New Telescope recommendation

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Tom18202
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New Telescope recommendation

#1

Post by Tom18202 »

I was looking into purchasing my first telescope for myself and my 8 and 6 year old. I usually get sucked into the habbit of trying to by something too advanced earlier than I should. So i was hoping to reach out to this community to help me identify a good beginner telescope. What I think i would be looking for

1) Easy to use as my children will be using this.
2) Able to see planets (Saturns rings and jupitor coloration and moons), constellations, and the moon. Anything more would be great but to be honestly I dont know what else there is).
3) price as we are new to this hobby and are not sure if it will last.


Currently I was looking at the following telescopes if anyone has a recommendation of either of these or if there is another one out there you would recommend more.

1) Celestron - PowerSeeker 114EQ Telescope
2) Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope
3) Celestron - PowerSeeker 80EQ Telescope
4) Celestron – StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope
5) Celestron – StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope


Thank you again for all of your help.

Tom
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#2

Post by Star Dad »

I'm not a fan of smartphone enabled telescopes. I've tried to help a local family that bought one and your #5 is what they have. It has done some crazy things and requires a phone with a good battery. Set up is a royal pain with it - despite claims that it's a 1,2,3 setup. If you do go for one of those smartphone kits - make sure to get the hand controller. It is much more reliable.

My personal advice to get the largest aperture you can afford and skimp on the mount. A manual mount which is around $50 on amazon is suitable for most family events. I have both fully auto trackers and manual mounts. Manual mounts will get you to learn the sky better and faster. Automatic means more setup time, batteries, but allows hands-off tracking once you've got your mount leveled and aligned. I use my powered mounts for outreach events - I cannot afford to have to constantly adjust the mount to keep an object in view - and yet from time to time I do have trouble even with it if someone bumps the scope too hard - or it's not perfectly level.

For viewing planets you'll want long focal length - 2,000mm or long longer. For Deep sky objects you'll want shorter focal lengths <= 1000 preferably. So it's a decision one has to make. Frankly there are so many objects to view that planetary (IMHO) viewing is a secondary goal for me. But also take into account where you are - near a city with lots of light pollution? Then maybe planetary would be a better focus. Less pollution / darker skies then deep sky objects would be a better goal.
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#3

Post by Bigzmey »

Welcome on board Tom!
There is a recent thread with exactly the same question you are asking and plenty of feedback.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=21885
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#4

Post by Jnicholes »

Welcome to the forum!

I used to have the 127 powerseeker. It was easy to use, and you can make out the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, The moon, and bright deep sky objects. I would recommend that.

If you’re going to look at the moon, though. I would recommend getting a moon filter also. It blocks out some of the moons light making it easier to look at.
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#5

Post by ARock »

I would recommend the following scopes. Be warned that they are in line with your tendency of getting advanced things earlier :)

1. The AWB One Sky ($250) if you need something portable. This could be taken on a camping trip to dark sky areas. Its a table top dob, so you need a table or stool to put it on.
A longish thread about it at
https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/4631 ... t-borders/

2. If portability is of no concern a 6" or 8" Dobsonian. These are more expensive, but are lifetime scopes. A bit heavy for the kids to operate on their own now, so you have to help set it up. The younger kid might need a stool to get up to height of the eyepiece.

A larger aperture scope just shows you more objects. The Dobsonian mount is the cheapest possible way to get a large aperture.

A book I would highly recommend with any scope you buy is "Turn Left At Orion". It tells you what targets are visible in small scopes and how to find them in the night sky. As well as a free planetarium software on desktops/laptops called Stellarium.

Good Luck with whatever you buy.
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#6

Post by turboscrew »

ARock wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:10 am I would recommend the following scopes. Be warned that they are in line with your tendency of getting advanced things earlier :)

1. The AWB One Sky ($250) if you need something portable. This could be taken on a camping trip to dark sky areas. Its a table top dob, so you need a table or stool to put it on.
A longish thread about it at
https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/4631 ... t-borders/

2. If portability is of no concern a 6" or 8" Dobsonian. These are more expensive, but are lifetime scopes. A bit heavy for the kids to operate on their own now, so you have to help set it up. The younger kid might need a stool to get up to height of the eyepiece.

A larger aperture scope just shows you more objects. The Dobsonian mount is the cheapest possible way to get a large aperture.

A book I would highly recommend with any scope you buy is "Turn Left At Orion". It tells you what targets are visible in small scopes and how to find them in the night sky. As well as a free planetarium software on desktops/laptops called Stellarium.

Good Luck with whatever you buy.
Stellarium is pretty good for learning about constellations and how they move from day to day and hour to hour.
It has, however, also more advanced features too, but the basic use is quite simple, and there's a lot of help available.
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#7

Post by Richard »

I dont recommend any of the scopes from tour choice
Either a 6 or 8 inch dobs or a 90 to 127 mac if portability is important , advantage of the Mac is that if you dont like this hobby then they are great spotting scopes , the dobs is only for astronomy
Reflectors GSO 200 Dobs , Sky-watcher 10 inch Dobs
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

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Post by pakarinen »

I'll recommend this book to go with TLAO:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/monthl ... 1103025647

It has nice monthly sky maps and they focus on areas of interest in more detail like the belt of Orion, etc. It also has a decent correct image moon map.

I bought a used copy for under $10 at Half Price Books. It's older, so the monthly planet positions are all out of date, but you can pull that from any number of places on the Web.

Enjoy!
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

#9

Post by Gfamily »

I'd second ARock's suggestions - in particular the AWB - also available as the SkyWatcher Heritage 130P.
I see it being a table top scope as being an advantage, as it is easier to get smaller people to the eyepiece.
As far as the 8 year old is concerned, the Heritage will be one that they'll be able to manage more independently.
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Re: New Telescope recommendation

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Post by kt4hx »

I've always thought that an 8 inch dobsonian is an excellent introductory scope. Enough aperture to show you good stuff and simplicity in setup and operation. I am 67 yrs old and can carry one of those around quite easily in two pieces (the tube and base). A little learning curve as is the case with any scope, plus its not really the best choice if one wants to fiddle around with taking basic images. But for gaining experience and learning the sky, it is a fine piece of equipment.

It just so happens that High Point Scientific just got the Zhumell Z8 back in stock. If interested you can check it out here:

https://www.highpointscientific.com/tel ... %3D.W3fn9t
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