Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

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Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby eldunford » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:18 pm

Hi all,

I have read many forums and articles and to be quite honest, am getting a little overwhelmed by it all so hoping you can help.

My boyfriend has a massive interest in stars, space and planets and would love a telescope. I thought I'd surprise him for his birthday.
We live in greater London, with a tiny garden but we have a lot of parks around us and we go camping/travelling a fair bit.
So what i'm really looking for is a portable telescope that offers a great view of the planets and stars - as much as possible for my budget - around £180-£280, that we can use at home for a quick peek and maybe see a little more when we've got more space.

I've looked at 130mm which seemed a good entry level, but they're just too big.

I think I've narrowed it down to these. Any thoughts or preferences:
Orion StarBlast 90mm Altazimuth Travel Refractor
Orion AstroView 90mm Equatorial Refractor (struggling to see a difference from above apart from mount)
Celestron 102 AZ AstroMaster Refractor (still seems like a manageable size), although there is a 90 version
Skywatcher Evostar Refractor 90 or 102?

Think I've discounted the Orion 80 short tube as the others don't seem much bigger and I'm hoping you get to see more!

Thank you in advance!
eldunford
 
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Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:07 pm

Re: Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby Gfamily2 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:08 pm

Although the scope below is a 130mm scope, I wonder if you also consider it 'too big'; it's got quite a compact mount, and having motor drives gives the ability to keep objects in view, which is useful.
http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/sky ... scope.html

In terms of the scopes that you have listed, the Astroview and the Evostar have a longer focal length (so a narrower field of view) than the StarBlast. A narrow field of view can make it harder to initially find fainter targets, and a scope with a wide field of view can make spread out objects look a bit 'brighter', albeit smaller in the eyepiece.
Other differences are whether you get an equatorial mount (which means you only need to adjust one axis to keep things in view) or an Alt Az mount - where you have to twiddle two knobs to keep things centred. It's true that initially setting up an Equatorial mount takes a bit more effort - as you need to line up with the Pole Star - but most people get to grips with it quite quickly.
The Astromaster 102mm has the advantage of a bigger aperture, but I think the mount is significantly worse than the alternatives, particularly as it doesn't have any slow motion control knobs, so centering on planets and keeping them in view is likely to be a pain.

Another thing you might want to consider getting is a planisphere, this allows you to align date and time on two plastic discs and they show you what stars and constellations are visible. Although you can get apps for your phone that do the same thing, a planisphere (in my view) is better at showing you how the view changes through the evening, and as the seasons change, and if you're using a red torch (or rear bike light) it doesn't spoil your night vision like a phone screen can.

If you're interested, you might want to check out some of the Star Parties that are taking place over the weekend after Easter. You don't need to take your own scope, and should be plenty of opportunities to have a look at what other people have brought along, and to talk to other people who have already been through the 'first scope' dilemma.
If you're not able to get away, you could keep an eye on the 'Baker Street Irregulars' a group who meet up in Regent's Park when it looks likely to be clear.
http://www.bakerstreetastro.org/
NB, because there are some Star Parties coming up, they may not be meeting in April.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
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Re: Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby Gfamily2 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:14 pm

For what it's worth, my 'travel' scope is a 127mm Skywatcher Maksutov scope on a GOTO Alt/Az mount. I bought it on Gumtree for about £190 about a year ago - and it's very compact, runs off AA batteries and gives good views of compact objects, the Moon and the planets.
It has a very narrow field of view, so isn't much good for looking at star fields, or open clusters, but the scope and mount fits into the size of a middle size bag-for-life in the back of the car - with the tripod going on top, it doesn't take too much space.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby eldunford » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:38 pm

Thanks Gfamily2.

Seems almost impossible to find dimensions or a video that shows set up etc (that's how I usually get a feel for size - when I see it next to a person). Any ideas on how big it actually is?

Thanks!
eldunford
 
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Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:07 pm

Re: Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby Gfamily2 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:50 pm

eldunford wrote:Thanks Gfamily2.

Seems almost impossible to find dimensions or a video that shows set up etc (that's how I usually get a feel for size - when I see it next to a person). Any ideas on how big it actually is?

Thanks!

The 130p has a focal length of 650mm, so I would expect the length of the telescope itself to be about 70 - 75 cm, and about 14cm across (give or take).
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Sun May 21, 2017 12:15 am

Gfamily2 wrote:For what it's worth, my 'travel' scope is a 127mm Skywatcher Maksutov scope on a GOTO Alt/Az mount. I bought it on Gumtree for about £190 about a year ago - and it's very compact, runs off AA batteries and gives good views of compact objects, the Moon and the planets.
It has a very narrow field of view, so isn't much good for looking at star fields, or open clusters, but the scope and mount fits into the size of a middle size bag-for-life in the back of the car - with the tripod going on top, it doesn't take too much space.


I love my 127mm Mak too but don't consider it a travel 'scope. I could get it in my hand luggage when flying but then couldn't afford the excess baggage charge for the mount. I either carry bins or an 80mm F/5 refractor.
How can I be one with the universe when we don't know what 96% of it is.

My website: http://www.philippughastronomer.com/

My blog: http://sungazer127mak.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/november-2015.html
The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof
 
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:53 pm
Location: Wiltshire but can be just about anywhere up to 41 000 feet

Re: Telescope bamboozlement!? Help! Beginner/travel

Postby MelissaJones » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:26 pm

Aww what a nice surprise! I recently purchased a Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope and love it! Super convenient for travel. But if you want to look at some more options I would check out the article on topreviews website that compares the top brands!
Goodluck!
MelissaJones
 
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