need telescope buying advice
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02-04-2014, 12:03 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
(02-04-2014 10:47 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(02-04-2014 08:39 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  Willhop already said it pretty much but Logich is the one to talk to.

Angry

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Those damn young people are always forgetting the older generations.

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02-04-2014, 01:26 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
Don't make the mistake of buying a scope based on magnifying power...

You need to consider aperture (diameter of the tube) more than anything. With astronomical scopes you want as much light gathering ability as possible... The bigger aperture, the brighter your image and with a wider field of view.

With a refracting scope, you probably should avoid anything smaller than 4 inches... With a reflector, probably no less than 8 inches.

Reflectors are cheaper and better value overall, but require more maintenance than refractors.

Also, its very important to get the right kind of mount... An altazimuth mount is the simplest, but cannot easily track stars, or be used with chart coordinates. But its very simple to use and is quick to set up... Basically a "point and go" mount.

An equatorial mount is a bit more complex, but is more versatile... Once its aligned with Polaris it can follow a star across the sky by turning a slow motion cable, or automatically with a motor drive. With a motor drive, an equatorial mount can be used for astrophotography too.

Whichever you pick, the mount and tripod must be sturdy... Otherwise you'll be plagued by vibrations that take forever to settle. Ideally, after tapping the scope the image should be steady after no more than about 10 seconds.

Alternatively, there are modern Go-To scopes, which have computer controlled mounts. They can be excellent for casual observing, but are more expensive, heavy and can be a nightmare to set up. Plus they bypass a lot of the learning experience, which is a big part of the fun.

Personally, I'd recommend this one... http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skywatcher-Explo...B00CYHSZCC

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02-04-2014, 01:36 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
Oh yeah... Forgot to mention.

There's also the Dobsonian mount... Which is very basic.

With a "Dob" you can get a huge scope for quite cheap... It gives you the best optics for your money... The compromise is the mount, which is usually a simple wooden altazimuth rig, that sits on the floor. Very quick and easy to set up... But can't be used for photography, and can't track stars.

Altazimuth mount...

[Image: 18614.jpg]

Equatorial mount...

[Image: 39.jpg]

Dobsonian mount...

[Image: Dobson-mount.jpg]

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02-04-2014, 02:32 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
(02-04-2014 01:36 PM)Paranoidsam Wrote:  Oh yeah... Forgot to mention.

There's also the Dobsonian mount... Which is very basic.

With a "Dob" you can get a huge scope for quite cheap... It gives you the best optics for your money... The compromise is the mount, which is usually a simple wooden altazimuth rig, that sits on the floor. Very quick and easy to set up... But can't be used for photography, and can't track stars.

Altazimuth mount...

[Image: 18614.jpg]

Equatorial mount...

[Image: 39.jpg]

Dobsonian mount...

[Image: Dobson-mount.jpg]

Well...

That escalated quickly.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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02-04-2014, 07:36 PM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2014 07:45 PM by Logisch.)
RE: need telescope buying advice
(02-04-2014 10:47 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(02-04-2014 08:39 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  Willhop already said it pretty much but Logich is the one to talk to.

Angry

Yeah, I'm just chopped liver. Weeping

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En garde! (yours doesn't look stacked btw, if that's the case, that's a nice single exposure!)
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02-04-2014, 07:43 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
QUESTION 1-- about collimating and maintenance. How involved is it?

Refractor: Relatively maintenance free. Take care of the lense and coating on them, keep the covers on them when not in use and you're generally golden.

Reflector: Collimating is pretty simple. There is either the visual way to do it (using a small eyepiece with reflective properties, or a laser) to line the mirrors up properly. Sometimes the mirrors get dirty and require removal and cleaning, rarely, but sometimes a pain to get out. It is crucial to be careful doing so as the mirror tends to be quite heavy.

The telescopes listed earlier in this thread are exactly what I had in mind as far as features and price point. A few of them mention that they will need to to be collimated and maintained.

How is collimating done? does it require expensive equipment? One of the websites had a gadget for $300 to do it. yikes! How often? Would I need to do it if I put the telescope in the car, drive across town to set up at friends house? What other maintenance is necessary? And how often? And are these 'precision' types of maintenance?


I used a laser collimater on mine. It sat where the eye piece sat. You then had a small target on it and aligned the mirror till it was lined up properly with the eyepiece. It made it a piece of cake. Then a visual check was needed, and usually was good give or take a few minor adjustments. For viewing it's not nearly as important as it is for something like photography. You might see an edge be a tad blurry if slightly out of spec.

QUESTION 2-- Accessories--what do you suggest?
a sun filter? colored lenses? storage/carrying case? or do you just leave it set on the tripod? A battery pack with the car charger (in the celestron bundle) All these things will need to be considered when we do select one to purchase.


Heavily recommend a good finder scope. Especially with a dob, a nice right angle finder is perfect. Aside from that, I'm a larger fan of 2" eyepieces instead of the 1.25" stuff. However, for cost sake, 1.25" is generally much cheaper. For viewing stuff like the moon, a barlow would be fantastic since the family will get to see very close up visuals of craters, mix that in with something such as a 10mm eyepiece and you'll be going "WHOA DUDE!"

But I'd say for sure a nice finder scope is on my top list of things. The cheesy crappy finders with no magnification make lining stuff up a pain. Not to mention when you go to do calibration stars on a go-to mount, it makes the process soooooo much easier. You don't need one with crazy magnification, just one that mounts solid and is easy to adjust.

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02-04-2014, 10:41 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
(02-04-2014 07:43 PM)Logisch Wrote:  QUESTION 1-- about collimating and maintenance. How involved is it?

Refractor: Relatively maintenance free. Take care of the lense and coating on them, keep the covers on them when not in use and you're generally golden.

Reflector: Collimating is pretty simple. There is either the visual way to do it (using a small eyepiece with reflective properties, or a laser) to line the mirrors up properly. Sometimes the mirrors get dirty and require removal and cleaning, rarely, but sometimes a pain to get out. It is crucial to be careful doing so as the mirror tends to be quite heavy.

The telescopes listed earlier in this thread are exactly what I had in mind as far as features and price point. A few of them mention that they will need to to be collimated and maintained.

How is collimating done? does it require expensive equipment? One of the websites had a gadget for $300 to do it. yikes! How often? Would I need to do it if I put the telescope in the car, drive across town to set up at friends house? What other maintenance is necessary? And how often? And are these 'precision' types of maintenance?


I used a laser collimater on mine. It sat where the eye piece sat. You then had a small target on it and aligned the mirror till it was lined up properly with the eyepiece. It made it a piece of cake. Then a visual check was needed, and usually was good give or take a few minor adjustments. For viewing it's not nearly as important as it is for something like photography. You might see an edge be a tad blurry if slightly out of spec.

QUESTION 2-- Accessories--what do you suggest?
a sun filter? colored lenses? storage/carrying case? or do you just leave it set on the tripod? A battery pack with the car charger (in the celestron bundle) All these things will need to be considered when we do select one to purchase.


Heavily recommend a good finder scope. Especially with a dob, a nice right angle finder is perfect. Aside from that, I'm a larger fan of 2" eyepieces instead of the 1.25" stuff. However, for cost sake, 1.25" is generally much cheaper. For viewing stuff like the moon, a barlow would be fantastic since the family will get to see very close up visuals of craters, mix that in with something such as a 10mm eyepiece and you'll be going "WHOA DUDE!"

But I'd say for sure a nice finder scope is on my top list of things. The cheesy crappy finders with no magnification make lining stuff up a pain. Not to mention when you go to do calibration stars on a go-to mount, it makes the process soooooo much easier. You don't need one with crazy magnification, just one that mounts solid and is easy to adjust.

Good point about the finderscope... A lot of low to mid priced telescopes come with a mediocre finderscope.

Usually its the red dot type... There's one on my Celestron refractor and its useless. Whoever designed it thought it would be a good idea to use a super bright LED (that can't be dimmed) and slightly frosted glass... So you can't see anything through it.

Go for a finderscope that's basically a miniature refractor... With a wide field of view and crosshairs.

Laser collimaters can be bought here for about £50... Which is probably about $75.

Here's a video about how to do it... Its very simple.




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02-04-2014, 10:43 PM
RE: need telescope buying advice
Its worth joining astronomy forums too...

I'm a member of this one.

http://stargazerslounge.com

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03-04-2014, 09:03 AM
RE: need telescope buying advice
(02-04-2014 07:36 PM)Logisch Wrote:  
(02-04-2014 10:47 AM)Chas Wrote:  Angry

Yeah, I'm just chopped liver. Weeping

[Image: FirstQuarter.jpg]

En garde! (yours doesn't look stacked btw, if that's the case, that's a nice single exposure!)

Single exposure. Yes

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