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Warm Greetings from Northern California

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Hi all, I'm glad to have come across what seems to be a very awesome site! 


I'm Kelly, living in Northern California. I'm a broke 20-something trying to spread the awesomeness of space and science in my hodunk town! Ha!


I've recently been asked by a local youth organization to lead an astronomy club that they want to start up. So I am here now hoping to get some much needed information and experience from all of you lovely people, as while I am confident in my abilities to share my knowledge of our cosmos with the kiddos, I have sadly never owned or operated a telescope.


Here is what I would love some input on from all of you:

- Recommendations for a Telescope. As the organization I'm working with is a non-profit in a tiny town I will need to find this myself, so budget is my biggest issue, but ideally I'm looking for something with the capability to view Saturn with some definition of clarity, as I have fun "lesson plan" largely centered around our ringed neighbor. 

- A telescope camera compatible with the above telescope and intended goal.

- Any and all tips, info, and resources you may have for me!


Thanks so much for all of your guys' time! Can't wait to be a part of this community!


-Kelly ❤️


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I don't know much about science, or space either really lol. You should be able to see Saturn's rings fairly well with a modest telescope. I can see the Cassini Division with a 60mm ED doublet. (below).




The rings are quite visible even at low magnifications. A pair of 20x magnification binoculars would show them. At magnifications of 50x to 100x or more ring detail should be easier to see. Saturn's surface clouds are not always as distinct as Jupiter's surface details. 




At least two of Saturn's moons are comparatively easy to observe with small telescopes. Titan particularly, Rhea is almost as bright I believe.


Some resources:









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Hi, and welcome! Outreach is great, I myself am from a town where it appears that astrophotography, which I'm not that into, is what most telescope owners do. Haven't found a decent club yet, but if my school had an astronomy club that might have changed.


I myself started just a few months ago, and I want to share this blog with you that really helped me put the facts into context: https://supercooper.jimdofree.com/choosing-telescopes-complete-essentials/

You seem to be in need of a scope that is both capable of giving decent views of the more popular planets when used with an eyepiece (the small lens you put into the back of the scope to see, which also determines the magnification you get), but also a scope that can let you take images. Imaging with scopes can be quite complex and I would recommend that you start out with a simple $25 smartphone adapter which you attach to the eyepiece: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079HLHHSN

As @Nightspore said, most decent scopes will let you see Saturns rings (which itself is an astonishing sight) when fitted with an eyepiece (EP), but what you'll notice straight away is that the earth moves. The more magnification, the faster it will disappear from view, and you have to move the scope using the two controls to get it into view again.
Having a set of good eyepieces is crucial to get a good experience. Cheap EPs typically have narrower fields of view in the range of 45-55 degrees (causing planets to drift out of view faster), while slightly more expensive EPs can be had with FoV up to 60-70 degrees which is a significant improvement.

I turned out to be lucky when I got my first scope used, it was a f/8.3 (google f numbers) refractor telescope, with a single set of lenses at the front and no mirrors. It has a big 120mm aperture which makes the image brighter with more detail.

I might hazard to recommend that you go for a refractor scope, purely due to usability. They typically require no regular adjustment (Reflectors, those cylindrical tubes, have to be collimated regularly) and they adapt to the ambient temperature quickly. Refractor also LOOK like how most people think a telescope should look like.
In refractors you look into the back of the scope, while newtonian reflectors have the eyepiece focuser on the side up at the top of the tube. 

I'd perhaps recommend a used telescope, especially a refractor as they keep well.
A concrete suggestion for a new model would be something like this - a good scope for viewing planets:
In addition I'd recommend more eyepieces, for instance the 8mm version of this, with 60 degrees field of viewfor high magnification:

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