1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Telescopes. 'Splain me, please!

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Aug 13, 2009.

    Ok, so I was chatting with the 'rents tonight as we were upstairs just now trying to catch the tail end of the Perseid meteor shower and we started talking about getting a nice telescope for the upstairs patio.

    I don't have the foggiest clue about telescopes.

    Does anyone have experience with them?

    It's one thing to look online and read a bunch of terms that mean nothing to me, I was hoping someone would have actual experience using them.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off,you DON'T want to use a telescope for meteor watching. Naked eye is best for that, because you need to watc a wide area of the sky.

    The aperture is the most important measure of a telescope's optical quality. The larger the aperture, the more light gathering power. The greater the light gathering power, the more brightness and detail you can resolve.

    Reflector scopes can provide much wider apertures for the same weigt and cost than refractor scopes. The world's most powerful telescoipes are all reflectors. Te most common is the Newtonian configuration, in which the eyepieces are mounted in the side of the tube.

    Almost as important is the mount. You want a solid tripod or pedestal base that will not shake. The best mouning head is an equatorial mount, which aligns an axis with the Earth's axis. That way, rotation around that axis will keep the object you are looking at in the field of view by rotating around that one axis. That axis can be driven by a clock drive, so you don't have to make manual adjustments.

    Consider getting a telescope designed to mount a camera. You can get add on camera mounts, but a scope designed for camera use will probably do a better job of it.

    A 6" or 8" reflector scope is a good hobbyist scope.

    High magifications are NOT the primary consideration. Better light gathering power at a lower magnification is ALWAYS more satisfactory.
     

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