Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Can you help me choose a telescope?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    26

    Can you help me choose a telescope?

    I was lucky with the view, I can turn around and look at any part of the sky. But I have a hardware problem. I have an old telescope, shabby. I don't even know his brand. The lenses are weak enough in it and I want something more powerful already. But I am not very good at hardware. Can you please tell me, from these options https://homemakerguide.com/best-telescope/, does it make sense to take or not? Here and at prices are different, but I do not look at cheap ones, because their power will be small, but I want to see as much as possible. Or maybe you can advise me as a beginner a suitable option, understandable to use. Please don't consider the link spam, this is just an example of what I found. And I don't know how else to describe the options I found.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    15,966
    The usual advice here is a) start with good binoculars; and b) find a local astronomy club.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    19,241
    The basic issue is that it can be hard to get an idea of what you would really use until you get a chance to try different telescopes and talk to different people about what they like and why. This is a hobby notorious for somebody either buying something on the inexpensive side that doesn’t work well, or something expensive that works well enough but is too heavy to carry anywhere or too complicated or specialized to be something you’ll actually use more than a few times. Then such telescopes end up in a closet or garage and gather dust.

    Admittedly, it probably is harder to find an astronomy club putting on star parties than during most years, but that is usually the best option before buying anything. Then you can see what a telescope offers in real life and get to see if it would be what you want.

    Can you tell us what you’re looking to do with the telescope? Do you have good seeing at your home, or would you want something more portable? What options do you want, like do you want a goto telescope?

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    50
    The two previous posts provide excellent advice.

    Here is my take on the ten telescopes in your link:

    #2, #8, and #9 all have small aperture optical tubes, weak tripods, and weak altitude-azimuth (alt-az) mounts. In lieu of small aperture telescopes, I prefer my 15x70 Celestron binoculars (hand holdable for me, but may not be hand-holdable for you) and 20x80 Celestron binoculars (needs a tripod). The 15x70s are about $75 on Amazon. It's always a contest between aperture (bigger lets you can see more and in more detail) and usability/cost (smaller often works better for most people). Week aluminum tripods and weak mounts means the scope will wiggle when you try to focus and will wiggle if it's even just a bit windy. You will be frustrated. My 8" and 11" telescopes have alt-az mounts, but they are stout and motorized in both axes, which means they track the sky. I prefer motorized mounts for convenience, but many people are fine manually tracking the sky. In fact, my 8" and 11" telescopes are on fully computer controlled mounts, which greatly improves usability but at an added cost.

    #1, #3, #5, #6, and #7 substitute weak and manually operated German Equatorial Mounts (GEM) for the weak and manually operated alt-az mounts in the previous paragraph without improving any other features. My 5" telescope is on a motorized and computerized GEM, which works well for me. However, the learning curve for GEMs is longer than for alt-az and it stumps many new observers. I don't recommend GEMS for new observers and I don't recommend these cheap GEMs for anyone.

    #4 is a pretty good kid's telescope, but it's too short for an adult to use comfortably unless it is sitting on a very sturdy table. The "Dobsonian" mount (a version of alt-az) is very popular and is the overwhelming choice for large portable telescopes (think larger than 12"; the largest in my club is a 25"). Most Dobsonian telescopes do not have tracking motors (this one doesn't) or computer control, but some do. If you like this type of telescope, I suggest Orion's 6" or 8" SkyQuest https://www.telescope.com/Orion/Tele.../1/c/12/13.uts. If you want a computer to help you point, but don't want the motors, try https://www.telescope.com/Orion/Tele.../1/c/12/27.uts (my wife had the 10"). If you want full computer control and motors, then look here https://www.telescope.com/Orion/Tele.../1/c/12/30.uts (I upgraded my wife's 10" IntelliScope to a 10" SkyQuest GoTo about two years ago).

    Finally, #8. This is by far the most expensive telescope in your link and IMHO is the best of them. 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes are very popular (as are 8" Dobsonians) and the single fork arm alt-az mount and the tripod with scope are sufficiently stout to make focusing easy. The computer control and two axis motors makes scopes like this easier for most people to use than a push-to scope. But, the extra technology costs money. Some "purists" scoff at motors and computers, but I see more in less time than I did with my first telescope that had neither.

    Ultimately, it comes down to:
    - Aperture. You need to pick a scope that will show you what you want to see and be easy to handle. Too small and you will yearn for a bigger scope (it's called aperture fever). Too big and you won't want to set it up very often. This is why 8" telescopes are so popular. I started with a 5" 21 years ago, but I already had a plan to upsize to 8" and 11" as my skills got better and I had reached the limits of the smaller scopes. I still have and use all three. I purposely stopped at 11" because that was the biggest I wanted to handle and pay for. AND, I know people with bigger scopes in case I want to go deeper than the 11" can go.
    - Cost. What is your budget, and not just for the telescope itself. For the telescope, this includes the costs due to aperture, motors, and computers. In addition, the extra eyepieces, storage cases, red flashlights, paper star atlases, and a bunch of other stuff you will want to add costs money. You don't need to get everything all at once, but if you are serious about amateur astronomy, you will eventually spend quite a bit on accessories.
    - Scope design. The biggest bang for the buck is the Dobsonian mounted Newtonian telescope (e.g. #4 and the Orions I linked to). These scopes have shorter focal lengths than similarly sized Schmidt-Cassegrains (SCTs), Maksutov-Cassegrains, etc. This means they excel for wide to medium field views (less relative magnification), while other types excel for medium to narrow field views (more magnification). Magnification is telescope focal length divided by eyepiece focal length, so achieving the same magnification in a Newtonian requires a shorter focal length eyepiece than in an SCT. My wife prefers wide field views, which is why she has the 10" Orion Dob. I prefer narrower field, which is why I have three SCTs. However, large solid-tube Dobs require more trunk space than the same size SCT. Truss tube Dobs can be quite compact, but take more time to set up.
    - And lots of other factors, some tangible, some not.

    I hope this helps. But, please, hook up with a local amateur astronomy club. The good ones (most are) will be your best resource and a place to meet new friends who share your interest.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,291
    I'm not in the market for a telescope but if I were, this ^^^^ would be the advice I'd be looking for. Well done.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    589
    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    The basic issue is that it can be hard to get an idea of what you would really use until you get a chance to try different telescopes and talk to different people about what they like and why. This is a hobby notorious for somebody either buying something on the inexpensive side that doesn’t work well, or something expensive that works well enough but is too heavy to carry anywhere or too complicated or specialized to be something you’ll actually use more than a few times.

    I'd certainly concur with that. Portability is usability.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    19,241
    Hah! That actually can be pretty close to the real world. Bigger scopes especially tend to be bulky, hard to carry, heavy, hard to transport, and then you have to set them up at the destination. Then you get to take them home again later.

    Nice illustration, Selenite. I bought a lawn mower that came in a large box a couple years ago at a Home Depot. When it came to getting it home, a person working there suggested I put it on the roof of the car, but it would have been about like your illustration (different car but same issue), so I decided not to go that route.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    589
    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Hah! That actually can be pretty close to the real world. Bigger scopes especially tend to be bulky, hard to carry, heavy, hard to transport, and then you have to set them up at the destination. Then you get to take them home again later.
    Thanks Van Rijn.

    Of course when the GPS goes wonky, that's when the real adventure with big telescopes begins.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    The usual advice here is a) start with good binoculars; and b) find a local astronomy club.
    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    The basic issue is that it can be hard to get an idea of what you would really use until you get a chance to try different telescopes and talk to different people about what they like and why. This is a hobby notorious for somebody either buying something on the inexpensive side that doesn’t work well, or something expensive that works well enough but is too heavy to carry anywhere or too complicated or specialized to be something you’ll actually use more than a few times. Then such telescopes end up in a closet or garage and gather dust.

    Admittedly, it probably is harder to find an astronomy club putting on star parties than during most years, but that is usually the best option before buying anything. Then you can see what a telescope offers in real life and get to see if it would be what you want.

    Can you tell us what you’re looking to do with the telescope? Do you have good seeing at your home, or would you want something more portable? What options do you want, like do you want a goto telescope?
    I now have a telescope with a refractor. The stand is an ordinary tripod. The magnification is somewhere in the 20-25 times, I will not say for sure, I am not an expert. Therefore, I am looking for what is better, so that there are more opportunities for research. I study the starry sky from the yard, sometimes I can get out of the city to suit my mood. But there is no need to travel far, you can arrange astronomy sessions at home

    Thanks for your help, Kay.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •