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Hi all,

I'm looking to buy a telescope to start of my interest in Astronomy.

I've got information coming out of my ears, people recommending binoculars, telescopes, etc etc.

Im very technical minded, so would be able to get my head round complex mechanical things, and would preferably not have to spend more again when i'm more interested.

I'm looking to spend around £250ish.

One thing I was wondering if you could help out on, what can i expect to see with the various telescopes?

I have no idea what to expect, I don't expect anything like the quality of photos on things like google sky or google.

Thanks for any advice and tips!

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Join a local club, look through their scopes and judge better then. They will have a wide range to look through. Different scopes are better at doing certain things, weight more, take up more room. All these things need to be taken into consideration.

Sorry but thats the best advice i can give.

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For your budget I think you'll be limited to observing or imaging the planets and moon with a webcam as deep sky imaging needs about £1000+.

For price vs performance, I would suggest the largest scope possible on the simplest of mounts which is a Dobsonian eg. the Skywatcher 250p (£265).

You have to move this around manually, but you'll be able to see the planets, moon, star clusters and brighter nebulas and galaxies. Don't expect any colour in deep sky nebulas though, most will appear as a faint grey whisps or smudges.

Edited by sgazer

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I'm not interested in taking pictures in the slightest, if that makes a difference.

I had a look and my local club actually rents out 'scopes, but they don't meet for another two months. :-(

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For £250 the best bang for buck is the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P dobsonian. 8" aperture, plenty for deepsky and awesome on the solar systems bits. All the money goes in the optics not electronics.

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I'm not interested in taking pictures in the slightest, if that makes a difference.

I had a look and my local club actually rents out 'scopes, but they don't meet for another two months. :-(

Which club would that be? Is that Southampton Astro? Solent also meet in Southampton and they meet every third Tuesday of the month. They also have an observatory near Romsey with two observatory based scopes (8" and 14" SCT's) plus a host of other scopes and binos you can drag out. They hold two official observing sessions each month.

Or SGL have a local group called South Coast Astronomers. We meet in the New Forest for observing and Swanick for a drink. Plenty of scopes to try. And our next meet is 11th July, which will be observing in the New Forest.

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ps. just re-read my post and it sounded like I was saying you would be limited on your budget, which I didn't intend to. I meant to word it to say imaging would be limited to a webcam for planets and the moon, but for observing the 250p dob would be quite nice and is around your budget.

Edited by sgazer

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Skywatcher Skyliner 200p, great scope that is excellent for beginners and pros alike.

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If you want a scope for just observing then the 8" Dob is the way to go.

Plus It should be very easy to sell on when aperture fever pounces on you.

Downsides are that you will have to collimate it every now and then, so a cheshire or laser collimator will need to be added to the shopping list.

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Hi,

I would definitely try an get to an astro club and see and use some 'scopes before you choose. 'Scopes are a very personal thing and a lot more than just aperture has to be considered to find a 'scope that fits your needs.

I would also suggest you consider buying second hand, you can pick up a very nice 'scopes a lot cheaper than buying new. Also budget for the extras you will need.

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What can you expect to see? Firstly, far more stars than you'd believe possible! The Milky way is almost comical in the number of stars. You will also see variations in star colour. Some bright nebulae are striking, too, showing structure. The Ring looks as it does on monochrome pictures, but small. Galaxies will look faint and soft without spiral structure in small scopes. Saturn shows rings and banding crisply. Jupiter shows coloured banding and transits of its moons and their shadows. The planets are sharper than most people expect but also sometimes smaller. And the moon looks as if you could touch it.

The colour seen in images is not visible.

Olly

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Don't do what I did and buy too quickly. I watched Stargazing Live on the BBC, and thought - oh I need a telescope, and bought a Celestron FirstScope without consulting anyone. Whoops. Great for the moon, but a little too basic I think. I hope to change for a better one - possibly the Skyline 200P - as soon as I can save up. Until then, once the clouds go, the FirstScope will do.

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i'm a fellow newbie too, and i have one piece of advice.

Take your time!

too much info in one go doesn't sink in and only confuses you more (well it did with me)

i've taken my foot of the gas so to speak and i'm starting to understand what scope would be most suited to myself, admittadly i still have a ton of questions that need answering but i'm gonna wait till i've got my head round the ones i've already asked before i a decent scope.

Mark

P.S. i've had a lot of sound advice so far from everyone on here, even if most of it did confuse me at the time but its all slotting into place nicely now.

Edited by Mark-mck

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Use this site to judge what can be seen in different size scopes:

http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm

If you can stretch the budget another £20(ish) to a 200P dob that would be good - otherwise a 150P (either dob or eq) is within budget and a very capable scope ;)

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IMO, For someone starting out, an 8" dobsonian is probably the most versatile scope to get. It will be a decent all rounder, portable enough with a car and very easy to get to grips with. BTW it's also the cheapest design and the one that allows you to get decent aperture at low cost.

The only situation I would advice a small SCT or Mak with GOTO instead, is if you live under heavy light pollution. Starhoping will be hopeless (you won't see more then a few stars) under those conditions so you better downgrade the optics and get GOTO to locate stuff.

Edited by pvaz

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IMO, For someone starting out, an 8" dobsonian is probably the most versatile scope to get. It will be a decent all rounder, portable enough with a car and very easy to get to grips with.

But I guess not the ideal scope to start imaging with due to the limitations of the mount.

I agree that a goto might help in light polluted skys...

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If your a total newbee like myself I would recomend a 10x50 set of binos and some pc software 1st.

Get to know what your looking at 10x..... you would be surprised what you can see compared to the naked eye.

I got a 10" dob....entry level.......yeah great ...loads of light.....had no idea if I was looking at what I was spose to be looking at....lol.

Start small with a nice little refractor and you will get results and this will keep you interested.........

It has me.............

Paul.

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Hi and welcome, take a look at "So you want to buy a telescope" on www.astro-baby.com the author is well known on this site and it makes great reading and may help to avoid mistakes in the early stages.

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But I guess not the ideal scope to start imaging with due to the limitations of the mount.

I agree that a goto might help in light polluted skys...

True but then again you can't do any quality imaging with 250. A decent mount will cost at least 500 and a DSLR with a simple lens another 350. Other then that to tackle imaging from day one is a bit of a beast. I believe it's a big mistake to get into astronomy with your mind set at imaging, that's something that should come later when you have a decent understanding of astronomy.

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Use this site to judge what can be seen in different size scopes:

http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm

It's really good

My hour or so looking at Jupiter tonight was pretty accurate with a 25mm or 9mm plossl on my 6SE.

(but my fingers were numb at the end of it ;))

One thing I have learned and am aware of is that this is a LONG journey and I'd rather stay in the observers group for now rather than rush to slap my webcam on the end of my scope......there's so much to learn !

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Don't expect any colour in deep sky nebulas though, most will appear as a faint grey whisps or smudges.

Regarding colour, how is this achieved, to see the M42 for example?

Are filters necessary, or is it simply a higher focal length?

Edited by JohnDenim

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Use this site to judge what can be seen in different size scopes:

http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm

If you can stretch the budget another £20(ish) to a 200P dob that would be good - otherwise a 150P (either dob or eq) is within budget and a very capable scope ;)

How accurate is that site?

Thinking of getting the 200P Dob myself and from videos I've seen on youtube, Jupiter looks far bigger than the site there suggests.

Perhaps there's extra equipment involved that I haven't learned about yet, or perhaps the supplied 10mm and 25mm eye pieces on the 200p don't give the magnification required for detail?

Any thoughts appreciated :p

Justin

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Hold a pea at arms length and thats about the size Jupiter will be at 240x (5mm EP). Saturn is a bit smaller and Mars is a lot smaller.

You can't measure sizes in a computer unless we all use the same monitor. If you connect the PC to a 40" screen it will be huge. If you use a 10" screen on a net book it will be tiny.... Even in screens the same size, it can change if they use different resolution settings.

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Hold a pea at arms length and thats about the size Jupiter will be at 240x (5mm EP). Saturn is a bit smaller and Mars is a lot smaller.

QUOTE]

Mavis come and look at the neighbour again...he is doing wierd things with vegetables now...

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Ok, maybe I should rephrase my query.

The definition I've seen (bands, rings etc) would not be visible on something the size of a pea at arms length so I guess there must be some other equipment involved.

Infact, visiting the site again, the images I've seen are more accurate when 2x barlow is selected.

So maybe I've answered my own question there.

You would need a 2x barlow lens.

Does that figure?

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