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How much do I need to save for a decent telescope

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At the end of the month I am going to buy some binos and a tripod and use these for now as I do not hav ethe cash for a decent scope.

I dont want to buy something cheap I would rather wait till my knowledge is up on scopes and all the accessories and I also need to save the cash but can you give me an idea of the sort of cash I am looking at saving.

A rough estimate for a decent scope with all the bits I need would be appreciated and I understand its hard to give a price as budgets are different but a rough estimate would be appreciated.

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Hmmm.... the question is a spot too broad MrsR. Most people have an idea of what they want to do with a scope and a rough idea of available budget. You can get a good basic starter scope for as little as circa £150 - £250. £500-£1000 you'd be looking at very good mid range amateur scopes. After that the skys the limit.

Perhaps you could think a little more on specifics?

Best thing I would suggest is to come and see some different models at EMS - there's usually a good range :)

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Ohh... definitely helps - start looking at the different designs and sizes of compound scopes like Schmitt Cassegraines and Maksutov Cassegraines. You'll also need a tracking mount - preferably EQ, but Alt/Az will suffice for planets. ;)

Great thanks a lot for that, gives me a line to go down now :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

As Brantuk has said a small Mak on an tracking mount will be fine for planetary and Lunar use one of the Morgan SPC880's with the noespiece adaptor and filter and some free software will be basically all you need to get you started...

Have a look at the Skywatcher Skymax range... if you want to have some fun manually finding objects then the Supatrak mount will be ok... or one of the EQ mounts with a single axis RA motor kit fitted...


Another "all-rounder" option would be a Skwatcher Explorer 130P


My first real scope was a meade ETX 105EC... which I used to use with a Meade LPI and SPC900... Actually had it back from long term laoanb a few weeks ago when a work colleaugue became totally frustrated by the winters bad viewing weather... and gave up before he had even really started :rolleyes:


Edited by Psychobilly
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If you know what you are looking for and can view prior to bidding, ye olde baye de fleases can turn up some excellent bargain starter scopes.

I have paid as little as 20 earth quidses for a TAL-1, 50 earth qudses for a Skymax 90, which is a very handy travel scope.

Keep you eyes peeled. If an item is too far, seek assitance from SGL members to inspect & assess a scope for you. we could even collect it and help arrange a relay to your location, of that I'm sure.

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If you want to get a reaonable sized image then the tracking mount will make it easier to keep the planet on the webcam chip... the FOV is about the same as a 6mm EP and with a longish FL scope like the maks its suprising how quick planets move across the FOV...

But yes you could use a manual mount...


Edited by Psychobilly
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The ETX 105 used to drive me crackers.. in the end I picked up a cheap 8-24mm zoom EP and made it parafocal to the webcam .. so when I lost the planet off the chip I would quickly change over to the EP zoom out center it zoom back in and tweak it again then put the camerea back in...


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I know for certain planetary imaging

I have a bit of a problem with this.

Planet Earth is best imaged during the day, normally stood on the surface, scope not needed.

Uranus, Neptune are too far away.

Mercury is small and very close to the sun, normally looked at as a silouette against the sun.

Venus is cloud covered - you image the top of clouds.

That leave Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

What are you going to do once you have imaged these 3 planets 20 times each? Guess boredom could set in after 10 of each.

Planerary imaging sounds fine but somewhat limited.

Do you live at a dark site?

Have you transport to a dark site?

Are you a member of a club that has an imaging section?

How much is weight a concern? Ever picked up an HEQ5?

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Not even sure about Mars really, when it was well placed last year even in an 8" to the eyes it wasnt much more than a rice grain sized red ball with a small white top. Granted an imager would have made more of it but it cant be an easy target for imagers.

The cost of a scope could be quite small really. A skywatcher 130 on an EQ2 with a motor might suffice for planetary webcamming and would still be a usable scope for visual. It would also offer a good learning setup for the future.

Moving up a bit a 150 long tube on am eq3-2 with atracking motor would be a pretty good planetary scope.

Both of those scopes come up fairly often secondhand.

Finally you could always look around for a used TAL 100 which would be a pretty fair planetary scope (russian imagers use them for planetray imaging ok) secondhand on fleabay the older 100R models come up from time to time for around £150, you might have to invest in a better mount though, probably an EQ5 with a motor if planetary is where you want to be.

Any of those scopes would also work tolerably well for deep sky as well, not for imaging really but certainly for vewing.

Something to bear in mind though is where will you observe/image from ? Home or dark sky site, if the latter weight may be an issue so yo need to think about that.

Ps I only includ more budget scopes cos Maks and SCTs are usally a lot pricier.

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