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Starting off cheap


Guest gbobnopants
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Guest gbobnopants

what is the best way to start i want a scope obviously but ive read enough to know everyone says get some binoculars but surely thats £60-£100 i could be putting towards a nice scope also can anyone recommend any good star chart books ive downloaded stellarium but would like some reading on the subject aswell

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First off, depends what you want to do and how much you have to spend.

If you can answer the below questions it will help us get an understanding of what you are after.

1. What is your budget?

2. Do you want to do visual, astrophotography or both?

3. Has it got to be easily transportable?

4. Do you want 100% manual or do you want a goto system?

all the above will factor in to what type of mount/scope we will advise.

As regards to books, for astrophotography then look at Making every photon count, as a general astro book, try Turn left at Orion.

Time to get your thinking cap on!

Good luck.

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Guest gbobnopants

I want to take picture in the future but i dont have a camera at the momment and cant see me getting one anytime soon but budget depends really, if i can use it in the future for taking nice pictures probably £400-£500 for just pulling out and peeking in awe probably wouldnt want to spend much more than £300 but i do want it for both i want a goto system just for the sake of being idle but still get an unearned sense of accomplishment when i point out polaris hense why i want a good book or 2. Transport yes i will more than likely be heading up matlock/belper way to use it

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Ok, so you need it to transportable, you would like goto and did you say your limit was £300 to £500?

Is that correct?

If so, the fact you want goto will severely limit the size of scope, and to get good astro pictures you need appature (size of primary mirror).

Ideally, for decent astrophotography you need to be looking to be spending about £1000 minimum, sorry, but that's the price of kit these days. :(

If you were to sacrifice the goto, for £500 you could get a cracking manual dobsonion!

Like this......


/>http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-250px-dobsonian.html

I would love this scope, as for transportability, it will fit in the back of an Vauxhall Astra, mine does!

I think you have to make a hard decision!

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Years ago astronomers learnt the sky without the aid of go-to, it's actually very good fun and an essential part of the hobby in my experience.

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I have recentley gone back to star hopping from having goto kit.

It is much more fun in my opinion, never thought i would say that!

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Hi Glyn,

Binoculars will give you better views than most scopes in the budget range. One reason is that you use both eye's, and this enhances the view as your brain is very capable of combining the two images from the separate tubes.

It is a great way to learn your way round the sky, if you don't already, and they are as valuable a bit of equipment as a scope. Most observers have both, I do.

There are some objects that scopes can't handle, down to the wide field of view needed to see them, and they are great for spotting a target before the scope is pointed that direction.

If you want good views of deep sky objects, you need aperture, and as Daz mentioned, the best bang for your buck are Dobsonian's, primarily as the majority of the manufacturing cost is devoted to the optics. The bases are usually chipboard, but functional. This is where learning the sky comes in handy, as you have to find the object.

This isn't to bad with clear, dark skies. But can be frustrating if you have street lights and car parks nearby.

There must be something in the water round your way, that's two of you from Eastwood who have joined this week!

Iam just round the corner in Watnall, and there are a fair few members within a few miles of you.

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Hi Glyn

I would suggest that binocs are a great way to begin and you don't have to spend a lot - I have a pair of 10x50 fmc porro prisms from Liddl for the princely sum of £15 - so long as they are well collimateed that's all you need for an immediate cheap start.

It took me 3mths of reading and research before I got my first scope so binocs are great in the meantime. Considering scopes you need to think about aperture - the larger the better. The cheapest for a reasonable start are 5" newtonians - but if you can stretch to 6" or 8" apertures you'll see deeper into space and hence more objects. Choose a dobsonian base (rocker box on a turntable) to keep costs down - or choose a manual equatorial mount to be "in tune" with the Earth's rotation.

Alt/az goto mounts fall in your price bracket - but they restrict you to small apertures due to the cost of the electronics and weight limitations of the mount. A reasonable equatorial goto mount to give you first steps in imaging will cost around £500 new or £300-£350 s/h depending on age, condition, and accessories included - that's without the scope. To take photos of anything but planets an equatorial mount is essential as it allows tracking in a single plane - alt/az scopes have to track in two planes and you can't attain the accuracy needed for dso imaging.

I would divide your budget about 80% for scope and mount - hold aside 20% for the inevitable accessories you'll have to buy. Hope this gives you an initial feel for the hobby - any questions just keep asking away. Hope to see you at a meeting soon - meanwhile enjoy the forum :)

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Guest gbobnopants

thank you all ive just ordered turn left at orion as for star wheels ive found 2 different types 30degree north and 50deg north whats the difference or can i get any.

i need to read up on bases i think, if i get the Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian sugested by Darren can i upgrade the base at a latter date and yes budget is no more than £500 would rather spend £300-£400 but if theres a lot of difference will pay 500 but wont be able till after xmas.

i have a couple sets of binos knocking around nothing special ill have to dig them out if theyll see anything and i totally agree that most of the fun is finding the objects also when and where are the meets im guessing there posted on the forum somewere. as for the water round here its no coincidence craig is a friend of mine who pointed me in the direction of this site and there will more than likely be a third in the near future we'll make a good astronomer between us 1 has a dslr camera criag has the technical ability and i have the looks charm intelligence and modesty

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You want the 50 deg planisphere - it's for the northern hemisphere where we all are. Keep your eye on the Announcements Section and Local Meets subsection - it will light up on the main board when a meeting thread is announced so it's easy to spot. Most commonly they happen at the weekends when most folks can attend.

Yup - you'll see a lot with a pair of binocs - Sir PM only uses 10x50's and that's good enough for me - the moon is a particularly good first target. You may get a bit of CA with your bins (yellow or purple glowing edge around the moon) - but don't let that small point deter you. HTH :)

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if as with most of us money is a factor, have you thought about second hand, you could pick up a 200p dob for a couple of hundred pounds if your lucky and when the time comes to upgrade you can get most of your money back if it`s looked after.

most of the scopes i`ve bought have been second hand, most people really do look after there kit, i don`t buy anything if it`s alittle worn or abused, if it`s in good condition you get your money back.

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Guest gbobnopants

ive been keeping my eye on ebay i was thinking maybe if i look for a camera second hand i could get both for about 700 thinking optimistic i know but theres no 250PX Dobsonian on there at the minute and only just figured out how to use http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/ the only problem i have with buying second hand is that im no expert on scopes and wouldnt know what to look for, buyin a car or house fine few hundered on a scope wouldnt know were to start

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well that`s where your in look if you need any advice on what to look out for or maybe someone to view the scope with you then i`m sure there would be someone on here to help out for sure

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dobs are very easy to check out, as long as the mirrors are good with no marks on them and the focuser is working ok there`s not alot that can go wrong

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That one you're looking at on ABS sounds great - the guy has an observatory - you can check that out when you go to view - so he sounds like an experienced astronomer - it's not a 100% cert but it's a good sign he's genuine. As such you can be reasonably sure he's looked after it - and it sounds a bit special, being "optimised for photography" and dual speed. It's a reasonable price - circa 60% of new - and if the mirror's ok, focuser smooth and positive, and generally tidy all round I'd be interested for sure (if I was in the market).

Contact the guy and tell him you'll take it subject to inspection and everything being as described - that gives you the option to renage if there's anything dodgey when you get there. I'd probably offer £195 cash on collection and see what he says (depends on age really) - just to be a bit cheeky - but agree it before you venture out. :)

Here's the new price for your reference: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-250p-ds-ota.html

I assume it's this one from your link: http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=58781

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I don't know if you are aware, but OTA is the scope tube only (optical tube assembly), and doesn't include the mount.

I don't think that's a bad price if it's in good nick. I think he would be happy with £200.

Don't forget this is a heavy old beast and will require a substantial mount to cope with the weight. You would be better to go for something that will handle more weight, so it's not straining when you add the weight of camera's and guide scopes.

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I bought my skytee 2 from this chap (Paul).

He is a very nice person and 100% genuine.

You will have no problem with kit he has.

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Woops - I slipped a bit there with the links - thanks Martyn - my post is now ammended and reads right (I hope lol). :)

Good news from John there - he beat me to the Skytee lol :)

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Guest gbobnopants

theres a exchange camera shop in derby that sells them apparently will have to go see when im next off and noticed on the forums that pat is selling a 300 dob but dont think everything is with it and looks abit on the massive side, is this to much of a scope for a starter would prefare something thats complete and possibly a little more compact witch brings another question to light if i was to aquire a scope like this could i put all the gubbins in a flexitube or are they to mathmatically set up to just dive in with a hammer and screw driver set

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there`s a skywatcher 250 px for sale on stargazers lounge with a set of binoviwers for £500, i`ll buy the binos of you !

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Don't be tempted to rush off and buy a scope, you will always be able to have a look through other peoples, and save your cash for one that really floats your boat. It took me two years to save for my 300p, but it is a great scope that I won't be parting with.

I only say that, as I bought one that looked good on paper, and it didn't live up to the claims. It broke once as well, which I was able to repair, god bless Astro boot. My son has it now, and I don't think he's used it.

If you want a scope for around £300, then you won't go wrong with a 200p dob. They are superb scopes for the money, deliver the views, and when you upgrade, they hold their money well.

Come down one of the dark sites and see what scope would suit your needs, as they all have strengths and weaknesses. A bit like cars is a good analogy, you won't get a fiesta doing off road, well maybe in Broxtowe, but you see what I mean.

Also consider where you are likely to store it when not in use, you don't want it in sunlight, of a humid place like a conservatory.

They can be bigger than you think as well, ask SWMBO, that didn't go down well for a bit!

Good luck, and don't forget to ask peoples opinions. Oh, and don't buy a Seben reflector, they are not worth the money. Check the review sites and you will see what I mean.

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Plus one for trying other people's before buying. I certainly wish I had taken my time a little more, but I am very happy with my purchase. I got a 2nd hand 200p on an EQ5 with a few odds and ends with it for £280. It is very good, but if I were starting out again I might be tempted to start out differently, but then when I started I had different ideas on what I was going to do to what I now have. A 200p on a dob would be an excelent scope to start with, and 2nd hand should leave a bit for some bits and bobs to go with it.

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Guest gbobnopants

id feel cheeky though just turning up to a randomer and asking to view though lol thanks for the guys that suggested turn left at orion half way through learned a lot already

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