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Light pollution in town ... is it worth it ?

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Hi All , I've been longing to buy a telescope for years now , ever since a friend of mine gave me a look at Saturn and the moon through his a few years back , it was amazing , i was gobsmacked. Up untill now the problem has been cash :) , but i have some available now and have been looking around and reading review after review and many online buyers guides. The more i read , the more confused i get.

I know this is a question that gets asked time after time... "what telescope is best ? ".

I'd like to add to that and ask .. "What telescope is best for London with poor "seeing" conditions? "

Is it even worth getting one living in town ?

My budget is around £300 - £350 , it's more likely to be used at home as opposed to traveling out. Not sure that GoTo's such as the celestron range will be much use to me , as on many nights , not that many objects seem visible from my location and seems a waste to be finding washed out sky where something interesting should be ... or am i wrong?

Photography ? well. i'd love to think it was possible to do some.

It's my 50th birthday next week and the kids have offered to pitch in for a present .... Whooohoooo :hello2:

So any advice on the best choice of telescope for use in town would be most . most welcome !

Thanks in advance and happy new year !

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Hi Jabba,

Welcome to SGL. :hello2:

I'm too new to all this myself to advise you on different types of scopes, but can say don't underestimate what you will be able to achieve even in London. I too live the 'wrong' side of the M25 but have seen some amazing things in the last two and a half years since I first got a telescope. I use my Goto all the time and love it! I have found DSOs and seen planets ~ no problem.

As for astro-imaging ~ I have a webcam and have taken loads of shots of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. But also, I have tried using my Canon 1000d with and without my Nexstar 102. I'm really not very good at it - but with the help of a Skywatcher Light Pollution Filter this was my first DSO:


That's a crop of one of the images before it was processed or stacked at all ~ but M42 can be seen quite clearly!

So, don't give up ~ astronomy is possible in London ~ go for it!

Liz :)

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I had those thoughts too and I decided that photography was the answer. The camera can be more sensitive than the eye and you can do lots of processing (combining many images) to detect faint detail and reduce the effects of light pollution by using special filters. It's not as good as really clear sky, but it might be better than just looking into the soup... a lot of my "observing" is looking at my images and comparing with a star atlas... is that cheating? :hello2:

It doesn't have the immediate satisfaction of really seeing it though. Try some binoculars first... you'll be surprised what they can show you!

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Hi Jabba

Dont be too put off by light pollution.

As suggested filters can help.

Binoculars are great too, cheap, light and very wide field of view, great for star clusters

and bright nebula.

Why not ask your freind to bring his scope over one night and see what its like from

where you live

As for goto, I use it all the time and dont see it as cheating, it still helps you know where things are in the sky.

Good luck


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To get a complete answer to your dilemma, read the book.... The Urban Astronomer's Guide: A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) (Paperback) by Rod Mollise.

Best to read it BEFORE you get a scope. But even if you don't, read the "sample pages" at amazon.co.uk.... they give you a good idea of what's what.

Edited by jimhaleysscomet
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Thanks for all the advice folks , Liz , thanks for some inspiration with the great image.

My 50th birthday is fast approaching so i've had to choose a scope for the kids to pitch in with as they've been hasseling me for a decision :)

I have found a Celestron Nexstar 4SE at a good price at a place called Sherwoods , so have ordered it today , with luck it will be here before the weekend !! :)

I was also loooking at a celestron 130 SLT , but there didn't seem to be much of a price difference ?

I thought this might be a good choice , it looks fairly portable if i need to take it away camping and it should be easy for me to get going with.

What can i expect with a Maksutov-Cassegrain ?

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