Newbie with many questions

For people new to astronomy who want to ask those questions that they were afraid to ask. Receive helpful answers here.
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lololoI
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Newbie with many questions

Post by lololoI » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:31 am

[smilie=hi.gif] I am new to this forum thingy so I don't really know if I should post all of these questions as 1 post or many posts, hahaha. I am assuming it would cause spam so I'm just gonna post all of them here. I'm very sorry if I am breaking any rule by doing this.

Warning!! The questions I'm asking would probably be very stupid to you guys, feel free to laugh at them hahaha.

A bit of an intro first, I have been interested in astronomy since young. But only recently discovered that there were star gazing sessions organised in Sg. Attended a few of them like the ones in science centre and Bishan Park, and I feel like taking the next big step in this hobby... to buy my first telescope.

After doing much research (in order not to buy a telescope that I would regret), I noticed that almost everyone agrees that the aperture of a telescope is most important.
So my first Qn is: In a super light polluted country in SG, wouldn't a big aperture also "collect" the light pollution? Should I buy a small aperture one to reduce the amount of light pollution the telescope "collects"? Is aperture still the most important factor here in SG?

My second Qn would be: other than the astro scientific centre at the science centre, where else in SG can I walk into a shop, look at the telescopes available and buy one?

At the stargazing sessions I went to, they looked at the Moon and Jupiter,
My third Qn is: At what magnification should I look at them?

I have made a spreadsheet of most of the beginner telescopes available at astro scientific centre to see what magnification they would give me (taking into account their focal length, eyepiece focal length and also if a Barlow lens will come with it). But after making the spreadsheet... I realise something stupid, the numbers don't make sense to me. It tells me "telescope ABC provides 90x magnification" but... how big would the moon look like with that? How big would Jupiter look with that? Would I be able to see
its moons and the great red spot?? How bout Saturn rings? or maybe deep space(if I get bored with looking at planets, which is highly likely)?

For now, my eyes are on the powerseeker series ( more specifically the powerseeker 114eq ) as it provides the most variety of magnification(because IDK what magnification to view anything at all lol, so buying the one with more variety sounds logical). The powerseeker series offers 2 eyepieces and 1 Barlow lens, which gives me 4 different views of the same thing. unlike the astromaster series which provides 2 eyepieces with no Barlow lens. (if my research is correct)

Fourth Qn: I heard setting up an eq mount is hard as we are near the equator, is that true? If yes, can anyone explain it to me why(i know the basic diff of az and eq but I don't see why it is hard to set up an eq near the equator)?
Should I only buy an eq mount only when I have the interest to do astrophotography? What are the pros of an eq mount other than astrophotography?

My budget is less than $500.

That's all for my first post in this forum! sorry for the long post, hope you guys can help me out before I buy a telescope and regret it!!
THANKS SO MUCH!!

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Airconvent
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by Airconvent » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Hi
Welcome to Singastro. You can try astrobargains.com one of the vendors listed here who has a showroom at his house. Do check out all the FAQs posted here too as they were shared by people like yourself. Do join in the obs sessions that occasionally pop up here so you can get acquainted with the scopes available and their features.
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Hardwarezone
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by Hardwarezone » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:09 am

dig out some old images that I saved years back ....

Powerseeker and Astromaster series too much plastic, I can't recommend that with a conscience.
Can slowly hunt for better scopes (no plastic except dust cover) and mount separately. Don't be restrained by "all in one" kits.

Image

Image

Image

lololoI
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by lololoI » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:06 pm

Wow! Thanks for the awesome pictures!!

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antares2063
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by antares2063 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:41 pm

Hi there,

Welcome to this forum, and here's my take on your queries:

First question: From a visual context of viewing faint stuff like nebula, large diameter aperture scopes does help to pull in abit more visible features compared to smaller aperture scopes. The best advice is to get what you can comfortably transport out of the house by yourself.
but on the same note, even a small aperture scope like an 80mm will perform way better (in giving stunning views) in countries with rural areas like Malaysia or Bintan or Australia compared to a 150mm/200mm scope in Singapore (sad but true). and of course if the same large telescope is deployed and used from a dark rural place, the views are much more intense than the 80mm

Second question: Astrobargains like airconvent mentioned, but you can also look at 2nd hand scopes posted up for sale on the Buy and Sell section.

Third Question: Actually its not a matter of how high a power one should look at planets, there is no fixed rule. I feel what is more important for planetary observing is

a) the telescope in use is able to push very high magnification (i.e Optical quality and cost. Very well made optics , even if small aperture can handle high power)
b) weather conditions, if the air is turbulent and seeing is poor, better to reduce down the magnification, sometimes there are high altitude winds that can affect viewing pleasure.

hope this helps :)

regards
Junwei
I miss the place where stars shine bright, to gaze upwards in awe of the sight

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Mariner
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by Mariner » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:52 pm

Also to keep things in perspective: The bigger the scope, the heavier it is and the less you'll enjoy taking it out to use.
OCULARHOLIC ANONYMOUS!!!
Keep Calm and Carry on Observing.

geyes30
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by geyes30 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:57 pm

For the price you quoted, and for the intended targets (i.e. planets), I think you'll do well with a small go-to mount and a small Maksutov Cassegrain, like a Skymax 90 or C90. A go-to mount is good for a beginner (like I was a couple of years ago) because without it, you will spend a lot of time trying to find and track the planets, especially at high magnification (which you'd need for planetary observation). A steady mount is essential, and more often than not, if you have to continually and manually adjust where the scope is pointing, you'll have so much vibration (barring very steady mounts) that you're probably going to be quite frustrated.

A Maksutov is fairly compact and performs relatively well compared with lower power achromatic refractors (achromats), such as an Orion ST-80, which will show significant color fringes. Planets are bright, so seeing them on small aperture and/or long focal ratio is okay. However, resolution does improve with aperture (though in Singapore you may never have steady enough seeing to fully utilize aperture).

It's going to be hard to catch the much dimmer deep sky objects. In my view, unless you are willing to go overseas for a good visual experience, or delve into imaging (which will be best with equatorial mounts), you are better off with the longer focal ratio Mak.

lololoI
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by lololoI » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:51 pm

Hi everyone! Thank you all so much for the great answers and advices. Will definitely take all of them in to consideration before I buy.

Regarding geyes30's point on having a steady mount, I've read online that we can just add weights to an unsteady mount to make it steady. Do you guys have any experience on this? Is this feasible?

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Hardwarezone
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Re: Newbie with many questions

Post by Hardwarezone » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:20 am

Vibration reduction pads , hanging sand/water below tripod , hanging chain to refractor front , toothpick insert superglue into leg socket , tightening the tripod leg hinge bolt&nuts , those can help a bit but I think shouldn't depend on it.
If the tripod is weak when extended to full height then you can sit lower instead of standing and don't extend the tripod legs that much.
The problematic part is weak mount weak tripod will shake when your fingers are tuning the focuser at high magnification. It's like a bouncing pingpong ball, cannot see the words on it.

C90 can be bought at amazon.com for $250 sing dollars with free international shipping, but watchout for the bad batch earlier this year with a crucial part inside (baffle tube) not painted black.
After deduct the ~$30 value of the 32mm plossl, the scope is only $220. Only a few scopes at this price range are "all metal" no plastic focuser.
It's ok for the Moon , shows a basic shape of Jupiter & Saturn. That's about it ... make the user want to upgrade to bigger scope as it cannot see the smaller details on Jupiter & Saturn.

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