Top products from r/Astronomy

We found 254 product mentions on r/Astronomy. We ranked the 426 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/Astronomy:

u/florinandrei · 1 pointr/Astronomy

> I've come to the conclusion that my minimum requirements are to see the Rings of Saturn and the bands on Jupiter.

Go big.

I've a 50 mm finderscope (an auxiliary "rifle sights" scope that sits on top of a much larger scope) that can "resolve" the rings of Saturn if I put a strong eyepiece in it, but it looks like a little dot crossed out by a very thin thread. And this is a high-quality Stellarvue achromat refractor.

Get the biggest aperture your money can buy. That basically means a dobsonian reflector. Someone suggested a refurbished 6" dob. If that's all you can afford, go for it. You may have to get an extra eyepiece for it, something like a 12 mm or even 8 mm.

The smallest dob that is not a compromise in any way is the Zhumell Z8 - the archetypal 8" dob. If you can afford it, it could be a "forever scope". If you can't afford it, just get the biggest dob you can - it's the architecture that provides the most aperture per dollar. Smart 8 year olds can handle a 6" ... 8" dob; they may need a small stool to step on when the 8" dob is vertical, but that will cease being a problem in a year or so, when the kid gets taller. :)

You can sort-of cheat with a small-ish aperture for the rings of Saturn, but you'll see them small. Jupiter's bands, OTOH, are low-contrast features. You could see them on a sub-100mm scope, but they are not very impressive; you can tell they are there, but that's it. There is no substitute for large aperture in that case. Go BIG.

Aperture is king.

BTW, Saturn goes in hiding for the next several months. But Jupiter is on the rise in the East; very bright and pretty, go outside tonight and look east.

> Everyone is familiar with refractor telescopes.

It's easy to make small-aperture refractors, that's why they are popular. But as soon as aperture goes beyond a certain limit, things get flipped over and reflectors rule the game.

A good 4" (100 mm) refractor is a thousand bucks. A good 4" dob is 1/4 of that price.

> Do you think we would be disappointed with the 80mm refractor when trying to view Saturn & Jupiter?

Yes. Anything is disappointing after looking at big colorful space telescope images. Well, almost anything, except over-24" dobs under dark skies with great seeing. :) If your goal is to blow the kid's mind, go big. Forget anything else, features, bells, whistles - hunt for aperture instead.

Make sure you have at least two eyepieces; one at, let's say, 30x ... 50x magnification (for wide images - large but faint objects like nebulae), another at 120x ... 180x or so (for higher magnification - small objects like planets or double stars). Good dobs usually come with two glasses like that included. You'll figure out later when/if you need a more diverse collection of glass. This assumes you get a reasonable aperture; a tiny 80mm scope will fall apart at 180x.

Magnification is like a car's speed. You don't drive your car all the time at 200 km/h; sometimes you drive slow, when you go to the grocery store; other times you go fast, such as on the freeway. Each situation requires a certain speed. Same with scopes and magnification. Don't fall into the beginner's trap and believe that "more is better" for magnification. It is not. However, more is always better when it comes to aperture.

Get Turn Left At Orion - it's a wonderful book that will teach you where and how to find all sorts of amazing objects on the sky. It's perfect for the kid too - not too complicated, lots of pictures.

Install Stellarium on a laptop or iPhone. It's like a map, but for the sky. You could also get the Pocket Sky Atlas after a few months - it's a bit more technical but it's a real sky map like the ones "real" astronomers use.

Keep your scope collimated for best performance. link1 link2

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Astrophotography is a hobby in its own right.
For the budget you have listed, you would most likely end up buying a mount that is not up to the task.

I would suggest a nice pair of 10x50 binoculars and this book first.

If you are committed to getting a scope, then this is my suggestion assuming the $1000 budget is all inclusive meaning scope, accessories, and books.

  1. Get a dobsonian. 8inches F4.5-5 10" or 12" would be nice but would blow your budget for the necessary accessories. Something like this would be a great place to start. Also nice would be the 10" Meade Lightbridge.

    2)The skywatcher comes with 2 eyepieces (25mm and 10mm IRC) THe light bridge comes with one. In either case I would invest in a NICE barlow like this one Barlows are an inexpensive way to improve your options. A 24 mm EP in a 2x barlow becomes a 12mm a 10mm becomes a 5mm. Its not as great as discrete eps in those sizes, but it is an economical way to get more versatility out of your existing eyepieces. I also can't talk enough about the Televue Panoptic EPs. They are affordable and incredibly nice. Eyepieces are something that will last through many scopes. I have 10 or so but only ever use about 3 of them.
    Get a Telrad or a Rigel finder. The Skywatcher has a finderscope, the meade has a red dot finder. Personally I hate red dot finders. I think they are complete junk. Telrad is the defacto standard for zero magnification finders, I prefer the rigel for its smaller size and built in pulse circuit. They are both about the same price. You will need to collimate your scope, a cheshire works great, or a laser collimator will do as well. Many folks use a combination of both. I have gone both ways, cheshire is fine, laser is fine, a combination of both is also fine. Accessories can go on forever, the only other must have that I can think of is a redlight flashlight. This is a good one or you can add red film to an existing flashlight you have or you can do what myself and many others have done and get an LED headlamp and replace the white LEDs with red ones.

  2. books

  1. find a local club. Join it. ask questions and goto meetings. Check out Remember that this is something you are doing for FUN.

    Lastly I always say go with a dobsonian scope. They are easy to setup and use and they force you to learn the sky. Once you are comfortable operating a scope and moving around the night sky, then I would think about investing in an equatorial mount and scope for astrophotography use.

    Good luck and Clear Skies!
u/EorEquis · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Not knowing what your budget is, I'll start small and work up :)

  • Turn Left At Orion is the bible of star hopping and familiarization with the sky. Since he's already demonstrated enjoyment of pointing out this star or that, it's right up his alley.

  • Maybe a nice pair of binoculars. I know he has a scope, but good binocs can offer really stunning views in their own right, and are much more portable and easy to "grab and go" on a hike, or a neighborhood walk, or whatever. Doesn't have to be the pair I linked, that's simply one fairly well regarded brand/model.
  • Maybe something as simple as a gift certificate to his favorite astronomy store?
  • Is he a tinkerer or DIYer? If so, then introduce him to Stellafane and maybe take a trip there for one of their ATM workshops, or maybe buy him a starter mirror grinding kit. I've had great success with the folks at First Hand Discovery but there are plenty of other top notch companies that can hook you up as well. :)
  • Not sure where you live, but a trip to dark skies could be amazing. /u/KaneHau has already provided you with lots of info about a trip to the islands, but if CONUS is more in your budget, then there are LOTS of great trips to the SW USA for dark skies. My personal favorite are the fine folks at Marathon Sky Park in Marathon, TX. They are an amazing group of people, service is first rate, facilities are amazing, and the skies are gorgeous. :)

u/tensegritydan · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Wow, I have no idea what that scope is, but it seems like a great deal for $50. Grats!

Definitely collimate it while at home. You'll have to recollimate at your destinations, but hopefully it will be minor, and you don't want to waste precious dark sky time learning how to do it or realizing there's a problem.

As far as gear goes, ergonomics are important! You'll need a good chair, preferably one with some height adjustment. Also, I personally like to use an eye patch for extended viewing sessions. Just pick up a cheap one at a dug store.

Print out a sky map for the month you will travel.

Google sky is good, but you should also get a good sky atlas. It's a good investment. Sinnot's Pocket Sky Atlas is excellent:

Check the weather report and what the moon will be doing during your trip. And one thing about the desert is that high winds can ruin your viewing (vibrates your scope), so you might want to choose a sheltered camping/viewing spot.

As far as the actual viewing, planets are pretty easy targets in general, even in light polluted places, so I would take advantages of those dark skies to see some DSOs. Then again, it all depends on what the skies will be showing during your trip.

Good luck and have fun!

u/rbartlett9671 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I guess it really depends on how familiar you are with the night sky - but there's one book that's literally invaluable for astronomers of all levels - Turn Left At Orion - there's no finer book, quite frankly, and the authors are an inspiration to me. If my books were anywhere near as good as theirs, I'd be very pleased and proud.

(Get the larger, spiral bound edition -

I would also buy Astronomy Hacks - there are a TON of tips and tricks in there and, again, it's aimed at astronomers of all levels.


I had an Orion XT 4.5" Dobsonian and loved it. Celestrons are also excellent and both companies have equipment that are reasonably priced and well suited to amateurs of all levels. I'd start with something relatively small, like a 4" or 6" reflector and then go from there.

Beyond that, I would highly recommend joining a local club or, at the very least, ask a question here on Reddit or join a group in Facebook.

The two I like the most are the Telescope Addicts ( and Astronomy 4 Beginners. (

I hope this helps. Feel free to email me at [email protected] at any time. At some point in the nearish future I'd like to write an astronomy book for suburban astronomers (especially beginners) but I'm not sure when that might happen!

(In the meantime, have a look at my other book, 2015 An Astronomical Year - the Kindle version has a lot of graphics and text highlighting the best naked eye sights throughout the year -

Clear skies!

u/The_Dead_See · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Light pollution will nail you no matter what equipment you've got unfortunately. You're better off travelling out of the urban areas to darker skies.

Astronomy binocs can be pretty big and heavy. Imo you're just as well off with a pair of decent "non astronomy" 7x50s or 10x50s. 7x50s will give you wider views, nice for big stunning vistas. 10x50s will get you more power but they're right on the edge of being okay to hand hold - at that magnification you are better off with a tripod.

The binocs I use (and love) are the Pentax PCF WP II 10x50. I've got them mounted on a regular cheap video camera tripod by way of a Barska adapter.

I would also recommend a camping mat that you can roll out on the ground. Sometimes it's nicer to just lie on your back without the tripod.

As for what you'll see, binocs up to 10x50 are really only any good for bright clusters like Pleiades and the beehive and for some decent lunar views. The brighter DSOs like the Orion nebula and Andromeda will be visible as faint, fuzzy, monochrome smudges. On a good clear dark night you might make out Jupiters 4 main moons as tiny specs extending in a line from the brighter "star" that is Jupiter, but you won't see detail in Jupiter such as banding or the red spot without something much more powerful.

u/Grunchlk · 1 pointr/Astronomy

>good books to read

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is a solid book. Covers all sorts of telescopes, mounts, eyepieces, and cameras. I own a copy.

Turn Left at Orion is a good observational book. I don't own a copy.

Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas is indispensable for observing if you don't have an electronic guide (e.g., you're battery is dead.) I own a copy.


>a good telescope I could start with that I could do some astrophotography with in the future once I

Generally speaking, every telescope is capable of astrophotography. Almost all are very good for it. The single most important piece of equipment for astrophotography is the mount. The longer the focal length you'll be imaging at, the better mount you'll need and quality mounts are expensive.

You can easily spend $10,000 on a great mount and another $5,000 on scope + accessories, plus another $5,000 on camera and filters. My advice, don't even thing about astrophotography yet.


>A friend of mine sold me an old Meade 175C telescope for cheap today and I was able to get it set up.

That's probably good to experiment with. Might be decent for planetary or lunar work (or if you get a proper solar filter, the sun.) You're ability to see faint fuzzies will be severely limited. So, use it, get familiar with it but I would recommend something else as a starter.

It can be tempting to pick up a an all-in-one combo. Mount + scope + eyepieces all together for $299.99, but it's going to be so low quality that you'll not have a great experience and your views will be compromised. It will end up in your garage or in the garbage within a year.

I would highly recommend a shorter focal length refractor and, as tempting as the price is, I would stay away from achromatic refractors. My first was an achro and it's sitting in my closet and hasn't been used in years.

My most used telescope is an 81mm f/6.6 APO refractor. It fits in my photo backpack, sits on a heavy duty photo tripod, and is attached to a lightweight mount designed for telescopes. It's superb for all the the larger objects, lunar/solar work, and the Messier catalog. It's only so/so for planetary work. It's also great for astrophotography and daytime photography.


>Unfortunately the skies are too overcast tonight to do anything with it.

This is the problem with astronomy and astrophotography. You can spend $20,000 on gear and only get it out 5 times a year. You get more bang for your buck if you live in the right area and if you permanently mount your equipment at home.


>Would I be able to attach my dslr to it or no? I know I have to get a t ring and a few other things to do it, but I guess what I’m asking is, is it worthwhile to try with this older telescope once I learn how to find things or should I save up and get a different one?

Don't bother trying to do astrophotography with that scope. Save up $1,000 and get a good quality APO refractor (Explore Scientific and William Optics both make some good scopes.)

For reference achromatic means it has two lenses which means it only focuses two wavelength of light at the same time (usually red/green.) Then means stars will tend to have purple/blue halos. Tolerable for visual use on galaxies but horrible for planets or any type of photography. An ED APO is often a two lens achromat but uses extra low dispersion glass. Still an achromat but with much less dispersion. Good for visual use, tolerable for intro astrophotography. A 3 lens systems is called apochromatic and gets all the visible spectrum in focus. Excellent for visual use and very good for astrophotography. You can also get a 4 lens refractor which contains a flattener which is excellent for visual and photographic use.

This can be the most discouraging advice to give a newcomer but if you don't get that good scope first, then you're going to buy the cheap option, find you're limited, then by a slightly more expensive option, find you're limited, then buy the good quality option. Now you've got a bunch of junk in your closet (or in the local landfill) taking up space.

Just my $0.02.

u/pixlgeek · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Luna and Jupiter will look fantastic.

With Jupiter you should more than be able to see all four moons pretty well and the bands should be faint but visible. Give your eyes time to adjust and make sure you're in a nice dark place. I'm sure that goes without saying but it can't hurt to reinforce the concept.

That is a great starter scope. Get yourself a good star atlas, I really recommend NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe as a starter ( It has good seasonal star charts and lots of practical info about viewing the sky.

I really hope you enjoy the scope and please do post a follow up on the performance and your experiences.

I notice you said you are in CST Time Zone. Where are you located. If you are in the Houston Area we should get a little star party set up with fellow redditors.

u/Awffles · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I'm also an xt6 owner.

For software, you can't go wrong with Stellarium. It's free, and it lets you choose your location as well as time and date. Very handy.

For reading material, these two books have served me well:

Nightwatch: contains loads of stargazing tips and general astronomy information. Also contains star charts, and detailed charts of select constellations.

Binocular Highlights: I find myself using this one all the time. Its focus is on binocular astronomy, but you can use it with a telescope as it's a sort of "best-of" of the night sky. Each object has a detailed, zoomed-in map and a brief description. Contains star charts for every season, with every object in the book marked on the charts.

For photography, you'll only really be able to take decent pictures of the Moon and the brighter planets. As others have pointed out, you'll need some fancier equipment to take good pictures of deep-sky objects.

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite objects:

The Orion Nebula (M42): under the heavily light-polluted skies of my backyard, still fuzzy and nebula-like. Glorious under dark skies, when the dusty arms and finer details become apparent.

Andromeda Galaxy (M31): Looks like a big hazy smudge through the eyepiece. Its companion (M32, I think) is also visible in the same field of view.

Ring Nebula (M57): Even under light-polluted skies, I can pick this one out pretty easily by star-hopping. Looks like a small, blue donut.

Double Cluster: absolutely brilliant collection of stars in a single field of view.

u/dadkab0ns · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Just have Takahashi custom build you one of these for ~$300,000 (yes, that's a 12" apochromat)

And you'll be all set :D

On a more serious note, I would take the time to save up to $350-400 dollars. That might be easier said than done, but it opens up a solid class of telescopes for you that will be more rewarding and enjoyable to use.

As others have said, an 8" dobsonian is perfect for a beginner. It's easy to use, easy to set up, and gives excellent aperture for your dollar. Great general-purpose telescope.

If you want to stay at $300, then an Orion 6" SkyQuest Classic is a solid purchase:

u/MathPolice · 1 pointr/Astronomy

There is a pretty big difference between having a career in astronomy and having a hobby of astronomy. Some people like both; other people only one or the other.

It sounds like you are of the age where you can expand your knowledge of "amateur astronomy" and it may lead to a fantastic lifelong hobby. But you may find "astronomy as a career" to be not as exciting. It's just too early to tell.

Anyway, that being said... from the point of view of a career, you'll eventually need the math that all scientists need: calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability and statistics. And if you go into cosmology or certain other areas, you'll also need some more specialized math that will be taught with your quantum physics courses.

But any "hobbyist" knowledge that you pick up before then is certainly not a waste, no matter what.
cookupastorm had some GREAT advice for that

And I already threw in my plug for the fantastic Intro to Astronomy course from the Great Courses. See if you can get it on inter-library loan and watch it for free.

In addition to Turn Left at Orion mentioned by cookupastorm, people frequently recommend Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson

Also, as an amateur, you can already get a taste of the career-type stuff by helping out with such things as GalaxyZoo (or wikipedia link ) or the American Association of Variable Star Observers.

Also, goes without saying: Look up your local Astronomy club and go to some of their meetings and star parties.

u/thebrownser · 1 pointr/Astronomy

For the planets viewing from your backyard will be fine because they are very bright, but for most DSO's you will need to go to a dark spot, use this

Id go with a 6 inch dobsonian because you have the aperature to see DSOs but is small enough that you can actually take it to a dark site where you can view them.

Now for eyepieces:
You take the focal length of the scope, and divide it by the focal length of the eyepiece and you get the magnification it will provide.
For example the 6" scope I linked has a focal length of 1200mm, so with a 10 mm eyepiece you will get 120x.

Tthe best views of the planets are going to to be about 180-200x when you factor in seeing conditions and having to adjust the scope for the planets moving(move faster at higher mags).
For DSOs you want to use lower magnifications because they are very faint, so you will want from 40-100 depending on what you are looking at.
The orion sirius plossl eyepieces I have give great crisp clear images so im sure you will be happy with them, and they are not very expensive at about 40-50 each.
Barlows basically double your scopes focal length, so when used with an eyepiece it doubles the magnification. They effectively double your eyepiece collection so consider them when you are picking eyepieces.
Also download it is free and will teach you the constellations and will show you how to find anything you want.

Edit: also learn to collimate whatever scope you get or else you wont see anything good.

u/boogiemantm · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Dobsonian is a type of mount - which is of the style: Alt-azimuth opposed to the other popular style: Equatorial
You can read about the differences here:

In short, Dobsonian style mounts are designed to be stable and easy to use but they're not ideal for long term tracking of objects in the sky for the use in say astrophotography. I would recommend this type for a beginner just because I find it easier to understand and use. It is also one of the cheaper solutions. Most Equatorial style mounts with a good telescope will cost you a good deal more than $300.

As for the 6" mirror. It's really quite simple. The bigger the mirror, the more light it collects and the better the image will be. Besides overall quality of the telescope, location, pollution, etc.. bigger is ALWAYS better. 6" is a good starting point. the XT8 (8" version) of the same maker is also a good choice, but would cost you a bit more than $300 - coming in at around $350 + accessories / shipping.

Take a look at these pictures:

Taken from a XT8. they will give you an idea of what you'll be able to see with these telescopes.

u/SaganAgain · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

2 good books to get you set:

  1. 'Nightwatch' by Terence Dickinson :
    This will get you oriented with everything astronomy.

  2. 'Turn Left at Orion' :
    This book will show you how to actually find nebulae, double stars, and galaxies in the night sky. It will also show you what each looks like through the eyepiece of an amateur telescope.

    *You can probably find the e-book version of each of these online if you look. But then again, having a physical book in front of you is 10x better.

  3. Software

    Stellarium :
    Pretty much a software planetarium thats free. All you have to do is type in your location and it'll show you exactly whats in your sky at the moment. Three useful keyboard buttons: 'pg up' = zoom in, 'pg down' = zoom out, 'n' = shows deep sky object locations.

    Last but not least:
    Try to get yourself a used dobsonian telescope (8 inch or 6 inch). You can definitely get one for $200 used. Its a good investment b/c its something that lasts a lifetime and it retains its value extremely well. Remember astronomy is about actually seeing and experiencing the sky, and not just learning about it from a book.

    Hope you get hooked on astronomy like I did last year.
u/kiponator · 1 pointr/Astronomy

This refractor on a CG-4 EQ mount looks to me like a good starting point for astrophoto for less than what you want to spend. You have to add motor drives, a polar finder scope, a camera adapter, and T-ring to connect your camera but then you are good to go.

There is a version of this setup using a 150mm reflector as the imaging scope that has given very impressive results. "Jarrodnb" has posted his images here over the last several months. Whether to go with the refractor or the reflector is probably a matter of preference. The reflector gathers more light and has a shorter f/ratio, both of which enable shorter exposure times.

I don't think you can get an imaging setup with autoguiding like the CG-5 for the money you are looking to spend, but a lot of people may say that it is needed for decent results.

I am using a wedge-mounted Celestron 8 I got on Craigslist along with a second hand Canon 400D, and so far I have this image of M13. It's FAR from perfect but I enjoyed the process of making it.

u/Zaemz · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

To be entirely honest with you, you should go for a light bucket. If you don't mind paying juuuuust a bit extra, I would go with an 8" Dobsonian. I've read in multiple places that it's the best bang for buck. You should start out, as heptapod said, with just a pair of binoculars and learn the sky. You can find many sky maps online and if you subscribe to Astronomy magazine, they supply you with a good amount. You can find an 8" Dob on Amazon from Orion for $329, which is a great deal. The larger the diameter of the telescope, the more light you'll be able to gather from the cosmos. There's many different things to check out when grabbing a telescope.

Check it:

Look throughout some guides:
and others. I'm saving up for a 12" Dob. I'm also joining the local Astronomy club at the museum (The Neville Museum's Astronomical Society) which isn't a bad idea and you should look into as well. Good luck, and congrats on getting into an amazing field!

u/orlet · 5 pointsr/Astronomy

Your first steps would be familiarizing yourself with the skies, you can start with that right away -- there's no need for the telescope at this point. A sky atlas or a planetarium software is an essential tool here. You can find lots of various star maps, both in hard copy and online versions. As for the planetarium apps, Stellarium is a great free program for the PC, and Sky Safari is the one I'd recommend for the Android/iOS platforms (get at least the Plus version, as the most basic is, well, basic).

Afterwards, start honing your object location skills: try spotting the planets, stars, asterisms and constellations, and the brightest deep sky features (many of them can be visible with an unaided eye from dark sky location). Turn Left at Orion is a great book to learn the object location techniques. The first steps in here can also be done w/o the telescope; binoculars, if you have any, would come in handy!

Once you get your instrument, read the manual(s), thenpractice assembling and disassembling it before heading outside, as fumbling with an unfamiliar instrument at night is a recipe for disaster. I'd recommend buying a red light flashlight (or using red filter for any existing one), as red colour doesn't ruin your dark adaptation. Use a far-away object (like aerial antenna or a flag pole) to adjust your telescope's viewfinder correctly.

Once in the field, try not to rely on the mount's GoTo feature too much. Sure, it's fun to just tell your scope to align to a certain object, but it is half the fun to try and locate the object yourself! Some of the objects can be quite a challenge to find :)

Finally, once you're comfortable with the telescope and visual observation you can start dabbling in astrophotography.

Clear skies!

u/sutherlandan · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

I've been into the hobby for 6 months or so. Bought myself an 8" dobsonian reflector, and a couple higher quality lenses for it. I have been keeping a journal of my progress, but I am just doing simple writeups of my findings and the conditions/location of any given night of observing.

I bought a couple books that have been a big help in navigating the night sky.. one is the a sky chart by Celestron:

The other is called "night watch" and is a complete beginners guide to the night sky/astronomy and has also been very helpful, and I highly recommend it -

I downloaded a quite powerful app for my iPhone called "GoSkyWatch" and I'd say it's been by biggest ally. It utilizes gps as well as accellerometer/gyro functionality, so by simply holding my phone up it shows me exactly what I'm looking at, and also locates what I need to find.

I've gotten out around a dozen times so far, and am finally getting into a groove and knocking off lots of deep space objects. Of all the galaxies/nebula/clusters I've found... I still gotta say nothing quite affects me like locking onto Saturn and seeing it drift through my field of view. After that though, the first time I saw M81 and M82 galaxies in the same field blew me away, and M31 Andromeda galaxy is always a pleasure. Really looking forward to winter months and getting a chance to look around Orion and it's hidden gems within.

u/Starborn999 · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

It kind of depends on how deep your going to get into it. If your just sniffing about astronomy for the first time, then go for it. It's 42 bucks and you can sell it at a yard sale if you don't like it, you might actually turn someone on to astronomy with it

If you think you actually might want to get into astronomy as something of a hobby, go with binoculars first, good ones are a bit pricey but you can do some excellent viewing with them, I started with and still use these

These are excellent and not to heavy so your shaking all the time, but give great views, in dark skies I've gotten all four gallelian moons and a couple of Jupiters equatorial bands

And of astronomy ends up not being for you, you have a great set of binoculars for the upcoming zombie apocalypse

Edit-hey I just promoted a celestron product, can I get a hook up ???

u/uselessabstraction · 1 pointr/Astronomy

GoTo mounts (counterintuitively) aren't useful until you're somewhat familiar with the sky, but they are absolutely fantastic when trying to share your views with a group.

I'll second the book recommendations above (I own TLAO, and borrowed Night watch). In my opinion, Nightwatch did a better job explaining the hardware, though they're both great.

After going out a few nights, if you enjoy it, I emplore you (and everyone else here for that matter) to pick up Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. When you outgrow the beginner books, and get fed up picking random objects from the GoTo, this thing is absolutely brilliant.

u/sleepingsquirrel · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I own one, and I like it a lot. The biggest advantage that it has is that it is very portable. And since it is so inexpensive, you don't need to worry about it getting broken or lost. It is of course not going to give Hubble-like views. You'll be able to identify Jupiter and Saturn, but its strength is on things like open star clusters. It has a f/4 mirror, so it has a very wide field of view. I can still picture in my mind the awesome view of the Pleiades in close proximity to Venus last year. I suppose it is important to keep in mind that the Firstscope is not my only telescope (I have an 8" dob). Also it can be a challenge to align things to what you want to look at, so it will probably be best to get the finder option (or build one yourself from some PVC pipe and dental floss). Also, you can get it cheaper on Amazon. Overall, I think this is a much better first purchase for someone compared to binoculars, since you can place it on a table, and get steady views (heresy, I know). I'm probably the only person in the world to make degree circles for the Firstscope. Just keep in mind that this isn't a high performance instrument. It has a spherical mirror, and if you want to attempt to collimate it, you have to do it with secondary mirror only.

u/blablabliam · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

Hmm. Well, I really like Codyslab on youtube. He has some intersting stuff. Vihart uses to make some creative math videos back in the day.

If you want books, Richard Feynman wrote a bunch that are great. My favorite is "Surely you must be joking, Mr Feynman!" Which covers such adventutes as cracking the safes of the Manhattan project, sleeping on a bench the first day of his professorship, and his eureka moment with quantum electrodynamics!

A good textbook for a little light reading is the Big Orange Book, or the BOB. It is a good intro to all different subjects on astrophysics, and if you take it in college, this may be one of the books you need to get. Some solutions can be found online for it too ;)

u/BioTechDude · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Go slow. There are some good resources available to help you out. For your personal experience level etc, I can't recommend the book Nightwatch by Terrance Dickinson highly enough! It covers everything from basic astrophysics (like the scale of the universe, how big those stars really are out there, the life cycle of stars, some basics of why orbits are the way they are) to super basic star charts (identifying major constellations) and observing tips (what cool objects easy to find objects are in each constellation) to what the differences between telescope designs are. Nothing is above a 12th grade science level and it'd be really easy to slow things up for an 8y.o. + be a handy reference for her deeper curiosity for at least a while (I know I am a voracious consumer of knowledge... aka, a huge nerd, myself). You might even luck out and find a copy in your local library! My tiny rural college town's local library had a copy.

There is also a nice little youtube series called "Eye in the Sky" which are little, entertaining 10 minute segments about what interesting objects are in the sky for this week.

u/Aldinach · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Others have already mentioned it but join an astronomy club and download Stellarium. Here's a couple book suggestions:
Turn Left at Orion will get you familiar with some of the more interesting objects to look at in the night's sky. This is definitely a good place to start. You also want to pick up a star atlas to help you navigate the sky and find some of the dimmer objects in the sky. A favorite is Sky and Telescope's Pocket Star Atlas. Another favorite for new astronomers is Nightwatch which will educate you a bit more about astronomical bodies and the night sky.

u/tradwolley · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Any decent camera for astro-photography is quite expensive, several thousand $ or more. At your price range I would agree with the others and get good binoculars, they will provide a better beginning experience, especially for tracking faster objects.

In my limited experinece the biggest problem with low end scopes is the poor mounts which make it difficult to track and line up on objects. I did buy this scope ( and have enjoyed it even if the images are far from perfect due to distortion, much more glamorous for my kids than looking through binoculars and the mount is very stable, so I don't have too worry much about the kids moving it and losing site of what was there. It is possible to see the great red spot on Jupiter with it on a good night.

As far as pictures go, I am planning on getting a good DLSR with a good zoom lens once I can afford one. This will work for me for pictures of the planets, star clusters, etc. Then I hope to buy a tracking mount and trying my hand at some of the dimmer objects out there that require longer exposures.

u/AdventurousAtheist · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Ah gotcha. I wasn't sure the age of your son, but it's awesome you are looking for one for your young son and helping him to venture into the world of science. If I were you I'd just wait and find a decent scope on craigslist. If he is still interested in astronomy in a couple years then I would throw down some money on a scope. I think a smaller scope for seeing the planets and looking at the moon will be interesting for him. The Orion XT6 is pretty large, but they do sell a 4.5" model which would be a bit smaller and cheaper. Link

I wouldn't buy anything from Wal-mart or K-mart though, those scopes are kind of trashy. I used to have a Tasco when I was younger that I won in a fundraiser and I could see the moon and not too much else so it was kind of disappointing.

Best of luck.

u/astrocountess · 2 pointsr/Astronomy is also a good website for getting star maps. A potentially useful book isNightWatch. This is the one specifically, I am not saying buy it from amazon, just to give you an idea. It has some good basic astronomy concepts as well as telescope basics. Also, look for local star parties. You'll be able to find a lot of people who know a lot of good tips. Enjoy and happy stargazing!

u/DarthHM · 1 pointr/Astronomy

My favorites are:
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide,

A Guide to Backyard Astronomy (I found this one at a 2nd hand bookstore, not sure if it's still in print. This is my absolute favorite because of some great starhopping tours they put in the back)

EDIT: Here's an example of one of the starhop tours in A Guide to Backyard Astronomy.
The icons clearly indicate whether the target is a naked eye, binocular, or telescope object.

Of course there's the ubiquitous Turn Left at Orion. I can't say much about it since I've never actually gotten around to reading it.

Alternatively, check out
as well as Mr. Fuller's YouTube channel

The "Basics" playlists are damn good, and unlike a lot of other sources, the practical demonstrations on video make things super clear to understand.

u/OrionsArmpit · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

One of my favorite books about stargazing and basic astronomy. A "must have" in my experience.

Another one as you get into binoculars or telescopes is "turn left at Orion" which is all about cool objects in the night sky, how to find them in binocs/telescopes, and what they're gonna look like. Plus lists of objects arranged by light pollution/size of telescope. It's awesome for the "what to look for tonight?" questions.

It's also suggest getting a sky chart, or sky chart software. Both have good versions available free, like Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel. Learn to set them up to mimic the sky you actually see in your area (stellarium does this by simulating light pollution, cartes let's you filter by star brightness). These will help you learn the constellations, which is how you find things up there.

u/12stringPlayer · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Congrats on your first nebula! I'm always amazed at the ambivalence some people have about astronomical things. Years ago when comet Hale-Bopp was riding high, my ex and I had gone to visit another couple who lived in a pretty dark area. One of them knew my love of Astronomy, and asked about the comet. "It's up right now and spectacular!" was my reply.

We went outside to take a look... except for my ex, who complained that it was chilly and that she just wasn't interested. The other couple loved it, and we were out for a while looking and talking. When we went back in, my ex said "That took a while! How long does it take to look at the sky?"

BTW, you may be interested in my favorite book for small telescope owners: "Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them" by Guy Consolmagno.

u/AdaAstra · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Nightwatch is a pretty good book for beginner level that I find is better for those that don't have a telescope or binoculars. Helps give you the basics.

Turn Left At Orion is another good book for beginners, but it is better if you have a telescope or pair of binoculars to get the full use out of this book. It is probably the most detailed beginner book IMO.

Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas is a very good star map to use, though it is only maps. So it is good to use once you learned the basics.

u/akatch · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

This is an AWESOME book for beginners. It is full of information, available on Amazon (quite cheaply, I might add... at least when I bought it), and a lot of book for your money. The books contain a chapter on purchasing a telescope, but if you go with one of the older editions, just use their website for a more up-to-date telescope buying guide. The one thing it seems to lack is good star charts. Fortunately, this book is also readily/cheaply available on Amazon and is good for just that. I own both and they have been very informative. Good luck!

u/andrewpsu · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

I don't know if it's improved lately or not, but Tasco used to not have the greatest reputation. This sort of small refractor in particular is generally considered very poor.

I don't own one personably, but I've read generally favorable reviews of the Celestron Firstscope. It's less expensive, likely to be better quality, and much more portable. It's probably a good idea to also pick up the accessory kit for that.

Whatever you end up getting, it's probably not worth spending too much on unless you know you'll really like using a telescope. A cheap beginner scope will give you an idea of whether or not you like telescopes, and if you do, what sort of things in particular you like. Then you'll be ready to buy a better, more specialized scope.

u/TwistedHalo · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

I don't know your budget but this is a great telescope for a 9 year old and you wont be disappointed. It's durable and a really good scope that will last a long time. Maybe get a barlow lens because it doesn't come with one but it's the best bang for the buck. You will be taking this puppy out and orion has a great customer service. Here is the link

u/xeno60 · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Start by finding some astronomy clubs in your area. That would be very helpful if you wanted to get into stargazing. Most people would be more than happy to let you try out their telescopes. If you're near a university or college, try finding some astro groups there as well. Even if you're not a student it would be good to check it out. If you want to get into more astrophysics/cosmology I found this book to be a very well written introductory text It was the textbook I used in my intro astrophysics course. Other than that, there is always the popular authors that reddit likes. NDT, Laurence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, etc...

u/Gurneydragger · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I just got Turn Left At Orion that everyone on here recommends from Amazon. It was on sale for only $17 and it was worth every penny for finding interesting things in the night sky. A good star chart is nice as well, learning where stuff is makes the sky that much easier to enjoy.

u/Astutely · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Hey, sorry i'm a little late to the party. I just got the same telescope last week, and it is awesome! I just picked up a couple things.

  • A 2x Barlow Lens

    This One.


  • A Moon Filter

    This One

    The moon is still fairly bright with the filter, so you may want to get the 25% instead of the 13%, although im happy with it.

    I also got this sky chart, but it's obviously not that necessary. Keep in mind, i'm still a newbie, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt. Have fun! :)
u/Grays42 · 5 pointsr/Astronomy

Get an 8" classic dobsonian from any major manufacturer. I'd recommend this one.

A few reasons:

  • You can start seeing many DSOs at 6"-8", although you'll be mostly restricted to the Messier list. Most of the 12th magnitude or higher galaxies will be out of reach except in extremely dark skies, but there's a ton of other objects to see at 8".

  • A classic dob (no electronics) is fun, and teaches you how to star hop. Finding an object is as much of the hobby as viewing it, and digital setting circles or GOTO functionality ruins half of the hobby. You can do the automated stuff later when you're more familiar with the sky.

  • 8" is about the point where aperture-to-value peaks for most manufacturers, and it's a very manageable size. (Can easily fit into the back seat of a car.)

    More questions can be directed to the "beginners" guides over at the side-bar, under "Looking for your first telescope?". A lot of us are biased toward dobs because of the value and ease of use. If you want to go for a tripod refractor, that's fine, but in my opinion you won't get much out of them other than planets, the moon, and some star clusters or globulars. Aperture is cheap for dobs.

    If an 8" dob is out of reach in price, get a mini-dob or a good pair of binoculars. Don't get a Walmart telescope, those are garbage.
u/schorhr · 1 pointr/Astronomy

32mm Eyepiece 2" wide-angle

6mm eyepiece

15mm - consider buying at Corvus optics; At Amazon: Astromania ~€50, Orion Expanse ~€70

Skywatcher's full tube 8" is out of stock at Amazon. The Flextube's in stock.

The choice of eyepieces is a bit limited at Amazon. In general it makes more sense to buy a telescope at a astronomy store. Depending on what coupons you have, you might just get the accessories there, and buy the telescope at for example. The better accessories of the z8 will save you a bit of money, too, as you don't have to purchase a 2" wide angle overview eyepiece and the moon filter.

Cheap collimation tools

  • Cheshire-sighttube

  • Laser

  • Keep in mind the cheap lasers often have issues; Link to collimation tools again


  • Turn left at Orion

  • (...or simple stargazing, or...)

  • Optionally a planisphere


  • Can't find a cheap ironing chair on-the-fly; Look at some local discounters.


  • Random, budget moon filter, variable polarizing filter - (2" filters cost more but you usually observe the moon at higher magnifications and don't swap all the time anyway). Budget-budget: Sun-glasses.

  • Sky Glow filters: Limited effect. Driving out helps a lot more. IMHO not required

  • Nebula filters: You get what you pay for. Great to enhance the contrast for certain nebula types, but optional; OIII, UHC Filters for example.
u/KristnSchaalisahorse · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Turn Left at Orion is often recommended. It seems to be great for learning about navigating and observing the night sky with binoculars or a telescope and what you can expect to see.

I have the Backyard Astronomer's Guide, which is extremely comprehensive and teaches just about everything such as navigating the night sky, information about the various types of objects, observing with the naked eye, binoculars, and telescopes, details about different types of telescopes and accessories and how to use them, and a few sections on astrophotography.

However, it is a bit hefty and not super cheap. And it doesn't include a detailed sky atlas (but it does talk about them).

Stellarium is a very popular planetarium program. It's awesome. And free!

u/Big_Brain · 3 pointsr/Astronomy
  • Grab your copy of Stellarium
  • Learn these astronomy basics
  • Then look high at the brightest stars first, check their names,
  • Find the story behind them (constellations got stories in greek, roman, american, asian mythology...),
  • Ask yourself how big is that star, what temperature is it on surface, what's the difference between a blue star and a red giant star.
  • Whenever you see an object in space, try to find what it is it made of, its distance...
  • Find out the answers - many good websites provide this info.
  • Don't try to locate as much objects as possible (forget about the galaxies for now). Discover them slowly. Aim for the moon/planets and the brightest stars first. One object per night.
  • Plan your nights. Stellarium and here at /r/astronomy will help you.
  • As you advance, read about astronomy actually... Turn Left at Orion and more books...
  • Then it will be time to go deeper in space for the clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Fellow astronomers at Reddit are already recommending how to upgrade your equipment to a telescope.

    Welcome aboard.
u/caturdayz · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

By far my favorite area of the sky to explore with binoculars is Sagittarius, as another commenter said below.

Buy yourself a good sky atlas (the de facto standard for my club is and get to know how the charts map to the sky. That book is good because it holds up to the elements, is spiral-bound, and if you hold it at arm's length, the distance scale should be about the same as what you see in the sky.

Cruise around the sky and find some of the easier objects and that will give you a good feel for star-hopping and what you can expect to see from your equipment.

Clear skies!

u/Delicious_Kittens · 1 pointr/Astronomy

The best thing would be for his parent to read this book and make a decision based on that. I'd be a little concerned to set someone up with a GOTO or computerized scope if they aren't "good at the internets." The amount of finesse in getting it aligned and up and running properly is fairly high if you're not already experienced and/or patient.

The book steps you through the differences between the types of telescopes, specific recommendations for beginners at different price points, and how to use, clean and care for your optics. It also gives basic tips on stargazing and learning your way around the sky. I can't imagine throwing someone into the deep end without a corresponding book, unless they will be happy looking at the moon and bright stars or planets 99% of the time.

u/plytheman · 1 pointr/Astronomy

If you're looking for a book I got NightWatch a few years ago and I've been pretty happy with it as a crash course in astronomy. It's not the most detailed book you'll get, but it's a great introduction. There are a few chapters that go into some (quick) science on everything from the Sun to the planets to deep space objects, a chapter on choosing a telescope, and one with a brief overview of astrophotography. It also has some basic charts for each season and then maybe 18 or 20 more detailed charts focused on the constellations and interesting DSOs to be found near them.

Due to being broke and too wimpy to stand out in the cold this winter I haven't taken the next steps of getting a telescope or more detailed sky atlas but I'd certainly recommend at least stopping at the library to find the book if not buying it.

u/A40 · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

Look up a book or two on star hopping, like Nightwatch or Turn Left at Orion. These are incredibly fun to read and will inspire a hundred nights' viewing - and learning to star hop (finding and identifying things up there by their relationships to other things) is a skill you'll use every time you look up.

As to getting a telescope, my first (I still use it sometimes) was a $20 yard sale find - sold by Sears sometime around 1970. Binoculars, any telescope, and a "viewing list" are what I'd recommend to start having fun.

u/False_explanation · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Lots of people use the 8" for pics. I have one, but I don't have a good enough camera yet. From what I've read and seen, it really is just as easy as buying a t-ring and the adapter.


And this:
(assuming it fits your camera)

Should be all you need. However, if you don't have one of them motorized mounts, you won't be getting the best pictures of up close stuff. For me, Jupiter leaves the scope in about 20 seconds max. Then again, I view it through my bedroom so the scope sits on carpet. And I have the springs on, so maybe that's messing with it too.

Anyway, I hope I helped. Can't wait to see some pics!

Edit: what kind of camera do you have? I'm in the market for one.

u/whiteskwirl2 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Haven't used that one, but it's 5.1 inch, so that's plenty big enough to see Saturn. Good eyepieces are key, though, to getting a good image. I had a cheap Meade 4 inch and it did okay. The model you link to included 1.25" eyepieces, so that's a good start. I haven't been into that stuff in years, though, so I don't know what else is available on the market.

EDIT: This one might be a better choice:

u/sharkfrog · 1 pointr/Astronomy

There are some great links on the side about choosing a first scope. Your best bet would be to buy some binoculars first and learn the night sky. You'd be surprised how much you can see with something like this, and you'll still use them when you move up to a telescope. As far as telescopes are concerned I see these recommended again and again for beginner scopes.

u/themarinebiologist · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Thanks for posting back. Is this the telescope that you were talking about?

Anything you can tell me about it would be helpful. My dad has wanted a telescope for years and I really want to find the perfect one. Thanks!

u/Kijad · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Get a moon filter for next time - pretty cheap and makes for some fantastic moon-viewing as it reduces a lot of that extra light.

Fun fact that I didn't realize (I was looking at it a couple nights ago) is that the side visible in your photograph actually comprises the locations of the moon landings. Pretty neat!

u/mojorific · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

Buy the book The Backyard Astronomer's Guide.

It will answer so many questions you have in getting started. It is a bit more expensive, but it will save you tons of time and money that you may spend on the wrong thing down the road. It's one of those books that comes in handy all the time when learning about astronomy.

It covers the basics of telescope types, what you should expect to see, what to avoid, where to look based on where you live, etc.

You need to learn a few things before you can fully enjoy a new hobby like this. It is a great book.

u/arandomkerbonaut · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I wouldn't recommend the 127 EQ for anyone. The mount is too wobbly and it's just not a good scope in general. With that budget, just get a tripod and some really nice binoculars. You will get much better views with it. I personally have these binoculars. They are great, you can just spend hours looking at random portion of the sky just gazing in them. They also show things like the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and the Pleiades really well.

u/granitehoncho · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Get a pair of good binoculars. You can do a lot of viewing with something cheap and easy as this. Make sure you have a tripod, so you can stabilize it, since it is a heavy binocular. You can use an L-bracket to mount it to a tripod.

Join a local astronomy club and attend a viewing night. In my local club, about 10-20 people show up and bring all of their gear. You can learn a lot about telescopes, mounts, optics, etc. by viewing the constellations through different types of scopes. Also, many clubs have a telescope lending library. I borrowed a 16" Dobsonian telescope and kept it for a month. I saw pretty much all of the Messier Objects with it and didn't have to spend $2000 for a telescope.

u/evwark · 1 pointr/Astronomy

The 10mm and 25mm eyepieces are a pretty good start. I'd want to pick up something closer to 40mm for a widefield view, too.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think you can actually mount your DSLR to this telescope. There's some threading around the eyepiece holder, isn't there? If you remove the eyepiece, that's T-thread male, and it'll connect quite securely to a camera (with an appropriate T-ring). DSLRs can't really track the sky for long exposures (unless you build something like an equatorial platform for it), but lunar photography is certainly an option.

u/davedubya · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Get yourself a good star chart, observing guide or phone app. Learn about what you can see in the sky and then point your telescope, see what you can find.

Planets - Jupiter rises quite late at night at the moment. Saturn sets not long after sunset. The Moon would be a good target to start off with.

DSOs - Some will be harder to locate that others. With a Dobsonian, you can learn to starhop and it becomes easier with practice. Some will look amazing, others will just be faint fuzzies.

u/AlexC77 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Yes, you should definitely go buy a book.


    "Turn Left at Orion" is a great month by month guide to the sky, and will give you realistic expectations of what you can see. I still use it and check off things in it that I have seen.

    Try for M13, it's hard to miss in a scope... and I swear you can see it with your eyes as a smudgy star. It will be in the east in the evenings, decently high up.... north of Vega.

    If you can find Vega, you're not too far from M57, the Ring Nebula, but that may be pushing it.

    Stick with the big bright clusters.... until you get good at star hopping.
u/bearadox · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I would invest $50-100 in a good pair of binoculars before you invest even more in a telescope. Telescopes are much more stable and customizable (namely in terms of changing the eyepieces/magnification), and you'll be able to pick out details like the rings of Saturn which you won't get from binoculars. However, they require a larger investment, more setup time, and are not nearly as portable (a big deal if you want to do some stargazing on a hiking trip). They're also just more complicated to use, at least at first.

A few years back I purchased some Skymaster 15x70 binos. They are quite powerful and work well on a tripod. However, there have been systemic issues with the lenses falling out of alignment over time. This can be fixed by adjusting a few screws (you can Google it), so if you don't mind a bit of mechanical work I can recommend them.

u/Aegean · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

The problem with binos is that you'll never be able to hold them steady enough to study things. You'll need a tripod and mount.

Nevertheless, enjoyable viewing can be had with a good set.

Here's what I'm working.

Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 $75

70-Inch Pistol Grip Tripod with Bag $55

Total Cost ~$140 shipped

This is slightly more costly than most decent starter scopes.

Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope ~$133

If money is of little object, get a basic scope and the binoculars I stated earlier. You'll enjoy having both capabilities and it will help you hunt down objects. Also fun for people who come with you to have something to do while you work the scope.

I will say that binoculars get uncomfortable if you're not laying down, or sitting naturally and even then it can get tiresome on the eyes and neck. Nothing beats a telescope imho. You can learn the sky and develop good habits just the same.

u/Tomallama · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I've heard from a lot of other people as well to start with an 8". I think I'll take everyones advice on that I saw one like the 10" you sent me, but an 8" instead.

Also, for $30 more they have this option which to me sounds like it might be worth it?

It seems like it's cheap enough to do what I want and I still have leftover money to get some accessories with it. Filters and such? I'm not sure of everything that I would need.

u/troytop · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I'd highly recommend getting hold of "NightWatch" by Terence Dickinson. An excellent book with annotated star charts which note what can be seen with various types of equipment under various conditions. Lots of great advice to a beginning astronomer.

u/penguinland · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

> how can I find dark locations near me to look at stars?

Go to the physics department in your school, and talk to the professor who does astrophysics. He or she probably knows what to do. If this doesn't work, see if there's an amateur astronomy club in your city, and go to one of their meetings (they're likely to have monthly stargazing parties or something).

> Are there any photography-specific telescopes out there

Assuming you have an SLR camera, get a T adapter and T ring. The T adapter replaces the eyepiece of whatever telescope you get and makes it easy to hook T rings on, and the T ring has the same mounting mechanism as the lens to your SLR camera. Make sure to get both pieces made by the same company that makes your telescope, and get the T ring that's the proper size for the maker of your camera.

If you intend to do deep space photography (i.e., very long exposures of very faint objects), you'll need a computerized mount so that the telescope can keep the object in view as it moves across the sky. In particular, it should be a computerized equatorial mount, so that the object in your field of view doesn't rotate as the telescope tracks it. Nearly all computerized mounts are equatorial, just double-check that you don't get one of the unusual ones. Unfortunately, these tend to be expensive. It's much cheaper to start with a non-computerized mount and to photograph bright things like planets.

u/robmillerfl · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I got one of these a few years ago although my weight setup is slightly different than yours; they changed it. I did remove the attached finder and added a ScopeStuff StarFinder Mount for my green laser:

I calibrate it during the day off someones license plate, etc. to get it centered in the eye piece.

Oh yes, be sure to get a collimator... The mirror was pretty off when I got it out of the box. I also got three 5 pound divers weights that contain shot for the tripod that I lay on the tree points in the tray area. It's not all that sturdy.

The Celestron Accessory Kit also helps too:

If you have any questions, let me know!

u/ab_ra_ca_dabba · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Book that you want is Carroll & Ostlie's Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. This is the standard Astronomy textbook.

It assumes you are aware of Differential Equations and Atomic Physics.

EDIT: At a slightly less advanced level is Ryden & Peterson's Foundation of Astrophysics. Peterson writes very good papers and Ryden has another book called Cosmology which is pretty good. I have not reviewed/ used this book so my knowledge is slightly iffy on this one.

u/docdaa008 · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Also an owner of the the XT8 dob. It is my first telescope and has been great fun so far. Setup and calibration was easy too. You can also get it with a beginners barlow kit.

Possible con: It weighs around 40 lbs, so if you want a really portable scope it may not be your best option.

u/Soggy_Stargazer · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I second the finder, although I will recommend the rigel over the telrad, especially on the smaller scope.

I would also recommend NightWatch which is an excellent beginners guide as well.

u/achamp1121 · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I have these as well and paid about $30 for them used. Excellent binoculars. OP I recommend getting them with the tripod you linked. The binocular adapter that comes with it isn't very good you may want to buy another one. I got this one for like $10:

u/john_o · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Carol and Ostlie is pretty much the undergraduate astrophysics textbook. It's likely that you'll have to get this book anyway if you're going into an astro program, so you might as well get a head start if you're sure you want to go into this.

kyliethesilly asks a valid question, as this book is fairly math intensive and assumes a lot of knowledge of calculus and differential equations. However, I got this book early on in my undergraduate career (before even learning how to solve differential equations), and I think exposing myself to the material was helpful.

u/hereinpassing · 4 pointsr/Astronomy

Upvoted both for the scope recommendation (yeah, a 6" Dob would be as decent a scope as you can get for $300) and for the advice to try them at a star party. Let me put it another way: at this stage, you don't need to buy a scope, you need to learn about scopes and what you can see with them. Once you know more, you can decide what scope is good for your circumstances (what you can do with the same 6" Dob in a big city vs the country side is very different).

Read [this book][]. It will take you to much higher level of understanding of amateur astronomy. You may decide to buy a bigger or different scope, you may decide to be content with a 6" Dob or you may drop it. All of these happen. A book such as the one quoted will help you figure out which is the right thing to do for fewer $$ than scope. Enjoy.

u/kami77 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Dobsonians are great for beginner scopes. Get the largest aperture you can afford (6 inch, 8 inch, etc.) aperture is the most important factor. For example, a 8 inch scope gathers four times as much light as a 4 inch scope.

The star thing is a nice thought, but not official I'm sure you know. You are paying for a fake certificate to print out basically.

I would recommend this book in place of the star thing

Probably the best beginner book IMO.

u/wintyfresh · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas is great if you're just looking to identify constellations. Turn Left at Orion is geared towards people with/wanting telescopes but is great for showing you how to navigate your way around the night sky.

u/Zorbane · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

I got these a few weeks ago and they've been great.

I was able to see jupiter's moons, and even caught a very faint glimpse of M31 (Andromeda). I was finally able to check out the moon during Halloween and the detail that I could make out exceeded my expectations. While it was pretty small even through the binoculars for the first time looking at the moon actually felt like looking at a piece of land, for the lack of a better term, rather than a white ball in the sky.

Note you'll need a tripod for this because it is quite heavy (3 pounds) and there is no way you will be able to hold it steady.

u/redneon · 6 pointsr/Astronomy

Get a pair of 10x50 binoculars and a copy of Turn Left at Orion. Don't rush out and buy a telescope. The most impressive things I've seen have been with my 10x50s. Using that book and learning your way around the circum-polar constellations is a great way to get started.

u/Nail_Whale · 8 pointsr/Astronomy

I hope your neighbor gets better. That being said you can see a lot with that scope! I'd recommend checking out the book took left at Orion. It's gives instructions and list a bunch of different objects in the night sky for beginners.

u/SurlyTurtle · 1 pointr/Astronomy

I have a pair of these and like them just fine. Not sure if these were the ones mentioned in the previous thread, but the "somewhat heavy"" and "best with a tripod" descriptions would apply to these.

u/Stubb · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Whatever telescope you end up getting, pick up a copy of Turn Left at Orion. It's a step-by-step guide to finding and observing a hundred different celestial objects with a small telescope.

I've had great luck using the book with Starmap Pro to find my way arond the night sky.

u/HenryWillo · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Thanks for the recommendations.

I'll definitely be getting a Barlow (most likely this kit), especially if I get an Orion.

I love your astrophotography! I never knew there was equipment like the Optron Skytracker or the Vixen Polarie, it's a different equipment approach to astrophotography. I'll probably be getting a scope first, but I may explore getting telephoto lenses for this in the future.

u/wallyfoggle · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

I bought the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars with Tripod Adapter for a Christmas gift to myself and the family. Although I've only used them once before wrapping them, for every star I saw with the naked eye (which is less than a dozen on a good night with all the light pollution) I saw at least two dozen more looking through these. And that was holding them with my shaky hands. They fit on a standard camera tripod.

u/kofrad · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Corrent me if I'm wrong but aren't the ones in your link the same as these?

Thanks for the link though, I think the detailed specifications just sold me on it. Being in Florida and planning on primarily star-gazing near a canal the water proofing definitely stands out to me. The lifetime warranty even more.

u/acangiano · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

> I am looking for a really good telescope that is between 100 to 150 dollars...200 would be pushing it. Does anyone have any good recommendations?

There is no "really good" telescope within your budget. An 8" Dobsonian would be ideal but it costs $330. Stretching your budget a little you could get a 4.5" one for $230.

u/kraegar · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I highly recommend "Turn left at Orion" - it's a book that's available here:

It lists, by season, what's in the sky, which constellation it's in, and rates them for binoculars, small telescopes, and Dobs. Doesn't have a ton of objects, but really gives a good start to people just getting into the hobby who are looking for things to see.

u/kukkuzejt · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

Basically, the larger the diameter of your telescope, the more light it collects and the more distant and fainter objects you can see. Also, more light means you can magnify the image more (by changing the eyepieces of the telescope) without it getting to faint to see properly.

I'm only at the research stage into my astronomy hobby at this point, so I can't really help much, but go onto youtube and there are lots of videos of sights through telescopes. Start by searching for "my telescope" and take it from there, and look up prices for the scopes you see.

Turn Left at Orion and NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe seem to be the go-to books for understanding what objects you can see through different telescopes and where to find them, though I haven't bought either of them yet.

If you're really good with your hands, you might want to try building your own telescope for cheap.

u/Slugywug · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Imho it looks vastly overpriced for what it is - the standard 650mm FL celestron tube with a computer mount.

Better would be this

Or maybe a dobsonian

Also allow some room to buy some eyepieces

Check out the links in the side bar.

u/reggiecide · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Turn Left at Orion, in addition to being a great beginner's book, was originally written for people in urban areas with small telescopes.

u/frid · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Another great book is Terry Dickinson's Nightwatch.

u/dearastronomer · 1 pointr/Astronomy

Got some binoculars? A good set will let you view the four Galilean moons.

If not, try this:

Good little "grab and go" telescope for $40. Despite the price it's well built and NOT a toy. ;-)

u/OdySea · 1 pointr/Astronomy

What budget are we talking here? On virtually every astronomy sub/site you'll find this little beauty being recommended.

u/dm86 · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I actually think I found a better eyepiece/filter kit earlier while shopping around on Amazon:

u/Irost · 3 pointsr/Astronomy

I have a Celestron SkyMaster
which i like very much. With the one you linked, with such high magnification, you would require som sort of pod to keep it stable, or else you'll tremble too much to see anything.

u/Sycosys · 1 pointr/Astronomy

ah fair enough, Left Turn at Orion is highly recommended by folks around here.

u/kryptovox · 7 pointsr/Astronomy

A few things:

  1. Download Stellarium

  2. Pick up a copy of Nightwatch

  3. This is a good series on YouTube that covers some of the basics.
u/Astrosherpa · 5 pointsr/Astronomy

Great start on the binos. I have the same pair. Make sure you have a tripod though and I'd highly recommend upgrading the bino holder to something sturdier. For example: BARSKA Binocular Tripod Adaptor

The adapter that comes with those binos is a bit flimsy, so it can shake a lot while you're trying to spot things. That gets quite frustrating and fast. Otherwise, if you don't have a tripod, get used to laying on your back and letting the binos rest on your upper cheek while you hold the far ends with your hands to help make it more stable.

For your first scope I'd go with something like this.

Just as much aperture, but much cheaper too! That means money to put towards decent eye pieces!

Equatorial mounts are great for go-to scopes, tracking the sky, and Astrophotography. But they have a steeper learning curve for beginners. You have to balance them out, polar alignment them, carry them around in pieces, and if they aren't substantial mounts they tend to be a little shaky. If you plan on upgrading the mount to a full go-to do to Astrophotography, then you should plan on purchasing a mount that is up to the task. I.E. 1500.00 (USD) and up from there, just for the mount.

Dobsonians are so much easier to use and frankly are my preferred viewing for visual astronomy. Just aim the thing and look. You just have to track by hand, which correct me if I'm wrong but you would have to do that with the scope you selected originally. The dob I linked to will collapse for easier transport too.

At the end of the day, you want the scope that you're most likey to use. For most beginners that means something simple. Set the thing down and start watching the sky. Otherwise, you might get caught up being frustrated with balancing it and polar aligning and then the odd movements an equatorial mount will seem to make, etc.

Anyways, that's my recommendation.

u/bravo_delta · 1 pointr/Astronomy

In in the same boat as you. But I did purchase these with the recommendation from another Redditor. I'm waiting for them to arrive.

Also look up the Astroscan telescope. It's about $250 and suppose to be really good.

u/citysquirrelly · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Here is a book I really like for just what you are doing - observing manually (with a red flashlight). The fourth edition specifically mentions it now has SOUTHERN star charts.


NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe Hardcover-spiral – September 12, 2006

by Terence Dickinson (Author), Adolf Schaller (Illustrator), Timothy Ferris (Foreword)

ISBN-10: 155407147X

ISBN-13: 978-1554071470




u/irokie · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

I see from your other comments that you're in the UK. I got this scope and I'm in Ireland, so I know from experience the anguish of having the scope set up and it being cloudy for three weeks. It takes a bit of time to get used to the Equatorial mount, but once you do, it's awesome.

Once you've gotten the knack the scope, if you can justify it to yourself, get this set of accessories: With the 8mm and 6mm eyepiece provided here, you can clearly see the rings of Saturn. Jupiter's been down since I picked up this kit, so I haven't had a chance to observe it with the more high-powered eyepieces, but damn, Saturn is exciting. When I get home, I'll upload a shitty Saturn pic that I took through the eyepiece with my cell-phone.

u/Up-The-Butt_Jesus · 2 pointsr/Astronomy

Get an Orion XT8. Big enough to see cool shit, small enough to be transportable. That'll cost you 350, or 400 bucks if you get the version with a barlow lens. Barlows are great for planet viewing, as they make everything 2x bigger.