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  1. #1
    mmauro's Avatar
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    Default A couple of newbie questions



    Hi,
    I am very new to astronomy and have decided to get a small telescope with my main objective to get something that will let me see some nice detail in the moon and be able to see Jupiter and Saturn fairly well.

    I live in a small community (300 people) in Northern New Hampshire that 2 years ago changed over to what they call a Dark Skies community, reducing sky glare with low wattage street lamps and such. So I hope that means that viewing will be pretty good.

    Anyway, I am on a budget so I don’t really want to spend over $400 for everything. After doing some online window shopping I found two telescopes that I like, but I sure I missed something so feel free to suggest something else. My main requirements other than the moon and viewable planets is that it is fairly portable and must have goto technology.

    1. 2nd Orion star seeker 130 at telescope.com for $315
    2. Meade DS-2114 AT-TC at amazon for $244

    After playing with the field of view calculator at skyatnightmagizine , I would assume I need to get a 2x or 3x barlow lens and maybe a 6mm lens to see the planets with any detail?

    As I said, I am new to all this so what I am saying probably make any sense so if you can give any advice it would be appreciated

    Thanks
    Mark Mauro

  2. #2
    NCAstronut's Avatar
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    Default

    Welcome to the hobby, it's a life long addiction, from which there is no cure. lol
    I'd go straight for the 3X Barlow. I'm going to vote for the Orion Star Seeker 130.
    I'm going to be getting a 3X barlow soon, and I sugest this one.
    Barlow Lens: 1.25" 3x Orion Tri-Mag | Orion Telescopes: Barlows
    And I'll also sugest this.
    Orion Variable Polarizing Telescope Filters | Orion Telescopes

    The variable polarizing filter is adjustable from 1% to 40% it will dim down bright planets, and the moon when it is full.

  3. #3
    alsetalokin's Avatar
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    Default

    My first advice is to double your budget. Four hundred dollars isn't really going to buy you much in the way of a telescope that will fit all your requirements. You can get a decent manual telescope for that, but when you add the tracking and go-to functions...well, it adds up fast.

    I would say the minimum telescope that's close to your requirements in price and optical quality would be something like the Meade ETX90.

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  4. #4
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    Default

    Neither telescope! You need a 6 inch or 8inch DOB telescope. These can be easily purchased for your $400 price point. They are easy to setup, and easy to use, and will show you all the objects you listed plus hundreds more.

    A well cared for DOB should last you for many many years.

    Like this one or the lower cost 6 inch version:
    Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope | Orion Telescopes

    Welcome to the forum and clear skies.
    ETX 125PE, Stellarvue 80mm BV & Televue TelePod tripod,
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    TelescopeMan Web Site

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    search for W1XWX to see my amateur radio web site

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  5. #5
    kevin sydney's Avatar
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    Default

    Not a "go to" but a "push to" here:

    Orion SkyQuest XT6i Computerized IntelliScope | Orion Telescopes

    Have you downloaded stellarium.A great program for learning the night sky.

    Happy Shopping
    kevin

  6. #6
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    Default

    Joe is correct a 8" dob really is the way to go. For $375.00 shipped you will have a scope that can show you hundreds of more objects. I thought my first dob looked funny till I got and used it. It's easy to carry, and setup. Goto is nice, but not needed. Unless you got to have something with tracking.

    Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope | Orion Telescopes

  7. #7
    mmauro's Avatar
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    Default

    Ok,

    I think I am going to get the Orion SkyQuest XT6i. It seems a little big, but I guess its not too heavy.

    I would get a manual scope but really directionally challenged (thank god for gps or I would never find anything).

    Am I better off getting a 3x barlow lens or 6mm eye piece or both or something else, with the Orion.

    Thanks again

    Mark Mauro

  8. #8
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    Default

    Hi there Mark, welcome to the forum. If you are OK with learning the night sky (not difficult at all) then a 8 inch dob or a six inch dob is the way to go. It is not computerized but then the price of a computerized scope includes about $ 200 for the 'computer' and goto parts of the scope. See if you can get a copy of the book Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson at a local library. If your town tired to turn itself into a dark sky spot, someone there should be folks with similar astronomy interests. Find out if there are any locals into astronomy and checkout their scopes if you can, it will give you an idea what a scope can or cannot do in terms of what you expect to see with it.
    The book I mentioned has some night sky star charts which will help you locate constellations and identify them. Also, check out the thread 'how to read a night sky chart' and the link Joe Lalumia posted on night sky charts.
    From my exprience with a 130mm scope and then with a 8 inch dob, I would definitely give up the goto option if it means I am getting a bigger scope. Remember, astronomy is all about light and larger the mirror, more the light your scope will collect and the possibility of better details of the objects you see.
    Even if it means taking a little bit of more time before you make your purchase, do your research, see if you really want the goto feature (great to have it especially if you are living in a city or a very light polluted area) and then make your purchase.
    Good luck and cheers!
    Balu.
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  9. #9
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    Default

    Well I'll be very frank...400 bucks and goto add up to a pretty poor preforming optical tube...and most like only reasonable accuracy from the mount... no ands no ifs and definitely no butts...

    I actually am not at all a "DOB GUY"...been there and done that. BUT Dobs offer the absolute best optics and performance for YOUR dollar...nothing else is even close...

    Now the GoTo ... Yep I love GoTo just saves me time on the few nights that the clouds are not spoiling my evenings... And yes I know the night sky and can star hop with the best of them (I should be able to since I've been in this hobby for over 50 years)...

    I STRONGLY suggest an Orion SIX inch Dob with the intellascope option ...not a true goto but a Push to that leads you right to your target without you even needing to look up at the stars...

    Not only is it very portable (total weight totally assembled on the rocker box is only 35 pounds) but it is also very easy on eyepieces at f/8 and you will never need to even think about any 3x Barlows (something I have never needed OR wanted in my 50 years in this hobby)...

    IF you can bust the budget a little moving up to an 8 inch Orion with the intellascope would be great as it is big enough to get you into looking at the dimmer DSO's ... BUT that is not really necessary as the 6 inch is plenty big enough to keep you smiling for at least few years ...

    6" Orion with the intellascope option a good chair a red flash light and a few eyepieces will get you started at minimal expense...

    Bob G

    In all seriousness you can not go wrong with the 6
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  10. #10
    mmauro's Avatar
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    Default One last question

    About eyepieces and barlow lenes.

    If I am figuring correctly with the Orion SkyQuest XT6i, the lowest magnitude eyepiece with a 2x barlow is going to be a 8mm eyepiece? Is there any benefit to not using the barlow and getting a 4mm and 8mm eyepiece and adding a barlow later?

    Thanks,

    Mark Mauro

 

 
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