MY first telescope

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MY first telescope

Postby kevbez1969 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:06 pm

Hi all,

I'm just starting out in astronomy although i've been interested in it for a lot of years. I've finally decided to get my first telescope but to be honest i'm a bit overwhelmed by the amount of choice available. I'm looking at spending no more than £150 to start with and was just wondering what telescope/equipment you would advice that I get as my first purchase?

Thanks in advance,
Kev.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby EIZO » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:10 pm

Do you want a truly honest answer, what you will get for £150 is not worth having, most half decent eyepieces cost that

I would never suggest anyone start with less than this, a DOB, yes there are many childrens scopes available for 80-150 which is why when they get them most rarely use them or give up.

https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/ast ... ky-watcher
Celestron Edge 8" Evolution, Esprit 120mm triplet, Sky Tee2, WO Binoviewers, 2" and 1.25" eyepieces, ZWO ASI 178MM camera, Neximage 5, Nikon D4s, D810, Nikkor 70-200 F2.8, Nikkor 14-24, Nikkor 70-200, Nikkor 24-120, Sigma 150-600 Sport
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby Aratus » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:59 pm

kevbez1969 wrote:Hi all,

I'm just starting out in astronomy although i've been interested in it for a lot of years. I've finally decided to get my first telescope but to be honest i'm a bit overwhelmed by the amount of choice available. I'm looking at spending no more than £150 to start with and was just wondering what telescope/equipment you would advice that I get as my first purchase?

Thanks in advance,
Kev.

For £150 you might want to go for an 'all telescope' option, rather than spending a lot on sophisticated mounts. Here are a few examples. As usual there are different makes and models, and you may get them cheaper elsewhere.
An Celestron Astromaster 90AZ
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-astromaster-series/astromaster-90az-telescope.html
This has the advantage of optics which will enable you to use it for terrestrial objects as well as objects in the night's sky. It isn't optimised for astronomical work though.

A better astronomical refractor like this one is better for purely astronomical stuff. The basic alt-azimuth mount is tricky to figure out at first, but you would soon get the hang of it.
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-80-az3.html

If you want a very basic Dobsonian for your price then there is this
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html
I've not seen one of these models in action, but it should work quite well. Some people find them a bit 'clunky', but they require no setting up.

If you want a purely astronomical telescope with an basic equatorial mount, then one like this would do the trick. Once the equatorial mount is aligned then following an object in the eyepiece is very easy.
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-explorer-130.html Some people find setting them up a bit of a bind.

There are hundreds of night sky object that you can see through telescopes like these. Basic features on the planets will be visible. Dozens of lunar features. The brighter nebula and star clusters. Plenty of double stars to be split. However, they are small telescopes, and you need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:11 pm

[Rant]
The view that you have to spend a large amount to get started in the hobby is unhelpful, lots of people start with a small scope and then move on to more expensive ones.

I'd be happier suggesting that someone test out the water cheaply rather than insisting they need to sink a lot of money and putting them off starting at all.

And the idea that you need to spend £2/300 on a 'half decent' eyepiece is just snobbery in my view.
[/Rant]

More positively, you could keep an eye out on gumtree, as you can often find usable starter scopes around that amount.

Do you have a nearby Astronomy Society that you can meet up with? They'll be able to give you helpful advice, and may even be able to find you a scope to borrow or buy second hand. At least, if they have observing sessions you'll hopefully be able to try out a range of scopes to see what suits you and your budget.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby kevbez1969 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:33 pm

Thanks for the replies and advice you've given so far.

I had been looking at these:

Skywatcher HERITAGE-100P Tabletop Parabolic Dobsonian Telescope: On Amazon for £99

Sky-Watcher Newton Telescopes - 130/900 Eq2 Equatorial Mount: On Amazon for £155

Not sure what your thoughts are on these 2. I will certainly look for a local astronomy society.

Thanks again.
Kev.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:17 pm

kevbez1969 wrote:Thanks for the replies and advice you've given so far.

I had been looking at these:

Skywatcher HERITAGE-100P Tabletop Parabolic Dobsonian Telescope: On Amazon for £99

Sky-Watcher Newton Telescopes - 130/900 Eq2 Equatorial Mount: On Amazon for £155

Not sure what your thoughts are on these 2. I will certainly look for a local astronomy society.

Thanks again.
Kev.

Some people just can't get to grips with an equatorial mount, but because the 130 mm Newtonian has a lot more aperture it will give you a lot more to see than the tabletop Dob.

Personally, that's the one I'd go for of the two, but I'd look out for bargains to be had locally as well.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby Aratus » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:56 pm

Yes, I agree - the bigger telescope will be the better one.

Unless you are wanting long exposure photography, a rough alignment with an equatorial will do fine. Align the scope on a firm surface. Mark the position of the tripod feet, and position of the mount. When you come to use the telescope again, place the tripod in the exact same place and the mount pointing in the same direction. The alignment will be good enough for the length of time you need to observe an object. I used a 6" Newtonian equatorial in that way for 12 years with no problems.

Normal principles apply here. My first car was a mini which cost me £150! You don't start with a Ferrari! :D
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby kevbez1969 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:38 pm

Jessops recommended this one to me today. I'll have a proper look over the weekend.

Celestron PS1000 Newtonian Reflector Telescope
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby Gfamily2 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:11 pm

kevbez1969 wrote:Jessops recommended this one to me today. I'll have a proper look over the weekend.

Celestron PS1000 Newtonian Reflector Telescope

This is a short tube Newtonian that is is what's known as.a 'Bird Jones' design.
The general advice is that they're best avoided. They use a spherical mirror (rather than a parabolic one), and use a correction lens to bring it to focus.
This means that collimation can be more difficult, and although they can be used, it's trickier for a beginner.

Your call, but they're often known as hobby-killers, because they are often more trouble than they're worth.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: MY first telescope

Postby Aratus » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:54 am

Regarding the Celestron PS1000 Newtonian Reflector, take a look at who has been selling it. Jessops, Argos, Currys. Does any reputable specialist telescope retailer sell one? Not that I can find. That should set the alarm bells going straight away.

Gfamily2 nicely sums up its disadvantages. A Bird-Jones can be made to work well, but only by using good expensive lenses, and good materials. The Celestron PS1000 uses a Barlow as a correction lens, which is rather like using a spade to hammer stakes into the ground!
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
Aratus
 
Posts: 721
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire

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