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Stargazing Any telescope experts?

  1. Jun 30, 2004 #1
    Any telescope experts???

    My son is interested in Astronomy (I may have a little interest also). Anyway, I am going to buy him a telescope, but have not clue where to start.
    He has a cheap one now that is completely worthless, expect mayby to look at sun bathers. So I would like to buy him something he can use.

    As far as money $500 to $750. I do not neccessarily need one with electronics or gadgets on it, just a powerful Newtonian, telescope. I assume they are reflection telescopes and would like one with good resolution. Most importantly one that is simple to use. He is ten years old and I do not want to frustrate him.

    Any ideas for getting the most out of my money.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2004 #2


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    there are a number of web pages offering nice scopes. personally, i would say meade is the best bang for the buck. a nice 8 inch with a worm drive should only run you about $700. shop around that price. be warned, your boy will probably want a camera too once he gets into it.
  4. Jul 1, 2004 #3
    Do they still make newtonians (without any variations)? Because there were so many problems with them that i don't imagine it is feasible to still make them.
  5. Jul 1, 2004 #4


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    How old is he? If he is young and new to the hobby, skip any sort of telescope that has a complex mount or clock drive -- such complexities are simply not necessary and will probably dim his experience.

    Orion makes a number of very nice 8- to 12-inch Dobsonian mounted Newtonian reflectors, with optional computer systems, for around the money you're looking to spend.

    - Warren
  6. Jul 1, 2004 #5
    Cool, I will start shopping.

  7. Jul 1, 2004 #6


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    Dear Nautica:

    A dobsonian scope (newtonian on a simple alt-azimuth mount) is ideal for youngsters. Even better is the same scope equipped with a Tel-Rad view-finder or something similar. It allows the user to point the scope at a field of view that is exactly as they see it with the naked eye. This, and a decent set of sky charts will give him many years of enjoyment, and the familiarity and navigational skills he will develop with these tools are FAR better than what he could experience with a smaller computer-driven scope. If you have any questions, please ask them. This is an important decision.
  8. Jul 1, 2004 #7
    I would skip the computer-driven models. I bought a small Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain with an onboard computer and drive and I was not very happy with it. While the optics were acceptable, the motor was loud and the automatic pointing was not very accurate. For the same money, I could have gotten a much more powerful Dobsonian, sans-computer.
  9. Aug 4, 2004 #8
    I have used many scopes from $60 ones to $20,000 setups.........it really depends on what you want to view. I haves used dobsonians and i personally don't like them many b/c the mounts are slow and if your looking at an object near to the horizon its a back breaker (maybe b/c i'm 6'6" i dunno lol).....I have seen Dobs with very fine optics but b/c of the slow mount and the inability to track objects it is not good for high mag planetary viewing......if u want to view deep sky objects u must star-hop (if u don't mind doing that....but i like finding my objects quick....since there are no setting cirles its point and shoot with a dob).......though Orion does sell a Dobsonian with their Magellan II system on it so u can have some help. I would buy in that price range (since he is a child) an Orion Intelliscope (at least the 8") with the Magellan system on it..........buy a collimator!!!! the primary mirror needs to be realigned with the secondary mirror periodically for sharp images...don't worry its very easy to do
  10. Aug 4, 2004 #9
    Nautica, your son a great kid for wanting to get involved in astronomy. Reminds of my myself when I just started liking astronomy around the age of 11. Im 17 now and still like it, I hope to become an astronomer some day. So if he likes it, keep him in that direction, its a great field.
  11. Aug 5, 2004 #10
    Don't buy anything made by Tasco.

    I have an old 4inch Newtonian with a home made stand.

    Dobs are good but I find that the mount gets a little in the way sometimes if you're shorter.
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