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Advice on telescope to purchase?


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Hi, my name is Bob. I have just retired to the mountains of western North Carolina. I have always been interested in astronomy and have recently begun to view the night skies with a spoting scope and celestial charts and astronomy books. I am now ready to indulge in some serious stargazing with my wife of 42 years and my grandchildren. We would like to purchase a telescope that we can set up on our deck and view planets, stars, distant galaxies and other features of the night skies.

We both have reasonably good vision, for "elderly" folks, and have no serious vision issues that would require special consideration in using a telescope. I have a budget of approximately $1000 - $1500. Our major conern is ease of use and setup. We'd like a telescope that has a computer assisted aiming and tracking system, that once setup will make it easy to use the telescope each evening when conditions allow for stargazing.

Any advice and recomendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Bob

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hello bob welcome to sgl imo one of the best easy set up goto's is the celestron nexstar 6 its not too big to get in and out of the house and has optics good enough for most things at a dark site. its not the best at deep space objects because of its narrow field of view which cuts out some of the larger objects but stick a focal reducer on the back and you have a scope that does most everything except image

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to the mountains eh, lucky man.

something for observing alone? no images?

do you want GOTO or manual?

GOTO,

Orion SkyQuest XT12i Computerized IntelliScope | Orion Telescopes

you will have some cash to spare for EP's at this price

manual,

Orion XT10 Classic Dob with Beginner Barlow Kit | Orion Telescopes & Binoculars

much cheaper, just a bit smaller and plenty cash left over for quality EP's, bits and bobs :D

of course, you can get smaller, an 8 inch dob (200mm) if weight is an issue but to be honest the others may be big and bulky but not that heavy

http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category_id=goto_computerized/~pcategory=dobsonians/~product_id=27182

Edited by nicnac
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I have no idea of the cost in NC but the simplest to setup is the Meade LS 6. 6 inch sperture so a good size. Fairly chunky beast in it's looks.

Basically place where it has clear views of the heavens, set it up reasonably level and correct, plug it in, tell it "Go", and it does all the alignment etc itself. You go get a coffee while it is doing it and come back 10-15 minutes later and tell it where to go and what to look at.

I am guessing that you might get one for the top end of your budget. About $1250-1300.

Don't suppose there is any chance of you getting to NEAF in NY in about 2-3 weeks? BIG Astro show, lots of bargins.

Have a look at the cloudynights forum as it is US based and has a section on Meade scopes. Could be worth asking about it on their - simply greater chance of several people that have one.

Edited by ronin
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Hi Bob

Sounds like you have an enviable location.

I'm a beginner myself and am still planning my first scope purchase. My current thoughts are that I will go for one of the Skywatcher Skyliner FlexTube range with either Auto or GoTo.

These seem to offer good apeture to price ratio,

not take up a lot of storage space,

are transportable,

and quick and easy to setup.

No good for imaging as far as I can make out but if it is mainly observing that you are interested in then that is not a problem.

It's well worth investing in some Binoculars - 10x50 Handheld or 15x70 with a tripod as well as there are some fantastic views to be had through these and they require no setting up time.

Rgds

Rob

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I have no idea of the cost in NC but the simplest to setup is the Meade LS 6. 6 inch sperture so a good size.

Yes, this is definitely a serious contender. Although it's not the biggest or most powerful telescope that you can get for the money, it's pretty much (to my knowledge) the only one on the market where you (literally) flick a switch and have it automatically set itself up.

But - and it's a very big but - make sure that you set your expectations accurately as to what you will see. Even with a the biggest scope, galaxies and nebulas are very dim and colourless compared to magazine photos, and require that you spend at least half-an-hour or more in complete darkness for your eyes to adjust.

It might seem obvious that results won't be like magazines, but many people are extremely underwhelmed by the reality of what can be seen.

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Hi Bob, I'd also suggest a Celestron Nexstar 6se or a 10" Goto Skyliner Dobsonian. By the sounds of your location, I guess you have pretty dark sky, therefore an 8" or 10" 'scope as mentioned above would give you great views of many objeects, without breaking the bank or your back (IMO).

Hope this helps,

Ed

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I don't think the young and strong should underestimate the size of a big Dob. I'm getting to that stage in life myself and having been a hyper sporty racing cyclist and mountaineer it comes as a bit of a shock, let me say!!

The compact SCTs are attractive. I'd go for Celestron over Meade (I have a Meade) but for retired people driving to a dark site a six inch-ish SCT is attractive, as are the Maksutovs like the Skywatcher (or Orion in the US) 127s.

Olly

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