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Re: Re: Re: I Want To Buy A Nice Meade Telescope, Is It Any Good

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Posted by Chris on February 27, 2001 16:09:32 UTC

Yes, you can easily find objects by their sky co-ordinates.
No, you do not need a GOTO function, you need quality optics.
I would guess (from many years experience) that an 1/8th wave Orion (UK) Newtonian of 114mm aperture would noticeably outperform the heavily marketed convenience 114mm Newtonians on star images and the planets.
More aperture is always useful. It allows fainter objects to be glimpsed; it allows brighter objects to be seen in greater contrast provided the optics have the required surface accuracy. I have seen on several occasions 6” and 8” well made Newtonians outperforming 12” Schmidt Cassegrains on planetary contrast.
If an equatorial mount is within your budget, then go for it. The less expensive equatorial mounts offered by Orion UK are either Taiwanese or Chinese hybrid versions of the higher quality Vixen Great Polaris mounts from Japan. They do not track quite as accurately nor are they as robust as the Vixen models, but they are quite adequate for a beginner, they will do the job.
A single axis motor, drives right ascension, dual axis motors drive both right ascension and declination.
Astrophotography usually requires dual axis drives.

Think of your telescope as a hierarchy of functions.
a.) A telescope is an optical instrument, therefore optical quality is the first consideration.
b.) It should be mounted on a reasonably stable mount. The more stable the better, although this usually means greater expense.
c.) Equatorial mounting is preferable, although again, this incurs greater cost.
d.) Spend more money on imaging accessories than convenience accessories. In other words, think about eyepieces before GOTO or other convenience features.
e.) Astrophotography and other pursuits come after the first four conditions are met.
It all sounds a little boring compared to the lavish and colourful ‘buy me now’ telescopes advertised in magazines, that promise immediate enjoyment. Stick to the narrow path, you won’t regret it.
If someone gave me the choice of owning either a 12” Schmidt Cassegrain with GOTO features and all the bells and whistles you could possibly want, or a 12” Newtonian on a Dobsonian mount, but with 1/12th wave optics (as I use at the moment) I would choose the latter every time.
I understand the predicament you have. You have a massive choice of telescopes today, compared to even fifteen years ago. They all look glossy and gleam desirability at you from the pages of the magazine or the internet site. Use common sense instead of blindly responding to marketing techniques (wear sunglasses when reading the adverts, you won’t be affected as much), if you stick to the hierarchy, you will see your planetary colours and will never be disappointed with your telescope.

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