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 Any astronomers out there? I need to buy a telescope

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thud419
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Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

My sister wants a telescope for Christmas, "so she can look at something more than the moon," which means she needs something that will resolve planets and nebulae reasonably well. The rings of Saturn were mentioned as a benchmark. Price is of course a problem, but we can spend somewhere in the region of 200-300 GBP, and if that was too low I dare say our mother would be willing to add a little more.

It will be carried out to the garden to be used, and probably no further, so it doesn't have to be too portable. The nearest computer is likely to be in the house - too far for USB.

I have bought a couple of astronomy magazines and browsed the adverts, but I need some idea of what size of 'scope will do what we need, the features we should be looking for and which ones to avoid.

Thanks for any help.

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Nanny Ogg
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Joined: 19 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:52 am Reply with quoteBack to top

My hubby has been known to lie out in the garden with binoculars and a wee whiskey.
He's got an explorascope and various viewing instuments around the house.
I'll get him to post some advice.
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Bogbot
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Joined: 23 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have a Celestron G-8N 8" Newtonian reflector on a motorised equatorial mount which does the job quite nicely, although I had to invest in a barlow lens to increase magnification.

My only advice is 'you get what you pay for' so the more cash you throw at it the better and go for a reflector rather than a refractor.

Patrick Moore may still have a page on the bbc sky at night website.

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Ducan Farket
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

For that kind of money I would go for one of the mass produced " Skywatcher" brand reflectors. You should be able to get get the 130 or even the 150 depending on whether you require motor drive or goto capability. If you visit the Society for popular astronomy website and do a search for "telescope advice" on their forum you will find all the advice you could ever need.

Good luck
Ducan

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Nanny Ogg
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Joined: 19 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Duc asked me to post these links for you to check out, thud


For discussion on astronomy and telescopes
SPA

More astonomy discussion and telescope reviews
cloudy nights

Sky at night programme
BBC

Sky at night magazine- reviews etc
Sky at night
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Scam Patroller
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Bogbot wrote:
I have a Celestron G-8N 8" Newtonian reflector on a motorised equatorial mount which does the job quite nicely


That's exactly what I expected someone like Image to say Very Happy

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kleindoofy
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@thud419:

If you want some excellent advice, go here: http://www.bautforum.com.

Lots of people there are telescope buffs and will give you a pointer in the right direction, or answer specific questions with knowledge, not guesses.
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JoeTam
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have a 90mm Meade refractor, but the equitorial mount was bad out of the box. Evil or Very Mad I'd go with a large "light bucket" reflector. I had a 10.1 inch Dobsonian reflector which was nice, f 4.5. But I donated it to the local college. I knew a guy at Tahoe that had a 20 inch reflector, but you had to climb a ladder for overhead objects. It probably cost as much as a small car. The views were spectacular though. M57 and M42 were beautiful!

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thud419
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for all the links and advice folks. I've learnt a hell of a lot in these last few hours. The one I've got in mind now is the Skywatcher Explorer 150P; a 6" f/5 Newtonian Reflector. At first I was doubtful about Skywatcher; they seemed to be cheap-end of the market, and I suppose they are, but the cheap end is all I can afford - the other end is 700 plus. I was more drawn to the TAL range, which seemed reasonably priced and well built. There are only a few reviews of the 150P out there and most say that it's their first and only telescope but they are deliriously happy with it. Sky At Night gave it 84%, and it beat the TAL for optics quality. Some nice photos through it here. I spoke to a nice man in a telescope shop (www.livingstonetelescopes.co.uk) and he said the TAL-150P and the Explorer were just about the same optically, with the TAL having a heavier build but more unwieldy and incapable of taking a motor drive. So I have authorisation to go ahead and order it...

Unless anyone here is horrified Wink

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JoeTam
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just keep a cover of sorts over the tube when not in use. Gotta keep that mirror clean. And let it sit outside for about 15 minutes before you use it so it can adjust to the ambient temperature. Enjoy!

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Nanny Ogg
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Ducan Farket is murmering that the Explorer 150P seems the best machine . He'd go for the that if he had that budget.

Another idea is membership of slooh - a sort of online star gazing. I bought a years sub for duc as a birthday pressie but they were clouded out tonight.

Me, I'd get on my brromstick and fly above the clouds!

slooh
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