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jonathan18

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#237803 18-Jun-2018 20:11
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Hi there
My boys are keen on a telescope for Xmas, so I was hoping some members here may be able to make some recommendations.

Budget is budget, preferably around $300, no higher than $400.
Primary purpose is star gazing, but could be useful for terrestrial use (so kinda keen on a model that doesn’t invert the image etc, also just to keep it more logical for young kids - 7 and 10).
Would be useful if it came with a tripod a well.

Also, are there any recommendations as to which are good retailers and which to avoid? I recall some posts on GZ regarding an online store that had some “delivery issues”.

Many thanks.

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Gordy7
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  #2040027 18-Jun-2018 20:51
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Celestron Travel Scope 70 would be worth considering...

 

 

https://www.priceme.co.nz/Celestron-Travel-Scope-70mm/p-887973032.aspx

 

 





Gordy

 

My first ever network connection was a 1MHz AM crystal(OA91) radio receiver.


Scott3
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  #2040038 18-Jun-2018 21:11
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Consider going used.

Telescopes are something people buy, and often don't use very much, and sell in near perfect condition.

I don't know anything about it, but the telescopes on trade-me for $300 - $400 look pretty serious.



 
 
 
 


invisibleman18
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  #2041566 21-Jun-2018 10:34
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I have a used one that's probably in perfect condition. Been in my shed untouched for 6 years since my parents retired and cleared out their house, and was in cupboard unused for who knows how many years before then. I can have a look at it to see what condition it's in if you would consider a used one (I'm in Wellington), but it must be near perfect. No idea how old it is. May but have any specification details unless it's printed on it though (can't remember if it's in a box).

James Bond
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  #2041709 21-Jun-2018 13:59
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At that price point, used may be a better option. Stay away from no-name Chinese ones, they've flooded the market in recent years.

 

I would also get in touch with your local Astronomical Society. They're usually very helpful.


JaBZ
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  #2041756 21-Jun-2018 15:20
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Those small scopes are all a big bag of disappointment.  Get a decent pair of binoculars, learn to navigate the night sky.

 

Then get a Dobsonian scope 6"+ for your budget, or you maybe able to get a 8" in the used market etc.

 

 





My opinions and ideas expressed in posts are solely my own and do not reflect the views of my employer in any way..


Gordy7
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  #2041776 21-Jun-2018 15:54
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Small telescopes can be a disappointment... but a good starting point for young kids.

 

Seeing the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, star clusters and double stars in real time can be a good starting point.

 

The fantastic images that Nasa has online tends to create a high but unreal expectation of what a telescope can do.

 

With star gazing you have to deal with wind, cloud, freezing conditions, time of year and whether you want portability.

 

Get a telescope that has reasonable performance for astronomy first, then if you want to do terrestrial viewing add an erector prism.

 

Read heaps of reviews. 

 

 





Gordy

 

My first ever network connection was a 1MHz AM crystal(OA91) radio receiver.


jonathan18

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  #2041928 21-Jun-2018 19:42
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Since the original post I’ve done a lot more digging, and do have some appreciation for the compromises required at this price point, but am yet to decide which ones are the most acceptable. All these posts have helped!

I had been wondering about a telescope like this, which does come with an erector prism, so could do double duty as a terrestrial scope - or is something like this just going to be disappointing too? ( the larger aperture models in this range are over my budget) https://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=4424747 @Gordy7 - this is the same brand as the one you linked to, both 70mm refractors but with quite different focal lengths, but what would be the relative merits/disadvantages of these two different models?

What do people think of a decent spotting scope vs a telescope vs binoculars?

@JaBZ, I’ve looked at Dobsonian telescopes, but am unsure what they typically sit on when I’m use (given the small ones are fairly compact!). How does this work? There also seem to be few of them in the s/h market, but I guess it’s a matter of being patient.

Thanks for the offer, @invisibleman18 - would there be any chance of you PMing me a bit more info if you can find anything (even brand and model would be really helpful) and photos? I certainly don’t have an issue going secondhand as I accept the point I’ll get far more bang for my buck.

Have indeed thought about contacting my local astronomical society, and that my well be my next port of call, but there also seems to be some on GZ who have ideas to offer!

Thanks for any further advice.

 
 
 
 


Gordy7
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  #2042005 21-Jun-2018 20:59
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Celestron Travel Scope 70 and Celestron Inspire 70AZ

 

Different focal lengths, one has a steel tripod and the other aluminium.... and other differing specs... different portability issues.

 

Rough idea... shorter FL for star views.... longer FL for planetary views....

 

Both scopes will have similar resolutions at highest magnification....

 

Useful magnifications would be 10x to 60x depending on what you are looking at.

 

Both would suffer the same image turbulance for the given aperture.

 

Refractor = lower maintenance, more issues with abberations...

 

Reflector = higher maintenance but better image and sometimes awkward to get your eye to the eye piece.

 

All depends on a large number of factors.... 

 

I had a lot of fun with a 50mm refractor when I was about 12 years old.

 

 





Gordy

 

My first ever network connection was a 1MHz AM crystal(OA91) radio receiver.


invisibleman18
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  #2042131 22-Jun-2018 09:01
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@jonathan18
Sure, will check it out in the weekend and see what details I have.

jonathan18

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  #2043463 25-Jun-2018 11:21
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With a bit more research and thought, I am thinking that, in line with JaBZ’s advice above, my best option is a Dobsonian telescope - I get that, for the price, we’ll get best (light gathering) bang-for-buck, plus have a scope that’s relatively straightforward to use, which is critical if I want to retain my sons’ interest.

While I’ll keep an eye out on PriceMe for new models at a good price, and TM for s/h, can anyone advise me where may be other good places to look out for a decent Dobsonian scope at a good price? O/s won’t be an option, given their size. But, apart from TM, where would people be offloading such an item? I’ll try the local astronomy society as they may have members upgrading etc. @JaBZ or @Gordy7, as clearly people with knowledge in this area, would you have any ideas, including specific models to recommend?

Happy to pay a bit more (ideally around $500 max) to get the right scope, than have to end up replacing something that wasn’t right in the first place.

Thanks.

Gordy7
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  #2043478 25-Jun-2018 11:41
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There is no right scope....  :-) Start off with a good modest telescope and expect to upgrade if the interest develops.

 

Just a check... Are you buying the scope for you or for your boys to use and experiment with, get experience with and discover stuff?

 

 





Gordy

 

My first ever network connection was a 1MHz AM crystal(OA91) radio receiver.


jonathan18

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  #2043484 25-Jun-2018 12:03
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Gordy7:

There is no right scope....  :-)

Just a check... Are you buying the scope for you or for your boys to use and experiment with, get experience with and discover stuff?


 



Pretty much... “Ease of use” is a really critical component, as I know fluffing about with setup will put the boys off, as will complexities and potential fragility of fancy mounts. TBH, this is one of the main reasons I’m looking at a Dobsonian.

I know we could be later looking at wanting to upgrade, but as with most things I look at buying I try to steer a middle ground between the basic entry-level item and the flash-as. This way it’s a relatively affordable entry point, but it should be able to remain good enough for a good period of time - until a higher threshold of obsession may set in, necessitating upgrades!

Batman
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  #2043490 25-Jun-2018 12:29
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I've had many cheap telescopes. Not worth the ink they print the price tag with. Complete waste of time!





Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


jonathan18

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  #2043513 25-Jun-2018 13:02
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Batman:

I've had many cheap telescopes. Not worth the ink they print the price tag with. Complete waste of time!



Yep, I’ve come to the same conclusion, luckily without having to waste that time and money!

These Dobsonian telescopes seem to be one of the best options in terms of treading that fine line between affordable purchase cost and acceptable performance.

See articles such as https://www.universetoday.com/84285/why-are-dobsonian-telescopes-a-favorite-among-amateur-astronomers/

Gordy7
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  #2043515 25-Jun-2018 13:02
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Batman:

 

I've had many cheap telescopes. Not worth the ink they print the price tag with. Complete waste of time!

 

 

What application did you buy the cheap telescopes for?

 

Why did they not meet your requirements?

 

What reviews did these telescopes have?

 

Why did you repeat your choices?





Gordy

 

My first ever network connection was a 1MHz AM crystal(OA91) radio receiver.


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