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What equipment got you into astronomy?


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For me it was a Celestron C150HD for my 30th birthday. This is just a pic off the web, I don’t have one of mine. I had never heard of a Bird-Jones design, but liked the short tube so went with it with no knowledge! It served me well for about 5 years, went mushy above about x150 but I had great views of many objects, Mars at closest opposition in 2003 (I think), plus Jupiter and Saturn way up high! It taught me about the joys of EQ mounts too.

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For me it was, at the age of 50, buying an old farm as a weekend house and seeing the very dark sky (I later heard about the Bortle scale and found it was Bortle 2-3). I decided that I had to get a telescope and ended up with a package deal, a SW 250p Newtonean on a NEQ6. I soon tried to take images, and realized that I had committed the usual newbie error of buying the biggest telescope I could afford. So what really got me into astrophtography was a small 3" refractor (ES 80ED) and a DSLR (Canon 60Da).

Edited by gorann
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My first telescope at the age of 49 was the 12"skywatcher dob which I got about four months ago,but I've always been interested in astronomy since I was 9 and wanting to be an astronaut, took 40 years from then to get my first scope1408969781_Screenshot_20210802-222209_Chrome2.thumb.jpg.5cbdebd784e1c417e92c906c42db325b.jpg

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The first proper astronomical telescope that I looked through was an old 8.5 inch newtonian in 1971-72 which was in my school observatory.

Back then, all I had access to myself was my parents Prinz (Dixons) 8x30 binoculars. I did manage to see and sketch a comet with them though.

The first telescope that I actually owned myself was much more modest - this 1960's Tasco 60mm refractor, which I still have in it's wooden case:

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My 2nd telescope was a bit more serious - an Astro Systems (Bedford) 6 inch F/6 newtonian on a Fullerscopes equatorial mount. I observed Halleys Comet in 1986 with this instrument:

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Since then ? ........ er, I've sort of lost count :rolleyes2:

 

 

 

Edited by John
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Ten years ago I bought my first scope, mostly for terrestrial views, a Celestron 80/900  powerseeker on an eq1 mount.

Only used it twice for terrestrial because of the small fov, but it opened up the night sky for me. Pretty decent for it's price, the f/11.something ratio of the 80mm lens produced almost CA free & crisp views of planets, clusters and double stars, and the eq1, although flimsy, taught me how to properly use a scientific instrument.

Sold it 3 years later for a bresser 127L on a Tal2m mount which was certainly an upgrade.

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The first telescope I looked through was a Celestron 76mm Firstscope. The views of the moon were breathtaking. I also remember viewing Saturn for the first time which will live long in the memory despite taking forever to line up.

There was a good 10 year gap before I got “proper” scope in the shape of a 200P.  My interest in astronomy has never been higher and am not far away from receiving my 4th scope, of which three have been purchased in the last 18 months!

Edited by IB20
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Orion 130 short tube on an EQ2 mount bought for me by my wife five years ago, after moving to a dark location.

the OTA is great, the mount is awful. Touch anything and you need to send it a letter by registered post before it settles down.

Despite the mount I saw mind blowing stuff. The best bit is my diary. First five nights completely clear, not a cloud and I am moaning there is no moon!!!!

How the times have changed. Marv

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It was initially two books, if books can be thought of as equipment. The Observers book of Astronomy by Patrick Moore, and Guide to the Moon, also by Patrick Moore.

My first scope was a 60mm Prinz Astral 500, which gave me my first real views of the Moon, planets and Sun spots. I imagine the Prinz Astral refractors are responsible for ignighting many an astronomical flame in the hearts of budding young stargazers. I was 18 years old when I got bitten.

 

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Edited by mikeDnight
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Mid-90s I struggled with my first scope - a Meade 4.5" Newtonian on a wobbly GEM complete with indecipherable instructions. I gave up on it by the late 90s and bought a real scope, the Intes MK-67 imported by Orion (California). They came painted black, and were quite good, optically. I mounted it on a Manfrotto tripod with mini geared head and it served me well. If I have a photo a search will be necessary to uncover it.

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A Vivitar Series 1 100-500mm telephoto lens from my photography hobby that I adapted to telescope usage with a 25mm macro extension ring, some PVC pipe fittings to get to 1.25" ID, lots of thumb screws, and a 9mm Vixen LV I bought to use with it straight through due to lack of back focus.  It made for a really cool, variable focal length, variable f-ratio telescope.  Once I had split the Trapezium with it, I was hooked and bought a Dob the next year.

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I had a department store telescope as a kid - it must have had plastic lenses or been a singlet because the chromatic aberration was so bad, but it showed me Jupiter's oblate shape and its four moons, and also Alpha Centauri, so I was hooked. As a teen I tried making a 6" reflector but kept getting nasty scratches in the polishing stage. Life intervened for a few decades, then I got back into the hobby with a Nexstar 4SE.

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My journey started in the late 1960’s when my Dad bought me a small push-pull telescope very similar to pictures below.

I used the slots in a garden gate as a very crude rest and had my first wonderful views of the moon and the Orion Nebula, I was hooked after that but didn’t upgrade until the mid 90’s when I bought a Russian 4” reflector. 

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Edited by jock1958
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A great 10" 250px dob (in my 30's).  Very versatile, had lots of fun augmenting it with a Telrad, dual speed focuser upgrade from Lacerta, Naglers, a binoviewer, and solar film!  Each little upgrade was something to save and look forward to - and then enjoy.

It showed me so many diverse objects... really incredible: the best money I spent on astronomy.  I gave it away as a present to a kid who lives close by, as I have my 15" dob and the 10" just wasn't getting the use it deserves.  He and his family now gets to enjoy a 10" as their 1st scope 😉

Edited by niallk
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