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From a newbie to a newbie

Posted by John A. Maher   06/23/2004 12:00AM


If you are new to Astronomy as am I, you most likely are in a quandary as to which scope to buy. Well I shall share with you my experience, or lack thereof, because I too am in my first year of this most wondrous experience. It's not my most expensive or largest scope that I seem to use the most, it's my second cheapest :-). A small, high quality f7.5 refractor with a focal length of 600 and not much more is what I recommend you buy.

I have owned four telescopes already with my little ED being third in price and size but first in use. You will NOT be blown away by the details that require larger scopes, but the beautiful wide views that these little scopes will offer. You will be hooked and educated, not lost and dismayed (The larger scope is likely down the path but there are some things that need to be learned).

To the newbie astronomer, seeing a lot is important and a wide view, light weight package will do just that. Easy set ups and lots to see is what will have you out night after night. It will also, at no extra cost, show you where things are in that big beautiful night sky. This will become very important to you when you second mortgage your home for the observatory you will soon be planning.

So for ease of use and bang for the buck I will tell you these little scopes can't be beat. Go with the 2" diagonal, even if you only have 1-1/4" eyepieces. Start off slow; you need to realize the resale is better on higher quality things then it is on junk. If you check the ads, these little gems are always selling for 80 to 85 percent of retail while the lower quality stuff sells for half. You will actually loose less if you feel you have seen enough and decide to call it quits. Chances are better that it will become the auto guider on the next step up.

Whatever you decide, check its selling price used. Five hundred minus four hundred is less the two hundred minus fifty. A stellar-vue and less financial risk. Orion is nice too.

Thank you for your time and good luck.

P.S. Eyepiece extra. Start with a 26 plossl, then a 40 and then a Barlow


-John