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imported_zeus
2003-Aug-19, 11:12 AM
Alright guys....

Im stuck! Im wanting to buy a telescope.... I dont know how much I wanna spend and I dont know what to look for. I cant even find a website selling the damn things. Ive been looking for a UK based site.

Can someone give me a quick tutuorial on what to look for.
I shouldnt be too hard to teach ;) Ive done an A level in photography so have a nice grasp on optics.... but telescopes seem to have numbers you just dont see on a camera lense.

Also could someone recommend a decent scope to me.... I dont wanna go over the top on the budget.... I dont know what the budget is yet cos I dont know what your money can buy.
I only have 1 preferance.... its gotta be able to mount a camera. Then theres the problem of getting the right lense fitting. Ive only got Minolta AF and m42 screwcap cameras.... the pentax k camera is limited on the exposure time... its summit like 1s max. But converters work ok on telescopes? hopefully :)

Many thanks.

Also, nice site! Ive only looked t these few topics. m off to explore the rest of the forums. I think you'll be seeing more of me :)

budcamp
2003-Aug-19, 09:38 PM
There a a lot of variables in buying a scope. If you are a newbie to astronomy, I would recomend that you buy a nice pair of binoculars and spend about a year getting used to what the sky looks like and which objects are most interesting to you.

To see the pale fuzzies (nubula and clusters) you really need an 8" or larger scope. If you want to take photos of the pale fuzzies, you will be into your scope for 1,500 to 2,000 pounds.

The number that is most important in a scope is the size of the main lens. The larger the number the more light gets in.

You can mount a camara to almost any scope, but since you are making time exposers, you need a mount that can follow the thing you are photographing. Large scopes with precision mounts are very expensive.

Again I would recomend binoculars and go to star parties to see what other peoples scopes will do. That way you will put your money into somthing that will do what you want it to do.

NEVER BUY A SCOPE THAT TELLS YOU HOW POWERFULL IT IS. "200" POWER or "150" POWER, ETC. AND DON'T BUY ONE IN A DEPARTMENT STORE. They are usually junk.

Go slow! Go very slow!

Bud

budcamp
2003-Aug-19, 09:44 PM
One other point. Once you have decided what kind of scope you want, you might check out used scopes. Lots of people trade up, and telescopes do not really wear out.

Bud

Millard
2003-Aug-20, 12:49 AM
There is excellent information at an Australian website.

http://astronomy.trilobytes.com.au/scope.htm

I am going throught he same process and would recommend lots of naked eye observing first, then going to observing nights with your local Astronomical Association.

Cheers

Millard

rodonnell
2003-Aug-20, 01:02 AM
Hi Zeus,

I know exactly how you feel, I think all astronomers were exactly where you are at the early stages of their interest.

Your question is very very common and the answers you get are going to be very similar.

The standard response is buy a pair of Binoculars and a star wheel and join the local astronomy club.

This allows you to learn the night sky and to test drive other peoples telescopes. I have yet to meet an astronomer who will not gladly let you look through his scope.

People first getting into astronomy are recommended to buy a pair of 7x50 or similar binoculars and a "Star wheel".

Most people would use these Binoculars for about 12 months learning the night sky and seeing quite alot of objects, especially if they join an astronomy club. If they are still interested in astronomy after 12 months they then move onto their own telescope.

Binoculars stronger than 7 times magnification tends to be difficult to hold steady, and with less than 50mm aperture tends to not let enough light in and thus objects are too dim to see.

The right scope for you is an individual choie, however you are combining two very expensive hobbies, and creating a third.

As you know photography can be expensive so can astronomy, but astrophotography is mind blowingly expensive.

To do time elapse photography you will need a good motor drive mount to track the night sky, big bucks, you will need a very stable platform to mount everything, again big bucks, and you will need some expensive "hyped film" and a wonderful relationship with a processing house, again big bucks.

If you want to still continue with this, consider a Celestron or Meade SCT telescope 8" diameter, a cheaper entry level maybe the Meade ETX range or the Celestron Next Star range.

These are smaller aperture scopes with drives and camera mounts, unfortuantly the aperture is not great enough for a lot of good viewing, but should produce entry level astrophograohy results.

It is worth pointing out that a significant direction is astrophotgraphy is to move away from film towards CCD's or digital cameras, but that is another expensive field of interest.

Good luck with your quest and please let me know if I can be of any assistance, by the way I'm down under in Australia.

Regards


Rod

imported_zeus
2003-Aug-20, 01:21 PM
Cheers for your help guys.

Ill start looking for a club in my area.....
I have just got an invitation to an Open University meeting, its ssociated with the BBC and the coverage of Mars being so close. I think ill go along to that. No doubt they will have every inch of the sky through a lense!

I did have an old pair of Carl Zeiss binos somewhere. I dont know the size of the lense but if I remember right they were around 3 inches. They weren't Jena Dor glass either so they should work a treat. All ive gotta do is find em!

Many Thanks.....

Im currently doing an Open University Bsc in Physics... next year its Astronomy and Planetary Science and the serach for life. Its not speculating aliens :) But covering basic needs of life and where that may be. It should help me out in learning the sky a little quicker!

Thanks once again!

memo
2003-Oct-03, 06:28 PM
Buying a first scope,there are many places to start.Buy a good star book,there are many.Do not be vain no matter what anyone may tell you,the most important thing to remember is buy one you can handle if it is to heavy to handle you will find many reasons not to take it out.Learn about each scope look for the one that does what you want.We all can tell you what to do but alot of the fun is in the reaserch.Well begun is half done. good luck and clear skies.

memo
2003-Oct-03, 06:31 PM
Buying a first scope,there are many places to start.Buy a good star book,there are many.Do not be vain no matter what anyone may tell you,the most important thing to remember is buy one you can handle if it is to heavy to handle you will find many reasons not to take it out.Learn about each scope look for the one that does what you want.We all can tell you what to do but alot of the fun is in the reaserch.Well begun is half done. good luck and clear skies.

DippyHippy
2003-Oct-04, 05:12 AM
I highly recommend the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5" Dobsonian Reflector - it's specifically designed with beginners in mind. It's easily assembled and it's light weight makes it easy to carry.

On top of that, it's got some very fine optics... my friend and I bought one for my future stepson and the poor kid hardly got a look-in LOL At $200 (plus p&p) it's also quite reasonably priced.

Orion telescopes are at http://www.telescope.com

If you're looking for equipment reviews, I also recommend http://www.cloudynights.com :)

Dave Mitsky
2003-Oct-04, 01:51 PM
These should keep you busy for awhile:

http://www.perkins-observatory.org/FAQ.index.html

http://home.inreach.com/starlord/

http://www.ct-astronomer.com/telescope_faq.htm

http://www.my-spot.com/whatkind.htm


Dave Mitsky

cybersam
2003-Oct-10, 10:45 AM
I was the same this time last year. I wanted a decent starting telescope, but didnt wanna pay thousands of pounds for it. I found quite a good shop in Farringdon, London. The people there were very friendly and helpful. I originally wanted to get a meade because of their status in the telescope field, but i found that they were just too expensive. So i bought an 8" Orion for around 700. It was an import from america or something, so i was a little cheaper. I've found it to be exactly what i wanted. It's mount is pretty light weight, and really easy to set up. And i can see planets well. Saying that i hav no experience with any other telescopes so i dont really know if the quality is that great compared to other 8" reflectors. All i can say is that i've had some amazing times viewing planets, and i'm really happy with it.

DippyHippy
2003-Oct-12, 03:07 AM
cyber, I think that's the Telescope Shop... they're very well known and advertise in Astronomy Now in the UK all the time.

From what I've heard, Meade have gone downhill, particularly with regards to customer service. Personally, I like the Orion I bought for my (future) stepson - he's gonna be fighting me for it now LOL