Beginner Telescope Advice Please!

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Beginner Telescope Advice Please!

Postby margoqml » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:09 pm

Hello,

Yes, yet another beginner thinking of getting a shiny new scope! I've been trying to get my head around the variety of all the telescopes and before I commit to anything, your advice would be much appreciated!

As mentioned, I am a complete beginner, however, I am also rather determined to learn and have been thinking about getting one for some time now! I've got my 'Turn Left at Orion' and I am eager to go! I would like a telescope for observing night sky objects, an equipment that is not totally entry level, but something that I can carry on using for years to come before deciding whether or not to upgrade. Saying that, I have a budget of around £200, though I am sure I can stretch it if a particularly good value scope is recommended.
I would like to learn things myself, so I do NOT want a Go-To. I am thinking of minimum 5inch aperture and would prefer a refractor, although if reflector can deliver, then it will do too, as I know how much these can differ in price. The main reason I would go for a refractor is the cooling time, as I am not the most patient/organised person, but I don't actually know the order of magnitutde difference between the times, so perhaps I am worrying for nothing? I would also prefer a finderscope rather than a red dot, although if it is relatively easy to get it as a separate piece, then that's fine. It does not have to be ultra-light, as I am planning to use it either in a back garden or take it in a car, but then again - I would like someting I can actually carry and that will fit into my tiny car. It would have to stand on its own on a ground, as I don't have an outdoor table - a tripod mount would be ideal.
Finally, as I will be using it with my partner, I've seen numerous advice that it's better to have a motor too, but I am in two minds on this one - is the motor worth it?

So... can anyone recommend a telescope that can meet these (or at least some) of the requirements? And if there are any good reasons why I shouldn't go with a particular feature I originally listed, please let me know too! Thank you!
margoqml
 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:39 pm

Re: Beginner Telescope Advice Please!

Postby Gfamily2 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:53 pm

Hi and welcome.
I think you'd be hard pushed to get a 5" refractor for £200, let alone one with a mount.
However, a Dobsonian Telescope might be an option, particularly second hand. If you look on Gumtree you may find one for sale locally.
What are your skies like locally? A GOTO can be useful if your skies aren't particularly dark, but if you have good dark skies, you may find you can use a star atlas and a Red Dot Finder (or finder scope) to help you locate your targets. In the absence of very dark skies, a pair of binoculars can suffice instead.

Personally, I would suggest you see if you have a local astronomy society, as they are (mostly) very welcoming and should be able to give you advice - and if they have observing evenings, you can try out different telescopes.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
(Not a moderator)
Gfamily2
 
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Re: Beginner Telescope Advice Please!

Postby margoqml » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:49 am

Hi, thank you for a quick reply.

I thought I might be pushing my luck trying to get a refractor, but gumtree is a good idea, I will have a look. Is there anything I need to look out for when looking at used telescopes?

I live near Cotswolds, which has its positives - the skies here are nice and dark, or at least that's what it looks like to me - and negatives - the nearest astronomy society is an hour drive from me, a bit far to my liking.
margoqml
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:39 pm

Re: Beginner Telescope Advice Please!

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:30 pm

margoqml wrote:Hi, thank you for a quick reply.

I thought I might be pushing my luck trying to get a refractor, but gumtree is a good idea, I will have a look. Is there anything I need to look out for when looking at used telescopes?

I live near Cotswolds, which has its positives - the skies here are nice and dark, or at least that's what it looks like to me - and negatives - the nearest astronomy society is an hour drive from me, a bit far to my liking.

I've only ever bought one scope second hand and I already had an eyepiece I knew was 'reasonable', so I could make a fair assessment of the 'view' even though it was daytime.

If you're buying a Dobsonian or other Newtonian, it's possible that the collimation will be out, so it'll be hard to tell if a poor view is likely to be fixable or not.

Amusingly, a usual piece of advice for a reflector telescope that you own yourself is to NEVER look at the mirror with a flashlight - all you'll see is the dust, which actually has a negligible effect on its performance; however, if you are buying a reflector, you should check the mirror for signs of chips, scratches, gross amounts of dirt etc. Other than that, make sure that the focuser is smooth across the full range of movement, and that it moves smoothly in its mount.

When using an astronomical telescope during the day, you are likely to find that the image is relatively low contrast, this is because of the higher ambient light levels, but the image should be sharp and as even as possible across the field of view.

Is this your nearest club? http://cotswoldas.org.uk/cas/
Shame it takes so long for you to reach them, as clubs can be great places to get advice and encouragement, and may also have kit they no longer use and might consider selling on.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
(Not a moderator)
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm


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