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FortKnox's Journal: Telescope Shopping 8

Journal by FortKnox
I've been having a tremendous itch to buy a telescope. Nothing can stop me from going to Orion, and picking myself up a nice, hefty 8" reflector...

Except my wife.

Too much fear resides in her that I'll drop $400-$600 on a scope, then hardly get any use out of it. So I need a starter scope that won't break the bank, but also won't kill my interest cause I won't be able to see crap in it.
Orion has a nice 3" reflector for just over $100 (or maybe even the 4.5" dob), and a nice 70mm refractor for just over $100. I'll admit the first thing I'll be pointing to is planets (Saturn, Jupiter, maybe some moons of either). I have a fancination with them, but that doesn't mean I won't be checking out nebulae. Now, are there any amateur astronomers in the ring willing to help me figure out which scope would be best? Or at least give me the pros and cons of each?
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Telescope Shopping

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  • You can build a tremendous scope for 400 bucks. It will take time to build mind you but the reward of having an 8" or 10" dob that will kick the ass of anything in the same price range is well worth it.
  • It's been quite a few years since I had a telescope - I'd love to get back into it myself. Unfortunately I live in the middle of a large city and the light pollution is pretty bad around here. 8-(

    There's a couple of things to consider when getting a telescope. Ease of use and maintenance, portability, set up, etc. Equatorial mounts are the best for quickly locating objects (particularly deep sky objects - nebulae, etc) and tracking them as they move through the night sky (only requires adjustments in one
    • Unfortunately I live in the middle of a large city and the light pollution is pretty bad around here. 8-(

      That's one thing that distresses me about raising our kid in Germany -- the light and air pollution around here is incredibly bad. In the city, you can pretty much forget ever seeing the stars, aside from perhaps the very brightest ones (and only when the smog and clouds cooperate). Even in the countryside, the light pollution is much worse than in much of America, simply because of the dramatically hi

      • I was lucky enough (stare-gazing-wise) to grow up in relatively light-free environments. Up until the age of 12 or so we lived in a regional area where there were plenty of clear skies, although I wasn't really into astronomy then. We then moved to a smaller town where there was even less light pollution and the skies there were amazing! I studied astronomy as one of my electives when I was doing physics at high school and being the only one who chose that elective, I got to take the school's 6" Newtonian h
  • Nothing can stop me from going to Orion, and picking myself up a nice, hefty 8" reflector...

    Whoa.

    "Orion" in Germany sells rather different kinds of things [orion.de] and not a lot of telescopes...so at first reading I was completely gobsmacked at your JE...mmm-hmmm, just go to Orion and get the 8 inches if you must, mmmkay.

    Warning: Adult content above. Nipples may be visible.

    Cheers,

    Ethelred

  • Looking at planets and looking at nebula are two different types of jobs. I almost think it's best to get two cheaper scopes than one expensive one that is good for both. (I don't have a wife, so I stupidly got a 8" reflector on a eq mount, to try to do both jobs. And I hardly use it, because it's so cumbersome. The classic sad story.)

    The thing with planets is that they are bright, so you don't need a lot of aperature (don't get me wrong, it's nice, but you don't need 8") which means the scope can be

  • Ask Slashdot has dealt with this issue, at least twice, IIRC. Of course, searching Slashdot archives is virtually impossible. I find Google works best.
  • When I read the JE title, I thought you were shopping from home using a telescope! I was about to reply that it would be easier just to drive to the store. ;-)

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader

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