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Telescope purchase


kasboy
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I'm thinking in purchasing a telescope, for the first time in my life, since my child seems to be as interested in the sky bodies as I am (unfortunately my wife doesn't share it, LOL)

 

but there are many and with varying costs.

 

what would you recommend me to purchase?

 

and, what are the maximum magnification available in the telescopes one can purchase?

 

 

I hope I'm not disturbing anyone with this question

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Good question and it is not disturbing anyone. Hopefully some stargazers can help you - but I would also recommend getting in touch with your local astronomical society. Most towns have one and they almost all have a list of good purchase telescopes from starter versions for children to spectacular amateur masterpieces.

 

Good luck and great present for the kid!

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It's all about image brightness vs magnification. The more magnification you want the more light-collecting ability you need to offset the loss from magnifying. In the case of refractor scopes this means higher diameter glass and in the case of reflectors bigger mirrors diameter-wise. Regardless of what manufactuers say is the maximum possible (which is limitless) you want the maximum useful magnification. The general rule of thumb is 50x magnification per inch (25.4mm) diameter of mirror or glass . Any more than that and the image will be too dim to be good viewing.A 3 inch (75mm) refractor will give you 150x mag. 4+ inch refractors will be prohibitively expensive so if you want more powerful a reflector will give you more power for the same money.

 

This one will give you 250x max, as it's a 5.1 inch aperture, if you purchase the right viewing lenses; I'm not pushing you towards this particular model but this is the sort of thing I would be looking at power-wise and telescope technology. You are looking £200-£300 GBP for a reasonable level starter amateur scope of this power.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skywatcher-Explorer-Newton-Telescope-Parabolic/dp/B00CYHSZCC

Edited by StringJunky
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Thanks for your StringJunky for your explanation I will take into consideration what you said and make a decision

 

Sensei, I have no specific budget.

just trying to purchase something "as good as it can be, with the least I can spend on it"

obviously, I'm not rich.

so, there is a limit in what I can purchase.

say... 2000 USD would be hard to explain to my wife.

and would be too expensive to let my child to use. LOL

but I wouldn't like to have a cheap thing that can't see even the moon clearly and might break up on the third time we use it.

 

computer controlled ones, aren't more expensive?

I mean, it would be easier to find something to see, since I believe can have some programs or coordinates of stars or planets.

Edited by kasboy
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I found the Skywatcher with Newtonian Dobsonian mount in the 10" range affordable and flexible. Yes the 12" is better but the price tag got too high.

 

https://www.telescopesplus.com/collections/sky-watcher-traditional-dobsonians

 

You can see 5 km wide craters on the moon, the redspot and bands on Jupiter, the rings of Saturn.

 

Some nebula and local galaxies you can distinquish. Quite flexible robust and easy to use. Though I would recommend a good collimator. With a selection of lenses. ie the moon lens.

 

Keep in mind a good location with minimal light pollution is a must and also let the telescope stabilize to the atmospheric temperature for at least 1/2 hour.

 

The other feature I like is that it easily transported via a car.

Edited by Mordred
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I have found the computer controlled (built-in control) consumer quality telescopes difficult to use because of the many nested menus which you have to try & navigate in the dark. I found the orienting hard and the auto-tracking poor. I got around this by pointing the telescopes manually. To qualify, I have used 2 different models, though I don't remember which ones except one was a reflector and one a refractor. Both were 5" IIRC and cost several hundred dollars. Views of the Moon were pretty good, but while you can see hints of Jupiter's bands and Saturn's rings, it pales compared to photos by professionals that inspire you.

 

There is also the matter of how not-fun it is to haul everything out in the dark & stand around in the cold for a few minutes of viewing a particular target. It gets boring quickly for children and all but the most hardened adult enthusiast. If you use the thing more than 4 times a year it would surprise me.

 

Of course you have to have fresh batteries right when you want to go, as well as clear weather, and you have to store the thing. It ain't small and it is delicate.

 

I'd hook up with locals who have viewing parties and try that before you lay out several hundred dollars on -IMHO- an unlikely prospect.

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I too found the computer controlled mounts impractical. Particularly in finding the time with the right viewing conditions. Though I do take my scope out often it is often tricky to get the time under good viewing conditions.

 

lol more often than not I use it on my balcony with all the light pollution. definitely hinders good viewing but fun nonetheless.

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I too found the computer controlled mounts impractical. Particularly in finding the time with the right viewing conditions. Though I do take my scope out often it is often tricky to get the time under good viewing conditions.

 

lol more often than not I use it on my balcony with all the light pollution. definitely hinders good viewing but fun nonetheless.

Don't you think a 5 inch Skywatcher or Celestron refractor with motor EQ a better start for a beginner to see if they like it without spending too much and not too physically cumbersome?

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my 10" wasn't that pricey. I can pick up more than a 5". It depends on if you really need a motor or not. I don't do time elapsed photographing which is where your motor comes in handy

Edited by Mordred
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I think it depends largely on your need, the time and money you want to spend on the hobby and how you intend to immerse yourself in it. Going the low-cost route sometimes has the disadvantage that after spending money for it, you decide to upgrade anyway, ending with a higher cost then getting the expensive one in the first place.

That being said I have heard good things from the Celestron Skyprodigy as it allows autoalignment, which makes it very easy for beginners without a deep knowledge to start playing and/or taking pictures. If you know what you are looking for and how to get it, it is a bit useless (other than for tracking, if you take images).

 

Still the price is not horrible ~600 USD IIRC and it overcomes some of the initial frustration one could have.

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my 10" wasn't that pricey. I can pick up more than a 5".

But you could argue a 12" Richey-Chretian with image correction would be better still; where is the optimum point for quality/price ratio an absolute beginner should risk without being left with too much a white elephant if it's not their thing?

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