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  1. #1
    judder's Avatar
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    Default Telescopes: so much choice, so little knowledge!



    As a child I had a 3" refractor with 8mm and 20mm lenses. I saw Saturn's rings and Jupiter's bands (in limited fashion - no colour). The base's stability was awful. two decades on I would like to get something decent to renew my interest and encourage that of my children.

    My primary interest is in an ability to planetary observations and to photograph them. So,
    1) what do I need?
    2) what can I expect to pay (happy to purchase second hand)?
    3) what improvement can I expect over my old telescope?

    Ideally I'd like to spend less than £250 (US$400). However, if significantly enhanced images can be obtained for a bit more cash I could add about 50%.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    andyp180's Avatar
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    Default

    hi and welcome to the forums.
    a great place to gain knowledge.
    friendly helpful people.
    for second hand,take a look here.
    keep an eye open,there are some good deals to be had if you're quick.
    read the stickies at the top of the beginners forum,some useful info there.
    my advice would be to take your time right now,there are alot of options
    available to you for budget,lunar and planetary ap.but be aware that for
    quality ap,the mount/tripod alone will take your budget up.
    clear skies,
    andy

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    andy

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    revelation 20X80 bino's,camlink tp-2500 camera/bino tripod.
    a few bits and pieces and a major addiction
    to the sky.
    ARCHAEOLOGISTS WILL DATE ANY OLD THING

  3. #3
    sxinias's Avatar
    sxinias is offline Super Moderator
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    Default

    For your stated requirements a Celestron NexStar 4SE is perfect except for its price. For slightly above your budget, the SkyWatcher SkyMax 102 SynScan AZ goto mount ought to do the job. These two 102 mm Maksutov telescopes (MAKs) are essentially the same telescope but the Celestron has a more robust mount and tripod as well as many more advanced features such as a built-in wedge that allows for operations in either the azimuth or equatorial mode, digital camera control, etc. The equatorial mode needed for photographing deep space objects.

    Either one are excellent for solar system objects producing very sharp images competing with much larger telescopes. For deep space objects, they will be fine for bright objects like star clusters and bright nebulae like the Orion Nebula (M42), etc.

    For other deep space objects, images will be small and dim. For these kinds of objects you need a telescope with an aperture of at least 150 mm with 200 mm being even better. Such telescopes are outside your budget. If you drop the photography requirement, then you will be able to purchase a larger telescope such as the 150 mm SkyWatcher SkyLIner 150P which will be great for solar system objects as well as deep space objects and is less expensive than the two 102 mm MAKs or you can get the 200 mm SkyLiner 200P for the same money as the SkyMax 102.
    SXINIAS

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    ZEQ25 mount;
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    SynScan AZ
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    Mount;

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    ST-80A 80mm Refractor (OTA); Meade
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    203mm SCT (OTA);
    Meade DS2090AT 90mm Refractor; Meade 2045LX3 102mm SCT;

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    4 SE 102mm MAK; Celestron Advanced Series C6S (XLT) 150mm SCT
    with an iOptron GOTO Drive

    My Photos:
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  4. #4
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    Default

    Good answer above from Joe. SO----------- you only want to look at planets? After about 6 months you will be ready to view the other 5000+ objects (or more) that you can view in a moderate sized amateur telescope.

    To take pictures of planets with a web cam can be accomplished with just about any telescope and or mount. The web cam takes a movie (avi) and then software extracts the individual best images from the movie and stacks them.

    This is for short exposure photography. However to do long exposures over about 25-30 seconds you will need a tracking EQ mount. A CG4 or CG5 with a motor is usually the smallest one I would recommend for astro-photography.

    Do some more reading here:
    Webcam Astrophotography Tutorial for Planets

    For visual only there are many many choices possible.
    ETX 125PE, Stellarvue 80mm BV & Televue TelePod tripod,
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    8" LNT, 10x50, 15x70mm binoculars, Stellarvue binoviewers, solar filters for all three telescopes..... plus a bunch of ham radios... Ham radio call sign - W1XWX

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    TelescopeMan Web Site

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    search for W1XWX to see my amateur radio web site

    "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” - Albert Einstein

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  5. #5
    judder's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks so much for the information. I've got a bit more work and research to do before taking the plunge. Perhaps it would be better to focus on the telescope and mount themselves to consume my budget and then look to develop the photography later. What do you think? I like the idea of a 6", in the hope that it will quench the immediate thirst for solar system observations and make so much more available as inspiration (and children) grow.

    Would the telescopes above provide images of, say, Jupiter with any reasonable colour?

    Thanks again for the ideas and help. I'm always open to more direction.

  6. #6
    New_Astronomer's Avatar
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    Default

    For $400, you would be looking at a new 8" dob or a used 10" dob. You will want to set aside some gas money for the long drives to dark skies and be prepared to be amazed!
    10" Zhumell telescope(mag 10.5 at 31x) 3" Celestron firstscope(mag 8.5 at 15x)
    Detached Zhumell finder 8x50(6.5x52)(mag 7, 7.5 if stabilized)
    Bushnell monocular 10x40(10.5x34)(mag 6, 6.5 if stabilized)
    Junk binoculars 4x30(4x20?)(mag 5) cheap binoculars 2.5x26(2.5x16)(mag 5)
    Mini pocket monocular 2.5x25(2x16)(mag 5) naked eyes 1x8(mag 3.5)
    More magnification(smaller than 8mm exit pupil) does not help.
    Southeast Florida red zone light pollution

 

 

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