Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

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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taikiat
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:29 pm
Favourite scope: Celestron Nexstar 6SE

Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by taikiat »

Hi all, this is probably the most asked question, but trawling for a bit I find the posts and information a bit dated so would just like to do a sync up on what is recommended in 2022.

I'm completely new to this, (last scope I owned was a Toys R Us one from 25 years back) so it doesn't count at all. Watching countless videos has made me less concerned about collimation as well as operating a EQ.

Primarily trying to kick start this hobby because of my 4 yo son who is impressed by celestial bodies, and for myself who has always liked this subject. So main objectives would be visual observations, but I would not exclude the possibility of astrophotography.

Looking at astro scientific, my budget brings me to the usual Celestron/Orion range. Some combinations I have considered and why not.

Nexstar 6SE (computerized feature makes it more enjoyable but needs external power pack. slightly overbudget)
Nexstar 5SE (as above but more within budget)
Astro Fi 6 (seems to have patchy wifi performance, power sucker)
Nexstar 6SLT (heard the mounts were crap)
C6 OTA + orion EQ1 mount (not sure about compatibility)
Orion 8" f3.9 OTA + mount (I cannot find a suitable mount as yet)
Orion Starblast 4.5 + EQ1 mount
Astromaster 130EQ (heard they cheaped out to use spherical mirrors)

As you can probably tell I am quite undecided between the 5" and 6" apertures, not sure if it makes a big difference in SG. I have not included the 5" variants of the above to extent I am open to input and guidance.

Do kindly let me know if I have missed out some other solutions! Really appreciate the community's help.

Cheers
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joachim.ong
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:40 pm
Favourite scope: 150cm Telescope at Gunma Observatory
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Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by joachim.ong »

Hi and welcome. I think it's a fairly appropriate post since questions this specific don't get asked a lot on our local forum here. For me my advice for beginners is to either get a scope that does not require collimation (maksutovs or refractors), or get the largest scope you can afford and then take your time to learn to collimate later (important skill!). Also, not entirely sure but I believe the 6SE gets a slightly beefier mount than the 5SE.

Regardless, everyone would probably say... DO NOT get the EQ1. :P
Hardwarezone
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Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 2:50 am
Favourite scope: maksutov

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by Hardwarezone »

Yup the eq1 is really just there for the sake of it , for the manufacturer to say it's a complete set , I don't think there is any headroom left for upgrade to bigger scope or astrophotography.

Yes , the nexstar 6se and 8se use a bigger electronic mount compared to the 4se 5se , the difference is not really visible in online photo.
Astromaster 130 uses parabolic , Powerseeker127 using spherical , both are for teenagers first scope on tight budget in USA market , excluding the uniquely high markup in SG.

I think for your young son , choosing a small refractor is the most suitable because it is usable like a daytime binoculars for exploring the world/nature/animal.
Much more usage time compared to only night + cloudless weather by coincidence.

No rush into buying a scope , otherwise buy unsuitable and take effort to resell it away.
Have to consider the space and extra budget for electronic dry cabinet or thirsty hippo clones & plastic bag , for long term fungus prevention.

Maybe can join some real-life events with your son to experience and ask questions get immediate answer.
There is an upcoming classroom @ ChoaChuKang (teck whye) on 7pm of 3 September , the link is at the "astronomy events & observation session" subforum.
LookingForScope
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:11 am

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by LookingForScope »

Hello! I will join in the crowd and throw in my 2 cents as well! Do note that I am relatively inexperienced! With that said, why not get a 130p/150p newtonian from mcgill.com.sg? (only 500! as i just checked) I have personally experienced a Heritage 130P, 6inch newtonian and a 6inch SCT.
The 130P because of its design is extremly portable. I have brought it on public transport to ECP before all the way from TPY. Not very difficult to carry and I assume the same can be said for the larger 150P. The only downside I see is that you would need to be able to identify things yourself and know where to point your telescope since its not a GoTo. But its something that would needed to be learnt eventually so no point avoiding it. If you have to travel a lot to use the scope I would say poratbility is key!

The only upside that I have experienced from the 6inch GoTo scope is that fact that it tracks the subject. Unless you get an eq mount with motor drive your target will drift out of view slowly or quickly depending on magnification. Thus with a 130p/150p you are gonna have to also learn how to properly control your strength HAHA. I enjoyed having the telescope track the object for me so much that I actually regret selling my scope but oh wells :( (Only reason I sold it is because its big and heavy and thus dont get used often. But every time I used it, I loved every moment)

Sorry if the above paragraph is all over the place but as someone who just started out the hobby last year, I heavily recommends a newtonian. One that is portable so it will get more uses! But like what hardwarezone said about refractors, you can consider binoculars too! Can get those large aperature binoculars and a tripod to mount it sturdily.

Ultimately aperture is king and if your main goal is to enjoy the night sky with your son then you should get the largest aperture newtonian that you can transport!

More experienced please feel free to correct me if I am wrong!
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taikiat
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Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:29 pm
Favourite scope: Celestron Nexstar 6SE

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by taikiat »

Brilliant replies! i am not going to let my kid operate the scope for sure, he will get his own if he shows that interest and ability to handle later down the road. mainly just to show him since he has been bugging me for saturn and jupiter haha

i will be viewing a 6se later today. its 4 year old with some scuffs on the handset and ota, going for 1.3k. hopefully mirrors are okay. i am fine with collimation and i have even checked out vids on taking apart the 6se ota. so ill be fine with the fiddly tiddlies.

the one thing i would like to skip for now is learning the sky. considering the light pollution there is only so much i can see when i peer out from my home. on the occasions i get to bring my scope out, i would prefer to revel in observations rather than spending more time hunting. perhaps after this goto ill get a proper gem, but i feel upgrading the alt ax with a wedge seems viable too.

thanks to all for all the excellent inputs! i have a lot more to learn!
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joachim.ong
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Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by joachim.ong »

Since you seem to know what you're getting into i strongly reccomend to just bite the bullet and go with the 6SE or any other big scope with goto. Take the effort to collimate the scope carefully and saturn and jupiter would be really really amazing. Goto is really nice when observing planets at high power too. My interest in astronomy was started by my dad when I was about that age too so I feel really excited for you!

Also if you ever remove the corrector plate make a mark on the glass so you can assemble it back in the same orientation, some sources say the orientation has been factory calibrated.
akdwivedi
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Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 1:01 am
Favourite scope: celestron C6

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by akdwivedi »

I started with a 400mm achromat on a photo tripod. My first wish was moon and planets but soon realized that 400mm focal length was too small for lunar/planetary observation.. but it was good to point the scope to any part of the sky and start sweeping the sky. As I did more, I started familiarizing myself more with the sky.

I then bit the bullet as Joachim says and got a nexstar 6SE. It was fun, it was great to have a goto mount and the focal length was good for great lunar and planetary views. Its not huge and heavy too and I could lift the whole setup and carry it to balcony for viewing and back. Add a barlow and couple of good eyepieces and you are good to go.
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taikiat
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Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:29 pm
Favourite scope: Celestron Nexstar 6SE

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by taikiat »

Well, i got the 6SE in the end. But, some painful lessons learnt.

Red dot finder wasn't working, Powertank wasn't working. So I gotta find replacements for those. Should be quite easy.

During cleaning I lost alignment of the corrector, tried to maintain it back as much as I could, hopefully didn't kill the alignment. Also caused a minor smudge on the primary mirror from some dirt I tried to clean off, may have become a small scratch.

Verdict would only be out when I get a scope and try on the moon and maybe saturn. Fingers crossed till then!
akdwivedi
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Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 1:01 am
Favourite scope: celestron C6

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by akdwivedi »

did you check red-dot finder's battery.. there is very little in red-dot finder to get spoilt.

You could still run nexstar SE mounts via batteries until you get your new powertank. Just buy rechargeable batteries and put them in and it should work.

My personal principle is to not touch the scope corrector, primary and secondary mirrors unless they are really dirty. A few specs of dust shouldnt impact the views. I hope that your primary is fine. a small scratch would not impact much and corrector alignment though a little time consuming is not impossible. On the first night, try and get the scope collimated and then you should be ready to go.
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taikiat
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:29 pm
Favourite scope: Celestron Nexstar 6SE

Re: Beginner/Amateur Setup 2022

Post by taikiat »

i replaced the battery, no led emission. anyway will get a better finder.

it was really dirty. i suspect the eyepiece hole was left open for extended periods. when i cleaned the front glass, my tissues came away black. too bad i didnt take a before and after.

in any case i have a fear now. will be going down to astro tonorrow for them to have a "check up". hopefully its recoverable...
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