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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 15, 2013 16:38:58 GMT -6
Which Telescope to get
I got a nice email on a budding new Astronomer who desires a scope...
I want to get into this hobby and would like to attend a star party. I have never own a telescope and in the process of doing research of purchasing one (probably a used one). My choice was the Meade ETX125PE. But now I'm leaning towards the Celestron 6SE. Both are grab and go with go-to which is what I prefer. I dont much about telescopes and what I can see or not see. But I have always looked up since I was a kid and always wanted a scope. Now is the time =]. Thanks
Welcome to the Chicago Astronomer and for your interest in the skies. You are most welcome in joining our Chicago Astronomer Star Parties when the weather warms up in March.
Let's take a look at the scopes you have selected....
Although both scopes are...ok and will serve well, I always recommend a dob for a beginning astronomer.
The ETX is nice with 4" aperture and super portable. Makes a lot of noise while tracking, but I find it soothing - almost like a washing machine. It's a decent scope with good optics.
The Se with a 5" aperture is a one arm set-up which I personally do not like. Also, when the batteries die, one cannot slew the instrument around manually - a problem that one of our members has discovered. All slewing must be done with the key pad - which takes some time.
Between the two - I would choose the ETX and the extra 1" of aperture won't make that much of a difference.
But....I would look into a dobsonian scope....for bigger aperture, cheaper and more bang for the buck.
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
Both are grab and go with go-to which is what I prefer.
I think beginners are drawn to go-to scopes thinking that the scope will show them dozens or hundreds of objects the first night out. This is highly unlikely. You're not going to see much with a go-to scope unless it's properly aligned. To be properly aligned, you'll need to know a few bright stars.
The prime advantages of a Dobsonian as a first scope is that you get more bang for the buck, and are forced to learn the sky. Anybody not willing to put in the time learning the sky is likely to be disappointed with the views in a go-to scope, anyway.
Don't get me wrong, go-to scopes have their place, but they shouldn't be used in place of a working knowledge of what can be seen on a given night.
Let us know how the search for a telescope goes, and good luck.
"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky." -Vanessa Carlton