Author Topic: First telescope...what you wish you'd known  (Read 455 times)

Ghassan Pham

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 12:14:01 AM »
1st scope, department store 60mm refractor when I was 12. Objective was actually good, but the eyepieces stunk, the focuser stunk, the mount stunk the finder stunk.It made nothing fun.

2nd scope 30 years later. SCT on manual eq.  field of view too narrow, dew/frost problems. Cool down time a problem.  It did have a drive kit,
but was very hard on batteries especially in the winter. I bought a recargable lead acid, but would always forget to charge it. (That's just absent minded me)

scopes 3-9 10 years later,  dob, and several refractors, I love them all. I have both a eq and a gem, everything is manual. I still can't remember to charge batteries.

Another thing that really helps is the new generation of apps that run on a tablet that shows you exactly where things are. Without this, I would be lost most of the time. (sometimes I forget to charge it too rats!)

Michael Burney

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 01:55:49 AM »
Quote
What is "EAA"?

Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA) is the use of a digital image capturing device in lieu of an eyepiece at the telescope.

https://www.cloudyni...-and-equipment/

trimarnado

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2018, 07:39:49 PM »
Thinking\ day dreaming about having a telescope, and actually owning a telescope are definitely different.
Things I wish I would have done\knew\didnt do:
Made a solid plan for where this thing would be stored, including measurements. Dont take this lightly. I got so lucky it fits in my closet, when I didnt anticipate how big a dobsonian base is. I would measure out every place you would store and transporting it if considering a larger scope.
Under estimate people saying X telescope is heavy. A large telescope is unique in that it is heavy, but akward at times, precious and fragile. I didnt take the weight of scopes seriously. I feel it is much more manageable now but, if you under estimate this, and get a big heavy scope get ready. I cannot even begin to imagine a solid tube scope in the 10, 12 inch range.
Under estimate the points made about light pollution from even less populated areas. I think once you start seriously observing light pollution becomes far more apparent. I live in a smaller town, and didnt think it would have as big of a effect.
Think about wind, when thinking of where you will be observing mostly. I dont think nearly enough people mentioned this, but I find it to make observing very frustrating, sometimes impossible.
I thought I could get buy with stock eyepieces and equipment but am finding I am really going to need more accesories and a wider range of magnification( more cash) so be prepared for this. I am sure you will run into this too.

Be ready for plenty of frustration if this is your first time around, but also plenty of fun and incredible moments.

trualolalun

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2018, 02:17:30 AM »
I don't think I would advise you to spend $700 on a first telescope.
A six or eight inch dobsonian reflector would be less expensive and enable you see if astronomy is really "your thing."
It would leave funds for eyepieces and accessories, and using a dob would help you determine if you want a go-to or push-to scope when you step up, or enjoy the simplicity of star-hopping to targets.

The dob as a first scope could satisfy you for years; at least, it does a lot of users.

Then, for a more expensive second scope, either a bigger manual dob or something with go-to or push-to, if you feel you need the electronics.

handthedemo

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2018, 02:36:06 AM »
My first new telescope was perfectly usable, even with a few quirks. It showed me things that were invisible without it. It was easy to set up and use, and it didn't become obsolete after I obtained larger telescopes. It would be really hard to call it a 'mistake.'

clicpostreta

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2018, 03:13:24 AM »
There is really nothing I wish I had known, or more properly, there is nothing I could have known. I did no research when I started out, I just saw worn out telescope at a garage sale for $5 and bought it. It wasn't a very good telescope by my standards of today but it was good enough to start the journey that got me here in my mind, that means it was a very good telescope.

As Spockk said, "Thinking\ day dreaming about having a telescope, and actually owning a telescope are definitely different."

Amateur astronomy is a journey of discovery, not only of the night sky but of yourself, myself. In the beginning, one can only imagine what it will be like. With time, one discovers what it is and just what it is about observing the night sky that is so engaging.. It's different for everyone.

Jon

boysagiskest

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2018, 04:25:58 PM »
My answer is not so much about what I wish I had gotten in the way of equipment but what I wish I had done in the way of learning more about the hobby. I wish I had joined my local astronomy club way back when I first became interested. I think the knowledge and friendships gained would have made a tremendous difference and kept me involved all these years. Instead, my interest waned, in many ways due to frustration at not understanding the equipment and observing techniques, and I'm only now, many years later, trying to get back into it and relearn everything I have forgotten, plus, hopefully, a lot more.

I also wish I had simply taken the time to learn, really learn, the night sky. Study the constellations, scan with binoculars, learn to star-hop, become totally familiar with what you see when you look up. Your avatar photo tells me you are young enough that if you learn these things very thoroughly at this time, they will remain ingrained in your memory and serve you well for the rest of your life.

chlorleifilwhirl

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2018, 12:41:09 PM »
My first telescope was a 70mm F5 refractor on a goto mount (ETX 70). I had no background on telescopes.I got itat the Discovery store where they had ETX 70, 105, and 125s setup. The pictures in the advertisements looked much better than those scopes could do. So I picked theETX 70 because it looked good enough to me. Now, that scope didn't come anywhere close to those pictures, but I still really enjoyed using it. I'd probably like that scope more now than back then.I also didn't understand magnification and light pollution much...so I thought the go to wasn't working when it likely was. I didn't realize a 70mm refractor in heavy light pollution can't pull in most galaxies.

The most important lesson for me was aperture.I suggest at least 5 inches of aperture (SCT or reflector)or 4 inches for arefractor. More would even be better as long as you consider portability. Going with a 14 inch SCT as a first scope is probably a bad idea. I think a 10 inch dob is a good first scope though. I wouldn't go larger than that personally.

For me the best first telescopes are the 6SE or an 8 inch dob. 6SE if you want finding capability or like electronics (me) or the 8 inch dob is you are wanted to find stuff yourself and like to tinker with things manually. I would not recommend a refractor if your budget is around $700. Achromatic refractors can be nice, but the chromatic aberration they produce makes them a bit annoying to use. There are $700 4 inch refractors that are OK, but that's just for the scope without a mount. The Skywatcher 100mm ED is an example of a nice scope around $700....but then getting a mount for that would cost you a bit more. 8 inch dobs are very affordable.

John Abreu

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2018, 07:28:00 PM »
Ease of use. In other words, size, weight, and complexity matter.

I like my big scope but I can have my 6" SCT up and running in a few minutes, with just one trip.

Vincent Reside

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 10:13:58 PM »
Great advice!

Rodinald Richards

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2018, 02:13:13 AM »
When people ask me what scope I would suggest, I always ask them, Do you want to look at stuff, or do you want to find stuff.. I know that a large % of people will say get a DOB, more bang for the buck,, and they are correct. You can get a great DOB for 700$

But you have to run it manually.. Had I gotten a DOB as a first scope, I would not be in this hobby.. I don't have the patients to "search" for things.. Sure I can look at the sky and point out key things, favorite stars, Andromeda galaxy, the general location of things.

My first scope was a entry level goto scope.. and after a few sessions I was hooked.. I think I paid 350$ for it.

You can always run a goto manually,,

djl

bijstentetal

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2018, 06:53:34 AM »
I was limited at first by two things; field of view, and my own thinking. My first scope was an 8" sct, which doesn't exactly show a wide swath of sky. I live in a white zone, so I just assumed myself limited to the Moon and a couple bright planets.
Looking back, the sct was not the greatest first scope; a dob of some sort and a wide field, low power eyepiece would have been much better and held my interest more solidly.

James Etrheim

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2018, 02:54:41 PM »
My biggest mistake was not taking the best advice ,For me the best advice would have been to go look though different scopes before buying one.Instead I took advice from others and bought my first scope ....a 4" APO refractor , nice scope ,soon after I went to a local star party ,a fellow next to me had a 12" dob,he let me take a look though it ,WOW ,I then realized I got the wrong scope for me .So I sold the APO and got the 12" dob for almost half the cost.I know a big dob is not for everyone ,but for me the little extra effort was well worth the view .For me my 12" dob is my grab and go scope.I now only use my ED80 refractor for AP and would trade all my other scopes for a better AP rig ...So yeah ..know what you want before you buy ,as this hobby can be quite costly

tingranseattters

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2018, 01:29:51 AM »
I don't regret anything yet! I recently got a nice 120mm apo doublet on a very solid alt-az mount and have been very pleased so far. I bought what I did based on many recommendations from this website, and much thought about where my priorities are.

Something I learned before I ever bought my first scope is that there is no one scope that will do it all. I plan to complement my apo with a large dob at some point in the future.

Two of the best pieces of advice I got were: 1) get a good pair of binoculars first and get familiar with the sky, and 2) get a comfortable observing chair! I followed both of these and am glad I did.

Ryan Chaudhari

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Re: First telescope...what you wish you'd known
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2018, 10:08:37 PM »
Quote
When people ask me what scope I would suggest, I always ask them, Do you want to look at stuff, or do you want to find stuff.. I know that a large % of people will say get a DOB, more bang for the buck,, and they are correct. You can get a great DOB for 700$

But you have to run it manually..
<...>

Without denying benefits of goto, I'm afraid that by relying too much on it you might be missing a very large part of the sky and the joy of discovery. About two months into the hobby I accidentally "discovered" M29 by looking around Cygnus with binoculars. Later on with same binoculars I "discovered" M11 and my daughter "discovered" M34.

You can instruct a goto system to slew to M29, and most likely you won't be very thrilled with what you see, since M29 is a very modest cluster. But if M29 is "your" object, you'll be always excited to look at it. Searching for objects is not a boring part of the hobby - it brings its own pleasures and surprises.