# Amateur telescope reccomendations?

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#### ThirstyBarbarian

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Most scopes come with a finder scope attached. I assume you will have a small finder scope attached. If not, it would be good to have one. Without a computer go-to system (and even if you have one) you would be surprised the difficulty of targeting something, even as big as the moon or the sun. The real area of focus of the human eye is about 55 degrees. If the power of the telescope is for example 55, then the field of view (FOV) will be only 1 degree, which means that the telescope has to be aimed pretty good on the target. A finder scope with a larger FOV comes in pretty handy.
My finder scope broke at one point, and I replaced it with a green laser, which I really liked a lot. Honestly, I liked it better than the finder. I loved just pointing the laser at something, then looking through the eyepiece, and there it was.

#### Mike Helm

##### 360LTR
If you can build a rocket you can build a really nice telescope. I was lucky enough to attend an event (StarFest?). Anyways a bunch of folks from the Sidewalk Astronomers were there. I spent much of the time in the courtyard with builders who could put together a decent scope out of found items...meanwhile my wife and daughter were inside attending a lecture by John Dobson himself. http://www.sidewalkastronomers.us/
Read a lot and be informed before jumping in because there is a lot to know. Decide how much space you have that your willing to dedicate in both your home (storage) and your car (transport). I would also suggest that you seek out and attend a local star party where you can meet others and experience their equipment. I live near Los Angeles and Griffith Observatory hosts a star party once a month and you can walk from scope to scope and get a real good feel for each one and talk to the owners who are very passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience.

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I have three astronomical telescopes and several spotting scopes and a boatload of binoculars. The spotting scopes are much more useful and the binoculars more useful than either. You can use spotting scopes and binoculars for more than just looking at planets and stars. You can get really big, powerful binoculars with a tripod mount and it is pretty amazing what you can see. There are 75X spotting scopes and I think they are worth a look. I get my stuff from B&H photo and video.
One of the scopes I have is the Celestron Astromaster 114EQ or something like that. It is the cheapest and best astronomical scope I have. I have a pretty big refractor and a pretty big newtonian reflector and I'm not impressed with either one. The 130EQ is probably pretty good.
If you really want to see anything, I'd spend the money and get a cassegrain type scope.
In my opinion there really isn't that much to see, in the night sky, that's very interesting, unless you spend a fortune. Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon are about all that's worth looking at. After I looked at them a few times, the scopes have just collected dust. You can use spotting scopes or binoculars to look at waterfowl or see what that is in your neighbors yard.

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Oh, and I don't recommend Barska. They make some good things, but I bought a pair of Barska binoculars and it's one of the few things I've ever returned. I have a Barska spotting scope. It's supposed to be 125 power, but it's more like 75, at best, and not very sharp at the high end.

#### PXR5

##### Starship Hijacker
TRF Supporter
I second an 8 or 6" Dobson.
The 130 is not a bad scope, but the mount lacks.
The Dob will be rock solid.

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Dobsonians(?) are a good value. I've considered one. I assume they need to be aligned, like a newtonian, which is a pain.
Easier or harder to transport than a Newtonian with equatorial mount?

#### mooffle

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I thought of one other thing, if you don't get a starter pack of sorts and go with a dob then get a nice atlas like the sky and telescope atlas.
The objects in it will keep you busy for quite a while but are also generally bright enough to be findable with a decent scope and not a ton of effort.

#### gdjsky01

##### Whoosh, pop: life is good
TRF Supporter
I have more telescopes than rockets... well not really... but I have at last count 10.

I have scopes from a 60mm Japanese made refractor to a 55cm with computer control.

Where do you live? Where will you go to get dark skies? Will you learn how to find things?

The first telescope I would get would be a 15cm to 20cm dobsonian. $500CAD is tough. Something from Orion or the ilk. Khan in Toronto if they are still around can help. IT IS NOT AN EASY QUESTION TO ANSWER! Because expectations on what new people will see always exceeds reality. Especially if not under dark skies. And most people buy gee whiz cheap (and$500CAD I am afraid is cheap for a great scope - but not impossible) motorized garbage. The gears are plastic, tracking and finding things is suspect, and the optics are where the manufacturer cheap out. There is one thing that matters. Stability and optics. I know, thats two. But for what you are willing to pay, IMO, find a astronomy club near you and join. Then ask.

This may be a good compromise. https://optcorp.com/collections/sta...rsense-explorer-dx-102az-smartphone-refractor

#### Voyager1

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Dobsonians(?) are a good value. I've considered one. I assume they need to be aligned, like a newtonian, which is a pain.
Easier or harder to transport than a Newtonian with equatorial mount?
A 6” or 8” Dob is very easy carry around, set up and use. Alignment is very easy once you’ve mastered the technique, particularly with a simple laser alignment tool. This only needs to be done occasionally if the scope doesn’t get bumped around too much.

#### Mike Haberer

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I would highly recommend a decent pair of binoculars to start with a good star chart and a bino book. I would spend between $150 &$300. If you really think you are going to enjoy the hobby, learn the night sky first - constellations, bino capable deep-sky objects, some of the wider double stars, planets, open star clusters, a few of the larger globular clusters, a few galaxies. That will take you a year of fairly regular observing. If that whets the appetite for more, then get a 6" or 8" dob and you'll be able to go deeper. You'll need to know the night sky to use it effectively, which the binos will do for you. If that doesn't satisfy your urge for more, then be prepared to decide how to split your hobby dollars between rocketry and astronomy. Like any hobby, the sky is the limit (aka, ). Astronomy does have a significant advantage over rocketry, however. When you spend $300 on a quality eyepiece you can use it more than once. When you spend$300 on a motor, you use it once and it's gone. If you're lucky you get your rocket back.

#### Voyager1

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I would highly recommend a decent pair of binoculars to start with a good star chart and a bino book. I would spend between $150 &$300. If you really think you are going to enjoy the hobby, learn the night sky first - constellations, bino capable deep-sky objects, some of the wider double stars, planets, open star clusters, a few of the larger globular clusters, a few galaxies. That will take you a year of fairly regular observing. If that whets the appetite for more, then get a 6" or 8" dob and you'll be able to go deeper. You'll need to know the night sky to use it effectively, which the binos will do for you. If that doesn't satisfy your urge for more, then be prepared to decide how to split your hobby dollars between rocketry and astronomy. Like any hobby, the sky is the limit (aka, ). Astronomy does have a significant advantage over rocketry, however. When you spend $300 on a quality eyepiece you can use it more than once. When you spend$300 on a motor, you use it once and it's gone. If you're lucky you get your rocket back.
Good advice! I regularly use a pair of 10 x 50 bins before I wheel out the 8” Dob.

TRF Supporter

#### prfesser

Ok, I had to check... The scope I helped use in Montana was only an 80 mm diameter refractor, a Celestron StarSense Explorer LT80AZ. f/11 with about 131x the light gathering capability of the human eye, and 90x magnification with the shorter eyepiece. I think the red spot might've shown up slightly as a gray spot, but my recollection of the image was all white beyond that. And like I said, we had a very dark sky, wall-to-wall Milky way and Jupiter was brilliant to look at.

Don't know if I'll ever make something like BALLS - I can guarantee you my dear beloved has almost zero interest in being out in the middle of the desert, 12 miles from the nearest man made light watching rockets, much less at 3AM with a telescope, so it'd be a solo venture - I suppose y'all are in campers & RV's?
Last time I was at BALLS I lived in a tent for three days. I'm told that it can be iffy, but I was lucky; no serious wind, earlier rain had dried up. Only real downside was the two foam pads weren't enough to counteract the lumpy playa. Air mattress next time.

BTW some of the Pittsburgh TRA folks go to BALLS every year. You might be able to hitch a ride...

Best -- Terry

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Oh an air mattress is infinitely better, even in here in Pennsylvania. But a tent - any tent - in the rain is simply the pits; it's nearly impossible to keep the mud out. My wife's thoughts on tent camping: "Pick my up at the nearest Holiday Inn when you're done playing Daniel Boone!" Her primary thoughts on deserts revolve around snakes and scorpions, guaranteed she ain't sleeping in a tent out there!!!

But who knows, I may just try that sometime, esp. if we can carpool!

#### NOLA_BAR

##### Well-Known Member
I'm going to go with the suspicion that said scope is not among their "top of the line" optics; that scope's list price is $180. But I wasn't getting a lot of atmospheric effects, at least as far as I could tell. The image wasn't out of focus or wavering, there just wasn't any color in it. Color can be quite subjective too. I was at our clubs observing site looking at Jupiter and another member was there with a high end refractor (TEC 140mm). I thought I could see the GRS but it was washed out. I went over to his scope, the GRS was right there! The best I’ve ever seen. It was also a$7K scope! That’s why astronomy clubs are great you get access to lots of different equipment.

You can expect to see color in planets and stars. I see green in Orion Nebula. Some claim to see faint colors in Orion with larger scopes. Galaxies are always gray smudges even in larger telescopes for me. A lot of deep sky astronomy is in the “minds-eye”. That photon may have traveled millions or hundreds of millions of years to reach your eyeball.

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
That photon may have traveled millions or hundreds of millions of years to reach your eyeball.
...and only to end up mis-directed by atmospheric abberations and lousy optics!

#### caveduck

##### semi old rocketeer
I get a lot of mileage out of my old vintage 1986 Japan-made Celestron 11x80 binocs on a solid Manfrotto tripod. Good contrast and pretty decent light gathering, drastically better than 8x50's. You can cruise ebay for vintage giant binocs, right now there is an Orion 11x80 for \$200 that would probably not suck. 8"+ dob is not a bad idea either. Make sure you get a decent finder.