Play

Podcaster:  Shane and Chris

Title: Starter Telescopes for Beginner Astronomy

Organization:  Actual Astronomy

Link :  https://actualastronomy.podbean.com/

Description: The Actual Astronomy Podcast presents Starter Telescopes for Beginner Astronomy. In this episode we discuss telescope options for skygazers looking to take the next step in astronomy or for gift givers looking for telescope buy advice during the holiday season. We take listeners through several options for telescopes, mounts and tripods that will provide the best chance for successfully seeing the stars, planets, nebula and galaxies plus and everything else in the universe!

Bio: Shane and Chris are amateur astronomers who enjoy teaching astronomy classes and performing outreach where they help the eyes of the public to telescope eyepieces.

Today’s sponsor: Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: David Bowes, Dustin A Ruoff, Brett Duane, Kim Hay, Nik Whitehead, Timo Sievänen, Michael Freedman, Paul Fischer, Rani Bush, Karl Bewley, Joko Danar, Steven Emert, Frank Tippin, Steven Jansen, Barbara Geier, Don Swartwout, James K. Wood, Katrina Ince, Michael Lewinger, Phyllis Simon Foster, Nicolo DePierro, Tim Smith, Frank Frankovic, Steve Nerlich

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Transcript:

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Chris Beckett: And welcome to Episode 67 of the actual astronomy podcast. This is one. I’m really excited about Shane the starter telescope edition.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, me too. I know you’ve been kind of going down this path for a relative of yours recently.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, I think it’s good timing with Christmas coming up and people may be looking for some gift ideas.

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Chris Beckett: So I’m Chris and joining me is Shane and we are amateur astronomers and we just do astronomy for the fun of it. And this podcast is how we share the fun of amateur astronomy.

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Chris Beckett: With you, the listener. We’re not professionals. We’re just people that like to code and and look at this guy. And yeah, that’s really just about it. So in this episode, we’ll talk about telescopes mounts and eyepiece recommendations for getting started.

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Chris Beckett: So that people know we go into a lot more detail in sort of each one of these things. So the different types of telescopes.

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Chris Beckett: Different types of mounts in different eyepieces are all covered in previous episodes. So this is really just focused on the Getting Started bit. But if you’re wondering about different types of telescopes. We’ve already done some podcasts on those anything

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, we’ve covered off some, you know, buying i think i think we’ve done sort of a, like a telescope primer like

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Shane Ludtke: Buying the first one. And we’ve talked a lot about eyepieces and

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Shane Ludtke: Various, you know, other gear. So definitely check the backlog. If you want a little more detail on some of that stuff.

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Chris Beckett: But this one, I think we’re going to be, and we are, we’re going to try to be a little bit more specific and you had sent me a link

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Chris Beckett: Or sent me an image from the most recent copy of Sky News, which is a Canadian astronomy magazine. But one of the writers and there

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Chris Beckett: Is Alan dire, and he’s somebody you and I know well in the in the local amateur astronomy community and in our neck of the woods is as he often attends the same star parties is us and

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Chris Beckett: And he had done this really, really good article on picking out telescopes and I didn’t know what you thought about that article and his recommendation chain.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, I thought it was a really good article, I have a lot of respect for Alan. He’s an amazing astral photographer, maybe one of the best in the world and also a great observer.

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Shane Ludtke: He is a co author of the backyard observers guide.

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Shane Ludtke: I think that’s the name of it with Terrence Dickinson.

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Chris Beckett: Backyard astronomer Scott, I think.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, yeah. So we we’ve referenced that a number of times. So, you know, I definitely respect Alan’s point of view, he’s he’s tested in us more gear than I’ll probably ever own so

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Shane Ludtke: See, he comes.

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Shane Ludtke: So when he comes out with a recommendation. Yeah.

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Shane Ludtke: You know, I definitely

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Shane Ludtke: You know, I put a lot of weight on it. So yeah, I thought it was a really good article I enjoyed it.

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Shane Ludtke: And I like I like his choices.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, and so human through a few different different telescopes and I don’t want to muddy the water too much, but

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Chris Beckett: He seemed to indicate and if people want, they can go and buy a copy of Sky News off of their bookshelf, but he indicated that the Explorer scientific first light Ed was was the best choice. It seemed to be amongst amongst the ones that that he that he had selected, but

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Chris Beckett: For me, anyway, I’m going to go in a little bit of a of a different direction here today, but didn’t know if you have any further thoughts on that.

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Shane Ludtke: Maybe one thing I’ll mention that when we talk about beginner telescope. I think it’s more about a price point that we’re referring to as opposed to

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Shane Ludtke: Quality, you know, like I don’t want people to get the impression that a beginner telescope is like a disposable thing.

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Shane Ludtke: The equipment that you and I are going to talk about here today, and probably recommend is stuff that while it’s a beginner telescope. It can also be your entire lifetime telescope

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, and give you immense pleasure.

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Shane Ludtke: So, you know, like I think with some hobbies, when you hear the word beginner you sort of associated with like a lesser quality product. And that’s not the case here, necessarily.

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Shane Ludtke: Now, you can always climb the ladder of quality, but just understand that these are still really, really good instruments that can show you a lot of things. And probably, probably show you more things than you have time in your life to observe

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Chris Beckett: Yes. And so, and, well, there’s, there’s nothing wrong with any of the telescopes that Alan talks about, and many of the other recommendations. Other well known people in in magazines and books may recommend

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Chris Beckett: One of the challenges that I see with a lot of the instruments is that they are compromise of sorts.

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Chris Beckett: And in one like for adults, for example, is often the Tripods are very low. So you’re going to want to use like some sort of chair in that

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Chris Beckett: And to get them more comfortable view and typically they don’t come with an FBI pieces and oftentimes the mounts really are an interchangeable or flexible enough to use with with different instruments so

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Chris Beckett: I kind of formed my opinion and my recommendation. And actually what I’m going through right now and getting a telescope together for my nephew.

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Chris Beckett: Around my thoughts on this and what I think will make

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Chris Beckett: Him as successful as he can be as a really. He’s really into science and just not sure where he wants to go with science so much better.

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Chris Beckett: at a very young age than I am at a very old age. So anyway, first things first, though, you know, always have to see this if people are just getting into astronomy at all.

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Chris Beckett: They should own a copy of Terrence Dickinson’s Night Watch. That is the best. Getting Started Guide. I think that’s ever been written. There’s been lots of great books, but certainly his is the high watermark, it is absolutely the best, you get a red flashlight or you make one out of a small

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Chris Beckett: Maybe disposable flashlight or you get a really cheap one and just put some red duct tape cellophane or paint the the lens read with with nail polish or something.

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Chris Beckett: But make it red so that your ice darkest dark adapter. Well, you’re using the star charts interference Dickinson’s Night Watch.

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Chris Beckett: And get a small pair of seven or eight power binoculars that aren’t really any bigger than 80 or maybe 15 millimeters at the largest. And anyway, I get the book first and he explains all this in great detail, but I did just want to say that at first as well.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, yeah, great recommendation I wholeheartedly agree.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, so this kind of started about a year ago I went home and back to the east coast and took my little 60 millimeter refractor with me, which is

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Chris Beckett: Which is a really good little 16 millimeter and my nephew was blown away and and I didn’t realize this because it’s been a couple years since I was home, but he is extremely math oriented and

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Chris Beckett: It has a really wicked sense of humor and and also like he’s been attending like science camps and anything science, he, he

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Chris Beckett: He kind of gets his head around anything with numbers. So he enjoys sports but he almost enjoys like like the statistics of the sports.

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Chris Beckett: As much or maybe even more than the sports themselves and he’s gotten into like weather and all this all this other stuff. And I find it quite

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Chris Beckett: Quite great chatting with him. So I thought, and it’s not really like a surprise or anything. I’m going to put together something for him but

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Chris Beckett: Before we go much further. I see. If you start looking, you’ll see a lot of recommendations.

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Chris Beckett: For beginner telescopes and probably the most recommended one seems to be the five inch or 130 millimeter reflector. Like, I think there’s one called the heritage 130

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Chris Beckett: By astronomers without borders. There’s also one by sky watcher, which is one of the most widely available brands in Canada, anyway.

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Chris Beckett: And there’s a lot of other hundred and 30 millimeter reflectors out there. And I think these are these are really good choices for older teens and adults. There’s also tiny 76 millimeter versions and I, it sounds like they’re pretty good too.

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Chris Beckett: But for me in my situation I, this wasn’t going to be my first choice for my nephew for a couple reasons. One,

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Chris Beckett: Not really a big fan of the tabletop mounted telescopes. I think that presents its own set of challenges and as well with the reflectors, you do need to line them up now for an older team, maybe, maybe somebody that was 16 or older.

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Chris Beckett: That that was willing to spend a little bit more time and learn how to align the optics and that sort of thing, I think, I think those hundred 30 millimeter are really good and if somebody’s handy at all. I see.

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Chris Beckett: Lots of plans and different things you can do to make like a basically like a little table top tripod that goes with those

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Chris Beckett: And that seems that seems pretty neat, but to try to send that down to my, to my nephew, that’s a little bit younger than that. I thought I may be presenting more of a challenge.

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Chris Beckett: Than fun right you know and I want it to be.

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Chris Beckett: Fun. So

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Shane Ludtke: Anyway, so, for sure.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah. What do you, what are your thoughts, Shane. Before we get going here.

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Shane Ludtke: Well, I’m so I’m a big believer that refractor is are the way to go. You know, I started in this hobby with reflectors love them use them a lot.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, but I love the simplicity of a refractor without, you know, a refractor you just set it up and you observe the reflectors, like you mentioned, there’s a little bit more involved. You have to align the mirrors. Now once you figure that out. It is very simple.

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Shane Ludtke: It doesn’t take much time but you know you have to do it every time you use it, or at least every time you transport it and then depending what you buy for a reflector.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, like I fell into the aperture fever, you know. So I started with an eight inch sky watcher, then I moved on to a 12 inch need

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Shane Ludtke: Light bridge.

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Shane Ludtke: And the aperture is nice, but wow. Does it ever introduced a lot of other factors like

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, it’s much more stuff to transport, it’s bigger. It’s bigger to store. It’s heavier, there’s a lot of factors that go into it, which just started to kind of annoyed me, actually. So, so I moved away from them but

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Shane Ludtke: That’s just my personal bias.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, you know, you’re going, I think, to talk about a refractor recommendation for beginner scope or her first scope so

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, I’ll stay away from the refractor side and I will talk

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Shane Ludtke: About the reflector side.

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Shane Ludtke: Because I’ve been okay and I really enjoyed it so

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Chris Beckett: And I think that’s fair. Yeah.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, so do you want me to kick that off or

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Shane Ludtke: You sure first. Yeah.

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Chris Beckett: No, go ahead.

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Shane Ludtke: Okay, so you mentioned the heritage 130 which is a really neat telescope made by sky watcher

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Shane Ludtke: Now there’s another one that if if you’re going to you, like, go down that heritage path, there’s a there’s also 150 millimeter. So a six inch

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Shane Ludtke: And that’s probably the one that I would go with now calculator. I’ve never used any of them. So I’m not sure exactly how well they function, but I know the reviews are really, really positive.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, just so just so we kind of bring it along you started, I think, with an eight inch reflector and so did I.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, yeah. Many, many years ago.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, exactly. I probably use that thing for

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Shane Ludtke: Mo G three or four years at least. Before I upgraded to a 12 inch and then I use the 12 inch for probably about the same amount of time, at least, and then switched over to refer actors.

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Shane Ludtke: But a six inch Newtonian will will show you in immense amount of detail and allow you to really soak up some deep sky objects. What’s really neat about these heritage telescopes. Is there portability. Now they like the upper tube assembly just slides down so they’re not so long.

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Chris Beckett: And so there’s

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Chris Beckett: There’s a six inch version of the heritage, is that correct

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah yeah

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Shane Ludtke: Okay, the hundred and 50. That’s the one I would

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Shane Ludtke: Purse okay with

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Chris Beckett: All right, I didn’t know that sounds like a good recommendation and and what are we talking about for cost here on this.

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Shane Ludtke: I think it’s it’s $390 Canadian

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Chris Beckett: Company, a couple of eyepieces so

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Shane Ludtke: Out of the box, you’re, you’re ready to go. It comes with a 25 millimeter and a 15 millimeter IPS, which gives you a pretty decent magnification for that telescope

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Shane Ludtke: What else was I going to say about this. Oh, like the the table top mount you mentioned some some reservations about it and they’re warranted. Because what you end up doing is you set this telescope obviously on a table or some, you know, some sort of structure so that it comes up to your

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Shane Ludtke: eye level. So you can observe comfortably in doing that you introduce a new variable like the table to introduce vibrations, which can be a problem. So,

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Shane Ludtke: As long as you have a solid base to set it on you can overcome that. But the nice thing is that this, this is so portable like it’s so tiny. You can put it in probably any vehicle in and travel to a dark site you can move it around your backyard, you know, to get around ops obstacles.

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Shane Ludtke: So from that aspect it you know it’s really, really good that way.

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Shane Ludtke: And I like that a lot. Now if you don’t have a steady table, though, you’re probably going to be frustrated with this because

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Shane Ludtke: As soon as you, you know, go to focus and IPS or or just nudge the telescope to track and object you’re going to end up with vibrations, which will drive you crazy, which is actually sort of a

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Shane Ludtke: An underlying thing that everybody has to be on the lookout for with any telescope is telescope slash mount tripod is the amount of vibrations it either has or doesn’t have because for me vibrations just driving me insane. I, I can’t, I don’t like them.

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Shane Ludtke: Okay, um,

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Shane Ludtke: So the safer play is to get a proper dub Sony and reflector either a six inch or an eight inch. Now I think an eight inch will probably be around 600 Canadian dollars.

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Chris Beckett: Somewhere right

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah yeah and and you know you go, you can go with Skywalker Orion. There’s probably a few others out there. They’re all basically the same.

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Shane Ludtke: Usually what I recommend is look at the feature package because that’s sometimes where they vary. You know, you might get a finder with one and not the other, or you might get a Barlow with one and not the other.

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Shane Ludtke: So, you know, just try to find one that comes with the best features at the best price.

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Shane Ludtke: But like an eight inch even a six a six inch or an eight inch will give you a lifetime observing their fantastic instruments. I still there’s still some days I actually regret selling my Eden Skywalker reflector.

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Shane Ludtke: It gave me and this is also, you know, in combination with some good skies, but that eight inch gave me the best views of Andromeda and the Swan nebula that I’ve ever had.

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Shane Ludtke: It was a fantastic telescope, like I say, I just got sucked into the aperture fever.

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Shane Ludtke: And I kind of regret that, actually, I really wished I would have just stuck with that eight inch like, don’t get me wrong, I love my 12 inch it showed me in a spiral arms and some galaxies.

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Shane Ludtke: Some incredible detail in some nebula, but it really is hard to beat the eight inch because the other nice thing is in my backyard.

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Shane Ludtke: I would set it down. I would set it up. I would observe and then if I wanted to see something where maybe a tree was blocking it I could just pick this thing up and move it to another part of my yard and continue observing

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, and it was very transportable it, you know, at that time, I think I had a little Four door sedan.

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Shane Ludtke: And it fit in that quite easily to haul to a dark side. So it really to me the eight inches. The best blend of portability.

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Shane Ludtke: But getting some sizable aperture anything you ever read inch to transport it if it’s not a trust style Dobbs or reflector, you’re going to probably need at least an SUV.

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Shane Ludtke: And even if it is a trust style like what people underestimate. And you and I have talked about this is the size of the dub Sony and melt like quite they’re quite large and

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Shane Ludtke: You know, like a 10 inch Sony and Mount may not fit in some small vehicles very easily or at all. So,

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, so

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Shane Ludtke: For that. And I think the the eight inches REALLY THE BEST BLEND OF kind of all worlds.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, that’s, that’s a good point because I started with, with an eight inch and if you imagine if people are familiar with, like, a lazy Susan, it’s kind of lazy susan with with a bit of a wooden box built on top of it. And that’s, you know, called the rocker box.

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Chris Beckett: But with my eight inch the the bottom of it was so

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Chris Beckett: Large like the circle that you put on the ground that I actually couldn’t leave it attached so head to take that apart.

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Chris Beckett: When I took my eating show to too dark. So it wasn’t a big deal but you kind of had to, you know, take that board and put it down and then sort of screw in the rocker box. It wasn’t that big a deal, but

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Chris Beckett: But anyway, it’s still did require a bit of assembly once once I get to a dark side. But you’re right. I mean, the eight inch does give a big bang for the buck. But did you have anything else to add about your recommendation.

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Shane Ludtke: Maybe just one other note here is, you know, one of our listeners Phil has a 76 millimeter first scope and he has, you know, give

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Shane Ludtke: Sent us many messages about his usage of it and that thing sounds like a really, really good telescope, you know, he’s able to see the planets some detail within the planets and the thing is is it’s so small and portable, you know that one. You could probably fit in a backpack.

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Shane Ludtke: And take it just about anywhere you go.

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Shane Ludtke: Phil did do a little bit of I shouldn’t say a little he’s done a lot of modifications to it to improve its performance.

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Shane Ludtke: You had fair home. Yeah, and it looks great. But the neat thing about those little 76 millimeter first scopes is like I think brand new. You can probably buy them maybe, correct me here. Chris, but I think it’s like $75

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Chris Beckett: I’ve even seen your 50 bucks so

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, and

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Shane Ludtke: Delivery affordable. I think I’ve seen them used on Kijiji for like $20. Yeah, you just can’t beat that. In terms of the performance that you would get so

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, I think.

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Chris Beckett: Somebody was that like a very bare bones budget or for whatever reason just I think like with Phil he’d been into astronomy and out and then gone back and I think many of us have been through that and

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Chris Beckett: And just because I’m just going to get this and you know it’s only 50 bucks and bringing in the house, and it’s not going to occupy

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Chris Beckett: That much room and you can you get a lot of bang for the buck there and i think i think if somebody really was on a super, super limited budget or just

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Chris Beckett: Didn’t want to spend the money or just didn’t have the room. Maybe they’re in an apartment or something that can certainly work really well.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah. And one thing I appreciate about Phil’s approach is he appreciates the challenge of

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Shane Ludtke: Of taking an inexpensive telescope and turning it into something really robust and something that shows some really good images.

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Shane Ludtke: Plus also the challenge of just observing with a smaller aperture telescope, like a 76 millimeter Newtonian

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Shane Ludtke: You have that central obstruction. So it’s probably running more like 50 millimeters of effective aperture. So to to do observing with some, something like that. Not only is a challenging, but I think it really improves your observing skills.

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Shane Ludtke: Because you start to be able to, you know, find objects and then also see detail with that aperture when you move to something like an 80 millimeter or anything larger really YOU’RE GOING TO BE BLOWN AWAY AND AM GOING TO BE THAT much further ahead in terms of your observing ability

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Chris Beckett: Yeah. Well, that sounds, you know, that sounds really good. I think we covered the reflectors.

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Chris Beckett: Perfectly here.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, you take over. Now for the reflectors.

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Chris Beckett: So I love refractor telescopes and there’s, there’s a couple reasons for that. So I like you, Shane. I started with reflectors.

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Chris Beckett: But what happened was, you know, and I had an eight inch. And I remember when I ordered it and I originally the way it came to the eight inches. I’d gone down to the to the states and bought

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Chris Beckett: An eight inch and and I went to a place in New Hampshire like Wolf’s camera or something like that. Anyway, that was the closest telescope shop to me and

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Chris Beckett: And just before they hit like, you know, the purchase on the sale, like we headed up the counter and everything they said, What car do you have, and let’s make sure it fits. And so we took it out and it actually would not fit in my vehicle.

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Chris Beckett: And so a very disappointed Lee dragged it back in with them and we put it away and I bought a

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Chris Beckett: Set of Burnham celestial handbook and a few other books and and left and I was just very, very down about that. But that was sort of less than one with the reflector is they are really big. And so then

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Chris Beckett: After I get home and a few more months past. I went and purchased one online and and when it came to to my folks house because I was just University at the time. My mom said did you order like a coffin or something because this box came in. It’s huge.

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Chris Beckett: And so

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Chris Beckett: Because the telescope that I bought a hint I originally had bought maybe a six inch FA when I was down in the States. And this one was a Canadian chef six same length, but

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Chris Beckett: Just an order of magnitude larger and and the one that I purchased later was a newer model, we just happen to be a little bit larger anyway and

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Chris Beckett: And yeah, I couldn’t believe how big it was. I was excited that but almost. And you mentioned this, maybe in another podcast or just in our own personal conversations you almost get intimidated by the sheer size of the thing. It is

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Chris Beckett: A big instrument.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

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Chris Beckett: So then would happen is I went through university using that telescope and finished and sort of had

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Chris Beckett: Had my off year and did some sort of random work and and whatever and and use that telescope alive and I went to a star party that summer.

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Chris Beckett: And I actually won the grand prize, which was a $100 gift certificate to a telescope store that doesn’t exist anymore and

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Chris Beckett: You know, I just sort of put that on the shelf and never really thought that much better. Really appreciate it but wasn’t really sure what I want to get. And I was going back to school and

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Chris Beckett: As I was planning to go back to school. It’s like I’m not gonna be able to take this giant telescope with me because the apartment hub is on the ninth or 10th floor of an apartment building. And it just wasn’t going to happen, right.

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Chris Beckett: Like I can try to figure out a bunch of different ways. So I was like, this is, this is not happening. And I didn’t have much of a budget.

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Chris Beckett: But I kind of went on to see like, Well, can you even get a telescope for $100 and it turned out that you could, and so

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Chris Beckett: I simply bought one of these without knowing that much both them because it was the absolute most inexpensive telescope like again. And that was an 80 millimeter F five refractor and now. Mine wasn’t one of these but but they’re commonly referred to as an ST at by the

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Chris Beckett: The original make a model, but most manufacturers have a version of these including sky watcher and these little reflectors are awesome for many reasons. So I’m going to get into, but

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Chris Beckett: You know, typically, if you if you buy them as a package. They’re not going to come with with my recommendation. So my budget was very limited. So I bought that I already had a good inexpensive tripod and I just put it on that.

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Chris Beckett: And then I had a few eyepieces already for my from my from my eating stop Sony and and I use those on it. So I was kind of able to to get by. I think I ended up putting $50 into it. And I, and I was ready to rock and roll and

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Chris Beckett: Went back to the city and I use that telescope so much and and now really I was taking with me, just to do you know sort of stay in the Astronomy game while I was at university. Again, but

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Chris Beckett: I really came to love that telescope for a few different reasons. One is that the field of view was so wide I could find objects, really, really fast.

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Chris Beckett: Just boom, like I could almost think about the object and find it because I’d already done some astronomy before but

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Chris Beckett: And I was, I was pretty good at finding stuff already. But I just found I could find things so quick with the with the 40 degree field of view with with a low power eyepiece. And then I was really surprised at like what you could see with the planets and so

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Chris Beckett: I guess the measure of success was when I went home at Christmas actually bothered to take it back. Even though I had the eight inch at home and a folks place actually brought that back and I was observing

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Chris Beckett: You know some of the some of the moon transits on Jupiter over over the holiday season and

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Chris Beckett: It’s such a great telescope, because it was very light you can kind of take it anywhere. It was really easy. I could

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Chris Beckett: I could grab it, put it in a bag. Grab the tripod. Take it down the elevator and in my apartment building. I would take it up to the roof of my apartment building.

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Chris Beckett: Sometimes I would, I would go with a friend and one person we carry the tripod, I’d be curious to telescope. When we walk to a park. That was a few miles away. You’re not doing that with an eating stub Sony and so

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Chris Beckett: That telescope. I probably use that as much in the following two or three years as I as I use that dub Sony and in the first two or three years.

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Chris Beckett: I just really, really loved it just was like nothing to take with me and just could find things really fast. I started finding a lot of new things. I figured I would just try to see

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Chris Beckett: Much of what I saw with the with the Eden’s through that but but end up having a lot more fun. So I’m going to break my recommendation down telescope

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Chris Beckett: tripod mount and I pieces. So the telescope. I’m going to recommend although these come in a variety of different flavors and formats and a lot of different companies put them out.

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Chris Beckett: These 80 millimeter F five. So I think they’re all pretty good. I’ve tried a few over the past year or so.

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Chris Beckett: And the best one was the sky watcher 80 millimeter F five travel star. And the reason I recommend this one is I think it’s the only one that comes with the proper dagnall the rest of them come with prism diagonals. And that’s the thing and they just don’t work as well.

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Chris Beckett: In my opinion, and I’ve tried them.

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Chris Beckett: And they just don’t. And the diagonal that comes with the sky watcher version is excellent, the optics and all the other ones are pretty much they’re pretty much the same.

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Chris Beckett: But the accessory of getting that proper dagnall is going to save you some money and it’s going to make a better a better experience.

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Chris Beckett: Let’s see. So that’s the telescope the sky watcher at military f5 travel star i think that’s that’s the one to get.

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Chris Beckett: Now that’s just an optical tube assembly and it might even be a special order because you’re gonna you’re going to go to the telescope Stern, you’re going to see that it comes with a mountain me becomes on

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Chris Beckett: Something else. So they have a different version but but you know it’s worthwhile hunting around to try to find just the optical tube assembly should run your summer between but 100 hundred $50 Canadian maybe done $9 American and a pink $30 for my

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Chris Beckett: Because I bought something else. So, so they are around that are available from a variety of distributors, anybody that sells the sky. Watch your brand should be able to get you one. If that person can’t or that company can’t then

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Chris Beckett: Just keep calling around three. These are not rare instruments at all. Second part is tripod so

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Chris Beckett: My recommendation is to get something like just a regular camera tripod. In fact, the one that I use is

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Chris Beckett: A used man Friday, I think it’s like a 190 or something like that. But anyway, you want the three legs section with a center column that you can push up or down doesn’t need to be geared

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Chris Beckett: New there run about $200 but often use. You can find them for around half that price. And I think most of my camera tripod your us. And this is just a camera tripod.

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Chris Beckett: And really any good quality camera tripod should work and a lot of people out there may already have the camera tripod. So that’s one of the reasons when going down this road is that a really good camera tripod.

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Chris Beckett: And the mount had I’m going to recommend next are probably going to be way better.

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Chris Beckett: Than any mount that that inexpensive telescope comes with and you’re going to be maybe just a little bit higher on the price, but it’s going to be well worth it in the end. So moving along.

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Chris Beckett: The mount that I recommend and this is this is key. So the telescope is around 100 or so dollars.

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Chris Beckett: The tripod, if you’re going to buy it new is about 200 I wouldn’t bother doing that. Just go to a camera store all camera stores sell us tripods you can walk in the door, find a man fraud or when 90 it’s probably, but the most common tripod, you can get. And by that one.

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Chris Beckett: Can probably save 100 bucks. You can find them used online everything. And there’s lots of great inexpensive camera tripods but the amount that I recommend this is the part that goes on top of the tripod that the telescope is going to sit in.

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Chris Beckett: This is going to be your most expensive part. It’s called an A Zed or easy depending on which way you’re you’re coming from, but the a Z five

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Chris Beckett: And it’s not inexpensive. It’s about $300 but it’s a really good mount and you can use this for a long time into the future. It’s by sky watcher

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Chris Beckett: It does come with an option to buy it with a steel tripod. If you aren’t going to be dragging that telescope on trips or anything like that. The steel tripod is worth getting

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Chris Beckett: But if you need portability at all. That’s still true, but and I actually have this steel tripod for this. It is a monster. So

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Chris Beckett: Know that it’s not really a portable tripod that I would call portable like the like the deal that we’re setting up with today so

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Chris Beckett: This is going to run about $300 Canadian slightly less you know if you’re if you’re somewhere else through they seem to be more widely available in Britain and Europe and that sort of thing.

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Chris Beckett: So you’re not going to enter to spend as much. So, so this is really like a five or $600 setup. Now the sky watcher 80 millimeter f5 travel star often does come with I pieces.

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Chris Beckett: And if if it does, those are going to just be serviceable but what I’m going to recommend you do

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Chris Beckett: Is if if possible. Get a 32 millimeter plausible almost doesn’t matter the brand, they’re all about the same, I end up getting a sky watcher sky watcher him Canada.

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Chris Beckett: tends to be a little cheaper. I really like the sky watcher stuff. And so I got a 32 millimeter plausible.

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Chris Beckett: And then I have a five millimeter and at 12 millimeter paradigm coming from Astro tech, the company called astronomical in the States, who they sponsor and run the cloudy nights forum so

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Chris Beckett: If you’re a former member there, you actually get a little discount when you order from them kind of helps pay for free shipping. Really, but

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Chris Beckett: Anyway, I appreciate all that they do. So the telescope itself, this, this is actually the lowest budget, people will will quickly realize

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Chris Beckett: And so the telescope doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing and even use and you can find these if you look up STD STD type telescopes and you can find these used for. And I looked them up.

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Chris Beckett: Before the shame to Tony. Be cautious of giving recommendations without the pricing at $50 will get you one of these 80 millimeter f5 used

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Chris Beckett: On any number and these are these are widely, widely available Astro by cell astronaut cleansing. It’s classifieds Kijiji, the list goes on eBay $50, give or take. This is a pretty good going price for the music and they’re all about the same.

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Chris Beckett: You can even buy a book on the STD from Springer. And like I said, I like the sky watcher like they may come with different components. Make sure you get them on the star diagonal. And it also comes with a

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Chris Beckett: Mounting Plate. So you don’t need to worry about that. And I was able to balance it with most of my pieces.

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Chris Beckett: That I use. So that was really nice. So why do I like the millimeter. The 80 millimeter gives you a binocular like field of you, it gives you a boat, a four degree.

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Chris Beckett: Field of view. Many binoculars give you about five. So it’s not much smaller than a binocular

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Chris Beckett: But unlike the binoculars, you can actually see craters on the moon. You can see the moons of Jupiter and the bands of Jupiter really well and very easy.

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Chris Beckett: And then you can see the rings of Saturn. You can also see some detail in deep sky objects.

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Chris Beckett: The telescope is low parent. If you can see the full almost the full are getting close to the full extent of the Andromeda.

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Chris Beckett: Galaxy. So that’s really cool to see you can see like the all of the open clusters in the double cluster. You can see big parts of constellations and it’s really easy to find things

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Chris Beckett: And because it’s so low power. So you can use a finder scope. I think they come with a little red dot finder.

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Chris Beckett: But these telescopes are so low power and have such a wide field and use the 32 millimeter plaza with them that you really don’t you to find your scope with them. It’s kind of like you’re you buy one IP as the finder and the other two I pieces you use for for higher and higher power.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah. So let’s see. Yeah, the tripod. Like I said, just get a man Frodo tripod by used one I think is the best recommendation. That’s what I’ve always done in the ace and five. It has the three eight inch

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Chris Beckett: threaded hole so it goes on any photographic try but not astronomical tripods

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Chris Beckett: So that’s one thing to keep in mind. But I think that gives you more flexibility. I really liked that option. Even though I’ve been doing this for a while. I like to be able to

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Chris Beckett: To go and like I have mounts that have the three inch hole just for the regular standard tripod. I like to fly in somewhere in sentences, go and buy

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Chris Beckett: A use tripod. I just walk into a camera students who were used tripods and sometimes like 5060 bucks you can pick up a really nice use tripod and

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Chris Beckett: And take it back to the camera store and sell it for 30 or $40 when you’re done. Your, your trip and you’re only a 10 or 12 bucks and you’ve been able to

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Chris Beckett: To save on maybe an extra luggage fee and and that sort of thing or or whatever, give it away to somebody, while you’re there. I pieces. There’s, there’s a variety of different pieces.

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Chris Beckett: I focus on I pieces that give comfort. So I’m going to go through three cents really quick set one. This is your budget sent

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Chris Beckett: There’s these 66 degree wide fields that are out there. They’re made by a variety of different companies as the bony is is one

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Chris Beckett: But they’re also rebranded under BST sky. Watch for the list goes on and on. But if you just ask for like a six millimeter and 20 millimeters 66 degree. You can find those you can just look those up online. You can typically find them for about $35 us

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Chris Beckett: The next is those TMT planetary that that Phil was talking about in one of our other episodes.

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Chris Beckett: And I recommend getting like a five millimeter for planets and maybe like the 20 or 25 millimeter for for low power finding stuff.

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Chris Beckett: And then enjoying the the Wide Field deep sky, and then the five millimeter would pretty much just be for for planets in the moon, and that would certainly

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Chris Beckett: get you going. And I think they start to retail for around 50 or so dollars American again they come under a variety different brands BST sky watcher house brands.

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Chris Beckett: And they have a pretty much about a 50 or 60 degree field of view and those those TVs work really well with eyeglasses to. And then the third set. And this is what I’ve gone with is to get a 32 millimeter plausible from sky watcher is able to get one on sale for about $30 Canadian

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Chris Beckett: Less than $25 Americans really good gives a four degree field of view with the 80 millimeter and then I bought a five and a 12 millimeter paradigm dual Ed eyepiece. These are $60 American

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Chris Beckett: Again, you can get them under variety different host brands BST and some other companies telescope service in Europe has them as well and they run around 60 or so dollars American and get and get pretty good reviews as probably both the best quality.

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Chris Beckett: You know, entry level I pieces that are very comfortable look

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Chris Beckett: So look through some of these have around 60 or so degree field of view. So that is a very wide field of view. So it’s easy to find stuff and then once you get it.

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Chris Beckett: It’s going to stay in that field of view for a long time. And these are all really comfortable eyepieces to look through I’ve looked through all of these and

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Chris Beckett: For the most part, you can use glasses and and that means that you’re, you’re not pressing your eye against the lens and the quality on these is is very good.

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Chris Beckett: And really, these are probably all that you need, unless you get really, really into this

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Chris Beckett: And then, even then, like, you’re going to want a lot of experience before you notice the difference between these and and maybe like a top tier eyepiece, but

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Chris Beckett: But all together, you’re probably looking depending on on the different channels that you can probably cover all this together used if you weren’t using all this stuff is widely available on the used

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Chris Beckett: Websites for astronomy here, whether it’s Astro by so whether it’s astronaut or whether it’s cloudy nights classified or even you can find these even on your local in Canada. We have Kijiji

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Chris Beckett: All the stuff you can find very, very easily on on websites used in those are great routes to go, probably, if you did that you can probably be into this for maybe

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Chris Beckett: 250 or $300 which is about the same cost as buying a brand new beginner telescope. But unlike a brand new beginner telescope. This is going to give you the best chance of success with astronomy, in my opinion, comment, Shane.

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Shane Ludtke: There, ya know, all good recommendations there some comments. If you are buying a tripod.

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Shane Ludtke: Take a look at what it’s rated for

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Shane Ludtke: And

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Shane Ludtke: And understand how heavy like your setup will be so your setup would be the mount the telescope the DAG, nor the IPS all of that stuff.

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Shane Ludtke: Factor or add up all of that weight and then I usually like to get a tripod. That is rated for at least double that amount because a 40 pound tripod for or a tripod that’s rated to haul 40 pounds.

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Shane Ludtke: If you actually loaded up with 40 pounds for astronomy, you’re going to hate it, it will be full of vibrations. So you always want to kind of over gear or or get a tripod that far exceeds your actual weight rating that you’ll be putting on it.

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Shane Ludtke: Regarding a mount. I love the easy five recommendation. I think that’s a really good mount my comment there would be

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Shane Ludtke: I strongly recommend for beginner to stay away from the electronic go to mounts.

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Shane Ludtke: For a number of reasons. Yeah. Number one is

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Shane Ludtke: You know, this is one area where if you’re not spending a lot of money, you may just end up being more frustrated with the go to Mount then you actually get pleasure out of it. Yeah.

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Shane Ludtke: You know it it your overall investment. Now, a lot more of its being directed to the electronics and when it comes to observing with a telescope, you really should direct that money to the optics, or do that part of the investment.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah.

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Shane Ludtke: And then you have to haul batteries around it doesn’t work well in cold weather, because you know the the hand pad will freeze up sometimes. And what I find kind of amusing to is

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Shane Ludtke: You know, often with these beginner scopes with go to mounts, they will advertise they being the telescope manufacturer will advertise, you know, a database of 20,000 objects or or some ridiculous number

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Shane Ludtke: But it’s with a 80 millimeter compound telescope. So your ability to see maybe even 1000 of those objects is probably very questionable because of the small aperture.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah. And then the last reason is you just don’t learn the night sky with a go to Mount. And to me, that’s one of the pleasures of astronomy is

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Shane Ludtke: Not only being able to identify the constellations, but knowing where objects are within the constellations.

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Shane Ludtke: And really I think the only way to do that for most people, at least with me is to like manually find them, you know, look in my my sky Atlas and then go to the telescope and located. So for those reasons I say stay away from a go to now they are pretty cool. They are pretty fun.

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Shane Ludtke: And in the tracking is really nice. But that’s probably more of a down the road thing if you really want to get into it. And if you just, you know, if you believe you need it right off the start

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Shane Ludtke: You know, I think I would say probably look at

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Shane Ludtke: Some of the like Schmidt caster greens from Celeste drone or mead.

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Shane Ludtke: You know, you’re probably looking at least at $1,000 or getting very close to that, depending on the aperture, but you’ll get something that works well, then yeah.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah.

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You can the

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Chris Beckett: You know, and, and, and this this recommendation that I’m making here for the 80 millimeter F five is such that the field of view is so wide on this. It’s really going to facilitate people

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Chris Beckett: You know ability to find things very easily. So it’s really going to help you. You put that 32 millimeter possible in this you gives you a four degree field of view, really close to like a binocular field of view.

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Chris Beckett: Like I said at the very start, you want to start with a pair of binoculars turns Dickinson’s night watch you graduate to this 80 millimeter F five

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Chris Beckett: That’s really going to bring you into the world of astronomy. I think it’s going to go in and create a lot of success there because the field of view is marginally smaller than the binoculars.

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Chris Beckett: But you’re going to be able to actually see the rings of Saturn the bands on Jupiter lots of craters. The moon’s going to look like better than a photograph and it’s really good to just take you to that next level.

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Chris Beckett: And I just think, you know, people will be able to learn how to find things in the nighttime sky with this setup versus a lot of the other things. So a lot of the other time the mountains that are out there are very tricky wobbly and finicky to us.

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Chris Beckett: And as well. Some of the ones like some of the recommendations that we’ve seen and the recommendations that Alan made are very good.

291
00:43:20.490 –> 00:43:27.180
Chris Beckett: But those mounts really aren’t expandable into the future and might be difficult to to resell

292
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Chris Beckett: And if people don’t don’t take the sun. So this setup here. Like, for example, I’m recommending an 80 millimeter f5 as I make this podcast I am looking at that telescope and not only do I have one of these and I’m giving it away.

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Chris Beckett: I actually own and other one that I’ve upgraded with a two inch focus are flocking paper. You’ve done some work on it, you can actually take these 80 millimeter F fives and do quite a bit with them.

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Chris Beckett: And so I think it’s a telescope. You want to hang on to and and I you know I don’t really buy and sell gear as much as as you and most other people do. But I did sell my original 80 millimeter F5. And I always regret it. That because such a small portable light an inexpensive telescope

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Chris Beckett: Will always always have a place in an amateur astronomers

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Chris Beckett: Sort of, you know, repertoire, or having, having that around. Why, why do I have one. Now is that we had a couple years where our public events at

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00:44:29.910 –> 00:44:35.250
Chris Beckett: At star parties had rain showers coming through, just very light ones, but we didn’t want to take out

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00:44:35.610 –> 00:44:41.130
Chris Beckett: Or more expensive telescopes and I, you know, here we are. And we’ve got a sky and we’ve got people. And so we had to

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Chris Beckett: Kind of borrow some some gear from a park to to do it because you know that the show must go on. But I always felt kind of bad that you know we didn’t have

300
00:44:51.060 –> 00:44:59.580
Chris Beckett: telescopes to to use for for that event and simply because we didn’t want to put our tech hashes out and you were going to get some rain on them.

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00:45:00.330 –> 00:45:06.060
Chris Beckett: But, uh, but a telescope the costs $99 and you’re not gonna worry that much about, you know, that’s going to be okay.

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Chris Beckett: And for the people that are coming out to look through really like whether it’s an 80 millimeter F five acrobatic costs $100 or or attack hashi

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00:45:15.600 –> 00:45:27.960
Chris Beckett: That cost quite a bit more than that, honestly, most people that never looked through a telescope before it’s not really going to make that much of a difference. And so the same for the newcomer to astronomy. So I just think this. This is a good recommendation.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Two more comments from myself one about the eyepieces

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Shane Ludtke: Love what you said about all of them. Those SV bony I pieces are really quite astonishing and how good they are.

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Shane Ludtke: I purchased some of those for my dad and my brother, I gave them some older telescopes from the 60s, that worked really well, but I upgraded the I pieces and those SP Bologna’s you know for $25 to $35 depending on what you’re buying

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, we’re just really, really good.

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Shane Ludtke: Also just, you know, plus

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, I love puzzles. I think those are great too.

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Shane Ludtke: And then

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, the muscles can be good. The downside with the classless is smaller field of view and not as comfortable public through

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Chris Beckett: You so there’s there’s nothing wrong with the

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00:46:14.970 –> 00:46:16.800
Chris Beckett: View the view that they provide.

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00:46:18.090 –> 00:46:29.040
Chris Beckett: But what I’m trying to, to, to present here is what is going to give people the most pleasurable experience and and the greatest opportunity for success. So, for

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Chris Beckett: Example, and Phil actually mentioned this in the bit that we played in the last episode where he has a four millimeter possible

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Chris Beckett: And that has a small field of view and it’s not as comfortable and then he was so ecstatic and you can hear that it’s really great enthusiastic voicemail, he left us

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Chris Beckett: But going to a four millimeter t and be like, like it just opens up the field and it’s so comfortable to look through and

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Chris Beckett: That might be something that people don’t realize like for people that are new to astronomy sort of all i pieces they may think all i pieces are going to be the same, but they aren’t and

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00:47:04.980 –> 00:47:13.020
Chris Beckett: And often, it’s not even the cost like I have really expensive I pieces that are super uncomfortable to look through. They’re just really good for one or two things.

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00:47:14.100 –> 00:47:23.520
Chris Beckett: But then like my my more expensive eyepieces really what I did is after I use the TMP myself as I went, you know what, there’s something to these. And so when I when I upgraded

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00:47:23.820 –> 00:47:36.510
Chris Beckett: I upgraded to ones that were that were like those. They’re just a little bit. A little bit different. But honestly, the views aren’t aren’t that different. So I think these eyepieces the the SV bonis I think the

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Chris Beckett: The other ones, the TM bees. And I think that the paradigms. Plus, just a generic 32 millimeter plausible. Everybody should own anyway.

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00:47:46.470 –> 00:47:59.940
Chris Beckett: And I think these are just going to get and give people the absolute best opportunity for success as well as a lot of comfort at the IPS to to really look in and and take in these views over over a long period of time. So, yeah.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, go ahead and add your recommendation chain.

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Sure.

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Shane Ludtke: So knowing what I know now, you know, of all my years in the hobby and experiences with different equipment. If I was to go out and purchase my first telescope today.

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00:48:14.580 –> 00:48:23.940
Shane Ludtke: The one I would get. We haven’t talked about and I just want to mention it real quickly. It is by Takahashi, but it’s not actually made by Takahashi they contracted out

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00:48:24.450 –> 00:48:35.580
Shane Ludtke: And it’s a it’s called the star base at it’s an acrobatic telescope. It comes with a tripod. It comes with the mount to arthroscopic I pieces, all of which get really good reviews.

329
00:48:36.420 –> 00:48:43.110
Shane Ludtke: The telescope, all you know all of this stuff. It’s a little pricier like this is a $835 Canadian

330
00:48:43.800 –> 00:48:54.420
Shane Ludtke: And you probably won’t be able to walk into a store and buy it. You’ll have to order it. And there’s probably going to be some time in order to you know it arrived to you because I don’t think there’s a lot of these available right now.

331
00:48:55.440 –> 00:49:03.810
Shane Ludtke: But this telescope gets outstanding reviews like check it out on cloudy nights. If you want kind of the complete package and

332
00:49:04.290 –> 00:49:14.970
Shane Ludtke: You want something again that probably will have some good resale value if at some point you want to get rid of it, but also just function exceptionally well. This is the one I would buy now I get

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00:49:15.030 –> 00:49:21.120
Shane Ludtke: A little more money yeah i would i would save my my my pennies and make this one happen.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah, and I think that’s an excellent recommending recommendation as well. Actually one of one of the people who attends my class I made this recommendation is somebody I think they did go and get it.

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Chris Beckett: And had extremely positive things to say as a newcomer to astronomy. So, but, but I think with our recommendations, whether it’s one of the reflectors that you talked about at the start.

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Chris Beckett: The, the ED millimeter F fives in various formats that you can get. And then with with the detailed set of equipment that I laid out.

337
00:49:49.680 –> 00:49:55.950
Chris Beckett: Which might be a little bit of work to put together, but you’re going to be doing that into the future with astronomy anyways. Well, as this telescope

338
00:49:56.370 –> 00:50:02.430
Chris Beckett: These I think all represent good opportunities for success because the number one thing that we hear about

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00:50:03.270 –> 00:50:13.560
Chris Beckett: With people who either attend my class or that we meet when we’re doing Republic outreach is that with a lot of the telescopes that they’ve purchased the usability on those telescopes.

340
00:50:14.400 –> 00:50:17.760
Chris Beckett: has presented so much of a challenge to them that it’s become a barrier.

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00:50:18.120 –> 00:50:31.530
Chris Beckett: To actually doing what they want to do. Oftentimes, people just want to get the instrument and pointed out the moon and look at craters and that is a that is a tremendous thing to be able to do. That’s just awesome or Mars is that opposition. I want to look at Mars.

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Chris Beckett: And and these options that we discussed today, I’ll give people a really good chance of success for getting the instrument and then doing that and really learning the amateur astronomy.

343
00:50:42.240 –> 00:50:56.190
Chris Beckett: versus trying to get the instrument to actually work in the first place. But I mean, if people do already own one of those instruments. There are ways to to upgrade and modify those and maybe we can do a separate episode on those after Christmas or something.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, yeah, I like it.

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Chris Beckett: All right. Good stuff. Shane. Well, I really enjoyed doing this. It’s been an interesting journey kind of back down.

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Chris Beckett: The path of what to pick out for a starter telescope. So thanks so much for your feedback. I know it’s something you

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00:51:14.610 –> 00:51:24.870
Chris Beckett: Really know a lot about I’ve really learned a lot, kind of going back and going back with sort of like more of the same. I went through all the different options and was like you know what the 80 millimeter F five

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Chris Beckett: I love them. I still use one. Why not recommend the one that I still love I still use that was one of my first telescopes and will give people the greatest success at

349
00:51:36.030 –> 00:51:46.560
Chris Beckett: At really doing what they want to do, which is just look at stuff in the nighttime sky be able to find it easily and then turn the power up. And I think these options all give people that opportunity.

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00:51:47.850 –> 00:52:00.390
Shane Ludtke: Yeah, totally agree. It was, it’s been a lot of fun and good luck to anybody buying a new, you know, a telescope for the first time and you know you’ll you’ll definitely enjoy it. And it’s a real exciting process.

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Chris Beckett: Yeah and if people want any other other advice or recommendations, certainly, feel free to reach out to us and chain will give us that information at the end of the podcast but thanks so much. Again, really appreciate this one.

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Shane Ludtke: Yeah, thank you. Christmas one. Take care.

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Chris Beckett: All right. Bye bye.

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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