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Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 1 decade ago

Amateur astronomy question?

I'm really into astronomy and i want to observe the night sky in more detail but i have no idea what telescope to buy. Money isn't really a factor but something under $600.

I'm a beginner to the subject but i would like to study things past the milky way (if possible in this price range lol)

What is a good telescope for me?

Please also give me some tips because i am open for advice.

5 Answers

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  • B.
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    ★ I would like to suggest that you join a local astronomy club or astronomical society BEFORE you spend your money on a real telescope. There are many different kinds of scopes and what is perfect for one person is not perfect for another. Everyone has their own set of eyeballs and no two are the same. If you join a club, you can attend a few of their star parties and try out members scopes to see what works best for YOU, before you buy a scope. The members can also help you when you get your scope and show you how to get the most out of your new scope as well as to help teach you where the treasures in the sky are located. Most clubs have loaner scopes and extensive libraries that you can gather more information from too. Most clubs will have monthly membership meetings with informative presentations given by members and by guest speakers. You can really learn a lot from these clubs and an added plus is all the great new friends you make there too. Go to this site to find a club in your area. http://www.astroleague.org/societies/list

    This only has clubs that belong to the National Astronomy League, so there are many more which do not appear on this list. Continue searching google if you don't see one in your area here.

    There are several different kinds of telescopes and all of them have some excellent features. Refractors and Reflectors, plus Schmidt-Cassegrain, APO refractors, Mac-Cass, and many more. There are also several mounts to chose from and the mounts are just as important, if not even more important, than the scope is. All of the different scopes and mounts have some features that some people like and do not like.

    ★ No two eyeballs are the same and the perfect scope for one person might be completely wrong for another person. ★

    There is no one scope that is "better" than another, except for all the junk scopes out there, which are all just a waste of money. Never, ever buy from Walmart, Costco, Target, or any other discount store like that. Junk scopes are flooded into the market from those stores. You will be buying nothing but bad optics and plastic. You must buy from a reputable telescope manufacturer or telescope distributor or telescope store. If they don't specialize in telescopes, look elsewhere.

    ★ If you are new at this, then stay away from anything used from ANY site. If you don't know what you are buying and who you are buying from you will most likely be getting someone else's headache---with no warranty either. Some great deals on used equipment are out there, by people who know how to use and take care of scopes, but if you don't know what you are doing, you might be spending a lot of money on worthless junk. One improper cleaning can destroy a scope. Buyer Beware.

    I recommend: http://oriontelescopes.com/

    Orion is the very best for value and for customer service too. I have 3 of their scopes and I will only buy from them from now on. My first scope was a manual controlled scope and I am very glad that it was because it forced me to learn where things are in the night skies. Go-To type scopes can be frustrating to use. If you do not have them aligned exactly perfect, they do not find the targets. If you are a beginner, you will be frustrated unless you spring for a GPS Go-To. An object locator is just that---it will locate objects for you (must be aligned first) but an object locator is not a tracking motor. It will not keep the scope on the target. The Orion site has some excellent diagrams and explanations of all types of scopes and mounts.

    ★ Things to consider are size--can the user lift and transport the scope to the viewing site easily? Does it fit in your car? If not, then it will gather dust in a closet. I recommend a carrying case too so it is protected in storage and transport. Can the viewer reach all the knobs and buttons? I have a long tube large manual refractor and it is very difficult for me to reach the knobs when I am pointed to Zenith. I am not a tall person.

    Some people will try to suggest that you get Binnoculars instead of a telescope. That is not a bad idea but at bare minimum you need 10x50 size and you MUST have a tripod for astronomical viewing. Even your pulse will make them shake. My personal preference is a telescope because Binnoculars must be aligned properly at the factory. If they are not, they you see double or triple vision of everything rendering them useless for astronomy. They can easily be bumped out of alignment too, so be very careful.

    ★ Take your time in making your decision.

    ★ Don't try to learn everything all at once or you will be overwhelmed and discouraged. Patience is the key to Astronomy.

    ★ You will need a good star chart program too.

    http://www.stellarium.org/

    This is great freeware that you can download. Tell it where you are and it will tell you what you see.

    I wish you the very best. Enjoy Life

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  • 1 decade ago

    I fondly remember the days when I was in your shoes. I've now let my hobby drag me into an intended career, and I couldn't be happier.

    My first and foremost recommendation? A nice pair of binoculars. A pair of 10x50 or 11x70 binoculars will open up incredible new worlds that blow your mind. The Orion nebula, Andromeda galaxy, and great cluster in Hercules all become mind blowing with little enhancement.

    Also, download a program called Stellarium. It's free and beautiful, and is the best way to learn your way around the sky. It's really simple to use and install, and will get you navigating the skies like a pro.

    Once you've explored those routes for some time, if you still feel like this hobby is for you, get a big old Dobsonian style telescope. Dobsonians give you the most bang for your buck. $330 at Orion telescopes gets you an 8" scope that will let you see bands of Jupiter, swirls of galaxies, and stars in globular clusters.

    There are TONS of things outside of our galaxy that you will be able to see in a moderately sized telescope, as long you have patience and a creative eye. However, the much more stunning views are the objects in our galaxy- nebulae, clusters, double stars, and planets.

    I really hope this has been some help. If you want to get in touch, shoot me a line at joshua.j.brown@rochester.edu. Clear skies!

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  • 1 decade ago

    To see other galaxies (outside the Milky Way) you really need two things: dark skies and a large telescope. The best telescope in the world will not produce good results under suburban skies so if you are intending to view from your back garden in the middle of town I would start rethinking your ideas now. Light pollution filters can help to a limited extent but they far from ideal and not a substitute for having dark skies.

    For galaxies you tend not to want extremely high power, which coupled with a desire for large aperture would tend to indicate a Dobsonian. Something along the lines of http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category... would be my preference - that has a reasonable amount of aperture and an object locator that will help you find what you are looking for. If you don't want the object locator then http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category... gives you another couple of inches aperture for similar money.

    However, my standard advice when buying telescopes applies: you are making a large purchase and really need to do your own research and form your own conclusions. It will be you using the scope and you that has to live with the consequences of what you buy. We can point you at scopes that may be worthy of consideration nut ultimately you have to make the final decision.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Buying a telescope is a really big decision. I recommend that you find a local astronomy club, and spend time there. They will have a lot of experience, and different telescopes to show.

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  • 4 years ago

    it is worth a note that Amateur Astronomers perform a very important function and have made many discoveries

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