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Thread: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

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    Default Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings



    I am beginner astronomer and currently looking to purchase a telescope. Haven't had a telescope since i was about 12.... im in my 30's now. I live in Hawaii so there's not a lot of options for used telescopes here locally. At a minimum I want to be able to see the Rings of Saturn. Also my max budget right now is about $400-500. What telescopes do you recommend and why. I am open to other telescopes just this is what I have come across on Amazon. Will I be able to achieve what I am looking for?

    Celestron NexStar 4 or 5 SE --- is the 4 to small?
    Celestron NexStar 130 SLT --- cheap mount?
    Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak --- cheap mount?
    Orion XT8 multiple product lines of this model - doesnt seem very mobile.... but seems to be best bang for buck?????

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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    The best by FAR is the 8" Dob (I suggest the Z8 because of better accessories) which is on a very stable mount and is very easy to use. The SLT is a very good and capable mount and the 127mm Mak is a good scope, but not as capable as the 8" Dob. The 130mm reflector would be my last choice, but again the mount is good. The 4SE is just too small for me, but the SE mount is good and the 5"SCT is very similar to the 127mm Mak and would likely be my second choice.

    The 8" Dob has a much larger tube than the other scopes but the sturdy cradle mount takes up less space than a tripod, so overall the scope is almost as portable as the other four and MUCH, MUCH more capable. The other four are a significant class below the Dob being very similar to each other in their capabilities, so the choice is obvious.
    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Kasai 2.3x40s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, DGM NPB and lots of astro stuff.

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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mizzoubuff View Post
    I am beginner astronomer and currently looking to purchase a telescope. Haven't had a telescope since i was about 12.... im in my 30's now. I live in Hawaii so there's not a lot of options for used telescopes here locally. At a minimum I want to be able to see the Rings of Saturn. Also my max budget right now is about $400-500. What telescopes do you recommend and why. I am open to other telescopes just this is what I have come across on Amazon. Will I be able to achieve what I am looking for?

    Celestron NexStar 4 or 5 SE --- is the 4 to small?
    Celestron NexStar 130 SLT --- cheap mount?
    Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak --- cheap mount?
    Orion XT8 multiple product lines of this model - doesnt seem very mobile.... but seems to be best bang for buck?????
    You hit the nail on the head with the last one - at lowest cost per inch of aperture, dobsonians will probably give you the best views for your dollar, but mobility isn't their strong point. Still most are made so the tube is easily removable and the whole thing can be transported by car. Other than Orion's XT's, look into the Skyline and Zhumel 8" dobs (they are identical actually, both made by GSO) as well as Skywatcher would be a good place to start. Personally, I like the GSO models, they are pretty good quality with some better options you would want to have, such as the RACI viewfinder and dual speed focuser.

    Also, check out Orion's red tag section from time to time over at Orion Telescopes & Binoculars: Official Site - Telescope.com. Every once in a while you'll see an XT8 PLUS go on clearance here for a VERY good price and when they do it is great deal (and they usually sell pretty quick) These "seconds' as they call them are usually open box or returns, but Orion will guarantee functionality as they would a new scope and warranty it for one year.
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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mizzoubuff View Post
    I am beginner astronomer and currently looking to purchase a telescope. Haven't had a telescope since i was about 12.... im in my 30's now. I live in Hawaii so there's not a lot of options for used telescopes here locally. At a minimum I want to be able to see the Rings of Saturn. Also my max budget right now is about $400-500. What telescopes do you recommend and why. I am open to other telescopes just this is what I have come across on Amazon. Will I be able to achieve what I am looking for?

    Celestron NexStar 4 or 5 SE --- is the 4 to small?
    Celestron NexStar 130 SLT --- cheap mount?
    Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak --- cheap mount?
    Orion XT8 multiple product lines of this model - doesnt seem very mobile.... but seems to be best bang for buck?????
    You have a couple of decisions here to make. The best scope of those for light gathering with a wide margin to spare is the XT8. but if you want a GOTO tracking scope the Nexstar 5SE would get my vote. The Nexstar 5SE mount is a bit better than the SLT mounts so I would go with the 8inch DOB or the 5inch Nexstar 5 SE
    Celestron 4 1/2 114 mm Newtonian Telescope 910 F/L Nexstar GT Mount
    Celestron Nexstar 8 SE
    Astro-Tech 130 EDT Refractor Celestron AVX Mount AKA Drought Buster the Magnificent.
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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    To answer your next anticipated question, the first and most important accessory you will NEED is a comfortable observing chair. You will need to wait on additional EPs until you become familiar with your scope and the EPs that come with it. The only filter you will need is a variable polarizing filter to observe the moon and reduce some of the glare on the brighter planets and possibly a solar filter to observe the sun if you care about that.

    Some things I HIGHLY SUGGEST is get in touch with a local astronomy club if possible to see first hand the different types of scopes in operation and speak with their owners about their use. And if you do not already have some, get a pair of binoculars. EVERY astronomers NEEDS a pair (or three), they will show/teach you a TON of stuff, are the ultimate in portability, will be VERY useful no matter what scope/scopes you have, and are FUN!!! After over 35 years in this hobby and owning many, many scopes, they are my most used instrument by FAR!!
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    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Kasai 2.3x40s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, DGM NPB and lots of astro stuff.

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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    The recommendation to look up a local astronomy club before you buy is a really important one! It will give you the opportunity to learn which telescope you enjoy the most instead of what we most like.

    Oh, and if the rings of Saturn are the key? People might be surprised at what that Nexstar 4SE can do for you on planetary targets. It uses the Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design for unusually good optics. Those Mak-Cas scopes are sometimes referred to as "planet killers" because they give you surprisingly good views of planets considering the size of the scope. And because it will track your target you can concentrate on it more without the distraction of nudging the scope along like you would have to do with a manual 8" Dobsonian. So you get great optics but a quite narrow FOV.

    But for all-around goodness in your price range an 8" Dobsonian is tough to beat. Good light-gathering, a decent focal length, fairly easy to transport (at least for most of us), pretty good optics, etc.

    But if you just want to do the planetary stuff and you want something very transportable, the Nexstar 4SE and 5SE will do surprisingly good planetary work and will find and track stuff for you. Some folk happily transport their 4SE in overhead storage on airliners?
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    Orion XX12G and XT8; 10 inch LX200GPS; Celestron NexStar 8SE; Tele Vue NP-101is (Petzval apochromat); AVX and Losmandy G-11 mounts.

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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    I would recommend the Celestron 4SE OR 5SE. Saturn's rings are visible in any scope. Heck, I've even seen them clearly in a cheap Bushnell 50mm spotting scope. The dob is great but completely manual. At some point you will want to see more, which is where the Celestrons will excel with their GOTO technology.
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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitter View Post
    At some point you will want to see more.
    I feel totally the opposite. If I got the 4" or 5" scope I would want to see more than they will show you and the 8" Dob WILL show you more than the smaller scopes. Manually tracking with it is NO problem. I have several goto tracking mounts and they are great for the convenience, but if I want to see MORE, I will go with the bigger Dob every time and have never experienced any difficulty with tracking or spending time observing.
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    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Kasai 2.3x40s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, DGM NPB and lots of astro stuff.

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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    The 8 inch dob is definitely the best bang for the buck, so I would seriously consider the purchase.
    Michael
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    Default Re: Buying a beginner Telescope - Saturn Rings

    Hi Mizzoubuff, and welcome here to the Forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by dagadget View Post
    You have a couple of decisions here to make. The best scope of those for light gathering with a wide margin to spare is the XT8. but if you want a GOTO tracking scope the Nexstar 5SE would get my vote. The Nexstar 5SE mount is a bit better than the SLT mounts so I would go with the 8inch DOB or the 5inch Nexstar 5 SE
    I agree with dagadget's advice completely. If your budget will allow you to go for only one of these, I'd first recommend the 8 inch Dobsonian. Definitely the best value for your money there.

    smp
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