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Hi everyone,


I am totally new to astronomy and telescope. but I have been watching many astronomy related videos and after a long consideration, I would like to start exploring the night sky and witness the beauty with my own eyes. However, I am quite lost on how I should start, the gear I should get and the consideration behind each options. do you have any article, videos or personal recommendation regarding this? It would be greatly appreciated if someone could point me out to a right direction.

I have been saving up for quite some time for this, and currently my budget for the gear is around $600 AUD. any advice would be really helpful!



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I would recommend a basic 8x40 or 10x50 pair of binoculars and a guide book of the southern skies, you have many large and bright deep-sky objects that I was lucky to see once.


I checked out the scopes at Bintel, they have a good selection in your price range.


If you are not sure if you will stick with the hobby don't spend too much on the first scope but do buy a reputable brand like Skywatcher, Meade or Bintel. If you go too cheap the view wont be great. 


Mid-budget the Meade Infinity 70mm on an Alt/Az mount will be good start, the Altitude/Azimuth (ALT/AZ) mount it is on will be easier to wrangle with than the Equatorial mounts of the alternatives.  Equatorial (EQ) mounts at this price point can be tricky to set up work but if you are prepared to tackle an EQ mount then the Polaris 127mm will give you a much better view. Personally I would avoid the Polaris 90mm.


At the top of your budge and the best bang for buck and overall viewing experience IMO is the Bintel BT152. 


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Bear in mind binoculars are difficult to hold steady.




Something like the Sky-Watcher 72ED DS Pro would be a good start.




Mine's still my most used scope as it's so easy to set-up with no real cool down time.




Large reflectors and some larger refractors often need a period of thermal equilibrium cooling before a stable image can be achieved. 




The Sky-Watcher AZ5 Deluxe mount would be good to use with it. I think you can buy it as a bundle with the 72ED. I use mine now with the AZ5 again although for a long time I switched to a Vixen Porta (below). Both are good mount/tripod combinations.




The ED glass in the 72mm doublet is better colour corrected than less expensive achromats.




Although the ST80 achromats are great little scopes.




My Orion ST80 (above) has an aftermarket focuser. These can just be screwed in after removing the original. The ST80 is made by Synta and marketed by Sky-Watcher (Synta's house name), Orion, Meade and others. It's the same scope. 




Technically the ST80 is an 'achromat' so there is a small amount of chromatic aberration. It isn't particularly noticeable on the ST80 though. Bear in mind whatever scope you obtain, you will need to buy further accessories such as diagonals, eyepieces, finders etc.


I also recommend SkyPortal  




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  • 2 months later...

I'd say that to start is not even bother with a scope - you'd be far better with a camera & a couple of prime lenses (old pentax lenses etc of ebay for example) with a tracking mount. 

This way you'll be forced to learn the fundamentals of balance, polar aligning, framing your images, capture, calibration frames & processing. 

It's the least painful way of starting in astrophotography- everything else can be painful

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