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Stargazing 60-80 mm refracting telescope for beginners

  1. Nov 7, 2012 #1
    I posed this question in a thread in the GD forum because I had not yet seen this thread and, wretched creature that I am, I neglected the search tool. Anyway, regarding beginner telescopes, I thought some of you might be able to provide some insight. I read that a good beginner range is a 60-80 mm refracting telescope. How far and how clearly would an 80 mm be able to see? For example, how clearly would I be able to see Saturn (assuming good atmospheric conditions) with an 80 mm? Would I be able to see Titan as well? I define the word "novice" when it comes to telescopes and any help would be much appreciated.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2012 #2


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    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    The smallest refractor you should get is a 70mm with a focal length greater than 700mm, IMO. The 60mm scopes available nowadays have truly horrible mounts and will really frustrate you. The 80mm scopes are a real step up in quality both in optics and the mount, so that is the one I would choose in the range you suggest. A decent 80 to 90mm achromatic refractor telescope (Celestron, Meade, Orion, Skywatcher, Explore Scientific, AstroMaster, etc...) will cost you from $150 to $500 depending on quality and the mount you choose. Those scopes will let you see Saturn fairly clearly but it (Saturn) will be small and you might not be able to make out some fine details. These scopes come with low cost diagonals and eyepieces which can affect the quality of the image you see.

    For nearly the same money (~$300), you could get a much higher quality 6" dob that would give you much better images, IMO.
  4. Nov 7, 2012 #3
    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    Thanks! I think you started typing your answer before I temporarily took my question down to search the thread. I got my answer, but I re-posted my question anyway to avoid confusion. My sights are currently set on the Orion XT8. There is a payment plan available for $120/month that seems like a really good deal.

    Again, thanks for for your help.
  5. Nov 10, 2012 #4
  6. Nov 10, 2012 #5


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    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    Those are good, but you're going to need a tripod to hold them, as 15x magnification is practically impossible to hold steady with just your hands. Binoculars are good for starters, as they generally have a wide field of view and don't require collimation or adjustments.
  7. Nov 10, 2012 #6
    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    The tripod shouldn't be a problem.
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