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Recommendations for a first scope to use with binoviewers


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Hello. I’m new to telescopes but have been doing some wide field AP over the last few months and really enjoying it. I would like to try viewing now, and have decided to start with some binoviewers (thinking the Arcturus one) because of my terrible retinal conditions. Each eye sees like crap, but together they do OK. Can you recommend to me a first telescope that would be fun for seeing planets and maybe the sun and moon? Preferably under $1500. (I am wondering about a Sky-Watcher flex tube synscan as a possibility). I gather one would need special filters for the sun, obviously, but also if you could point me to a source of info on how to know if I need special adapters for the binoviewer that would be terrific. Thanks!

Edited by Rjbram
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The flex tube wouldn't be my choice for solar viewing due to the open tube.  You would need to make sure any light shroud is light tight and well sealed around the extension rods.  On the other hand, it does allow binoviewers to come to focus by not extending the rods as far as normal.  The Arcturus BV requires about 4 inches of in-focus.  If you can't shorten the optical tube, you generally need a Barlow lens or OCS/GPC to reach focus in a Newtonian.

Either an SCT or Mak would have no problem reaching focus with a BV thanks to their moving mirror focusing method.  However, the focal length grows somewhat in so doing.

A refractor with a removable tube section can also work well.  TS-Optics and others have offered some in the past and might still offer some.

I have an Arcturus BV, and the OCS/Barlows that come with it are terrible.  I use the optics section of a vintage Meade 140 APO 2x Barlow screwed into the BV nosepiece to reach focus in many of my scopes.  It operates at 3x in this configuration.  A vintage Celestron Ultima 2x Barlow also works well.  They were also sold as Parks Gold Series (GS) and Orion Shorty Plus 3 element, IIRC.

The BV used natively in my 127 Mak pushes out the focal length to about 1700mm or more, but that is still far less than tripling it to 4500mm with the Barlow to reach focus.

Yes, you need a full aperture solar filter for white light viewing with most telescope designs.  A refractor can use a Herschel wedge instead for greater clarity.

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