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Old 05-11-2015, 07:00 AM   #29
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One final note to the OP -- you called out that you weren't doing imaging; i.e. astrophotography. So unless you are going to be viewing with half a dozen individuals, don't necessarily worry about drive mounts (i.e. electric mounts that synch the instrument to the arc movement of the sky.) While this can be beneficial (to keep your aunt, or first-time-gazer child from saying "what am I looking at? I see nothing" because the blob has moved out of frame,) you'll get used to the manual adjustments on a good alt-azimuth mount fairly quickly. If you buy the <$500 spotter from cabbalas or green top, look for a good alt-azimuth mount for it as well. without one, you'll likely be frustrated in fairly short order as you hunt for objects without reference capabilities.

When looking at mounts, make sure you can obtain a view in all directions, and check overhead -- some mounts stop at 80-85 degrees above horizon or so; others swing up to 90 degrees and can extend beyond (good to allow for easy of tracking at those angles.)
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:17 AM   #30
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I agree strongly with the phrase that the best telescope is the one that gets the most use.
This makes the most sense to me. I've bought a few things in my time that where fun at first but eventually collected dust and didn't get as much use I thought they would. Want to avoid that if I buy a scope.
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:24 PM   #31
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Longtime amateur, and astronomy club member. I carry a five inch refractor as my travel scope, which we use for both club public star parties/sidewalk astronomy at parks and campgrounds.

Getting to dark skies is easy in an Airstream!
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:23 AM   #32
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I carry a five inch refractor as my travel scope,
This creased me up! Now I don't feel so bad with the 10"LX200 I just bought!!!
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:26 PM   #33
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You guys need to read the book "The Martian" by Andy Weir. WOW, WOW, WOW! What a great read.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:35 AM   #34
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.... And if you're a gamer, pick up Kerbal Space Program. Real rocket science, playable offline.


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Old 06-01-2015, 11:01 AM   #35
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OOOOOHHHHH!!!!

Two great recommendations there! Thanks!!!
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:34 PM   #36
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Televues were the one to have ten years ago. Today there are several others just as good if not better and less expensive.
Such as..... recommendations?
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:45 PM   #37
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Such as..... recommendations?
Williams Optics WO 71 ED.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:47 PM   #38
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I've been getting by with my Orion Plossels for years, but I would love to add some really nice wide field eyepieces. For a short time we had an astronomy shop locally where you could take your telescope on a clear night and actually try stuff out. I wish I'd been able to take more advantage of that while we had it!

GSMblue - 10"LX200 is pretty darned nice! I had one but got tired of lugging it around. If I had a permanent home for it, I would be happy to go back to one that big!
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:42 PM   #39
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I know, it is a lump!! Adds 100lbs to our cargo!!!

I also have a TeleVue SDF on a celesteon CGEM mount and a nice little nexstar 5, so I have most bases covered!

I have built up a hell is f a TeleVue eyepiece collection too
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:27 PM   #40
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Any astronomy buffs here? When I was a kid I used to love astronomy and looking at the nights sky. I remember one time when I went to an evening astronomy event held in Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, there a gentlemen had a large telescope that laid on the ground, and thru it, I saw Saturn and it's rings, clearly. Mind blown. Never forgot that.

Now that we hit the road towards full-time, it seems like the distractions are gone and looking up at the night sky tonight with my grandfathers binoculars, I was thinking I'd love to get a decent telescope for our family. Of course, space is a premium.

Anyways, just curious if any other streamers are also Astronomy buffs.
Here are my recommendations, which come from 40 years experience in the hobby, as well as 4-5 years doing astronomy outreach to the public:

1) You already have access to all the dark skies of the country which much more effective at showing objects than a big telescope. Start out with 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars (two small telescopes side by side), along with a suitable atlas/map. My phase lasted about a month. If you get hooked great. In not you can still use the binos for other pursuits.
2) If you are hooked, get some of the less expensive things that will improve your experience: warm clothes, a binocular mount, lafuma chair, good star atlas (or apps if you are iPad inclined) and red light accessories. Consider changing a couple of the interior lights to red; you are travelling with the rig and can go inside for a warm cup of coccoa without ruining your night vision
3) Join some astronomy related groups/clubs which have online presence. I am a member of the San Jose Astronomical Association. They often have great beginner programs, or can even lend you a scope (like SJAA - SJAA - San Jose Astronomical Association). Check out Cloudy Nights Home for a treasure trove of info.
4) If you decide you want to get a scope, consider an 8-inch dobsonian reflector (Orion) or Schmidt Cassegrain (Celestron, Meade) or a 3-4 inch refector (Orion, ExploreScientific or Televue). Make sure you budget 50% more for good accessories like good eyepieces which can generally be used with other scopes. If you get a refractor, make sure to budget up to 50% of the cost of the scope for a good quality mount.

If you have more questions (including my fave dark sky locations) feel free to e-mail me or start a new thread!
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:35 PM   #41
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Just like Airstreams, there can be benefit in buying scopes and astronomy gear that has been gently used. Most amateur astronomers take excellent care of their equipment. The best place to find used astronomy equipment is AstroMart.com. I'm not affiliated, but have bought and sold hundreds of items there. Regards, Joe


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Old 06-01-2015, 09:47 PM   #42
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Williams Optics WO 71 ED.
No, not in the same class as a Televue APO, just ED glass not true 1/4 wave apochromatic like the Televue.

I doubt you can do better than Televue glass and optic designs from Al Nagler.

However an expensive apochromatic may not be your best option. A lot depends on what you want to do. If you just want to star gaze, then astro-binoculars are a better choice. If you want to do astrophotography then you will need to spend more money on the mount. Mounts are most important for photography.

If you don't care about portability and astrophotography then a dobsonian reflector is your best bang for the buck.
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