Old 13-08-2019, 08:41 PM
Astroneer (Alex)
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Getting Started!

Hello all and thank you for accepting me in to the forum.

I am just getting in to astronomy and have been using a pair of old binoculars.

After my initial research I have pretty much settled on purchasing the Skywatcher 8" Dobsonian set (possibly the black diamond collapsible model).

In the mean time I have been looking at some entry level Dobsonian scopes such as the Saxon 76 or Skywatcher Heritage 76 to get my feat wet and have a bit of fun (my expectations are reasonable with what I can achieve with such scopes)

My question is will these entry level 3" scopes serve well as spotter scopes down the track when I get the 8" Scope? or should I just skip this idea and wait until I get the 8"?

My goals are deep sky and planet viewing and I hope to attach an iPhone to the scopes (both the 3" to start and the 8" later) for viewing and some amateur photography.

All the best!

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Old 13-08-2019, 08:54 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Welcome to IIS
Personally I would opt for the Skywatcher 8Ē collapsible dob as your starter telescope ( if budget allows get the Goto version )
The 8Ē dob comes with ( I think ) a 8 x 50 finder scope anyway , plus some entry level eye pieces
This scope will provide great views of most objects in the night sky
A great all round scope
I hope others chime in and provide advice for you , but thatís my recommendation
I started with a 10Ē dob and it gave me great views and good grounding in astronomy for the first 3 years
I now have a Skywatcher 12Ē Goto dob which is my scope for life or until I canít move it anymore
Good Luck and enjoy this amazing hobby !
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Old 13-08-2019, 10:17 PM
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Hi Alex,

Welcome to IIS. I canít give you any visual advice as my equipment is almost solely used to image. Just thought Iíd take the opportunity to welcome a new member. Good luck with your new endeavor which ever scope you purchase
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Old 13-08-2019, 10:38 PM
gaseous (Patrick)
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I agree with Martin - forgo the 3" scopes and put the hard earned towards the 8" dob. Goto if budget permits, but even without it, it'll be a good scope for many years, or until you come down with a dose of aperture fever.
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Old 14-08-2019, 12:00 PM
Astroneer (Alex)
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. I guess one key point I should have mentioned is space in the short term. It will be a couple of months before I have room to store an 8" scope and wanted to get going sooner, the 3" scopes seem to range from $90 to $130 which wont break the bank, and could be gifted to a family member if I tired of them at any stage.

I had also considered a Goto but for some reason thought I should learn how to navigate manually in the beginning.. is that just being stubborn or is their value in learning the traditional way first before moving to a goto system?
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Old 14-08-2019, 12:38 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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The Goto version can also be used manually to push pull nudge across the night sky

So you buy the Goto and get the best of both worlds

The Goto is not that daunting , it will teach you the night sky as you have to use alignment stars to set the navigation platform for the hand controller

There are plenty of IIS members to help you along if you choose the Goto

Also itís expensive and a bit complicated to convert a manual dob to Goto , doesnít make sense to me doing that down the track

All the best in your decision
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Old 14-08-2019, 03:29 PM
Astroneer (Alex)
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Thanks Martin, I see your point, a later upgrade to a Goto mount would make the total cost quite a bit more.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 19-08-2019, 12:57 PM
Dober (Steve)
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Hi Alex and welcome,

I too have just taken up the hobby. I wanted to get something that I could use and learn on for awhile so like you considered an 8" Dob so purchased a second hand Goto 8" in very good condition as my first scope. I am getting my head around the Goto which takes a little to understand how it works in terms of initial setup and use of the hand piece.

Getting there slowly but was pushing it around to find objects while getting used to that system. I have not regretted the extra outlay as it will prove handy in finding the fainter objects and learning about whats out there.

From my limited experience and research the 8" at F6 are said to easier on eyepieces and a good size to transport. Its really wetting my appetite and can see myself looking at a 14" or maybe a 16" in the future. When you can afford it I would recommend you invest in a couple of quality eyepieces to get the best from the scope.

Startrek is right they come with a straight through 9 x 50 finder scope but I purchased a right angled corrected finder to eliminate the neck strain I was getting.

Can recommend the 8", a cheaper scope may disappoint.

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Old 27-08-2019, 08:42 AM
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sil (Steve)
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I say grab the orion tabletop dob (red aluminium tube), its 100mm).This is the only "entry" scope I've used and still use that really amazes, it punches above its level and for once comes with two eyepieces that work well to not disappoint out of the box. Its useless for astrophotography (at least for attaching a cam since it cant reach focus with cam attached, this goes for all entry scopes really). you find as you get into astronomy a small simple pleasurable scope always gets use even if you have a big expensive one so this one would not be a waste of money. I've bought it for others too, its way ahead of the FirstScope/clones which are a waste of money in every respect. plus if you use better quality eyepieces with the orion it works well with them too. Besides right now you're starting out and likely to spend money unwisely and after a few years will finally realise it so decide and spend as you see fit, until you get actual experience with using and living with a telescope you wont comprehend the advice people give.
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Old 27-08-2019, 06:10 PM
Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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I'm not going to give you any advice there are many here better qualified

Can I just say that of all the forums that are available THIS has to be just about the most friendly, ask anything, and you will receive real advice from some of the nicest people
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Old 28-08-2019, 08:01 AM
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Hi Alex and welcome to the forum. Since you want something now to get you going until you’re ready for your next scope, then what Sil has suggested is worth considering. It’s in your price range at $90-130, it’s mechanics are the same as the scope you intend to buy (8” Dobsonian) and you can easily take it with you when travelling. One day if you decide to get rid of it (which I doubt you will) you can pass it on to someone else without a huge financial loss. Table tops are great and although they might look like a toy or gimmick I can assure you that they’re far more useful than they appear.

I have one but it’s gone missing. I suspect kidnapped by some strangers who pose as friends. Last I heard little Saxon was somewhere in Central Aus and getting plenty of sky time. Here’s the only picture I have of the little fella. I hope they bring him back soon.
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Old 28-08-2019, 06:31 PM
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Yes go for it. I have had a couple of scopes up to 12 inch and you do get caught in wanting bigger but for visual I like a cheap pair of 80mm binos .... a d with something small and a dark site you still see a fair few interesting objects...and also may I welcome you here as well.
And remember you can never have too many scopes...they all have their particular application...
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