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Recommend a telescope for a complete amateur

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11-28-2012, 05:14 PM
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PeterSidorkiewicz
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Recommend a telescope for a complete amateur

Hey,

I'll make it pretty simple and straight forward. Always loved reading and learning about astronomy, and thinking of picking up a telescope for the first time this Christmas.

I know absolutely nothing about telescopes, zero, zilch, nada. Was wondering if anyone could point me in a good direction or make some recommendations. Honestly, I was looking around the $130 range or so, and like I said I know nothing, so I have no idea what this gets you in the telescope world.

Any feedback is appreciated.

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11-28-2012, 05:55 PM
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LadyStanley
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I have only cursory knowledge, but guess you might get somewhat "cheap" glass optics (3" diameter) and maybe a tripod for $130.

(My dad in his retirement cut a hole in the roof, and reconfigured the attic for a 12" computer controlled telescope. IIRC, the telescopic set up, sans computer, was at least $15k. Kept a 6" telescope when they moved into retirement apartment.)

Guess what needs to be asked are:

Why are you looking/what do you want to see?

Do you want to capture images?

How long do you plan on star gazing? 30 minutes? 6 hours? Do you want computer control to keep "tracking" to compensate for earth rotation?

Do you want computer control to "point" to the general area you want to look at?

Might be worth a quick Amazon search to see what's out there, and/or check out some astronomy clubs in your area.

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11-28-2012, 10:52 PM
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PeterSidorkiewicz
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15k is just slightly out of budget.

I'd like it as more of a recreation thing, you know maybe use it an hour or two a week. I only assume the computer directed stuff makes it a lot more expensive. Also, I would most likely like to use it for camping trips and stuff too. It would be pretty cool to get a decent look at the large planets among other things.

Ive browsed Amazon a bit, haven't really gone any further.

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12-05-2012, 11:27 AM
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Telescopes aren't cheap, I doubt you find a decent one for $130 unless you find a miraculous deal at a garage sale by someone desperately wishing to unload. Buy too cheap at that level and you're almost guaranteed to be disappointed later. If you're serious about getting one, think of it as a long-term investment and budget for that too. Any half-decent telescope can stay in the family for a very long time and can be handed down to the person in the family that enjoyed it the most over the years.


Last edited by Puck: 12-05-2012 at 12:21 PM.
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12-06-2012, 12:50 PM
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Tom Polakis
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$130 is a very low price for a telescope, so how about $190 for a low-end model? You could see the rings of Saturn, Jupiter's moons, lunar craters, and get decent views along the Milky Way with this scope from Orion.

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/...yCategoryId=13


Another option would be a small refractor, which will not gather as much light as the Dobsonian, but would be up higher on a tripod, and maybe more rugged.

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/...1/p/100316.uts


Orion is a good company, and you'd do a lot better buying from them than a store that only sells scopes on the side.

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12-10-2012, 10:49 AM
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PeterSidorkiewicz
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Thanks for the input. $190 might be worth it, it seems. Puck, I suppose the reason I'd like to get a cheap-o telescope is it will sort of test how much I'll actually like the hobby. It would suck to shell out $2,000 (just a random amount I guessed) for one then decide I don't really continue using it.

Like I said, I've never even used one before so I don't know the first thing about telescopes or even how to find certain things you're looking for, jupiters moons, etc.

Which I suppose brings up another question, any good idea on books or websites as sort of a guide on how to start properly using a telescope to find stuff?

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12-11-2012, 07:33 AM
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Puck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterSidorkiewicz View Post
Thanks for the input. $190 might be worth it, it seems. Puck, I suppose the reason I'd like to get a cheap-o telescope is it will sort of test how much I'll actually like the hobby. It would suck to shell out $2,000 (just a random amount I guessed) for one then decide I don't really continue using it.

Like I said, I've never even used one before so I don't know the first thing about telescopes or even how to find certain things you're looking for, jupiters moons, etc.

Which I suppose brings up another question, any good idea on books or websites as sort of a guide on how to start properly using a telescope to find stuff?
I would recommend getting Stellarium on your PC. It is free. You insert your location on Earth and it will provide you with a view of the sky from that exact location so you can locate stars and planets of interest, at the time you'll be going outside. Take notes of locations inside and then go out to check the items of interest. It might take an hour to understand the software features but it shouldn't be too difficult for a new entrant in the field (not saying it will be very easy, I remember I thought some of the icons weren't that intuitive, you'll have to read the instructions.) There are some pay programs with more features but Stellarium is great for freeware.

http://stellarium.org/

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