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Stargazing I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorrow

  1. Aug 5, 2009 #1
    I've searched for other topics about this on the forum, and the general advice seems to be that I should first try looking through telescopes at an astronomy club, talk to other amateurs, and buy binoculars to get familiar with the sky before I buy a telescope. There aren't any astronomy clubs where I live (Egypt), I don't know other amateurs, and I really don't want to get binoculars. The chances are, if it's not that impressive I'll just lose interest and my parents seeing that I'm not very serious about it will refuse that I buy a telescope (we also have to travel elsewhere where the only telescope factory in the country is located to buy either one).

    Question is: Will I be able to learn how to use a telescope by myself without any previous experience?

    And since I'm making a topic, I managed to save up the equivalent of 440$ (so that's the maximum, but I'm hoping I can buy a telescope and still keep some, but 440$ is still okay), what should I get?
     
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  3. Aug 5, 2009 #2

    Nabeshin

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    Re: I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorro

    Learning to use a telescope is not that big of a problem. If you can't figure things out yourself from the manuals and whatever that come with the scope, there are probably tons of resources on the internet that will help. The reason we tell people to look through scopes at an astronomy club or talk to amateurs is so that you can get a feel for the size of telescopes and the kinds of results you're going to get.

    People wanting to buy a telescope often don't realize what a hassle it can be to drag out and set up, especially if it is a large dobsonian (50+ lbs). If your observing site is far way, this can be quite a deterrent! Also, many people think that with a couple hundred dollars they are going to get pictures of things like they see on the internet (hubble). Obviously this isn't true, so it helps to get an idea of exactly how things will look through a telescope in your prospective time range.

    As far as what telescope to get, the other threads you browsed through have lots of good recommendations for telescopes in your price range so perhaps it would be to your benefit to peruse those.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2009 #3

    Chronos

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    Re: I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorro

    I suggest you save up for a catadioptric scope. You can get a nice one for about $1000 US. They are very easy to set up and use, and your parents might be tempted to chip in if they know it only takes a few minutes to indulge.
     
  5. Aug 6, 2009 #4

    ideasrule

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    Re: I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorro

    Whatever you do, DON'T buy a telescope that:

    (1) has pretty Hubble pictures on its packaging
    (2) boasts about its magnification
    (3) is not found in a store that specifically sells astronomical equipment

    Telescopes that fit these criteria are called "department store telescopes". My first scope was "department store", and I can tell you it was absolutely horrible. For one thing, the finder scope was unusable. It was also impossible to focus properly because every time the focus knob was turned, the mount would move so much that whatever I was looking at left the field of view. Grrr!
     
  6. Aug 6, 2009 #5
    Re: I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorro

    Awesome! Well unfortunately the telescope didn't come with any manuals at all so I'll have to look things up online.

    That's around 5000 LE, too expensive :( Anyway, I already got one!

    Uhuh, for my luck department stores here don't even sell telescopes.

    So now I have it and I'm reading online guides. I'm really worried about my eyes though, I didn't get a sun filter; when would it be entirely safe to watch the sky? Also, sun aside, could the other sightings cause any damage?
     
  7. Aug 6, 2009 #6

    Nabeshin

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    Re: I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorro

    Why would you be using your telescope during the day unless you specifically wanted to see the sun/sunspots/whatever (in which case I assume you would have bought specialized equipment)?
     
  8. Aug 6, 2009 #7
    Re: I don't know much about astronomy/telescopes, will buy my first telescope tomorro

    I will not be using it during the day, did not mean to imply that.
     
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