Planning to buy a first telescope?


by turbo
Tags: planning, telescope
DaveC426913
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#91
Oct11-11, 08:17 AM
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Quote Quote by Gliese123 View Post
No worries. I think it's strange that I didn't saw more and longer than I was supposed to do..
Where do you live? Are there any astronomy clubs near you? They would probably be very happy to take a look at your scope and see if there's a problem.
Gliese123
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Oct11-11, 08:51 AM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Where do you live? Are there any astronomy clubs near you? They would probably be very happy to take a look at your scope and see if there's a problem.
Well, I've returned the telescope now and got the money back.. I'll find some better way to look at the night sky. I might consider to join some astronomy club near me, there should be some. I live in south east Sweden. Approx. 62 North.
Drakkith
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Oct11-11, 11:53 AM
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Quote Quote by Gliese123 View Post
Well, I've returned the telescope now and got the money back.. I'll find some better way to look at the night sky. I might consider to join some astronomy club near me, there should be some. I live in south east Sweden. Approx. 62 North.
Before you give up, I would seek out a local club and spend a little time stargazing with some of their scopes with them. Our local club has monthly public stargazing meetings where anyone can show up and look through peoples scopes.
turbo
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Oct11-11, 12:02 PM
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Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
Before you give up, I would seek out a local club and spend a little time stargazing with some of their scopes with them. Our local club has monthly public stargazing meetings where anyone can show up and look through peoples scopes.
That's always my first recommendation to newbies. Many people come to the hobby with unreasonable expectations, and are quickly disappointed. Plus, if you chat up the members at a star-party, you may find someone who will sell you a well-maintained 'scope with some accessories, because they want to upgrade, or perhaps buy a $$$ eyepiece. Best of all, you get to try it first!
HeLiXe
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Oct20-11, 10:08 PM
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I need a telescope for my astronomy class next semester and a $700 budget...having a difficult time deciding which one to get :-/
turbo
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Oct21-11, 01:05 AM
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Quote Quote by HeLiXe View Post
I need a telescope for my astronomy class next semester and a $700 budget...having a difficult time deciding which one to get :-/
You shouldn't actually *need* a telescope if you are planning on taking an astronomy class, much less one in the $700 range. There are lots of other ways to skin that cat.

When I was in college, I had limited access to a venerable old Alvan Clark 8" refractor. It was nice to get some access to that instrument, but still, it was just a novelty, since the campus was so light-polluted. Now, I have my own 6" APO, with very dark skies. Better, visually, but still not really useful for research because of the lack of instrumentation. I may eventually set up an observatory to house that scope, just to start some astrophotography survey work and give myself a relatively comfortable base of operations.

If you *want* a telescope (and who doesn't?!!) that is different from *needing* a telescope. Very few people who take an introductory astronomy class own much more than very basic optical aids (a decent pair of binoculars, for instance), nor can they benefit from them in their classwork. Please hook up with a local astronomy club and go to a few star-parties. You'll soon find out what a $700 entry-fee will buy you, and then you can decide if you want to jump in or wait until you can afford to invest more.

I have a friend in England that has a custom-made mount. He will eventually populate it with 4 (!!!!!) Tak 90s and cameras so that he can do high-precision wide-angle imaging with short, simultaneous captures. (2 down, 2 to go) He's out there on the edge, but is putting out some of the nicest images available anywhere.

Anyway, please don't spend money on equipment unless you are going to use it over and over and tweak the hell out of it. It's not like you are going to turn cosmology on its head with a little 'scope. It should be fun and entertaining for you and a source of enjoyment. If you can discover a new comet or an Earth-grazing asteroid, or a supernova in a nearby galaxy, that's great (and well within the capabilities of many amateur instruments), but such discoveries generally take a lot of time, and require you to be VERY familiar with the night sky. I have looked at M51 a zillion times, for instance, but if there was a new supernova in that galaxy, I'd probably miss it (unless it was really bright!) because I'm just not wired that way.

Anyway, save your money unless you really want the fun of playing with astronomical optics. Owning a telescope will not help you one little bit when you are taking an introductory astronomy course (or much more advanced courses, to be realistic). After you have a few courses under your belt, you may find that you want to do some survey work (like searching for supernovae), though the equipment you'll need to get started will probably rival the cost of a new vehicle, at a minimum. Amateurs can make an impact in astronomy/astrophysics, but you'll have to nibble around the edges because we can't afford huge instruments, nor can we site them on dormant Hawaiian volcanoes.
HeLiXe
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Oct21-11, 07:46 AM
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Thanks turbo Astronomy class has observation nights scheduled so I thought I would need a telescope....and of course I *want* one and I have $700 to spend on it, but if it is better for me to wait until later and buy a better telescope I will. I moved out to the country some months ago and the sky is reasonably clear here--not very dark but I can see more stars here than any other place I've ever lived. Lately I find myself standing outside in the middle of the night with my head tilted back almost 90 degrees. I am very unfamiliar with the night sky and can only identify a few constellations lol. Next semester I have an earth and space sciences class as well as astronomy, then next fall I should have my first astrophysics class and second astrophysics class the semester after that I plan on joining the local astronomy club as well.

Thanks for such a thorough response a lot of what you said is very insightful :)
focusoninfini
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Oct30-11, 07:00 PM
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Photographically, my query likely falls between distant wild-life photography and below astronomy photography.

I live at Southport, North Carolina, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River (ancestor lawyer Edward Hilton, Sr., of Exeter, N.H., was the brother of Capt. Wm. Hilton, Jr., who in 1666 "purchased" and named the Cape Fear River) above which, I guess at about 15,000' to 20,000 feet, one airliner after another (sometimes in parallel routes) that has just departed the Wilmington (ILM) VOR is going on over-water to Miami or landwards to Atlanta. They do not seem fast (600 mph?) from here, from terra firma. I doubt there is a camera and lens I could purchase per se for less than $500, or build for less that $500; dedicated solely to capturing close-up images of these big "birds" aloft?

I'm not much into astronomy except in one way. I love the sailor's star, the Mizar (one of a pair?), as I was once an Ordinary Seaman, 12-4 watch helmsman aboard the USNS Mizar, T-AGOR 11, R.I.P., on an Arctic expedition. That star, I'd love to learn anything I can about.

-focusoninfinity
davenn
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#99
Jan10-12, 07:41 PM
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Yipeee ... my new scope has arrived :)

hopefully tonite It will make "first light" last nite was cloudy

http://www.telescopesdirect.com.au/C...&category=-289

Golly Gosh its some what bulkier than I expected hahaha, I was hoping to take it to Cairns, Queensland, Australia in November for the total solar eclipse, but that aint gonna happen. The main scope unit is 26kg (~ 56lbs) and the tripod another 18kg.
But I have to credit Celestron, it is built strong!! compared to the tiny forks of the early Celestrons that came out in the '70's and '80's

Am looking forward to reviving my astro photography activities that have been pretty much in recess since I left New Zealand 12 years ago.

Dave
turbo
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Jan10-12, 07:57 PM
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Davenn, every telescope that is worth the price will be more massive than you expect, and doubly so for the tripod and mount. You have to live to learn with that. I had a mild stoke some years back and my main 'scope has languished in the detached garage as a result. Huge oak tripod, massive mount, and heavy 6" OTA ( APO refractor) make it a bit problematic to set up and tear down in the dark.
davenn
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#101
Jan11-12, 12:45 AM
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yeah true but this was really more massive haha
my existing scope is a 8' Newtonian on a Dobsonian mount
I did have a 10" Meade back in NZ, mounted on a German Equatorial
I really hate those things they are so hard to "point and shoot"
so I'm no stranger to larger scopes, but the online photos of this new scope gave no indication as to how big the fork mount is and as I said its very substantial compared to the early celestron scopes like the C8

well there is some blue sky today ... hopefully I will be able to give the scope its first tryout tonite :)

Dave
davenn
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Jan11-12, 03:10 PM
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hey Guys ....
well after a really cloudy start to the evening the sky finally cleared and I was able to do a sky alignment with the scope wow really easy to do. and from there its easy to goto any object in its huge database.

Jupiter was impressive and looked it periodically over several hours watching the 4 Galelian (sp?) moons doing their little dance around the planet.
went through a few other well known objects M's 45, 42, 41 and a couple of fainter ones M's 1, 79, 77 till the rising bright moon washed out the sky

People... if you are looking for awesome easy to use scopes to buy, I recommend the Celestron CPC range of scopes. They have a range of mirror sizes that surely there's one that will fit a lot of budgets :) I have no affilliation with them, just impressed with their gear :) Just remember once you get a scope you WILL be afflicted with the astronomers disease called "aperture fever" and you will forever be looking forward to the upgrade to a scope with a bigger mirror hahaha

Dave

Note to mods .... for consideration... there is nowhere on the astronomy forum for people to just casually discuss their observing activities, posting a few pics etc hence all my posts in this particular part of the astronomy forum. Would it be worth creating a subsection for that ?

thanks
Dave
DaveC426913
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Jan11-12, 03:47 PM
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Quote Quote by davenn View Post

Note to mods .... for consideration... there is nowhere on the astronomy forum for people to just casually discuss their observing activities, posting a few pics etc hence all my posts in this particular part of the astronomy forum. Would it be worth creating a subsection for that ?

thanks
Dave
That might be a good use of your PF blog...
Drakkith
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Jan11-12, 03:54 PM
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Davenn, have you been to cloudynights.com? It's a site dedicated to amateur astronomy with sections for discussing everything in the sky and also to post any pictures. It's a pretty nice site. PF isn't really for these things, although the Fun, Photos, and Games forum in the General section may be appropriate for any pictures you take.
BreMatthews
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#105
Jan11-12, 03:57 PM
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MotoH,

I would go with the Orion Skyview pro 120mm refractor. It will give you a much clearer image.
Drakkith
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Jan11-12, 04:21 PM
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Quote Quote by BreMatthews View Post
MotoH,

I would go with the Orion Skyview pro 120mm refractor. It will give you a much clearer image.
That person is no longer a member of PF. At least, I think that's what the line through his name means.
BreMatthews
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Jan11-12, 04:29 PM
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Ahh thanks for the heads up. Kind of new at this, so I appreciate the feedback.
Drakkith
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Jan11-12, 04:44 PM
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Quote Quote by BreMatthews View Post
Ahh thanks for the heads up. Kind of new at this, so I appreciate the feedback.
Np. Just look at the date of the post you are responding to. It's at the top of each post. That way you don't bump up a post that's been dead for 5 years lol.


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