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  #1  
Old 28-08-2010, 12:31 PM
soccerstuie
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Redland City, Australia
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Super Newb

Hello everyone

My wife and myself have always discussed getting into Astronomy, but have never made the time to learn.

Well, my 3.5 y/o daughter has started talking space, planets, etc, so we figured we should take this opportunity to learn and maybe teach her something along the way.

I've just been browsing articles and blogs trying to gauge what the general consensus for beginners is, I'm hoping to get something that can see the planets in some detail and be able to check out galaxies too. It seems that Dobsonian telescopes seem to offer the best bang per buck, so my mind is kind of made up there, but feel free to offer any advice. What I would like to know is, how long can I expect to use a Dob for if I get swept up in this very interesting hobby, (do these offer enthusiasts the capabilities they need)?

I want to spend $500 max, and don't know if I should get the telescope with the biggest aperture or should I be looking for quality within this price range (seems like anything around this mark is going to be similar).

Also, as a beginner should I be looking at a 'goto' model or should I get regular scope. My feeling is I should really get a feel for this and do it manually.

Sorry if this is a little disjointed.

Thanks again.
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  #2  
Old 28-08-2010, 01:10 PM
astro744
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Posts: 708
Welcome!

A 6" f8 or 8" f6 Dob will last you a lifetime. Go the 8" if you can afford it. Get some good star charts, many are free but I still recommend Sky Atlas 2000.0 Deluxe. There is also Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion which lists every object in the charts. The 8", Sky Atlas & Companion will blow your $500 but that is all you will need for a while, except a red torch too ($20).

Note the charts wont show the planets but a free program such as Stellarium will show you where they are and also give you the co-ordinates which you can cross reference with your atlas.

Forget GOTO for now. It's expensive and I feel you don't learn the sky as much since you never really navigate the charts yourself to get from object to object. You can always add Argo Navis to your Dob later which is really the ultimate in semi-goto (push to) technology.

Enjoy!
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  #3  
Old 28-08-2010, 02:38 PM
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bmitchell82 (Brendan)
Newtonian power! Love it!

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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Mandurah
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all wrapped up in one juicy morsel of a post!

Only things that i can give you as on top of the things that Astro has already mentioned is the collimation equipment this is a must and cannot be ignored and purchased later.

as a beginner a simple laser collimator for 50-100 bucks will see you over the line but in that range you will have to do some slight modifications to it to make it more accurate (just ask its an easy modification).

Don't forget the IIS classified's you might get something that is bigger and better for the same kind of coin.

Good luck mate and remember to ask as many questions as you can we are all here to help and this is an active forum! generally getting a response within the hour (ahhh tooo geeky sometimes )

Kind regards
Brendan
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  #4  
Old 28-08-2010, 04:52 PM
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Jen
Moving to Pandora

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Location: Swan Hill
Posts: 6,937
to IIS you will learn plenty here the guys here are very helpful

Yep go the dob for sure very easy to use

Happy astro shopping But be warned you may as well just open ya wallet up on the astro shop counter and tell them to help themselves
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  #5  
Old 28-08-2010, 05:33 PM
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astroron (Ron)
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Location: Cambroon Queensland Australia
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I will add the usual, Go to an Astronomy night and peruse the scopes there before you spend your well earned coin
to IIS you wont look back
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  #6  
Old 28-08-2010, 10:02 PM
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Suzy
Searching for Travolta...

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Location: Brisbane, Australia.
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Hi & a very warm welcome to you

Astro744 & Brendan said everything that needed to be said to help you - wonderful advice from them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
Hello everyone

My wife and myself have always discussed getting into Astronomy, but have never made the time to learn.
Have a look at a thread I recently started in the Astronomy Books & Media Section. http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=64628 This is a really helpful book to guide you through the night sky (and lots of other great info too!) I do hope it's still available at Australia Post though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
Well, my 3.5 y/o daughter has started talking space, planets, etc, so we figured we should take this opportunity to learn and maybe teach her something along the way.
I have just this moment started a new thread in the Astronomy Books & Media Section, for help with looking for a simple Astronomy book to entice a 9 year old into Astronomy. Depending on the feedback I get, this may help your little one as well. http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=65219 This is a very new thread that I posted, so please give it some time to gather some helpful feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
I've just been browsing articles and blogs trying to gauge what the general consensus for beginners is, I'm hoping to get something that can see the planets in some detail and be able to check out galaxies too. It seems that Dobsonian telescopes seem to offer the best bang per buck, so my mind is kind of made up there, but feel free to offer any advice. What I would like to know is, how long can I expect to use a Dob for if I get swept up in this very interesting hobby, (do these offer enthusiasts the capabilities they need)?
I've owned both the 6" & 10" dobs. The 6" is considered "the entry level serious telescope" and will give you plenty to look at. An 8" or larger will keep you happier for longer! The difference? What was feint in my 6" is now brighter and more colourful in my 10". The 10" is where I myself personally max out with handling, portability and transportability (you need to consider this). The 6" to 10" dobs are the same length, and can take up a lot of room in the car. I have a large car (new Holden Commodore, and the base wont go in the boot, so is strapped in on the back seat with all the rest of the stuff (chairs, boxes of gear), and the tube just fits in the boot. So please check this out first. Basically go for the largest apperture you can handle and afford.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
I want to spend $500 max, and don't know if I should get the telescope with the biggest aperture or should I be looking for quality within this price range (seems like anything around this mark is going to be similar).
$500 will buy you a brand new 8" dob, or a second hand 10" dob - keep an on the classifieds here.
Another thing to consider is that if you take your scope out to a dark site, it is very much like adding on extra apperture. With my 6" as much as I tried, I could not get a hold of M104 (Sombrero Galaxy), took it out to a dark site- and bam there it was (albeit feint) but it showed up better than my current 10" in suburbia. Make sense? That being said, my 10" in suburbia resolves globular clusters much better than my 6" in suburbia (wow, can't wait to get it out in a dark site). Hope I haven't confused you, just trying to give you an idea of some difference that I have experienced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
Also, as a beginner should I be looking at a 'goto' model or should I get regular scope. My feeling is I should really get a feel for this and do it manually.
If you chose the "go-to" option which is more expensive, you will sacrifice apperture in replacement of go-to capability. Aperture matters- you want as much light as possible to get into your scope to give you more detail. Worry about that later and get an Argo Narvis when the time comes. Have fun learning and understanding the sky first (yes, there'll be tantrums at times, but you will get a lot reward when you find things yourself ). This is the journey I'm on and I love the challenge. I've set myself a minimum of 12 months (expires Dec. ) to manually learn the skies - and it has been exhilarating! I am not a patient person, and manually learning the skies has been highly rewarding for me even surprised myself by learning patience. There is no one out there with me though that I can mame and yell at when things don't go to plan . Don't kid yourself, there will be tanties

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
Sorry if this is a little disjointed.
Far from it! You have made my job very easy - I only had to step through each paragraph to answer you, as you can see...

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstuie View Post
Thanks again.
You are most welcome! We are here to help
I will also add:
Do not worry about extra eyepieces, barlows or whatever accessories first up. Get to know your telescope first. Worry about these things later. Just get yourself some computer software (be it Starry Nights -I recommend- or download the free Stellarium software). You can print the maps from these and put them into a plastic sleeves. Please do however, get yourself a Planisphere - these are highly helpful for anyone new learning the skies (the constellations take on a different shape as the hours progress, and can be confusing). Don't forget to dark adapt your eyes for a good 15mts (30 better). If you do have to come inside, just keep your viewing eye closed or use an eye patch.
Here's a thread I posted a while ago to give beginners some tips on observing http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...observing+tips Please do take the time to read this, as it really is quite helpful.

Enjoy! you are in for such a great time!
All the best,
Suzy.
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  #7  
Old 28-08-2010, 10:06 PM
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Suzy
Searching for Travolta...

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Location: Brisbane, Australia.
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My fingers are numb now
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