Question about Meade 114EQDH4 (36 x 114mm) Telescope

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What kind of telescope to buy

I want to know what telescope to buy for an intermediate astronomer

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  • Sergio Mackay Jan 05, 2009

    what kind of telescope/ for an intermediate astronomer?



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This is a very common problem...with no common solution.
First you must know that no single telescope will be "perfect" for every application. The basis for this comes from the fact that there are many different objects to look at.

A basic rule of thumb goes along these lines; If you are looking at very small objects (ie stars, planets, asteroids etc.) then a long telescope will be useful, whereas wide objects ( the moon, star clusters, nebulas, and comets) need a short telescope.
Additionally, you will need a larger diameter telescope as the object(s) get dimmer.

A compromise is a telescope whose length is six to eight times its diameter. This is known as an "f/6" or "f/8" system. Small objects are usually best seen with f/8 or greater (f/15 is not unusual). While the wide objects use f/6 or less ("faster"- the lower limit is usually f/3). Magnification is not the deciding parameter (all of these systems can be adapted to provide identical magnification by choosing the appropriate eyepiece).

Select a telescope which best fits your budget and transportation capabilities. If you plan on setting the telescope up in your backyard then select the largest diameter you can afford. If you plan on taking the telescope out into the darkest skies far from home, then chose a telescope you can carry without giving yourself a hernia. Remember, you are supposed to be doing this to relax and enjoy it - not to go to hospital.

Finally, no matter which telescope you pick, a year down the line you'll want another one which fills in where the first one has limited capabilities. And heaven help you if you decide that you want to take photographs of your favorite objects. This hobbies has many many many facets and all of them can really dent your wallet.

Now that you are certain which telescope you want...have you decided on which mount you are going to put it on? Equitorial or Altitude-Azimuth? Driven or computerized? Tripod or post? Mounts are important too. If your mount is too flimsy you will be cursing it every time you bump it in the dark and you lose that hard-to-find object. Too bulky and the thought of lugging it out and setting it up will reduce your viewing nights. Again, a compromise is something that allows you to setup quickly but steady enough that your telescope never hits the ground.

Try to see some equipment first hand, so you can get their "feel". I would reccomend a visit to a local dealer (or go to a local amateur astronomer) so you can touch and feel before you buy anything. Amateurs are happy to show you their equipment, and answer any questions. They may laugh at some of your questions, but you will learn a lot more quickly (and at less cost) than doing all by yourself.

The paint on the outside might look pretty; but its the optics inside that count. If you can "field test" the telescope before you buy it, you'll have more confidence in your final(?) purchase.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009

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First-- never buy a telescope in Wal Mart or Costco--

Buy from one of these online retailers--

Look at these telescopes first---

Posted on Jan 05, 2009


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