Where to buy a good beginner's scope?

9 years 8 months ago #87686 by Gareth_OFlaherty
Where to buy a good beginner's scope? was created by Gareth_OFlaherty
I have been using 15x70 Celestron binoculars for the last year and a bit and I still have the astronomy bug. I feel I am ready to move on to a telescope. My criteria are:

Price (v. important. Max I can spend at the moment is around €160.)

Quality (Don't want a cheap piece of plastic)

Availability (This is a key question for me. Where do I buy? Online (is this safe / possible / expensive / what site? In a shop (Are there any telescope shops in Dublin at all?(I work in Dublin).

Regards refractor / reflector, I am open to advice.

Hope someone out there with experience can help this 37 year old newbie. :)

Keep watching the skies!

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

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9 years 8 months ago #87691 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re:Where to buy a good beginner's scope?
Hi Gareth,

Your suggested price tag is going to limit you greatly. You might get e.g. a Meade ETX-70 second hand for that, but it's only a 70mm refractor, similar in power to the Skylux in Lidl before Christmas.

Your option of a refractor versus a reflector will be determined upon the price in some ways and then on portability on others. For example, a 6 inch refractor on an EQ3 mount (with or without motorized controls) has almost the same resolving power of an 8 inch reflector on a simple Dobsonian (manual control) base (but not for the money you mentioned). Whenever anyone asks me "What do I buy?" I tell them to save as much money as they can and get a 10" or 12" Dob - easy to use, inexpensive and great light collecting power. I'd say €500 would buy you a good second hand 12" Dob - just keep an eye out.

There are some links in the Links section here to help you look at retailers for equipment, but also keep an eye on our own For Sale forum, those online at e.g. Done Deal and Buy and Sell, but also get yourself a copy of something like Astronomy Now for the private Classifieds where you could snap up a bargain.

Hope this helps, don't be afraid to ask more questions!

seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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9 years 8 months ago #87692 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Re:Where to buy a good beginner's scope?
Hi Gareth, unfortunately your first two requirements are mutually exclusive... For 160.00 you'll get pretty much nothing *except* cheap and plastic...

However, the good news is that the second hand market is currently pretty good. That helps with your third requirement. If you can find something in or around Dublin (further afield if you can travel) you can go look at it before you buy. If its one of the folks here selling something you want, you'll get lots of free advice and after-sales support and all at a very good price.

If you go down the road of buying new from a dealer (regardless of what you'll get on your budget), you'll spend a significant proportion of your money on P&P alone. And with one recent UK dealer apparently going into liquidation (with some customers seriously out of pocket), you have be very careful.

There are a couple of dealers on the Island of Ireland - Andy McCrae of North Down Telescopes is very good and he attends many of the astronomy events. If you deal with him, P&P will be very litte or zero if you can meet up with him.

There is Astronomy Ireland also. They have a showroom in Artane where you can see telescopes etc. They only sell Celestron as far as I know but the range is good. Not much within your budget I suspect though. If you choose AI, make sure you strike a hard bargain.

For ease of use, a refractor is probably your best best (and a logical progression from binos). But they (other than the plastic ones) can be more expensive than reflectors.

Hope that helps a bit. I'm sure others will chime in with more advice.
Cheers
Dave

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9 years 8 months ago #87702 by stevie
Replied by stevie on topic Re:Where to buy a good beginner's scope?
Take Dave's advice and give Andy McCrea a call, he has a few bargains in at the moment. You might just get lucky.
Here's a link

jimmy65.uku.co.uk/

Note the Celestron 130MD halfway down the page on the left, just slightly above your budget, but worth considering.

stevie

Secretary NIAAS

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9 years 8 months ago #87703 by Gareth_OFlaherty
Replied by Gareth_OFlaherty on topic Re:Where to buy a good beginner's scope?
Thanks so much for all your advice. Given your comments I think I might have priced myself out of the market with my maximum budget. I might do some "scrounging" around in my piggy bank to see if I can find some more euros :)
Thanks again.
Gareth.

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

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