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PAV629
2002-Mar-01, 12:44 PM
i was wondering if u guys can help me out....... im looking to buy a telescope so my wife and i can do some sky gazing. im looking to spend around $1000.00. im not to good at technical things so im really looking for something that is easy to use....but is powerful enough to see planets.....like mars.......any suggestions?????

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Mar-01, 12:54 PM
Good place to start is BA's own So you want to buy a telescope? (http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/scopefaq.html). He wrote it four years ago, haven't tried all the links.

amstrad
2002-Mar-01, 01:32 PM
BTW, Bad Astronomer, the sci.astro.amateur Telescopes FAQ has moved to here:

http://www.astronexus.com/saafaq/

could you update your link?

Kaptain K
2002-Mar-01, 07:55 PM
As far as I'm concerned, the BEST deal you will ever find is the 10" Meade LXD55 Schmidt Newtonian ($879). It comes with automatated computer controled guidance. After finding two bright stars manually, it will find any object by name or co-ordinates

http://www.meade.com/catalog/lxd_55_sn/index.html

_________________
When all is said and done - sit down and shut up!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Kaptain K on 2002-03-01 14:56 ]</font>

Hale_Bopp
2002-Mar-02, 02:27 AM
Well, you have a lot of good choices under $1000. It depends on what you want to do with the telescope, how much time you want to spend on setup, whether you plan to do any astrophotography, if you want a go to scope, etc.

I agree that the 10" Meade LXD is a great buy. If you really want to learn the night sky and a quick setup, a dobsonian might be a good bet.

I still think the best tool for a beginner is a pair of binoculars. Even 7x50 or 10x50 will show you a great deal. I always have my 20x80 with me and they always blow people away!

Go to a star party with a local club. Look through a bunch of different telescopes and ask questions. Then you will find what is right for yoiu.

Rob

Russ
2002-Mar-04, 02:20 PM
The Astronomy Magazine site has a good tutorial on shopping for a scope. You'll definately want to read that before you commit.

Some quick pointers:

1) Aperture: Bigger is better until it's too big for you to lift and you stop using it.

2) Defraction Limit: You want 1/4 wave or better. Otherwise everything will look like the early Hubble Space Telescope pictures.

3) The best scope for you is the one you will use. If you buy it and it sits collecting dust you've wasted your time and money.

4) You mention that you're not technically inclined. You may want to stay away from the "Go To" scopes as you will have to "program" them. The really nice thing about a Dobsonian (besides being cheap) is; you haul it out of the garage, plop it on the ground, take off the lens cap and you're in business. No leveling, alinement, picking out known stars 45 degrees (or more) apart, not near the pole, etc, ad, infinitum.

5) Have a good time with it.

aurorae
2002-Mar-04, 06:00 PM
On 2002-03-01 14:55, Kaptain K wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, the BEST deal you will ever find is the 10" Meade LXD55 Schmidt Newtonian ($879). It comes with automatated computer controled guidance. After finding two bright stars manually, it will find any object by name or co-ordinates

http://www.meade.com/catalog/lxd_55_sn/index.html


I'd resist recommending a specific scope to anyone, especially if the person has not explained their intended use and any limitations they might have.

For example, with the above recommended scope, I'd not recommend it to a person who needed portability. I'd be concerned about whether the GEM was sufficient for a 10 inch scope (it looks undersized in the picture, and for that price I would imagine it would be undersized) which might result in a rather shakey setup.

I'd also be concerned about these short focal length S-M scopes. I'd suggest either gaining first hand experience from someone, or else searching online for reviews, or posting questions in s.a.a, or in one of the yahoogroups.

Thumper
2002-Mar-05, 03:39 PM
I found this thread and have been following along with interest. I have a Meade 90mm refractor on an equatorial mount that unfortunately stays in the closet most of the time.

I thought I was extremely interested in astronomy and went out with it repeatedly when I first got it. But I was never really satisfied with what I saw. And I was never really able to find many objects that I was searching for. Actually I only viewed objects that I could already see with the naked eye (planets and the Orion nebula).

I thought I'd done plenty of reading and research and acquired the appropriate star charts but to no avail.I have considered the the potential fact that maybe I am a terrible astronomer. I've also thought that maybe I'd be better off with a 10" Newtonian or Cassegrain. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions before I consider selling this scope. Things I'm considering include seeing if there is a motor drive or goto device compatible with this scope and mount. But I don't know if that would help me. I really want to see some nebulae, clusters, and galaxies. Should I give up and look at the nice pictures on the web?

Thanks for any advice.

Russ
2002-Mar-05, 05:42 PM
On 2002-03-05 10:39, Thumper wrote:
I found this thread and have been following along with interest. I have a Meade 90mm refractor on an equatorial mount that unfortunately stays in the closet most of the time.

It sounds like you have a pretty good beginners scope. Below you ask if there something better. That depends. The best scope is the one you use. If you aren't using the one you have, then there is no doubt something better.


I thought I was extremely interested in astronomy and went out with it repeatedly when I first got it. But I was never really satisfied with what I saw. And I was never really able to find many objects that I was searching for. Actually I only viewed objects that I could already see with the naked eye (planets and the Orion nebula).

Unmet expectations are the death of many efforts. I'll dash a few more expectations. Through even the best amature scopes you will NEVER see anything that looks like the pictures in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope. The human eye is not set up to give you that kind of view.

On the other hand, hard work will be rewarded. It takes A LOT OF WORK to familiarize yourself with the night sky. I note that you are from Ohio, like Zanderman and myself. You don't say where but if it's near any of the cities, light pollution will make your task a little easier. You won't be able to see anything dimmer than about second magnitude. That means only the brightest planets and constellations will be visible.


I thought I'd done plenty of reading and research and acquired the appropriate star charts but to no avail.I have considered the the potential fact that maybe I am a terrible astronomer. I've also thought that maybe I'd be better off with a 10" Newtonian or Cassegrain. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions before I consider selling this scope. Things I'm considering include seeing if there is a motor drive or goto device compatible with this scope and mount. But I don't know if that would help me. I really want to see some nebulae, clusters, and galaxies. Should I give up and look at the nice pictures on the web?

My recomendation is to find your nearest astronomy club, they're all over the place, and go to some star parties. My club, The Miami Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS), has parties at their dark sky site every clear Friday. Try http://www.mvas.org/ At a star party everyone will let you look through their scope, give you all kinds of good advice on why you should buy one just like theirs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif you will get a chance to learn what you are doing wrong. Once you've been, you'll know how to setup your scope, find all the major landmarks (skymarks?)and know what you can and cannot see through a 90mm scope. Once you have been to AT LEAST five parties, then and only then, you can decide to sell/trade up/abandon your scope. If you are in the Cincinnati/Dayton area I'll be glad to help.


Thanks for any advice.

Advise is worth what you pay for it. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif Let's see....you paid NOTHING for this advice. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

aurorae
2002-Mar-05, 09:17 PM
On 2002-03-05 10:39, Thumper wrote:
I thought I'd done plenty of reading and research and acquired the appropriate star charts but to no avail.I have considered the the potential fact that maybe I am a terrible astronomer. I've also thought that maybe I'd be better off with a 10" Newtonian or Cassegrain. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions before I consider selling this scope.

Before you give up, in addition to the recommendation you already got to seek out a local astronomy club, I would also suggest two things:

1. Pick up a copy of the book "Turn Left at Orion". It is great for beginners, helps you find things, and also helps you know what to look for, plus describes what you are looking at.

2. Get a 1x finder, like a red dot finder or a bullseye finder. I'd guess a Telrad would be too bulky for your scope, but a Rigel might work, or one of a number of red dots. Truly great for getting started star hopping, as using a 6x finder alone is very hard for beginners.

Thumper
2002-Mar-06, 11:16 AM
Thank you both for your advice. I know that anything worth doing (and expecting satisfactory results) will take plenty of time and practice. I think I spent alot of time gathering star charts but very little actually practicing techniques out with the scope.

For the record I reside southeast of Columbus about halfway between the centers of Columbus and Lancaster on your handy Ohio map. So I can get some fairly nice skies. I'll check out the Miami Valley web site and the other references. I'm sure there are star gazing groups in central Ohio. Getting to Star parties and practicing with the scope will take what I'm sure most of us are in short supply of: time.

Thanks again.

Thumper

Russ
2002-Mar-06, 06:16 PM
On 2002-03-06 06:16, Thumper wrote:
For the record I reside southeast of Columbus about halfway between the centers of Columbus and Lancaster on your handy Ohio map. I'm sure there are star gazing groups in central Ohio. Getting to Star parties and practicing with the scope will take what I'm sure most of us are in short supply of: time.
Thumper


I know there are two clubs in Columbus and one in Zanesville so you have company close at hand. I can't remember the names of these clubs but know they are there.

As far as time goes, MAKE IT. You'll not regret it, take the kids & dog. You'll all have a good time.