First Telescope

Ask your fellow astronomers to solve your telescope queries

First Telescope

Postby paulygod » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:33 am

Hi there

I have been learning my way around the sky avidly for just over a year now, learning charts, reading books, using both the naked eye and binoculars. And, now that I feel I have a rough idea what I'm looking at and where to look, I want of course to buy my first scope. The question of course is "which one?" Please help!

I'm interested in everything in the night sky, with a slightly stronger preference for looking at nebulae and galaxies (though I do of course still want to look at the planets now and then).

I can afford to spend anything from [size=2]£[/size]1000 to [size=2]£[/size]2500 and am looking for advice both on general type (i.e a refractor or reflector) and also to know which particular models people recommend and why.

Anyway, again, please help, as I know that any responses will help many others besides me.

Thanks, Paul
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RE: First Telescope

Postby mrkrigdon » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:40 am

[:D] Hi paul first of all welcome to the club.The telescope which i have got is a F5 8 inch reflector in which so far i have no probs with touch wood.In the three years i have had it i have seen all the planets except for pluto i have found lots of star clusters with it.I have found galaxies and nebulae with the scope but it does help to use a nebula fillter they cost about 60 to 70 pound.The scope i have got is a helios but now they are called skywatcher.The only thing about the scope is it's weight other wise it is a good telescope. welcome mark rigdon[:)]
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RE: First Telescope

Postby Chanctonbury » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:33 am

Paul,

It would help us all enormously if you coould just give an indication of whether you have any leanings towards astro-photography or whether you intend to stick to viewing only. Astro-photography introduces a whole extra level of considerations!
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RE: First Telescope

Postby paulygod » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:56 pm

Thanks for the reply mrkrigdon.

Skywatcher, thank you for the question, I knew there was something I'd forgotten. Yes, I'd like to get involved in astro-photography too. How does that affect what you think I should get?
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RE: First Telescope

Postby paulygod » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:03 pm

In fact, I don't know, could anyone offer a suggestion of a package of what a first time buyer should get, i.e scope, lenses, mount. I know that the combinations are almost unlimited but I think a lot of people at my stage end up making a lot of expensive mistakes and could do with a suggested starter kit - what types of things we need, suggested specs and suggested models.

Sorry to ask you all to babysit us newbies[8|]
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RE: First Telescope

Postby Chanctonbury » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:53 pm

Hi Paul,

The reason that I ask about astro-photography is that more than anything else, this will affect the choice of MOUNT.

Firstly, you will require a very sturdy mount. Secondly, you will require a mount that will accurately track your chosen celestial object without introducing 'field rotation' and this means some form of Equatorial mount, either a traditional German Equatorial Mount or an Alt./Az. Fork Mount fitted with a 'Wedge'.

Armed with this information we'll hopefully come up with some suitable suggestions bearing in mind your budget.
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RE: First Telescope

Postby paulygod » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:40 pm

What d'you all think about a 127mm short tube apochromatic refractor? Would it be reasonably portable? Or any good generally? Okay for taking some pictures of nebulae?
[size=3][color=#000000][/color][/size]
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RE: First Telescope

Postby sftonkin » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:43 pm

If I was in your position, I would get on to Ninian Boyle at Venturescope, and discuss my needs with him. If you wanted to then pass his opinion in front to the forum for comment, I'm sure we would oblige [:D] .

I have no connection with Venturescope except as a very satisfied customer who has great respect for the knowledge and integrity its proprietor; there are people (of which I am but one) that he has directed elsewhere when he felt that their needs would be better served by another vendor.
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RE: First Telescope

Postby paulygod » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:13 pm

Thanks sftonkin, I've taken you're advice.

I've had recommended to me the startravel, short tube achromatic refractor series. What do you all think? Would the six inch be reasonably portable or would I need to go smaller? What about problems of achromatic distortion? I'd really appreciate all and any of your views.

Paul
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RE: First Telescope

Postby Chanctonbury » Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:43 pm

Paul,

The Startravel 150 is an excellent 'scope and portable enough, however, it would not be my first choice as an imaging 'scope although it is a fantastic visual instrument. Being of short tube design, it has a focal length of just 750mm which is great from the point of view of lovely wide field views but this will impact adversely on the chromatic aberrations produced by the lenses (in this regard, the longer the focal length the better).

That said, the telescope will take some fine shots and give excellent visual delights but sooner or later those aberrations will manifest themselves as blue halos around bright stars in your photographs.

A Reflector will not suffer from this effect and neither will an APO Refractor but the latter in the aperture that you are considering would be costly.

Have you considered perhaps getting two telescopes, say an 80mm APO and an 8" Reflector? These mounted on a sturdy EQ mount like an HEQ5 with SkyScan GoTo option would give you lots of flexibilty to view and image both wide field views (80mm APO) and get in close to galaxies, planets etc. (8" Reflector) whilst being reasonably practical for portability purposes. You could also use one for guiding when imaging and the other for imaging (swap them around as you require).
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