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do you get what you pay for ?

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Welcome to SGL !.

Have you go a budget in mind and do you have any particular interests ie: the moon, planets, deep space objects like galaxies and nebulae ?.

Generally decent starter scopes cost in the £150 - £250 range.

Don't get tempted by the glossy scopes on e.bay for less - while there are some bargains to be had there there are many more that are best avoided.

Hope that helps a bit - feel free to ask as many questions as you like :o


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If you buy a cheap scope, you get a cheap, and usually unsatifactory observing experience. I think a starter scope for someone who is serious would be a 5" or 6" Newtonian, 6" or 8" dob, or 90mm refractor with a couple of decent Plossls to begin with. That costs whatever it costs in the UK. In Canada you are looking at $400 to $600. Also, if you decide the hobby isn't for you, these scopes are easier to offload than a department-store special.

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I bought a skywatcher 130pm as my first scope for under £200. Good balance of aperture and good optics. It had a RA motor on it too, which meant that I could track the sky for up to about 40 seconds and take pictures of bright nebulae like the great orion nebula (M42). A bit of everything if you don't know where your interest lies (visual or astro-photography). And like warthog said, you can sell them on without losing too much money if/when you decide to upgrade.

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Sorry for the probably naive question, but why does the RA motor allow tracking for only 40 seconds? I thought the whole point of RA tracking on an equatorial mount was that this would keep an object in the field of view for several hours? I'm clearly misunderstanding something...

I have the Skywatcher 130PM too, but I've not really used the RA motor yet.

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as a beginner, how much money would i need to spend on a scope ?

Do i buy a cheap one or would it be better spending a bit more ?

Take my opinion with caution since I'm in about the same position as you. I just ordered my 1st scope and what I realized, after some extensive reading, is the right telescope for you depends a lot on your expectations.

For my case this ware my expectations:

- Ability to see deep space objects.

- Ease of use and setup.

- Some portability.

- No astro-photography at all (I came to learn decent astro-photography takes a huge amount of time, I rather spend observing and learning the sky for the time being. When I say "huge amount of time", i mean 100 photos + of 5 min exposure of a nebula, using different filters + post editing/processing in a computer.)

Given this expectations I went for a 8" reflector with a Dobsodian mount. The only goal it didn't fit completely was the fast setup since it may need collimation (or whatever its called :-)) from time to time.

You probably should write down what you expect from astronomy and then make a consious decision, rather then rush into buying a scope to soon find out it's not really what you wanted.

PS-> If you don't want to read a lot, search "how to buy a telescope expertvillage" on youtube. Expert Village made a series of nice quick videos with info about different types of scopes, EPs, etc, that is consistent with what I read around the forums.

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ashdown, I think the motor on a 130pm will probably be good for just a few minutes when you are talking about astro imaging where it has to be bang on. But in terms of visual tracking it will do you more than a few minutes, providing your polar aligning is good.

(I may be wrong as I have never used a motorised mount)

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I agree with most of the other replys you have got, i think you have deceide what it is you want to do, then look at what sort of money you can aford, but i would say you are looking between £250-£400 for a scope that would last you a few years before you MAY decide to upgrade.

Good luck, let us know what you decide

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The Apollo program is my "thing" so the Moon ,but everything you see for the first time ( whatever it my be ) just makes me want to see more !!

Do you know, there is so much to see on the Moon that every time you go there it's like seeing it for the first time. I never fail to see something I have either forgotten, or not noticed before.

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