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Stargazing Explorer 130 or Astromaster 130EQ for camping?

  1. Dec 5, 2010 #1
    I want to buy a telescope for my husband for christmas but as he does a lot of camping I am wondering if the Explorer 130 or Astromaster 130EQ would be too big to transport?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2010 #2
    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    My budget would be max 150 pounds
     
  4. Dec 5, 2010 #3

    russ_watters

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    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    When you say camping, do you mean hiking or does he park his car near his campsite? I have occasionally taken my rig on the road and it weighs about 70kg. As long as I can park my car within 50m or so of where I'm setting it up, it is fine.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2010 #4
    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    it would be camping with a car! do you have any comments on the ones I have looked at, i have found it quite baffling with such a variation in specifications in the budget range 50 - 150 pounds. Any thoughts would be much appreciated
     
  6. Dec 10, 2010 #5
    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    I would really appreciate some help, I can't decide between the celestron 130 EG or Skywatcher explorer 130 and is it worth getting a motor, it is for my husband and 6 year old son. Many thanks,Northern Lass
     
  7. Dec 10, 2010 #6

    russ_watters

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    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    The two scopes you picked look pretty good for a beginner/first scope.

    I think it is worth getting a motorized (computerized) scope, though others here will disagree because it alleviates the need to learn the night sky. For your budget, though, the quality of the optics won't be as good as with the two you are looking at now, if you go for a motorized one.
     
  8. Dec 10, 2010 #7
    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    thanks russ, do you have any thoughts on one over the other celestron or skywatcher?
     
  9. Dec 10, 2010 #8

    turbo

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    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    The mount on the Celestron appears to be a bit sturdier, judging from images of the 'scopes. Flimsy mounts can make telescopes shaky and hard to use. In your price range (especially for a beginner) I would suggest a Dobsonian. They are very solid and sturdy, and the money that you didn't pay for a complex mount goes toward the optics, which is the heart of the telescope. Often, the mirrors of cheaply-made newtonians are figured spherically, which results in distortion of the images (you can look up spherical aberration). Generally, Dobsonians feature parabolic primary mirrors, decent coatings, etc. You don't get a fancy mount, but you end up with better optics at any price-point.

    Just a suggestion: Can you give your husband and son a nice card authorizing them to buy a 'scope as their present from you? You could do some research and include information about where and when the nearest astronomy club will be holding their next star-party. It would be great if they could attend one and get to look through a lot of different members' scopes. Then, they would have a better idea what 'scope might be best for them. If they tell the members that they are in the market for a 'scope, they might get a great deal on an instrument that's just collecting dust in a member's closet. I know that surprising them with a brand-new scope would be more exciting, but look at this as an investment.

    I know that if you have read this thread through, I sound like a broken record, but for your budget, a Dobsonian is probably the best bang-for-the-buck. The mount is simple and sturdy and easy for a kid to use. The optics will be better than scopes on cheap German equatorial mounts, and those two features alone will add up to a better experience for your son.

    Since your husband and son will be relatively new to this, I suggest buying them a cardboard planisphere, so that they can find what constellations and extra-galactic objects will be visible at any time on any night, AND spring for the $40 or so for the complete 3-volume set of Burnham's Celestial Handbook. Burnham's has a lot of very handy information, and it is arranged by constellation, so if Orion is going to be visible tonight (for example) you can find out about what nebulae, double-stars, interesting color-contrasting star pairings, etc you might find there. Planning an observing session can be as fun as actually getting out to observe, especially if the weather is not real cooperative where you live. Make lists of the objects you want to observe, and make notes as you check them off. Is object "A" very prominent in your 'scope? How about at different magnifications? What was the sky condition like? Observing logs can be fun, especially on cloudy nights when you want to review. It's interesting to see how "difficult" objects can get easier and easier over time as you learn to become a better observer.
     
  10. Jan 8, 2011 #9

    Chronos

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    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    Personally, I prefer the Celestron, but, that is strictly my opinon. Turbo gives sound advice.
     
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