Any astronomers out there? Looking for advice on new telescope...

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
So I just got this telescope yesterday (a friend of a friend won it and we got a great price), but I admit I've never used a telescope before so I am looking for some advice.

First of all, this looks like it will be a great device, since it has a ton of autolocation features, as well as some sweet options (including the ability to hook up my EOS DR XT for photos). But I have some questions:

1. The standard viewer offers 48x magnification. This sounds like a lot, and probably is for viewing things that are relatively close, like the moon, but what other magnifications should I be looking for? Apparently with the right viewer I can get a good picture of planets like Jupiter and Saturn.

2. What are some cool things to look at? Sure, I'll spend time looking at planets, but what are other some other celestial things I can target?

3. Anyone else have one of these? If so, what other options should I be considering? I have a light filtering lens that is supposed to help with city light pollution, and a right-angle view finder, but that's it.

Thanks!
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Perfect!

That is a telescope I have looked at buying a few times. Can't tell ya more than you already know, except that some hardcore amatures I know have recommended that line.

My advice, get a solar filter and browse the sun on a clear day. It is a very cool thing to do. keep to the planets, they are near and recognizable, to me, looking at a star is a waste. Can't remember the power/ability of that model, but nebula are neat too.

You can teach your kids tons with that, go to walmart and get the solar system placemats (they have money, math, alphabet, solar system,...) for $.99 and teach them the planets and where we are and have a blast!

If I remember correctly the astronomy software on the apple site (not yet intel compliant) might complement that scope very well. When is first light?
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
stubeeef said:
My advice, get a solar filter and browse the sun on a clear day.
I hadn't thought of that! I found one for $105 so I'll probably go ahead and order it. Unfortunately, the next total eclipse visible in the US won't be until 2017.

stubeeef said:
You can teach your kids tons with that, go to walmart and get the solar system placemats (they have money, math, alphabet, solar system,...) for $.99 and teach them the planets and where we are and have a blast!
We've already started doing stuff like that. In fact, this morning my daughter out of the blue says "We live in Schaumburg, right? That means we're on the planet Earth."
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Don't need an eclipse to view cool sun stuff. Sun Spots, Flares, that sort of thing.
My oldest knew all the planets by Kindergarten. Good stuff.
An aside, I carry welders glass in my car and mini-van. Seems every few years there is a partial eclipse and we don't miss it, viewing through welders glass. (welders glass is a few bucks at a good hardware store)
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
Why dont you just let the scope show you? Its allready programed to give you a tour , got that from your link. Nice looking scope. I have homebuilt a 6" newtonian thats great for the moon but doesnt have auto tracking. The comet Templeone will be coming into view and july 4th the penatrator is suppose to strike it. That should be cool for you! :)
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Dont Hurt Me said:
Why dont you just let the scope show you? Its allready programed to give you a tour , got that from your link. Nice looking scope. I have homebuilt a 6" newtonian thats great for the moon but doesnt have auto tracking. The comet Templeone will be coming into view and july 4th the penatrator is suppose to strike it. That should be cool for you! :)
Just checked out the website (here) and found that they'll give me the coordinates I need to find the comet. I'll definitely be checking out what I can see. My guess is not much more than a fuzzy spot, but hey it will still be fun.
 

Guitarius

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2004
599
0
Louisiana
I've been considering getting a telescope for a while. It seems like hella fun to watch the sky at night. That seems a little expensive though. But I guess you get what you pay for, right? I doubt, if I get one at all, I'll get that one. Something in the $200 range. I dunno, I'll be moving in a couple months, and we'll have to see what happens.
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Guitarius said:
I've been considering getting a telescope for a while. It seems like hella fun to watch the sky at night. That seems a little expensive though. But I guess you get what you pay for, right? I doubt, if I get one at all, I'll get that one. Something in the $200 range. I dunno, I'll be moving in a couple months, and we'll have to see what happens.
We were lucky - we knew someone who won this at some function but didn't want it. We managed to pick it up for about 1/2 price.

As for your price range - it appears that there are quite a few to choose from.
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
emw said:
Just checked out the website (here) and found that they'll give me the coordinates I need to find the comet. I'll definitely be checking out what I can see. My guess is not much more than a fuzzy spot, but hey it will still be fun.
Thats a really nice scope, i would like to get one of those hooked up to my computer so i could point and view the scope from inside my home. Another dream of mine. I would like to hear a review of your scope once you are familiar with it all. The planets and solar system is where the fun is. ;)
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Dont Hurt Me said:
Thats a really nice scope, i would like to get one of those hooked up to my computer so i could point and view the scope from inside my home. Another dream of mine. I would like to hear a review of your scope once you are familiar with it all. The planets and solar system is where the fun is. ;)
I hope to have many chances over the next couple of weeks to play with it. The camera attachment is on backorder, but hopefully I'll have it within a week or two - that's what I'm really looking forward to.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,407
0
VA
I've been thinking of getting a decent telescope since I've moved to Indiana - some nights its absolutely amazing with very little light pollution. Seeing the Milkyway from horizon to horizon is great. I just want to get a scope that will allow me to take pictures with my Canon 20D - I don't know which ones have that mount adapter.

D
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Mr. Anderson said:
I just want to get a scope that will allow me to take pictures with my Canon 20D - I don't know which ones have that mount adapter.
I know the one I have has one - it's on backorder right now though. Many others that I've seen at telescopes.com can take the adapter as well.

One question I have though about hooking up the camera - the magnification level appears to be determined by the focal length of the eyepiece. That is, the focal length of the tube (on mine) is 1250mm. I've ordered a 9.7mm eyepiece, which will give me a magnification of 1250/9.7 = 128x. I've also ordered a Barlow lens that will double that to 256x. There are smaller focal length lenses, but I want to stick with just a small set (9.7, 15, 26, plus the doubler) until I figure out more how to use them.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the camera mount seems to bypass the eyepiece. So how do you take advantage of the zooming of the eyepiece? Is everything at some sort of default zoom? I'm looking into it now, and will post what I find out, but looking at the mount point, it's hard to imagine it supporting the eyepiece and the camera mount.

Edit: Apparently zoom is determined by distance from the lens mount to the "film plane" of the camera. Now if only I knew what that was...
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Lots of help on this stuff at science centers and the like. Below is a picture in Nov of 2003, took the girls to a get together at the local planetarium for a lunar eclipse. Notice the big scope behind them. There are the obvious places on then net, but going to one of these group deals is eye opening (pun intended).
I want to see your first pic of the sun.
 

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emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
stubeeef said:
I want to see your first pic of the sun.
Here you go:



Oh, never mind. You said sun. Okay. Well, that will be in a few weeks - and you guys will be the first to see it.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,817
37
Andover, MA
emw said:
Here you go:

...

Oh, never mind. You said sun. Okay. Well, that will be in a few weeks - and you guys will be the first to see it.
Well, he does seem to be pointing at the sun, so I guess it's close enough for now.

Oh, wait, maybe he saw a flying pig Monday afternoon.
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,210
432
NY
how do those things work. you just type in something and the telescope moves to it.... How does the telescope know where it/you are.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,407
0
VA
puckhead193 said:
how do those things work. you just type in something and the telescope moves to it.... How does the telescope know where it/you are.
With the GPS system, its all automatic, it knows its location and orientation. On the non-GPS units, you have to set it up yourself, usually sighting it on the North star.

D
 

emw

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
puckhead193 said:
how do those things work. you just type in something and the telescope moves to it.... How does the telescope know where it/you are.
With mine it's a little broad - you enter your city or ZIP code, then "zero" the telescope by leveling it and pointing North. It will then move based on those coordinates. I'm sure you can get more exact than that, I just haven't had a chance to figure that part out yet.
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,210
432
NY
technology...WOW :eek:
sure beets mine where you look through the little scope to find what your looking, i guess its just old school ;)
 

5300cs

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
1,862
0
japan
This is a little off-topic, but has anyone tried this program? Celestia VERY cool and VERY FREE! :)

(I've just gotten into astronomy myself after reading and seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey.)