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Another new member

Posted: 20 Dec 2007, 13:13
by clanny
Hi everyone. I've just joined and thought I'd say hello. This Christmas I've been asking all my family for some money towards a telescope. I have really no idea what I'm looking for (or even what my budget will realistically be  :oops: ). If anyone has any ideas/hints/tips etc I'd be more than happy to take them on board. I'm hoping I can pop along to a meet at some point and maybe see what the different telescopes are like and what kind of results to expect.

I've never really taken any kind of technical interest in the stars before although I never stop looking at them, so I guess I have a lot of terminology to gen up on. It's all one big learning curve. Good news is that I have a reasonable location without too much light polution. There were some great views of the moon earlier this month and what I took to be a planet to the east of it early in the morning as I was going to work. No time to look up what it was but I'd have got up earlier if I'd had a scope. I'm sure there'll be plenty of opportunity in the future for some gazing when my uni work doesn't take up as much of my time.

All the best and see you in January hopefully.

Posted: 20 Dec 2007, 20:18
by bwh
welcome to the club

first decisions : planets or deep space objects  ?

second decision: manual (hunt all night) or autoguided (1/2 cost will be guiding system)

third: new (expensive and well featured) or second hand (often more value for money and more basic)

Early morning planet should be Venus (very bright) - unmistakable about 5-6am

At present look to east of moon in next few days as Mars now brightest object in night sky (after moon) on its closest for three years - its around and visible only for about 2 more months... so look for it now.

Scopes can be expensive, and your first purchase usually only lasts you a while - as you hunt for more - so ask all the questions you wish first

Maybe even borrow some kit- or get a look at peoples scopes

look before you leap

merry xmas hope this helps

Posted: 20 Dec 2007, 22:08
by clanny
Thanks for the info - it backs up what I've been reading online. I'd love to have a closer look at th emoon and planets and possibly take some pics of them. I'm unsure as to the results and I'm well aware that to hope for bbc standard pictures is almost certainly going to leave me somewhat disappointed. I'd love to see some deep space objects too and am aware that I'll need a wider aperture and better stability and so on. I'd prefer the otorised mount tbh but again, you get what you pay for and having never seen one in action, I guess that my mind's eye view of what that means will no-doubt differ wildly from the reality.

I have been looking at second hand stuff mainly on ebay. I'm aware that it may be damaged but I think that's a chance I could take to get effectively a better quality scope for my money. Is this not the case? I think my budget is going to be around a couple of hundred pounds and I could sell off some car parts to finance maybe a bit more if the right option for me came up. What I don't want to do is to buy something that ties up a lot of money and find that I can't devote the time to it.

I'm not sure if I've been looking at the correct stuff though. I have been looking at 4"-6" celestron scopes and I saw a couple of 8" ones. Most of those didn't have motorised mounts but my thinking was I could probably find the moon until I could afford one  :lol: .

If any of you guys would care to let me have a look, I'd really appreciate it.

Cheers for the Venus and Mars info too (although I'm finishing work for 16 days tomorrow and plan not to be up at that time unless I'm coming home!)

Posted: 21 Dec 2007, 17:37
by bwh

Moon , planets and some deep space good start.

Good cheap binoculars very good start - as they will cover moon, and some deep (two eyes better than one). Good for hunting as well even when get scope.

Ebay has some good stuff, beware postage costs and cheap makes (german dynasun eeek).

Note: dollar very helpful $2=£1 - so consider that 8inch in uk neish is £600-£800 and from usa second hand on ebay could be $300 (ie £150 - ok postage an issue).....

meade 8 and celestron C8 are good scopes - generally with one very simple drive (only has to rotate scope once a day ) so easy to build and reliable - i have olde meade8 small enough to be portable (only just), and will track once i found object - but can take 2 weeks to find object lol (the joy of the hunt)

Gotos (need gear ratios of 1-26,000 more than monster trucks) just to jump from saturn to moon and back in simple move - they generally built with scalectrix style motors (plastic gears and like)... but find object in 3 second once setup (doh! no fun to those of us committed)... :)

Most of cost is in eyepieces (my latest was £100 - and wife only just found out...eek) - but 5x powermate tele vue and mars was F.A.B in it - could see surface details on what is very small object after all

cant wait for jupiter (10x bigger) and saturn (ok rings now sideon doh!)

Regarding cameras - dont get tooo low expectations - a simple (if right one) webcam will slot into telescope and with free software (k3ccd, registrax) will make videos - which can be stacked and pull far more detail than your eye will see

toucam webcam (olde and discontinued) = £30 on ebay, adapter £10 to fit telescope - its equivilant of £200 - £400 CCD camera - 1/2 million pixels

If you can digital camera (good one) like canon 30D or similar they will also fit telescope and then in the 5million pixel region

amatuer telescope + webcam/digital camera - can be as good as BBC

if you have trip or holiday to USA then could pick up 10-20 year old C8 (orange scope) but with its stand its RA guided - so point at object then it tracks all night...... they come in suitcase - and its a large tube with mirror - and padding.... this very good option to consider

Deep space objects much much harder and may need 10 - 16 inch mirrors and then talking much bigger (longer to cool down) scopes...

So far not too impressed after 6 months about deep space - orion nebula very good - not found many others - Andromedia poor - visible bit blur - with ccd then things change and galaxy element is capturable.....

Would like to see nebula with nice shapes, smokering but so far struggle to fing them....

hope this helps - keep asking questions.....

your 1st purchase will still be wrong - but may be very nearly right

Posted: 23 Dec 2007, 12:12
by clanny
Many thanks for taking the time to write all that - it's much appreciated. I have some friends in the US through car forums so I might see if they can help me out if I find anything on ebay.

I'm very interested in the webcam options and I've never heard of stacking but I'll spend some time in the next week or so reading up on it.

Merry Christmas when it comes.