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Thread: Buying a telescope and mount

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018

    Buying a telescope and mount

    Whats the best telescope/ mount for viewing and photographing nebulas and galaxies? Can you see nebulas right away or do they require long exposure? I think i want a mount that tracks with the sky and im guessing i need a high resolution scope to get a nice picture of a nebula. I have a camera that can take long exposure photos in 24 mm resolution. I want my kids to be able to see the planets, nebulas and a galaxy or two from the scope. I have an old telescope with a really shaky tripod that doesnt track with the stars so its hard to see any objects other than the moon. Im hoping to spend less than $1,500. The digital camera is not extremely light. Im not sure where or what to buy at all, what features i really need, etc, sonif you know of a soecific scooe/ mount that works well/easily that would be awesome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Massachusetts, USA
    We can't advertise here. I suggest that you visit a local amateur astronomy club and see what they have and are happy with. There are products that meet your needs and price range.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    That is one of the most common and also the hardest questions to answer. What's best is very personal and depends on what exactly you want to do, your budget (not just money also time), where you live, if you need to travel to have dark skies, how good you are with software, electronics and mechanics and many many more.

    Two examples:
    1. One choice of a visual/photography allround is a Newton telescope on a sturdy equatorial mount but if you have kids they might have trouble using it because the eye piece is on the top and the viewing angle changes depending on where you point the telescope. It also requires a lot of accessories and tweaking to work well and if you buy the wrong one you might not even be able to reach focus with a camera.
    2. A friend of mine wanted a good visual telescope, made the reasonable choice of buying a 10 inch Dobson which turned out to not fit into any car he or his family owned. He lives in the center of town so the only use it gets is on the planets and moon.

    The best way to get a good start is to find a local astronomy club or star party with experienced telescope users and tag along. This will give you an idea of what you can expect (there is a reason why nebula and galaxies are nicknamed faint fuzzies in visual astronomy) and some idea on what equipment there is.

    You should also get the a good book on astrophotography ("Making Every Photon Count" is one but there are others) and probably one on visual astronomy as well.

    Usually I urge people to get a full year of regular astronomy experience before seriously trying to get into astrophotography. Astrophotography requires you to setup and fine tune your telescope much more accurately than visual astronomy and that takes time to learn.

    Last but not least while there are some astrophotographers on this site I really recommend that you go to Sky-gazers lounge (one of the best and largest amateur astronomy sites) instead. You don't even have to post, your question gets asked there every day.
    Here is one thread to get you started:
    Last edited by glappkaeft; 2018-Apr-15 at 02:25 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    The advise of the above posts is wise and will minimize Buyer's Regrets.

    But, here's my 2 cents....A fairly "normal" 8" Schmidt Cassegrain or other Alt-Az telescope may still be under your budget. The bigger the aperture, the greater the resolution and brightness for stars, but only a little extra brightness for extended objects (non-point source objects). The problem will be how serious you want to consider photography, especially given your heavy(?) camera. Bigger and heavier mounts are far better for this, and an equatorial mount will normally better allow important counterweight adjustments.

    Often it is best to start with something that is easy to set-up and yet powerful enough to easily see the rings of Saturn, etc. This is easily accomplished with a 6" or an 8" Dobsonian. These are easy to throw in the back yard on a nice night and quickly find the object you wish, with a little practice on using the finder. They are a lot of telescope for the dollar, but you won't have tracking or a mount well-suited for photography. If you still have the itch for photography and tracking, then this will also give you time to measure the temperature of the fever that may indeed come. You will likely find that the ease of the Dobsonian will often offset the set-up requirements of a larger and much heavier scope.

    It would also be wise to buy a high quality lens or two if you really think you will be observing for a while. These can transfer to other telescopes and can make an important difference in what you see.
    Last edited by George; 2018-Apr-16 at 09:07 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Spend most of your money on the mount, they are more important then the scope. It generally works out the more expensive the mount is the better it is. The scopes are a small cost compared to the mount.

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