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Dr. Thrax

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It appears I have inherited a telescope from an old friend, left to me in their will, which was a surprise. I didn't even know they had a telescope and I've never seen it. The image that came to mind was something along the lines of a Tasco but no, it's a Meade 8" LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope....Right....Anyone know anything about telescopes as I don't have any idea about what exactly has been left to me let alone how to use it :? :)
 
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Anonymous

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I have owned a couple of Meades (4.5" followed by my current 10") - they are one of the best makes of telescope wioth extrememly high quality mirrors and optics and an 8" LX200 is quite an expensive beast at circa £2000+. These are really semi-pro (or pro) devices for serious astronomy.

You should be able to observe the true beauty of Saturn and it's rings, Jupiter and it's cloud banks (and their major moons) and Mars as well as spiral and eliptical galaxies.

Definitely worth spending some time leanring to use it

Have fun
 

Dr. Thrax

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I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it and looking at the stars and planets above. Where I live there are no street lights so the night sky is as clear as it can be. Picking it up over the weekend. I had a look at some of the specs for this model and it does look the business, and as you say worth spending time to learn how to use it.

Cheers.
 

Pete W

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Dr. Thrax":15igsqj5 said:
Where I live there are no street lights so the night sky is as clear as it can be.
Lucky you :p:).

I'm only jealous... I have a Meade LX10, which has the same 8-inch optics as the LX200 but lacks the pro-quality tripod and drivetrain; even worse, I live in west London where the light polution is abysmal. So my 'scope gets lifted outside only on the two or three absolutely cloudless nights a year when it's worth the effort. I'm waiting until I retire to the country :).

You have inherited a fabulous telescope; learn to enjoy it and it'll give you a lifetime of pleasure. Once you've given it a look over, I - and I'm sure our fellow astronomers here - will be glad to help with any questions.
 

Vormulac

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Wow - that's an amazing piece of kit you've got there, I too am very jealous (West London again).

IIRC you can hook up a camera to that beast to capture the galactic ballet unfolding before your very optics - so if you decide to give that a go, you'll have to show us the results! :)
 
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Anonymous

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Vormulac":b1cxejsq said:
Wow - that's an amazing piece of kit you've got there, I too am very jealous (West London again).

IIRC you can hook up a camera to that beast to capture the galactic ballet unfolding before your very optics - so if you decide to give that a go, you'll have to show us the results! :)
Yep
Towards the end of this year Meade are releasing a deep space observation camera for their scopes for about £299. Should get some wonderful pictures of nebulae, galaxies etc. I'll let you know how I get on with mine in the new year :wink: :lol:
 

Dr. Thrax

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Taking pictures of what I see does sound good indeed. The more I read about this telescope the more the excitement grows. This keypad where you can type in the location of the star/planet etc you want to look at which then moves the telescope to that location, focuses and tracks what you are looking at sounds amazing. I've only ever looked at the moon through binoculars so by the sounds of it I have a big surprise waiting for me :shock: I can see another hobby other than woodworking is going to take hold of me :D I've been told that along with the scope there are books as well.

To Jim: If you're reading this from the comfort of heaven, THANK YOU my old friend!
 

mudman

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You are indeed very lucky indeed.
Astronomy was a hobby of mine that got left by the wayside a long time ago but I have always dreamed of taking it up again when I get the time and funds (about 20 years the way things are going).
I studied astronomy in college for a bit before they laid off all the lecturers and I'll never forget my first sight of the rings of Saturn through a borrowed 6" Newtonian. Small, and no detail, but awe-inspiring all the same and that was from a back garden in North London. :D
 

Gill

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Help! I can't think who else to turn to.

I've been asked in my capacity as Santa's Helper to find His Lordship a telescope so that he can follow Patrick Moore's 'Sky At Night'. I've searched the web and come to the conclusion that it's going to cost about £350 :eek: for a Celestron C4-R telescope unless I can pick one up a bit cheaper on eBay. I get the impression that Meade and Celestron are the only two brands worth considering.

Of course, having never owned a telescope before, I've really got no idea what I'm doing. I'm also getting no assistance from the little lad himself as he munches chocolates out of the Advent calendar and waits hopefully in case Santa arrives a few weeks early. One day I'll spoil his illusion about Santa. It's not so bad when you're a child but he should have grown out of it long before he turned fifty...

Does anyone have any advice (about telescopes, that is)?

Yours

Gill
 

Pete W

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Big subject that's a bit hard to summarise. However... :)

1. Celestron and Meade aren't the only brands worth considering, but they are the best combination of quality and value in the 'affordable' price range.

2. The usual advice to beginning astronomers is *not* to get a telescope but to buy a decent pair of big binoculars. They're cheaper, will get used more, and teach you more. Everyone ignores this advice :).

3. In grossly oversimplified terms, the most important thing about an astronomical telescope is the size of the optics. Bigger is better (and more expensive). Scopes can be split into two kinds: refractors, which use a primary lens, and reflectors, which use a primary mirror. Simple rule of thumb: lenses are better and more expensive; mirrors are cheaper but give you more size for your money.

4. Nearly as important is a good tripod. Make sure any scope you buy meets this requirement.

5. Your budding stargazer must understand (if he doesn't already) that what he sees on Sky at Night is typically *not* what he's going to see through the average amateur scope. Only long-exposure astrophotography delivers those kind of images.

6. All scopes - like most things in life - are a compromise among a number of desirable features: price, quality, light grasp (big optics), motor drives, 'goto' computers, etc. If he wants to do astrophotography, motor drives are essential. If just wants to see interesting stuff without learning astronomy in depth, the goto computer might be important.

7. The Celestron C4-R is a good refractor (lens at the front). This makes it very long and hence a little inconvenient to carry to the bottom of the garden. For the same price you could go for the Celestron C4-N, which is a reflector with a bigger mirror and a shorter tube. Or there's a NexStar 4GT (i think) which is similar in size to the C4-N but has the goto computer.

Meade almost certainly have models that are identical to these, at similar prices.

I'm sure you'll have more questions... ask away :).
 

Gill

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Hi Pete

Suddenly my task has become a little less formidable :).

I'm afraid it'll have to be a telescope rather than binoculars because he has optical problems of his own. No matter how good the binoculars, he'd still effectively be using only one eye. Knowing his propensity for gadgets, I think he'll benefit from a telescope with a motor so that he can savour some astrophotography.

I've noticed there's a Meade ETX70AT on eBay which has a motor drive system and an autostar computer controller. That might suit his purposes rather better than the Celestron. Let's hope I can get lucky :).

Many thanks for your advice.

Gill
 
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Anonymous

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GillD":1wob4jjr said:
Just to resolve this open thread, I successfully bid for a Meade 4.5” reflector telescope tonight on eBay :) .
Gill
Well done GIll!!

My second telescope, which I recently sold to buy my new 10" 'scope, was a 4.5" Meade reflector. Very nice. You (he) will be able to easily see a couple of hundred million stars, Saturn's rings and Jupiters cloud banks not to mention Titan, Io, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
Watch Jupiter for a couple of hours and you'll be amazed as you see the 4 main moons orbiting the planet :shock: :shock: This was what Gallileo saw and why he ended up in front of the Spanish Inquisisition on chages of heresy!!

So watch out for any strange blokes in robes :wink:

Have fun
 

Alf

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GillD":uow0rvva said:
Just to resolve this open thread, I successfully bid for a Meade 4.5” reflector telescope tonight on eBay :) .
Yay!

GillD":uow0rvva said:
So this weekend we’re going shopping for a new workshop :) :) :) !
Double yay! Yay with bells, whistles and knobs on! Have fun. :D

Tony":uow0rvva said:
So watch out for any strange blokes in robes :wink:
Always sound advice...

Cheers, Alf
 

Noel

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I've moved Gill's workshop thread up to general woodworking where it'll get more attention.

Noel
 
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