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Thread: Starter telescope/binoculars.

  1. #1
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    Mar 2018
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    Starter telescope/binoculars.

    I am interested in getting cheap binoculars or a telecsope to better see objects in the night sky. Can anyone here use his or her expertise to recommend the best product under $75. I cannot spend more than this. Will I be able to see the International space station??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Falls Church, VA (near Washington, DC)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas View Post
    I am interested in getting cheap binoculars or a telecsope to better see objects in the night sky. Can anyone here use his or her expertise to recommend the best product under $75. I cannot spend more than this. Will I be able to see the International space station??
    I would not be optimistic about finding decent optics for under $75. You might do better to put your money toward dues in an astronomy club in your area, and you could pick their brains on this subject. With help like that, you might luck into something good at a yard sale.

    The ISS is visible to the naked eye, looking like a very bright star. With enough magnification to resolve it in a telescope, the rapid motion would make it difficult to track.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Many experienced amateur astronomers recommend starting with 7x50 to 10x50 binoculars and that's pretty good advice. In fact, many people already have binos in this range for football games, birding, etc. BTW, the first number is the magnification, the second number is the diameter of the front lenses (="aperture").

    50-mm binos can be had with decent (not outstanding) optics for less than $50 through Amazon and other vendors, including perhaps some local stores. 50-mm binos are light and easily hand-holdable. They do a good job showing a wide swath of the Milky Way. They also do a good job showing the Pleiades star cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy, Jupiter's 4 big moons and lots of other bright objects. You won't see Saturn's rings, but you should detect an oval shape, hinting at the rings. Binoculars like this obviously can't compare with even a small telescope, but this is within your budget.

    I have 10x50s, and they're fine, but I rarely use them. Instead, I prefer my Celestron 15x70 Skymasters, which can be had for about $60 (https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-Sky.../dp/B00008Y0VN). Being bigger means a bit heavier and harder to hold steady, but I do OK in this regard. 70-mm binos gather twice as much light as 50s, and that makes a big difference. These are my favorite "sweeper binoculars. These binos come with a tripod adapter, but it's plastic and not very strong, so I later bought an aluminum tripod adapter from another company..

    I also have Celestron 20x80 Skymasters and they are a beast. They cost around $100 on Amazon, so they exceed your budget. These binos are a big step up in size, weight, and a decent step up in aperture, gathering 1.3 times as much light as the 15x70s. These binos are hard to hand hold, so are best used on a tripod. However, because the view is straight through, you can't sweep as easily when on a tripod. Really fancy binos in this size range tilt the eyepieces 45 or 90 for astronomical viewing.

    I suggest connecting with your local astronomy club and let the experts there help you narrow down your choices.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
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    When I was a teenager I had some 7x50 binoculars, and a 3 inch Newtonian. I used them rarely, neither was great at giving me views of nebulae or galaxies or globulars, etc. I saw Saturn had ears (to quote Galileo), and Jupiter had Moons. With the binoculars, I unwittingly saw the beehive in Cancer, and that was exciting. I'd like to second Hornblower's advice. Find a local astronomy club. Look through their instruments. If you see one you've got to have, save up for it ... if, on the other hand, your observing bug is satisfied, that's one less thing you need to store in your attic.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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