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Thread: Telescope Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    4

    Telescope Question

    If I am asking this in the wrong forum I apologize. But I have a telescope question. I purchased a Tasco telescope for my daughter. The question is it came with a 20 mm,10 mm and a 4 mm lens. It also has a Barlow 3x magnifier. At least I beleive that is what it is called. It has bad assembly instructions and doesnt explain a lot. Are those lenses good to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with??? Or do I need something stronger?? Please let me know.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    270
    garnett, you'll get some ok views of the planets and especially the moon with those lenses on that scope.

    i must admit, many people i know have bought tasco, and many have said it was simultaneously useful yet as much a disillusion - enough so they never looked at the heavens again.

    if your goal is to generate interest with your daughter in astronomy, you should consider upgrading if she shows any signs of real curiosity at all. a reasonably good newtonian, say a meade, could cost you < $600US, and open up the world of some deep sky objects as well like the ring nebula. these are breathtaking objects and merely suck one in further :wink:

    my father hated the stars, because his father would make him sit outside at night and learn the constellations. as a result, i lost 30 years in the pursuit. i don't blame him. my kids will never have to eat lima beans.

    cheers!
    DJ

  3. #3
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    Dec 2003
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    Thanks for the help...I appreciate it....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    I have seen all the planets you mentioned with similar magnification. They aren't the sharpest images you'll ever see, but the ethereal pleasure of seeinga celestial object makes it all worthwhile!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    Re: Telescope Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Garnett
    If I am asking this in the wrong forum I apologize. But I have a telescope question. I purchased a Tasco telescope for my daughter. The question is it came with a 20 mm,10 mm and a 4 mm lens. It also has a Barlow 3x magnifier. At least I beleive that is what it is called. It has bad assembly instructions and doesnt explain a lot. Are those lenses good to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with??? Or do I need something stronger?? Please let me know.
    First of all, welcome to the board.
    Second, yes, this is the right forum.
    Third, you did not give quite enough info. I am going to assume that it is a 60mm (2.4 inch) refractor.

    There is nothing wrong with a 60mm refractor. More people (including me) have started with one than any other, so you and your daughter are in good company.

    One thing you need to know is that magnifying power is not as important as resolving power and light gathering power. Your scope can seperate objects that are about 8 - 10 times closer together than the unaided eye can and show you things that are 60 - 100 times fainter. There are limits to how much you can magnify things though. These are determined by the laws of physics. The general "rule of thumb" is 50 times the diameter in inches or twice the diameter in mm. That means (with your scope) 120 - 125 power tops. It also means that your 4mm eyepiece (180X) is basically useless to you. Stick with the 20mm (36X) and 10mm (72X). The 20mm with the barlow will give you 108X. Start with the lowest power and work up to higher powers if conditions allow. Hint: If the stars are twinkling, high power just makes the stars dance.

    Suggestion: Start with the Moon. It is endlessly fascinating. Jupiter and Saturn are absolutely stunning and beautiful at the powers you have.

    Enjoy!

    Hope this helps some.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    1,775
    A good "Dark Sky" makes a difference. If you are anywhere near a town or city the lights reflecting from the sky reduce the contrast of faint objects (light pollution). If you can get well away from lights (30 miles at least) the sky will look MUCH brighter even to the naked eye and views through a 'scope far better. A pair of binoculars is a good starting point for beginners, 10 x 50 is a useful size (too high a magnification makes them hard to hold, but the bigger the lens the more you will see). Try to get ones that can fit onto a tripod - this helps keep them steady.
    It is also a good idea to join a local astronomy club, you will get lots of help and advice there.

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