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Re: my first

Started by jonisaacs, 03/30/2005 05:11AM
Posted 03/30/2005 05:11AM Opening Post

Welcome to Astromart, this is a great site with lots of experienced folks interested in helping others get a good start. Smart move on your part to ask some questions.

Anyway, my thoughts and recommendations:

1. The previous poster recommended that you forget astrophotography for the moment and I agree. Doing astrophotography "right" is a tedious and time consuming passion and requires top notch equipment. The demands on the mount are of a different order of magnitude those of visual observing. Visually the only requirement it that the object of interest stay in field of view for a while. Photographically, the requirement is that the star does not move at all over a period of several minutes. THere are no mounts (no telescope, just the mount) that are available for $500 that adequate for photography.

Add to that, trying to buy a scope that has some photographic capabilities will end up costing you visually because the scope itself will be smaller.

Anyway, that said, there are lots of options that will provide great views for your $500, the question is which scope do you want.

For smaller children, electronics and GOTO is probably a mistake. Getting them setup properly and aligned can be difficult for knowledgeable adults.

A couple of thoughts:

1. THe Orion Starblast. This is a small scope with good optics that allows for a wide field of view as well as some nice view at high magnifications. It's under $200 so it probably allow for you to get something larger at a later date. Definitely kid friendly.

2. 6-8-10 inch DOB. These are serious scopes, simple but serious. The 6 and 8 incher are reasonably sized and will show a lot, are simple to ues the 10 incher is more of a handful to move about but is quite amazing. These scopes would require some adult supervision IMHO.

Photos of the moon are quite easy with a DOB, photos of the planets possible, Deep Sky, no. I have attached a photo I took of the moon with a 10 inch DOB, camera to the eyepiece. I have reduced the size by a factor of 3 to to keep the size down.

3. Refractor of some sort. A small refractor is a nice general purpose instrument, robust and requires no alignment (collimation). They are more expensive than a small newtonian but can provide nice widefield views. Affordable refractors are all Achromats which means they will show "false color" at high magnification, the amount depends on the size of the objective and focal ratio, 120mm F5 with have lots of false color, 80mm F11, not too much..

So, that is what I can offer, look around, listen to what everyone has to say, try to get yourself to a club outing or star party and have some fun.

Best wishes,


Attached Image:

jonisaacs's attachment for post 23162