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Looking for basic telescope

The Great Gazoo

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Dec 14, 2014
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193
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BC Lower Mainland
A friend of mine is looking for a basic telescope as her family lives out of town and in a really dark area. Looking to spend somewhere between $300-500$ so not expecting Hubble quality here. Just something to look at the moon and and the stars. Since they know nothing about the sky, probably something with connectivity would be nice - to phone or on the scope itself.

Any recommendations on models and where to buy in the Vancouver lower mainland or online?
 

Valkyrie

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Chilliwack...Time Is Just A Rubber Band....
The best basic telescope is most likely a decent 7X50 or 10X50 binocular. A little effort to learn basic constellations to find your way around the night sky will greatly help find objects of interest.

Like these maybe with the tripod adapter...https://www.amazon.ca/Nikon-Action-Extreme-Terrain-Binoculars/dp/B0001HKIK4

..not advocating Amazon or anything just a link and a price...

The great thing about learning the sky with bino's is that the image is oriented "right".


If they are set on a "goto" type scope they may have to stretch the budget a bit for something decent and then there are issues such as chewing through batteries and such....https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/celestron-nexstar-127-mak-slt-computerized-telescope/6000187982564

again, not advocating Walmart....
 
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Mr. Friendly

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being astronomy is one of my hobbies, I can speak a bit about this. however, at your max budget, you're not going to get a very good computerized scope. the mount will be flimsy and make it difficult to actually look at anything because wobbles and vibration are severe when magnified.
that said, there are applications out there for phones that can help guide you through the night sky with a manual scope. the best beginners scope would be something like a 100mm refractor or a 4 - 6" Dobsonian, which are well within your budget.
 

mr.joy

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Aug 13, 2019
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9
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USA
A friend of mine is looking for a basic telescope as her family lives out of town and in a really dark area. Looking to spend somewhere between $300-500$ so not expecting Hubble quality here. Just something to look at the moon and and the stars. Since they know nothing about the sky, probably something with connectivity would be nice - to phone or on the scope itself.

Any recommendations on models and where to buy in the Vancouver lower mainland or online?

I was looking into this a few years ago.
Twice that Mr.Friendly said - the usual advice is make sure you get a good mount. No matter how good the optics are, it all becomes a pain in the bum if you can't position the tube correctly, easily and with some precision. We have a Celestron NexStar 130SLT. It's a bit too pricey considering extra stuff that you might need, but this model in general is something about 400$.


Here's the unit and our attempts at astrophotography.
8577831454_30dbaabe8e_b.jpg
 
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Mr. Friendly

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to be honest, the best thing you could do to help your friends out is buy them a book. the best books for educating and learning about astronomy are Summer Stargazing or Backyard Astronomers Guide. both are written by Terence Dickinson, who's the editor of the Canadian astronomy magazine called Sky News (6 issues a year for about $26/year), which would also be a good thing to get.

these books and magazines explain the concepts you need to know, pointers on how to learn the night sky and discusses all the different types of equipment and scope styles in laymen speak. regarding magazine subscriptions, Sky & Telescope and Astronomy are more for the established amateur astronomer. S&T caters more to the observer with some math and physics while Astronomy is more for the guys that like math and physics. most professional astronomers never look through scopes, they read math. LoL!
 

Izerous

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Edmonton
Personally I'd almost think starting with something cheaper might make more sense to ensure it's something they actually enjoy doing instead of jumping right in with nicer stuff.

Cheap Example

From there after some books etc and ensuring it is an activity they want to pursue then look at the nicer stuff.
 

Mr. Friendly

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Location
British Columbia
Personally I'd almost think starting with something cheaper might make more sense to ensure it's something they actually enjoy doing instead of jumping right in with nicer stuff.

Cheap Example

From there after some books etc and ensuring it is an activity they want to pursue then look at the nicer stuff.
you would be wrong. while the scope may actually be okay, the mount it comes with is absolute garbage and unable to support the weight of the scope. as I said in my first post, any scope vibration is magnified by the eyepiece and you cannot see anything. in fact, these cheap scopes do an absolute disservice to the amateur astronomy community because people buy them, find they're unusable and then give up with the thought that all scopes are hard to use.

so there is gateway price and during the holiday seasons you can get your best deal...prices go down 25 - 33% on entry level beginner scopes. one of my favorite beginner refractors is from Meade Infinity series:
https://www.meade.com/infinity-90mm-altazimuth-refractor.html

I like this scope over the 102mm version because it has a longer focal length, which means it will let you have a bit higher power to look at the planets or globular star clusters. The Infinity 102 is good if you will never view anywhere but in the city, as it's wide field and will grab the most light to let you see the best.
 

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