Can anyone recommend a good starter telescope?

Ben3110

Well-known Member
My Dad has been talking about getting a telescope at some point so im thinking about getting him one for Father's Day. He's a complete novice and so am I. Wanting to spend £100 max. I've been looking on amazon but I dont really know what I'm looking at so any advice and recommendations would really be appreciated.

Potential choices?

Gskyer Telescope, AZ70400 German Technology Astronomy Telescope, Travel Refractor:Amazon.co.uk:Camera & Photo

Seben 700-76 Reflector Telescope huge Big Pack incl.:Amazon.co.uk:Camera & Photo
 

Inferno

Distinguished Member
Quite a few threads in on this here if you run a search.

I got a pair of astronomy binoculars for about £80 which you can see some pretty cool things with (e.g. moons of Jupiter)

I have some 10x50 will they do the job?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
They'll be a good start :thumbsup:
 

DJT75

Distinguished Member
The one in my loft. My MIL bought one for my stepson, it got in the way for a few years & no-one ever figured out how to use it
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
You have a budget which I respect so I won't try to exceed that or say that what you have isn't good enough - other to say that you can buy a lot more scope second hand. This is simply because loads of people buy them because they think it is a nice idea and they end up in the cupboard because (a) they are too difficult to use (b) they don't produce the same results as the Hubble Telescope.

What you have selected are two different types which have different pros and cons.

Refractor
Works with a lens at each end of the tube - what you traditionally think of as a telescope.
Because big lenses are expensive usually smaller diameter
This means it collects less light but on the plus side is more portable and easier to handle.
Generally smaller magnification (but don't get hung up on that)
Generally more suitable for looking at the moon and planets
Can be used for terrestrial viewing (looking at things like buildings, animals, ships etc.)

Reflector
Works with mirrors - the light passes down the tube bounces off a mirror and back up to the eyepiece. This makes it 'twice as long' which is why it can do bigger magnification.
Mirrors are cheaper so can have a bigger diameter. This means it collects more light but as a downside is less portable.
Less robust - can put mirror out of alignment - so more maintenance to align the mirror.
Can be used for the moon and planets, but because of the light collection can look at deeper space (like nebulae)
A bit too awkward to use for terrestrial viewing.

Worth going to Jessops or Currys to see some (even if it is not the ones you have linked) in the flesh because they are a lot bigger than some people expect.

Clearly at that price they are entry level. They have a basic mount which to be honest is easier for a beginner to point at an object. But it is harder to keep small distant objects in view as they move in the sky - they look stationary but it is quite surprising how fast they 'move' when looking through a scope.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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IronGiant

Moderator
(b) they don't produce the same results as the Hubble
Couldn't agree more, which is partly due to some unscrupulous sellers giving false expectations as to what a budget scope can actually do. Best recommendation is to visit a local astronomy club and get some hands on advice.
 

Jowsey

Active Member
Couldn't agree more, which is partly due to some unscrupulous sellers giving false expectations as to what a budget scope can actually do. Best recommendation is to visit a local astronomy club and get some hands on advice.
Good advice.

Me and the Mrs visited the Kielder observatory as a valentines day gift for an event. ( I know, I'm good at this relationship stuff... Kind of) We'll ifnire the fact it was raining, cloudy, a full moon and just about 0°c. Also, the facilities were, erm, basic.

Part if the night was a tour around the hardware and they mentioned that if it was off interest to us they would happily have a chat re budget and needs and make suggestions to anyone.

It really is a passionate field and a club could be a great starting point. Also, i imagine they would have their finger on the local second hand market, as i imagine they ARE the second hand market!
 

ben16v

Active Member
keep an eye out in lidl - they sometimes sell the bresser skylux?? instor for £50-7o and i think its a £150 scope from other sources - i have one and its fine for moon etc
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Couldn't agree more, which is partly due to some unscrupulous sellers giving false expectations as to what a budget scope can actually do. Best recommendation is to visit a local astronomy club and get some hands on advice.

Saturn on the telescope box

saturn on the box.jpg


Saturn though the telescope (if you are lucky)

Saturn for real.jpg


Cheers,

Nigel
 

IronGiant

Moderator
That's about it :clap:
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
I've just gone through it and it is a subject that I know nothing about it. My youngest is totally into it. We went to a few planetariums and the nice chap at Greenwich had a lot of time for us and my daughter asked a million questions. When he found out where we lived he recommended a visit to Tring Astronomy. Again the people there were fantastic.

One thing I've learned, if you aren't looking to spend a lot, then really don't spend it on a telescope. A good pair of binoculars will do better....
 

bobflunkit

Well-known Member
Been through this myself and went done the binocular route, followed by telescope.

These were my first purchase.

Celestron SkyMaster 25x70 Binoculars

Followed by a

SkyWatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian Telescope

You can pick up the bino's and you're away. Not so simple with the telescope, get it outside and then you should really leave it to temperature adjust(1hr minimum) to avoid heat fluctuations, then it's a lot of work for not a lot more than your actually get with the binos.

Might be worth picking up a cheap monopod or tripod(£25ish) for the binoculars as there fairly heavy and you do get a little arm shake.

And you can use binos for landscape/nature/perving. Whatever, whereas a telescope that's nearly impossible.

Worth a look and nearly as friendly as us lot.

Stargazers Lounge
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Ideally with binoculars you need to be sitting in a chair, for comfort but mostly because they are pointing up into the sky and you need to be below them to look into the eyepiece.

What is the light pollution like where he will view - needs to be darker the better.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

IronGiant

Moderator
The Celestron Binos are £76.75 on Amazon at the moment.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
No, the 25X 71008s that Bobflunkit recommended
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Of the refractors that you have linked I prefer the one in your first post.

Don't get too hung up with magnification - light collection is more important.

High magnification are usually achieved by have a small viewing lens - elderly eyes may have difficulty working with such small lenses.

Also higher magnification means narrower field of view and harder to keep steady and object in view.

Also something viewed at 100x does not look twice as big as something viewed at 50x - you might not notice much difference.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
Sorry guys I haven't been getting my notifications through. Im still looking and I've come across this one on argos?

Space Navigator Star Finding Telescope - Deluxe -From the Argos Shop on ebay | eBay

Looks ok to me? But 50x magnification doesn't seem that much?

Also this skywatcher model 707 looks good too?

SKYWATCHER MERCURY 707 - Jessops - Telescopes
LOL Did you read any of the advice provided? I think we were all rather in agreement that at that end of the market you'd be better off with quality binoculars...

Ultimately it is your choice, but my answer to those would be a resound neither.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
LOL Did you read any of the advice provided? I think we were all rather in agreement that at that end of the market you'd be better off with quality binoculars...

Ultimately it is your choice, but my answer to those would be a resound neither.

Not sure I agree - I have some large binoculars but don't really like using them.

It depends on circumstances - if his father lives in a dark area with a good view of the sky then I would go with a scope. If he has a nice area that can leave the scope set up with a cover then I'd probably go with a reflector. If he wants something easy to use an portable then I would go with a reflector.

IMO binos, monopod, and chair is less portable than a compact refractor.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
Fair enough lets agree to disagree :)

I think that being able to pick up binoculars is infinitely more portable than a refractor. In my (limited) experience refractors at that end of the market are just not worth the money. Been there done it and found them totally useless.
 

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