View Full Version here: : What to buy as a starter scope
30-10-2011, 09:22 PM
I am thinking of taking up astronomy as a serious hobby and I just have two thousands dollars to spend, which I know is not a lot!
What would be the best starter scope for my money.
There are so many options to consider,
Refractors or relectors or sct?
Goto or push to?
What is the appropriate diameter?
Is second hand scopes worth considering?
What brand to consider or avoid?
I will appreciates as many comments as possible so I can avoid the pitfalls that awaits.
30-10-2011, 10:04 PM
Second hand is worth considering if you knowvwhat you are looking for
Is it Visual only? What observe experience do you have, is room/size or weight an issue..thinks lie goto push to come to personal prefs, I don't like goto & prefer pushto
30-10-2011, 10:36 PM
Hi Tom and welcome toIIS.
There are lots of options for scopes. You need to decide what sort us observing or target interested in and are you wanting to do visual only or imaging.
If you are mainly interested in visual then a couple of grand is plenty to get started. A nice dob say 10" or 12" will cost under $1k and leave plenty for eyepieces, charts and books and basic dew prevention.
If you want go to you are going to get less aperture. Best strategy is to get. O a club or observing night and check out a few scopes.
31-10-2011, 12:24 AM
Second hand is definitely the way to go, you get so much more from your money, but do your research first and don't be afraid to ask questions on here about your potential purchase before you spend the dollars.
You are in Melbourne, so there are loads of local astro groups where you could turn up to a night and get a look through and at different scopes.
If it was me and I had that money to spend, I'd get a 2nd hand 8 or 10" SCT or a 4 or 5 inch APO refractor and a computerised mount to suit it.
I'd also grab a Click-Stop zoom eyepiece, say an 8-24mm to get started with, buying 2nd hand you may pick up a range of eyepieces with it.
I've never been a fan of Dobs, but most people swear by them as a first scope. I find them annoying ;)
Brands, hard to say, just check on the forum before you buy anything and you should be right.
You'll get a lot of conflicting advice as to what is *best* for you, but you will find most people will be in agreement with what is junk and will steer you clear of any disasters.
31-10-2011, 09:06 AM
Thanks for the advice and comment.
I intend to start slow, and I don't think I am that good enough to do astro photo.
I have been looking at the night sky all these years with a 12x bino and still not good enough to star hop or really know what I am looking at, though Sky Map on my Ipad is helping a lot these days!
Push to Dob is good value for my money, only problem is, I will be spending time pointing correctly at the object I want to see and even then, will not know for sure if you are looking at the right thing!
Goto solves this but you will be spending money on the electronics beside the optics and how good are they anyway?
Can anyone recommend the scopes by brand and model that I should consider that will make it under my two thousands dollar budget?
31-10-2011, 07:34 PM
Hard to beat a Meade or Celestron SCT. Goto convenience, large aperture, good views. Not ideal for imaging but great for visual.
I used to marvel at my Celeston NX11. The computer comes up with a tour of visible objects for that time of year and location and you just tour around and see maybe 30 objects in an hour easily. So cool.
Some of my best planet views were with that scope. 2nd hand they may be around that price including a few eyepieces. A 19mm Televue Panoptic is hard to beat as an all round performer. 26m Plossl and a Nagler or two are fabulous. I found Televue eyepieces the best.
31-10-2011, 07:56 PM
I agree that with a pure manual scope you do have to spend time moving to objects, but a little practice makes that a fairly simple operation. I had a little go to scope and I know when looking for some of the brighter objects, I could beat it everytime with my dob. And I didn't have to spend time at the beginning aligning my dob!
Also you may know you are looking at the right spot, but if your budget restricts your aperture to 6" or 8", many objects will be so faint you cannot see them anyway, while the observer next to you with a 12" dob is happily viewing some really faint galaxies.
As for brands, in dobs GSO, Bintel (GSO rebadged, Skywatcher, Saxon (Skywatchers with different badge), Meade (made by GSO anyways) all do well, main differences are in the accessories and bits that come with the scope.
Of course if a go to SCT floats your boat, by all means go for it, they are great scopes, just be aware you are sacrificing aperture for the goto!
01-11-2011, 11:37 AM
Oh, BTW, big question, will this be setup in your backyard or will you be travelling to use it?
As stated in the other posts, you could easily get a C8 on an EQ6Pro for under $2000, which would be an impressive combination and give you options for other scopes later.
01-11-2011, 11:52 AM
I have not consider the mount as yet.
EQ mount is universal but I read, it is hard to align but you will need it for astro photo.
So should I go for EQ or Alta Z?
Question on aperture, is 8" sufficient?
The telescope shops are suggesting, I go for at least a 10" Dob which comes in under a grand.
I would like a scope that gives a good compromise between aperture and portability that is it has to come under 35 kilo and yet will allow you to see most of what you want to see!
And I prefer a well known respected brand so that it case I need to trade up, it will not lose its value too much.
So..any suggestion by Manufacturer and Model no?
01-11-2011, 12:31 PM
I assume you are meaning an EQ6Pro and C8 under $2k would be second hand? A package like that from Andrews for example would be $2700 plus shipping.
Tom. I have a 12" solid tube dob and easily transport it in my Astra Wagon. Have no hesitation in recommending a GSO dob (Bintel sell them under their own name see here http://www.bintel.com.au/Telescopes/Dobsonian/33/catmenu.aspx )
or from Andrews see here http://www.andrewscom.com.au/site-section-10.htm I have dealt with both companies and they will give excellent service. Would recommend you try to get to see a dob in action so you can assess portability, once you get over 8" they are quite large!
Re aperture. 8" will show heaps, planets, moon, all the messier objects and hundreds of others. Even in the city! But more aperture will always show you more.
Yes EQ mounts are harder to use, need to be aligned to pole, roughly for visual, very precisely for imaging. So if you go that route you are giving yourself options to get into imaging later on, but minimum mount for successful imaging is the EQ6pro or similar which is a big initial investment.
01-11-2011, 05:59 PM
Some good advice here.
If you are purely visual alt az mounts are the way to go. The GPS versions. You turn them on, they work out where they are and off they go - so impressive.
8 inch shows heaps. 11 inch showed a lot. My Celestron 11 inch would have been around the 35kg band possibly a tad more and was about as large as you want to go for portability. Perhaps a Meade 12 inch - there are plenty here that use them so perhaps someone can chime in here about Meade 12 inch as to its portability. I would have thought it would be at the outer edge of portability.
I had a Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS. They are about 5 to 6 years old now.
01-11-2011, 07:20 PM
It might be worthwhile considering the new Meade LX80 10 inch SCT. It has all the traits you are looking for.
Alt-Az mount convertible to Eq mode and Bintel have it advertised for an amazing $2699.00
If course this is a brand new Meade model so there are probably not that many people that could vouch for how good it is in practice.
03-11-2011, 10:01 AM
There is 12" GoTo for sale on this forum for $1650.
Great scope, almost new, easy to set up.
04-11-2011, 12:45 AM
I am not sure, I can handle a scope this size.
Is this scope, one that you can take in and out?
How is the optics, does anyone has one and can comment?
It is quite late, wonder if anyone is still awake....
04-11-2011, 03:30 AM
I just bought my girlfriend an Orion Atlas EQ-G (i.e., an EQ6) as an upgrade for her Nextar 8i mount. It's shockingly easy to polar align using the supplied polar alignment scope which was correctly adjusted right out of the box. The one, two or three star alignment is also amazingly easy to perform even if you don't know the names of any stars at all. Overall a very good little mount and rock solid with a Celestron 8-inch SCT OTA on it. On yea, I bought the little GPS unit for it. That makes it super easy. You then just have to hit enter to just about everything during start up. Nice.
05-11-2011, 12:06 AM
There is a review of 12" collapsible but not GoTo:
I have 12" Bintel solid tube Dob and I am very pleased with it. Before this one I had 8" Skywatcher Dob and very quickly learned that aperture rules.
Of course as others mentioned you have to consider other things like portability, size of your car, how heavy it is for you, collimation ect.
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