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Old 30-12-2019, 08:38 PM
highlander2287 (Brett)
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First Telescope

I want to get into some star watching with my wife and surprise her with a telescope. I would like to be able to view some deep sky stuff so have been doing a bit of googling and research for suitable scopes within my budget range of about $1500-$2000. Have tried to narrow the choices down by looking at scopes with the most positive reviews from owners. At this stage I would mainly be wanting to look from my backyard. Not looking at travelling to locations. Have narrowed it so far to a short list of 200/1000 skywatcher, celestron 8se (although a bit dearer) and a 10" dob. At this stage I am leaning towards the 10" dob and if so down the track maybe getting a dob goto setup to help with location objects. So I was just after any thought or advice on this information. Any advice appreciated.
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Old 30-12-2019, 08:52 PM
spiezzy
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Hi there Brett I think you are leaning the correct way 10" Dob would be perfect for you and your wife and it would be fun for both of you to learn the night sky and find objects using the basics then working to a goto system later on .
love to hear your fist light report when you have a new telescope
cheers Pete
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Old 30-12-2019, 09:37 PM
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Bobbyoutback
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First scope

Hello Brett ,
Seeing this will be your first scope ' consider a 8'' F/6 Dob , it will show you amazing amounts of stuff out there .

It's also easier to collimate being F/6 ' plus being able to be moved in one go .
Also less expensive eyepieces work better at F/6 !

Then after a year you will know what your next scope should be

Regards
Bobby .
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Old 30-12-2019, 09:50 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Hi Brett & welcome to the forum;

Only advice I tend to give on telescopes is buy the one you think you will actually use.. there is no One perfect does it all scope, they all have there strengths & weaknesses both optically & practicality wise.

10" Dob will certainly give you stunning views but, if you can, go & physically see one so you can understand what you might be getting yourself into with regard to moving it around... not saying you won't like it but, only reading reviews & seeing pictures doesn't give you a great understanding of what you will actually be handling... again, not saying anything bad but, you might decide when you've seen these scopes up front & personal that a different scope is best for you.... or you might decide that absolutely the 10" dob is indeed the scope for you.

8" dob won't disappoint either for that matter but, just might be a bit cheaper & a bit easier to handle in order to get started...

With regard to budget & goto... I'm a lazy guy... I love goto... but, now 11 years in, I've decided it's time to learn the sky properly.. My 12" dob doesn't have goto but, it does have digital setting circles & a Nexus DSC so, the only thing is, I'm the motor & it doesn't track... but, that doesn't bother me at all...

If you are considering goto or, you are in a hurry to just see stuff & learn where & what later, then goto is a great investment. Just be aware, you might save money by factoring it into your budget from the get go... to add it on later, first of all, you need to make sure you bought the dob that can have one fitted & secondly, right now, it will cost you around $1500 to buy a Skywatcher kit to add on vs maybe $1100 or so if you buy it with the scope in the first place.

Other thing to do is to peruse the classifieds on here.. some good bargains pop up.. just do your homework & if you can, go take a good look at the scope before you commit.. folk on here can advise you on what to look for & generally speaking, if you are buying from someone with a long history on this site, you will generally be getting top quality/condition gear.. just remember the old, 'buyer beware'...

Have a read of some of the beginner stickies (threads at the top) & browse through the beginners forum in general.. absolute wealth of knowledge to start reading up.. also, don't hesitate to ask questions on here... lots of friendly & very knowledgable people who are more than happy to share their knowledge with you.

Enjoy your new hobby.. you will love it, it will absolutely mesmerise you...

Cheers
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Old 30-12-2019, 10:30 PM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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A 10" DOB will show you a lot more fainter DSOs than an 8" SCT.
But the 8SE has goto, to locate the fainter DSOs.

I relation to mobility, I suggest a Skywatcher 10" collapsible DOB.
You'll notice from my signature, I have one, if you want to come and have a look.

I previously had an 11" goto SCT and the DOB is my preferred instrument. (not to mention $4,000 cheaper)
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Old 31-12-2019, 12:16 PM
highlander2287 (Brett)
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Thanks for all the very helpful replies. I am looking at the skywatcher dob. I have seen the skywatcher goto upgrade kits available. Is there any actual difference between tubes, saxon skywatcher, bintel or are they all just rebadged and you might get different packages depending who you buy from. I have considered a collapsible but have read that they can collect dust and often have issues with regular collimation needed. I have seen a 6" and 8" dob in a shop and they dont look too big. I am led to believe that the 10" will basically be the same size/height just a wider tube and obviosuly heavier.. Common sense probably says I should get an 8" but would really like the extra aperture of the 10". I have a dolly that I can use to move it around on which would help. Anyway still weighing up all options, pretty much decided to get a dob, just a matter of size, collapsible or goto. Thanks again for all the advice so far.

Last edited by highlander2287; 31-12-2019 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 31-12-2019, 06:42 PM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highlander2287 View Post
I have considered a collapsible but have read that they can collect dust and often have issues with regular collimation needed.
Everything collects dust.
Depending on where you store it.
Buy a shroud if you think it necessary.
I used a shroud on a previous 10" SW collapsible dob and 12" GOto collapsible DOB.
I never bothered with my latest 10" collapsible DOB.
No need.

They hold collimation amazingly well.
And that includes over rough roads to dark sites (see Buckets Way and Thunderbolt Way)!

As I said, come and have a look.

Collapsible is so much easier to handle.

Previously, I had a 8" SW Full Tube Newtonian and I DID find it difficult to handle, maneuver and set up.

But admittedly, I was a very newbie then.

Don't be fooled into going Equatorial Mount!
(IMHO)
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Old 31-12-2019, 06:46 PM
raymo
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O.K. Saxon and skywatcher are made in China by Synta, and are mostly identical except for badgeing. Bintel ones are made in Taiwan. Nothing much to choose quality wise, except Bintel focusers have tended to be a little better.
Three downsides to the Bintel scopes are that as far as I know they still don't make GOTO ones, they still don't make collapsible ones, and only certain
models have enough back focus to allow fitting of a camera without being
modified. None of the above applies to SW scopes.
10" SW Collapsible is my pick, GOTO if you can afford it, as adding it later is
prohibitively expensive, as already stated.
I had one until I was almost 75, only gave up when my eyes did. Carried outside in two parts; up and running in 2 or 3 mins.[non GOTO].
Tube held in back seat by seat belt. Base upright in rear of my Corolla hatch.
A+ to everything Allan said. They don't collect dust more than a full tube; they are both open at the end after all. I had a shroud but found
little improvement, so stopped bothering with it. Collimation his held amazingly well as Allan said, in fact unbelievably, better than any of
the numerous closed tubes I've had over the decades. Other types of collapsibles need tweaking after assembly, but just extend the SW tubes fully and nip up the knobs and you are ready to go. The 10" is about 200mm longer than the 8"
raymo

Last edited by raymo; 31-12-2019 at 07:06 PM. Reason: more text
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:22 PM
highlander2287 (Brett)
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Thanks Allan and Raymo for the further comments. I would be happy to go with a collapsible if it doesn't cause the issues I raised that I had read online. Are you still able to stand next to a 10" collapsible if it is 200mm longer and look through the lens. I am not that tall, 5' 7".
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:51 PM
raymo
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You need a small stool,[ preferably adjustable], not tall enough to stand beside.
raymo
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:54 PM
highlander2287 (Brett)
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Is the solid tube the same length as the collapsible or is it a bit shorter.
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Old 31-12-2019, 11:25 PM
raymo
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Same length.
raymo
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:01 AM
astro744
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I have a Skywatcher 250mm, f4.7 solid tube that I bought the kids. It couldn't be simpler or easier to use and carry to the yard. Last thing I wanted was to assemble trusses each time and then require a shroud for a relatively small 'scope. If I were travelling out to remote dark sites then maybe but even then the 'scope fits across the back seat of most cars nicely and the cradle on the front seat. (Of course passengers become an issue!)

The solid tube lifts off the cradle leaving just two pieces to carry out to the back yard. When pointing straight up the eyepiece is at 1230mm from the ground. I am 165cm and have to bend over so you won't have a problem at all.

The front of the primary mirror sits about 300mm from the floor. The focal length is 250 x 4.7 = 1180mm. The eyepiece height = 300+1180-half tube diameter-focuser distance. I find the eyepiece height a little low for lower object angles but the kids like it. I also have a 10.1" f6.4 which I designed to have an eyepiece height at zenith equal to my eye level standing up. This worked great until I got an EQ platform which raised the height a bit. (I don't use the EQ much but its great for extended viewing of the same object at higher power). The Skywatcher 250/f4.7 is at perfect height with the EQ platform. (The new Skywatcher is listed as f5 but the focal length doesn't equate!)

The Bintel/GSO I believe is f5 so focal length is about 75mm longer so still fine for height. I'm not sure how high off the ground the primary of the GSO sits but I doubt it's higher that's the Skywatcher.

I bought mine used and if I were buying new I'd probably buy BINTEL because I don't like the focuser on the Skywatcher I have (I thinks it's earlier model). For some strange reason it has a stop inside the 2' barrel preventing the insertion of a Paracorr fully (unable to active focus with one) and also preventing a 2" laser collimator Barlow plug from being seen from inside the tube. (I used the Astrosystems model). This may have been addressed on the newer models and it's not really an issue for general use as the focuser is solid. The kids don't use the Paracorr and as a beginner you won't need one to enjoy the views. As for collimation I have reverted to visual sight tube and star test and once done it holds collimation nicely.

If you are near BINTEL go into store and have a look at their models. If 250mm is not too big for you and you can afford it then don't even consider smaller apertures. As for eyepieces that is a whole new topic and you will likely add to your set in years to come but you can still enjoy the night sky with the eyepieces that come with it.

Whatever you choose, enjoy!
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:47 AM
highlander2287 (Brett)
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Thank you astro744 for some great info.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:54 AM
raymo
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Don't forget that most Bintel Dobs do not have enough back focus to attach
a camera. Check with them that your chosen scope is suitable for photography.
raymo
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:51 PM
Nightingale
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The people who are advising you to get a large Dobsonian without GOTO and tracking are purely and simply giving you the wrong advice..

In fact, if you are a beginner, you should get a GOTO system.. period! even if it is a smaller aperture scope.. You will learn the night sky quicker rather than wasting time looking and tracking yr object.. this will save you a lot of frustrating nights.. believe me, I have been there..

It is actually the other way round.. a larger Dobsonian is actually for more experienced astronomers... as it takes time and patience to find the object, balance your scope with heavy eyepieces and manually track your object...

Do not make the mistake I made! Always get a GOTO as a beginner (whatever type or aperture you can afford).. the mount is by far the most important part of your telescope.. and tracking is very very important.. in a Dobsonian, your beautiful globular cluster would have veered out of your field of view by the time you picked up a new eyepiece to change the magnification..
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightingale View Post
The people who are advising you to get a large Dobsonian without GOTO and tracking are purely and simply giving you the wrong advice..

In fact, if you are a beginner, you should get a GOTO system.. period! even if it is a smaller aperture scope.. You will learn the night sky quicker rather than wasting time looking and tracking yr object.. this will save you a lot of frustrating nights.. believe me, I have been there..

It is actually the other way round.. a larger Dobsonian is actually for more experienced astronomers... as it takes time and patience to find the object, balance your scope with heavy eyepieces and manually track your object...

Do not make the mistake I made! Always get a GOTO as a beginner (whatever type or aperture you can afford).. the mount is by far the most important part of your telescope.. and tracking is very very important.. in a Dobsonian, your beautiful globular cluster would have veered out of your field of view by the time you picked up a new eyepiece to change the magnification..
I agree completely with this... if you want to see stuff from the get go.... then buy something with goto... if you want to faff around, try to learn to starhop & possibly get frustrated & give up, then don't buy a goto...

I've been at this hobby now for 11 years... I'd have given up long ago if I hadn't bought a goto mount for the 80mm refractor I started with... I now own a large aperture custom built dobsonian that doesn't have goto but, it still has DSC & a Nexus device so I can find stuff... but, if your budget is $2000, you aren't even in vaguely in the hunt for what I purchased...

I am only now beginning to get interested in actually learning the night sky but, it will be a slow process... in the meantime, I have my goto & my DSC's to still find things whilst I learn... so the slow process will not prevent me from seeing things & will therefore cause me little to no frustration..

So, for your budget, there are actually a number of options that you might consider & still get goto, even if you purchase new... even a 10" dob with goto is not that far a stretch from your stated budget...

As Nightingale suggests, goto is a must if you want to stay interested & see things whilst you learn... I could not endorse his suggestion any more strongly..

There will be many others on here that disagree & that's their right... just because goto wasn't an option when they got into the hobby (in some cases) or because they were single minded enough to learn the night sky as they got into the hobby, doesn't mean everyone is or that you are...

The technology exists & is quite affordable.. why not use it to your advantage...
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:19 AM
highlander2287 (Brett)
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Ive got to say I agree with the last few comments as well. No offence to all advice received. I have no idea what I would be looking for or where it is. I know you can use apps etc but as mentioned I wouldn't want to get frustrated by not being able to find much and therefore lose interest quickly, so my preference is no matter what I may end up buying to try and get it with goto.

Last edited by highlander2287; 02-01-2020 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:47 AM
GodsPetMonkey
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Agree with all the GOTO suggestions. While the old manual dob is the classic cheap way to get wow-views for beginners, GOTO is a life saver. I started the manual way, with an 8" collapsible, and about 18 months later spent the money on a GOTO base (ouch...); much better!


This is especially the case if you are bringing your misses along. Even if your the patient sort to enjoy the nudge-nudge-just-a-bit-over-there hunt, the person not spending that time looking through the eye-piece is going to get bored.



But the biggest benefit of GOTO isn't the actual go to your target function, it's the tracking - nothing worse then calling your wife over to have a look, and by the time she is there and has lined up a clear view through the eyepiece, it's gone! Ugh. Keeping the target in view, and being able to make small adjustments with the hand controller is well worth the price of admission.


Fortunately both the 8" and 10" collapsible GOTO dobs from SkyWatcher are in your budget. Pick one of those, and be happy.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:46 PM
astro744
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I forgot about GOTO and I think its a great idea for some but I prefer to learn the sky from books, charts and looking up. The problem I see with GOTO is that the telescope finds your objects, you look at them and then move onto the next one (provided your system is properly setup to begin with). You don't learn how to find them yourself by star hoping as you don't need to and even the concept of field of view is not critical although try GOTO with high power/narrow field and you'll get frustrated. I find it amazing how many people think an entire constellation is visible in the telescope through a single eyepiece at one time. Point your finger out at arms length and the width of your fingernail is about what you see at low power.

I like to take my charts out and star hop to objects of interest and I try to memorise where each is. Over time I can find a dozen objects before I would have even gotten my GOTO aligned on some reference stars. I have both GOTO and Push To on separate mounts (GM8/Gemini I and AZ8/Nexus II+moving map on phone/tablet) and do not use either feature other than EQ tracking on the GM8. I have an EQ platform for my Dobs but most of the time don't use it.

The only use I would have for GOTO is to provide tracking for extended viewing of planets and that would be the only reason to include it in a purchase if I were shopping. If you choose GOTO for whatever reason, just don't sacrifice aperture too much in your decision. If you were contemplating 250mm and if this with GOTO is too expensive then get the 200mm with GOTO but definitely no less than 150mm with GOTO. There is a 2.78x brightenss difference between 150mm and 250mm apertures and this is noticeable especially on faint galaxies and yes most of them are faint.

150 to 200 = 1.78x
200 to 250 = 1.56x

I don't want to give you aperture fever though so don't get me wrong as you can have a lifetime of enjoyment with 150mm, 200mm or 250mm. If you like gizmos and gadgets then get the GOTO but it can be frustrating too when the telescope says the object is in the field of view but you don't see it. Its either way off, just outside the field of view or too faint for you to see. If you star hop you'll know if you're in the right area and if you refer to some reference books you'll know if this object should be visible. Sky Safari Pro has all the charts you'll ever need as well as the reference data but remember to use night mode and dim the lights otherwise you'll ruin you night vision each time. I personally do not take my tablet outside at night when I'm observing and prefer printed charts, field guides and a dim red torch.

Whatever you choose enjoy and if it be GOTO, I encourage you to still try and learn the sky and how to navigate around it if you can. If planets are your main interest then anything with tracking is highly recommended (not critical), otherwise complete manual operation is fine but you will need some charts and reference books and learn how to star hop as its a great method for finding things and highly recommended.

For your information I have used Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe for over 35 years and it is still my main atlas. I complement it with Uranometria when I want to go deeper for certain galaxies. The revised version has star names included which the original didn't but otherwise they are both excellent printed charts. The deluxe (black stars on white background with colour DSOs) is best; I have never liked the whites stars on black background field version but that doesn't mean you wont.

I mentioned the Nexus II+moving map on tablet earlier and this is a great Push To option and you can learn the sky this way as there is a cross hair on the screen showing you where the telescope is pointed and you can use Sky Safari to do a tour mode of selected objects. It will show you where to push your telescope to. The Nexus II black box and encoders can be added to just about any DOB mount aftermarket. You just need a tablet or phone. As I said I've got this on one of my mounts but still prefer a fully manual operated Dob/Alt Az and to hunt down the objects by star hopping. Maybe that's just me.

Note to clarify a point; GOTO tracking on an Alt-Az mount such as a DOB is not EQ tracking as neither axis is aligned with the Earth's rotational axis. It is perfectly adequate for visual observing but there is field rotation which is only a problem with long exposure astrophotography.
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