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  1. #1
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    Default Newbie choosing first scope.



    Hi there. My daughter has been asking all sorts of question about the sky and the stars so I have decided to get a telescope and explore together. Having looked around for a starter scope at an affordable price it seems Celestron are quite popular. I have a budget of about £150 maybe stretch it to £200.

    I have been on their site and seen a few different ones

    AstroMaster 130EQAstroMaster 130EQ
    AstroMaster 114AZAstroMaster 114AZ
    AstroMaster 114EQAstroMaster 114EQ
    PowerSeeker 114EQPowerSeeker 114EQ
    PowerSeeker 127EQPowerSeeker 127EQ.
    Celestron PowerSeeker 675 (This isn't on their site but is available in the UK)
    Since we are starting out we will be interested in the moon, the bigger planets (Venus, Saturn) and general stargazing. Those scopes look pretty similar when comparing the spec. sheets but which would be the best one to get. Absolute magnification isn't the most overiding factor but clarity of picture.

    Any help and guidance is appreciated.

  2. #2
    sxinias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben-1976 View Post
    Hi there. My daughter has been asking all sorts of question about the sky and the stars so I have decided to get a telescope and explore together. Having looked around for a starter scope at an affordable price it seems Celestron are quite popular. I have a budget of about £150 maybe stretch it to £200.

    I have been on their site and seen a few different ones

    AstroMaster 130EQAstroMaster 130EQ
    AstroMaster 114AZAstroMaster 114AZ
    AstroMaster 114EQAstroMaster 114EQ
    PowerSeeker 114EQPowerSeeker 114EQ
    PowerSeeker 127EQPowerSeeker 127EQ.
    Celestron PowerSeeker 675 (This isn't on their site but is available in the UK)
    Since we are starting out we will be interested in the moon, the bigger planets (Venus, Saturn) and general stargazing. Those scopes look pretty similar when comparing the spec. sheets but which would be the best one to get. Absolute magnification isn't the most overiding factor but clarity of picture.

    Any help and guidance is appreciated.
    Ben,

    Welcome to the astronomy forum and to astronomy.

    Buying a telescope for your daughter.

    Frankly, I would not purchase any of the telescopes on your list. The Powerseeker 127, Astromaster 130, and the Astromaster 114AZ and the Astromaster 114EQ are not pure Newtonian telescopes but use a design "Bird Jones" that is prone to collimation and clarity issues (use a cheap spherical mirror with a corrector lens). The other two telescopes are OK but the cheap equatorial mount that they have is vibration prone and difficult to use. Also, I think that you may be disappointed with their performance. Better alternatives for £200 exist.

    Celestron makes excellent telescopes. Another company SkyWatcher makes just as good telescopes and generally cost less. As a matter of fact, Celestron and Skywatcher are essentially the same but with different labels ... owned by the same mother company and made in the same plants.

    A Newtonian telescope mounted on an equatorial mount is a bear to get used to using and also has some weird viewing positions. Equatorial mounts are heavy and bulky to move about. Unless you are going to get into astrophotography, then there really is no need to use such a contraption ... and if you are thinking about photography, start think about £2000 plus not £200. The same Newtonian Telescope mounted on a Dobson mount is far easier to use. The Dobson mount is less expensive to manufacture than an equatorial mount but offers far more stable viewing and ease of operation than the “shaky Jake” equatorial mounts sold with entry level telescopes.

    If you want an excellent telescope, one that is easy to use, portable, will not break the bank, and is large enough to start showing significant details of planets, nebula, galaxies, star clusters, etc. then I really think that you should consider a SkyWatcher Skyliner 150 P parabolic Dobson telescope which cost £199.00 (Including VAT at 17.5%) http://www.green-witch.com/acatalog/...ian_Range.html

    Why?
    1. First the 150 P has an aperture of 150mm (aperture is the diameter of the telescopes primary mirror) which is large enough to start showing some details of planets, nebula, galaxies, star clusters, etc.
    2. Second the Dobson mount is simple to use and, better still, is intuitive to use .... just point the telescope at what every you want to see .... this is not the case with an equatorial mount.
    3. Third, the Dobson mount is solid. The equatorial mounts on the entry level telescopes you mentioned shake and vibrate making focusing tedious and viewing often poor.
    4. Fourth, the telescope itself is superior to the ones on your list. It has a parabolic mirror, not a cheap spherical mirror, which will show objects in much better clarity.
    5. While small and portable, the Skyliner 150P is a serious telescope. One that can perform for you for years on end .... for many people a 150 mm telescope is as large a scope as they ever have. It is a telescope that can provide a lifetime of viewing pleasure.

    One thing to keep in mind. The views you will see though a telescope are nothing like the photographs you see. A planet will be a tiny pea sized object. In a 150 mm telescope you will be able to see Jupiter’s cloud bands with some details along with its four moons, the rings of Saturn and some of its moons, details on Mars when it again is suited for viewing in a couple of years, star clusters will be like fields of sparkling diamonds in the sky, Nebula and galaxies will be gray smears of light with some details.... all of these views will be superior to what the scopes on your list are capable of providing. None will look like photographs in the magazines .... This is also true even for larger telescopes... 200, 300mm etc.

    After you get your telescope, then you will want to see stuff with it. Look up into the night sky. You see stars and the moon. Through a telescope, a star will still look just like a star. All the telescope does is let you see many more of them. However, up there in the sky are thousands of objects to see other than stars. You will need to know how to find them. Go to your local library and check out some astronomy books and read them. Hopefully one or two will be decent and you will soon learn what is out there, how to use telescopes, etc. Better still, start your astronomy library. Two excellent first books are “back yard astronomer” to learn about telescopes, observing techniques, and astronomy in general and “turn left at Orion” to learn how to find stuff in outer space with your telescope.

    There are several computer programs available for free than can help also. Perhaps someone else will jump in and give links to their sites. I don't use them so I am not that familar with them.

    If after reading books about astronomy, how to find objects in space frightens you or makes you aprehensive about buying a telescope, another alternative also exists .... computer controlled telescope that will automatically find objects in space for you to see. The disavantage of such a telescope is that quite a bit of the money you pay for one goes towards the electronics and motorized drives. The advantage is such a telescope will automatically show you the heavens. These scopes are called "goto" telescopes as you punch a button the the telescope then goes to the object you want to see. One excellent entry level goto telescope for £200 is the Meade DS2090AT http://www.binoculars-uk.co.uk/acata..._Eyepiece.html The Meade DS2090At will not show the details that the SkyWatcher 150P can show but some people find the decrease in performance is a price that they are willing to pay for the goto function. In comparison a 130 mm goto telescope is in the £ 350 range and a 150 mm goto is in the £800 range.

    Good luck with your adventure into space with your daughter.
    Last edited by sxinias; 04-17-2010 at 06:06 PM.
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  3. #3
    greeny's Avatar
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    sxinias... define me a REAL scope.

    are vixen 110 and 150 toy scopes?
    are tal 150k and 200k toy scopes

    if using a spherical mirror makes a telescope not "REAL ONE" then you can say that only real scope you own is the 90 mm refractor, others are just toys.
    Carl Sagan's fanboy.

  4. #4
    Ben-1976's Avatar
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    Default

    Cheers. I have had stellarium for an age and fire it up so am not new to the sky. When I say for my daughter, it is for the both of us (if this sounds like an excuse to get a telescope, then yea...it is...our birthdays are close). I have been having more of a search and find other alternatives.

    Oh how come this one Celestron PowerSeeker 675 isn't on their website but it can be found on Amazon, so getting details on it aren't easy.
    Last edited by Ben-1976; 04-17-2010 at 06:42 PM.

  5. #5
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    I have to agree what sxinias said (although not with his definition of what a "real scope" is). get yourself a 150mm dobson or a tal 2.
    Carl Sagan's fanboy.

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    I have been in this game for over 50 years...BUT it is not very often that I disagree with ANYTHING Joe (Sxinias says)...BUT I do on these Bird-Jones Newts with the corrector lens in the focus tube... They work just fine and collimation one is not much harder to do then a regular Newt...(just take the lens out, collimate then replace the lens... Done it a Bi-zilion times...

    HOWEVER any Newt scope on a GEM (EQ) mount is just about the most frustrating,aggravating set up on there is... the eyepiece and finder can end up in some rather strange places and you may have to bend and contort your body just to be able to look into the eyepiece.

    I can't tell you what scope to buy because I just got back to my hotel room after spending the day at The North East Astronomy show (NEAF) and my head is spinning from all the cheap Telescopes (NOT) ..that were on display ..some mighty impressive ones I may add...

    Bob G
    CPC1100 housed in a slotted domed observatory (Exploradome) 4 and 5 inch refractors for use from the lawn, a 8" Sct (NS 8i) for star parties...
    I Hate the winter so I use heated Motorcycle clothing to stay warm while observing in winter
    Retired, also have 2 other hobbies
    1. tinker with older Corvettes (6 in garage)
    2. make a heck of a lot of sawdust in my wood shop.

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  8. #7
    sxinias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greeny View Post
    sxinias... define me a REAL scope.

    are vixen 110 and 150 toy scopes?
    are tal 150k and 200k toy scopes

    if using a spherical mirror makes a telescope not "REAL ONE" then you can say that only real scope you own is the 90 mm refractor, others are just toys.
    Where did you dream this up?

    Please don't make up statements that I never said and attribute them to me. I never said anything about "toy' telescopes or that a spherical mirror makes a telescope not a "real" one. I did refer to the difficulties I read on this forum and others that people have with collimating and viewing clarity with the BirdJones variant of the Newtonian design.
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    Well I dreamed that up because of your bold statement "use a cheap spherical mirror with a corrector lens". That was a bit... strange since youself have two telescopes that use "cheap spherical mirrors and a corrector lens".

    I agree it is not a good beginners scope (because of mount) but hold your horses on bird-jones scope.

    it is a catadioptric telescope, not a pure newtonian reflector.
    Carl Sagan's fanboy.

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    I have the Astromaster 114 and I think it's a great scope! The mount is a tad shaky, but absolutely fine for visual observing.

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    114EQ - R.I.P. First scope


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    Don't worry 114 eq is perfect to start. Even you may start with binoculars and sooner or later you will suffer of the aperture fever , just enjoy seeing the sky that is marvelous. Actually, I just post a new thread talking about celestron powerseeker 127 eq, please check it before you decide.

 

 
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