Author Topic: First Good Telescope  (Read 742 times)

Jason Muse

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First Good Telescope
« on: December 23, 2017, 11:40:53 PM »
Hello. New user new to astronomy, although I've owned a inexpensive telescope or two before.  I'm searching for something better that will last.  I have a golf course out back and I'm hoping to find a telescope for night that can also work quite well for daytime viewing.  Overall it would be approximately 50/50 day/night viewing.  Some criteria and advice:

Moderate weight between 3 to 15 Pounds
Compact span between 10 to 20 inches long

45 level correct image diagonal (at least for daytime)
Budget between $400 and $1000 (willing to spend more later on for better lenses, etc..)
Great for landscape, moon, planets and more as I learn
I know nothing about focal length or aperture size Required for my intentions
I live in a small town of 10,000 or so and at the orange or light-brown area of the map: http://darksitefinde...maps/world.html

Curious in computerized stand.  I'm handicapped and do not have a lot of energy to hunt things down, and trivial with exact movements is somewhat difficult too.  If I could simply have it find objects for me that would be perfect.

Also fascinated by binoviewing as eye tiredness can also be an issue.  Would be nice especially for landscape, unless it reduces discipline of opinion too much.  I like a broad perspective for daytime viewing.

Any information would be appreciated.



obenanus

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 11:15:34 AM »
With your budget, you could consider some gently-used telescopes offered on the Cloudy Nights "Classifieds" section. Your "compact length" requirement almost mandates a "Cat and Casses" (catadioptric and Cassegrain) telescope: https://www.cloudyni...sort_order=desc

ringnasingsimb

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 08:03:01 PM »
Was that supposed to be between $400 and $100 or was that supposed to read $1000?

Stanley Edwards

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 03:17:17 AM »
5" Mak or 6" SCT. There are correct image diagonals but not sure if those work with cassegrains or just refractors. You would want a different diagonal for night viewing.

Scott

portfreqportri

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 07:12:12 PM »
Quote
Was that supposed to be between $400 and $100 or was that supposed to read $1000?

Sorry, yes $1000. I corrected it now.

Joe Mallard

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 04:43:35 PM »
Yes, I was going to mention that daytime and nighttime telescopes are really fairly different beasts.

A daytime scope's job is to magnify distant objects without much lens induced distortion. A nighttime scope's primary job is to collect enough light for us to see a target and secondarily to magnify the small targets (selected by which eyepieces you use combined with the focal length of the scope).

Spotting scopes need a mount that you can quickly traverse and they don't need to track anything (except manually if its a moving target). Astro scopes need to traverse very very slowly to track never stopping targets. Your typical spotting scope tripod is ill suited to fine slow movement while astronomy style tripods are usually not well suited for fast traverses of varying speeds.

Of course a spotting scope CAN be used for astronomy and vice versa (put a longer level on a spotting scope tripod and you get better slow control type thing). Astro tripods/mounts have types that use clutches so fast traverse is possible but not so convenient as a spotting tripod.

So basically, you have to decide what the primary purpose for the scope is going to be and expect the performance for the secondary purpose to be not so great for one reason or another.

corloconre

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 04:43:58 AM »
Oh and I really like the Skywatcher 102mm f/5 refractor. Its not big and heavy and its also not a crazy expensive Apochromat. There are other brands with very similar scopes (orion comes to mind). These are real workhorses that'll get you quite a few DSOs while not needing a hefty (read "expensive") mount.

You can get it with a manual mount (knobs on flexible connectors that give fine slow speed control without transmitting too much vibration to the mount), manual GEM mounts, single arm alt-az goto mounts, or goto GEM. It all depends on your budget.

I got a wonderful shot of the Andromeda Galaxy using this scope on iOptron's cheap plastic SmartEQ. Didn't even have a polar scope, never mind guide cameras et. al. Truth is the SmartEQ (first gen) is a plastic piece of junk yet for a plastic piece of junk it's amazing. The black area in lower left was a tree branch. It was not too long after sunset in the summer so it was pretty low in the sky still. The purple stars are not really purple, its chromatic aberration from the type of lenses - which is why people spend a small fortune on apochromats with exotic lens materials etc.

This image was not processed in any way other than shrinking it down and dropping the quality to fit into the upload limit (I overdid it a bit, 167k...)


erexgila

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 03:34:01 PM »
Quote
Hello. New user here and new to astronomy, although I've owned a cheap telescope or 2 before. I'm looking for something better that will last. I have a golf course out back and I'm hoping to find a telescope for night that can also work relatively well for daytime viewing. Overall it would be about 50/50 day/night viewing. Some criteria and info:

Light weight between 3 to 15 pounds
Compact length between 10 to 20 inches long
45 degree correct image diagonal (at least for daytime)
Budget between $400 and $1000 (willing to spend more in the future for better lenses, etc.)
Good for landscape, moon, planets and more as I learn
I know nothing about focal length or aperture size needed for my purposes
I live in a small town of 10,000 or so and in the orange or light-brown region of this map: http://darksitefinde...maps/world.html

Interested in computerized stand. I'm handicapped and don't have a lot of energy to hunt things down, and fiddling with precise movements is somewhat difficult too. If I can simply have it locate objects for me that would be ideal.

Also intrigued by binoviewing as eye fatigue can also be an issue. Would be nice particularly for landscape, unless it reduces field of view too much. I like a wide view for daytime viewing.

Any advice would be appreciated.

PatM gives very good advice in Post #6.
You described the Meade ETX 80 backpack Observer
https://www.telescop...e-with-backpack

I have one. I don't use it for daytime but it includes a 45 degree correct image diagonal for daytime use. The whole thing goes in a backpack.

This video gives a great overview of the earlier model but for practical purposes it is the same scope, just updated slightly.
https://www.youtube....jsD69fPg6Y&t=4s

Woody Boelkens

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 02:56:04 AM »
In case you didn't notice, the scopes being recommended so far are closer to $400 than $1,000. It's not that we don't like spending other peoples money. But a $1,000 telescope will generally be overkill (and more than 20" long) for a spotting scope. If you really have $1,000 to spend, you might consider a nice $250 spotting scope for terrestrial and a $400 8" Dob for astro use. Basically you can afford to get two scopes that are well suited for their different purposes, rather than buying one scope that is too small to be a very effective astro scope, or too big to be a useful terrestrial scope. Or some compromise that is on the small side for astro and the big side for terrestrial. You could use some accessories in both scopes.

Scott

spicomgeovio

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 05:23:44 AM »
I think Seattle Scott has a good idea. For $1000 you can two scopes; one for spotting and one for astronomy. If you want tracking I can recommend one of the Nexstar scopes from Celestron. I have a Nexstar 6SE that was my first go to scope and it gives really nice views and tracks well. It was $799 so would leave enough for a good spotting scope. The Nexstar is not too big to be difficult to handle yet has enough aperture to view a large number of objects.

vieproltesro

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 01:25:56 AM »
Loads of great advice here, thanks, and raises a few more questions in my mind. I hadn't thought about the 2 styles of mounts that Pat mentioned. With the motorized mounts though, can you not quickly swivel them around? Seems like I saw that somewhere on Youtube, where a guy spun it to some position and he mentioned the computer kept track of it's position. I think he didn't it fairly quickly too.

Looking at the video for the Meade ETX 80, it does seem to have everything I was looking for in one small package. The only problem I see is that for the alignment process he said it needed to point North. I'm planning to use it on my deck on the South side of house most of the time to view East, West, South skies. I don't think I could align it there to the North. Do other mounts like the Nextar and GoTo allow for alignment to the South?

Lastly, how do I go about determining the best aperture size? Would simply buying the biggest I can afford be best? Some here suggest 5 or 6 inches, while the ETX 80 would be considerably smaller, which concerns me. I see there's an ETX 90 but not sure if it has all those same features. I appreciate the idea of buying both a spotting scope and telescope separately too. It's an excellent point and I'm strongly considering it, particularly if it noticeably enhances the astronomy side of things.

wordpuzzlesubc

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 05:20:33 AM »
Recommend seeing this video about "How to set up and align a Celestron NexStar SE Series telescope -- Applicable to the Celestron NexStar 4SE, 5SE, 6SE & 8SE": https://www.youtube....h?v=QDXyBIRooRA . Is there a local Astronomy Clubnearby? Perhaps you could ask experienced astronomers about their telescopes, and see them demonstrated.

Brandon Belknap

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 09:39:02 AM »
Quote
Quote
Loads of great advice here, thanks, and raises a few more questions in my mind. I hadn't thought about the 2 styles of mounts that Pat mentioned. With the motorized mounts though, can you not quickly swivel them around? Seems like I saw that somewhere on Youtube, where a guy spun it to some position and he mentioned the computer kept track of it's position. I think he didn't it fairly quickly too.
If you look at people's signature blocks you will see that many have more than one optical devices.
<ul class="bbc">Binoculars - Excellent for daytime and astronomy use. 7X35 and higher I started in astronomy with binoculars - can be hand held or mounted
Grab and Go scope - a smaller, lighter scope typically in the 70 to 130 mm range
Light bucket - somethign larger for your home or primary dark site when size will be less of an issue. Typically 8" or larger
Having something in each category means you have the right tool for the right situation.

You don't have to get them all at once.  I started with binoculars. I added the ETX 80 later. Then I added the Orion XT8i Intelliscope.  I now also have an ETX 125.

The video you probably reference was for the Orion Starseeker IV Goto mount.  But this is not true for all GoTo mounts.  The Celestron NexStar, for example, will not allow that. It has no clutches. You can not swing the scope by hand. You must use the hand set.The ETX 80 has clutches so you can use the scope without using the computer. But you lock them to do the alignment. If you move the scope by hand by moving the tripod or by releasing the clutches it will lose orientation. The StarSeeker IV is one of the newer generation GoTo mounts that allows you to align the scope for it to find things but also allow you to swing it by hand without losing orientation. But if you were to pick it up and move it you would have to realign it.
Quote
Looking at the video for the Meade ETX 80, it does seem to have everything I was looking for in one small package. The only problem I see is that for the alignment process he said it needed to point North. I'm planning to use it on my deck on the South side of house most of the time to view East, West, South skies. I don't think I could align it there to the North. Do other mounts like the Nextar and GoTo allow for alignment to the South?

GoTo refers to any mount/telescope combination that has a computerized and motorized capability to find things in the sky. They all require some kind of alignment process so that the scope knows where it is.  The set-up may be slightly different for each type but the objective is the same. Get the system oriented to the sky. My ETX 80 and ETX 125 are both GoTo scopes.

There is also PushTo which is a system that tells you where to point the scope but has no motors. My Orion XT8i Intelliscope is a PushTo system.
The ETX 80 comes with a compass.  It just gives the scope a standard starting point.  You point it North and have the OTA, optical tube assembly level.   When you turn it on it picks the stars to use for alignment.  Other GoTo systems work differently.

Also note that the ETX 80 can be used without the tripod if you have a table, rock or some other solid surface of a convenient height.

<p class="citation">peterclones, on 05 Aug 2017 - 08:17 AM, said:<a href="https://www.cloudynights.com/index.php?app=forums&amp;module=forums&amp;section=findpost&amp;pid=8032261" rel="citation">[/url]<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote built" data-author="peterclones" data-cid="8032261" data-time="1501913823">
Lastly, how do I go about determining the best aperture size? Would simply buying the biggest I can afford be best? Some here suggest 5 or 6 inches, while the ETX 80 would be considerably smaller, which concerns me. I see there's an ETX 90 but not sure if it has all those same features. I appreciate the idea of buying both a spotting scope and telescope separately too. It's an excellent point and I'm strongly considering it, particularly if it noticeably enhances the astronomy side of things.
How to pick?

Budget
Size and weight limits
Storage
Transportation considerations
Manual or computer assisted
Uses - Planets, DSO, daytime use

You said:

$1000
3-15 pounds
10-20 inches long. (approx 250 to 550 mm long)
Transport - not discussed
Storage - not discussed
You specified computer assisted
You said you needed day and night use in one device

That is what produced the recommendations.

You need to tell us about storage and transport considerations.

Then you get the best combination of aperture and features you can afford that works within these restrictions. In your case the size and weight are the main restrictions.

Note that after you buy the telescope (OTA and mount) then there will be accessories. Does your budget include eyepieces, barlows, filters, other things. Plenty to spend money on so we can easily burn up that $1000. you will eventually spend more on eyepieces than you did on the scope.Based on what you have given us so far I would suggest.

For your lightest and most portable needs - 8X40, 10X50 binoculars.

For your daytime use - binoculars, spotting scope or correct image angle on your telescope.For astronomy - the size and weight restrictions you set are are pretty severe.  You will likely be limited to something about 4 inches or less in aperture and 600 mm in focal length for a tripod mounted scope.  Or 5-6 inches aperture and 600 mm FL for a tabletop, assuming the table is not included in the weight.So, do you want to revise your size and weight requirements?

Tell us about your storage and transportation requirements.

Some reference items for your consideration

Choosing your first telescopehttps://www.youtube....h?v=Thh9MKQlpeETelescope Terms Dictionaryhttp://www.hioptic.c...copes/index.htmIntroduction to Binoculars for Star Gazing ( use this one all the time to show the value of starting with binoculars)
Seeing targets in Taurushttps://www.youtube....h?v=6fHKG9tkPQUhttps://www.youtube....h?v=r3w6kKkang8

Darius Swick

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 11:01:06 AM »
Morning, aligning North for the se series goto's can be as simple as using the compass in your phone.
The critical part of star alignment comes when the system selects the star to orient the internal software too.
There are a lot of bright stars up there to get confused with, and these scopes only get you close to the alignment star.
You're in for quite a learning curve at first so practice and don't get discouraged with the first attempts, as DL recommended the Nexstar series of scopes is going to be about the best bet for you, they can either tripod or table top, the slew rate can be adjusted very quickly using the handheld key pad, an external battery pack and a couple of quality eyepieces like a Baader zoom and the Celestron power tank would be my first suggestions for accessories.
A quality star diagonal like the Orion Dielectric diagonal will increase your viewing experience quite a bit, I keep selling mine when ever I loan them out to others. I usually end up selling them for what I paid for them used.
The light path to the eyepiece is critical, and the factory Celestron 90° diagonal prism is marginal at best.
The se series 4,5,&amp; 6 are what you are looking for, they are great for either terrestrial or celestial.
Image correcting 45° diagonal for terrestrial.

A simple garden cart from Lowes or Home Depot will do the job for getting it out onto the fairway, the scopes are fairly robust as far as handling goes
.
Recommended youtube link,https://www.youtube....h?v=S5oIBZ1KD2g, just about any of the vidieos from Astronomy &amp; Nature TV will be very rewarding to watch before you purchase anything.

nalchsilnighnul

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Re: First Good Telescope
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2018, 01:25:14 PM »
Yeah, you've fallen victim to the old "Do-It-All" theory of astronomy. What you want in a scope and what you're able to spend are two different animals, not to mention the size/wt. requirements. How about this? A "Tabletop" reflector and a spotting scope, one for nighttime use, one for daytime use. Both can be found at Orion (www.telescope.com) and will fit into your budget of $1000. It's two items, true, but it meets your needs. Think about it...STARKID2U