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Resu
2002-Dec-05, 01:43 AM
What would be a good telescope to purchase? I have seen those telescopes on sale at places like Wal-Mart, but people told me those are "trash-scopes".

Then I looked on the Internet, the price varies from a few hundred bucks to five grand. For a casual amatuer city-dwelling cosmo sightseer, what would be a good and affordable telescope to get?

Thanks in advance.

xriso
2002-Dec-05, 08:08 AM
Get binoculars.

Wally
2002-Dec-05, 07:09 PM
Gotta agree with xriso on this one. If you haven't already, get a nice pair of 10x50 binocs, and either the book Turn Left at Orion or Nightwatch. You'll learn more about the sky than you can imagine, and the binocs will always be at your side even after you buy a scope. Wally

traztx
2002-Dec-05, 07:38 PM
A trash scope is ok for looking at planets, which you should have no trouble seeing even in the city. However, you'll be annoyed with how shaky cheap mounts are.

Or if don't mind a little wait, you can get a decent 8" dobs for not too much if you mail-order from Orion.

aurorae
2002-Dec-05, 07:43 PM
See:

http://www.astunit.com/tutorials/evaluating.htm

or

http://home.earthlink.net/~hakaida/

or

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

Charlie in Dayton
2002-Dec-06, 08:33 AM
Check out Orion Telescope at
http://www.telescope.com

Check out their new reflector StarBlast...a short reflector, with a variation on a Dobsonian mount, for about $150. Worth checking on.

Orion also has a great FAQ/first time scope buyer section that will lead you down something other than the garden path.

Under Dog
2002-Dec-11, 03:06 AM
heh, yea, get a real badass pair of binoculars if you live in the city. No point in really having a telescope, kills the effect. If I were to buy one I wouldn't even bother with the 150$ scopes. Might as well set ur money on fire. I live in a NYC suburb so I'm screwed and even if I were to buy one, it would be a 4 hour drive up ny state to get to a nice, mountainous, light pollution free viewing area. I cant be assed to do all that. If your going to spend more then 700$ you might as well go all the way and get the nice 5000$ one. If you cant afford it right now save up for it. But like I said, only get it if you have a good viewing area nearby. Otherwise do what I did and get the binoculars. My opinion though.

ljbrs
2002-Dec-11, 03:27 AM
*Orion Telescopes and Binoculars* offers in its catalog a great, and somewhat inexpensive, series of Dobsonian telescopes which were rated the best of the Dobsonians a few years back by *Sky & Telescope.* The Dobs are metal (unlike the other Dobs rated) and should be a good first telescope for almost anybody. However, if you want to photograph the night sky, Dobs are not very useful there.

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

RafaelAustin
2002-Dec-11, 05:51 PM
Question: Can you resolve any detail on the ISS with a good pair of binocs? Has anyone here tried? I'm also thinking of getting a good pair of binocs. Thanks.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Dec-11, 06:07 PM
The space station (http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/spacenews/factsheets/pdfs/issovw.pdf) is about 77 feet wide/long, and is about 250 miles up. That's about 12 arcseconds, idnit? Since the field of view of binoculars is around 6-8 degrees wide, that'd be about 1/2000 of the width of the field of view. Pretty tiny.

Kaptain K
2002-Dec-11, 06:31 PM
JMI RB66

http://www.jimsmobile.com/

$4,000 Binoculars. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

ToSeek
2002-Dec-11, 09:15 PM
On 2002-12-11 12:51, RafaelAustin wrote:
Question: Can you resolve any detail on the ISS with a good pair of binocs? Has anyone here tried? I'm also thinking of getting a good pair of binocs. Thanks.


This guy (http://www.iss-tracking.de/images/stationpic.html) has some nice ISS photos he took through his telescope, but he's got a 16-incher.

RafaelAustin
2002-Dec-11, 10:53 PM
On 2002-12-11 16:15, ToSeek wrote:
This guy (http://www.iss-tracking.de/images/stationpic.html) has some nice ISS photos he took through his telescope, but he's got a 16-incher.


Amazing! Can't wait to see some pics of it with it's full compliment of panels. So I guess binocs will still just show a bright blip? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif Still, no reason not to get some.

ToSeek
2002-Dec-12, 02:26 AM
On 2002-12-11 17:53, RafaelAustin wrote:


On 2002-12-11 16:15, ToSeek wrote:
This guy (http://www.iss-tracking.de/images/stationpic.html) has some nice ISS photos he took through his telescope, but he's got a 16-incher.


Amazing! Can't wait to see some pics of it with it's full compliment of panels. So I guess binocs will still just show a bright blip? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif Still, no reason not to get some.


There are a few interesting objects to view overhead in addition to the ISS. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

David Hall
2002-Dec-12, 09:43 AM
Junk scopes are not totally useless. They're better than nothing when you're strapped for cash. But they are most useful for sighting the Moon, and bright planets. One good use for them is solar observing, either with filters or the simple method of projecting the image onto a cardboard surface. Very nice for tracking sunspots.

I would suggest though, that for junk scopes, don't even bother to buy them new. Scout them out at garage sales and the like and get them for a song. Save your real money for a decent Dob or binocs, and from there work your way up to a really good scope. Oh, and don't forget about eyepieces and the mount. They can make or break a scope as much as the main optics can.

Kaptain K
2002-Dec-12, 07:16 PM
Junk scopes are not totally useless. They're better than nothing when you're strapped for cash. But they are most useful for sighting the Moon, and bright planets. One good use for them is solar observing, either with filters or the simple method of projecting the image onto a cardboard surface. Very nice for tracking sunspots.

If your "dept. store" telescope came with an eyepiece solar filter, throw it (far) away immediately!!! These filters take the full brunt of the focussed sunlight. If (when) it cracks, it will let all that concentrated light through straight to your eye before you can react. The only "safe" filter is an aluminized mylar or glass objective filter (over the front of the scope) securely attached so it cannot be blown or knocked off.

David Hall
2002-Dec-13, 01:26 PM
Sorry Kaptain. Of course I never meant anything like using the crap filters that would come with the scope. I was thinking more along the lines of a nice (but inexpensive) mylar sun filter to put over the aperture. Small oversight on my part. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Kaptain K
2002-Dec-13, 06:16 PM
David,
I was amplifiying your response. I did not intend to imply that you did not know this.
Sorry for the confusion.