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Telescopes anyone?

Old 11-30-2020, 07:50 AM
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Default Telescopes anyone?

Hey guys. The wife says she want's a telescope for looking at constellations. I'd be looking at a beginner kind of thing, since we don't know how serious she will be about this. I know you can get all kinds of fancy with this. Any recommendations for around $300 or so? Can you even get anything worthwhile for that?

Old 11-30-2020, 08:16 AM
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Get her a 4 inch or 6 inch tabletop dobsonian. Use the naked eye for constellations as they are very spread out across the sky.
Old 11-30-2020, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Basketcase View Post
Hey guys. The wife says she want's a telescope for looking at constellations. I'd be looking at a beginner kind of thing, since we don't know how serious she will be about this. I know you can get all kinds of fancy with this. Any recommendations for around $300 or so? Can you even get anything worthwhile for that?
$300 might be tight for something that will get used much on constellations, truth be told in that range a good set of binoculars might make sense and get more use. I'd suggest at leas a 5 inch aperture, which means going with a newtonian reflector (refracting one would be too long). The problem with a higher powered telescope is that the earth is moving... so to really use it and enjoy it I'd suggest one with auto tracking. Of course I just blew your budget.
Old 11-30-2020, 08:19 AM
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Amazon Amazon

Something like this.
Old 11-30-2020, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Basketcase View Post
Hey guys. The wife says she want's a telescope for looking at constellations. I'd be looking at a beginner kind of thing, since we don't know how serious she will be about this. I know you can get all kinds of fancy with this. Any recommendations for around $300 or so? Can you even get anything worthwhile for that?
Get her a Meade, I have the 125 and its pretty nice. You want something that is computerized with a star finder

https://amzn.to/3modNiZ

You'll also want a set of lens's

https://amzn.to/3fRnqUM
Old 11-30-2020, 09:05 AM
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Try the pawn shops. They usually sit around and will deal on them.
Old 11-30-2020, 09:31 AM
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For several years I had a Meade LX90 8" telescope with the onboard computer. We saw some amazing things during the time that I owned it. Sadly I moved back to the suburbs and light pollution ruined it's use. Sure I could still view very bright objects but distant galaxies were a thing of the past. If you live in the country and are not surrounded by a lot of light you could probably get by with a smaller scope like the ETX line. You will want the onboard tracking computer regardless of brand as it makes location and tracking objects stupid easy.
Old 11-30-2020, 10:57 AM
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First thing to do is educate yourself on the different types and sizes of telescopes. You also need to temper your expectations on what to expect from a telescope. Stay away from the cheap scopes with beautiful picutres on the box. With a telescope you'll need eyepieces. Computerized scopes are nice. A good used scope is where the value is. There is a forum I go to called Cloudy Nights www.cloudynights.com . There is alot of information on there and they have a very good classified section. For $350 you should be able to find a 6" celestron SCT thats computerized and will track what you want to see.
Old 11-30-2020, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JRCasey View Post
First thing to do is educate yourself on the different types and sizes of telescopes. You also need to temper your expectations on what to expect from a telescope. Stay away from the cheap scopes with beautiful picutres on the box. With a telescope you'll need eyepieces. Computerized scopes are nice. A good used scope is where the value is. There is a forum I go to called Cloudy Nights www.cloudynights.com . There is alot of information on there and they have a very good classified section. For $350 you should be able to find a 6" celestron SCT thats computerized and will track what you want to see.
Cloudynights is as good a forum to research on as any--I recommend it highly.

I have a Celestron 6SE. With stock magnification and no additional lenses, you can easily see rings of Saturn, and Jupiter's moons. Higher magnification should show atmospheric bands on Saturn and possibly Jupiter's red spot. Mars is a little disappointing. Detail on the moon is pretty ridiculous.

I strongly recommend alignment software and a tracking system. At high magnifications, you will be amazed how quickly things will move out of your field of view.

I'd suggest a 4" kit with a tracking system for the price mentioned above. If you can figure out how to operate it, you'll see some cool stuff. Read your instructions, or at least read the instructions online before you buy, so you can get an idea what you are getting into. Be ready for the instructions to be a little geeky or "jargony", and expect to have a learning curve.
Old 11-30-2020, 11:41 AM
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Some good advice above. Can't agree on cloudynights.com more. Excellent resource.

Also agree that you will need realistic expectations for your price range. No scope, no matter the size will show any colors on objects other than the main planet targets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) without a camera. So do not expect the pretty pictures online to match the view through the eyepiece.

That said there are tons of target objects depending of course on the light pollution near you.
A good set of bino's can be a good place to start.
Old 11-30-2020, 04:06 PM
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You didn't mention where you will be viewing from and that will determine more than you can imagine ... it's not just dark skies that are sought after ... if you're on a high magnification and a truck rumbles by, your view will often be wiped out from vibrations you probably wouldn't otherwise notice, but in reality you will not be chasing magnification but resolution ... I think you can go for a high power/resolution pair of Binoculars and a solid tripod to see if the skies hold any enduring fascination for you and your wife before spending a lot on a telescope just yet ... check around your area and see if there are any star clubs who have regular star 'parties' where you could try out and see some of the equipment others have purchased ... we're coming up on the best time of year for stargazing and there ought to be some opportunities ... good luck!
Old 11-30-2020, 05:29 PM
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No advice on telescopes but I use a free ap, Sky View which is great for IDing what you are looking at.
Old 11-30-2020, 06:20 PM
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Local astronomy club can point you to good used equipment. Won't be much for $300 though. I have lenses worth that much.
Old 11-30-2020, 06:56 PM
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Great ideas in above responses. I do hope you live where you can get to some dark places for viewing.
Old 12-01-2020, 12:55 PM
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If just looking at constellations?...I STRONGLY suggest starting with a good pair of astronomy binoculars....dip your toes in...this hobby can get VERY expensive VERY quickly...

I started with a 8" Dobsonian based reflector...than added a 6"..and a 10"... and a 12"..than a ES 102..and a Celestron AVX mount. Next came the 8" GSO astrograph...than a 12" astrograph and an ioptron ieq45....and now the newer ieq 60...and did I mention the 4+ acres of mature southern pines cleared to create a dark sky stargazing field where the Skyshed pod 8' astro dome is set up?....thats for the astrophotography....and to think...I only started "Stargazing" less than 3 years ago.


Buy here ab decent set of star gazing binocs...if she falls in love, go from there....I REALLY enjoy laying on a chaise lounge with a pair of binocs...see alot and never be disappointed.


JMO...


Old 12-01-2020, 01:14 PM
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This is all great info. Thanks everyone. It does sound like binoculars are probably a good start to see if she likes it enough to dive deep. Fortunately we live in the country on 21 acres. Nearest city is 40 minute drive so there isn't a lot of light pollution. That really is what got her started. When we moved out here she was amazed at the night sky and how much more you can see.

Thanks again for the info. This place always amazes. lol
Old 12-01-2020, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by agflit View Post
If just looking at constellations?...I STRONGLY suggest starting with a good pair of astronomy binoculars....dip your toes in...this hobby can get VERY expensive VERY quickly...

I started with a 8" Dobsonian based reflector...than added a 6"..and a 10"... and a 12"..than a ES 102..and a Celestron AVX mount. Next came the 8" GSO astrograph...than a 12" astrograph and an ioptron ieq45....and now the newer ieq 60...and did I mention the 4+ acres of mature southern pines cleared to create a dark sky stargazing field where the Skyshed pod 8' astro dome is set up?....thats for the astrophotography....and to think...I only started "Stargazing" less than 3 years ago.


Buy here ab decent set of star gazing binocs...if she falls in love, go from there....I REALLY enjoy laying on a chaise lounge with a pair of binocs...see alot and never be disappointed.


JMO...
We're gong to need some pictures...
Old 12-01-2020, 06:05 PM
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I have a celestron 6se as well with the computerized mount. Ive seen lots of neat stuff with it. I enjoy binoculars much more. If i had it to do over again i would gladly spend that money on a nice pair of astro binocs and a decent mount.
The celestron is cumbersome to take in and outside. And id rather operate it manually. Hate the computerized stuff.
you can see lots of great stuff with binocs and its more natural using 2 eyes. Just toss em in the car and take an evening out to a dark spot to stargaze. Awesome!
Old 12-01-2020, 08:11 PM
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with telescopes bigger is better. i started out with a 10 " Dobsonian light bucket.. You had to find everything by a chart , no tracking computers . I learned a lot more because I had to work to find the faint fuzzies.
i would rather spend money on good optics instead of marginal optics with a computer to point it.

Last edited by boaty mc boat face; 12-01-2020 at 08:33 PM.
Old 12-02-2020, 06:36 AM
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I second the statement about constellations. Figure out what she hopes/wants to do and a price range. I had an 8" Meade that was great but was borderline too big. A good pair of binoculars and a tripod mount maybe all she needs.

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