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Noob ready to buy first scope

Started by AngryGinger81, 01/06/2021 03:31PM
Posted 01/06/2021 03:31PM Opening Post
First of all, Hi! I'm Dave and I'm new to Astromart. I've always loved astronomy, but for one reason or another I never got involved past reading and looking at astrophotography. Lately, I've found myself looking at the sky and really wishing I had a scope. So I started researching and now I'm almost ready to pull the trigger. 

I live in fairly light polluted area; central northern border of CT, Bortle 6, from the maps I've seen. I'm willing to travel for viewing and also plan to bring my scope camping with us. Keep in mind that "camping" for us means at a campground, and my wife brings every comfort from home that she can cram into our vehicles. We're not backpacking the Appalachian trail or anything like that. 

I'm fairly sure I'm going to deal with the back-order and get an Apertura AD8. My biggest concern is getting the best bang for my buck, and from what I'm reading the AD8 is tough to beat. I'd love to find something nice on the used market, but with covid the pickings seem to be slim. 

I am open to suggestions, though, so if anyone has some advice or knows of a deal I should look at, please let me know. 

I'm looking forward to getting to know this community and seeing some awesome sights! Cheers!
Posted 01/06/2021 08:49PM #1
I started out with an 8" f/6 dobsonian very much like the AD8 which I bought used for $200 from someone at a local public astronomy night put on by a fairly large astro club many years ago......in my experience you would be hard pressed to find a better starter scope. 

Were I to offer one suggestion it would be to immediately investigate adding manual setting circles....Finding specific objects to look at becomes easy instead of frustrating for one who is unfamiliar with the sky.

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
8" f/16 Muffoletto Achro
Meade 6" AR6 f/8.0 Achro
Celestron C11
Parallax PI250 10" F/5 Newt
Vixen FL102S,NA140SS,R200SS
80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk with WO APOupgrade lens, 90mm f/16.67 Parallax Achro
LXD75/LX200, Mini-tower, GP-DX, CG5 ASGT, LXD650, GM-8, G11, GM-100, GM-150EX, GM-200 and a Gemini G40
4" portable AP convertable 44" or 70" pier
Stellarvue M7 Alt-Az, TSL7 Pier/Tripod
12.5" f/5 MidnighTelescopes DOB Swayze optics
Monroe GA
Posted 01/07/2021 01:00AM #2
For a newbie, an 8 is great!
Posted 01/09/2021 06:56PM #3
Well, I hope I don't disappoint anyone, but I ended up finding a Celestron DX130 Starsense Explorer basically new in the box on my local craigslist and bought that. I ended up spending about half what I would have on the AD8, and I don't have to wait on a backorder. I know the AD8 would have given me more impressive views, but it honestly was more than I really wanted to spend right now. I have a tendency to hop from hobby to hobby and back, so if I let the DX130 sit for a while, I won't feel as bad about it. Also, the better portability means I'm more likely to bring it with me when I travel and use it more in general. Like they say, the best telescope for me is the one I'll use the most. Plus, I can always upgrade or add another scope later. (Insert evil laugh here)

I got a few hours of acceptable skies last night. So I set up the scope in my back yard before dinner to let it acclimate while I ate. Some clouds to the south made lower objects tough to see or even find, but I did manage to bag a couple that were higher up. I used the Starsense app and it got me in the general area. I think the inaccuracy was down to me aligning it on an object that was way too close. Next time, I'll use something much farther and see how it does. 

I started with Mars. Not great views, but it let me dial the red dot finder in and test my eye pieces. It was basically just a really bright dot, but from what I've read viewing isn't great right now anyway. Then I found Uranus, or at least, I think I did. It was a blue dot in the spot where Uranus was supposed to be anyway. LOL! Next up was the 7 Sisters. This was my first "Wow" moment. To the naked eye it was barely visible, just a smudge with a few tiny light points, but in the scope the cluster was sharp and bright. I also found another cluster but I'm flaking on the name right now. I think it was in Hercules. Anyway, another impressive, dense cluster of sharp stars. By this point, I was getting pretty cold, so I wrapped it up by finding the Orion nebula. Light pollution and a bit of haze hurt the contrast, but I did see the stars and lighter blue cloud around them. All in all, not a bad "first time". I'm looking forward to taking it somewhere with darker, clearer skies. And for the Moon to be up high where I can check her out.
Posted 01/10/2021 02:56AM #4
Hey Dave, congrats on the new scope!  Large Open star clusters like the 7 sisters (M45) are spectacular in any telescope.  In the same region of the sky, check out my favorite, M35 with nearby NGC2158 in Gemini.  Others are M36, M37, and M38 in Auriga. They are all big, bright, easy to find, and spectacular!  Welcome to a lifetime of fun!