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Old 22-04-2024, 01:31 PM
StarGazer7 (Navid)
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Please recommend me a telescope

Hi folks, I am new here.

I have put our house coordinates when signing up but in case if you were wondering we are based in inner west Sydney and where I am planning to put the telescope which is our balcony is going to be tilted towards south east of Sydney.

Budget is between $700 to $2000

I am mainly getting the telescope for family, children are 4 and 7. Predominantly for that wow factor, looking at planets and perhaps some nearby galaxies and stars.

I am mindful I dont want something that we quickly grow out of either. So a unit that has a good bit of oomf to it and is also reasonably easy to set up and use and ideally automatically can find certain parts of sky as well and track things.

I am also wondering if I should buy brand new or used. Please let me know your thoughts and recommendations.
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Old 22-04-2024, 01:51 PM
croweater (Richard)
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Hi Navid. There is a Meade 8inch lx90 on page 2 of the classifieds that looks like a bargain with a lot of accessories. I dont know how old it is but looks in good nick. It would have goto and tracking and setup should be pretty easy. It's in Sydney so might be worth a look at $1100 .8 inch is big enough to give good views. Maybe Mr. Google will help you decide as well if it is what you are after. I've never used a Schmidt Cassagrain telescope so maybe someone else could chime in with more advice
Cheers, Richard
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Old 22-04-2024, 05:12 PM
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MortonH
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Hi Navid,

I'm not sure if you've used telescopes before but many people have unrealistic expectations of what they're going to see. So, at the risk of sounding negative I'm going to give you a reality check on a few things.

First, inner west Sydney has lots of light pollution so forget galaxies. Even from a dark site I don't think you'd say they have a wow factor, especially for kids. In fact, I'd say the only thing likely to make them say wow is the Moon, and possibly Saturn's rings.

Stars and globular clusters are ok from the city if you know what to look for but again, I wouldn't say there's a big wow factor for a beginner.

Also, if your balcony faces south east you'll be able to see the Moon and planets rising in the east but they'll be out of sight when they're at their highest, which is north (I have the same problem from my balcony).

Buying used will save you a lot of money but electronics can be touchy so if you want something that will find objects automatically there's always the risk that it can die on you.

There are a lot of other variables so it can be hard to make a good decision. Many of us have bought things that didn't work out as expected!
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Old 22-04-2024, 06:39 PM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MortonH View Post
Hi Navid,

I'm not sure if you've used telescopes before but many people have unrealistic expectations of what they're going to see. So, at the risk of sounding negative I'm going to give you a reality check on a few things.

First, inner west Sydney has lots of light pollution so forget galaxies. Even from a dark site I don't think you'd say they have a wow factor, especially for kids. In fact, I'd say the only thing likely to make them say wow is the Moon, and possibly Saturn's rings.

Stars and globular clusters are ok from the city if you know what to look for but again, I wouldn't say there's a big wow factor for a beginner.

Also, if your balcony faces south east you'll be able to see the Moon and planets rising in the east but they'll be out of sight when they're at their highest, which is north (I have the same problem from my balcony).

Buying used will save you a lot of money but electronics can be touchy so if you want something that will find objects automatically there's always the risk that it can die on you.

There are a lot of other variables so it can be hard to make a good decision. Many of us have bought things that didn't work out as expected!
Very sound advice.

Navid, I would not rush into a purchase. Are you able to find a nearby astronomy club and attend one of their observing night? This will help ground your expectations and give you the opportunity to “try before you buy”.

The new fully robotic systems such as the Seestar S50 are well within your budget and should also be included in the mix of options to consider.
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Old 22-04-2024, 07:03 PM
StarGazer7 (Navid)
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Thanks folks for the great friendly advise.

I didnt know those astronomy clubs existed, may have to look them up.

I didn't say this earlier but if its worth it, I am open to going to different areas of Sydney, say within half hour drive of where I am, and re-set up the telescope to see if we find something new.

Again this is really just more for entertainment and introducing my children, and my wife to space stuff. We have gone to museums of this kind where we have found them in Australia and around the world.

This also emphasized the point about easy set up and easy use as I simply have no experience.

Regarding buying second hand, I personally dont mind but if it is something that is a bit older and/or requires assembly or is missing parts I would be hopeless in fixing it. I will probably need something that is relatively plug and play.

My biggest astronomy experience is falling sleep to youtube documentaries about solar system, nebulas and all the space stuff which to be fair I have done it for some time now

That as well as knowing bit of physics from my university engineering studies which is many years ago.
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Old 23-04-2024, 10:17 AM
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AG Hybrid (Adrian)
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Hi Navid.

Might I recommend the ZWO Seestar S50? Its plug and play. Its incredibly portable. It negates most of Sydney's light pollution. You can control it from your phone, a tablet or a laptop and therefore you can project images onto a TV screen. IMO planets are not ideal but can be done. I have one and I've projected images onto an 85" screen with nothing but a HDMI cable.
I use it with an iPad Pro.

All of my visual telescopes and eyepieces are in danger right now all because of this little smart scope.
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Old 23-04-2024, 12:52 PM
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mldee (Mike)
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Definitely checkout the Seestar S50

I second Adrian's suggestion, although for slightly different reasons.

I have collected a LOT of toys over the years, especially those initially purchased when I was starting out in 2008. All the beginner stuff turned out to be pretty well useless due to wrong choices on my part.

I have never seen, much less used, a Seestar S50, but it sure as heck seems an outstanding way to get started, especially when family is also involved. You just plonk it down on any level surface with a sky view and away you go!(Slightly over simplified ). And you get to keep the images for later further home large-screen viewing/enhancement-processing if you wish. And it's all great training for future bigger and better toys if any of the family decide to go further in the hobby.

There is also a lot more expense, setup time and operating knowledge required with a discrete component approach; Tripod, Mount, OTA, eyepieces/camera, etc, etc, plus ongoing Polar alignment, tracking if you want to do photography and so on. Actually, a reasonable set of binoculars is a good way for the family to do the initial sky viewing stuff, followed up by the Seestar for the permanent more detailed images to take home.

And the Seestar, which is relatively inexpensive, should be easy to sell if you decide that approach is not for you.

BTW, there's a FB Seestar group and lots of Youtube videos out there to help you decide.

Good luck in your planning.

Last edited by mldee; 23-04-2024 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 23-04-2024, 03:49 PM
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Vapour38 (Lachlan)
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As others have said, a smart telescope like the S50 is great for getting the family involved, my understanding is that it's a few button presses on your phone and you get a live feed that improves over time (live stacking). It has various filters that help with light pollution as well, but don't expect to get much planetary or galaxy views out of it.

You could also look into something like a 6-8" Dobsonian to view some larger galaxies and planets, but that would be stretching the budget and is fully manual so you'd have to find and track the targets yourself, and frankly it would have to be taken somewhere darker to provide any 'wow' results.
Good luck to you and your family
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Old 28-04-2024, 04:21 PM
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gregbradley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croweater View Post
Hi Navid. There is a Meade 8inch lx90 on page 2 of the classifieds that looks like a bargain with a lot of accessories. I dont know how old it is but looks in good nick. It would have goto and tracking and setup should be pretty easy. It's in Sydney so might be worth a look at $1100 .8 inch is big enough to give good views. Maybe Mr. Google will help you decide as well if it is what you are after. I've never used a Schmidt Cassagrain telescope so maybe someone else could chime in with more advice
Cheers, Richard
My first decent telescope was a Meade LX 90 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain.

It is fantastic for viewing the planets and brighter objects. Not great for imaging though.

I think it would last a long time. I had mine for about 2 years.

Greg.
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Old 28-04-2024, 05:46 PM
croweater (Richard)
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Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
My first decent telescope was a Meade LX 90 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain.

It is fantastic for viewing the planets and brighter objects. Not great for imaging though.

I think it would last a long time. I had mine for about 2 years.

Greg.
Thanks for that Greg. I think it looks like a good buy. Plus the seller has added a zwo224mc into the already good accessory package. There a fair bit of value there.
Well worth checking out at that price.
Cheers, Richard
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