1502 suggests as it is one of the most popular type of 'scope here in GB/UK. One of my work colleagues has the SkyWatcher 200 Dobsonian and is very pleased with it. He originally purchased for his then six year old son a few years ago and dad gets more use from it. The son now somewhat older has now got other interests, but occasionally looks through it. 

The one you have shown, I think is what is referred to as a 'Bird-Jones' design. Basically they have a built-in Barlow lens in the eyepiece tube/holder, which can be a cause of grief when it needs collimating. They are best avoided... unless you know what you are doing. 

I myself have a TeleVue 70mm refractor, a 're-modded' ETX105 and a Celestron C6/SCT-xlt.

Edited by Philip R
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Skywatcher 200p gets my recommendation. It's useable for any target, not too small (aperture) for dark sites, and not too big for light-pollluted sites. I myself have one. People refer to it as a "Goldilocks" scope. The eyepieces (lenses) that are supplied with it aren't very good but that's no different from almost any new scope, even some very expensive ones. It is likely to come with a 25mm and 10mm eyepiece. The 25mm is not too bad, the 10mm is poor. It would be worth improving those by getting BST Starguider eyepieces at similar focal lengths, at a modest extra cost but huge optical improvement.

Good luck, Magnus

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How about we try to debug what is going on with your current scope?  I've gotten decent images even from "crap" scopes at low powers and on axis (in the center).  It's usually the mounts they come with that are abhorrent.

What is it?  Can you post some images of it on here?  Can you describe the views through it during the daytime at distant targets?

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2 hours ago, mrsbuzzy said:

I had settled on the Skywatcher 200p, however, I can't get it until sometime after New Years. So, I have some decisions to make.  Thank you everyone.

Whatever you do dont buy rubbish just so you can get it in time for christmas day, if scopes are out of stock in the run up to christmas its becasue those are the good / popular models, you may end up buying twice, better to give him voucher for a astronomy shop or order something and give him a print out of information on what he is getting.

Adam

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as a confirmed dobbist the 200 is an excellent choice- I wholeheartedly support the comments above just accept you won't be getting one before Xmas so dont settle for something/anything to put under the tree, it most likely will turn out to be a disappointment.  What about an xmas card under the tree with a scope IOU???

You can use the time to read up on here about your new dob and get a flying start for when it arrives- Im sure your partner will be over the moon (pun intended) when you tell him a large box arrived for him and watch him starry eyed as you explain the why's and wherefores of it all  ......lol

 

J

Edited by jacobingonzo
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17 hours ago, mrsbuzzy said:

I had settled on the Skywatcher 200p, however, I can't get it until sometime after New Years. So, I have some decisions to make.  Thank you everyone.

Make it a Valentine's Day gift.  He'll love it. 😉

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In the meantime, get a Planisphere and a couple of good books  to whet his astro appetite. 

Turn Left at Orion is highly recommended, as is the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders (which is a bit like the next step up from TLAO). 

Both of these can be found in Preview Mode on Google Books under the links

The Sky and Telescope Pocket Atlas is also a good resource. 

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I agree with @Louis D that you may want to post some pics of your husband's current scope, so someone might be able to help you get it working while you're waiting for the stock of the SW 200P to come back. I've got a 22 years old department store Tasco 60mm f/15 refractor and it's working perfectly fine after I fixed its tripod and replaced the stock .965 focuser with a 1.25 unit.

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I was able to see Jupiter's moons with both a Nat Geo 40mm refractor and a Celestron FirstScope 76 at a star party after getting them properly focused and on target for the owners who had brought them to get assistance.  It's definitely possible to do basic astronomy with really poor, big box store telescopes.  It just takes experience and knowledge to work out the issues.  That, and tempered expectations of the views.

I will say that the Nat Geo cheap photo tripod-type mount is the absolute worst.  It's so herky-jerky and wobbly that you have to loosen up everything and keep a steady fist around the mount axes to use it successfully.

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Also a small refractor could make an awesome finder scope to use on a much bigger 200p. It's worth digging out the existing telescope to see what could be done with it.

Edited by happy-kat
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Just considering the question of what is available in time for Christmas, how about getting your husband some simple 10x50 binoculars and a sky atlas for Christmas if they are faster to get hold of so he can get the hang of what's up there, plus a "telescope-in-the-post" voucher or something like that and the scope can follow when it arrives - something to look forward to for longer? You need not spend much at all on binoculars.

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