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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/13/2005 4:22:06 AM EDT
I've never had a telescope but I've got a couple young kids and it seems like something fun we could do together. I've seen the Meade go-to on some home shopping network and it looks like a good combination of ease, power and affordability. What say you? Good choice or is there a better one?
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 4:27:06 AM EDT
I buy all my star toys HERE Read the section on how to choose a scope. It's very helpful. The best scope for you
will depend on several factors including where you live, light pollution, what you want to see etc.
And yes, they're a lot of fun with the kids. Good luck.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 5:37:09 PM EDT
Thanks!

Bump for the night crew.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:34:46 PM EDT
Telescopes.com is alright, but they mostly sell just their house brand.

www.astronomics.com is very much respected and has great prices and advice.

One option is to get some star charts and atlasses and a few magazines that have current month's topics. Then get a good pair of binoculars with an exit pupil between 5 and 7mm.

Divide objective by magnification to get exit pupil. Eg. 7x50 would have an exit pupil of 50/7=7.1.

Otherwise, set a budget, and double it.


Beginner recommendations:

6" Newtonian or Dobsonian would be a great start.

Make sure that whatever telescope you buy has the higher quality 1.25" eyepieces and not the 0.96" eyepieces. This is critical!!!

Happy hunting.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:40:12 PM EDT
I have the old Orion Short Tube 80, a good little unit and has a bit of a cult following (among people who like to tinker with things) the Go-to features would be pretty handy I would guess, a good tripod is a big plus and find a place that is dark to put it to good use.

Go here to find dark places.

If you got $ to burn, this stuff is primo

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:41:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 6:51:17 PM EDT by Greenhorn]
BEFORE YOU BUY, READ THESE WORDS!

I know a lot about telescopes. Let me tell you, they will try to advertise their telescopes by saying how much magnification it has. COMPLETELY IGNORE THIS! It does not matter at all!

Magnification not only magnifies the image, but the distortion as well. The larger the aprature, the lower the distortion and the larger the useful magnification. The maximum useful magnification for a normal 60mm refractor is about 200, but even that's stretching it. I wouldn't go higher than 100. After that the image degrades. 400 mag would look awful. 600 is useless.

Furthermore it is the EYEPIECE, not the telescope, that determines magnification.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:43:09 PM EDT
.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:43:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Merrell:
I have the old Orion Short Tube 80, a good little unit and has a bit of a cult following (among people who like to tinker with things) the Go-to features would be pretty handy I would guess, a good tripod is a big plus and find a place that is dark to put it to good use.

Go here to find dark places.

If you got $ to burn, this stuff is primo




The short tube 80 is a great spotter. I have Televue scopes including Ranger, Genesis, 85.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:46:42 PM EDT
I'd love a better one than the 30x30 I had as a kid
but there's so much light pollution in the buffalo area it'd be a waste of money
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:47:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 6:51:13 PM EDT by twonami]
Telescopes.com is a good place to start with as far as choosing a good scope.
Bigger aperture is better. You want the biggest light bucket you can afford. You can worry about magnification later.
If you live in a area with a lot of light pollution you won't have much fun.
Avoid the cheapo scopes, you'll be glad you did.
My home scope is the Dobsonian XT10 and I use a Maksutov-Cassegrain 150 for portable use.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:51:31 PM EDT
By the way, if you want a really good telescope that you can see things like the dumbell nebula and the ring nebula, get a 4" or bigger reflector. A reflector is always better than the same sized refractor because a lens will refract different wavelengths different ways (and therefore turning the image into a rainbow at high magnifications), while a reflector does not.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 6:57:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 7:01:15 PM EDT by kindstranger]

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
By the way, if you want a really good telescope that you can see things like the dumbell nebula and the ring nebula, get a 4" or bigger reflector. A reflector isalways better than the same sized refractor because a lens will refract different wavelengths different ways (and therefore turning the image into a rainbow at high magnifications), while a reflector does not.



But reflectors have image degredation due to central obstructions. With the exception of Ritcheys, the best image will come from a premium apochromatic refractor, Period.

A perfect example of this is all the top amatuers that shell out 2 to 10 grand on a 4 to 6 inch refractor OTA from Televue, Vixen, Takahashi and the like over a 2 to 5 grand 8 to 12" computerized Cassegrain wonderscope.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 7:04:44 PM EDT
JM2CW
Before you go out and spend $ on a telescope why not get a couple of star books (Peterson's Field Guide or some such as an example) and a decent binocular. Take the kids out a few nights and see how they do. If all they want to do is see a few planets and catch a comet or two you're fine. If they really get the bug and don't mind freezing their fannies off at 0400 to catch the best views on clear nights then move up to a bigger, more expensive telescope. OBTW if there is an astronomy club or observatory within 100 miles find out when they have a star party, take the kids along and ask loads of questions. The old hands won't mind a few questions from kids and you might just get a few good ideas about used equipment for sale.

Happy hunting and remember, "Keep looking up!"

Link Posted: 9/14/2005 1:20:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
... they will try to advertise their telescopes by saying how much magnification it has. COMPLETELY IGNORE THIS! ...


+10,000!!!

Instead, think aperture size.

Plus, ironically, for some uses (say looking at star clusters) a lower power is better since it gives you a wider view.

And make sure whatever you get has a pretty solid mount.

IMHO, if you do get a telescope, the absolute first thing you look at (other than maybe the moon) is Saturn. Every time I see it I can’t help but marvel at how beautiful it is.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 1:38:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 1:39:58 AM EDT by Keith_J]

Originally Posted By kindstranger:

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
By the way, if you want a really good telescope that you can see things like the dumbell nebula and the ring nebula, get a 4" or bigger reflector. A reflector isalways better than the same sized refractor because a lens will refract different wavelengths different ways (and therefore turning the image into a rainbow at high magnifications), while a reflector does not.



But reflectors have image degredation due to central obstructions. With the exception of Ritcheys, the best image will come from a premium apochromatic refractor, Period.

A perfect example of this is all the top amatuers that shell out 2 to 10 grand on a 4 to 6 inch refractor OTA from Televue, Vixen, Takahashi and the like over a 2 to 5 grand 8 to 12" computerized Cassegrain wonderscope.



But mere mortals cannot see image degradation due to secondary obstruction.

For the BEGINNER, these scopes offer a much better bargin. Much easier to transport and set up. You can slip a 90mm Mak into a backpack and take it hiking. Easily. Not so with a refractor.



And then we have thermal effects. On the reflector, a simple dew shield solves most problems.

Astronomics.com is your best bet. Stay away from telescopes.com...
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 3:52:07 AM EDT
Awesome, thanks for all the advice, guys.

The kids are currently 4 and 10 months. It's a little early to decide based on their interest. I've always been interested.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 3:52:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 3:53:43 AM EDT by kindstranger]

Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By kindstranger:

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
By the way, if you want a really good telescope that you can see things like the dumbell nebula and the ring nebula, get a 4" or bigger reflector. A reflector isalways better than the same sized refractor because a lens will refract different wavelengths different ways (and therefore turning the image into a rainbow at high magnifications), while a reflector does not.



But reflectors have image degredation due to central obstructions. With the exception of Ritcheys, the best image will come from a premium apochromatic refractor, Period.

A perfect example of this is all the top amatuers that shell out 2 to 10 grand on a 4 to 6 inch refractor OTA from Televue, Vixen, Takahashi and the like over a 2 to 5 grand 8 to 12" computerized Cassegrain wonderscope.



But mere mortals cannot see image degradation due to secondary obstruction.

For the BEGINNER, these scopes offer a much better bargin. Much easier to transport and set up. You can slip a 90mm Mak into a backpack and take it hiking. Easily. Not so with a refractor.



And then we have thermal effects. On the reflector, a simple dew shield solves most problems.

Astronomics.com is your best bet. Stay away from telescopes.com...




I agree with most of what you say. I am not recommending a refractor necessarily, and not an APO for a beginner, I was just defending refractors from an absolute statement. If you see my first reply, I advise a 6" Newtonian or Dobsonian.


As advice for a beginner scope, let me also add that I would advise against the 90mm Maksutov Cassegrains. They are shiny, wizbang technical marvels with decent optical quality, however, their long focal length make them impractical for most astronomy other than planets. You can get some good looks at M42 AND M31, but you will hit your limits quickly aftrer that.

One more point, If you plan to get a Newtonian or a Dobsonian, make sure the focal ratio is at least f/6. Anything shorter (f/4.5 is common) at a beginner pricepoint is likely to suffer from significant chromatic and spherical abberation. I looked through one guy's 6" short tube reflector from Orion telescope (www.telescopes.com) and the image quality was horrendous, enough so where kids avoided it without being told.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:29:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 10:32:03 AM EDT by ARDunstan]
A 90mm Maksutov is always a good beginner scope.
They have a 105mm and a 125mm as well.

Meade 90mm Maksutov

Link Posted: 9/14/2005 10:36:59 AM EDT
Closest thing I know about telescopes is that my GF works for Sky and Telescope magazine.

skyandtelescope.com/howto/scopes/article_241_1.asp
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:26:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARDunstan:
A 90mm Maksutov is always a good beginner scope.
They have a 105mm and a 125mm as well.

Meade 90mm Maksutov

www.meade.com/etx_premier/images/etxPremier.jpg




Another great thing about the Meade series is the rapid camera port. Rig up a cheap CCD to your laptop, find the object using the mirror diagonal, then flip the mirror down to display it for the kids. Much easier on their eyes and less problems with scope setup.

If you get the goto variety, it is even better.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:35:52 AM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 3:20:46 PM EDT
The cheap ones are just that cheap. They don't start getting good to around $1200.00. We have the 12 inch LX GPS model and it is great.


Originally Posted By JCKnife:
I've never had a telescope but I've got a couple young kids and it seems like something fun we could do together. I've seen the Meade go-to on some home shopping network and it looks like a good combination of ease, power and affordability. What say you? Good choice or is there a better one?

Link Posted: 9/14/2005 3:23:23 PM EDT
For a newbie he should get a cassagrain.


Originally Posted By kindstranger:

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
By the way, if you want a really good telescope that you can see things like the dumbell nebula and the ring nebula, get a 4" or bigger reflector. A reflector isalways better than the same sized refractor because a lens will refract different wavelengths different ways (and therefore turning the image into a rainbow at high magnifications), while a reflector does not.



But reflectors have image degredation due to central obstructions. With the exception of Ritcheys, the best image will come from a premium apochromatic refractor, Period.

A perfect example of this is all the top amatuers that shell out 2 to 10 grand on a 4 to 6 inch refractor OTA from Televue, Vixen, Takahashi and the like over a 2 to 5 grand 8 to 12" computerized Cassegrain wonderscope.

Link Posted: 9/14/2005 4:35:09 PM EDT
I have nothing specific to add, but I must say that I was compelled to read the entire thread. Great stuff.
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