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  1. #1
    Who's driving? Oh my God Bear is driving! How can that be??
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    Backyard Astronomy

    Is there anyone out there that is into this? What kind of telescope do you have and what have you seen so far or would like to see?


    Some upcoming events this month

    May 10th - Saturn reaches opposition so it should be fairly bright making it an excellent time to view it.

    May 24th - Meteor shower

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    RNGesus
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    I had actually recently been thinking about getting into this. Since you made a thread i'll ask here. Suggestions for telescopes for a relative newbie? Not looking for anything too extravagant but something that will actually work and let me see things.

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    Who's driving? Oh my God Bear is driving! How can that be??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrath View Post
    I had actually recently been thinking about getting into this. Since you made a thread i'll ask here. Suggestions for telescopes for a relative newbie? Not looking for anything too extravagant but something that will actually work and let me see things.
    A refractor telescope in the 70-90mm range is a good starter scope. You will be able to see Jupiter and the 4 Gallilean Moons, and the rings of Saturn under higher magnification eyepieces. One of the good things about these size refractors is that they are very low maintenance and lightweight so setting up is quick and easy. The least expensive telescopes will not have a motorized/electronic mount so you will have to move the telescope manually to point it where you want. If you want o spend more money you can get one with a GoTo mount. Once you have it setup for your viewing session, all you have to do is browse the catalog in the handset of what you want to view and the telescope will automatically point to that object. It will also counter the Earth's rotation and keep the object in the field of view when looking through it. The setup itself isn't too bad and usually takes fives minutes but you need to be able to see the North Star to start.

    Edit: The Motorized versions of the refractors start at an apeture size of 102mm and so the cost goes up significantly ($400+ total)

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    RNGesus
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    I probably don't wanna spend that much so I might get a manual. I also think it's probably more fun to find things on my own than to have it directly pointed at lol. I bet I could find most what I'm looking for using a regular telescope and google sky maps. Thanks for the advice!

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    You definitely learn a lot more when you go manual and it can be fun to randomly find things.

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    RNGesus
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    I know this has software included, but is it a good deal? D:

    http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes...qreflector.cfm

    or this

    http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes...qtelescope.cfm

    Also he 70-90mm is referring to which measurement exactly? Like i said, I'm a noob at this. I'm willing to pay in the price ranges listed above or a little bit higher. Just trying to get the best bang for my buck and I'm not sure I fully understand all the numbers lol

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    Who's driving? Oh my God Bear is driving! How can that be??
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    Sorry about that. The mm measurement refers to the size of the aperture of the optics.

    Both telescopes are really good with the telescope in the first link (Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflector Telescope) being able to gather more light than the one in the second link. The only bad thing about reflectors (first link) is the front of the tube is open to the air so the main mirror is susceptible to collecting dust over time. Just have to make sure to keep the front cover on at all times when not in use. I personally have a telescope like the one in the first link that I used for about 15 years before upgrading to a bigger one.

    Also both of the telescopes listed have an Equatorial Mount so they have knobs that you can use to manually turn the telescope where you want to go instead of just moving the telescope tube around. Also if you get into using star charts, the Equatorial Mount helps finding things on the chart.

    Since the price difference is very small and the reflector telescope listed will give you about 20% more maximum magnification, I'd go for the first one.

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    BG Medical's Student of Medicine
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    What's the least expensive telescope one could get and still be able to see planets?

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    RNGesus
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    Thanks for the advice, currently thinking of getting the reflector since it seems like the best bang for the buck even though I had originally planned on a refractor.

    Another thing, should I be expecting to see upside down images in any telescope I use? Should I look into getting something to 'fix' it or should I just get used to the different image orientation.

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    The image will be upside down on a reflector. It will get a bit weird at first when using it because when moving the telescope up, the object will drift down in your field of view. Refractors do not suffer from this when using the diagonal mirror near the eyepiece but the image will be flipped horizontally.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuronosan View Post
    What's the least expensive telescope one could get and still be able to see planets?
    I believe the smallest aperture refractors on the market that aren't used as guidescopes are in the 60mm range which runs about $80-$100. At that size aperture, Jupiter would probably look like the size of a bucky ball in the viewfinder. Saturn would be a bit smaller and you should be able to make out the rings though they might look like one solid ring. You could of course swap out to high powered eyepieces to increase magnification but you will lose some detail in the image.

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    RNGesus
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    I think I'll be able to get used to the upside down thing. Do it all the time in video games with the inverse cameras lol. Thanks for all the advice, will post back with what I ended up getting.

    I'm assuming having the ability to take pics with the telescope would involve further purchases?

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    Who's driving? Oh my God Bear is driving! How can that be??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrath View Post
    I'm assuming having the ability to take pics with the telescope would involve further purchases?
    Normally for photography you would want a motorized mount. However, if you are just wanting to take pictures of the planets and the moon, all you really need is any CCD camera offered by telescope companies. These cameras are basically beefed up webcams that are modified to fit directly where the eyepieces go and you connect the camera to your laptop. Since you don't have a motorized mount you end up using video mode which captures hundreds if not thousands of frames and you import them into 3rd party software that takes all of the good images and stacks them together into one final image that brings out a lot of sharpness and detail. This method is used in a lot of astophotography work for planets.

    Here is a very basic one for $55. It only shoots at 640x480 so it won't give HD quality but it is a good place to start.
    http://www.telescope.com/Astrophotog...8/p/102083.uts

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    RNGesus
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    Ah thats too bad. Maybe I should rethink about a motorized one then because I already have access to my dads really nice DSLR camera which I think would take nice pictures D: I gotta think about it now lol

  14. #14

    I've also been interested in seeing what it would take to get started, so I'm glad this thread came up.

    To add to Tyrath's question regarding taking pictures, I notice that the reflector telescope says there is a motor drive accessory available. With that in mind, would this telescope still be a good place to start, and get the accessory when you're ready to start taking pictures, or are there better options that already come with the motororized mount? My wife would be a little easier to convince if I could start buying a bit at a time...

    Edit: Sorry, just to add another question to anyone familiar with purchasing telescopes and pricing. The site linked before shows the current price as $159, and the list price as $357. Is this really a good sale that one should jump on, or is it normal to catch these kind of prices and it won't hurt to wait?

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    Backyard Astronomy

    I have a Celestron NexStar 130 SLT and do some backyard viewings in the summer. 2x Barlow in there too. It's rough being only 30mi outside NYC but some nights have been fair to me. Mostly do moon observations but got some looks at venus, jupiter and saturn last year. Have to retrain myself this year again as calibrating and aligning is a skill easily lost when not practicing constantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrath View Post
    Ah thats too bad. Maybe I should rethink about a motorized one then because I already have access to my dads really nice DSLR camera which I think would take nice pictures D: I gotta think about it now lol
    If you plan on doing DSLR, you are going to have to get a few more things, mainly a T Ring adapter for your camera and an eyepiece projection tube. Reflector Newtonians are terrible when trying to use a DSLR because you can't achieve enough focus. In order to get around this you have to use an eyepiece projection tube where you place your eyepiece lens inside a tube and connect your camera to the tube. It probably sounds a bit complicated but if you go that route I'll explain it out in detail. But yeah you will need a motorized mount if you want to capture some nebulas, galaxies, and faint objects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obiron View Post
    To add to Tyrath's question regarding taking pictures, I notice that the reflector telescope says there is a motor drive accessory available. With that in mind, would this telescope still be a good place to start, and get the accessory when you're ready to start taking pictures, or are there better options that already come with the motororized mount? My wife would be a little easier to convince if I could start buying a bit at a time...

    Edit: Sorry, just to add another question to anyone familiar with purchasing telescopes and pricing. The site linked before shows the current price as $159, and the list price as $357. Is this really a good sale that one should jump on, or is it normal to catch these kind of prices and it won't hurt to wait?
    I haven't had any experience with the add on motors but from what I know you have to setup your scope in a certain way, and then point your scope to your object. Once it's found you turn the motor on and you have to adjust the speed manually. This might create some inconsistencies in tracking behavior. If you want a telescope with tracking, I would highly recommend buying one with the Goto System included.

    The best type of GoTo Mount for astrophotography if you are going to use a DSLR is a German Equatorial Mount (GEM). These use weights to counter balance the weight of the telescope tube and any extra accessories you add to the tube. Since using a DSLR for imaging adds weight, it throws the balance of the tube off and you need the counter weights to balance it out to ensure the motor drives the telescope smoothly.

    If you want to get started and want something to build towards, you can always buy a telescope with a standard mount just to get your feet wet and then later purchase the GoTo Equatorial Mount. Then you can take your tube off the old mount and put it on the new one. Usually Goto GEMs start off at around $500 for a mount that can hold 11 lbs.

    So basically it comes down to:

    Non-Motorized Mount Telescope:
    - Can use a CCD USB camera in video mode to image the Moon and Planets
    - Cheaper Option
    *Can't do Long exposures due to no tracking

    Motorized Goto GEM Telescope
    - Can use DSLR in Video Mode to image the planets
    - Can Take long exposures to capture nebulas and faint objects
    *Expensive option


    Also there is a second Goto Mount option which is the Fork Mounted GoTo Telescopes such as this:

    http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/...PriceAscending

    They can track pretty well but they sometimes do not handle the extra weight of a DSLR very well though there are people who have been able to pull it off. You can easily use a CCD camera with it which through the use of included software with the camera will allow you to get long exposures.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Jorildyn View Post
    I have a Celestron NexStar 130 SLT and do some backyard viewings in the summer. 2x Barlow in there too. It's rough being only 30mi outside NYC but some nights have been fair to me. Mostly do moon observations but got some looks at venus, jupiter and saturn last year. Have to retrain myself this year again as calibrating and aligning is a skill easily lost when not practicing constantly.
    What is the light pollution like in that area? Do you get a fair amount of sky glow from the city?

  18. #18

    It sounds like it might be better to start with a GoTo integrated, but I'll do a little research on some mounts by themselves and see if I would be happy with that route.

    How important is focal length? I notice the Orion StarSeeker III has 500mm, whereas the 130 SLT has 650, and for a little more money the Celestron NexStar 4 SE has a whopping 1325 (but slightly smaller aperture). Is there a good range to stay in to get enough magnification without losing quality?

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    RNGesus
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    I'm gonna stick to the cheaper option with a normal camera for now. Don't wanna go all in and have it not end up being something I wanna do all the time anyway. Gonna buy the reflector I posted earlier. If I get really into this stuff maybe in a few years I'll buy a more expensive GoTo set because right now even the cheapest $300 GoTo ones don't seem to have as much specs as the reflector thats on sale.

    Gonna start slow and steady.

  20. #20

    I may have to go that route too. My wife agreed to $150, but $350+ might be a hard sell lol. But I like to go big, so I'll at least explore the options on the off chance we can budget a good GoTo setup.

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