Stargazing Best Telescope for under 1400$.

  1. Due to my interest in astrophysics, I have decided to consider purchasing a telescope. I am looking for something under 1.4k that would allow viewing of Jupiter, the moon, Saturn, venus transit, and deep space objects such as the Orion Nebula, Crab Nebula and possibly M-27, M-51, Triangulum, lagoon nebula, etc.

    I also understand the basics of focal length, etc. I am wondering what is the recommendation for good planetary viewing and very good deep space viewing (Nebulae, etc.).
    I've also read from here: That a 10" or larger would enable me to see detail on Jupiter, Saturn, The moon, and see distant Nebulae and certain galaxies and such with quite good detail. Can anybody recommend the best scope for me?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. adjacent

    adjacent 1,540
    Gold Member

    We're Sorry...
    The page you requested cannot be found.

    Maybe it was mistakenly sent to the galaxy shown in the Hubble photo to the right. Probably lost forever.
  4. That was a mess up on my part. It should work now. For whatever reason no links to that site work on PF.
    Edit: A search for Orion 10" f/3.9 Newtonian Astrograph Reflector Telescope should work. The pictures seen there are the quality I wish to have, could anybody confirm whether those pictures are even legitimate? And how much colour would I expect to see? I understand the images were taken with CCDs, but I hear if your aperture size is high enough you can see some colour in more distant objects.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  5. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    @OP, remember that if you want to watch Venus transit the Sun, you will have to budget for a decent solar filter, and once you get up around 10" in aperture, they can get pricey, unless you stick with mylar, and those are delicate.
  6. I do understand that when I purchase the scope, I will need to purchase things such as solar filters and other accessories, but I need a recommendation of which scope would be best for generally quite good planetary and deep space viewing.
  7. You'd also have to wait until 2117...

    The scope the OP mention would definitely work for the listed purposes but it looks like it costs $1,949.99 with a suitable mount. It is also a rather large and heavy (60+ kg) telescope that is surprisingly hard to transport. The best advice I can give is to talk with local amateur astronomers and if possible attend one of their star parties. That will give a much better idea of which telescope you want than any internet discussion.
  8. Well they are legitimate images taken with CCDs and hours of exposure but that has almost nothing to do with what the human eye can register looking through an eye piece. Except stars and planets only a few deep sky objects have enough surface brightness to trigger our colour vision. All of them appear blue-green since the human colour vision is most sensitive there.

    The M33 galaxy featured on the web page will look more like this in a telescope but even that would require some experience as an observer and dark skies.
  9. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    You will see next to no color with any reasonably sized telescope you could purchase. At best everything but the planets will be "faint fuzzies" you can barely make out. In the age of digital imaging, visual observing is fairly underwhelming in my opinion. Though some people believe otherwise.
  10. Yes, I agree that you should not expect to see nebulae and galaxies as dramatically as photos. For instance... a great observing accomplishment is observing one or more dark lanes in M31 - not any detail or anything, just the fact that you can see them at all with your eye. For many "deep sky" objects, that is the goal - seeing them at all.
    Planets look pretty good, but the detail comes in short bursts in-between minutes of swirly, fuzzy (Earth's) atmosphere.
    Take a look at some of the drawings here to see what can be done visually.
  11. Thanks for the info all who helped.

    I plan to buy this scope (1300$), a cheap DSLR camera (~500$), and find some sort of program for photo stacking, if anybody has any further recommendations for cameras or stacking programs that would be great. Overall, I think this is what I will likely use, thanks for the help everybody.
  12. davenn

    davenn 4,353
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    hi there

    deep sky stacker is one of the most common ones used and best of all its free :smile:

    yup you have missed out on the Venus transits, the last one was June last year and as said next isnt till 2117
    I doubt any of us reading this today will be around for that one


    there are several Mercury transits to look forward to

    Transits of Mercury

    Transit Contact Times (UT)
    ------------------------------------- Minimum Sun Sun Transit
    Date I II Greatest III IV Sep. RA Dec GST Series
    h:m h:m h:m h:m h:m " h ° h

    2016 May 09 11:12 11:15 14:57 18:39 18:42 318.5 3.130 17.58 15.190 7
    2019 Nov 11 12:35 12:37 15:20 18:02 18:04 75.9 15.098 -17.45 3.366 6
    2032 Nov 13 06:41 06:43 08:54 11:05 11:07 572.1 15.274 -18.14 3.535 4


    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  13. Note that the Dobson is a type of Altimuth-Azimuth mounted telescope that is inherently limited when it comes to astrophotography due to field rotation. If you are thinking about astrophotography I strongly advise you to first buy and read Covingtons "DSLR astrophotography" or Steve Richards "Making every photon count". It will save you both time and money.
  14. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    That telescope/mount is not suitable for deep sky astrophotography. Though it tracks objects through the sky, it does not rotate with the celestial sphere. For that you need an equatorial mount. Such as this one:

    [Edit: oops, beaten to it!]
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  15. Chronos

    Chronos 10,348
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I would avoid going bigger than 8" to start with. That is pretty much the high water mark for mounts and handling. Bigger scopes require beefy mounts and handle with the grace of a greased pig. For practical advice on scopes and accessories I suggest cloudy nights. For astrophotography, APT is excellent and inexpensive. There's even a free demo version -
  16. If you main interest is in visual observing I suggest something around 10 to 12". Orion makes very good dobsonians with DSC ( digital setting circles) that allow you to locate thousands of objects at the push of a button. You just type in or look up an object in the handset and then push the scope in alt and az until the coordinates reach zero. The orion 12" xti was the first big scope I ever owned and it was amazing!!!

    Now if you going to be getting into astrophotography I suggest meade or celestrons SCT scopes on their high quality EQ mounts. The celestron 8" SCT on their CGX mount is a good scope for photography and visual.

    Also you do not need a ccd camera to start with because you can take amazing pics with just a good dslr camera like canons eos rebel series
  17. Chronos

    Chronos 10,348
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Affirmed, a CCD is a waste of money until you have mastered DSLR astrophotography. The only advantage of a CCD is lower thermal noise and somewhat better pixel density - but, comes at a hefty price. It's about as practical as buying your kid a Ferrari for their sixteenth birthday. I have a Meade 8" SCT, it is fun and portable - even somewhat useful for AP. I also have a Meade 10" f/4 SNT. It is heavy, awkward, seriously under mounted, and barely adequate for visual use. Both were approximately the same price. A telescope you dread to use is called a mistake.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  18. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure I agree with this.
  19. And this just depends on which CCD camera you are looking at. You can easily find CCD sensors with pixel sizes from 3 to 24 microns. Pixel density is not a good metric for astrophoto since pixel size should be matched to to the focal length of the scope and the pixel scale you desire.
  20. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Me neither. The most basic problem here is that it is an incorrect/false dichotomy. A DSLR is a type of camera while a CCD is a type of chip. Dedicated astrophotography cameras are usually CCD but not always and DSLRs are more usually CMOS (the other type of chip), but not always. Much of the early breakout work in amateur astophotography was done using using a certain Philips webcam with a CCD chip. And many astrocams and DSLRs even use exactly the same chips. The main difference is the electronics and accessories you get with them (in particular, built-in cooling capability on an astrocam is a big deal).

    Here's a cnet discussion of the issue of CMOS vs CCD for DSLRs:

    Obviously, the only real con for CCDs is the price: power consumption is not an issue for a camera that is always plugged-in. But image quality is much better and the difference is much larger for long exposure astrophotography.

    Bottom line: if you already have a DSLR, start with it. If you don't, I'd start with a low-end (even used) solution such as a webcam (planetary photos only) or dedicated astrocam.
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