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ViperPilot
2006-Nov-09, 08:36 PM
Im a new "astronomer". Currently taking my first college astronomy class. Im currently shopping for a scope, and want some opinions on a scope that has these details:
4.5" (114mm) Lens/Mirror
1000mm Focal Length
Star Finder Scope
SR 4mm Eyepiece
H 6mm Eyepiece
H 20mm Eyepiece
2X Barlow Lens
Moon Filter
Aluminum Tripod with Accessory Tray
Equatorial Mount
Dust Cleaning Cloth
Map Of The Moon
Star Map
Assembly Guide Manual
Detailed Specifications:
Objective Mirror: Hard Coated
Lens Clear Aperture: 114mm f/8.8
Focal Length: 1000mm
Resolving Power: 1"
Faintest Discernable Object: 12m
Equatorial Mount: ET-9
Tube Length: 17.5 "
1.25" SR4mm, H6&H20mm Eyepieces
Magnification: 250x , 50x & 167x
Exit Pupil Aperture: 2.28mm & 0.68mm; Rightness: 5.2 & 0.46
Visual Field: Apparent: 35 & 30 Actual: 42'&12'

My primary interest is in planetary astronomy and possibly some astrophotography. Just wondering what yall think of these stats, or if this is just junk, and maybe what you think would be an appropriate price to pay. Thanks

George
2006-Nov-09, 10:09 PM
Welcome, hope you will feel like a VP around here. ;) Good luck on your astronomy class. [I dropped my first one because the book had only b&w pictures and the prof. was my calculus prof. with likely stock in the chalk company.]

This looks like a little, low cost, Newtonian reflector, am I correct?

[Your question may get routed to another thread regarding equipment.]

What is your real expectation for your scope? You might not be pleased with the image seen with those 4mm and 6mm lenses.

Will your class be spending time at the school's observatory on 8" scopes, or similar?

ViperPilot
2006-Nov-09, 10:19 PM
Pretty much on the low cost Newtonian reflector. Im not looking to do any real deap space observation. I don't make that kinda money (uncle sam just dont pay that good!) Im really just looking to do some planetary observation. Possibly do some rudimenatery astro photography. If i could afford a highspeed 8 or 10, believe me I would. So I'm just kinda doing some window shopping right now. trying to balance what i can afford and getting as much as I can as far as good quality. I understand that the larger the objective lense 8-10 inch is probably the best. But Im just not sure about all the other specs I should be looking at.

Caelus
2006-Nov-09, 10:43 PM
Orion has a 6" Dobsonian for $259.95. They also have an 8" for $100 more.
Here is a link to a thread comparing the two: http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=49060

George
2006-Nov-09, 11:05 PM
Pretty much on the low cost Newtonian reflector. Im not looking to do any real deap space observation. I don't make that kinda money (uncle sam just dont pay that good!) Im really just looking to do some planetary observation. Possibly do some rudimenatery astro photography. If i could afford a highspeed 8 or 10, believe me I would. So I'm just kinda doing some window shopping right now. trying to balance what i can afford and getting as much as I can as far as good quality. I understand that the larger the objective lense 8-10 inch is probably the best. But Im just not sure about all the other specs I should be looking at.
Don't go by what I say too much, as others are far more knowledgeable. Generally, refractors are respected more for planetary viewing and are better for terrestrial viewing, too. I don't know how well the low dollar ones handle cameras, however.

Do you have a price range you are considering?

Tim Thompson
2006-Nov-10, 05:08 AM
Looks like an E-bay parts list. On a telescope that small, I have to think that the 4 & 6 mm eyepieces, and the 2X barlow, are all useless. I don't know for sure what an ET-9 equatorial mount is, but the tripod has to be fairly sturdy or astrophotography won't be worth trying. Vibrations are always the killer for astrophotography. For eyeball viewing, that size aperture should be fine on the planets.

Unless you are serious about astrophotography, a Dobsonian will give you more aperture for the money than will an equatorial. My personal advice would be to avoid an equatorial altogether, except that it's a must for astrophotography. Dobsonians are quicker & easier to set up; you can grab a Dob, drag it outside, plop the tube in the mount, and be observing literally within 5 minutes of deciding to observe. But equatorials take a lot longer to put together. In fact, most people probably don't take them apart again, once they are set up.

So my advice is to seriously consider the Skyquest line of Dobsonians from Orion (http://www.telescope.com), the same thing Caelus suggested. You can get them with or without the digital setting circles ("Intelliscope"). Not appropriate for astrophotography, but a much better deal $-wise, in general, than an equatorial mount. If we knew how much you could consider spending, without getting too nosey, it would help to give you some advice.

Another option is to build your own telescope, if you are the hands-on type. Go to the Sky & Telescope website (http://skytonight.com/) list of Clubs & Organizations (http://skytonight.com/community/organizations). You should be able to find an astronomy club somewhere near you, and they can help show you how to do it. A lot slower than buying one, but usually a lot cheaper. And since you control the quality of what you make, you can often make a better telescope than you can buy (certainly true for a Newtonian type, not so easy to make your own Schmidt-Cass or refractor).

Happy Observing.

ozark1
2006-Nov-10, 11:40 AM
I'd suggest you avoid ebay telescopes - especially ones that are advertised as BLACK, BLUE, RED etc - unless you know what you're doing. The telescopes are cheap Chinese units on flimsy mounts. There is no possibility of using these telescopes for astrophotography - tracking, vibration and periodic error will be horrible.

ViperPilot
2006-Nov-11, 02:07 AM
Well thanks for all the suggestions folks. I guess its just gona be a pair of Mark-1 eyeballs, or maybe binoculars for awhile. Obviously cant do astrophotography that ways, but guess that will wait. Just cant really afford 2,3 or more hundered dollars, but thanks for the inputs, I'll defenetly keep all your comments in mind, especially as I move into this class I'm taking.

George
2006-Nov-11, 04:21 AM
There are also many other sites to help you along. Binoculars are often recommended as an enjoyable first step.

Maybe you can get time out at your McCormick Observatory.

ozark1
2006-Nov-11, 01:25 PM
Well thanks for all the suggestions folks. I guess its just gona be a pair of Mark-1 eyeballs, or maybe binoculars for awhile. Obviously cant do astrophotography that ways, but guess that will wait. Just cant really afford 2,3 or more hundered dollars, but thanks for the inputs, I'll defenetly keep all your comments in mind, especially as I move into this class I'm taking.

One way to look for cheaper, closeout scopes is the Meade Factory Outlet. You can currently pick up a better version of the 4.5" reflector for about $100 or a 5" for $160. (www.meade.com)

ViperPilot
2006-Nov-11, 07:28 PM
Ozark1-

Thanks for the heads up. I was lookin at the 5 inch, http://www.meade4m.com/4mshop/70131RE.html kinda caught my eye. I guess I'm just interested in doing some planetary visual astronomy and possibly some commets that might be visable. I would love to do some astrophography but im finding that my budget probably won't support it (not only a 10 inch scope that everyone seems to be suggesting, but also a high speed DSLR camera, I only have a Sony Cybershot DSC W-5 at 5.1 megapixels) I would love to get some photos like some of the fantastic ones Ive seen here but I doubt Ill ever get to that level. I have also been looking into building my own 10 inch dob, but right now thats just in the idea stages.

ozark1
2006-Nov-11, 08:09 PM
Viperpilot -

You're right that astrophotography is a good way to make you poor. However you don't need a DSLR to get started. Some people use Webcams with very effective results (look up ToUCams). You might be surprised to know that your Sony Cybershot could work! You can get 30 s exposures on manual mode. Mount the camera on the back of the telescope, take the picture with the camera lens and it should be good. The Sony HAD CCDs are very light sensitive - basically the same as in the Meade DSI, so get snapping.

ozark1
2006-Nov-11, 08:16 PM
PS - If you don't believe me on using a Sony Cybershot try these http://www.assabfn.co.za/astrophotography.htm
http://www.weasner.com/etx//astrophotography/2006/sony.html

Pretty impressive results?