Tripod Total

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What is the best Telescope to buy for a first timer?

Looking for a good Telescope for amateur astronomy, with a price range not surpassing $300. Want to be able to see Saturn's Rings and distant galaxys as well as craters in the moon. Not so much for terrestrial viewing.
Tried Binoculars last night and needless to say I am not a surgeon, the stars came in great but they looked like squiggly lines. I either need something to rest the binos on or cut out the caffeine. I was able to see stars that weren’t visible to the naked eye, so it left me wanting more.

I was in your shoes about 4 years ago, although I only had $100 to spend. I purchased a Meade NG series 60mm refractor (I think the NG stands for No Good). Over the first year I wound up ditching the tripod (way too flimsy and wobbly) and finder (plastic lens and totally useless). With a new, sturdy mount and 8 x 25mm right angle finder from an ETX, now I could actually find stuff!

My local astronomy club has a loaner scope program for members. I was able to check out several larger 8" telescopes for 3+ months (one at a time). That was the best way to go. In fact I was able to keep using the scopes until someone else wanted to "check out" the scope. I had an 8" dob for 9 months and then an 8" SCT for 7 months.

Looking back, the 60mm was really a waste of money. Although it's a good scope now and I still use it when I do community observing sessions/presentations, it's really only good for lunar and planetary observing.

Everything I've read has always said to start with binoculars. However don't get larger than 10x 50mm, they too heavy to keep holding up. A 7 x35mm provides a nice wide field and they are fairly light. However I found views from binos left me wanting more!

All things being equal (which in reality they never are), what you can see and how much detail you can see depends on the aperture of the scope. The more light you can capture the more faint fuzzies you can see. Which is why the views from binos never really satisfied me. However I've seen through some 80mm binos that gave an awesome view but those were mounted on a special tripod (total cost well over $400)

Check out the classified sections of www.astromart.com and www.cloudynights.com. They both have good used stuff. Stay away from scopes on ebay until you become more familiar with scope brands and know how to judge quality. With www.astromart.com, they have a ratings system for sellers.

As for what kind of scope to go for, there is no right answer. However you will get the most aperture for your money with a dobsonian. Dobs have the simplest design; a tube, 2 mirrors, a focuser and a simple alt/azm mount (up/down and right/left)....basically all your money is going into the optics and not a fancy tripod or more expense lens (lens are more expensive per inch as compared to mirrors). You can get a nice, used, fairly portable 6" or even 8" dob in your budget.

However dobs are not without there drawbacks. They need more frequent colmination (aligning the optics) than compared to refractors and catadioptics. Also dobs can not track objects. You constantly have to move the scope to view an object an object due to the rotation of the earth.

In summary, see if there are any local astronomy clubs (mine is $25 for yearly dues), they are great source of advise and they may have a loaner program. Really research want you want and don't be afraid to buy used. Folks are constantly upgrading scopes to go bigger. Just make sure you talk to the owner to find out how well it's been cared for. Lastly, stay away from the old department store 60mm scope, 99% of them are just pure junk. Go with a minimum 90mm (3.5 inches) aperture scope regardless of what you buy, but if you can go larger.

Here is a link to an article my club published on buying scopes… http://www.raleighastro.org/rac/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=180

Clear Skies!!!!
-Mike

Find Tripod Total On eBay Below:

AdirPro Thumb Release Surveying Red Prism Pole Tripod Total StationGPSTopcon
AdirPro Thumb Release Surveying Red Prism Pole Tripod Total StationGPSTopcon
$157.50
AdirPro Thumb Release Surveying Red Prism Pole Tripod Total StationGPSTopcon
AdirPro Thumb Release Surveying Red Prism Pole Tripod Total StationGPSTopcon
$157.50
New Heavy LEICA Wooden Tripod for Survey Instrument Total Station Level
New Heavy LEICA Wooden Tripod for Survey Instrument Total Station Level
$331.20
FIBERGLASS TRIPODFOR SURVEYINGTOTAL STATIONGPSLASER LEVELTOPCONTRIMBLE
FIBERGLASS TRIPODFOR SURVEYINGTOTAL STATIONGPSLASER LEVELTOPCONTRIMBLE
$65.00
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
$134.20
Sokkia Wood Fiberglass Tripod For Rotary Lasers Total Station 7 L272704A
Sokkia Wood Fiberglass Tripod For Rotary Lasers Total Station 7 L272704A
$9.99
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level  Laser M
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level Laser M
$266.96
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station M
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station M
$122.20
New Original Topcon Wooden Tripod Head Tripod for total station
New Original Topcon Wooden Tripod Head Tripod for total station
$216.72
BRAND NEW for leica Wooden Tripod Total Station or GPS
BRAND NEW for leica Wooden Tripod Total Station or GPS
$252.00
BRAND NEW topcon Wooden Tripod for Total Station or GPS
BRAND NEW topcon Wooden Tripod for Total Station or GPS
$124.32
New Topcon Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
New Topcon Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
$90.72
TRIMBLE CRAIN TRI MAX DUAL LOCK TRIPOD FOR TOPCON LEICA TOTAL STATION
TRIMBLE CRAIN TRI MAX DUAL LOCK TRIPOD FOR TOPCON LEICA TOTAL STATION
$199.95
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level  Laser S
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level Laser S
$252.86
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station t
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station t
$134.00
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level  Laser
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level Laser
$284.00
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station BI
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station BI
$133.00
NEW Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
NEW Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
$150.00
AdirPro Thumb Release Yellow Prism Pole Tripod Surveying Total Station Topcon
AdirPro Thumb Release Yellow Prism Pole Tripod Surveying Total Station Topcon
$109.95
Flat Head HD Wooden Tripod Survey Contractor Transit Total Station
Flat Head HD Wooden Tripod Survey Contractor Transit Total Station
$134.00
CST Total Station Basic Starter Kit A Tripod Prism Tribrach Adapter
CST Total Station Basic Starter Kit A Tripod Prism Tribrach Adapter
$399.95
CST Total Station Basic Starter Kit B Tripod Prism Prism Pole Pole Tripod
CST Total Station Basic Starter Kit B Tripod Prism Prism Pole Pole Tripod
$450.00
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level  Laser e
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level Laser e
$270.72
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station E
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station E
$123.14
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level  Laser A
Leica GST20 9 Wooden Tripod for Total Station Theodolite Level Laser A
$266.96
Total Station Starter Set Kit Prism  8ft 26m Prism Pole Bipod Tripod
Total Station Starter Set Kit Prism 8ft 26m Prism Pole Bipod Tripod
$379.95
Total Station Starter Set Kit Prism  8ft 26m Prism Pole Bipod Tripod
Total Station Starter Set Kit Prism 8ft 26m Prism Pole Bipod Tripod
$389.56
Leica GST101 Wooden Tripod 726831 for total station auto level theodolite
Leica GST101 Wooden Tripod 726831 for total station auto level theodolite
$109.00
Leica GST101 Wooden Tripod 726831 for total station auto level theodolite
Leica GST101 Wooden Tripod 726831 for total station auto level theodolite
$100.00
Heavy Duty Dual Clamp Fiberglass Tripod Screw Quick Total Station Theodolite
Heavy Duty Dual Clamp Fiberglass Tripod Screw Quick Total Station Theodolite
$129.27
NEW Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
NEW Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station
$160.00
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station U
Topcon Tripod Aluminum Tripod Head Tripod for total station U
$128.00


Recently Purchased Tripod Total:


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