Anyone have a telescope?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by squeeks, May 21, 2011.

  1. squeeks macrumors 68040

    squeeks

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Florida
    #1
    I'd like to get one but I really have no idea what im looking for...I'd prolly spend between 100-200 bucks on one.

    I've been browsing through amazon but there are just so many choices...
     
  2. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #2
    If you're just looking for something to do backyard viewing, I'd recommend a nice refractor.

    This one looks good.

    Now if you really want to get creative, I'd recommend (if you don't have one) a 35mm camera and a telescope adapter. Provided you don't have a lot of light pollution where you are, you can get some really nice pictures. When I was an undergrad, I took some astronomy courses for funsies, and one of our projects was getting shots of Jupiter and the Galilean moons. Over the course of a very cold night, I managed to get a sequence of shots showing Io traversing across Jupiter.
     
  3. squeeks thread starter macrumors 68040

    squeeks

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Florida
    #3
    Thank you for that website, I have a bit better idea of what im looking at now.
     
  4. kalsta macrumors 68000

    kalsta

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    I did a bit of research into this myself when buying a telescope for friends some years ago. I ended up getting them an 8 inch Newtonian reflector on a simple Dobsonian mount. It's a fairly hefty beast, but because of its large size it collects a lot of light, and that's important if you're interested in looking at deep space objects — far more important than advertised magnifications. Think about it this way — black magnified 100 times is still black! It's all about the amount of light you get in, and for that you need a big collector. I believe reflectors are generally cheaper than refractors given the same sort of specs, but I'm no expert by any means.

    My friend was very happy with the telescope and I've joined him quite a few times to do a bit of star gazing. It's a lot of fun if you don't have overblown expectations (remember, all those really amazing photos of nebula, galaxies, etc, were taken with space telescopes!) and you have a sense of adventure. With a simple Dobsonian mount you move the thing around manually, so you have to find stuff based on charts, or your favourite iPhone astronomy app… but I think that's half the fun when it's just a hobby.

    I've never tried astrophotography, but given the long exposures required, I thought it required a computer controlled mount capable of very precise tracking (objects move quite quickly in the telescope's view due to the Earth's rotation). Surely you're not going to get a setup like that on the cheap?
     
  5. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #5
    I wasn't doing long exposure shots (think all those pretty pictures you see with the circular star trails), just regular 35mm photos letting the camera see through the telescope. For that, all you need is an adapter so the camera gets mounted in place of the normal eyepiece, which IIRC, aren't expensive. Granted, I was an undergrad a long time ago, but I can't imagine a similar adapter for use with a digital camera being all that much more.

    Looking back at the site I linked to earlier, I see a tracking drive for $40. I'd consider that to be on the cheap. Also, most of the camera adapters are in the sub-$50 range (search "camera").
     

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