Telescope help

Thread: Telescope help

  1. Zydig0's Avatar

    Zydig0 said:

    Default Telescope help

    I've been looking for a starter telescope for my daughter and without knowing anything about them I'm leaning towards a Meade EXT 70AT.Its a computer controlled telescope,which should make it easier to find planets,stars etc but it looks quite small.

    I desperately need some advice as the more I read about different types of telescopes the more confused I'm becoming (reflectors/refractors/catadioptric) ?

    What detail will be visible with this telescope of planets ?
    Is there any way to mount a digital camera to it ?
    Is the idea of computer tracking a waste of money ?
    Other make/ model suggestions ?(don't want to spend thousands for a starter telescope !)

    Any advice appreciated TIA Zydig0
  2. Gavin M's Avatar

    Gavin M said:


    stop being tight, just buy a shuttle and send her to space
  3. Aware's Avatar

    Aware said:



    I would advise a reflector(newtonian) scope as they offer the best in price and performance ,refractors tend to be more expensive and very large in comparison to reflectors.

    The computer tracking only works with equitorial mounts, if you are using the scope as a portable device i wouldn't be too bothered because everytime you use the scope it has to set up to the north so as it tracks the earths movement, thus tracks a particular star/planet without needing constant re-adjustment, useful mainly for astrophotography, but it's much better to learn from the basics.

    At the end of the day much depends on what you want to see or what you expect to see.Planets are usually the first port of call, saturn and jupiter being the most impressive, although the size and quality of scope you buy will determine the detail and clarity.

    eg, the cassini belt in saturns rings can't be seen with a 3" refractor, but can just, be made out with a 4".

    A 3" refractor is roughly equivalent to a 4" reflector.

    Meade make particularly good scopes, and i doubt you'd go wrong with one, but there are are cheaper options available.
    The particular model you mention does capitalise on it's smaller size rather well, but like i said, it depends on how much you want to see.

    I hope this helps you a little and if theres anything else you want to know i'd be pleased to try and help, although i'm not an expert i can only offer advice through personal experience and advice given to me.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Aware; 17th September 2002 at 02:01 PM.
  4. Zydig0's Avatar

    Zydig0 said:


    Many thanks for the reply,The main reason for going for a tracking scope was the initial idea of making it a bit easier to find planets without roaming the sky at random in the hope of finding something ! (not to mention I can get one cheap )

    We don't really know what to expect to see as we have never used a telescope before,but to be able to see Saturns rings would be a bonus,would this scope be capable of this ?

    Any idea if it would be possible to mount a SLR/Digital camera to it ?

    ....equitorial mounts ???

    @Gavin M the wife would be first
  5. dingle_666's Avatar

    dingle_666 said:


    Originally posted by Gavin M
    stop being tight, just buy a shuttle and send her to space
    lol good idea
  6. Aware's Avatar

    Aware said:


    Hi Zydig0

    Don't forget if you wish to be able to track, you must align the scope every single time you use it, and everytime you move it, it has to be re-aligned, it's debatable if this makes things easier to find things, it's very useful for keeping track once you have found it though.

    The best way to learn the night sky is to find the objects yourself.By letting the computer do the finding your not going to learn much.

    I'm affraid photography with a 70mm scope wouldn't reveal to much, since photography is based on the amount of light allowed to pass through the lense.Although there's nothing stopping you from attempting it, many scopes come with SLR camera adapters, if not you can pic them up at camera shops anywhere.

    If it's mainly planets you'll be observing i'd suggest a reflector rather than a refractor, you can usually get a sharper image with reflectors on nearer objects.Refractors are a little better in deep space observations, but thats another story.

    You can actually see saturns rings with a good pair of binoculars on a tripod, so you would definetly see the rings with the meade 70mm although if you want to see the cassini division your going to need atleast a 150mm reflector.

    Oh and don't forget if your going to look at the sun

    This is an image taken of saturn through a 6" scope similar to my own, you can see the dark band presenting a gap in the rings, this is the cassini division.
  7. GavDF's Avatar

    GavDF said:


    and take her to local observatary(spelling?)
    will only be a couple of quid and it can be brilliant
  8. Zydig0's Avatar

    Zydig0 said:


    Aware, any idea how much smaller saturn would look through a 70mm in relation to the pic you posted taken from a 6inch ?

    Can you recomend some good links for general astronomy and info on forthcoming comets ?

    I'm affraid photography with a 70mm scope wouldn't reveal to much, since photography is based on the amount of light allowed to pass through the lense
    I take it that using optical zoom or a big lense on the camera isn't going to improve things ?(with longer exposure times)

    Many thanks Zydig0
    Last edited by Zydig0; 18th September 2002 at 12:01 AM.
  9. Aware's Avatar

    Aware said:



    Through a 70mm it would appear much smaller and less detailed,the photo i posted below is through a 3" refractor using a CCD camera.This is probably the very best you should expect.

    Because the meade has such a small aperture(70mm) you would struggle to find impressive planetary images with it.
    It is an excellent gadget, but more of a toy than a serious amateur scope.

    Exposure times vary greatly and tend to be over several minutes rather than seconds, sometimes images are overlapped to improve resolution, again your going to be fairly dissapointed taking snaps through a 70mm scope, a 4"reflector or bigger is really the minimum.

    try [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for some info and links to sites, also theirs a wealth of info to be found through google.

    Last edited by Aware; 18th September 2002 at 01:16 AM.
  10. Zydig0's Avatar

    Zydig0 said:


    OK, so for £130 new I'm going for the "gadget" and if like you say we will be able to see Saturns rings that's a good enough start

    Probably best to trash the photo ideas for now,and see how we get on,maybe progress to something a bit more serious once we have found our way round,so to speak.

    Looking at the price of some of these big scopes this could end up being a fcuking expensive way of freezing your nuts off under a cloudless sky !

    I'll let you know how we get on, Zydig0
  11. Aware's Avatar

    Aware said:


    Looking at the price of some of these big scopes this could end up being a fcuking expensive way of freezing your nuts off under a cloudless sky
    You got that much right, i've spent hours freezing my nads off looking for those Messier objects, and still not found them

    £130 is a good price though, but don't expect too much from it.

    If your in anyway serious about astronomy, i'd advise you to visit a local club where they should have an observatory and an array of large telescopes they should let you look through.

    My local has a 28" reflector that has a 14 foot focal length.Amazing,majestic and graceful are words that springs to mind, it's truely breathtaking viewing planets with it.

    Good luck anyway, and be patient, finding planets and lining the scope up can be very tedious particulary when your learning, and have frost to contend with.