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Brise79
2003-Apr-20, 07:52 AM
Hi,
I have decided that i will buy a good telescope this year, but i cant decide on which type to get. Schmidt,refelctor or refractor?type. I guess it really depends what i want to look at with the telescope, well for the time being it'll be the moon, and a few planets, saturn is my flavour of the month.
Over time though i will want to see clusters etc, so if anyone could recommend something suitable,and of course the most cost effective!
i would be most grateful.
Regards

Glom
2003-Apr-20, 11:25 AM
[BA impersonation]You do know there is a website attached to this board.[/BA impersonation] :P

Look here (http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/scopefaq.html).

For Lunar and planetary astronomy, refractors tend to be better, but they don't look as good. :wink:

Kaptain K
2003-Apr-20, 11:27 AM
1) Aperture rules. A good big scope beats a good small scope in both light gathering power and resolution.
2) Aperture for aperture and quality for quality, refractors are more expensive than Schmidt-Cassegrains, which are more expensive than Newtonians.
3) The best scope is one that gets used. Big is good, if it gets used. A big scope that sits in the garage or closet because it is a pain in the posterior to haul out is worth less than a small one that gets used every clear night. Schmidt-Cassegrains and Maksutov-Cassegrains score big points here due to their folded light path. They pack a lot of aperture into a small package.
4) Don't skimp on the mount. A good rock solid mount makes observing fun and easy. A shaky mount that wiggles with every touch or vagrant breeze makes for frustrating observing.
5) A computerized GOTO scope will increase the ratio of obsering time to finding time.

The BA has a page on buying a scope here:

http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/scopefaq.html

Brise79
2003-Apr-20, 01:41 PM
thanks,
i did look up some info on them, but you cant beat personal experience.
cheers

nexus
2003-Apr-20, 02:51 PM
I started out a couple years ago with a NexStar 8, my parents gave me for Christmas, it is an 8 inch, computerized, Schmidt-Cassegrain from Celestron. If you don't mind spending the money I think it's a good beginner scope. I'm glad I didn't have to start out finding things manually, however it is a good learning experience. It really depends on how much time you are willing to spend with the 'scope. With one that is computerized you can start out with a list of objects and find them all in less than an hour. Another thing to consider is the light pollution where you live. My 8 inch is wonderful at high altitude away from light pollution, but there is a lot I can't see from my house. If you buy a smaller telescope it might be much less useful in a city, but it will be much easier to transport.

Vermonter
2003-Apr-20, 06:26 PM
Heh. My first and current telescope is a 60mm Star Explorer (K-Mart Special) with an aluminum tripod. They say that scopes like these drive people away due to the bad quality...it's increasing my patience and skill.

I can observe the 4 large moons of Jupiter (they look like white dots), and Jup itself is a white blob. I can find it in 30 seconds if I'm lucky.

I've observed Luna with my eyepieces (and suffered having one eye readjust to the glare...that's kinda fun, having day vision in one eye and night vision in the other).

I observed Saturn, but a twig was going right over it (or perhaps that was a ring?). Stars like Sirius and Betelguese are nice to watch, I've seen them flicker and flash all sorts of colors.

The 2.4" I have is alright...but I need something BIGGER! Once I get the moolah together I'm buying that scope from SouthofHeaven if he still has it.

Cheers,
~Josh

SouthofHeaven
2003-Apr-21, 01:52 AM
Stil got it and I sent you picture.s I'm not getting rid of it until you're ready. And I hzv yet to decide what I want as a replacement, so I can still use it until you're ready. The other night I went out sans scope and just star gazed. Haven't done that in a while. I just love as your eyes get adapted the more stars pop up. Its like 5th ave in NYC right before 5 pm/ The people(stars) trickle in then wham! Thousands!!

Vermonter
2003-Apr-21, 02:19 AM
Yeah, I got the pictures. It's a beauty of a scope. Thanks for sending the pics my way. Hopefully I can scrounge the $$$ for it soon.

Sdoradus
2003-Apr-21, 03:51 AM
Hi Brise & Everybody

Guess Im listed as a newbie but I do have a bit of experience. In any case I would like to echo Captain K's comments with only a minor addition. If it is at all possible try to get hold of the closest astronomy club and see when they are holding a star party. I have found amateur astronomers extremely generous in allowing others to look through all kinds of equipment prior to making a purchase. Even at the regional star parties in my area (when I was more active) I had lots of folks looking through scopes I had built in order to get an idea of both the type and size scope they might really want. I sent Glom a shot of one of them (hope he doesn't mind) just in case he has a method to share shots with others.

PS- My first telescope was a 3 1/2 inch Edmund back in about 54. Not sure what my folks paid for it but it was about $29 bucks and worth the investment to get a kid into a life time hobby.

gethen
2003-Apr-21, 02:41 PM
Echoing the comments about a scope you can really use. Mine is an 8" Newtonian, which is not terribly heavy, but the mount and tripod are pretty hefty. I had considered smaller, because I'm not very large, but my spouse assured me that I should get the larger one I really wanted as he would be delighted to help move it. He has been so far, and once he gets the mount where I want it, I don't need any help. But, I sometimes regret not being totally self-sufficient. I can move the mount by myself, but it's heavy. I'm very happy with the scope itself--set it up first time, put the spotting scope on Orion and almost instantly I was looking at the nebula. And that's one other bit of advice. I was reasonably familiar with the main constellations and knew where to look, which makes star-hopping lots of fun. If you aren't familiar with the night sky, it pays to learn about it before trying to use the scope.

dgruss23
2003-Apr-21, 02:51 PM
The advice to check out different scopes at a star party is good advice. I personally prefer the sharp images of a good refractor, but the large aperatures of newtonians are nice too - if portability is not an issue. If you have a good pair of binoculars you can see more than enough to keep you busy while you're trying to decide what scope would fit best your needs.

Dickenmeyer
2003-Apr-22, 04:42 AM
PS- My first telescope was a 3 1/2 inch Edmund .
So was mine, but an f/5 fork mounted newtonian, not the Astroscan. Got it second hand for $75 in '85 to look for Halley. It was okay for lunar observing and actually was pretty good on open clusters and scanning Milky Way star fields but useless for much else. The focuser broke on it last year and in October I finally broke down and ordered a new scope, a Meade 8 inch Schmidt Newtonian, which finally arrived in February. It's a lot of scope for the money, less than $800 for the scope and a whole boatload of accessories only brought the total up to about $1500 (okay, maybe I went overboard just a little). I do wish the tripod was a tiny little bit stouter, but the optics are superb and it's pretty easy to use. I've not gotten to use it as much as I'd like though, weather and my schedule haven't been too kind yet.

Sdoradus
2003-Apr-22, 06:44 AM
Dickenmeyer

Afraid that mine was nothing as fancy as the Astroscan since it was purchased back in 1954. In any case I managed to upgrade a bit as the years passed by building every type of scope I could think of. Hopefully I have now set things up so I can link to some of the shots taken over the years but will try with this one I finished in 1986. Hope the link works.

http://home.attbi.com/~sdoradus/JaneScope1.jpg

Kaptain K
2003-Apr-22, 03:59 PM
...I do wish the tripod was a tiny little bit stouter...
I have read that you can stabilize a mount by hanging a weight from the center of the tripod head (got an old barbell set laying around?).

SollyLama
2003-Apr-22, 08:56 PM
I currently have a Meade EXT-70, which is small but I love it. I'm fiddling around with astro-photography so I like the computer tracking. I'm looking to get a good 8-10 inch scope this summer.
Remember that you can get a MUCH larger scope for the same price as a small GoTo scope.
I hear great things about the EXT-90 though.

Charlie in Dayton
2003-Apr-23, 01:09 AM
Dickenmeyer

Afraid that mine was nothing as fancy as the Astroscan since it was purchased back in 1954. In any case I managed to upgrade a bit as the years passed by building every type of scope I could think of. Hopefully I have now set things up so I can link to some of the shots taken over the years but will try with this one I finished in 1986. Hope the link works.

http://home.attbi.com/~sdoradus/JaneScope1.jpg

!! :o !! :o !! :o !!

Holy Expletive Deleted!

Details on that monster!!! Aperture? f ratio? Foods your significant other is allergic to, so you can marry me after the funeral? :)

Wow......

Sdoradus
2003-Apr-23, 01:31 AM
Aperture-36"
F/Ratio -F-4.17 on primary with a field flattener at focusser base that also holds optional 2" filters and takes it to 5.6. Rotating off axis mask available for primary running from 15 1/2" down to 6" which in each case of course shifts the f/ratio.
Wife -Not a chance. It would upset our grandchildren.

Dickenmeyer
2003-Apr-25, 04:13 AM
... this one I finished in 1986. Hope the link works.

http://home.attbi.com/~sdoradus/JaneScope1.jpg
Uh...wow. So how many families live in that thing when you're not using it?

Dickenmeyer
2003-Apr-25, 04:16 AM
...I do wish the tripod was a tiny little bit stouter...
I have read that you can stabilize a mount by hanging a weight from the center of the tripod head (got an old barbell set laying around?).
On one of the Yahoo boards (I think), someone suggested a gallon jug of water. I'll have to try something like that, I want it as steady as I can get it when I start wasting film on beginner astrophotography.