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Stargazing Buying a New Telescope and would like some input.

  1. Aug 9, 2005 #1
    Well like the title says I'm buying a new telescope and would like to know what y'all think would be the best for looking at Galaxies and Nebulas, PRICE IS NOT A PROBLEM though I would like to keep it lower then $3,500.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2005 #2


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    A few questions to narrow the field:
    1) Do you want to look only, or do you want to photograph things?
    2) Do you want your telescope to have an electric drive, or could you be happy with a BIG dobsonian light-bucket that you have to nudge about to track objects?
    3) Do you have the storage space and transportation to handle a large telescope?
    4) Do you have a great deep-sky site nearby or will you have to travel far, creating a pinch in set-up and cool-down time? This impacts on the size and design of scope that might be best for you, since some scopes cool down very slowly.
    5) Do you already have experience owning and/or operating a telescope?

    If you can't answer all the the questions above, you are not ready to buy a scope yet, and you could make an expensive mistake (especially if you buy a NEW scope). In that case, I would strongly encourage you to locate some regional astronomy clubs in your state or at least in driving distance, and attend some of their star parties. The weekend events are the best, since lots of folks camp out and will stay up late and let you look through their scopes. This way, you can compare lots of different designs in a short period of time and note their relative weaknesses and strengths. There are trade-offs in every design, and you need to find the model that best suits you. It would be very instructive for you to be there early and watch people pull in and set up. Take note of how long it takes for people to unload and assemble their scopes and align them. You're going to have to do this with yours. Ask yourself and the other participants (tactfully) if it is necessary to have all the accessories you see, and if there are other accessories that the owners of the scopes would really like to have. Ask if you can take a look through each scope's viewfinder before you look through the main optics - many scopes have woefully inadequate finderscopes, and that's a common upgrade.

    I hope this helps. If you have specific questions, please ask and I'll try to be of service. With nearly 45 years as an amateur observer, I've made my share of mistakes regarding equipment and hope that I can spare you from making some of them.
  4. Aug 9, 2005 #3
    Yes I would lie to be able to photograph object, no I do not want to have to manuly move it, my stroage and sky is no problem, yes I currently own a fairly old and baisic telescope that is electricle and is my second telescopre I have had since I was 8.
  5. Aug 10, 2005 #4


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    Heed turbo's advice, he is our frostbitten veteran of astro-tourism. My lazy inner child likes Schmidt-Cass scopes because they are so dang portable. You can buy a light bucket [Dobsonian] for the same money, but they are a proverbial pain in the mule to set up and use. If you plan to build your own observatory, a light bucket is a good choice. Otherwise, I would say go for convenience and spend more time enjoying the view than indulging in 'some assembly required'. For the money you are talking about, you can get a very nice S-C scope with a slew of accessories.
  6. Aug 10, 2005 #5


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    an 11" Celestron on a GOTO mount will come in safely under $3000, if you want ease and simplicity of setup. I have not had a chance to see one of these new scopes in action, and I would certainly attend a star party or two to see if somebody is using one and get a feel for their quality. Typically the tripod is the weak link in these packages, so you might want to try before you buy. If you tap the tube and the vibration does not damp quickly, you might want to buy only the OTA/mount package and mate it up with a decent pier or tripod.

    If you already have a decent collection of oculars, barlows, etc, you can safely approach your budget number with the purchase of the scope. If you are going to get a scope with a 2" focusser, you will want to budget for a quality 2" mirror diagonal, a 2" Barlow, and some 2" oculars (especially a wide-field, low-power model). These purchases will put a severe dent in your wallet, but they will greatly enhance your experience with your new scope. Hint - do not buy oculars in even multiples of focal length, like 50, 25, 12.5 mm... - these will yield magnifications that can be duplicated by popping in that high-quality Barlow. For instance a 1000mm tube with a 50mm ocular gives you 20X and you can get 40X by using a Barlow, so don't buy a 25mm ocular - it's just going to give you another 40X view. Instead, stagger the ocular focal lengths to get a wider range of magnifications.
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