Starter Telescope questions

Discussion in 'The Astronomy Club' started by 335clone, Jan 30, 2018.

    Jan 30, 2018
  1. 335clone Free at last

    So I have been meaning to start looking up (instead of just down) and want to pull the trigger.

    With a max budget of $200, and preferably a bit cheaper, please suggest a starter telescope from those available on Amazon. I see quite a few ~400mm x 70mm beginner telescopes from a variety of companies, and don't know which are better than others. Of course I know that by spending more now I would get better.....just like guitars.... but lets not put the cart before the horse.

    I have an area near the house I could cary a telescope and tripod to, but I also would likely take it up a trail to a mountain top nearby with much less light pollution, so one of the backpack set ups seems intriguing.

    Here is the amazon list to chose from.
  2. Jan 30, 2018
  3. bsman b00b

    The Celestion is your best bet. Power is meaningless -the best measurement to use is aperture, and at five inches, the reflector design of the Celestion will capture much more light and make for clearer images. Small refractors like most of those offered are fine as terrestrial spotting scopes, but not much more useful than a pair of binoculars (also a good choice - 10x50 binocs are fun for astronomical use).
    LeftyTom likes this.
  4. Jan 30, 2018
  5. jelloman couch'd tater...

    In the price range you're working in you're just not going to get decent optics, and if you're determined to stay below 200.00 I'd look more to a pair of Astronomic Binoculars...something like these Orion 20x80s with a tripod would be decent...

    If you're going to stick to a scope go with a reflector over a refractor which benefits more from better optics...this Celestron is ok, and would allow some leftover money to invest in some extra eyepieces with more power...
  6. Jan 30, 2018
  7. Pine Apple Slim Armchair Expert

    I’d go with binocs and the best tripod you can carry.
  8. Jan 30, 2018
  9. 335clone Free at last

    Well I have a good set of 10x49 binocs and an excellent tripod already.
  10. Jan 30, 2018
  11. 335clone Free at last

    This one?

    Will that mount work with a standard 1/4-20 camera mount on my photo tripod?
  12. Jan 30, 2018
  13. bsman b00b

  14. Jan 30, 2018
  15. 335clone Free at last

    Yeah, i saw that it does come with one, but I suspect the one I have is sturdier. We'll see which one works better.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  16. Jan 31, 2018
  17. parrotheada1a Resident Pitmaster

    Please do not take what I post as a 'why you shouldn't.....
    If low $$ is the case, I would save the money untill you can afford a telescope with a bigger mirror. The trade off is what I call "the weight and bother factor". I did an Astronomy Day presentation at the BMOS on this very topic awhile back. Once you get into it, observing becomes a lot more than just the telescope itself. You have to go out and buy all sorts of extras, and then set it up. (and tear it down/ pack up at the end of the session.) It's kinda like hauling musical gear around. You may eventually get to the point where the telescope becomes a decor item at home because you rarely take it out and actually use it..... because it's too much of a bother for a quick look.

    All that being said, BSMan is very correct when he posted that power is meaningless. Especially with a small scope, and 8x so with some ultra cheap scopes. Reasons are many, but an unsteady 'blob' image will ruin it for you in short order. The unsteadiness comes from a mount that is too light, and not being able to dampen out vibrations quickly. The 'blob' usually comes from sub par optics, meaning that it can't bring an image into sharp focus. Sometimes it's because of the scope's mechanical construction too.

    Or.... you could buy a kick ass set of star charts (waterproofed) a small folding table to lay 'em out on, and a red flashlight to read them in the dark. FYI, there are phone apps that have star charts... at the expense of draining the battery real fast.

    Check these out....
  18. Jan 31, 2018
  19. bsman b00b

    There is an Orion store in Cupertino about 20 minutes from my front door. I’ve always been too afraid to go there, lest I develop another hobby that drains funds as fast as music.
  20. Jan 31, 2018
  21. Pine Apple Slim Armchair Expert

    I want a big ol 10" Dobsonian! Nebulae, Globular clusters!
  22. Jan 31, 2018
  23. DFB Vagabond of a Western State

    I almost built one.
    I got the plans online.There are a few sites with plans.
    I had to give up the idea when $ ran low.
    Pine Apple Slim likes this.
  24. Feb 1, 2018
  25. Pine Apple Slim Armchair Expert

    New ones cost $600-$1000 for a 10” depending on optical quality(is my guess).
    Surely you could build one for half that? A concrete tube, some plywood, good mirrors, an eyepiece, and maybe a small spotting scope.
  26. Feb 1, 2018
  27. parrotheada1a Resident Pitmaster

    I built a 10" f/6, ground and polished the mirror myself at the ATMOB optics shop. It's all fully polished & parabolised to 1/5th wavelength. That was over 15 years ago. Because of low $$ since then, it's not been aluminized & multicoated. I have been told that it's worth close to 2K as it sits. Thing is, I would need a good chunk of change to put together a decent quality scope. And just as much for eyepieces and accessories since I sold what I had a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, we had kids building stuff better and cheaper than you can buy...award winners at Stellafane. I've been pricing out components, and am shocked to see what they get for decent components these days. I remember seeing a 9pt mirror cell going for 700 bones. Yikes.
  28. Feb 1, 2018
  29. Coralkong1 BREAUX

    I have one.
    And a few 2" lenses for it as well.

    I have an Orion.

    It is almost too big/bulky/heavy to drag around. Almost. But I am fortunate that I can just drag it out into the driveway for a good dark-sky experience.

Share This Page