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lyndsey

telescope for my husband!

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erm... If lyndsey is anything like I was a few months ago she probably reads your answers as if they ware writen in chinese... :s

Just in case, here is a translation:

dob = short for "Dobsodian": Refers to a very simple to use kind of telescopes, usually reflector types (use a mirror instead of a lens) mounted on a very simple design base invented by an amateur astronomer called Dobson, thus the name. This design is like a "point and shoot" kind of thing. Since the earth rotates, when using a large magnification (say 100x +) you have to manually adjust to keep the target centered. I own 1 of this and love it.

eq = Equatorial: It's a telescope on a tripod like month, that haves an axys. Need to be aligned with the north star (Polaris) before you can start observing. After you do that, you can point at your target and it will compensate the earth rotation, thus no need to push to keep the target centered.

If it was my wife buying me a telescope within that budget I would like one of this (in order of preference):

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian

Reflectors - Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145PM

As to the observing spot: As said before, observing through air near top of buildings is like looking through the air coming out of a candle flame. I think he will have to move outside to catch a good view. Besides that, if you go for an equatorial mount, the window would need to face north so he could find polaris to allign. Dobs don't have this problem.

That said, the planets cross the sky "near" the south and they are the sharpest thing that can be observed with the telescope so a south faced window would be better.

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pvaz, you may well have a point - it's easy to assume too much knowledge; having said that, was your own post a model of clarity, eg -

"It's a telescope on a tripod like month, that haves an axys" is it? ;)

between us, I am sure we have confused the OP sufficiently to try another hobby :Dbut I think our hearts are in the right place :(

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I think Pvaz might be Portugese (my apologies if I'm wrong) so a few spelling errors here and there are excusable :( ( I dont fancy my chances of posting a coherent post in Portugese, English is a struggle for me ;)) , but it is a valid point , there is too much assumption that complete novices are still conversant in even basic astronomy terms,

The good thing is that people are coming here and asking for advice rather than just rushing out and buying something woeful from E-Bay , that will put them off for life.

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You make some good points Pvaz!

Helen

PS are you originally from the Azores? if so, your English is remarkably good!

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pvaz, you may well have a point - it's easy to assume too much knowledge; having said that, was your own post a model of clarity, eg -

"It's a telescope on a tripod like month, that haves an axys" is it? ;)

between us, I am sure we have confused the OP sufficiently to try another hobby :Dbut I think our hearts are in the right place :(

LOL ok, guilty as charged:p

I meant "mount" instead of month and "axis" instead of "axys" :p. As crepitis said, english is not my native language.

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You make some good points Pvaz!

Helen

PS are you originally from the Azores? if so, your English is remarkably good!

Yeah, born and raised. Though I spent a few years studying in Lisbon.

I did live a few years in a UN military base (my father is in the air force) so I had a lot of contact with US soldiers (and some of their daughters ;)) while growin' up.

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I've got my loft done too..... and using the scope up there is a bit of a pain.....

It's sort of OK if you just want to play "ooh there's a shiny star....let's have a close look at it..." but if you have a motorised set-up then it will be pointing itself at parts of the roof cos it will know where the stars are but not where the window is..

It's a great idea in principle.... but when i try to put it into practise... it's a bit all over the place......

I get my scope set up.....then choose M31.... and before I know it, the scope has rotated round and is pointing at the light fitting..... then choose another........ whirrrr and it's now pointing at the book case.......

Have a go.......i'll give you half an hour and then you will be off to the garden..... see you there....cos thats where I am......

Dave

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Skywatcher 130p Heritage cheap (£125 inc delivery and 2 eyepieces), compact (it is a truss dob, so it colapses down real small) and it is great fun to learn astrnomy with.

Throughly recommended.

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Can I suggest a completely different approach given your budget and possible desire to view through the loft window.

A good pair of binoculars and a copy of Philips Stargazing with Binoculars book

Here's why:

1. Binoculars are easy to use. portable and great for learning the night sky

2. £150 will buy a really good quality pair which you can initially use without a mount/tripod

3. if you get fed up with stargazing they are still useful anyway

4. If you don't then many of us have both a telescope and binoculars so you could gauge interest before going for a scope, understand exactly what you would like to see and hence size/type of telescope required

There's plenty of advice regarding binoculars on this forum, I particularly like Opticron, but Celestron, Revelation and William Optics are all good too.

Good luck with your choices.

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The binoculars are good advice. An alternative is to get a cheaper pair of 8x40 or 10x50s (£20 - £50), knowing that you may later move up. Even the cheapest all glass binoculars will get you half way to the the views you see in an 8" scope over the naked eye.

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Hy Lynsey, I'm a bit late to this thread but I live ina flat so my siutaution is not entirely different to looking through a dormer window in a loft.

The hard reality is that the view from a window is always going to suffer from heat haze, light pollution as already mentioned. The bigger problem though is that a window severly restricts the field of view. Even without light pollution from my flat its odd on that every astronomy object is round the wrong side of the flats.

With that said if £150 is your budget and using it from the loft is a must I'd suggest a small refractor. Something like this

Startravel - Skywatcher Startravel 80 (EQ1)

or this

Evostar - Skywatcher Evostar 90 (EQ2)

The reason being is that a refelector has the eyepiece close to the front of the tube - with the requirtement to look out of a window a refractor will be less restricted for views than a reflector.

In short a refractor can have its snout poked out of the window giving it a wider view than a refelector which will need to be set back from the window a bit. Its the difference between being able to stick your head out of the window and look around compared to the view you can get if you stand back from the window by 2' and look around.

If using it from the loft is not an abolsute requirement I'd suggest either one of these

Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130

or one of these

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian the last will take you over your budget.

Also be aware that those second two are quite large at around 3' feet long. My personal advice would be to go for one of the second two if at all possible as they will offer the better views and give a wider range of objects to look at.

Hope thats of some use.

Mel

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I second what other people say here - you might like to think that you can use a scope indoors looking through an open window but often you can't. Since I am recovering from surgery and can't carry stuff outside, I though I would try using a small, low-power scope indoors through my open kitchen window recently - knowing that it wouldn't be ideal.

But I was shocked! It was like it was broken! The moon was just a fuzzy white blob. I had to check the lens wasn't dirty.

It was so bad as to be completely pointless. Admittedly, it was probably all the worse because there was a radiator beneath the window - but that's hardly uncommon.

Anyway - if you still want to go ahead - I do need to point out that the scopes you were considering aren't good.

The 150P Dobsonian that other people have been suggesting is superb value for money and is a "proper" telescope not a toy. I know it is £25 more than your budget but it is well worth finding than money from somewhere, because you get so much scope for your money.

It is also very easy to use.

If however, you feel that such a scope is just way too big then as an alternative, consider the Sky-Watcher Heritage 130P. It is very portable, and easy to store, and (despite it's appearance) very capable. The Heritage 130P might not be appreciated by everyone however, since it doesn't "look" quite how people expect a telescope to look.

Another good suggestion made by someone earlier was the Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145PM

It's important to buy a good brand of telescope. SkyWatcher are one of the best, and since they do a very wide range of beginners scopes at excellent prices, you can make your life simpler (and safer!) by sticking to SkyWatcher's selection.

Note also that there are some very bad telescope stores out there - some of which routinely mess up people's orders.

Make sure you buy from a good dealer, such as:

- First Light Optics (my personal first choice)

- Astronomia

- Green Witch Astronomy

- Telescope House

- Rother Valley Optics

(click on any of the above names to go to their web sites)

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Hi Lyndsey

Just to give you another alternative you could consider a pair of astronomical binoculars that can be mounted on a tripod.

Depending on your window these may be more flexible and binoculars are a good way to learn to navigate the night sky

Good luck!

Danny

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