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Total rethink - advice needed for a lower budget.


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I had budgeted up to £400 or so for a telescope, but my car has just packed up and the money I had will now need to go towards the repaired, so my budget is going to be reduced to £150 or less. This means the Explorer 150p or the an 8inch dob is out of the question at the moment.

I quite like the idea of a 90mm refractor, the Evostar 90 looks to be good value on either an EQ2 or the AZ3 mount.

Having bought "Turn Left at Orion" it seems that everything in that book can be vowed with telescopes of this size, I actually think they mention 60-80mm in the book, so I would think I'd still be able to see quite a lot.

It also has the advantage of being suitable for terrestrial use, and with long views from the house, it would be an added bonus.

The only other alternative in budget would be something like the Heritage 130p or the non-parabolic Explorer 130p. However, with the intention off getting a decent reflector when finances allow, I'd probably still use the Evostar whereas I'd probably sell a small reflector.

Does buying the Evostar make sense in this situation, and which mount would be the best choice?

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Good evening Nick.

You've beaten me to posting almost the very same thing! I was hoping to go for the Evostar 120, then "WHAM!" - I get hit with several large and unexpected bills!

So, I'm looking at a greatly reduced budget, but itching for a 'scope.

I look forward to everyone's advice :)

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I agree with your thinking. You can always use a small refractor in the future when your money situation improves but the same can not be said for a small reflector. I personally would opt for the EQ2 simply because you can improve the mount with a RA motor at a later date to help you track objects (...and to assist fine focusing on an object). It doesn't have a great load capacity but it might come in handy for sticking a PST solar scope on in the future

My approach to buying kit is to try and buy second hand (better value) and to only buy kit that you will want to keep or that you can use in a different way. My personal view is that you need 8" aperture on a reflector to really start to resolve enough detail to keep you interested. It's not that anything smaller isn't any good and can be fine when you start off, its just that you know you WILL want more and so any money lost on early purchases is money you could have used to get what you really want.

As they say, "...the stars aren't going anywhere" so there is no real hurry and being strategic in your purchases will save you money to spend on eyepieces!!:):D

James

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This is probably a really dumb question, but...

One of the evostar 90 advertised on the FLO site comes with a 45º Erect Image Diagonal 1.25". Now, does this make any difference to what eyepieces you can buy for it, as all the others are 90º?

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I don't think the angle of the diagonal will affect eye piece choice, but a 90 degree strikes me as being more comfortable when the scope is pointer more towards the zenith.

I didn't notice that, I think I'd prefer the 90 degree, so that may affect my decision.

:)

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I suppose all I would really like to know is if the evostar 90 is value for money? Will a 3.5" refractor have enough apperture to whet my enthusiasm?

I know it cannot compete with larger 'scopes, but will it be good enough to show any planetary detail?

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I've used a Meade 90mm which is similar and I was quite happy with the views it gave. It will show some banding on Jupiter and Saturns rings, the Moon will be very nice. I wouldn't think you'd be unhappy with it.

I think this is the way I will go for now then :)

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a 90mm should be fine for you and i would recommend the az3 mount for it. it will be more sturdy to use and easier to carry and set up. any eq mount smaller than a eq3-2 is quite flimsy at best.

the stock eyepieces do these scopes no favours, when i first used a 90mm frac i thought it was broken.. turned out to be the poor quality eyepieces.

Edited by CGolder
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Not sure what the EP's are.

I've been leaning towards the AZ3 mount, or saving a bit more for the EQ3-2 option. Although, the price of used mounts is reasonable (saw an EQ5 on astrobuysell for £100), and the AZ3 would be a better bet for terrestrial use (something my wife is interested in - spying I think she called it).

Then again, the EQ3-2 option would enable me to get something like an Explorer 150P OTA at a later date and I could possible use the Evostar on my camera tripod.

Obviously, the third option would be to continue with my binoculars until I get a bit more money together and then buy what I want.

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Hi, I have seen banding on Jupiter with my 70mm refractor so I think 90mm would be good. The 45 degree diagonal means you'll end up on your knees whenever you look up high but you see everything the right way round and the right way up, so it is useful for daytime activity as well. The refractor doesn't need collimation so I'd get that and save up for the reflector. Whatever you decide, clear skies.

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You will get more scope for your money if you buy 2nd hand and this will often lead to more enthusiasm at the EP. The best advice I have to offer is to pop along to your local astronomy club Astronomy Clubs by County and have a look through member scopes. Having a look through other's scopes will give you a better idea of how much different views can be through any given scope. Buying new doesn't always pay off in this hobby :glasses1:

SPACEBOY

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You will get more scope for your money if you buy 2nd hand and this will often lead to more enthusiasm at the EP. The best advice I have to offer is to pop along to your local astronomy club Astronomy Clubs by County and have a look through member scopes. Having a look through other's scopes will give you a better idea of how much different views can be through any given scope. Buying new doesn't always pay off in this hobby ;)

SPACEBOY

Good points, I've already looked into joining my local asto soc in Bradford, they used to meet at my local amateur soccer club, but extra training means the lights are on too long now. Still have an intention to pop along soon.

I am quite sure what scopes I like, but I think I actually need two (at least), I really want a large aperture Newtonian, possibly on a decent EQ mount. Ideally an 8inch on an EQ5, but more likely an Explorer 150p(L) on an EQ3-2.

However, I have always liked the thought of a retractor, they look like telescoped did when you were a lad, and the Evostar 90 isn't a bad price. I also like the fact it will do terrestrial too. For the price I doubt I can really go too far wrong.

One option would be to stump up the extra for the EQ3-2 mount, with the intention of getting an Explorer 150P OTA at a later date.

The problem is, once you start to think "well, for an extra £50 I could have this", it's hard to stop.:glasses1:

Talking of second hand, I've put in a speculative bid on bigger retractor on ebay, would be a great buy if I win it.

Also, update on the car issue, as it was only a get-to-work car, worth about £500 or so, it seems it isn't worth fixing (timing belt snapping seems never to be cheap), so bought a new one for wife and I'm getting hers. Were going to exchange it in next few weeks anyway. This might mean I have my full budget back, strange as it seams with us having a lot bigger outlay. Still, I do like the thought of a cheap retractor!:)

Looks like the wine is making me ramble a bit.:p

Thanks for advice so far.

Nick

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The problem is, once you start to think "well, for an extra £50 I could have this", it's hard to stop.:glasses1:

What you need to remember is to set a budget for your scope and another for eye pieces. Often aperture is king but to get the best from that aperture you ideally need a sturdy mount and 3 good quality eye pieces. Low Medium & High power. Beginners can double their EP set cheaply by purchasing a good barlow lens to double each magnification in effect making 1 EP 2. The scope gathers the light from the object but it's ultimately the EP that will be the deciding factor to how much you will enjoy the experience. When you buy second hand your money can go so much further and some times that extra £50 isn't needed. As long as you do your home work and take the usual precautions when purchasing 2nd hand you can't go far wrong.

Edited by spaceboy
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Sound advice. I'll see how m auction pans out. If I win I'll get an 5inch refractor with an EQ5 for not much more than the Evostar 90 with EQ3-2. :glasses1:

If not then I will re-asses.

I'm in no rush got my new 15x70's and tripod mount to keep me going, and I learnt a lot on the only clear night I had chance to view.

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Are you on about the one in Derby? Others may disagree with me but I have found that Achromatic refractors don't tend to hold there value to well on the 2nd hand market and this one may already be coming up to it's limit of being a good buy. It's up to you at the end of the day how much you are willing to pay.

Edited by spaceboy
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I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to astronomy but watching the 2nd hand market for eyepieces I can't help but notice with interest the prices some items go for. Having been in the market for a refractor myself I have seen some of the earlier Helios 120's on an EQ5 go for between £125-£181 and a SW Evostar is basically a Helios with a splash of blue and new brand name sticker on. Another thing I have heared and from a reputable source I might add, is that quality control on the newer Chinese refractors has been questionable. Every now and again a right lemon gets through the cracks and more often than not ends up on eBay. If you can go and check optics before you commit you money. What to look out for when buying a s/h refractor ? you would be better asking someone else.

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