## Another seeking recommendations for a first telescope question

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### Another seeking recommendations for a first telescope question

Hi all,

Looking for my first telescope; here is my situation:

1. I've already done a lot of research and understand the pros and cons of each type of telescope.
2. I live outside of DC; I'm not sure what the light pollution situation is. It's definitely not the darkest sky Ive ever seen. I can easily find Orion and the Big Dipper. My neighborhood has a bunch of houses whose owners have decided to light up like daytime, but on the patio behind the house I am relatively shielded from this, at the cost of having a limited field of view (the 180 degrees behind the house, which faces east).
3. I've been on the relevant reddits and universally the advice has been buy an 8" DOB.
4. Not sure if I will ever take pictures, but I don't want to exclude the possibility. I have been told on the reddits most people have separate setups for viewing and photography.
5. I called High Point Scientific and the guy with whom I spoke recommended one of the Celestron SCTs.
6. I'd be interested in viewing DSOs and planets.
7. I'd be willing to spend 1-2k for the right setup, but am worried about the light situation as I'm not going to travel frequently for this (small kids at home). Biggest fear is I by a kick-ass setup but the light pollution kills my ability to get the most out of it. 8. I looked into local astronomy clubs, but the only stuff I found online don't have any events until March. So I'm a bit stuck in analysis paralysis. The SCT seems to have the same aperture size as the DOB, with the f/10 rating but the ability to go down to f/6 with a focal reducer. Also a smaller and lighter package, but more expensive. I'm not sold on some of these goto scopes; I'd like to learn how to find things myself, but admittedly once the charm of DIY wears off the convenience would be nice. That particular model that I linked has some troubling reviews about the quality of the mount. Some of the awesome photos I see are taken with apochromatic refractors; not sure if those would be better for viewing. So I'm looking for more advice here. Thanks in advance. helicon Co-Administrator Articles: 1 Posts: 2690 Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 1:35 pm Location: California Has thanked: 2956 times Been thanked: 3414 times #### TSS Awards Badges I'd suggest either an 8" Dob or an 8" SCT. If you want to observe the moon and planets regularly I'd suggest the SCT over the Dob. However, if your interest is more deep sky objects than I would get the 8" Dob. Your light pollution situation sounds similar to mine, Bortle 6-7. From home I've managed to observe the 110 Messier objects even though the LP is an irritant. If you want to do astrophotography at some point in the future I'd get the SCT. You can always get a small refractor for AP as well, as a dedicated instrument. -Michael Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob, ES AR152, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs starguru Earth Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 31 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:31 pm Location: Northern Virginia Has thanked: 7 times Been thanked: 25 times helicon wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:25 pm I'd suggest either an 8" Dob or an 8" SCT. If you want to observe the moon and planets regularly I'd suggest the SCT over the Dob. However, if your interest is more deep sky objects than I would get the 8" Dob. Your light pollution situation sounds similar to mine, Bortle 6-7. From home I've managed to observe the 110 Messier objects even though the LP is an irritant. If you want to do astrophotography at some point in the future I'd get the SCT. You can always get a small refractor for AP as well, as a dedicated instrument. Hi Helicon thanks for the reply. Do you have any recommendations as far as brand is concerned, or any opinions on the SCT I linked above? Also, I've read that Meade makes pretty good SCTs. Does it ever make sense to buy the OTA separately, for more customization? Refractordude Pluto Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 489 Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 1:05 am Location: United States Has thanked: 1778 times Been thanked: 903 times Buy cheap and used to start. A used scope can be resold for what you paid for it. Be sure to test it out with a friend that has some hobby experience. My favorite beginner scope is the Meade 102mm infinity refractor. Right click both images. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Meade-Instru ... e/41147082 Attachments Telescopes: Meade LX70 120mm f/8 Refractor, Vixen 70mm f/12.9 Refractor, Tasco 49N 50mm Red Refractor Binoculars: Zhumell 20x80 Giant, Levenhuk Sherman 7x50 Mounts: Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial, Orion Versago II Altazimuth, Farpoint Universal Parrallogram Mount Finders: GSO 8x50 Raci, Svbony Red Dot Diagonals: GSO Dielectric 2", GSO Dielectric 1.25" Eyepieces: GSO Plossls 32mm/25mm/20mm, GSO 20mm Superview, Svbony 20mm/15mm/9mm/6mm, Svbony Aspheric 23mm/10mm/4mm, Agena Super Wide Angle 15mm, Few No Name Brand Ebay Plossls Lady Fraktor Co-Administrator Articles: 0 Posts: 2556 Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:14 pm Location: Slovakia Has thanked: 5074 times Been thanked: 3725 times Personally I would look at the 8" Newtonian or a 4" refractor when starting out. The Celestron Omni XLT 102mm with CG-4 is an excellent package as well as the Apertura/ Zhumell 200mm Newtonian. Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7 Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss Larry 1969 Saturn Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 323 Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 12:33 am Location: Pittsburgh PA USA Has thanked: 442 times Been thanked: 268 times Goto is not a must but it is pretty nice but some kind of tracking is a must if you plan to take some pictures. I started out with a 10" goto collapsible dob for visual and it was great! Since it's collapsible I was able to attach a DSLR camera and get it to focus. And it tracks (albeit crudely) so I can get OK 20 second exposures. That sparked a rather expensive journey. Good luck! Larry For visual: 10" Skywatcher collapsible goto dob, various EP's and a Celestron StarSense auto align. For imaging: Orion 8" astrograph 800mm @ F3.9 Eq6-R Pro controlled by APT via EQmod with a refurbished Windows 10 laptop. Explore Scientific HR coma corrector Full spectrum modded Canon T3i (APS-C size sensor) starguru Earth Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 31 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:31 pm Location: Northern Virginia Has thanked: 7 times Been thanked: 25 times Refractordude wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:27 pm Buy cheap and used to start. A used scope can be resold for what you paid for it. Be sure to test it out with a friend that has some hobby experience. My favorite beginner scope is the Meade 102mm infinity refractor. Right click both images. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Meade-Instru ... e/41147082 Heh, someone is selling a Meade Telescope NG-70SM for20 near me. Should I get it or is it crap?
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For 20 if it is complete and the focuser and lens are in good condition it would be a fun telescope to view the Moon and such with. Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7 Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss mikemarotta Moon Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 93 Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:37 pm Location: Austin, Texas, USA Has thanked: 171 times Been thanked: 151 times Contact: starguru wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:02 pm 1. I've already done a lot of research and understand the pros and cons of each type of telescope. 2. I live outside of DC; I'm not sure what the light pollution situation is. It's definitely not the darkest sky Ive ever seen. That all being as it may, while the 6-inch dobsonian might have been a better first choic for myself, I am not running out to buy one now. I could. But I will not. One thing about reflectors is that they need collimation. You need to adjust the alignments of the optics. Typically, it takes300 of laser and four to six hours. Myself, I might spend the same amount of money as I would on a big "light bucket" reflector on a refractor. It would have a smaller aperture for the money, but it is less likely to be knocked out of alignment by casual use. But, again, I am not rushing into anything.

That was some of the advice you received: for the price buy the larger reflector or somewhat smaller refractor.

You really cannot go wrong whatever your choice for the kind of money you seem able to spend. The kids will grow up and grow up with your hobby of astronomy. It is not so much that they will become astronomers, but that you will be able to spend constructive and creative time with them. In the mean time - and after they are gone - you will have your own hobby. There is no law against a second telescope for yourself when and as you can afford it. In the mean time, it seems that you have nothing but good choices to pick from.
Last edited by mikemarotta on Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael E. Marotta
mike49mercury@gmail.com
Senior Technical Writer
NecessaryFacts.blogspot.com
Celestron EQ 130 Newtonian w. Lens & Filter kit.
National Geographic 70 mm Refractor
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starguru
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Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:53 pm
For $20 if it is complete and the focuser and lens are in good condition it would be a fun telescope to view the Moon and such with. Thanks. Any reason you recommended the 8” Newtonian or 4” refractor for starting out? Smitty Moon Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 52 Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:56 pm Location: Sacramento CA: Has thanked: 103 times Been thanked: 59 times Heh, someone is selling a Meade Telescope NG-70SM for$20 near me. Should I get it or is it crap?

For 20 bucks and if all the parts are there I say GO for it” TELESCOPES: SkyWatcher 10"/250mm Collapsible Dobsonian: Celestron 8SE: Meade NG-60SM 60mm refractor: GEAR/ACCESSORIES: Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 binoculars: ZWO ASI120MC-S Camera: (Formerly known as "Cherokee" on AF) starguru Earth Ambassador Articles: 0 Posts: 31 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:31 pm Location: Northern Virginia Has thanked: 7 times Been thanked: 25 times Refractordude wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:27 pm Buy cheap and used to start. A used scope can be resold for what you paid for it. Be sure to test it out with a friend that has some hobby experience. My favorite beginner scope is the Meade 102mm infinity refractor. Right click both images. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Meade-Instru ... e/41147082 Refractordude how would something like the Orion Nebula look in a scope that size? I’m having trouble finding images online. Lady Fraktor Co-Administrator Articles: 0 Posts: 2556 Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:14 pm Location: Slovakia Has thanked: 5074 times Been thanked: 3725 times The Newtonian is good optics for a low price which can be put towards accessories. A 4" refractor is an excellent size for viewing and still a easily transportable package. Unless you are planning on spending the money to get a aplanatic SCT, (this is my opinion) a standard SCT though they gather a lot of light the optics tend to be a bit of a soft view which blurs out a lot of fine details. This is why I prefer to use refractors for planetary observing, the view is usually quite better. Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7 Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss Lady Fraktor Co-Administrator Articles: 0 Posts: 2556 Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:14 pm Location: Slovakia Has thanked: 5074 times Been thanked: 3725 times starguru wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:04 pm Refractordude how would something like the Orion Nebula look in a scope that size? I’m having trouble finding images online. What you see in an online image is not what you are going to see visually through a telescope. Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7 Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss Bigzmey Milky Way Ambassador Articles: 5 Posts: 1786 Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 7:55 pm Location: San Diego, CA USA Has thanked: 2758 times Been thanked: 2503 times #### TSS Awards Badges When I started observing I went through a few entry level scopes (reflectors and refractors) but was never quite satisfied before I finally upgraded to 8" SCT. 4 years later it is still my most used scope. If I knew what I know now back then I would went straight for it. As you I am not a big fan of computerized mount so I have purchased just the scope OTA https://www.highpointscientific.com/bra ... -11069-ota and manual AltAz mount https://www.highpointscientific.com/exp ... d-maz01-00 This combo works like a charm. Very compact and lightweight but goes deep on DSOs and great for Moon, planets and splitting doubles. Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102 ED F7; Celestron: 9.25" EdgeHD F10, 8" SCT F10, 6" SCT F10, Omni 150ST Achro F5, Onyx 80ED F6.3; Meade: 80ST Achro F5. Mounts: ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; UA: MicroStar. Binos: Orion: Little Giant II 15x70, WorldView 10x50, Nikon: Action EX 8x40. EPs: Pentax: XWs; TeleVue: Delites, Panoptic, Plossls & barlows; ES: 68s; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV; Meade: UWAs & Plossls. Diagonals: Baader: BBHS silver mirror, Zeiss Spec T2 prism, Clicklock dielectric; TeleVue: Evebrite dielectric. Filters: Lumicon: DeepSky, UHC, OIII, H-beta; Baader: Moon & SkyGlow, Contrast Booster, UHC-S; Astronomik: UHC, Orion: UltraBlock, SkyGlow. Observing: DSOs: 1694 (Completed: M110, H1, H2. In progress: H3: 195, H2,500: 1272, S110: 77). Doubles: 1150, Comets: 14, Asteroids: 73 JayTee Co-Administrator Articles: 0 Posts: 1934 Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:23 am Location: Honolulu, HI Has thanked: 1265 times Been thanked: 2233 times Contact: #### TSS Awards Badges #### TSS Photo of the Day mikemarotta wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:58 pm You need to adjust the alignments of the optics. Typically, it takes300 of laser and four to six hours.
@mikemarotta
Mike,

This information is both biased and flat out wrong!!! I can collimate my 8" Newtonian reflector with a film can with a hole poked in the bottom in less than 5 minutes. Oh wait, that's both free and quick. It is important with newbies seeking advice to inject as little bias a possible.

JT
Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Dob mounted Newt AP Scopes: TPO 6" f/9 RC, ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8, Bresser 102mm f/4.5 Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Meade DS2000 Cameras: Canon T3i (x2), ASI120MC Binos: 10X50,10.5X70,15X70 (x2), 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9, 12, 18, 25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
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JayTee wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:29 pm
mikemarotta wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:58 pm
You need to adjust the alignments of the optics. Typically, it takes \$300 of laser and four to six hours.
@mikemarotta
Mike,

This information is both biased and flat out wrong!!! I can collimate my 8" Newtonian reflector with a film can with a hole poked in the bottom in less than 5 minutes. Oh wait, that's both free and quick. It is important with newbies seeking advice to inject as little bias a possible.

JT
Yes I’ve seen multiple explainers for collimnation and it doesn’t seem too bad. Would probably take a while the first time and then be routine.
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Bigzmey wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:19 pm
When I started observing I went through a few entry level scopes (reflectors and refractors) but was never quite satisfied before I finally upgraded to 8" SCT. 4 years later it is still my most used scope.

If I knew what I know now back then I would went straight for it. As you I am not a big fan of computerized mount so I have purchased just the scope OTA

https://www.highpointscientific.com/bra ... -11069-ota

and manual AltAz mount

https://www.highpointscientific.com/exp ... d-maz01-00

This combo works like a charm. Very compact and lightweight but goes deep on DSOs and great for Moon, planets and splitting doubles.

home_site.jpg
Hmm this isn't helping .

How do the Celestron SCTs compare with the Meade? I've seen a bunch of favorable reviews of the Celestron, but where they go south is talking about the mounts and the GOTO. Which of course would not matter if I did everything a la carte. I am still interested in the Meade telescope I referenced in my first post. Their alignment procedure seems very streamlined.
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#### TSS Photo of the Day

How do the Celestron SCTs compare with the Meade? I've seen a bunch of favorable reviews of the Celestron, but where they go south is talking about the mounts and the GOTO. Which of course would not matter if I did everything a la carte. I am still interested in the Meade telescope I referenced in my first post. Their alignment procedure seems very streamlined.
Firstly, Meade is going out of business so that pretty much seals that deal. Both manufacturers (Celestron and Meade) have alignment procedures that are easy to accomplish, (I own mounts from both of them). It is sad about Meade but at this time, I would steer clear if it is a new telescope you are interested in.

Cheers,
JT
Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Dob mounted Newt AP Scopes: TPO 6" f/9 RC, ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8, Bresser 102mm f/4.5 Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Meade DS2000 Cameras: Canon T3i (x2), ASI120MC Binos: 10X50,10.5X70,15X70 (x2), 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9, 12, 18, 25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
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