# Telescopes....

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#### Neil

##### Well-Known Member
I have been trying to look at the moon with a little telescope I got for X-mas 5 or 6 years ago. Its was pretty good, when I was 7 or 8 years old. But now, I am getting very frustrated with it. The scope is off by a mile, and it swithces every other night. Its driving me nuts. Its not very powerfull either. Its only about 2 times as powerfull as my dad's binoculars. And it hasent focused perfectly since 2 years ago. OK. Enough complaining about my current telescope. To what I really wanted to say:

I just came in from looking at the moon, and I was thinking that a new telescope would be nice. Maybe even one that can take pics.... I like the looks of those GPS ones that can lock in on 40,000 objects at the press of a button, but they cost thousands of dollars (the biggest one is $10,000!). But there are some other ones that are about$300 that look pretty cool. They cant take pics (as far as I Know), and they cant lock in on 40,000 objects, but they look a heck of a lot better than what I got now!

SO what kind would you guys reccomend? Does anyone have one of those big ones that can take pics (if you do, could you post a few of em? )? Im just wondering what else is out there, and what is best for looking at the moon and maybe some of the planets.

Thanx! -Neil

#### Ryan S.

##### Well-Known Member
my school has a big 8" refractor in the observatory, with that you need to press a button and you can look at anything you want, it does it automatically....just move the opening in the dome to where the telescope is pointing.

they also have a 4" reflector. that is pretty nice, we were naming craters on the moon with it, it actually kinda hurt to look in because the moon was so bright.

#### Neil

##### Well-Known Member
College sounds like fun....

#### ibeblip

##### Well-Known Member
Hi Neil:
I bought an Orion XT8 last year for viewing the Mars event.
check out www.oriontel.com
During that event, and after, I bought a bunch more stuff to go with the scope.
I had planned on spending a lot of money on a once-in-a-lifetime item and certainly do not have any regrets.
Sounds like the XT4 would suit your needs just fine.

#### Ryan S.

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Neil
College sounds like fun....
yeah it does to me too, I cant wait until I get to go there, but that isnt for a long time

#### Neil

##### Well-Known Member
I thought you *WERE* in college....

Whater your in right now, it sounds fun.

#### Ryan S.

##### Well-Known Member
nope, not I, I am a softmore in highschool.

www.milton.edu <-my school there might be a blurb about the observatory

#### Neil

##### Well-Known Member
Huh... I figured Milton Academy was a college...

Gonna say... YOu looked a little young to be in college when we were prepping the motor for my V2.... That explains it.

What colleges are you looking at?

#### Ryan S.

##### Well-Known Member
I dont really know yet. Harvard, Brown, maybe MIT, there is a long list. LOL those would be my top choices though

#### illini

I'll second the vote for any scope in the Orion XT- series (I have an XT-8 "clone"). A good Dobsonian reflector will last you a lifetime. It isn't suited for astrophotography, but it will allow you to see a *lot*. Think hard about what you want to do with it, how portable you want it to be, and how much you're willing to spend on eyepieces (I tend to like Pentax eyepieces which run around $300 a piece, but Televue also makes excellent EPs). Take time to look things over. Best bet is to purchase (or find in your library) a copy of Phil Harrington's book "StarWare." After you've read that, head over to the Talking Telescopes yahoo group and post your questions there. Phil Harrington and several other very knowledgable observers are likely to answer your questions there. While you're at it, pick of a copy of Phil Harrington's "StarWatch" book also. It will help you to find the entire Messier catalog and several other "must see" objects. #### Neil ##### Well-Known Member Huh. My sister (junior in high school) is looking at colleges... Heres *part* of the list: St andrews (scotland) Arcadia Mt Holyoke William and Mary Edinborough University (Scotland) As you can see, she is obsessed with scotland. She has looked at more colleges in scotland than she has in the US...LOL... I think she wants to be an art teacher or a history teacher. SHe also says she wants to live exactly 2 miles from town (I promply informed her that they used Kilometers over there!! LOL!), in a small cottage with ivy on the walls. \ Dont want much do she? Me, I wanna be an aprentice to Steve White (a longtime friend of my dad's.) as an electritian, go to Southern Maine tech (or something like that), become an electritian, live in an apartment off our current house (which is going in this summer. Its really for my grandmother.), and eventually buy the house from my parents, who would move into the apartment (this was *THIER* idea, BTW. My mom says that I should start planting fruit trees so I can enjoy them when I own house! LOL!), and live a happy electritian/rocketeer life ever after. the job cant be shipped to China, I cant be fired, and I would make a decent amount of money. And once I owned the house, I would get paid rent, too! So I would be living the good life... Im still undecided on college.... Trade school sounds good enough, and I can easily drive to southern maine tech from this house every day. And I still have another few years to think about it, so I am really all set for now! Oh. And Embry Riddle would be on my list of possiblities if I *DID* go to college. That looks like one bang-up high school you go to, ryan! I wish our school was more like that, I might actually go to it! #### Ryan S. ##### Well-Known Member dude, hook me up with your sister!!! jkjk yeah it is nice here, but that is because people like the Kennedy's give money and so that is nice, for kids like me that dont have too much. I just realized how awesome the stars must me in Maine with no lights around. I would gladly buy a telescope if I lived up there. there is a little light pollution around here, you can still see stuff through a 'scope but I am sure it would be brighter up there #### Neil ##### Well-Known Member its a *LITTLE* better out here, but if you go up north a couple hundred miles and take a boat out on to some lake, you can see forever! My dad was up there one time and he says it was amazing... Sometime we will have to camp overnight with a telescope at Cherryfield or someting... or maybe just a hotel room... #### Zippy ##### Well-Known Member Astronomy is one of my other hobbies. Here's a link to my site on my favorite (and many others) telescope of all time... Worship The Meade ETX #### Frodo2801 ##### Well-Known Member I have the Meade EXT90 also its a great little scope, you can buy all kinds of attachments for it. I bought the computer add and the camera mount lots of lens. I used it for awhile, but its been put up for awhile I'll have to bring it back out now after reading this thread. We are going to have a camp launch in April I will make sure to bring it then. #### DavRedf ##### Well-Known Member Whats a kilometer ? David #### als57 ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by DavRedf Whats a kilometer ? David A little over .6 of a mile. Al #### Chilly ##### Well-Known Member I assume we're still on the subject of telescopes and are done trying to hook up with each other's sisters... Any 'scope that's worth using as a camera platform is going to cost you more money, because the mount will need to be rock-solid. The Orion XT series are probably the best deals on the market. I would steer clear of Celestron and Meade...they used to be all-around market leaders but their entry-level scopes aren't nearly up to par with Orion IMHO. What'll really make the difference in$$is the mount. An equatorial mount is going to be more expensive and not as easy to use, but it's the only way to do photography. And not just any eq. mount will do for photos. Dobsonian mounts are very stable and easy to use, just aim and go. But you can't use them for photography. Also consider your viewing area: do you live in the country, city, or 'burbs? If there are lots of streetlights, then you probably don't want more than 6" aperture otherwise you'll collect more glare than starlight. Last but not least, never, EVER, get suckered in by "power". If a scope advertises itself by magnification (400x, 600x) then don't even consider it. What you want to consider are aperture (diameter of the primary mirror or lens) and focal length. If you like planetary viewing get a longer length like f/8. If you like the faint fuzzies (nebulae, galaxies) then go for a medium like f/5. That way you can get better magnification for the occasional planetary viewing by just adding a good barlow lens. Hope this helps. I could've droned on longer! P.S. Don't write off binoculars either. A good set of binos will cost you about half of what a decent scope would and they are great for wide-field views of the "faint fuzzies". My wife got me a pair last Christmas and I use them more than my 'scope. #### illini ##### Well-Known Member I agree with everything Chilly says, except for the bit on aperture being of less value in the suburbs. It *is* true that faint fuzzies will be harder to find in the 'burbs and city no matter what the aperture. This is because the noise floor is higher (limiting magnitude is lower). Larger aperture will always collect more noise, but will also collect more signal. The signal-to-noise ratio is the same regardless of the aperture, but more aperture gives you more sensitivity and resolution. Lots of technobabble, I know. A more practical issue is that if you live in the 'burbs (as I do), then you need to haul your scope out to somewhere dark to get the most out of it. Where are you going to store it? How much hassle will it be to put in your car? How much setup are you willing to tolerate once you get there? How easy is it to use and position your scope? These things tend to have more impact on aperture (for me anyway) than anything else. I drool over the 18" truss dobs, but realize that I'll never own one due to the answers to all the above questions. #### Neil ##### Well-Known Member I live in a rural area, with little or no streetlights (we might have one or two near us, I am not sure). But we live far enough from town to see a bit more than we could at our previous house. Thanks for all the info on scopes... (im still trying to process it all..... ) I currently have a 60MM LL Bean by Celestron scope (I checked last night). Its green, and has "LL Bean by Celestron" written on it in big white letters. Ill have to look at the scopes again, but my mom sez that I have to buy it *ALL* with my own money. So I wont be getting another one unless I get a 50% off sale, or get one that was scratched or returned after being used or something...:kill: :kill: #### GoBang ##### Well-Known Member Chilly's pretty much got it nailed. My .02: a "Dob" is a great place to start. I have an Orion XT-6 with which I am very pleased. Other options might include Hardin Optical which has similar scopes at excellent prices--for a while they were really blowing out their 8 and 10 inch Dobs--and Gary Hand at Hands On Optics also has similar Dobs at great prices. Most of these scopes are all made by the same manufacturers, Synta or Guan Sheng, they vary only in their included accessories and mounts. I liked my dealings with Orion and Gary Hand because of their excellent customer service. One thing to keep in mind: astronomy is much like rocketry in that it can be an incredible money pit-type addiction, eyepieces especially. Some will disagree, but I get along fine with the standard 10mm and 25mm lenses that come with the scope, a 32mm I got from Gary and a 2x Barlow. Apart from that, all I've added is a Telrad reflex sight to replace the marginally useful Orion finderscope. #### Rocketmaniac ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by Chilly Last but not least, never, EVER, get suckered in by "power" Wow, seems like we have some knowledgable telescope people here...... are you meaning how many times largers the objects appear? or computer controlled movement? What is the difference between reflactor and reflector? #### powderburner ##### Well-Known Member I have a Bushnell (model 520X ?) that I got for free. And that seems to be about what it's worth. Images are fuzzy, the thing bounces around a lot on its little wooden stand, and I quit trying to use it after the first night. Qstn: Is this thing really any good for astronomy, or should I just use it for spotting the next time I go to the range? #### illini ##### Well-Known Member He's referring to magnification of images, not computer controlled movement (although I tend to avoid being suckered by that as well). A refractor uses glass lenses to achieve magnification. A reflector (aka Newtonian) uses a mirror. Each has their advantages. I strongly recommend Phil Harrington's book "StarWare" for anyone seriously considering a telescope. First tip: DO NOT BUY a telescope at a department store, and stay away from anything that is advertised in terms of "power" (magnification) no matter what the source. #### illini ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by powderburner I have a Bushnell (model 520X ?) that I got for free. And that seems to be about what it's worth. Images are fuzzy, the thing bounces around a lot on its little wooden stand, and I quit trying to use it after the first night. Qstn: Is this thing really any good for astronomy, or should I just use it for spotting the next time I go to the range? I'm not familiar with the scope, but based on your description I think you're right that it is no good for astronomy. Hard to complain, though, since you got it for free. You got what you paid for! #### GoBang ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by powderburner I have a Bushnell (model 520X ?) that I got for free. And that seems to be about what it's worth. Images are fuzzy, the thing bounces around a lot on its little wooden stand, and I quit trying to use it after the first night. Qstn: Is this thing really any good for astronomy, or should I just use it for spotting the next time I go to the range? I don't know that it would be very good for spotting either. Heck, I have trouble following airborne rockets with binoculars. But I take 'em enyway because they make me look cool and official-like. The radios too. I expect they'll prove more useful though. #### WiK ##### Site Admin If she does get a cottage with ivy on it that 2 miles away from a town in Scotland, you should stay over there during IRW (Big week long Brit rocket launch) And its only on mainland Europe that they use Kilometers... We're "special" #### Neil ##### Well-Known Member good idea.... Only if it doesent conflict with LDRS, though! #### als57 ##### Well-Known Member Originally posted by Neil I live in a rural area, with little or no streetlights (we might have one or two near us, I am not sure). But we live far enough from town to see a bit more than we could at our previous house. Thanks for all the info on scopes... (im still trying to process it all..... ) I currently have a 60MM LL Bean by Celestron scope (I checked last night). Its green, and has "LL Bean by Celestron" written on it in big white letters. Ill have to look at the scopes again, but my mom sez that I have to buy it *ALL* with my own money. So I wont be getting another one unless I get a 50% off sale, or get one that was scratched or returned after being used or something...:kill: :kill: Neil: You can always bring your scope to LDRS. The field in Geneseo is fairly dark. We've talked about doing a star party at one of the launches. Its even been mentioned in conjunction with LDRS. Maybe we'll start something. I agree with the comments made by Chilly on magnification. Useful magnification tops out at 60X per inch of apature with excellent optics. So for a 60mm scope thats aprox 140X. The Orion XT dobs are nice scopes. The XT6 and XT8 are very nice scopes that you won't out grow in a hurry. Try the classifieds at Astromart if your looking for a used one. The Discovery and older Meade/Celestron dobs are good as well. Al BRS VP LDRS 23 Hosts #### Neil ##### Well-Known Member What about that$99 for the scope at hands on optics? Is that any good?

I seem to be having trouble making any descisions for myself tonight....