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blybo
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I guess this is the right sub-forum. Just wondering if any body here is into star gazing? At this stage we do not own a telescope but both my wife and I have a bit of an interest in it, my wife more than I so i thought i would buy here a surprise present seeing as though she got me my dream projector for Christmas.

 

What would be a good starter scope given a $1500-ish budget? We are not into the technical mapping side of things so would prefer the type that simply finds celestial bodies for you and a little bit of research tells me the Cassegrain type is probably the right choice. My wife loves looking at photos from the Hubble telescope through a facebook page and reading Brian Cox books as she is fascinated by space. I assume it would require a bigger budget to be looking at far flung galaxies and nebulae.

 

We live in outer Eastern suburbs but our backyard is well protected from street light sources etc. My wifes parents have a hobby farm in Garfield so we would like the scope to portable enough to take out there and when we are camping.

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Living in Mitcham it's a long way away. There used to be a great shop on Burke Rd near Toorak Rd but went past the other day and were gone

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I've always wanted a telescope, but I've never lived in a suitable location.

 

BTW. The latest research seems to indicate that the Universe is expanding at a frightening rate and eventually, we will lose sight of every celestial body and the night sky will be entirely black!. That will be billions of years off though, so I don't think it's an immediate concern for us.....a bleak and dreary future awaits the intelligent life forms of that remote time.

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Living in Mitcham it's a long way away. There used to be a great shop on Burke Rd near Toorak Rd but went past the other day and were gone

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Its freeway all the way  :D

 

Your wife might enjoy one of the Public Viewing Nights  :thumb:

http://www.mpas.asn.au/PVN.htm

 

Anyway, good luck, I'm sure you'll find something suitable

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I like the Skymaster 25x100 from the quick research i have done :D

 

But do lengthy research on this purchase..

Edited by Muon
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What about Optics Central in Mitcham?

 

Yes just found them. The shop i was initially looking for is Bintel, now an online retailer it seems. Of course over budget but this things looks great for newbies like us

 

http://www.bintel.com.au/Telescopes/Celestron-NexStar/Celestron-Evolution-6-WiFi/2014/productview.aspx?gclid=COrD9cO--csCFQqbvAodOFUCgg

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Just downloaded the app for this telescope. Pretty cool to play with even without a scope to control. Another cool app is night sky, aim your phone to the sky and it shows you what is in that area

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Youll get a fairly decent 10-12" newt for 1500.

You can do even better if you DIY everything but the mirrors which you can buy for very decent prices.

A computer controlled GOTO scope is awesome but for seeing or photographic faint objects you want at least a 10". Meade and Celestron Cassis are both excellent.

The trouble with the cassigrains is they tend to have a much slower F ratio and because the optics are harder to manufacture they cost more to buy.

For taking photos SBIG is the industry standard in CCD but you can also mod a webcam. Theres tons of DIY webcam conversion sites around the internets. Theres also many astrocameras based on webcams for 100-200 bucks and are great value to dip your toe with.

If you really want a goto scope and a cassigrain and you want to be able to actually see faint deepsky objects then go for a 12" OR buy a nice 12" , fast, non-GOTO Newtonian for manual movement and viewing while you save for a larger GOTO for photographing.

 

When looking at telescope spec it will give a "limiting magnitude". This is typically 2 numbers. 1 number for visual assuming dark skies and 1 number for ccd. This will give you a good idea of what you can actually see or photograph.

Edited by Hippy
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Youll get a fairly decent 10-12" newt for 1500.

You can do even better if you DIY everything but the mirrors which you can buy for very decent prices.

A computer controlled GOTO scope is awesome but for seeing or photographic faint objects you want at least a 10". Meade and Celestron Cassis are both excellent.

The trouble with the cassigrains is they tend to have a much slower F ratio and because the optics are harder to manufacture they cost more to buy.

For taking photos SBIG is the industry standard in CCD but you can also mod a webcam. Theres tons of DIY webcam conversion sites around the internets. Theres also many astrocameras based on webcams for 100-200 bucks and are great value to dip your toe with.

If you really want a goto scope and a cassigrain and you want to be able to actually see faint deepsky objects then go for a 12" OR buy a nice 12" , fast, non-GOTO Newtonian for manual movement and viewing while you save for a larger GOTO for photographing.

 

When looking at telescope spec it will give a "limiting magnitude". This is typically 2 numbers. 1 number for visual assuming dark skies and 1 number for ccd. This will give you a good idea of what you can actually see or photograph.

 

Thanks for the advice, you seem quite knowledgeable, however I think you missed a few bits of info. I never mentioned photography and being able to use it out of the box as a newbie, hence the goto function, is a BIG consideration. We are not interested in DIY or learning how to navigate the sky to find things manually. That may come down the track if we really get the bug bigtime.

 

From my understanding a 10-12" newtonian would be quite big, unless going camping we prefer to use our VW Golf for weekend excursions down to the farm so a compact scope makes more sense. I've read that much like photography, the best scope is the one you are most likely to use most.

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I have a 12" newt on a dobsonian mount myself. Just as there is no replacement for displacement when talking NA engines, there is no substitute for mirror size in terms of sheer resolution capability. Dobsonian mounted newts are the most affordable way into decent scopes (imo). SCT's are great for portability and ease of Goto functionality which can lead into photography if on an equatorial mount. Don't know how far $1500 will get you with that design though.

 

I'm not sure what size your car is but a 12" newt can be made to fit in the back of your average sedan/hatch if it of truss tube construction. That is how i rebuilt my scope the last time around and was then able to fit in the hatch of a corolla. I'll try and dig some photos up.

 

IF you want to shortcut the learning process of finding your way across the night sky this is quite simply the best thing since sliced bread for a dob owner http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au/ think of it as a manual "push to" type system. You get the benefits of being able to find stuff quickly, easily, repeatably but without having to fork up for the gearing required in a Goto system that does it automatically

 

This event is coming up soon http://www.asnsw.com/node/712 and is close to my home town. well worth attending and, just as in audio, truly mind boggling how far some people will take their passion

 

I have always found Bintel exceptional to deal with and learned most of what i learned from this site http://www.iceinspace.com.au/ it could be a good way into a cheaper pre-loved scope. With the emphasis on loved.

 

When you have made your purchase think carefully about buying the best eyepieces (lens) you can afford. Dont get sucked in to buying super high magnification that you'll only use once or twice a year when atmospheric conditions allow. I used a 25mm, a 15mm and a 2x Barlow (magnifier) for over 5 years before adding more to it.

 

Also budget some coin for collimation tools using a misaligned scope drastically reduces light gathering ability and image quality. Lots will recomend aftermarket finder such as a telrad which is very easy to master as it offers zero magnification - you can orient your scope to what your naked eye can see. I love mine

 

That'll do for now, I've prattled on long enough. I think one of these would be end game for me http://www.sdmtelescopes.com.au/

 

Some Pics:

2981257476_18f198ea19_z.jpg?zz=1

Mount

2981256382_eb76367a79_z.jpg?zz=1

 

Upper Assembly

2980400667_5a2e7e152e_z.jpg?zz=1

 

Upper cam attachment

2981255350_ba130cd64f_z.jpg?zz=1

 

Lower cam attachment

2981257028_07a88f0371_z.jpg?zz=1

Edited by Jone5y
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These guys are worth a look too http://www.andrewscom.com.au/optical-telescopes The GSO range is their most popular and on face value offer great bang for your buck. I'd do a little research to see what users are saying though as i have no direct experience with the products and they are chinese/taiwanese made. Not necessarily a bad thing but you know what I'm getting at.

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Thanks @@Jone5y. I can see what you have as a better bang for buck if backyard use was the main criteria or a dedicated field trip. I'm sure if we fall in love with the hobby we might get something like that but the clear night sky's offered at the in-laws place, or remote camping sites require something EASY to travel with, along with 2 kids, and potentially 2 dogs as well.

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The best telescope you can buy is the one you will use the most. No point having a behemoth that is too much trouble to actually take anywhere. It was kids and dogs that necessitated my rebuild to a more transportable design. SCT looks like it will fit your needs well. If you're lucky enough to score a mount that can handle larger optics than you originally purchase you won't need to upgrade that should the bug bight and you ever feel the need to upgrade

 

will be watching on with interest

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Yeah I'm looking at the 6" Celestron Evolution, but the mount and tripod will hold an 8" OTA. I looked into this years ago on that iceinspace forum after spending several days in Tekapo in New Zealand waiting for clear sky at the observatory that never eventuated. Now it's the wife that is keen

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I used to be into this as the wife was a fan. Bang for buck the Dobsonians are very hard to beat. The people we knew in the 'states were into lens grinding in the name of saving money and would drive for hours to sit in dark places in the middle of the night. The Dobs are not very transportable unless you have a suitable vehicle. Cassegrains seem to solve the packaging problem nicely at a massive cost!

 

Jone5y is right there is no substitute for inches - Cars, Telescopes and Porn Stars all seem to follow the same rule of thumb.

 

I believe you should follow the regular staring out point - buy the best gear you can afford and then either grow with it or sell it on if you find it's not for you.

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Picking up this http://www.ozscopes.com.au/celestron-nexstar-evolution-6-schmidt-cassegrain-telescope.html at lunchtime. Thanks for all the advice guys. Will probably renew my iceinspace membership.

 

Neil, a shame you're in Melbourne as I have a colleague in Sydney with a mint one of these but with the larger C8 telescope that you could have bought for half the price. He wouldn't risk shipping though.

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Neil, a shame you're in Melbourne as I have a colleague in Sydney with a mint one of these but with the larger C8 telescope that you could have bought for half the price. He wouldn't risk shipping though.

I do come to Sydney from time to time. Do they depreciate that much? They were only released last year.

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