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Thread: Buying my first telescope

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    Krispy's Avatar
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    Default Buying my first telescope



    Hello,

    I am about to fulfil an ambition and buy a telescope. I am a middle aged man so this will be a hobby rather than a career, and I am fortunate to have a reasonable sum available but I am unsure what to buy.

    I am tech savvy so electronics are fine with me, and I have a Canon digital SLR plus some quality lenses to support some astrophotography. My current choice is some sort of SCT 8" assembly with a goto mount, and I am stuck between new or second hand, Meade or Celestron, LC90 or LC200, Nexstar5 or Nexstar6, or something else.

    Refractors don't seem to fit the bill for me due to chromic aberration and a preference not to she'll out on APO glass.

    What advice could you give me please?

  2. #2
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    Default

    If you are serious, but not obsessive about astrophotography and also want to do visual, perhaps consider something like the Celestron Advanced Series C8-SGT (XLT) Computerized Telescope 11026-XLT from high point scientific. http://www.highpointscientific.com/p...11026-XLT.html

    At highpointscientific you can buy the OTA separate from the mount. If you want to do astrophotography then you will want an equatorial mount and the cg5 is a good budget equatorial mount.

    The above scope would be good for visual as well as a decent entry into astrophotography. If you are primarily interested in astrophotography and not in visual, then you might want to buy the mount separate and look at a smaller explore scientific 80mm scope with a cg5 mount. It won't be as good as an 8 inch act for visual, but will let you get photos of DSOS where as the 8 inch sct is going to be zoomed in pretty far on a lot of the DSOs. But since you have some quality lenses you could always piggyback your camera to the top of your scope and get wider angle shots that way.

    I had the nexstar. 8se, but ended up replacing the mount with the cg5, because I've gotten more into astrophotography and was limited by the SE mount.

    I tried to stay in the general price range of what the nexstar 8se would cost, but it is a bit more because of the mount. A cheaper alternative might be to pick up a used telescope on astromart and just buy the mount new. I think there was an 8se ota only out there for around $400.


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  3. #3
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    Default

    The requirements are, sadly, different for visual and photographic use, so a scope that's good for visual use may not be as good for imaging, and vice versa.

    For visual use, aperture (size of the main mirror or lens) is king - a bigger aperture gathers more light, letting you see fainter objects, and gives you more details.

    For photography of extended objects like galaxies and nebulae, a fast f-ratio is more important - just like with camera lenses.

    For visual use, manual alt-az mounts are intuitive to use, and alt-az tracking goto mounts tend to keep the eyepiece in a convenient position - but because of an effect called field rotation, you're limited to a maximum of around 20sec or so for long exposures before you start to get trailing.

    For long exposure imaging (typically several minutes per exposure, and often hours in total) you really need a good equatorial mount to avoid the field rotation problem (you can use a wedge with Alt-az SCTs to achieve the same thing, but general opinion seems to be that it's easier with an equatorial mount.)

    As a beginner option, Unless imaging is your main aim, I'd suggest starting off with a visual scope, and leave long exposure AP until later - there's a fair bit you can do with just a piggybacked camera and lens to start off with.

    Then it depends on your location and preferences - do you enjoy hunting for things, in which case Dobsonian reflectors offer the best visual bang for the buck, since their inexpensive but effective mounts means more of the money goes on the optics, or, if you're in heavy light pollution that makes star hopping to find things difficult, or enjoy observing more than hunting, then you may prefer a goto scope (or a push-to location system on a dob). The main downside of a dobsonian is that they don't really lend themselves to long exposure imaging - but lots of visual users love the larger aperture for a given price point.

    For imaging use, the best starting point is probably a good equatorial mount and a small fast APO - the small size keeps the demands on the mount down, and the shorter focal length makes it more tolerant of guiding errors due to the smaller image scale.

    Best advice, if you have a local astronomy group, is to go along and see them - you should be able to get good advice and probably have a look through various scopes, to see what to expect and which you like.

    For a good reference book, have a look at _the backyard astronomers guide_ by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer - it's a great introduction to the various equipment options and what you can do with them.

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    Default Re: Buying my first telescope

    To go along with what Karen has said, I bought my CG5 mount here - Celestron Advanced Series CG-5GT Computerized Mount - OPT Telescopes - $659.00 and free shipping. Pricing food for thought.
    Welcome to the forum.
    Bill

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    Default Re: Buying my first telescope

    Quote Originally Posted by olddogg60 View Post
    To go along with what Karen has said, I bought my CG5 mount here - Celestron Advanced Series CG-5GT Computerized Mount - OPT Telescopes - $659.00 and free shipping. Pricing food for thought.
    Welcome to the forum.
    What Bill said. That's where I got mine, at the same price and free shipping. Love it! Best regards,
    - Marshall

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    Astroview 120ST f/5 Refractor on EQ3 mount
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    Default Re: Buying my first telescope

    Welcome to the forum and clear skies-------- by the way the Orion 80mm ED scopes while not a true APO scope .. do VERY well as an imaging scope.
    ETX 125PE, Stellarvue 80mm BV & Televue TelePod tripod,
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    Default Re: Buying my first telescope

    Jerry said it best on this, I would also recommend the Celestron CG-5 mount for starting out. As for the scope, you can piggy back your camera to any scope..but if you actually want to use the scope. Then you need to decide are you more interested in taking pics of DSO or Planets..or both? Alot of DSO are going to be better framed with a wide field view so even a small ED or APO refractor would work great and wouldnt weigh down the CG-5 mount. Or you could go with a larger SCT with more focal length for Planetary and some DSO used with a focal reducer. You could go somewhere in the middle like a C6-C8 or something simular on the CG-5..for over all around starting point. And if you want to focus alot on visual viewing then I have to second getting a Dob. They are easy to use and give you the most bang for the buck!
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