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Thread: Another FNG here

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Another FNG here

    Man, what a great place this is for someone trying to gather information about what first scope to buy, Iím happy to have stumbled upon it. I live on the east coast of Florida, almost an hour north of West Palm Beach. A few months back I bought a Golden puppy, and our nightly walks have sparked an interest in exactly what I am seeing in the night sky. Some nights Mars, Jupiter, and Venus are so big and bright that you would never suspect that they are so far away. Spotting Saturn with the naked eye and a little help from an app on my phone was also a nice surprise. If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night I get a beautiful view of Orion right in my backyard, and if I wait a little longer, Sirius comes into view. Now being 50, I find myself regretful that I have waited so long to find interest in the wonders of the night sky.

    Now for the hard part...what scope to buy. Trying to gather information on this subject has my head spinning to the point that I am almost frozen, afraid to do anything before I get MORE information that seemingly has no end. Like many new people I am probably overthinking it. I guess I am just searching for a good middle ground. Something that is not too expensive in the event that I turn out to not be quite as interested in this as a serious hobby as I hope, but a scope that is good enough to use long term if astronomy turns out to be something that I absolutely love. This place is a wonderful source of information, that I will continue to rely upon to help me make up my mind. A local college has a club I believe that I will look further into, to hopefully get a peak at what is out there, and what I like best. At this moment, just from reading a bit here, it seems the best bang for the buck, and ease of use is a Dobsonian. They are pretty damn big, but an 8Ē would probably be where I would lean if I were to buy right now...maybe a 10Ē since I really donít plan on traveling anywhere with it outside of my backyard. GOTOís are tempting, but I donít think I will go that route right out of the gate. To me, getting lesser quality for a higher price because it has a computer, doesnít sound ideal. What I really want is the best scope, for the best price, that I can be happy with for a good long while, until I figure out if I want to spend bigger in the future.

    Anyway, thanks to anyone who reads this, and I look forward to any thoughts from folks who are willing to share their experiences from when they first started out. I am excited to get my first scope, but am not one to jump into making a quick decision on the first shiney thing I see...I am more prone to drag it on and agonize over my decision, and it doesnít help that there is no clear cut answer to any of my questions out there, there are so many differing opinions. Thanks again to anyone kind enough to respond.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    NEOTP Atlanta, GA
    John, you might first contact the local astronomy club in West Palm and see when they are having their next star party. With Fall approaching - and its clearer skies - you can attend the event and get a hands-on experience with the different types of scopes and learn their pros and cons.

    Also there are astronomy associations in Vero Beach and Indian River. Use this site to zero in on your best fit:

    Even before investing in a good scope (and a Dob is a good choice) you might consider buying some good binoculars and an app for your phone, such as Luminos, and learn your way around the sky. See the sticky in this forum about Binocular observing.

    Good luck, and do try to get to a star party. It's a great way to quickly learn what you might want to do - and not do!
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2018-Sep-17 at 10:40 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Thanks for the reply schlaugh. I have the Treasure Coast Astronomy Society about 20 minutes from me at Indian River Community College that meets the last Tuesday of every month that I will be checking out. Itís going to be a little tricky to get to the meetings since I work evenings, and only have one Tuesday off a month, but Iíll work it out somehow. Iíve seen a lot of people recommend a set of binoculars as a first step, and the reasoning is sound, but for me it would take away from available funds to be used for a scope, so I might pass on that. Iím going to take my time, check out what the club has to offer, and try to make the best decision that I can. Iím going to use Christmas and my birthday in January to help fund anything I buy, so I have a little time. Thanks again for your response and information, it is much appreciated. Take care.

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