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Yes yet another noob!


Mark-mck
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Hi all.

as you may of guessed i'm a total noob at this astronomy lark. i'm currently looking to invest in a half decent scope for a mixture of planatery/DSO viewing and possibly imaging/photography if i get into it enough.

so that said any suggestions on what a decent scope for the above requirements would be please feel free to let me know.

Mark:o

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Hi Mark and welcome.

I asked the same questions on here also. It all depends on your budget really. I ended up buying a Celestron 130 eq which I'm really happy with. However some folks like to go a bit bigger to an 8" newt from what I can gather.

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Thanks for the welcome Ewok.

Well budget....... to be honest i'm not really sure yet, I dont want to get into the whole "cheap and cheerful" to begin with and then end up forking out a load more cash in 12 months time on better kit. so i'd say i'd be willing to spend around £1200 - £1500 on the whole lot (scope, mount, camera and any other bits and bobs that i'll be needing). is that a realistic budget?

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It certainly sounds like a nice chunk of cash. If I were you though I would take it one step at a time and concentrate on getting a good scope first. Astrophotography is mind boggling to me but I know it's a very complex and expensive passion.

As for your scope, its down to personal preference. like I say I've opted for a 5" Newt, however you may want something a little larger if you feel that you may quickly out grow this size , maybe a Skywatcher 200 or something ?

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Hi Mark and welcome to the forum.

I think your right about the comment of not going cheap and cheerful to only have to replace it later on! Also, kit that is fine for observing is not necessarily fina for astrophotography. My suggestion to so many that arrive here who indicate the desire to do imaging is get hold of a copy of Steve Richards' "Making Every Photon Count" (FLO £19.95) Its a great book that is a comprehensive guide that will provide you with the necessary overview because it will cost money and a lot of time to get really good images. Having the knowledge first before buying might save you a whole lot of money.

The real starting point that does cross over between imaging and observing is the mount. If you want to future proof your investment to avoid reselling your kit, the larger the mount the better as this will provide more capacity for gear (be it imaging or observing). Skywatcher HEQ5 or the more expensive NEQ6 are what most people aim for. Your research I am sure has already found out that there is gap between these mounts and the next lot that appear (excluding used kit) These mounts are very good value, accurate and where tracking can be trained and improved on. As so many of us have them, any problems you come across can be solved easily and there are also Yahoo groups etc out there too.

To get a handle on the best scopes for imaging, it would be better to ask over on the imaging section as it further depends on what you want to image but generally it will involve 'fast' scopes F6 and lower and at least ED glass right up to the more expensive aprochromatics. You can image with newtonians sccopes too but it all comes down to weight and what camera you will be using, is the mount guided, filter wheels etc all adds up, hence the bigger mounts.

I'm not an imager myself and one of the reasons is the amount of kit and the setting it up and I don't have the space for an observatory. I hope my comments help.

Clear skies

James

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Hi James.

And thanks for the advice. i've gatherd from other posts on here that i'll be blowing a fair portion of my budget on a decent mount if i want to do any half decent imaging, the problem is the vast amount of kit out there..... i've no idea what to buy.

Another thing i'm sure i need to consider is portability, the light pollution where i live isn't that bad but from what i gather if i intend to ever do any good imaging i'm going to need to drive out to the middl of nowhere so thats something i'm keeping bourn in mind.

anyway thanks again for the advice, i'll take any i can get onboard and mull over it all before i decide what to buy.

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My pleasure Mark. The best advice really is to take your time and sift through it all. So many new people are interested in imaging but unfortunately going in this direction adds an extra layer of consideration on top of technical considerations which a new person may not have quite got to grips with and before you know it, their led under a pile of brochures.

I only observe and think nothing at constructing my NEQ6 each time, though you will hear others say that this mount isn't really portable - its personal. On top of this mount sits a 6" refractor that is an F12 (6' long tube) so that might act as a bench mark on the question of portability as to what's possible - though my observing mates think I'm an eyepiece short!:):D I would add, that making the effort to get to a dark site makes all the difference as does being with others because you learn so much very quickly.

Keep asking the questions!

Clear skies

James

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Well luckly i kinda live out in the sticks, a 5 min drive and i'm in the middle of nowhere.

i intend to peruse whats available before i wade in and blow a load of cash for at least a few weeks, it would be nice to find a few localish people that go out observing on a regular basis and have a look at there setup, might give me a better idea of whats right for me. might have a look on events/meetings section on here and see if i can find anyone willing to have a noob tag along on a couple of sessions.

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Just to make you feel better, I spent nearly a year unashamedly stalking star parties (including Kelling Heath - you must go!!) local meets and hanging around observation groups etc to tick off from my list the scopes I was interested in. If there is one thing I would certainly want you do and that is to look through some of this kit. I am always amazed at how many people, spend a lot of money, without ever looking through the kit - presumably just relying on all the images out there. I know it always comes down to budget and that's perfectly fine, but there are differences with kit.

I went to an astro meet recently and as I looked through one of the scopes there, the owner made a point of informing me of how expensive it was, how expensive the eyepiece was etc - the view was alright but not that special and not worth that sort of money. Star parties are the best places to go and there is one this spring in Kelling Heath, Norfolk - lots of different gear, lots of really nice people to talk to and to ask questions.

Clear skies

James

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Hi Mark

I'm new here myself, although my post count is going rapidly towards 100 already!

I think you're right to take your time and get the best scope you can. That's the way I'm planning to do it too.

Each to there own though, no problem with starting small and progressing if that's what suits you.

Enjoy it, whatever you decide.

Marko

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