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Starter telescope.


Guest Jason
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So every one, what would your choice of today's telescope be for a starter. I wouldn't mind for the time being getting images of the moon and planets. I havnt a clue what sort or make to go for.

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Hi Jason, Imaging is a particularly challenging aspect of Astronomy. Even our experienced  imager's have frustrating times, sometimes nearly fluent french is spoken!


 


The goto book for this subject is "Every Photon Counts", by Steve  Richards


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http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html


 


This will guide you from what you will need to what you can expect.


I stick to visual, as Iam lazy, and can't be doing with fighting with my kit. 


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Hi there Jason what's your budget that's what we need to no do you have a dslr ,compact camera web cam as I said you welcome up mine one night am out tonight if t clears and you will get an idea what ya need do you drive at all ?

Pat

Yep sounds good. Try and sort some thing out for next wk so I can see how all this works lol.

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Have a look at the Skywatcher 200P dobsonian and the 150P on EQ3-2. These are both around £300 and very good starter scopes which will leave you spare cash for essential accessories like a collimator, barlow lens, finder, polar scope, or extra eyepiece.


 


Read up on the difference between alt/az mounts and eq mounts. This will greatly influence your decision which to get, and the type of astronomy or imaging you intend to do. It's best to plan that now before committing hard cash. Feel free to come back with any specific questions that arise.


 


Look forward to seeing you at the next session :)


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Have a look at the Skywatcher 200P dobsonian and the 150P on EQ3-2. These are both around £300 and very good starter scopes which will leave you spare cash for essential accessories like a collimator, barlow lens, finder, polar scope, or extra eyepiece.

 

Read up on the difference between alt/az mounts and eq mounts. This will greatly influence your decision which to get, and the type of astronomy or imaging you intend to do. It's best to plan that now before committing hard cash. Feel free to come back with any specific questions that arise.

 

Look forward to seeing you at the next session :)

Had a look last night at the dobsonian 200p and it has a good review. What sort of bits would I need to take images.

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Felix is right - that's why I mentioned two scopes - the dob is essential an observing scope and the EQ3-2 a good elementary observing and imaging scope. Both great value for money and affordable within your budget. First thing you'd need is an RA motor for the EQ3-2. Then either a webcam for planets (Philips SPC900 or 880)  or a dslr for deep sky (nebulae, clusters, galaxies, etc).


 


But imaging is an art and a steep learning curve - get "making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards to see what's involved. There's more than you ever imagine to mastering it :)


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Looking on the First Light Optics website, the 150p DS on an eq3-2 is only £5 less than a 200p on an eq5. To my mind you're getting a lot more scope with 200p and a much better mount for £5 more. Motor drives, polar scope etc are extra for both, but could be added later. Worth thinking about.


 


I've got a 150p which was  on an eq3-2 (not ds), and it's a good scope but the 200p/eq5 is better.

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+1 for what Paul says above.

Personally I would wait and get to a meet of some kind, there you will see an array of scopes and you can try before you buy, nobody minds you looking (unless they are imaging).

We cant really stress this enough, if you can, try before you buy!

Edited by Daz Type-R
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Hi Jason, I have owned a 150PDS and now have a 200PDS. The DS at the end denotes it has a shorter focuser ready for using a DSLR. The P range can sometimes cause problems when trying to focus a camera, other than that it has a fine 10-1 focuser control where the P range is a single focus control. Hope that helps?


 


Hi Tom  :)


Edited by Ron Clarke
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Hi Jason, I have owned a 150PDS and now have a 200PDS. The DS at the end denotes it has a shorter focuser ready for using a DSLR. The P range can sometimes cause problems when trying to focus a camera, other than that it has a fine 10-1 focuser control where the P range is a single focus control. Hope that helps?

 

Hi Tom  :)

Now you got me thinking. Lol.

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Jason


 


I'm still very new to this, but I was like you a year or so ago. I was so eager I just bought a Skywatcher 127 whilst I was on holiday in North Wales (as it's what the women recommended and what they had in stock). It wasn't a bad buy (I don't think), but I do wonder if I had my time again if I'd maybe have gone for something slightly different and maybe spent a little bit more. The mount is really key to the whole set up; it's not all about how many inches you've got.


 


I can't emphasize enough the value in seeing other peoples kit. I know it's frustrating waiting, but if you can watch people setting up various telescopes, aligning them, running them, and the results they give, you'd have a much better idea of what you really want.


 


Everyone says imaging is a hassle and for the experts, the former is true, the latter so so true, but it is so rewarding to get some images to show people and say "I took that!" [the secretary at work still doesn't believe me that the little picture of Jupiter is something I took with my dodgy mount and digital SLR hanging off the end of it]; I'm still at the very bottom of the learning curve with this as everyone on here can testify as I keep asking daft questions, but I have to say I find the imaging side of things the most appealing.


 


So, do get out there and see peoples equipment. I suspect there will be lots of people near by who would happily show you their kit in the garage if the cloud remains.


 


Just don't rush to buy anything would be my advice as impatient as you probably are.


 


If you are ever down in West Bridgford I can show you my very meager set up.


 


Good luck and enjoy.


 


James

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Good advice above Jason. Plus if you'd like to see a range of scopes before the next meeting (which might be this weekend or 5 months away lol) you'd be welcome to drop over here and I'll talk you through all the gear. :)


 


(The club scope btw is a 200P (short) dobsonian - it was only just prepared last w/e - we're in the process of deciding how it's to be hired, where it'll be stored, and how best to maximise it's use amongst members both at meetings and/or at home).


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Guest Jason

Any one with experience with the Celestron CPC 800 GPS (XLT). Iv gone against the dob. It's to big and no where to store it safely so I'm looking at some thing abit more pratical . I came across the scope above and the Celestron NexStar 8SE. What do you guys think. Il be ordering a scope tomorrow so need advice and for how much they are I've got to make the right choice or the mrs will not be happy lol.

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Guest CodnorPaul

I have the Nexstar 8SE and although I am also new to it all I am very happy with it - great go-to once you work it all out, excellent optics, and very transportable.  There is a little wobble in it when focusing (mirror moves to focus) or when strong wind but that is due to the single arm mount, the CPC wouldnt have the same issue.  That being said it is fine, settles down quickly, and I am only doing visual so it is fine for that (option then it to get an upgraded mount in the future if the call comes).  I wouldnt get swayed by the GPS element as I dont have that and once you work out how to set up it is really easy to enter co-ordinates, and then it only needs time and date entering.


 


One thing I would possibly say is that the extra money for the CPC Vs the Nextsar means if you chose the Nexstar you would be able to get some accessories which you will definitely need - buying a scope is only the first step.  BUT the CPC is more stable so it really depends on personal choice and budget.  You WILL need a chair, upgraded EPs, dew control, power supply, dew shield, etc.  Then there are even more optional accessories (upgraded diagonal etc.) before you even get to AP.


 


I am only down the road in Codnor so you are welcome to come take a look if required, although as you are ordering tomorrow then that may be challenging.  Or wait until a meet and come take a proper look.  But I am sure one of the more experienced will be along shortly to give you more detail.  Any other questions though please ask.


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Guest CodnorPaul

View is brilliant, and due to the design you dont need expensive EPs.  That being said it only comes with one EP I believe so that wont do - I got the Hyperion Zoom which is also great as it gives you flexibility, but other than that you will want a range that goes from at least 8 - 40 depending on what you want to look at (not every stop but a selection between that range).  Regarding the OTA itself as I understand it the CPC and the Nexstar are exactly the same optics so it would be comparable - it is literally just the mount that differs.  The CPC I think is fixed to the mount isnt it, whereas the Nexstar has a dovetail bar so you can change the mount to a GEM if you do wish to start doing AP - but I have heard of people doing AP on planets on a Nextsar.  To be fair though I would start visual if it were me - enjoy the optics first, then worry about AP detail later as there is sooo much to learn anyway!


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Guest Jason

That's good then. I'm not going to touch trying to AP lol I did think about it at first but after looking into it abit more, I think it's a job afew year down the line lol. I've heard some good things about the Hyperion zoom so I might look into that aswell..

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You'll want to play with astrophotography! I said I didn't and I do now. You can still do a lot with an alt-az mount and a DSLR camera or cheap webcam. You'll need to get an additional power source as you'll eat batteries like there is no tomorrow. You'll also need to get some kind of dew shield; B&M Bargains are selling camping mats for £2.50.


 


It looks like a lovely telescope. I'm excited for you too.


 


I'd be keen to look through it sometime, as I'm now saving up for something with more aperture.


 


Don't have too many sleepless nights waiting :)


 


James

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