First Scope

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First Scope

Postby CJ2002K » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:56 pm

Hi everyone,

This type of question has probably been banded about a lot over the years, but I wouldn't mind a up to date view.

I'm looking at getting my first scope, with £4-500 to spend. I'm doing a degree in astronomy so initially I will use it for a broad range of things, but as I gain experience my main focus will be planetary photography (I'm thinking of getting a ccd device in he future).

You can see where I'm going with this, I'm looking for advice on what to get... Initially I looked at the Sky Watcher 150p reflector, then looked in to 200p. Ive also looked at the startravel 150 refractor a and its bigger brother.

I know my budget will limit the mount I get and I think the EQ5 is at the top end of my limit, but it's the scope that's causing me issues. As I said long term aim is planetary photography, if I can get something that is slightly portable (I'm used to carrying 50kg on my back) that would be a bonus, but being able to see planets just now, and potential for photographing a year down the line is really the motivating factor. I know that I will get better results with a bigger budget, but that's my limit and I can accept what ever the budget produces.

Thanks for any help offered...

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Re: First Scope

Postby dave.b » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:00 am

The Celestron Nexstar 4 SE would be worth a look. It's a 4" f/13 Mak which gives it a nice narrow field of view which is just what you want for planetary observing. The mount is a computerised alt-az, which means that after setting it up it will track the chosen object. Being an alt-az you will get field rotation, but since planetary camera work makes use of fast frame rate USB video cameras with post processing to combine all the frames into a single image, the image can be de-rotated before being combined.

Also have a look at the Celestron SLT range. The 5" Mak and a 4" refractor would be worth considering. The Mak is an f/11.8 and the refractor an f/5.6. The SLT mount is probably not as stiff as the SE.

Finally, don't forget to budget for a 12V battery pack and some eye pieces. I always suggest an 8-24 zoom eye piece over a basic set of cheap eye pieces.

Dave B.
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Re: First Scope

Postby Supercooper » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:25 pm

Hi there,

If you're serious about astronomy then you don't really want to start off too small. You need to be able to grow your hobby as you discover new things and formulate new projects as you follow your degree modules.

If you're up for a 120mm or even 150mm refractor I can heartily recommend the SkyWatcher brand. And if portability is key then I would recommend you take a look at the Skywatcher SkyMax 180 and SkyMax 180 Pro. First rate reviews on SaN equipment. It only weighs about 8Kg (Plus mounting) but has been described by Paul Money as "The best planetary telescope he's ever used! Gotta be a gudd'n! However, (With amateur astronomy there's always a 'however'), the long focal ratio means you will have longer exposures and so your mount will have to be set up extra carefully.

Hope this helps, Barry.
For My FREE Telescope Help Website:

Using fab Helios f8 150mm Achromatic Refractor on SkyWatcher EQ5 - enjoing the views!
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