Go Back   IceInSpace > Beginners Start Here > Beginners Equipment Discussions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 22-11-2018, 04:41 PM
countryboy (Justin)
Registered User

countryboy is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Armidale
Posts: 5
Telescope present, what to buy?

Hello everyone,

I have been picked to buy a relative a telescope as a gift for their 40th birthday. I know absolutely nothing about telescopes and I hope that someone can steer me in the right direction.

The relative has an interest in astronomy, hence the decision to give a telescope as a gift. The budget is around $600 or so.

Knowing nothing, I'm intrigued by those telescopes that can be controlled by your smartphone - are they any good? Something like that might well appeal to my relative.

Any assistance that can be provided would be appreciated.
Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 22-11-2018, 05:53 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
BigBanger

Wavytone is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Killara, Sydney
Posts: 3,888
Well, at one extreme Kmart have some small scopes for $20.

Quote:
Originally Posted by countryboy View Post
those telescopes that can be controlled by your smartphone
... the ones I'm aware of are well outside your budget though.

Best starting point is a pair of good 7 x 50 binoculars and a copy of say Nortons Star Atlas or similar - this isn't just an atlas BTW it is an excellent guide for beginners on all aspects but sadly out of print. A planisphere also will come in handy.

Your budget does stretch - just - to an 8" dob which is also a good start https://www.bintel.com.au/product/bi...nch-dobsonian/
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 22-11-2018, 06:24 PM
Wilso (Darren)
Registered User

Wilso is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Gawler
Posts: 282
+1 for the good binoculars
A good way to start!
I received mine for my birthday 20 odd yrs ago and still use them today when observing.
Excellent gift and you can use them for terrestrial use also.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 22-11-2018, 06:47 PM
spiezzy
Registered User

spiezzy is online now
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Helensburgh NSW
Posts: 319
Hi there Justin I would be looking at a Dob 6" or 8" give the boys at Bintel a call and have a chat with them they are very helpful and I am sure they will sort you out hope your relative enjoys his new scope
cheers Pete
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 22-11-2018, 07:04 PM
Stonius's Avatar
Stonius (Markus)
Registered User

Stonius is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 923
+1 for 8" dob.

Avoid any kind of computerisation at this stage - it just makes things too complicated for a beginner.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 22-11-2018, 07:33 PM
AndrewF (Andrew)
Registered User

AndrewF is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Warragul, VIC
Posts: 6
If you really want to spend up to your budget than I'd definitely recommend an 8" dob as well. But for a gift I'd be looking at something like the link below. Doesn't require any assembly and you could put some of the remaining budget towards a book or two (Atlas of the Southern Night Sky or something on the Messier objects maybe).

https://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/p...e-dobsonian-2/
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 23-11-2018, 01:02 AM
wavelandscott's Avatar
wavelandscott (Scott)
Plays well with others!

wavelandscott is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ridgefield CT USA
Posts: 3,248
This is actually a really hard question and it really depends on the relative, their health and interests. Each type of scope has a set of merits and demerits...so the answer can be different for every situation.

For your budget the best bang for your buck is a refelecting telescope.

A 6 or 8 inch Dobsonian mounted reflecting telescope is a great choice for someone who is interested in observing the night sky. Great views of the moon, planets and a good number deep sky objects and double stars. Easy set up for an able bodied person but a bit bulky to transport. Probably needs an adjustable height chair to get maximum enjoyment. Not great (as Dobsonian mounted) to take pictures. Not good for terrestrial viewing.

Within your budget would also be a number of limited quality refractors. Good for moon and larger planets, some limited deep sky objects. Low cost means limited optical quality. Within your budget, could have some goto abilities but again limited in solid quality. Capable of terrestrial viewing. Looks like a telescope with tripod (but likely not so stable)

Might be best to get their input (I know this spoils the surprise)...maybe consider giving them an observers guide and a “gift certificate” for them to pick one out of their choosing. In my opinion there are few things worse than an unused scope (of any quality) in the closet or garage.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23-11-2018, 08:29 AM
countryboy (Justin)
Registered User

countryboy is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Armidale
Posts: 5
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I understand there's probably no single perfect answer. It does seem that something computerised is probably not a great idea - perhaps if the gift really piques their interest they can progress down the path themselves.

A copy of Norton Star Atlas or similar is a good idea too, regardless of which approach.

Thanks again for the feedback.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23-11-2018, 08:46 AM
countryboy (Justin)
Registered User

countryboy is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Armidale
Posts: 5
Just an aside, is this any good?

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Telescope

https://www.bintel.com.au/product/ce...omaster-130eq/
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23-11-2018, 09:33 AM
astro744
Registered User

astro744 is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 802
Give him a card with a generic picture of a telescope in it and make a day trip to Sydney and go shopping. I highly recommend a visit to a dedicated Astronomy shop and thoroughly recommend Bintel as their initial purchase and after sales support is excellent.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 23-11-2018, 09:54 AM
DeWynter's Avatar
DeWynter (ILYA)
Registered User

DeWynter is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 55
+1 for a good pair of binoculars. Also can be used at daytime. But I would go with 10x50 or 12x50 instead of 7x50. Still fine for hand-holding but gives you more magnification.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 23-11-2018, 11:03 AM
m11 (Mel)
Registered User

m11 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 361
Hi Justin,

Everyone has provided excellent advice regarding a first scope.
Binos are great for starting off but I found you want more after the first year of owning them. The best option is to grab a pair of binos and a cheap dob to start off with. A tripod for the bino helps as well as I found hand holding the binos tireing after a period of time. If you do get a tripod I would get something in around 10x70mm or 15x70mm for the binos.

I found a goto dob an excellent scope for me starting but this will be out of your budget.

I would steer away from the wifi smartphone controls as I have seen others struggle to align and control the scope.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

Regards,

M11
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 23-11-2018, 12:03 PM
Kunama
...

Kunama is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,588
It is hard to find better "Views per $$$" than an 8" F6 Dobsonian with a couple of half decent eyepieces that give magnifications of 60-80x and 120-180x, perhaps a 20mm or 15mm and around 8mm.

These would be useable under most conditions.....
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23-11-2018, 12:09 PM
Jasp05 (Aaron)
Registered User

Jasp05 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Rockhampton
Posts: 204
I personally own an 8 inch dob and anytime I have shown friends or family objects through it, they are blown away.

8 inch is probably the sweet spot for portability versus maximum aperture as well as budget.

However a 6 inch Dob will keep them busy for a long time to come. Most scopes will come with a few eyepieces as standard I believe. But a barlow lens might come in handy for planets.

The EQ mount you listed below will be decent for a beginner. But will have more of a learning curve as it will need to be polar aligned, balance the scope etc. and finding objects in the sky won't be as "intuitive" as the dobsonian due to the way the Equatorial mount moves. But these are all things they will need / want to learn if they decide to continue on in this hobby.

As far as ease of use and best views the dobsonian is going to win hands down. It's literally just a case of plonk the telescope outside, throw an eyepiece in and your viewing.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 23-11-2018, 12:45 PM
sil's Avatar
sil (Steve)
Not even a speck of dust

sil is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 1,330
Justin, forget what you think a telescope should look like. Also ignore magnification numbers, its a selling point that means nothing really. Like PMPO on stereos. The correct option for the situation (regardless budget) is a dobsonian. Anything from Kmart/ AustGeo etc stores ignore totally. Bintel (the BINocular and TELescope store, specialise in guess what???? they dont need to force a product on you for a sale like retailers will, they will give you honest and accurate advice.) a six inch dobsonian will blow your relative away and if storage space, moving it outside and physical health is a concern its the best choice, but an 8inch dob is a step up, but not essential. The reality is most people end up with several scopes to use and the old trusty dob is always perfect for a quick viewing session and for sharing with friends. Equatorial mounts are bad bad bad for viewing and likely put them off entirely because the eyepiece is rarely ever in a comfortable position to look through. Refractors you really need quality optics out of the budget and they are poor for viewing fainter targets a 6" dob will readily show. Ignore computerised/goto setup as they require fiddly set up outside every night they are used to align them to the sky so the computer can actually work, and you have to be very precise with aligning, again it just may turn them off the idea altogether.

Shopping list:
- 6" dobsonian
- star map book
- latest Astronomy Australia annual book (bintel have), this not only has lots of charts but tons of beginner information to learn aspects of the sky, published each year it also includes monthly things of interest in the sky throughout the coming year

optional:
- quality 8mm & 32mm eyepieces with good eyerelief
- binoculars, not 50mm but smaller light easy to use, handy for scanning the sky, which helps compare what you see in the sky with a skymap and whats in the eyepiece. I use one all the time when using a telescope (Pentax 8x25 which are superb, better than my "normal sized binos" and on par with my small Leica binos too), you dont need astronomy binoculars, just good eye relief "bright" binos, bigger ones are nice but heavy which is a hassle to hold and use. Again comfort here can disappoint the user from using them further. Optics (refractors, binoculars, eyepieces, lenses ALL have optical distortions that can harm the view and also put people off using them, so above all ignore the specs which seem impressive and follow advice to get quality optics instead. Speak to bintel they dont sell crap brands that are all over ebay and they will give you great advice. Sure you can buy bigger but just buy what will actually work and give your relative actual pleasure to use instead of frustration and discomfort. Over time they will decide themselves what they enjoy looking at in the sky and which direction to go with upgrades and other books etc. But if you give them something poor now because you see it on sale somewhere and it looks good, I'll bet they wont use it more than twice because its wrong for their needs/knowledge/experience. Give them a brick instead.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 23-11-2018, 03:25 PM
countryboy (Justin)
Registered User

countryboy is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Armidale
Posts: 5
Thanks again everybody for the advice. A Dobsonian certainly sounds like the path to go, plus it works with the budget. I'm going to be in Sydney next week so will pop in to Bintel for a chat.

How big is an 8" Dobsonian? Will it fit in the back seat of my car??
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 23-11-2018, 03:44 PM
raymo
Registered User

raymo is online now
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: margaret river, western australia
Posts: 4,906
The tube will fit easily across the back seat, and the base will probably be
flat packed, so will probably stand on edge across the back seat. If the base
is already assembled it will probably have to go in the boot. All the probablies are because I don't know what kind of vehicle you have.
raymo
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 23-11-2018, 04:02 PM
countryboy (Justin)
Registered User

countryboy is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Armidale
Posts: 5
Thanks raymo
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 23-11-2018, 04:10 PM
xelasnave's Avatar
xelasnave
Gravity does not Suck

xelasnave is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tabulam
Posts: 12,571
Hi Justin
Make sure you know how to work it, maybe put a little tape on the focuser to show where approx focus is found.
So often folk cant find focus or leave the cap on☺ there will be probably a tention screw and a lock down sctew on the focuser so understand how they function as often without these adjusted the focuser wont move or move such that it near falls out.

Alex
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 23-11-2018, 04:13 PM
xelasnave's Avatar
xelasnave
Gravity does not Suck

xelasnave is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tabulam
Posts: 12,571
And you wont go wrong with Bintel.
Please tell them how well they are regarded by all the folk here.
Alex
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 08:12 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement