Author Topic: Which telescope to choose?  (Read 646 times)

Noty Tarabori

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Which telescope to choose?
« on: December 24, 2017, 04:45:02 AM »
So my wonderful wife bought two telescopes for me for xmas and is going to send one back after I choose.  Both are Celestrons.  The Powerseeker 127EQ and the Inspire 90AZ with smartphone adapter.  I would like to be able to take pictures of this moon.  Any advice would be useful in making my choice.

She even suggested I return both and place in whatever extra cash I had to get a scope that could be a better use of this cash.  This opens up to suggestions for scopes for a novice that might be used for pictures of the moon specifically with an extra expense of say $200 over the price of the more expensive of the two preceding scopes.



headsbigwardsubs

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2017, 09:19:38 AM »
My advice: Return both and get a 5"-8" dob for a bit more such as this:http://www.meade.com...e-mini-130.html

The Powerseeker is a bird-jones type of telescope on top of a shaky bracket- that means you are going to be unhappy.
The Inspire is restricted in aperture and also seems to have an inadequate mount.  I'm not too familiar with this particular series, but I feel the optics are subpar.

nisatourpo

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 01:04:37 PM »
Hello, and welcome...

The PS 127EQ is a Jones-Bird catadioptric, and to those in the know, the world's worst telescopic design.

Read about the design here; knowledge is power...

https://www.google.com/#q=jones+bird
http://www.cloudynig...limate-it-help/

The telescope is very difficult to collimate(mirror/corrector alignment), if not impossible. The main mirror is, also, of poor quality. Similar kits are branded "Meade", and in addition to various and sundry generic brands. Those first starting out are attracted to its low cost, yet impressive appearance. Only the manufacturers, and others, benefit from its sales; never the consumer. The telescope is not a Newtonian in the traditional and tried-and-true sense.

This kit is similar in aperture, with a sturdier EQ-2 mount, with the telescope itself being a true Newtonian, or reflector, which can be easily collimated when required...

http://www.telescope.../341/p/9007.uts

For a similar cost compared to that of the PS 127EQ, these Newtonian kits should be considered instead...

https://www.telescop...2H5EaAmiV8P8HAQ
https://www.telescop...ector-telescopeIn so far as the "Inspire" refractor, this would make for a better choice...

http://www.highpoint...ZcAYaAtYF8P8HAQ

The mount is more robust, and the refractor has 12mm more of aperture; win-win.

Or, this 90mm... http://www.telescope...rd=starblast 90

However, of the two you mentioned, definitely choose the "Inspire", if one must be kept.

Stephen Gupta

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 11:46:11 PM »
The powerseeker 127 is a Bird Jones type reflector , you probably wouldn't want it , I know I wouldn't. Its a very fast spherical mirror at f 4.5 and they add a corrector into the focuser tube to correct for the spherical aberration and doubles the focal length. . In an in-expensive scope it doesn't work out well. sorry for the load of coal on the powerseeker 127,

sihealhdoggse

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 09:46:26 PM »
Quote
So my wonderful wife bought 2 telescopes for me for xmas and is going to send one back after I choose. Both are Celestrons. The Powerseeker 127EQ and the Inspire 90AZ with smartphone adapter. I want to be able to take pictures of the moon. Any advice would be helpful in making my choice.


I definitely recommend to keep the inspire 90AZ.

90mm is plenty enough aperture for the moon, planets and the brightest stuff in the sky. With practice you can take some good afocal (smartphone) pictures of the moon. I too have the smartphone gizmo and a 90mm scope (although somewhat different optical design), and it works.

The inspire AZ is a refractor, which has the advantage of it being sturdy: It won't get optical misalignment from use or travel. The 127EQ on the other hand is really despised here, it combines mirrors and lenses in a way that makes it's alignment "fragile", and a headache to re-align.

The inspire 90mm refractor is an "entry level" telescope, it's a proper telescope (not a department store toy scope), and it's actually a fine gift. For someone interested in the moon and planets, it'll bring lots of joy while avoiding getting too invested in what can be a very expensive hobby.

You miss a few things with the Inspire, such as slow motion controls (to keep planets in view as the sky moves), perhaps the mount is not as sturdy/stable as more expensive ones (which makes it easier to observe things at high magnification). For the moon and brightest things these "issues" don't need to be issues if you have some patience.

However, if you are a person with a rather largish interest in astronomy, or you foresee this being just "a first scope", then lots of other advise you'll read here will make more and more sense. It's likely more cost effective to just get a $100 more expensive telescope from the get-go, than to try to upgrade to a larger scope later.

If you just want to explore astronomy, just keep the Inspire 90AZ, pick a good guide book at your local library ("turn left at Orion" is most recommended) and enjoy.

If, however, you just decided you want to pursue a life-long dream of sky watching that you feel you postponed for too long, then it makes more sense to return both scopes, and spend at least $120 more.

Michael Greene

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 03:49:03 PM »
In case no one mentioned it, the 127 is a bird jones and should be sent back right away, lol. I'd return both, study a bit, and buy something better; in your price range it will most probably involve mirrors, not a bad thing. Add a bit to her generous gift if you can.

Daniel Johnson

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 07:20:09 PM »
Quote
So my wonderful wife bought 2 telescopes for me for xmas and is going to send one back after I choose. Both are Celestrons. The Powerseeker 127EQ and the Inspire 90AZ with smartphone adapter. I want to be able to take pictures of the moon. Any advice would be helpful in making my choice.

Dale! Congrats! You have the most important single asset that an amateur astronomer can have, an understanding and supportive spouse! Well done.

I am guessing that these two scopes are among the first that you have owned. The question you ask is a loaded one, as many who will answer here have varying levels of experience and moved on to more advanced optics. Everyone means well and we ALL want to give new people the benefit of our experience, but the avalanche of information can seem somewhat overwhelming. The simplest answer to your question is to take both scopes outside, point them at the moon and look through them. The one you like best is the one you keep. In the end, You are the only one you have to please, and it is always important to keep that in mind when reading others well meaning advice.

If you decide that you do not like either, then I would certainly agree that returning both scopes and investing in one of the recommendations that Skymuse has made would not steer you wrong. I would also add to that the Orion XT6 Classic Dobson, which is another reflector type scope with a parabola shaped mirror and a very robust AZ type of mount. Zhumell also makes that style of scope and you would find either brand more than satisfactory I think.

For what it is worth, I will give you my 2cents on the two scopes that you currently have. Not sure how much you know about the different optics, so forgive me if repeat things you already know.

PowerSeeker 127mm

As others here have said, the power seeker is a reflector that uses a simple spherical mirror. The advantage of this type of mirror is that it is very inexpensive to make. The disadvantage is that its spherical shape tends to lend itself to optical aberrations that can make the view less than pleasing, as others have suggested. Because the optics design is chosen for economy, this usually means that the rest of the parts(focuser, eyepieces if included, Mount) are also, shall we say, designed for economy as well. In particular, most telescope mounts in the entry level range are completely unsuitable for the scope they are carrying, which leads to great frustration.

Inspire 90 mm
The Inspire 90 AZ is an F11 achromat. It uses an objective lens(instead of a mirror) to gather light and focus it. The term Achromat means that the lens is not completely corrected for what is called Chromatic aberration or CA for short. This means on bright objects (like the moon, or jupiter, or venus) you might see color (red, green, purple) around the edges of the object. CA bothers some people a lot, and others not so much. People have been use Achromat telescopes for a long time and they are still quite popular. The longer the focal ratio or F#, the less the CA is an issue. F11 is pretty long, so it might not be too bad for you. I know that a lot of people have been fairly positive about Celestron 90 mm F11 refractors, so you might be just fine. I have a larger F8 120mm achromat refractor that I think is just great, for what it is. There is a little color on the moon at high magnifications, but generally the view is very crisp and sharp. The craters look just beautiful. As I said, you need to look through the scope to determine if things look good to you. The big issue is likely to be the mount but you can probably upgrade that at a later date without too much problem.

Finally, you said that you want to take pictures of the moon. Well, depending on your expectations, that could open up a whole other can of worms....  I have a simple point a look setup(AZ type mount) with both refractor and reflector type telescopes that I use for visual observation. Occasionally, i will take out the cell phone and snap a picture through the EP, especially if I am looking at the moon. It takes a little patience and practice, but you can get a pretty good result, certainly good enough to share with your wife, kids and friends. You can also get fairly inexpensive cameras that can be controlled by a computer that will let you take images and for things like the moon give you real time video. You can use these cameras with manually controlled mounts with some very good success, again with practice and patience.

It keeps on growing from there, in expense and complexity. My advice is to start out with very little steps. Work at getting the best results(visual or camera) that you can with the gear you have. When you get to the point where you are confident that you can't get things any better, then look to making a greater investment in gear.

I hope this helps.  I am betting when you look through both scopes you will decide that the 90 mm Refractor wins. The next step up in quality and results is one of these Dobson type reflectors from Orion or Zhumell. It is a BIG step up in optical capability for a comparable or not much greater price.

Cheers!

JMD

Francisco Hossain

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 08:00:20 AM »
Quote
Quote

So my wonderful wife bought 2 telescopes for me for xmas and is going to send one back after I choose. Both are Celestrons. The Powerseeker 127EQ and the Inspire 90AZ with smartphone adapter. I want to be able to take pictures of the moon. Any advice would be helpful in making my choice.

Dale! Congrats! You have the most important single asset that an amateur astronomer can have, an understanding and supportive spouse! Well done.

I am guessing that these two scopes are among the first that you have owned. The question you ask is a loaded one, as many who will answer here have varying levels of experience and moved on to more advanced optics. Everyone means well and we ALL want to give new people the benefit of our experience, but the avalanche of information can seem somewhat overwhelming. The simplest answer to your question is to take both scopes outside, point them at the moon and look through them. The one you like best is the one you keep. In the end, You are the only one you have to please, and it is always important to keep that in mind when reading others well meaning advice.

If you decide that you do not like either, then I would certainly agree that returning both scopes and investing in one of the recommendations that Skymuse has made would not steer you wrong. I would also add to that the Orion XT6 Classic Dobson, which is another reflector type scope with a parabola shaped mirror and a very robust AZ type of mount. Zhumell also makes that style of scope and you would find either brand more than satisfactory I think.

For what it is worth, I will give you my 2cents on the two scopes that you currently have. Not sure how much you know about the different optics, so forgive me if repeat things you already know.

PowerSeeker 127mm

As others here have said, the power seeker is a reflector that uses a simple spherical mirror. The advantage of this type of mirror is that it is very inexpensive to make. The disadvantage is that its spherical shape tends to lend itself to optical aberrations that can make the view less than pleasing, as others have suggested. Because the optics design is chosen for economy, this usually means that the rest of the parts(focuser, eyepieces if included, Mount) are also, shall we say, designed for economy as well. In particular, most telescope mounts in the entry level range are completely unsuitable for the scope they are carrying, which leads to great frustration.

Inspire 90 mm
The Inspire 90 AZ is an F11 achromat. It uses an objective lens(instead of a mirror) to gather light and focus it. The term Achromat means that the lens is not completely corrected for what is called Chromatic aberration or CA for short. This means on bright objects (like the moon, or jupiter, or venus) you might see color (red, green, purple) around the edges of the object. CA bothers some people a lot, and others not so much. People have been use Achromat telescopes for a long time and they are still quite popular. The longer the focal ratio or F#, the less the CA is an issue. F11 is pretty long, so it might not be too bad for you. I know that a lot of people have been fairly positive about Celestron 90 mm F11 refractors, so you might be just fine. I have a larger F8 120mm achromat refractor that I think is just great, for what it is. There is a little color on the moon at high magnifications, but generally the view is very crisp and sharp. The craters look just beautiful. As I said, you need to look through the scope to determine if things look good to you. The big issue is likely to be the mount but you can probably upgrade that at a later date without too much problem.

Finally, you said that you want to take pictures of the moon. Well, depending on your expectations, that could open up a whole other can of worms....  I have a simple point a look setup(AZ type mount) with both refractor and reflector type telescopes that I use for visual observation. Occasionally, i will take out the cell phone and snap a picture through the EP, especially if I am looking at the moon. It takes a little patience and practice, but you can get a pretty good result, certainly good enough to share with your wife, kids and friends. You can also get fairly inexpensive cameras that can be controlled by a computer that will let you take images and for things like the moon give you real time video. You can use these cameras with manually controlled mounts with some very good success, again with practice and patience.

It keeps on growing from there, in expense and complexity. My advice is to start out with very little steps. Work at getting the best results(visual or camera) that you can with the gear you have. When you get to the point where you are confident that you can't get things any better, then look to making a greater investment in gear.

I hope this helps.  I am betting when you look through both scopes you will decide that the 90 mm Refractor wins. The next step up in quality and results is one of these Dobson type reflectors from Orion or Zhumell. It is a BIG step up in optical capability for a comparable or not much greater price.

Cheers!

JMD
I see you also got a smart phone adapter. I have had varying luck with those, but they can be effective, again with patience and practice(you might notice a reoccurring theme:-).  Attaching the phone to the telescope will definitely challenge your mount as it adds weight. The mount head for the inspire looks to be not too bad, the trouble will likely come from the tripod legs. that is an easy fix in that you can always find better tripods used on Ebay or elsewhere.

JMD

Tommy Schmidt

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 12:04:08 AM »
Return them both and get a 6" Dob. The Powerseeker has bad optics (Bird-Jones), bad eyepieces (the eyepieces and Barlow cost Celestron maybe $5 to make), and a bad mount (too small for the 5" tube). The Inspire is small (90mm) and has a REALLY bad mount (it's basically a photo tripod).

David Allen

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2018, 07:56:11 AM »
Welcome Dave,  give your wife a big hug. She is a keeper.

Regarding telescopes, the others have many good ideas that I cannot add much to.
I kind of like what wildetelescope has said.  Try them both, on something really bright, like the moon.
Then on something dim, like the orion nebula. (If you don't know where that is someone here can help you out).
Keep the one you like the best.

Besides just the view, check out the stability and ease of pointing too.
That is just as important.  If it takes 5 seconds for the telescope to settle down after touching it, you will never
be able to focus it. If you really have a hard time keeping up with the moon as it moves through the sky that is
frustrating too.

The six inch orion dob is also a much nicer starter scope than these. I realize that might not be an option. Don't make your keeper wife sad.

Zachary Tenk

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 11:07:19 AM »
Based on feedback and talking to my wife. I believe we are going to send both back and look for a better option based on your input.

Any feedback for me on this model:

https://www.amazon.c...onian telescope

Keeping in mind I still want to be able to do photography with it.

We really appreciate all the info.

glyctetabung

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 11:00:26 AM »
I agree with many of the previous posters, 6-8" reflector is the way to go. A simple dobsonian mount is stable and generally trouble free. Tha 127mm has a design flaw as was mentioned.

As someone who started with a 90mm of much higher quality than the one you are contemplating mated to a much better mount I strongly urge against that path unless you are strictly looking at viewing the gas giants, the moon and bright Messiers. 90 mm is 90mm after all

Astrophotography is an involved and potentially expensive black hole. I have a cellphone platform and have used it with my refractors and my 8" dobsonian. That's as far as my AP indulgence has ventured after 20 years. I consider it to fall between visual and true AP because it's so easy. Not saying that AP isn't worthwhile for the right person, I just find there is plenty visually to keep me happy.

Chesterguy

inmactoopho

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 02:27:24 AM »
"She even suggested I return both and put in whatever extra money I needed to to get a scope that would be a more effective use of the money. So this opens up to suggestions for scopes for a beginner that could be used for photography of the moon specifically with an additional investment of say $200 over the cost of the more expensive of the 2 above scopes."

With practically any telescope, you can take a cellphone's camera, or a small point-and-shoot camera, and simply hold it to up to the eyepiece and snap a shot, and as I've done...Such is called "afocal photography", and with a telescope. Those images are only a sampling, not even a small fraction of a percent, and of what is possible with said technique in taking snapshots of the Moon. The brighter and brightest of deep-sky objects are also possible...
I take only afocal shots with a camera, only to demonstrate what might be seen through a given telescope during a live observation, with eyepieces, and the eye and the mind. I do not "image", with a camera in my eye's stead, and never will.

A 6" f/8 Dobsonian is especially good for lunar and planetary, and for most everything seen in the sky at night...

This one has the better primary-mirror cell, at the back end of the optical-tube...

http://www.telescope...yCategoryId=398

This one has the better focusser, of metal; and a 2" at that which will enable the use of larger, 2" low-power eyepieces...

https://www.bhphotov...s=REG&A=details

Or, this 8" even... https://www.astronom...tor_p20340.aspx

Mention your CN user-id, "daledavis67", when ordering from Astronomics, and you'll receive a discount.

This 4" refractor on an EQ3-type equatorial mount is priced right, and the mount may be able to be motorised, and for automatic, hands-free tracking of any object in the sky. All you have to do is observe the object standing still, there in the center of the eyepiece.

http://explorescient...fl-ar1021000eq3

Beware of the dragon...








unamprodce

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 08:10:04 AM »
Quote
Based on feedback and talking to my wife. I believe we are going to send both back and look for a better option based on your input.

Any feedback for me on this model:

https://www.amazon.c...onian telescope

Keeping in mind I still want to be able to do photography with it.

We really appreciate all the info.

Welcome to the world of astronomy and the zillions of options that can just empty your wallet.

As noted by others, you can take snapshots through the eyepiece of any telescope. This is not considered real astrophotography where you do long exposure. To do that properly you need expensive mounts. But for some casual smartphone or compact digital camera shots through the eyepiece you can do just fine.

I don't have the Celestron 130 SLT and have not used one but the package looks good.

The reviews on Amazon are pretty good. I am a big fan of GoTo scopes for new people. I think you would find this review useful as he updates it over an extended period of time.
https://www.amazon.c...ASIN=B0007UQNNQ

I would say that is a good choice.Add a 2X barlow. I suggest this one.
This doubles the magnification of any eyepiece. Also has a Tring for later camera adapter use.
https://www.amazon.c...stron 2X barlowThis eyepiece kit seems to have the same barlow plus moon filter, which I would recommend..
The 6 mm plossl will be OK but very short eye relieve. The 15 mm Kelner eyepiece maynot satisfy you but it is practically free.
But the cost of the kit is less than the cost of the barlow and the moon filter alone. The eyepieces are practically free.
And you get a convenient little case
https://www.amazon.c...on eyepiece kit

David Varnavas

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Re: Which telescope to choose?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 05:45:35 AM »
Quote
Based on feedback and talking to my wife.  I believe we are going to send both back and look for a better option based on your input.
Any feedback for me on this model:https://www.amazon.c...onian telescope
Keeping in mind I still want to be able to do photography with it.
We really appreciate all the info.