Tip & How-To about Optics
First the good news. Personally I believe a computer GOTO scope or a Dobsonian telescope with PUSHTO makes a great telescope for a beginner.
Why? Because you can use the hand controller to help you find those dim sky objects that are almost invisible from a typical suburban observing site with lots of light pollution.
Also if you pay attention you will learn many of the brighter stars in the sky, the Constellations, and the location of many of the brighter sky objects.
Now for the bad news. There are many cheap goto telescope systems being sold that do not work as advertised, and you still need APERTURE to see many of the dimmer sky objects. So a goto with a little 70mm refractor mounted on it will frustrate you!
Right off the bat let me list a few links to the better goto and pushto telescopes. See these web sites:
This is just the mount, you need to also buy the telescope tube. I would suggest a 6 inch Celestron SCT Optical Tube Assembly (OTA), and also what is called a "dovetail" metal bar to mount the scope tube onto the side of this goto mount.
http://www.celestron.com/c3/product.php?CatID=11&ProdID=392 This is a computerized equitorial mount. It works differently than the scopes listed above.
That should be enough to get you thinking! All of the ones listed above will have good goto performance IF:
You read the manual TWICE!
Test the scope out INSIDE in the light before you take it out at night and learn how to operate the hand controller.
Follow all the instructions in the manual about training the drives and or calibrating motors.
Accurately center BOTH alignment stars. Yes you will need to learn the names of a few stars in the sky.
AND NEVER plug or unplug the hand controller while the scope is turned on! This can burn out the circuits in the scope!
I would suggest that your first goto telescope be like the very first link above; a Dobsonian with a PUSHTO hand controller. This is the cheapest and best entry point to own a computer telescope. Yes, the prices are a little higher and old timers will tell you you do not need the computer goto to find objects in the sky.
I disagree! Beginners get very frustrated with the hobby when they cannot find anything other than the moon or several bright planets; or search for several hours to find one other dim sky object. Also most of us live in light polluted cities, and hopping around from star to star to find something is not really possible.
Add eye problems like cataracts and you will only see 6 or 7 stars in the sky, not enough to use to find other sky objects.
If you decide to buy a GOTO scope, please attend several star parties at your local Astronomy club. Many of the members will have this kind of telescope. You can ask questions, and they may even let you DRIVE the telescope!
Remember, READ the manual, train the drives, and do all the other initial setup that the manual recommends. Yes, you will need to know the names of a few bright stars in the sky! Your new computer telescope is not as smart as 3CPO in Star Wars!
Posted by Joe... on
Aug 19, 2011 | Meade Jupiter 60AZ-MF Telescope with Bonus...
Dec 07, 2010 | Edu-Science (10166) Telescope
May 16, 2009 | Meade Telescope - Telestar DS-2130AT...
Jan 26, 2008 | Bushnell NorthStar Goto 100mm 788840...
886 people viewed this tip
Usually answered in minutes!