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Stargazing Buying a Telescope , guide me.

  1. Feb 26, 2008 #1
    hi
    i am completely naive when it comes to astronomy, telescopes and all that stuff. I'm looking forward to buy a telescope. What would you suggest ? I'd like to keep it under 150$.
    oh and ya, i just got a copy of "deepsky astronomy software" ! so i'd like to get a telescope that's compatible with that software.
    thank u
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2008 #2

    russ_watters

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  4. Feb 26, 2008 #3
    that looks good
    also could you tell me the most important factor that determines whether a telescope performs or not ?is it magnification , aperture or somthing else ?
    i've read in some other post that its not all about magnification but the light gathering capacity that determines the quality of the image, well that does make sense.....now the question is what denotes this light gathering capacity of a telescope ? is it the aperture alone?
     
  5. Feb 26, 2008 #4

    chroot

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    As a novice, you'd be better served by a good pair of binoculars that are specifically intended for astronomical viewing. Telescopes often just intimidate and confuse novices. You can buy a nice pair of 7x50 binos (and a good star map) for less than $150, but you really cannot buy a telescope worth owning for $150. :frown:

    - Warren
     
  6. Feb 26, 2008 #5

    chroot

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    Aperture and optical quality are what you want in a scope. Depending upon the type of observing you'd like to do, focal ratio may also be a critical concern. Magnification by itself is irrelevant. At this stage, I'd suggest you hold off on buying a telescope, and either buy a nice pair of binos, or (even better) find an astronomy club in your area and go out and do some observing through their 'scopes. This way, you'll get a handle on how to use telescopes, what to expect from them, and what kind of quality your dollar can buy you.

    - Warren
     
  7. Feb 26, 2008 #6

    turbo

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    Ditto what Warren said. Find an astronomy club, attend some star parties and look through some telescopes before you spend a dime. Show up early, so you can watch (and maybe help) people set up their gear. If you don't live in a place with dark skies, pay special attention to how the people pack and transport their gear, because you're going to have to do the same to get to better skies. Do not be shy about telling the members that you 1) want to learn what type of scope might best suit you and 2) that you are definitely in the market for a scope. Some of the members will almost certainly be gear-hounds, constantly looking to upgrade, and you might get a great deal on a used scope that way. Best of all, you'll get to try before you buy.
     
  8. Feb 26, 2008 #7

    russ_watters

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    As usual, I'm the contrarian on this issue. I started off with a cheap 60mm refractor on an equatorial mount (for about $150) when I was in high school. Seeing the moons and Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn were what lit the fire for me and you can't do that with binoculars. I'm wholly uninterested in constellations, I want to see objects, and there are only a handful that you can see with binos - mostly just open clusters.
     
  9. Feb 26, 2008 #8

    turbo

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    Russ, binos are an essential part of my astro-gear, and I would never go out observing without them. That said, until a newbie gets a chance to look through a variety of scopes with a variety of apertures and magnifications, he or she is not going to have a clue about what will interest them.

    Some of the people that have had their first looks through my 6" Astro-Physics APO have been really stoked by the Orion Nebula, the Lagoon, Tiffid, etc. Some got really excited to see that Epsilon Lyra is actually a double-double star. Others loved low-power views of the double cluster, while others swooned over M31. Until you've experienced a range of views, you won't know what most grabs your interest, and therefore you won't have a clue what type of telescope/EP setup will help you get there.

    I recommend binos and charts for newbies because a good pair of binos will stay in your astro-kit forever, and with a decent set of charts, they can help you learn the night sky. I ran through any number of 'scopes (at great expense) until I decided that I needed a high-quality refractor, and have never regretted that purchase, nor the price, nor the year-long wait to have the scope built (Roland's company was new and small at the time).
     
  10. Feb 27, 2008 #9
    thank you all
    i think the first thing to do is join some astro club nearby & learn stuff hands on.
     
  11. Feb 27, 2008 #10

    chroot

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    I think we can all agree that that's a great idea! Let us know if you need any help locating such a club in your area.

    - Warren
     
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