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Official Guide To Buying A Telescope **UPDATED 8/30/10**

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 Official Guide To Buying A Telescope **UPDATED 8/30/10**
Old 08-26-2010, 10:32 PMclass of -  - #1
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JerseyLegend  space
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I'll be adding more info that you should know, so always keep a look out. I'm simply a person who obsessed with space and loves looking into the night sky. I did my research in telescope buying a few years ago, so I'll def try to keep the thread up-to-date with info as accurate as possible and to give me a refresh, so bear with me.

Firstly, I'm NOT gonna baby ya. I won't tell you to get a low-budge aka bulls**t telescope just because you want to look at the moon. I'll def help for you to get the best bang for your buck

....and it begins


There are four major/main types of telescopes, well three really. Reflector, refractor and atadioptric,

The most common telescope and probably the one most familiar with is the refractor telescope.

[pic - click to view]



These are relatively inexpensive but are the least powerful of the three. Basically these telescopes exist because adults who know nothing of telescopes buy them for kids and expect the telescope to produce images that hubble can't. I don't advise any one to even consider these. Again, these are cheap. If you must cop, they will not hurt your pocket, and would be ideal for a younger person who has no experience with telescopes. Best for looking at the moon...and that's about it. Features are very minimal. Just a tube with 2 lens basically.


The reflector telescope price can vary from low hundreds to throughout the thousands.

[pic - click to view]


These telescopes are the real deal. They are not toys and are designed for the enthusiast, recreational and the amateur astronomers. Don't let that discourage you. They normally have many features such as GoTo, laser, photography capabilities etc. Although these are great, the prices increase rapidly due to these features and at the expense of performance in some cases. I'll go more in-depth in another post.

The dobsonian (which I own) is just a kind of reflector. I just took this pic to show you how big they can get. I'm about 5'10 5'11 This is only a 6-inch telescope.

[pic - click to view]


I don't have toe-thumbs so I dunno why it showed up like that...but that's irrelevant. These kind of telescopes are also known as 'light-buckets'. They are great for viewing distant faint objects. IMO, they are the best bang for your buck, in terms of performance, but you won't get all those nice features that are common with the 'normal' reflectors. They can vary from the low hundreds to the thousands, but once you get into the thousands, they look like telescopes NASA built just for you. They are bulky and can get heavy, unlike the other two, so it does become a pain to move them around.

16inch dobsonian vvv

[pic - click to view]



Lastly the catadioptric telescope.

[pic - click to view]


This is where the big guns come out. They are expensive as hell though. If you're knee deep in the game, this is what you have. I don't know much about these due to it being out of my league, but they are the real deal with features out the a.ss. Not too different than the reflectors.

The difference between these telescopes are the design and use. I'm won't go into the design aspect of these scopes, simply because I don't know THAT much about them, and because this isn't a physics lecture on optics. I wouldn't consider their design essential even for an advanced astronomer. Just know what they are used for.

All three telescopes generally do the exact same thing, just differently. They collect light and pass them through various lenses and/or mirrors for better viewing...done. Yes there are advantages/disadvantages, but sticking with a reflector will dissipate any doubts.

The use of these telescopes often depend solely on the specific telescope itself. One thing the 'normal' reflectors are known for is astro-photography as they are capable of camera attachments and what not. The catadioptric are notorious for astrophotography. They can maintain long-exposure of objects and you can track objects with a built-in gps so you don't have to point the scope in a random direction in hopes of finding something worth looking at. They can view all sort of objects.


This post is more of a very broad general introduction to telescopes. Ill get into the nitty gritty very soon

Last edited by JerseyLegend; 08-26-2010 at 10:51 PM..
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:32 PMclass of -  - #2
JerseyLegend  space
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~Updated 8/30/10 ~
I'm going to be providing links for more in depth reads. But what I have posted is more than enough as it is.

So while you are browsing for a telescope, you might see all these words like aperature, focal length, GoTo etc. I'm gonna try to go give/quote a brief description. There's are about 10 give or take a few, common specs that show up on websites.


APERTURE

The aperture is the size of the primary mirror that will be taking in he light an magnifying it. It's usually measured in millimeters(mm) for scopes less that six inches. Once they get to six+ inches, they are measures in inches. The scope I have above, is a 6in scope. The mirror, which is at the bottom of the tube has a diameter of six inches. Obviously, the bigger the better.


FOCAL LENGTH

The focal length is the the distance from the primary mirror, or the mirror that will be projecting the image to where it will get focused. Where it gets focused is where you will be looking at. Again, the longer the better because the image will increase in size.

Think of it like the distance between a slide projector and the screen. Move the screen and slide projector further apart, and the image gets larger and dimmer.

FINDER SCOPE

The finder scope is this little scope that is mounted usually on the top. It's function is self-explanatory. It's function is to help you find an object as opposed to using the telescope itself since the magnification is much smaller thus giving you a better view of the night sky to search for something. The sizes of these finder scopes don't vary much, but the bigger the better. I believe the common finder scope is a 6x30. Where 6 is the magnification and 30(mm) is the size of the lens in that little tube that will be doing the magnifying. Again, the bigger the better.


FOCAL RATIO

Very important spec that is donated like so: f#, where the number(#) somewhat determines what you'll be seeing. I'm just going to quote something because the quote is much more articulate than I can make myself.

http://www.astronomics.com/main/definition.asp/catalog_name/Astronomics/category_name/tajf859xqdpqa8l1jqu/Page/1 said:
This is the ‘speed’ of a telescope’s optics, found by dividing the focal length by the aperture. The smaller the f/number, the lower the magnification, the wider the field, and the brighter the image with any given eyepiece or camera.

Fast f/4 to f/5 focal ratios are generally best for lower power wide field observing and deep space photography. Slow f/11 to f/15 focal ratios are usually better suited to higher power lunar, planetary, and binary star observing and high power photography. Medium f/6 to f/10 focal ratios work well with either.

An f/5 system can photograph a nebula or other faint extended deep space object in one-fourth the time of an f/10 system, but the image will be only one-half as large. Point sources, such as stars, are recorded based on the aperture, however, rather than the focal ratio – so that the larger the aperture, the fainter the star you can see or photograph, no matter what the focal ratio.
You can calculate your focal ratio by dividing your focal length by the aperture. I have 1200mm focal length (~47.2in) / 6inch = a focal ratio of roughly 8 = f8 which is my focal ratio.


Magnification

Also VERY important. Do not think you can just infinitely zoom into space because you own a telescope. All telescopes have a limit or max magnification before the image loses clarity etc. You should read this part when I post about eyepieces...when I make it. To calculate the magnification you are using, simply divide the focal length by focal length of the eyepiece. The smaller the focal length of the eyepiece, the bigger the magnification. Contrary to what intuition might lead you to believe, when first getting an eyepiece kit the bigger eyepieces, which are the ones with the bigger focal lengths, only increase the field of view aka what you will be seeing through the telescope. The bigger your scope, the less likely you will be running into that max mag. issue.


There are a few other terms such as field of view, obstruction etc., but they are more advanced. I'll fill that in some other time

Last edited by JerseyLegend; 08-30-2010 at 02:04 PM..
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:33 PMclass of -  - #3
JerseyLegend  space
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reserved
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:33 PMclass of -  - #4
JerseyLegend  space
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reserved agin for features
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:34 PMclass of -  - #5
JerseyLegend  space
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reserved for sources or links to check out


Definitely check out

The prices are virtually the same ANY where you go. I would keep a look out for ebay and craigslist. Ebay does have accessories cheaper


Very good read on the differences between the types of telescopes





Good in depth on some of the basic specs.


Last edited by JerseyLegend; 08-30-2010 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:35 PMclass of -  - #6
JerseyLegend  space
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reserved.

im gonna try to fill in some of these reserves tomorrow.

feel free to post questions, comments, complaints, misinformation etc.
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Old 5 years agoclass of '07 - away - #7
young moolah 5 heat pts space
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props for the post man. i've been thinking about buying a telescope myself. I've heard it's best start off with binoculars before jumping into a telescope.

also do you use your telescope in the city? or do you drive to the outskirts to use your telescope?
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Old 5 years agoclass of '06 - on now - #8
philly337 16 heat pts16 space
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I've never looked through a powerful telescope...just the little piece of s**t ones you get as a kid lol. Can you describe or maybe find a pic on the internet that shows close to what it looks like when viewing through these different telescopes
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Old 5 years agoclass of '06 - away - #9
hurricanegamePZ 4 heat pts space
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im currently doing a space mission ..im over here around mars n s**t...i can honestly tell yall there aint that much cool s**t out here outside of earth ...i wanna come back..space is overrated
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Old 5 years agoclass of '05 - away - #10
DMX4lyfe  space
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props on the thread, been looking to get one for a while will be keeping an eye on this thread and take it from there!
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:08 PMclass of -  - #11
JerseyLegend  space
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at buying binoculars then jumping to telescopes. Trust me I've heard or people recommending that. Don't do it. Save your money and use it for something worth buying.

I haven't updated this thread since I made it a few days ago, but I'm def updating it tonight since I have s**t to do.


Again, I don't have any photos of the stuff I've seen cause I don't have the equipment, not do I think I can get any equipment that is adaptable to my telescope

BUT, this is close to what I've seen looking at jupiter through my telscope. The only differences from what I saw/remember, is the jupiter through my lens was a bit smaller and the moons were in a linear formation


[pic - click to view]



right click >> view

Last edited by JerseyLegend; 08-30-2010 at 02:04 PM..
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Old 5 years agoclass of '07 - away - #12
KING*TITO 46 heat pts46 space
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Props on the thread.... I've been wanting one for a min... I wanna make sure I'm happy with the one I get. What you think about this one?

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Old 08-30-2010, 02:13 PMclass of -  - #13
JerseyLegend  space
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KING*TITO said:
Props on the thread.... I've been wanting one for a min... I wanna make sure I'm happy with the one I get. What you think about this one?

I am gonna be honest. It's good cause it can point you to an object by itself and is good for astrophotography. But the specs are lacking a little bit except the focal ratio. It's not bad, dont get it twisted. What exactly do you want the scope for?
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Old 5 years agoclass of '07 - away - #14
young moolah 5 heat pts space
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that pic of jupiter looks dope. i'd love to get high as fuk and look through a telescope :cool-smiley-009:
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:27 PMclass of -  - #15
Shakespeare  space
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young moolah said:
that pic of jupiter looks dope. i'd love to get high as fuk and look through a telescope :cool-smiley-009:
Dr. Dre? Is that you?
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:33 AMclass of -  - #16
priz133  space
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nice thread fam i been wantin one 4 the longest
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