Post by RonC Picker on Jul 24, 2020 13:05:21 GMT -5
An 8” dobsonian would be a great starter scope for the least amount of cost/ aperture. However, all your observing will rely on you to find objects of interest, and you will be constantly tracking anything of interest manually. Remember, the Earth rotates so anything in the field of view will drift out of view eventually if you don’t move the scope to keep it in the FOV.
I would recommend you buy or subscribe to an astronomy mag such as Sky & Telescope which will have a sky chart in each month’s publication. That will guide you to points of interest that will be above the horizon at that time of year.
A very significant part of enjoying visual observing is to have an assortment of eyepieces that will give you both low magnification and high-magnification fields of views. Further, you would be very astute to buy eyepieces with a wide FOV of 68 deg or more as they will make viewing much more enjoyable. However, good eyepieces will not be cheap. Quality will definitely be in the “get what you pay for” category. Another aspect is to use eyepieces with generous eye relief if you wear eyeglasses and want to keep them on while observing.
Lastly, the easiest observing will be the Moon which can captivate you for hours as the longer you look, the more amazing detail you’ll see. Next the large planets Jupiter and especially, Saturn will wow you when they are visible. Mars is very cool on close approaches too. The hardest viewing will be deep-sky objects such as nebulas because they are dim, although some like the Orion Nebula is easily in reach of an 8” scope.
Astronomical viewing is a highly relaxing hobby for many, and stimulates the mind on how amazing are the things you are looking at through the telescope.
Post by NoSoapRadio on Jul 24, 2020 13:52:20 GMT -5
I've had many telescopes -- all I have now is a small refractor on an alt-az mount. The best scope for a beginner is one you will use. If you can take your scope out to the backyard and start viewing right away you'll probably use it. You can do that with a small refractor. An 8" reflector on a Dob mount is easier to hump around than the same on an EQ mount and you won't have to deal with polar alignment every time you move it -- but you will still have to collimate it every time if you want to be assured of the best possible view rather than blurry images. Dobs are fine if you learn how to keep them in good shape.
Download a program like Stellarium to help you identify what you are seeing and show you how to find what is viewable in your location. I agree with RonC that eyepiece quality makes a huge difference -- but consider what you want to view before making a selection. Don't exceed the maximum magnification recommended for your instrument, i.e., 50 times the aperture.
Understand that when you receive your scope you can expect crappy weather for at least a week -- so you won't be able to use it anytime soon.
I've had a few telescopes, but I much prefer to just use a nice pair of field binoculars. I find it much easier to find stuff that way.
There are some very nice stargazing apps available now. I like Mobile Observatory for Android.
And a quick guide for getting around the sky, remember that with your arm outstretched, the width of your pinky nail is about half a degree, the width of your thumbnail is about a degree, and the width of your fist is about 10 degrees. All approximate, of course.