View Full Version here: : I really want to get started...
For a long time now I have wanted to purchase a telescope but my experience with them is limited to a quick like in Australian Geographic stores. After seeing more and more photos posted on various forums I think now is the time to get involved.
I am not interested in astro photography and ideally would like to cut my teeth on finding and observing planets. I'm gathering this can be quite and involved hobby so I guess it's best to start small ;)
Now for the fly in the ointment- ideally I would like to keep my spending below $500 to keep the minister for war and finance onside with this endevour. I understand that this will severely limit what I can do with the scope but I am hoping it will be enough to get me out in the paddock and give a halfway decent viewing experience.
I have had a look at a few online stores and see refractors, reflectors, Dobsonians and to be honest a lot of it flies over my head. I am hoping that the experience here can guide me to a good buy to introduce me to the hobby and yield results that will keep me coming back.
I hope the information I have provided is detailed enough and I look forward to hearing any advice you can offer.
Thanks in advance.
13-09-2011, 09:15 PM
I believe someone recently said ......
I learnt that 8" Dob is the likely answer to any beginner astronomy questions
It's certainly going to fit your needs.
You have several purchase choices from companies such as bintel, Andrews, and those advertised down the sides of this website, or alternatively pick up a preloved one, not much to look for other than a clean mirror that still has plenty of coating ( hold bright light behind mirror) and check focuser working smoothly, most come with a range of eyepieces ( not the premium variety as you can pay 1k for some of those alone)
My initial concern with the dobs was portability however after more reading I can see that really it shouldn't pose too many problems at all. And given the small amount I want to spend I can't be too picky!!
I was looking at the Bintel site earlier today and they have a Skywatcher 6" for $325 or a Bintel 8" for $499. Nearly everything I have read has supported the 8" argument but given the relatively substantial jump in pricing and the good reports of the 6" I really have some decisions to make. Do I want to take the cheaper option and jump straight in, or do I want to wait that little bit longer to save the full $500...
14-09-2011, 06:28 PM
I'd go 8.
The extra aperture is worth more than $175
14-09-2011, 06:33 PM
I'd definitely wait for the 8 inch myself.
As for portability, you can fit a 12 inch in the back seat of just about every car. I had a 12 inch and it was easily enough moved around.
http://www.andrewscom.com.au/site-content-section-10-guansheng.htm#dobsonian. Only $ 449.00 here, you could use that as bargaining position, they're probably made in the same factory.
Thanks for the replies gents... I guess everything points to the 8" and its now just a matter of finding the cheapest one I can without compromising quality. I know the upper limit is $500 but every dollar less is a bonus!
Out of curiousity, will an 8" dob be fine to use in a suburban backyard (and by suburban I'm talking about Wodonga so not as much light pollution as other areas)?
14-09-2011, 07:35 PM
Strangely enough the most crucial limiting factor you will face is your skill level. A decent 4.5" reflector will show an experienced observer an awful lot.
A 12" may not show a newbie all that much. fact is that whatever you start with, if you stay interested is probably not what you will end up with.
If i may suggest... if there is a club near you get acquainted with them, look through some scopes and then decide what to get.
I started with a 4.5 and now am happy with an 8". Everyone finds their own comfort zone.
14-09-2011, 09:41 PM
If you're worried about finances a second-hand 8" dob would be a good way to go - keep an eye out on the classified section of the forum here, as they come up regularly as people upgrade. While its nice to get something brand new, a 1yo scope will still be in pretty good nick and it might already come with a few extra accessories. ;)
14-09-2011, 11:59 PM
Wise words Brian. :thumbsup: It might be of interest to quote the words of Bob Dudley in a recent AAVSO discussion on attracting new observers (my bold):
"Used to belong to a club in Philadelphia that did a lot of outreach to the community. One of the things that we stressed was one needed only a modest scope to observe many objects in the night sky. We generally had only modest scopes at our star parties. The people that attended the star parties were always amazed at what they saw through the eyepiece but were always disappointed when we showed them things like m-31. They, for the most part, felt that the object should look like the picture from Hubble. Despite this we always managed to recruit a few members and we spent time in teaching them how to find objects in the night sky and viewing techniques. The real problem came when they went to purchase a telescope for themselves, as the only store in the area was the Big Telescope Store. Their showroom was full of big telescopes and they denigrated smaller scopes. They tried to talk me out of buying an 8" Dob! Yes a 12" was wonderful, but not as portable as an 8". I had looked through a 16" Obsession; wonderful scope but too pricey for me. So one had amateurs with pricey scopes and an inability to find anything with them. And we are competing with Hubble. We found that most telescope purchasers seldom take their scopes out more than 10 times the first year and never the second year."
The best scope is the one you use the most. I don't doubt there are many enthusiastic observers on IIS who were 'first-time' big scope buyers, but they would be the success stories.
MILD, even if you are in the more heavily light-polluted areas of Wodonga, dark skies are only a very short drive away. Join the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga - they're a terrific mob and they'll be happy to show you views through a variety of scopes. Check any post by Spacezebra (Petra) on Ice In Space and she has a link to the society in her signature. Or pm her. I'm in Bright and if you're ever down this way I'd be happy to show you how a 4.5" scope performs in dark skies.
15-09-2011, 12:33 AM
Both are Guan Sheng :thumbsup:
Same scope, but the Bintel one has a Bintel Sticker on it.
But also, besides that, Bintel check the scope before it gets posted out.
Andrews often send the scope unseen. But the prices usually seal the deal.
15-09-2011, 12:52 AM
I have to jump in here, only cause, your story is so very familiar.
I started, unfortunately with a camera store reflector, absolutely useless. I then found a fantastic article on IIS about the different types of scopes and various pro's and con's.
I ended up with an 8 inch Dob from Andrews' (no Affiliation) and the amazing ride started. Sitting in my light polluted suburban skies, working my with through start charts and learning the art of star hopping are some of my fondest memories.
I have now moved into the AP side of things and enjoy it very much. But every now and then, a quick look through a nice Dob is a very rewarding experience.
Get to meet some club members and have a look through a few different scopes. I think you'll be amazed what you'll be able to see with a very modest outlay! Good luck with whatever direction you choose.
15-09-2011, 12:05 PM
Go the 8" dob, simple to use, lots of aperture for the price, portable. get some basic star charts and you will be on your way, just watch out for aperture fever!
15-09-2011, 12:21 PM
The sentence about 10 times the first year and never thereafter surprises me - that makes no sense when you purchase something that is so much a key to the most amazing show on Earth or even off Earth.
Hubble might give you pretty pictures, but to capture those photons with your own eye - albeit a bit dimmer, isjust the most amazing thing I'll ever do.
That first look at M42..... I was done for. I just thank the lord I already bought my LX90 - if I'd got a 6", I'd have been forking out for the extra inches within weeks.
I couldn't afford a 10" nor could I carry it round as easily as the8" so I was right - except maybe I should have got an EQ mount rather than a Alt az
15-09-2011, 01:11 PM
This might be worth a closer look!
See how easy it is, Mick!
I started the same way - a secondhand 8" dob from the IceTrades.
15-09-2011, 02:52 PM
True jenchris, but I think we have to look at the expectations we put on new observers when we post our recommendations here, and that is what Brian_W was probably referring to.
What we see isn't what a first time viewer will see. Take planets - on a night of good seeing, the GRS on Jupiter stands out, you can see the bands, delicate swirls of cloud, etc. A new viewer will only see a bright disc and the hints of two bands of very low contrast.
When I first started observing, I did it in complete isolation from forums, clubs or any other input or advice - someone gave me a 60mm refractor. I had no idea or expectation of what I might be able to see - and frankly what I did see blew my mind! Later on, again in isolation, I purchased my present scope (4.5"). I saw it in a Fletchers Photographics in Wangaratta - it was shiny, black and HUGE!!! It was irresistable. Man, a person could see to the end of the Universe with a monster like that!
And I could! It was fantastic, and as my observing skills increased I chased down faint globular clusters, galaxies etc. It was Wonderland! I joined our local club - wow, other people have telescopes too! One bloke had a 6", very impressive! But funnily enough, the views were pretty similar to mine, go figure.
Then I became aware of web-world, and found to my horror that my pride and joy was just a toy, utterly useless in the Land of Giants. For a brief moment, feelings of inadequacy had me envying the big cannons. Then I started to go to star parties and look through some of these telescopes. I noticed a few things. First, pretty near every object that people were viewing I could see quite well through my scope. Second, when they were viewing at higher mags through 'mass-production' units, the views were fairly ugly, compared to sharp, high-contrast wider scale views. Third, if someone was teasing out a faint mag-ridiculous galaxy with a giant scope, their excitement was the same as mine when I teased out, say, a mag 12 galaxy in my scope. That is, EXACTLY the same experience. And of course they looked EXACTLY the same, the faintest smudge.
This made me think about where I was going with my observing. Being naturally lazy (if it's too hard or takes too long, forget it :rolleyes: ), the advantage of set up/pack up in seconds, few collimation issues, minimal cool down time, extreme portability and ease of use clinched it. I'd chosen well after all! Not for everyone for sure, but right for me - and my little scope continues to cop a caning. :lol:
The worry in these beginners threads is that newcomers are not really given the chance of mulling it through for themselves - they are heaped with other people's expectations. Aperture and bang-for-buck rule it seems, although it is nice that this is moderated here somewhat by the general recommendation for an 8". That's still a big telescope, for someone who may or may not continue with the hobby. The 'disappointment factor', as Brian & Bob point out, is more due to experience than aperture, and it is compounded by putting expectations on what aperture will deliver, first-time.
Sorry about the waffle, but maybe other people's experiences in getting into (and staying with) the hobby might be useful to those about to take the plunge. :shrug:
15-09-2011, 04:30 PM
I agree with Rob_K, in that a smaller scope can still show plenty in the sky to keep a keen observer interested for many a night, and as my current scope is a tiddly little Tasco Galaxsee (a freebie from a relative), I'm learning my sky craft the old fashioned way: star maps (stellarium) and no GoTo on my converted camera tripod/ball head....I've got to try to find the fuzzies/smudgies myself!!!
When we started using the scope, I was able to show the wife/kids the planets Jupiter and Saturn (we could just make out Jupiters bands, and Saturn's rings in the 10mm eyepiece - the only one the scope has with it) Mars is just a red-orange dot in the Galaxsee!!! We can see the Jewel box, Pleiades, the coathanger (but missed the nearby comet Garradd....will try once again as soon as the moon goes away) The moon itself got gasps when it was bought into view.
That's the pleasure of the night sky, when someone looks into the eyepiece and goes 'wow', not necessarily when they first see the scope setup on the mount, but more of what they can see through it.
Having said this, I'm still going to get a bigger scope (Mewlon 210 or 250), and a motorised mount - not sure if Goto is all that important (is it???) I've seen photos of fancy setups with cables/laptops/controllers/battery packs all a-tangle - is it getting a bit complicated??
I can have the little Galaxsee scope set up in the backyard within a few minutes, and should the clouds roll in (as they love to do here...I can put it away in even less time and get back to the net to do more research, and IIS...) OK, it can be a challenge finding things in the sky, but I'm having FUN doing it - everything's nice and simple. OK, so the stars aren't perfect points, and the bigger planets are still pretty small, it is still a pleasure to look at something up there in the sky for the first time.
So Mick, you'll have plenty to see no matter what scope you decide on, and the Keep It Simple rule is a good one to follow. Having a scope is one thing, wanting to use it regularly is another.
Enjoy the views
Hey Gday Mick :hi::hi:
:welcome: to IIS :D save ya pennies and go for the dobbie :P in the mean time go to your nearest star party and go have a look through few you will be blown away :D But you have been warned look out for the aperture fever it can become very infectious :rolleyes: size does matter :rofl:
Good luck buddy :thumbsup:
15-09-2011, 08:42 PM
I'm one of those beginners who bought a big telescope (16 inch Dob) first off. I don't regret my decision at all but it is my first year and I've only had it out a dozen times in the 3 to 4 months I've had it. I guess I should just stick it in the shed now and forget about it for a couple of years.;)
Seriously, after 3 months of research (recommended) it was the best scope to suit my needs, budget, physique and circumstances. I could have gone bigger but didn't want to stand on a ladder or pay big money. I could have gone smaller but the $$$ savings and slightly better convenience in storage and transport didn't make sense as opposed to getting the biggest aperture practical. I could have bought a GOTO (almost did) but less electronics meant more aperture for less $$$ and it forced me to learn the night sky and I'm enjoying that aspect of it tremendously. I didn't want to do Astrophotography as I don't think I could compete with Hubble so a Dob was the logical choice instead of a SCT.
It's horses for courses I guess. Forums such as these were a great help to me because I didn't have access to star parties and a large variety of telescopes but did do a community college astronomy course to whet my appetite.
I also notice that the slightly larger Dobs 10" - 12" sell a lot quicker in the classifieds then the abundant small ones people are selling in order to upgrade (just my observations made earlier in the year).
Anyway my advice is to research your choices as much as you can. I'm a relative newbie so my advice may not be worth much but I feel you shouldn't be shamed into buying a smaller scope you may be unhappy with just because that's what beginners are expected to do. If you still feel passionate that this hobby is for you after researching your options for 2 to 3 months then get a decent scope and eyepieces. If after that time the passion has waned (lunar pun intended) then maybe a smaller less capable scope is the go to ease you into it.
Like most things in life I believe you get what you pay for but I also acknowledge that an average tool in an expert's hands is superior to an exceptional tool in a novices hands (think sumurai swords for this one). I just don't know why we can't learn with an exceptional tool:shrug: It's got to be less fustrating dosen't it.
:eyepop: 16inch for first scope :lol: nice one Gino i would love one of those but i just cant carry the dam thing LOL i can barely manage the 12inch :lol: but i love it dearly :D and will have many years of enjoyment with it im sure ;)
16-09-2011, 06:35 PM
Gino, a smaller scope is not less capable just because it is smaller. Sometimes a smaller scope can be superior to a larger one. Depends upon the quality and what you are using it for.
Not speaking for others but if Mick thinks that I have tried to shame him into buying a small telescope then I apologize to Mick.
And finally, of course it is possible to learn with an exceptional tool. My first scope was an Orion short tube 4.5" with an F/ of 3.9, an incredible wide field of view and good (at least) optics. In short, (pun intended) it was and is an exceptional telescope. Learning to collimate on a F/ 3.9 is a challenge. But the incredible views it offers of really big stuff (M-42, Eta Carina) make the challenge worthwhile.
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.