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Help required please for a newbie..


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I am fortunate to live in the mountains of Southern Spain where we have some wonderful skies at night. My husband is interested in getting a telescope and I would like to purchase one as a surprise for his birthday. However, I do not know where to start. He was talking about a telescope sold by Lidl and has read reviews which appear to be good. To be honest, I cannot afford much more than their price but would like to know if it is any good, or is there anything else out there that would do the job as well?

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It's a hard one to call really. I have the Skylux 70 that Lidl sell and it's been a good scope for what i needed. I bought it for the kids in 2003 but have ended up using it far more myself. I added a motor to the mount for tracking and swapped out the accessories for higher quality ones. It gives good views of the moon, makes an excellent white light solar scope (with a proper full aperture filter) and gives a good starter view of Saturn and Jupiter. From a badly light polluted garden in the UK it makes a good starting point for a newbie wishing to see the basics. If someone said right now, you can only have either the Lidl's Skylux scope or an excellent quality pair of 10x50 binoculars, i would take the Lidl's scope in a heart beat.

In your situation though, with excellent skies, i'm not sure the Skylux is the right route. I wonder if a pair of 15x70 large aperture binoculars (cost £49.99 as well) would give a bigger wow factor while drifting around the sky. They won't show the planets and won't have the same wow factor for the moon but the starfields should be jaw dropping.

Or if you can afford it. Buy the Lidl's telescope and Lidl's 10x50 binoculars. The binoculars only cost £14.99 in the UK. So total cost for both would be £65 in the UK (i have no idea of the cost in Spain)

Russ

Edited by russ
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your replies and I am pleased I have discovered this site for information. Although my husband was speaking of the Bresser Skylux, I am wondering if I should get him a telescope that will allow him to see more. Can you advise what I should be looking for to obtain better clarity? I can only afford up to £100, but I was hoping I may be lucky to get a good deal if I can get one on offer that is worth considerably more. I am always on the look out for a bargain!

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Hmmm....

A challenge, based on your budget..

There are few telescopes and mountings available in that price range.

You may wish to re-consider and go for a pair of 10x50 binoculars and an introduction book on astronomy??

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  • 1 month later...

I have been reading up a bit on telescopes and think perhaps its better that I buy him a Reflector rather than a Refrector, but wonder would majority of experts would think? I was also looking at a Konusmotor-500 which seems to get a good write up. Anyone have any thoughts on this model? He has binoculars already and I would rather go for a good start up telescope that can be added to.

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Thats not a bad looking scope lots with it I have a 114 celestron which is the same size as the konusmotor 500 ,and i can get great view's of saturn and some clusters.The moon just hits you in the face But you have to start somewhere and looking at some of the info on that scope i think it would be a good place to start .Hope theirs someone outthere who has one and can guide you more

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I think I have to agree with Merlin66 and go for a pair of 10x50 binos. A pair like the Pentax 10x50 PCF II are a marvellous pair, they will show so much of the night sky, from your location the Milky Way will be stunning, clusters, galaxies, globulars and some nebulae will be easily visible.

A good beginners book will help and if he wants to go further in the hobby you can save for a scope.

Another advantage for binos is their portability and use elsewhere, birdwatching, etc.

Just my two cents.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Edited by pbyrne
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My in-laws have just moved back to the UK from Southern Spain and having observed under the clear dark skies in the mountains around Albox in the South East when visiting them I would certainly look towards the biggest reflector you can afford - your skies deserve it!

My father-in-law had a 6" Seben scope off Ebay as it seemed an easy option to get it delivered to their remote location out there. It wasn't unusable but I would say it only really matched up to a 4" scope of a decent brand.

I'm not sure what your 2nd hand market looks like over there but over here I've seen 6" Skywatcher dobsonians go for under £100. Dobsonian mounts are also simple so they are easy to set up and get using and nearly all of your money goes into the optics.

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When it comes to cheap affordable reflectors:

Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145P

Skywatcher Explorer 130

Both got very good reviews.

Especially the Skywatcher Explorer 130 turns up second hand pretty often. It usually comes with a EQ2 equitorial mount.

As people start to get apperture fever and sell it to move on to bigger scopes.

Edited by JeroKane
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On this page have a look at the Skyliner 150 at £179. Dobsonians

I'm afraid that telescopes cost a little more than you are hoping to pay. You can buy things that the vendors call telescopes but they are just intended to be sold, not used! Don't give them your money, it will simply be wasted.

The instrument I point out here can really be used and will show wonderful things. You would also need a map of the night sky and some kind of guide book or you can do nothing. None of us here just points a scope at the sky in the hope of spotting something. It isn't like that. There is a free software called Stellarium, for instance, which would be a good start.

Olly

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  • 1 month later...
On this page have a look at the Skyliner 150 at £179. Dobsonians

I'm afraid that telescopes cost a little more than you are hoping to pay. You can buy things that the vendors call telescopes but they are just intended to be sold, not used! Don't give them your money, it will simply be wasted.

The instrument I point out here can really be used and will show wonderful things. You would also need a map of the night sky and some kind of guide book or you can do nothing. None of us here just points a scope at the sky in the hope of spotting something. It isn't like that. There is a free software called Stellarium, for instance, which would be a good start.

Olly

Would I need to buy anything else to this scope or would it come with everything needed for him to begin?

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Hi,

The scopes on that page come with eyepieces so all you would need besides that would be a map of the sky. The free Stellarium software would be the answer there, I think. The Skyliner 150 does look good to me and great value. If you get started on astronomy you can always come back to this forum for help on how best to enjoy your telescope.

Best wishes,

Olly

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Hi there, I would agree with Olly, the 6" dobsonian would be an ideal scope for your man to use. Its has a solid mount (unlike low budget refractors and reflectors) and is extreamly simple to set up.

Bob

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Hi, I have had a look at the Skyliner 150 and whilst it looks good, have also found another in the startup range. Its a Meade DS2080 Refractor Telescope and is on offer for around the same price but is actually normally around £300 so a lot of scope for the money. This appears to be computerised and seems simple to use for a beginner. Anyone recommend this one? Apparently Sir Patrick Moore has!

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A three inch telescope gathers only a quarter of the light of a six inch, so the Meade is nowhere near as capable on faint objects, of which there are many. It has an electronic 'Go To' system with a vast memory of objects but, as has often been pointed out on this forum, when you have 'gone to' them you won't be able to see them in that small aperture! Also the scope will have a lot of false colour on the bright objects that it will be able to see. For my money, the worst of both worlds.

When the budget is tight the usual advice is to spend it on the optics not the gadgets. If you are in remotest Spain the down time from an electronic failure would also be long and tedious and they are far from unknown.

I stress that this is a personal view, of course.

Olly

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Hi, I have had a look at the Skyliner 150 and whilst it looks good, have also found another in the startup range. Its a Meade DS2080 Refractor Telescope and is on offer for around the same price but is actually normally around £300 so a lot of scope for the money. This appears to be computerised and seems simple to use for a beginner. Anyone recommend this one? Apparently Sir Patrick Moore has!

I can understand the lure of the goto for a newbie. Just makes things so much easier. But it only gets to you to the right point in the sky, you are then left with an okayish scope to look through. The 2080 is not going to provide a view that comes close to the 150. It will be okay, the moon will certainly look good and the planets okay. But the 150 will give lunar and planetary views that will not disappoint. Oh and it does the deepsky stuff (galaxies, nebula, clusters) pretty well too, much better than the Meade.

Edited by russ
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Hi Estrella,

I can see the way you're thinking but Olly and Russ are correct. More add ons really do mean less telescope.

I also realise you may want to buy new because it's a present and you also want a warranty. I don't know of any Astro shops in Spain and Google isn't helping me much ! Your budget may be around £100 but a little more may provide a telescope for life. A low quality scope may be used for a week.

Maybe start with a really good book. Turn left at Orion. Then have a good long think :D

Really sorry I can't help more.

Dave.

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After a lot of thinking, I have decided I need to up my budget. Buying a goto scope is only going to give him a cheap computer and cheap optics and it will not give him good vision owing to the size. I want to make sure that when he finds something (I am therefore going to have to buy him a good book to map the stars above us!) he will have a clear view and will not be disappointed, as it is not worth buying something that will look completely blurred or obscure. So if you think the Skyliner 150 is a good allrounder that will give good vision, then this is the favorite at the moment. However, I was thinking about perhaps getting a scope with tracking? (in the case that he may finally find something up there and go off to get a glass to celebrate, but when he comes back the subject has disappeared!) Or would this be another gadget that would deter from the performance of a good beginner scope?

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Well that Skyliner 150 can be used 'as is' for now, and later on if the telescope is getting a lot of use (a nice telescope should get used a lot, especially with the beautiful skies where you live), you could get a tracking mount for it, and get the mountings to suit the telescope tube?

The 150 isn't too heavy either, so the really expensive heavy duty mounts wouldn't be necessary, plus you could get a mount without the motors for tracking first (the others would be able to advise what is best value there), and then add the motors later as well?

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