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Beginner seeking some equipment advice

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Hi everyone,


I am really new to this, but was always interested in astronomy, since I was a child.

Now it's time to buy my first telescope.

I watched some videos, read some articles, yet I am clueless.

What should i buy? What did you buy for the first time?

I would love to see the deep space object, also wouldn't mind some of Jupiter's moons, but i know, I suppose to choose.I can't.

I am living in a village, not far from a small town, so light pollution is not high at all, I can watch the sky from the garden. so if it's heavy, not a problem.

I was looking at the skywatcher starquest 130 series, I saw it is very popular. Or is there something else?

Thank you in advance.

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Hello and welcome to the forum. A decent pair of 10x50 binoculars and a copy of a book called "Turn Left at Orion" which will guide you around the night sky.

Beginners will usually be best served by a telescope called a Dobsonian. There are many around and Skywatcher make one called a 200P. However beware that astronomy is an expensive hobby so my advice would be to start small with binoculars before you invest in a telescope and mount.

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I think binoculars are a good way to start. However, holding them steady can be a problem. Personally, I would recommend a small refractor as a starter scope. Terry has a good point though, astronomy is not a particularly cheap hobby. Refractor scopes can be expensive depending on what sort they are. The least expensive refracting scopes are known as achromatic refractors




The optical tube assembly (basically just the telescope itself) of one of the most popular starter scopes, the ST80 can be bought for under £100. These telescopes are manufactured by a Taiwanese company called Synta and are sold under a variety of names (Orion, Sky-Watcher etc). They are all the same scope. 




You will be able to see quite a bit with an 80mm Synta refractor, including the four largest moons of Jupiter, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter as well as planetary surface detail. Saturn's rings and a plethora of deep sky objects can also be observed with a scope like this. Refracting scopes have a contrast and visual acuity that reflecting scopes lack as they have no obstructing secondary mirror. 




A short tube refractor will have a comparatively wide field of view and can be excellent for sweeping the night sky at binocular-like magnifications. Of course, it will need a mount and accessories.




And this will all add to the initial cost of the optical tube.




It might be worth checking out these freeware astronomy programs:


Stellarium (runs on Windows & Unix platforms)


Celestron SkyPortal 





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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I will approach from a slightly different angle. A few objects you might want to see.
Don't forget some things are only visible at certains times of the year. Some (outer planets) have years where they are poorly placed.


Just about any sort of visual aid will show you Jupiters moons as pin points of light. They move from one night to the next.


To easily see the cloud bands on Jupiter, or get a half decent view of Saturns rings you are looking at tens of power magnification. In other words a scope, rather than binoculars.


The Andromeda galaxy, M31, is a faint fuzzy blob to the eye IF you have a dark clear sky.
Known to lots of people before urban development and street lights. Nowadays probably 95% of people in the UK have never seen it. As it is a large object (bigger than the moon) low magnification is best. Binoculars.
But a scope with low power eyepiece will give good results.


The Orion nebula - in winter. Just below Orions belt is another fuzzy blob that you can make out by eye.
Add binoculars and it starts to show more. Add almost any scope and you make out lots of stars around the gas.
I won't say more as it will spoil thing for you. But if put a 150/200 reflector........


The moon. Anything lets you view craters, mountains on the terminator, etc.
It is an object that just gives more every time you increase magnification - if the sky is stable.


My thought is that a 150 or 200 (8" or 10" mirror in old money) dob mount scope will give you great experiences on all of the above, and a lot more besides. A dob mount means almost all your money goes on the scope. Compare to a goto where you share between the glass, the mount and the electronics. Many people regard a 150/200 dob as a good first scope that they then keep for years after buying other scopes that are better for other viewing.


Provided you don't have a problem with storage and carrying, I think 6" or 8" is a good choice.
I have owned 8" 10" and 12" dob scopes. Though never a 150 (6").
A 12" scope, though maybe tempting, is quite a beast to handle.


Keep asking the questions.




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  • 1 month later...

I'd day out totally depends on what you want to do. 

Most people that start in this hobby get a setup that's OK for visual, then decide they want to take pics of the planets & moon & eventually pretty pics of nebulae.

If you follow that terms (we've all been there!) Then be realistic with your aspirations & save yourself time, effort & money.

There are plenty of options on the 2nd hand market for everything you'll need & typically people are honest & trustworthy - we're all in this together!

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  • 2 months later...



I am new to this too, its a mine field getting a final list of kit together, i spend a good few months researching and changing what was in my shopping basket. If you're going at it from owning nothing, as i did, i did what was mentioned above as it happens. My daughter showed an interest after a school project, so i got her a book and a half decent pair of binoculars (10 x 50) we have had for about 6 months now.


I wanted a kit that i can do light observational stuff with my daughter in the garden and local farm lanes, but also get in to photos in the future, so settled on a mid sized refractor (WO FLT 91) but i have also bought a popular GoTo tracking mount (HEQ5 Pro with belt MOD) so i have time to get to grips with that and the software it uses, and so i have the right mount ready for my photography in the future.


Its a hard thing to decide, you kinda need to know what you want to look at or photograph and then buy a scope that fits your budget / needs.


I can share my latest lesson: when it comes to eye pieces, i learned after looking at you tube: find out the max magnification of your scope (or the one you want to buy) and the focal length and then if you have 10 mins and excel (or paper and a calculator) you can make a table that works out what eye piece / barlow combination you can use and it will show you if you are buying the right / wrong focal length eyepieces for you scopes magnification and if youre buying ones that overlap too much which is effectively wasting money so you can save a lot there especially if youre buying quality eyepieces as they are can run in to the hundreds of pounds each.


You can then use the software mentioned above (Stellarium ) and configure your setup to see a representation of what your kit will give you. off the back of this i worked out that i could get a x 2 and x 3 barlow and some 82 degree FOV eyepieces at 6, 11, 14 and 24mm to get me going, these give me a great selection of magnifications for objects near and far, at about 10-15x intervals from 22x up to 167x which is my close enough for me to my telescopes maximum of 182x. i also got some basic pollution moon and nebula filters.


The above is also correct, it is expensive, so have think how serious you want to get about the hobby and how much spare cash / time you have as it robs you of both! i am in the middle of putting my first kit together and wont have any change from about £5500 when i am done. I have yet to get a camera which will be anything between £850 and £2000 on top of that, but i do have absolutely everything else i need up to buying the main camera.


I have decided to give it a year and see how the tech moves on as ZWO are good at releasing 2-4 new cameras a year sometimes, and to give me the chance to re-coup some funds and learn more before i get in to the photography side of things..


I hope this helps if you need any more im happy to share, the guys and girls on here and other forums are great for advice and in-depth help with any technical issues you hit.





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