Art and Photography

Suggestions for buying a telescope for a newbie

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  • Nov 19th, 2020 2:21 pm
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6590 posts
6068 upvotes

Suggestions for buying a telescope for a newbie

I'm not sure if this is the right forum but I am looking for suggestions on telescopes for a newbie. Specifically I'm looking for what features or things to look out for. I don't want to spend too much money- this more just for pleasure and learning. I probably will be getting this for when I go camping as I think a telescope in the city is rather useless with all the light pollution but I'm interested in hearing other perspectives on this especially if I'm wrong with my assumption.
20 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2005
2804 posts
33 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
by Terence Dickinson

https://www.amazon.ca/Terence-Dickinson ... 422&sr=8-1

and a pair of good binoculars (10x50) would go much further than an inexpensive telescope under $500.00.

Once you learn what you are looking for, then look into a scope.
Jr. Member
Jun 15, 2015
145 posts
56 upvotes
Calgary, AB
It’s best to check and study online before you buy it. you may think you will see some shocking image, but only some smoke like when you cooking.
I think it depends on your budget and purpose. Generally, binoculars and entry-level telescopes. for me, 8x42 around $100 for sky and constellations, and 130eq $139.99 for looking at the moon, looking at the halo of Saturn, look at the Great Red Spot of Jupiter both from Costco is enough. for Nebula Galaxy, just go NASA or youtube to see it.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 13, 2009
5072 posts
3251 upvotes
We got a basic Tasco beginner one from using reward points from work, it's about $120 in value. It's good to start but it's very obvious how much better telescopes are when you start spending money.

The coolest was seeing Jupiter and Saturn, wasn't perfectly sharp but vibrant enough to tell that it's actually them!

Also get a good app like SkyView to help figure out where and what to look out for.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4530 posts
1094 upvotes
Toronto
A telescope can still be fun in the city for looking at the planets (esp. Saturn) and fine details of the Moon's surface. But you'll be out of luck if you're trying to find nebulae etc.

I agree with the others that a good pair of binoculars can be more versatile than a telescope, and perhaps is a worthwhile "first" purchase.

Most cities in Canada have an amateur astronomy club that holds regular meetups for public viewing, with all kinds of scopes -- these are probably not happening much these days due to COVID, but if you get in contact with your local club, they'd be able to put you in touch with people who know what they are talking about (and will talk your ear off about it).
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6590 posts
6068 upvotes
Thanks everyone. I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos watching Cosmos...I wish they taught this stuff when I was in school because I would've been hooked. Anytime I visit a city with a planetarium, I always make a visit

Anyways, what kind of binoculars are we talking about? I already have a pair. My budget is ~$100 as I'm a complete newbie. I've seen telescopes for low as $50 on Amazon but I'm guessing it's pretty poor quality. I would also be open to buying a used one off of Kijiji but I don't know what things to look for. I also checked Costco Online but they don't have them for sale anymore.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4530 posts
1094 upvotes
Toronto
hierophant wrote: Anyways, what kind of binoculars are we talking about? I already have a pair. My budget is ~$100 as I'm a complete newbie. I've seen telescopes for low as $50 on Amazon but I'm guessing it's pretty poor quality. I would also be open to buying a used one off of Kijiji but I don't know what things to look for. I also checked Costco Online but they don't have them for sale anymore.
I think 7x50 or 7x35 are recommended binocular sizes for stargazing.

With a $100 budget I don't think you're going to get much that you're really happy with, probably just a cheap refractor with a narrow aperture. You'll struggle to see much beyond the basics (Saturn, Jupiter, moon details, very very bright stuff)
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6590 posts
6068 upvotes
Thinking of buying this one for $40, what do you think? Monolux Telescope Model #4369.Astronmical telescope features D = 60mm and F = 700mm achromatic coated lenses. Made in Japan.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4530 posts
1094 upvotes
Toronto
hierophant wrote: Thinking of buying this one for $40, what do you think? Monolux Telescope Model #4369.Astronmical telescope features D = 60mm and F = 700mm achromatic coated lenses. Made in Japan.
Good for the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, double stars in a dark location, etc. Doesn't have a lot of light-gathering power.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 13, 2009
5072 posts
3251 upvotes
hierophant wrote: Thinking of buying this one for $40, what do you think? Monolux Telescope Model #4369.Astronmical telescope features D = 60mm and F = 700mm achromatic coated lenses. Made in Japan.
You're going to have more than $40 of enjoyment.
Member
May 31, 2017
332 posts
88 upvotes
Could one connect a DSLR to any of the scopes mentioned above, to get pictures of say Saturn, etc?
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4530 posts
1094 upvotes
Toronto
breads wrote: Could one connect a DSLR to any of the scopes mentioned above, to get pictures of say Saturn, etc?
With the right adapter, yes. The challenges involve resolution, stability, exposure time, etc.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 13, 2009
5072 posts
3251 upvotes
breads wrote: Could one connect a DSLR to any of the scopes mentioned above, to get pictures of say Saturn, etc?
Yup!

It's tons of fun but I need to figure out a better way to hold everything steady. The telescope I have is a newb one and the tripod is shakier than a conspiracy theory. Celestron makes the adapter: I bought this for $25 https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00006 ... UTF8&psc=1

Live View helps a ton!
Sr. Member
Nov 14, 2014
597 posts
903 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
Ask this in www.cloudynights.com.
https://www.cloudynights.com/forum/57-b ... scription/ (Beginners forum)

100$ in Canada unfortunately does not get you much. If you can increase budget to 200-300, you will find decent dobsonian scopes in Kijiji (6 inch or 8 inch). But, they are usually not good for astrophotography. But, they should help you take quick shots.

Binoculars are good for learning the night sky. But, you should have realistic expectations. All deep sky objects will appear as smudges. I have a 10x50 binocular and that cost me 250$ but you can grab some cheap ones for 100$. For binoculars the recommended ones a 7x50 or 8x42 or 10x50. 7/8/10 are magnification. Higher the magnification, more handshake in the night. Anything more than 10x50 is going to need tripod. Even 10x50 is hard for me to hold for a longer time.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6590 posts
6068 upvotes
whyami wrote: Ask this in www.cloudynights.com.
https://www.cloudynights.com/forum/57-b ... scription/ (Beginners forum)

100$ in Canada unfortunately does not get you much. If you can increase budget to 200-300, you will find decent dobsonian scopes in Kijiji (6 inch or 8 inch). But, they are usually not good for astrophotography. But, they should help you take quick shots.

Binoculars are good for learning the night sky. But, you should have realistic expectations. All deep sky objects will appear as smudges. I have a 10x50 binocular and that cost me 250$ but you can grab some cheap ones for 100$. For binoculars the recommended ones a 7x50 or 8x42 or 10x50. 7/8/10 are magnification. Higher the magnification, more handshake in the night. Anything more than 10x50 is going to need tripod. Even 10x50 is hard for me to hold for a longer time.
This was incredibly helpful, thank you!
Newbie
Aug 17, 2020
9 posts
1 upvote
Any of the AstroMasters from Celestrons would be a good pick.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6590 posts
6068 upvotes
So I got the Powerseeker 127eq - set it up, balanced it, set the latitude, etc. but I can't see a damn thing - including the moon which I can see in plain sight lol - I do see it in the finderscope. Plus everything is upside down through the finderscope. I've watched several Youtube videos too. My neck and upper back are getting sore trying to maneuver things in order to see anything. BTW I"m using the 20mm eye piece. Any tips?
Member
Oct 12, 2010
235 posts
247 upvotes
I have that telescope. Picked it up at a garage sale for cheap and while it looks impressive to the untrained eye, it is not a good telescope. The image appearing upside down is normal. You just have to get used to it and learn to adjust the telescope by relying on the dials , rather than trying to aim the telescope directly at the object since everything is inverted.

If you can see the moon through the finder scope but can't see it in the telescope, it means the two aren't aligned. You should align the two during the day time when there's plenty of light. Looking through the telescope, find something off in the distance that is somewhat easy to find like a stop sign. Once the image in the telescope is centered on that, adjust the finder scope so that the cross hairs are also on the the same reference point. THen at night, point the scope at the moon, and the image should appear in the telescope.

It's difficult to hook a DSLR camera to this telescope because the focusing mechanism is too loose and will creep due to the weight of the camera and therefore it will be hard to maintain focus. The telescope can't be used in "prime" mode with a camera and has to be used with an eye piece. You're probably better off buying a USB camera that plugs into the eyepiece to take pictures if that's something that you want to do.

While I know you've already purchases a telescope, I agree with others that one is better off buying a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope if you just want to look at the moon and the planets.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
6575 posts
3726 upvotes
Toronto
Whitedart wrote: NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
by Terence Dickinson

https://www.amazon.ca/Terence-Dickinson ... 422&sr=8-1

and a pair of good binoculars (10x50) would go much further than an inexpensive telescope under $500.00.

Once you learn what you are looking for, then look into a scope.
Looks like a great book... that review with a photo, though.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 5, 2004
1217 posts
367 upvotes
Toronto
My experience with telescopes and astrophotography taught me to spend as much as possible or regret it later. Nothing relatively good can be purchased for $500 or less. To enjoy it, it's great to have a motorized-computerized telescope that can help you look up any stars you want. Using a telescope in a city is nearly pointless and will discourage you as well. Even if you'll see a planet, it will not be bright or easily visible. What's the point of seeing a small blurry dot? How many times can you look at that single dot in the sky before getting bored and putting that telescope away for good.

If it's a hobby, buying a used telescope may be the best bet as you can sell it later for a similar price. Selling a cheap telescope is much harder as it loses most of the value once it's out of the door. If I had to guess, anyone serious about star gazing is looking at $1500+++++ to start on a decent setup, if buying new.
A used decent setup for a used one would probably be around $1000.
And it's not just a telescope you should think about.
A tripod also plays a huge role as it has to be very sturdy. One tiny 1mm movement and you'll miss your planet by a lot. There are dedicated forums with a lot of advance users, you may also want to check them out. There are also stargazing "parties" where you can try a variety of telescopes and it may be the best way to go about it, before spending your $$.

Hope you can still find a way to enjoy it! If anything, you can just drive a few hours up north and find out what you can actually see.
Here's a light pollution map that can tell you how far you would need to drive:
https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoo ... FFFFFFFFFF

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