I'm Peter (14 years) from The Netherlands, so you will have to excuse me, if my English isn't perfect.
I have a few questions:
I currently have a Bresser 60mm refractor, F=800mm on a wooden, shaky altazimuth mounting, I have four 0.965 inch eyepieces marked with H, H, HM, SR, ("0.965-inch eyepieces are almost always inferior. The small eyepieces certainly are, especially ones marked H, HM, or SR": from skypub.com). I haven't seen any colored bands on Jupiter, nor the rings of Saturn. My uncle recently bought a 114mm reflector, F=500mm on a aluminium equatorial mount with two 1.25 inch eyepieces (unfortunately H-eyepieces), but the difference is enormous, Stars look beautiful, although I still haven't seen colored bands on Jupiter.
I want to sell my Bresser-scope ($100 - $125, I think) and buy a high-quality telescope such as the DS telescopes from Meade. The telescope must be computerized, because I'm not that good at finding objects and reading star-charts. The telescope must be well-suited for observing planets (Jupiter, Saturn and Mars). I want to see as much planetary detail as possible. I want to see colored bands on Jupiter, Jupiter's moons preferably as small discs, the rings of Saturn, with preferably the cassini division, this is what I find most important. Nice deep-space views would also be nice. (Pleiades and Andromeda galaxy) BUT!!! $700 is my limit.
This is the scope I'm interested in:
-Meade DS-127EC (MA 25mm, MH 9mm)----$449,00
-WITH #495 AutoStar controller-------$99,00
-MA 40mm eyepiece--------------------$37,95
-#122 Barlow lens--------------------$47,95
-Is the 5" aperture (and its maximum practicall power of 350x) of the DS enough for what I want to see (wont I be dissapointed with the result)or on the other side, will the 114mm (4,5", 325x) do?
-Should I go for the 90mm DS refractor ($499,00 according to Meade), is it more suited for my needs? It looks much nicer than a Newtonian, that's for sure!
-What exactly does "collimation" mean? (Fine-tuning and alligning the primary mirror?) Is it difficult, can I damage the optics?
-It isn't realy necessary, (it would be nice, though) but can I use the DS also for astrophotography, what extra accessories do I need?
-Should I choose better (but more expensive) eyepieces? Is the difference between a Modified Achromatic eyepiece, series3000 Plössl eyepiece and a series4000 Super Plössl eyepiece really worth the extra $'s? Which eyepieces have the best prize-prestation proportion? Is a Wide-view eyepiece really worth the $140,-, do I need it?
-What's with these Tele-Vue (Gagner??) eyepieces, why does Sky&Telescope use them, and why are they so expensive? If I could could afford one, should I buy one?
-Is there an alternative such as a scope from other brands (Celestron or Orion) perhaps for the same or less money?
-I must get these products cheaper than the prices according to Meade. Please give me a site. What is "Sam"?
-I live in The Netherlands, so the scope must be shipped across the Atlantic. I could also buy Meade products here in Holland, but they are terribly expensive.(If I would buy only the DS-127EC, it would already cost me more than $560)
-Is it possible to make your own telescope (Newtonian) of comparable quality, (although the scope won't be computerized). Maybe I can get more aperture for the same or less money? Is it very difficult, what mount should I buy for a home-made scope