View Full Version here: : Hi, telescope recommendations please
07-01-2010, 09:16 PM
:help:Hello, I was wondering if anyone here could recommend some telescopes for beginners. Have been searching the internet but there are just so many to choose from. We want a good telescope up to around $1000 to view planets, nebulas, moons, stars etc. I got a telescope with flyby points but it was pretty disappointing, was only good to look at moon but was so hard to move it around to find anything, and everytime we touched it it would move off course. We are excited to get into more deep space viewing and I know my husband wants to be able to take photographs as well, so if anyone could recommend some equipment that would be fantastic.
07-01-2010, 09:25 PM
Hi there, size matters in astronomy, when viewing planets and the moon as well as deep sky objects visually nothing beats SIZE:)
therefore ther's only one avenue i'd take, that's REFLECTOR telescope on a dobsonian mount, cheapest around and best quality would be Skywatcher Dobs i reckon, i'd be going for an 8" t0 10" Dob , which from this website is exactly under a grand which is perfect for you ,, www.theastroguy.com.au (http://www.theastroguy.com.au) i've been telling everyone about this guy coz he's pretty cheap compared to other stores.
that's my two cents
Good luck with the hobby its so rewarding:)
07-01-2010, 09:32 PM
I agree with James 100%. Go with the 10" Dob for a start.
Take your time. Learn the sky.
Then if you feel the urge, start to REALLY spend the money. !!!!;)
07-01-2010, 09:40 PM
Oh yeah and the best part about getting a 10" dob is that you can take the tube off the Dob mount later and buy a good equatorial mount and bung it on it and take photos, check out the image of the week, taken with exactly that, a 10'' reflector on an equatorial mount with a relatively cheap dslr by today's standards:) i'm excited a new recruit to Astronomy always gets me happy:)
07-01-2010, 09:50 PM
10 inches of parabolized mirror is the way.
07-01-2010, 10:01 PM
Another vote for a 10" dob here. I think the skywatcher 10 incher looks interesting. It would need a light shroud I guess, but it may not translate well onto an equatorial mount later on. Of course, telescopes can be sold and new ones purchased if your needs change down the track.
Don't forget to save just a bit of money for a telrad and maybe a barlow or an extra one or two eyepieces.
07-01-2010, 10:21 PM
The skywatcher Dob's come in Full proper newtonian Optical tubes as well as flex dobs, You'd have to go the full tube version, no light shroud necessary, i can't see why you'd buy a flex dob as the 10'' newtonian tubes are so easy to pop in the back of the car, they are pretty small i reckon.
07-01-2010, 10:23 PM
Another vote for a dobsonian, the biggest you can afford. Easy to use and lots of light gathering power :eyepop:
Best of luck Alex.
07-01-2010, 11:48 PM
Well, yes, a dob.
Mind you a big telescope is obviously going to be fairly heavy, and not all that portable. (Deep sky doesn't do portable.) Is there an astro club at Geraldton? Or maybe someone on the forum here might pipe up. (You could post a thread specifically looking for a local member.) It is always good to try someone else's scope first.
Astrophotography is an expensive addiction. You should procrastinate that until you can afford to mainline.
07-01-2010, 11:58 PM
Hey Miaplacidas can you post your profile shot i love open clusters that looks like a pretty shot,
also the skywatcher 10''s are tiny , fit in back seat and dont weigh that much.
08-01-2010, 12:40 AM
Welcome to the club!
While I agree that a dobsonian mounted reflector telescope is a wonderful thing, I'd strongly encourage you to visit an astronomy club or viewing night before you spend your hard earned money.
When I first got into the hobby, I found it very helpful to physically see (and touch) how big and heavy the gear can be. I also found it useful to look through a few scopes and gain an understanding of what I liked and some of the different strengths and weaknesses of the different types of scopes.
Not sure what retail shops and/or clubs are like in WA but I'd encourage you to try before you buy if you can.
09-01-2010, 07:20 AM
Hi Scott and Anne,
Usually Scott's advice is good advice, but that may not be possible at Geraldton WA. It's a fairly remote part of AUS.
I agree that a 10" newtonian reflector is likely the best way to go. Personally I would consider the 10" Meade Lightbridge which is made by Guan Sheng Optical (GSO) in Taiwan. Optically I have found the GSO reflectors to be at least as good and on average a touch better than Skywatcher which are made by Synta in China. The big advantage that I see with the 10" Lightbridge is that it is much easier to store and transport, than a solid tube dob. You would not be able to use it for photography if you wanted to head down that path in the future however I dont see that as an issue at all because the way to start with astrophotography would be with an 80mm to 100mm refractor on an equatorial mount, not with a 10" newtonian.
09-01-2010, 08:03 AM
Fair call...and sound advice.
Now I'm in the USA it is hard to remember how isolated some parts of Australia can be...I've also got the luxury of having a whole bunch of clubs withing an hours drive here too. Pity we don't have a very dark sky...
I don't think of Geraldton as being too remote...heck, even I've been there a couple of times, it is a lovely place!
09-01-2010, 10:04 AM
I'd agree that the 10" dob is a good choice, especially if you can attend viewing nights with other observers.
If you're not observing with others you might be better off with a used computerised scope which can find and track objects for you; you could post a wanted ad for an Meade 8" LX90 or Celestron Nexstar 8SE; new prices on these two scopes are excessive but they lose value fast on the used market.
09-01-2010, 12:02 PM
Hi everyone, thanks so much for your advice :)
To begin with, we were favouring the NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope because it sounded like it would be easy to find things with but we didn't know if it would do what we wanted or be any good.
Most of the responses here seem pretty much for the 10' dob so we are looking at getting the 10' skywatcher and the size would not really be much of a problem as we probably will just use it here at home. We live about 15 kms out of town and we could take a short drive onto a neighbouring property which has the moresby ranges on it which is about as high as we can get here in Geraldton.
The next question would be what is the best way to locate planets etc in the sky??:eyepop: And also what about additional eye pieces?
09-01-2010, 01:55 PM
That's actually from a sketch, James. I can't seem to locate the original scanned image.
09-01-2010, 02:45 PM
I'll keep looking :)
P.S. John , I dont mean to sound antagonistic so please to take offense however Synta(Skywatcher) use Pyrex glass in thier mirrors not BK7 glass which is inferior and cannot achieve the same high Lambda with thier coatings. In fact william optics, celestron and orion predominantly all come from the synta factory.
GSO has never been considered a great optical producer in my opinion.
I have copmpared a 16'' Meade lightbridge and a skywatcher 12'' scope onn the same eveing back to back and the diference in aperature should have made a massive difference however the Meade image was not blowing it away, i don't rate Meade optics either.
Reflectors = Parks or skywatcher if you cant afford parks
refractors = Takahashi or AP, if you cant afford that then WO or SW.
RC's = RC optical or GSO if you can't afford it
09-01-2010, 02:56 PM
Hey to find the planets download this fantastic free software called stellarium, it'll show you exactly where everything is and it replicates the night sky from wherever you are eg Geraldton, the site link is this one
http://www.stellarium.org/wiki/index.php/Download such a cool free programme, in fact i bought starry nights pro plus 6 and i prefer the free stellarium for ease of use.
With the telescope choice i would not go for the small celestrobn scope because 130mm of aperature just doesn't cut it.
As i was saying before the skywacher 10'' dob is small but has 254mm of aperature, this will resolve details on the planets, and show the nebula clouds very well especially in Geraldton, your lucky to have dark skies:)
I take successful images with a computerised mount and a 12'' scope that was off a skywatcher dob, but all my friends own 10'' dob and have put them on eq6 pro mounts that track and slew(go to) objects they want.
09-01-2010, 10:40 PM
Just a heads up I called Meade the other day just to see about getting some parts for my 12 inch light-bridge I bought used and they where not only UN-helpful but down right rude and dismisive. But still the best part is when I asked for the part which in this case was there trade mark truss bars. They said, simply we don't make spares and we would suggest you just go buy a new scope. Word for word. He also said in fairness to Meade if you are under a warranty you can send it to us for replacement review. This is not at all how I would have thought a great optics company would respond. What if you sit on the truss or forget them somewhere in a field, oops sorry no parts go buy a new one. This is only my opinion but before you buy a scope have a good look at the costumer service.
-1 for Meade (great scope for the price but my next dollars are looking else where).
10-01-2010, 12:50 AM
No offense taken but your statement is 100% INCORRECT. Unfortunately your perception is a misconception many people have. Mainly due to some good marketing by Skywatcher (Synta) and Orion.
Without trying to get too technical the major difference between Pyrex and BK7 and for that matter plate, float or soda lime glass, is in the thermal effects; not in the optical quality in any way. Pyrex has greater thermal conductivity and a lower co efficient of thermal expansion than BK7, which means it cools faster and expands and contracts slightly less than BK7, for a given temperature change. The advantage of this is that the pyrex mirror will cool faster and will deliver its best images a touch quicker than a BK7 mirror. However, with a mirror of only 10" aperture the difference is very marginal. With a 14" and larger mirror it makes a pretty big difference in mirror stabilisation time. In terms of optical quality, a good optician can make a mirror equally as good from BK7 as he can from pyrex. I skilled optician when working with larger size mirrors may have to wait a little longer for the glass to cool properly before testing a BK7 mirror, that is all. If he waits he can make it just as good. Again however with 10" mirrors it is really a moot point. With a big mirror it matters a lot more because of the additional glass mass.
I have used in excess of 30 different samples of GSO scopes from 6" to 16" aperture and in excess of a dozen different Synta (Skywatcher) scopes from 8" to 12" aperture and I can assure you that on average from my analysis, the GSO optics are at least as good, if not a fraction better than the Synta optics. To be honest the early Synta Optics from 8 or 10 years ago were pretty hit and miss. The more recent Synta optics are generally very good, due in the main part to the quality control introduced in their manufacturing techniques by Orion USA. You should note that GSO produced the Orion dobs long before Synta (about 2000 to 2004 from memory) and had the benefit of Orion quality control long before Synta. In other words GSO have been getting it right, long before Synta ever got it right.
Why you likely perceived that the 12" Skywatcher scope outperformed the 16" GSO scope on the night you tried them is due to one of 3 factors, or a combination of 2, or all 3.
1) The 16" scope was not collimated properly.
2) The 16" scope had not cooled properly.
3) The seeing conditions were not good enough to support 16" of aperture, but were able to support 12" of aperture.
Some things you need to be aware of in regard to the above.
1) A 16" scope takes a lot longer to cool and stabilise optically than a 12" scope.
2) The image quality in a 16" scope is significantly more affected by poor seeing than a 12" scope
3) A "fair" 16" scope will outperform a "very good" 12" scope, given good thermal stabilisation and seeing conditions good enough to support 16" of aperture and good collimation.
Another possibility of course and fairly unlikely IMO, is that the 16" scope was one of the rare lemons to slip through the cracks.
FWIW, I have some exquisite telescopes up to 30" aperture at my disposal and I have no issues using a 10" scope with a BK7 mirror. In fact, I own one that has an absolutely outstanding GSO BK7 mirror in it :)
10-01-2010, 01:08 AM
A 10 inch dob mounted newtonian with settings circles (DIY) and a digital protractor coupled with a planetarium program like Stellarium will give you masses of viewing pleasure. this is what i started out with (after first el cheapo) and i loved it and still do.
10-01-2010, 01:11 AM
Nobody mentioned waiting 15 mins for your mirror to cool being a problem, the fact is pyrex glass which is a volcanic mineral has been proven countless times as a better glass for astronomy, ultimately the combination of a good coating and pyrex glass as a base makes for this to be a moot conversation as BK7 glass just doesn't stack up.
P.S. on the evening in question the 16'' and 12'' scopes were collimated with a cat's eye laser, so we can rule that out.
GSO just don't come close to being as bright as the skywatcher tubes , unless my eyes vary from moment to moment it's been proven to me many times over in comparisons back to back.
Below is taken from a professor at Cambridge University discussing different glass for telescopes.
I'd believe him over some taiwan company any day
"The substrate is important. Cervit, Zerodur, Astrosital and Quartz are better than Pyrex. Pyrex is better than BK7. BK7 is better way than plate glass".
I rest my case, and hey 100% ?
10-01-2010, 01:25 AM
and just to draw a comparison
Going by your logic being around longer IBM must make better computers and have branched into Mobile technology and be currently considered still better than APPLE?
Seriously perhaps putting a thermal fan on the base of your scope might be something you'd consider but the whole point of this thread was to provide Anne a good starting point for astronomy, with the best product , not confuse people with cooling down a mirror? ( why would i have to cool a mirror)" i just wanna see planets and pretty stars not be bombarded with too much useless information./
NEW TECHNOLOGY ROCKS!!
And Go Skywatcher for selling what other companies have failed to achieve and interesting people in what is such a beautiful hobby,
Im thinking less time on this forum and more time outside
10-01-2010, 01:48 AM
The Hubble and the Hale 200'' telescopes are both examples of Fused Silica and Pyrex mirrors in telescopes.
Perhaps Nasa should have consulted with Gueng Sheng Optics Taiwan before shooting hubble into space with an inferior glass in their telscope:)
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