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Posted by R. Roper/">R. Roper on March 22, 1999 19:48:45 UTC

I've just recently developed a major interest in astronomy, and I'm looking more toward building my first telescope myself. I live in Topanga Canyon, which is about 5 miles (as the crow flies) of Los Angeles. To my south and west is the ocean, which does not create very noticeable light pollution. However, to my north and east, over the mountains, are the irritating glares of the San Fernando Valley, downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. I occasionally go to the top of a nearby mountaintop of 2500 meters, where there is no light pollution at all.

I plan on starting out in the field by just looking at nearby (I think they're nearby) objects like Jupiter, Saturn, nearby galaxies, and nebulae. What's the best type of telescope for this type of observation (and can it cope with the local light pollution)? My limit is about $5000, and I would like to build it myself, and have the best detail possible for that price.

A few questions that I am curious about: About what is the largest mirror that this type of observation need? Also, I really don't know what the difference is between Newtonian, Dobsonian, Altazimuth, yada yada yada types of telescopes. What's the significance of having a larger/smaller focal ratio? What type of eyepiece is best for what I plan on doing? That's about all the questions I can think of.

So, if you've read this far, I'd like to know the names of books, magazines, and websites that deal with novice telescope building and novice observation.

Thanks for reading, Robert C. Roper

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