Starter Telescope

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Starter Telescope

Postby tomo5000 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:30 pm

Hi hope you can help i am a beginer to astronamy and at the moment we have borowed a cheap jessops 60mm refractor but we want to buy a telescope now that is better we have a budget of £150-£250 so was just wondering if any one had any sucjestions.
Hope you can help
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby Chanctonbury » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:46 pm

So much depends on your real interests but you can't go too wrong with [url=http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=sw130p] this Sky-Watcher 130P at about £162.00 [/url] or at the other end of your budget either [url=http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=150eq32] this larger Sky-Watcher 150 on a manual equatorial mount at £249.00 [/url] or [url=http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=skywatcher_explorer_130p_AZ_goto] this 'GoTo' mount and telescope at £239.00[/url]

The advantage of the first two is that you are paying for the optics and not the 'electronics' at both ends of your price band.

Despite my alias name, I have NO connection whatsoever with the company Sky-Watcher other than as a satisfied customer!!
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby tomo5000 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:53 pm

Thanks for replying i have the optical vision catalogue and have been looking at the same telescopes do you know if they give good images off planets and deep sky objects?
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby Chanctonbury » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:36 am

The ones I have suggested are 'general purpose' types. Deep sky and planetary 'scopes are at different ends of the range - deep sky objects (DSOs) are large and dim so require shorter focal lengths than bright and smaller planets. The Moon is in some ways in the middle because it is pretty large (but bright) and can be viewed either as a whole disk or by getting in really close to look at individual features. Ideally you would have more than one telescope then, a shorter focal length for DSOs and a much longer focal length for the rest.

The 'scopes I have suggested have focal lengths of between 650mm and 750mm making them suitable for many DSOs but by using short focal length eyepieces and a Barlow Lens, you can crank up the magnification to get good (but not really big) views of the planets and the Moon.

A substantial mount is a very important consideration as no matter how good the optics are, if the telescope wobbles around, the view will be terrible! The EQ3 mount is much more substantial that the EQ2 so this would be my personal preference within your budget although it could certainly be argued that a Dobsonian design would give you more optics for your money AND a solid platform for your telescope and [url=http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=dobsky200] the Sky-Watcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian[/url] although just outside your budget, would be a contender here although its focal length of 1200mm is quite a lot greater than the others.

I have deliberately suggested reflectors throughout because they give you the best value for money in terms of aperture.
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby tomo5000 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:40 pm

Thanks for all your help
one more question how can you take photos through a telescope do you need special telescope or other equipment to take pictures.
thanks
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby uea74 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:30 pm

Astrophotography tends to be a more specialist area.
Mounts have the be good, solid and stable. Scopes also have to be good.
A combination of the two and that ignores other aspects, tends to make it expensive.

Best at first to get started in the hobby, learn and get information then decide what path to go down.

As an idea some of the less expensive astrophotography set ups are in the £2000+ area. A serious set up can be £3000-5000.
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby worcspaul » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:30 pm

There are a couple of ways you can take pictures through a telescope. The first is "afocal" imaging. That's where you use a compact camera (or even a mobile phone camera) and align its lens with the eyepiece of the 'scope. An example can be seen below. The image was taken using an HTC Hero phone and carefully aligning it with the eyepiece of my 60mm refractor. It's a bit tricky to do, but you can get adapters to make it easier when using a digital compact camera.

The other method is "prime focus" photography. This is where you attach (usually) a Digital SLR camera to the 'scope in place of the eyepiece, using a "T Ring" which attaches to the DSLR in place of the lens, and an adapter to connect the camera/T-Ring to the scope in place of the eyepiece, thus your scope becomes the camera's lens. A number of Skywatcher scopes are now advertised as having "Direct DSLR attachment". I believe in these cases, there's no need for an adapter as the T-Ring can be screwed to the scope and it's easier to achieve focus.

If you're really interested in astrophotography I can thoroughly recommend "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards (a.k.a "skywatcher") as a starter.

[image]local://1254/0B7E11F04CF44CE9B158A19AB320909D.jpg[/image]
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby tomo5000 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:03 pm

Thanks for all the help
I was just wondering how big a telescope you need to look at galaxies and nebula in detail.
thanks tomo5000 [:D]
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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby worcspaul » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:10 pm

I guess it depends on how much detail you wish/expect to see. The images you see published in magazines will almost certainly have been produced using many hundreds or thousands of pounds worth of equipment after many hours of imaging and processing. I've not experienced looking at galaxies/nebulae through a large aperture scope so I'm not sure how much detail is visible to the human eye, but I doubt it's anywhere near what you see in pictures. If we take the Andromeda galaxy M31 for example, it is, through a pair of 10x50 binoculars, just a faint smudge. Imaged by a DSLR camera with 300mm telephoto lens it is still just a smudge, only a bit bigger.

The detail comes in being able to capture the light over long periods of time. For the long exposure images you need a rock-solid mount capable of tracking the object being imaged. While I understand some mounts are good at tracking, over long periods of time errors creep in and the tracking can "go off". This is compensated for by using "auto-guiding" using a second 'scope plus suitable camera/autoguider and software. The second scope/autoguider are trained on a "guide star" and the software controls the mount so that the guide star is kept "locked on". This then means that whatever the main scope is aimed at stays in view.



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RE: Starter Telescope

Postby philip pugh » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:10 am


[quote]ORIGINAL: tomo5000

Thanks for all the help
I was just wondering how big a telescope you need to look at galaxies and nebula in detail.
thanks tomo5000 [:D]
[/quote]

I've seen the dust lanes of M31 through a pair of 15x70 binoculars but this is not a regular occurrence. On an average cloudless night, M33 is a struggle and M81 is invisible. Indeed, M31, M33 and M81 are the easiest galaxies visible from the northern hemisphere.

I recently completed observations of the Messier objects using a 5" Mak and am about to send the book off (PLUG, PLUG, LOL!!) but it was a long struggle over 3 years. Many of my descriptions are "visible as a faint smudge on an exceptional night". One of the aims was to use an instrument similar in size to what Charles Messier used. I cheated a bit by using a 9x50 finderscope and light pollution reduction filter but used no GOTO technology and some of the fainter objects took about half an hour to find, despite owning a star atlas. I would suggest, however, that an 8" Newtonian would be more suitable but even then, many objects will look disappointing on an average night. Some DSOs, however, turned out to be real "eye candy". M101 was truly superb and it "trebled in size" when using a light pollution filter. As for "snapping" them, I'm not in the right place for long exposure deep sky photography but did some "point and click" shots of some of the easier targets such as the Pleiades and Beehive.
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