- The Chicago Astronomer -
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I will be in Chicago for business until June, and I would like to buy a nice telescope, since I have a plenty of free time in the evenings. I am a total beginner, but I would like to buy something that can be useful even when I improve my skills.
Are there any stores in Chicago area that allow telescopes to be tested? Or which have a nice showroom?
I am planning to spend up to $500 on the telescope w/mount, and I have narrowed down my choices to Celestron NexStar 130 SLT and 102 SLT. Are there any other better all-around scopes in that price range? Much larger scopes (8" Dobsons and such) are out of the question since I have to lug the scope back to Europe, and I really need portability because I will have to drive outside my home city to find some nice dark spots.
I see that you have meetings every first Friday of the month, but I'm itching to buy it as soon as possible
Chris is quite knowledgable in all types of optical equipment and usage. Visit his site on line and look around. Tell him Chicago Astronomer Joe sent you, he'll fix you up right.
But don't rush into anything. Take your time and look thru different types of telescopes first.
You are correct about the Adler Planetarium having open house on the first Friday of each month. Come down on the 6th of April and look thru our telescopes and get a feel for the type you desire.
The Nexstar is an ok scope, but I am wary of the single pivot point of the instrument. It's delicate and that little motor needs to move the the heavy tube at that point. And I'm not sure if you can move it manually when the batteries die or just don't desire to use the go-to feature. Tell us why you decided on the Nexstar series.
We will be happy to talk you thru each one of our telescopes and answer your questions on astronomy. Let me know ahead of time if you decide to arrive, and I'll expect you. Just ask around for the Chicago Astronomer when you get there and see the telescopes.
Chicago Astronomer Joe Founder, Administrator and Chief Astronomer
Telescope/Observatory Docent Facilitator Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Astronomy Instructor Instituto Del Progresso/IHSCA
Astronomy Program Instructor British International School of Chicago /Lincoln Park Campus
Resident Astronomer Chicago Park District Nature Oasis/Night Out in the Parks/ 606 Trail
You're not completely correct, Joe. You are correct that there are no scope shops in Chicago, but not correct about 20/20 being the only one close. Optics Planet is in Illinois. They have a showroom, but when I ordered my LXD75, they were in the process of rebuilding or moving, or something like that. The address they have on the website is in Northbrook.
I ordered my scope back in June of '06, so I'm sure by now their showroom is up and running. I'd give them a call and find out. At least if the showroom is up, scopes can be easily checked out, and the guys at Optics Planet are smarter than Einstein when it comes to picking astro gear. The only downside is the Illinois state sales tax.
Other than Optics Planet and 20/20, you could give Astro Physics a call. I'm sure they'd love to make you a scope. I hope you're patient, though. I hear the wait list is pretty long. Plus, you'll have to fill your wallet before you call, they're a bit costly, although I hear that it's more than worth it. I think that when you decide to get an Astro Physics scope, it means you know more than the average Joe (pun intended), or you've bonked your wife on the noggin and stolen the checkbook.
Other than that, you're limited to the typical assortment of department store shi.. uh, stuff, and whatever local camera shops have in stock. Which is usually limited to a few ETX90 and some smaller refractors.
12" Celestron Starhopper Canon 10D : Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM : Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS : Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM Dynatran AT-858BL : Dynatran AM-101KB
Post by gimmeabeer25 on Apr 13, 2007 21:36:15 GMT -6
Here is somthin else you could check out... not as nice as Alder, but still quite nice in it's own right. Open house 2nd, and 4th Saturday of every month. Aside from the house scope you can usually count on 3 or 4 members bringing out their scopes for the public. It's a bit of a drive... and while our skies are still light polluted I'm assuming they are much better than what you will catch in chicago. I dont think the light pollution map is totally accurate for the are as I have pointed out some mag 6 stars near this site. The spot where the observatory is has a great view to the south and west, north is okay while the east is washed out a bit from town.
It would take you probably just under 90 minutes or so to get here from downtown Chicago. If you decide to come out drop me a email I'll meet ya there
Post by gimmeabeer25 on Apr 14, 2007 23:50:44 GMT -6
Not sure about the link It's working fine for me, either way if the link wont work just google "rockford amatuer astronomers" and you should get a hit.
The comment i made about mag 6 stars may have been a bit of a stretch for the actual observatory location. As mentioned I noted these at a friends place about 10-15 miles west of this location a bit further out of town but aside from the eastern sky it is rather dark. I dont think the light polution map is completly accurate for this site because with dark adapted eyes i have picked out fainter stars than i "should" have been able to
Either way like you said Joe, its another site for people to come check out. I'll snap some pics of the site next time Im out there