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Thread: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

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    Default Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing



    Hi all a couple of years ago I really got into the astronomy scene but the birth of my first child put a stop to all of that and I had to sell all my gear. The knowledge I gained back then has all but seemed to slip out of my mind since lol. I'm wanting to start from scratch and was wondering best way to go scope or bino's, I dont have a big budget near to the £250 mark but just want to get my foot back in the door so to say. Any help would be very much appreciated
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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Hi Sean,

    If you do not have a pair of binos, I feel that you should definitely consider starting there.
    I have an inexpensive pair of Bushnell 10X50 binos, but if you are interested in going the bino direction, there are some very helpful folks here that can advise you on the best pair of astro binoculars that you can get for the money.

    No telescope can beat a pair of binoculars for a quick and easy grab, and it is amazing how much you can see!

    Consider binoculars and post if you have any ideas or questions.

    Thanks,
    Jim
    Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
    EP: 12 and 32 mm Plossl, 5 mm Celestron X-Cell, Agena Starguider ED8mm & ED12mm, ES 32mm 2” 62 degree, 2x Barlow
    Mounts: Celestron AVX, SLT; Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50;
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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Thanks for the reply Jim, one question I have and I found was an issue before when I had some binoculars was the problem of viewing objects in the zenith. How do you counter the uncomfortable viewing when attached to a tripod?

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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    There are several approaches people take for viewing near or at the zenith. Some are elaborate and some are not.

    If you have something like a chaise lounge you can simply recline on that and do your gazing.

    People have built a contraption to position a mirror to reflect the light from the target back to your binocular. So effectively you have the mirror angled up toward the sky and your binocular is angled toward the mirror. That can be pretty ergonomic.

    If you search the internet for something like "binocular chair" you'll find a number of approaches folk have made in order to have a comfortable seat at any angle they desire - and their binocular nicely positioned. I find them very complex and suspect I would not find them to be a pleasant approach for viewing but the owners seem to be delighted and they are the ones who have actually used them.

    Another approach is to get a binocular with the eyepieces angled upward at 45°. Unfortunately that tends to be available for the relatively large and expensive binoculars. But I think these would be wonderful (if I had some) because I could put them on a camera tripod gazing near the zenith should be pretty good and it would be very ergonomic for almost everything else.

    Do note that you can combine the chaise lounge approach with a parallelogram mount (some people make their own) or you can get something like the Peterson Engineering binocular kit and make another which should work well.

    I should probably be remembering other approaches but I'm not at the moment. The binocular sub-forum will have people who can guide you further.

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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Hi Sean,

    Great question! I am not a tripod user. I have seen many posts here about tripods and viewing at high angles, but since I do not use one, I will let someone else help with your question about the tripod.

    Personally, I go hand held. 10x is the max I can handle by hand. I used them initially to learn to star hop.

    Sometimes, when I am imaging with the scope, I will set out the chaise lounge in the grass and lay back to view near the zenith.

    I know that I did not answer your question, but I am sure that someone will be along soon.

    Thanks,
    Jim
    Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
    EP: 12 and 32 mm Plossl, 5 mm Celestron X-Cell, Agena Starguider ED8mm & ED12mm, ES 32mm 2” 62 degree, 2x Barlow
    Mounts: Celestron AVX, SLT; Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50;
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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Thank you both your replies and will look into your solutions you have given. I'm not against binoculars for viewing as you have stated the ease of set up etc. But then I was wondering of any downsides of using them against let's say a 90mm refractor for viewing purposes or would the Refractor be better in all cases?

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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    I use the chaise lounge technique that Ole Cuss has mentioned. I prop up my arms on the armrest to hold the binos steady. For objects near the zenith I set the chair back to its first position (a very slight angle). Seems to work well if you don't mind almost lying down as you observe.
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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Quote Originally Posted by helicon64 View Post
    I use the chaise lounge technique that Ole Cuss has mentioned. I prop up my arms on the armrest to hold the binos steady. For objects near the zenith I set the chair back to its first position (a very slight angle). Seems to work well if you don't mind almost lying down as you observe.
    OK I can see how this works on let's say 10x50 but what about if you buy some of the heavier binoculars? If think last time I had some 20x70 binoculars which weren't light

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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean90 View Post
    OK I can see how this works on let's say 10x50 but what about if you buy some of the heavier binoculars? If think last time I had some 20x70 binoculars which weren't light
    I have 15x70's and use those on the chaise lounge - works pretty well. However, if I had 25x100's I would need a tripod.
    Michael
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    Default Re: Best beginner scopes for star clusters and planet viewing

    Minimum I would look at I think would be 20x80 but as I have stated its the use ability of these against say a 90mm refractor I'm not sure what road to go down

 

 
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