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Stargazing Need advice/opinions on a telescope

  1. Jun 7, 2003 #1

    I know a person who is selling this telescope for $300 used. He says it's in great shape. But I hear these telescopes are made cheap using cardboard and stuff. Anyone have experience or comments about them?
    I have a cheap-o 60mm refractor telescope right now. I don't know much too much about telescopes but I am definitely very serious about looking at more than just the Moon and Jupiter over and over.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2003 #2
    Meade is one of the top brand names in the telescope business, along with Celeron and a few others. The brand of telescope you linked to is one of the cheaper types of scope they make, but that doesn't mean its crap. From the experience I have with cheaper brand telescopes they work well. With this scope it is likely the drive that makes it so cheap, not the scope itself. The mirror won't be as good as a more expensive brand scope, but you probably won't notice it unless you have used a more expensive scope anyway. Being a Newtonian reflector means that the mirrors may lose alignment every so often, but what the hell.

    Are you buying this from a respected dealer, or from a regular person? I'd be inclined to check the telescope out, and see it in action if possible. But as I said Meade scopes are not bad.
  4. Jun 10, 2003 #3
    I agree with Pauly Man. That is a good price for an 8" scope if it is in good condition.

    Cardboard is an excellent tube material by the way. It handles wide temperature ranges with minimal problems, when painted it works well in most weather conditions, it doesn't sweat and it helps dampen vibration from touching the scope to move it. Metal tubes have most of the problems that cardboard helps to eliminate.

    Check the optics out in person if you can. Test drive it so-to-speak.

    If that is the exact model, it sounds like they put all of their effort into the optics. The primary mirror sounds like it is diffraction limited (it says built to the theoretical limit of resolution for its aperture) This is better than 1/10 wave and should be good quality. (a cheap mirror set would be only about 1/8 wave each for a total 1/4 wave system.) So the optics don't sound cheap.
  5. Jun 11, 2003 #4
    A few more points to ponder. If you are buying this used, be prepared to shell out another few bucks for a few decent eyepieces as the previous owner may not include the ones that came with the scope in the deal (you can get some Plossl type ones for about $30.00 apiece).

    Also, what are you most interested in seeing, what are your viewing conditions (are you located in city or out in the country), do you have room for a larger scope. All of these questions relate to how often the scope will be used. We all start out well intentioned, but if the scope has to be transported to dark sky area, as opposed to just carried outdoors it is far less likely to be used. And a more easily transported model might be a better choice.

    My first "real" scope was an f/5 80mm refractor. I can pick it up and carry it to my backyard in just one trip. It is excellent for wide views of the sky, but it is only a fair quality planetary scope. The 8" you are looking at should be a good all-around performer, if you are willing/able to take the trouble to set it up.
  6. Jun 12, 2003 #5


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    Try posting this in the Astronomy forum.
    (or Mr. Mentor, move this topic)
  7. Jun 13, 2003 #6
    Thanks for the helpful replies, I've made the decision of getting it. I was thinking about posting this in the astronomy forum but I figured this was more of a general topic since its an instrument.

    Anywho, I have no problems with moving this around from place to place, although I know it IS heavy. Depending on viewing conditions and time of year, I would plan on using it a handful of times a month. I'm in the eastern suburbs of San Diego, which isn't TOO bombarded by light popultion. I might take it out to the mountains a couple times a year. I am most interested in seeing galaxies and nebulas. I also want to eventually take pictures with the telescope.
  8. Jun 13, 2003 #7


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    You say you have already decided, but that's probably good because that model is one of the best ones Meade has made in the past several years. The motor drive is in RA only, but that's what you need to keep something in view. The mirror is Pyrex, while most of what you buy today (under $1000) has mirrors of a lower-quality glass like BK-7 or soda-lime glass. That same mount was also used on Meade's 10" Starfinder so it should carry the 8" just fine.

    Unless you can see that something is trashed, $300 is a steal. But, Artman was right for sure, you will want, and need, more eyepieces. The Pro-Optic Plossls sold by Adorama in NY are FAR better than most people know, and they are $24.95 each. Just be sure to find a site on collimation (aligning optics), or you will never get it to perform to its potential.
  9. Jun 13, 2003 #8
    Yes, I noticed that too, but forgot to mention it. Excellent mirror material.

    Perfect scope for this application. Large enough aperture to provide a good view, small enough to fit easily into a car to be moved to a good dark sky location.

    Ideal for this as well. Equatorial mount with a drive is very good for astrophotograghy.

    Good luck and dark skies to you, Stuffy.
  10. Jun 13, 2003 #9


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  11. Jun 13, 2003 #10
    Thanks, that's going to be good for an interesting read. Good thing we're learning optics in my physics class. ;)
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