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Thread: Looking for a New Scope

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy Looking for a New Scope

    I'm looking for a new scope but have a very tight budget. My standards are very low, as I have a Celestron PowerSeeker 60EQ right now, which I can't really see much out of.
    So, I'm looking for a reflector under $120. So far I've considered the Celestron PowerSeeker 114EQ, the Meade ASTR 114EQ, and I think one more.
    In your reply, please include the following:
    Scope Name
    Price
    Site
    Mount
    Eyepieces
    Focal Length

    Again: Reflector, Under $120, Better than PowerSeeker 60EQ

    Thank you so much if you post!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,011
    In your budget a good pair of binoculars is all I can recommend.

    I doubt very much you'd be happy with anything in your price range. You'd be far better off to save until you can afford a 6" or 8" Dob. Your price range is in the toy telescope category. The 6" has been the step up from a 60mm refractor those in our club found best for the money, 8" better overall. Smaller scopes were up for sale in a years time. Though your 60mm is of lower quality than those in our club bought as a starter scope and the ones in your price range inferior to those they bought and were tired of in a years time.

    The scope you have falls into what we call a dime story toy telescope. Horrid mount, worthless eyepiece giving too high of power, finder too small or so poor optically to be worthless. The Celestron you are looking at would appear to fall into this category as well. Meade just outside of it as the mount is a tad better, the eyepieces actually useful but the finder poor for finding anything fainter than Saturn -- that's nearly everything. Optics are questionable. It uses a trick that's expensive to do well. In the ones I've seen its been done poorly. They use a short focal length mirror (about f/4 which is expensive to make well) then include a built in barlow to make it work as if it were twice as long. This allows a cheaper mount be used and why i say its mount better. But the image quality in those I've seen suffered a lot. Not even the Chinese can make a good scope in your price range and stay in business. So they make poor ones to sell unsuspecting buyers.

    Find a local club in your area and attend a few star parties. There you will see the real difference between various scopes and mounts. Then you'll be in a better position to know what you want to do. Larger clubs usually have loaner scopes for those still saving for a real telescope. Members sometimes have a good scope they no longer uses and are willing to sell to a promising amateur, which can save you a lot. This isn't a hobby to do alone. A good club will save you time and money. Since you don't give a location I can't help much. Use these links to help find one in your area.
    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/organizations
    http://www.astronomy.com/asy/community/groups/
    http://www.astronomyclubs.com/

    Remember a good scope will hold much of its value when you sell it if it's been well cared for. All of mine more than 20 years old (8 of them) would fetch at least 3x what I paid for them but then I've had them for many years now. A good scope is not just useful for a lifetime as it never gets obsolete or wears out if taken care of, but a good investment as well.

    Rick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,913
    I wouldn't go quite so far as Rick, but I'd say the Orion SkyQuest 4.5 in Dob is a pretty decent beginner scope, but it still costs about twice the OP's budget. They do throw in a couple of decent eyepieces with it. It was my first scope, and I got a lot of good use out of it; still have it, in fact.

    Nick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,237
    Suggestions:

    Save your money over a longer period of time, try to save up more money. Then get something that is well made.

    Check with your local astronomy club. See if they have scopes that members can check out. Failing that, see if they need volunteers for anything, maybe you can help someone with a large scope and get to use it.

    See if your local club has a newsletter where they list used scopes, or if the club has leads on any scope donations that they would resell cheaply. We used to get so many scopes donated to the club (many of which needed some work or cleaning before they were useful) that we didn't know what to do with them all. Schools generally don't want scopes that need a lot of work. Sometimes we just had to tell the donor, sorry, we can't use it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,011
    Main reason I didn't mention the 4.5" Dob is those in our cloub that bought it moving up from a 60mm refractor quickly sold it and moved to a 6 or 8 inch one. Difference in price is small $50 but the difference in what you see in the 6" far greater than the proportional cost increase. Our members just weren't happy with the 4.5".

    Again is is why I recommend star parties with the local club. You can talk to members and see what works for that part of the country. Experience there may be very different.

    The main point is, as Aurora says, save up for a real scope rather than waste money on something you'll quickly outgrow. In the meantime a local club may have something to tide him over. We had a 6" RV6 that went from new member to new member at a low cost to tide them over until they could afford one. Now our loaner scopes range from a good 4" refractor to a 13.5" Dob. Other clubs likely do the same if large enough.

    Hyde Memorial Observatory, where I was a supervisor for its first 27 years would get donated small junk scopes so the maker could say in its ads, "As used by..." Not wanting to be part of misleading advertising all were returned. Finally we got one like that that somehow managed to be of somewhat usable quality and it was kept for low power comet work. Not much good above 30x however. Mount fine, optics not so fine. Great eyepiece however.

    We also got tons of binoculars (all broken) which we discarded. Why the public thought we could use or fix them is beyond me. We'd thank them and then put them in the dumpster each time we cleaned house. Nothing repairable about them unfortunately. Lenses were too badly damaged to use as a finder or any other way.

    Rick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,237
    Most of the scopes we had donated at the observatory were the useless 60mm refractors. But over the years we ended up with quite a collection of older scopes, from 6 inches on up. Some we rebuilt, some had to have parts replaced or fabricated, some needed a new mount, some were just cleaned and put into service.

    We also got some binos, but mostly ones decent enough shape. Mostly it is just people cleaning house, or getting rid of stuff when they downsize to move to a retirement home, or a family member getting rid of stuff after the telescope user passed away.

    The most difficult thing for us was finding storage room. Well, that and getting volunteers to donate time to fix up the scopes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,935
    I have an Orion 4.5XT Dob and I love it. Yes, I would like something larger and it's true you can get the next up for a little more cash, but when I bought my Dob in 2003 it was (and still is) one of the best value-for-money 'scopes around.

    I've had no complaints about it at all. I tried a GoTo and although it was good for a "quick fix" astronomy session, I got a much bigger kick out of being able to "discover" new deep sky objects for myself with my Dob.

    Regardless of whether I eventually upgrade, I don't think I'll ever get rid of that little Dob. Small, fairly lightweight (16 pounds), great views... doesn't get much better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,913
    I think when Dippy and I bought our 4.5 in scopes there was a bigger price gap between the 4.5 in. and the 6 in. Dobs from Orion then there is now. I know they were running a special on them when I bought mine.

    Nick

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