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First Telescope - Help & Advice needed..


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Hello,

An astronomy novice here, looking to buy his first scope.

I've done a little reasearch through various magazines and online sources as to telescope basics. I'm looking primarily @ planetary observatory, with preferrably some flexibility to observe the deeper sky once my confidence and knowledge improves. I'd prefer to spend a couple of hundred £ extra now, rather than buy an elementary scope that i'll want to upgrade in 12 months.

I've been recommended the Celestron NexStar 5 SE. The computerised database appeals due to not being particularly au fait with objects in the sky. The main concern is regarding the optics. Will the scope deliver brightness and clarity? Will it also be suitable for observing the deeper sky?

Are there any reference images available that would give me an indication of what results i can expect of viewing the planets, jupiter, saturn etc..?

Any recommendations, help and advice would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks. :icon_salut:

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If planets are your main objective, the next issue is how portable your setup should be. If portability is an issue, the compact Maksutov-Cassegrain and SCT designs (like the NexStar 5 SE) are good choices. If not, you could look at a slower Newtonian like the Skywatcher Explorer 150 PL. This is considerably cheaper (even with Goto and equatorial mount), and a good all-round scope. The EQ mount makes it far more suitable for imaging planets, should you want to do that. Bigger 8" Newtonian Scopes would also be excellent, and, even more than the 6", run rings around the NexStar 5.

Edited by michael.h.f.wilkinson
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Hi,

First decide if you just want to be a visual observer or if at some stage you want to do some astro photography. If you do an Equatorial mount (heavy) will be needed.

Decide if you have a good site in your back garden or if you will need to travel to a dark field site some distance away. (portability is an issue).

Do you want / need GOTO.....

If you want the biggest pick up and go for just visual use then I can recommend the SE8 if you can afford one. Add a 6.3 Focal reducer and you get the ability to have good wide views for DSOs and narrower FOV for planets etc.

Great all rounder.

Good Luck

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Hi,

First decide if you just want to be a visual observer or if at some stage you want to do some astro photography. If you do an Equatorial mount (heavy) will be needed.

Decide if you have a good site in your back garden or if you will need to travel to a dark field site some distance away. (portability is an issue).

Do you want / need GOTO.....

If you want the biggest pick up and go for just visual use then I can recommend the SE8 if you can afford one. Add a 6.3 Focal reducer and you get the ability to have good wide views for DSOs and narrower FOV for planets etc.

Great all rounder.

Good Luck

Or instead of the focal reducer, get a 2" visual back to that (Baader does one) and insert a 2" long focal length, wide angle EP, like I did with my old C8. Better views than the focal reducer.

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Hello,

Many thanks for your reply. Though i have a pretty decent view of the sky from my back garden, occassionally will be susceptible to artificial light inteference from houses and street lighting in early evenings. Scope mobility therefore would be beneficial for me.

I would also eventually like to pursue some photography. What aspect of the Nexstar hinders this?

Bigwings, i notice that you are using the Nexstar series, though in 8". Are you happy with your kit? What type of objects do you generally observe?

Thanks again for your help folks.

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Hi Omega,

I like most things depending on the state of the moon.

I like DSO and doubles.

The SE8 very versatile when a focal reducer is used as well. It can be used for astrophotography but you would need to fit a wedge and the Nexstar mount is not really suitable for a guidescope. Its tracking is very good so you can do short exposure stuff and its fine with Neximager for planets / moon but for DSO photography it is limited.

I can pick mine up and carry it down the road to a field and it takes 5 mins to take the scope off the mount and pop it in the car (normal boot).

The previous comment about a 2" back and EP has some merit but a focal reducer lets you use all of your EP's so is more versatile giving a range of FOV/ magnification.

I love my SE8 , portable, versatile easy to use BUT not if Astro P is your passion.

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Thanks for that, the more i hear of the Nexstar series the more inclined i am to opt for it. Seems to be a jack of all trades, which is precisely the type of flexibility i'm after. Pardon my stupidity, but what difference(s) can i expect between the 8" and 6"? With the 6" am i going to get good resolution of Jupiter and it's moons?

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Aperture is king...just look at the threads on the big dobs where folk are looking to go 16". I cant advise on the views through a 6" as my 6" was a Seben and rubbish.Im sure someone will provide some links to a comparative graphic representations. SCT's are expensive compared to a DOB and you might like to have a look at the Skywatcher Dobs at FLO. Not so easy to store or move but more aperture per pound.

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Aperture is king...just look at the threads on the big dobs where folk are looking to go 16". I cant advise on the views through a 6" as my 6" was a Seben and rubbish.Im sure someone will provide some links to a comparative graphic representations. SCT's are expensive compared to a DOB and you might like to have a look at the Skywatcher Dobs at FLO. Not so easy to store or move but more aperture per pound.

Not a good idea if you aim to do any imaging. I love my good old Vixen Great Polaris equatorial mount for planetary imaging (and even a spot of DSO stuff). Nice workhorse, could do with dual axis drive and perhaps even goto. It took me just 5 minutes to set up yesterday.

BTW: do bear in mind that bigger scope take longer to cool down to ambient temperatures. Setting up a scope in under 5 minutes is meaningless if you then have to wait 30 minutes for the optics to cool down. Not a big problem for DSO (due to low magnification) but a real problem with planets: the thermal convection currents in the scope ruin the view. Once settled (30-45min in my C8) you are fine on planets

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