Camping telescope - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-29-2016, 07:49 PM   #1
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Camping telescope

I'm interested in buying a telescope for camping. Without the light pollution from the cities, the night sky is beautiful and would like to see a little more of it. There are so many types of telescopes and binoculars out there to choose from. I'm looking for something small and yet rugged. We have a 17 foot Casita so that doesn't leave us with a whole lot of room to spare for a giant telescope. We're not going to be using it all the time so I'd also like to find one that is reasonably priced. I've read about a couple of them on the forums but most are outdated. With so many changes in technology and manufacturing, new and better models are coming out. I'd like an opinion from the experts about an entry level telescope that can be easily adjusted and hopefully comes with a case.

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Old 09-29-2016, 08:19 PM   #2
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I looked the hobbies section of this web site and didn't find anything. I would suggest that go a local astronomy club and ask them. Failing that There's lots of reviews. I would suggest that you one with an equatorial mount, easier to keep on target with earth's rotation. Celestron is probably on of the more popular brands.

If you want a really good dark place try Death Valley. It's a designated a dark place.

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Old 09-29-2016, 08:46 PM   #3
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I suggest you do extensive reading or internet studies prior to buying anything. It is really a personal choice based on how you plan to use the scope.

You might be better off looking at a good spotting scope that could also be used for bird watching or looking at scenery during the day.

Both Celestron and Meade, among others, have many spotting scope options at different price points. Some scopes will allow interchangeable eyepieces for night viewing.

Personally I have a Celestron 6SE telescope which is portable at about 40 pounds. This one is good when you go some place and stay for awhile but requires a bit of set up and battery connection. I also have a Meade 97D spotting scope that seems to be a better choice for quick viewing while Scamping on the weekend (I can see the rings on Saturn and craters on the moon).

There are lots of good used scopes available from local club members or eBay.Take your time to figure out what you want to do with a scope–and then enjoy the evening sky.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:17 PM   #4
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If you have an iPhone, be sure to get a star map. Neat stuff, point your phone at the sky, it finds and tells you what the constellations are that you're looking at through the telescope. Easy to use stuff for a novice like me. There's several available, some for free, some at a nominal cost. This one, for instance is free:
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:10 PM   #5
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How much money are you willing to spend? To me a Tele Vue 85 with a bino-viewer (double eyepiece holder) and three pairs of eyepieces (short, medium and wide) would be a great travel scope. But it ain't cheap. Then you need some kind of mount for it. Go to Cloudy Nights web site and look around.
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Old 09-30-2016, 04:40 AM   #6
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You might consider an Astroscan. It's a very portable rich field ( think wide angle) 4" Newtonian telescope. They were made by Edmund's Scientific for years but went out of production a couple years ago so they are only available used. Ebay, Craigslist. Expect to pay $100-150. They came in a complete kit with a carrying strap and 2 eye pieces for a couple hundred bucks new. A google search will tell you all you need to know. Raz
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:36 AM   #7
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Camping telescope

Start out with a good pair of wide angle binoculars 7x50 or 8x56 and a book on binocular star gazing before you invest in a telescope you will be amazed at what you can see. You can move from spot to spot in the sky quickly and the lower powers can be hand held steady, not so much for 10 x. You will find this is the recommendation of most in the field.
If you find you don't like it you still have a good pair of binoculars useful for birding and checking out the neighbors.

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Old 09-30-2016, 06:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
If you have an iPhone, be sure to get a star map.
And if your DON'T have an iPhone, first.. congrats on not drinking the Apple Kool-Aid. And Second, the same or similar app is available for Android. I had one on an Android tablet and IMHO there is no better way for a amateur or budding astronomer to learn the constellations and other night sky features (esp since it's free).
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:50 AM   #9
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Orion GoScope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope | Orion Telescopes and Binoculars

Or pick through some of their beginner or intermediate telescopes.

I have an 8" Newtonian reflector (Meade) with an equatorial mount and motor. It's fine but I don't bring it anywhere other than my back yard or a star party. It's not heavy (broken down into it's travelling state), but certainly it's bulky. Plus, as with many reflectors of that day, there is some fussing with mirror alignment after a hard transport. I was interested in deep sky objects and Schmidt–Cassegrain's (that's astronomy talk) of equivalent lens size were way over my financial head.

I have a variety of binoculars some of which I pitch into the Casita but in the end I bought basically a glorified spotter scope (a refractor which means it's all lenses, in a line, much like one barrel of a pair of binoculars and an aluminum tripod, medium duty. Basically an earlier version of the one in the URL. Mine has removable optics and some/most of my eyepieces from the "real" telescope work with it as well.

Your basic purpose-built telescope will generally present an inverted and/or inverted and reversed image. You get used to it but it's more aggravation than its worth to a newcomer. You want something that presents the image right side up and not reversed. They make lenses to do that (usually a prism type device, also known as a "diagonal") that aren't expensive but you should identify the need before you go.

Cloud nebulas, and other deep space objects, you're probably not going to see them with beginner level scopes. Well, I don't're in Texas and I expect you've got some really dark skies. Planets and moons, some brighter celestial objects, sail boats on the bay, bald eagles, etc. You're good to go.

A mount that rotates to counter earth's rotation generally adds a level of expense you may want to defer until you have a better feel if this is a long term hobby. They make telescopes that you just tell it what you want to look at (star-wise...none of that peeping tom stuff) and it moves the telescope right to the spot. I haven't surveyed the market in a few years so who knows what's hot today.

Don't worry, there's lots more to spend your money on in the astronomy hobby. But my sense is that you should get something decent to start with or else you won't give the hobby a fair shot.

Lastly, if you're an eyeglass wearer I have two words for you to keep track of when looking at specifications and they are "eye relief". More is better when they share that information.

Well, that's officially TMI..So, back to your regularly scheduled program...
Without adult supervision...
Quando omni flunkus, moritati.
I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:57 AM   #10
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Hey. This Gordon likes Kool Aid. I'm waiting now for my new 7+ to come in from Chek Lap Kok.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:39 AM   #11
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Phones are like trailer brands, love the one you're with!
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:17 PM   #12
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I'm with Michael on getting a pair of good lightweight binoculars first.
Don't get the ones that look like "H"'s (roof prism inside) unless you get the very expensive ones. The more traditional looking ones that have a "porro prism" inside are better for astro as long as you don't go for the cheap stuff.

Steve gave good advice on many things.

My best recommendation for you also is to find a local astro club and go to their "star parties", that way you get to find what you like. To bad it's almost Oct. The Texas Star Party is one of the bigger ones (from what I've been told, never been there), but it's around May.

I don't know where you live, but in Houston there is "Land Sea & Sky"


Binoculars Telescopes Microscopes Spotting Scopes Marine & Nautical | Land Sea & Sky | Houston Texas | Land Sea & Sky

I've never done any business with them directly, but they are one of the major players for Takahashi scopes and mounts.

My opinions for what they are worth:
- Small refractors are very tough and will take some abuse. Stay away from anything with a f ratio above f/8 (tube gets longer and field of view gets narrower (which makes it harder to find your targets).
- Reflectors (like Newtonians & Dobsonians typically offer the most bang for the buck. You will have to learn how to collmate (align optics).
- Schmidt-Cassegrains (SCT's) are generally thought of as jack-of-all trades master at none scopes. They sometimes will need to the collimated. I do have a 8" Celestron SCT that I've owned since the 1980's that I've never needed to, unlike my 11" and 14" Celestrons. Even though they are native f/10, (the 14" is f/11) a reducer/corrector will bring it down to f/6.3. But the one thing that nobody will tell you that a SCT or Mak version will need a dew shield to keep the corrector lens on front from dewing up in high humidity areas. The dew shield will make the scope more susceptible to wind.
- Mount, whatever type you decide is right for you, don't get a cheapy with weak tripod legs. Vibrations that take forever to dampen out have killed a lot of peoples interest in the hobby because its difficult to see the object that you're looking for.

Remember, the above is just my opinions and may not apply to you.

Some of my gear:
Celestron 14" Edge SCT.
Celestron 11" SCT (formally a N11GPS that I removed the fork mount from).
Celestron 8" SCT (my oldest scope, also removed the fork mount from it).
APM/TMB 152mm refractor.
Takahashi FSQ-106N astrograph refractor.
Lunt LS100mmTha double stacked hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.
Celestron 4" MCT (formally a N4 something or other that I deforked also).
Coronado PST, a 40mm hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.
Software Bisque Paramount MX+ German Equatorial mount (100lb photographic payload.
Takahashi NJP German Equatorial mount. (No longer in production.)

Good luck to you,
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:47 PM   #13
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Wow thanks for all the information. Now I need to figure out what it all means! Lol! Binoculars telescopes, reflector! Donna I did drink the Cool Aid! I had to, I don't get very good service at work and have to rely on wifi for texting. iMessage works great. I'll let you know what I buy and why. I like the binoculars idea but also the reflector telescope because of the size.
Thanks again,

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Old 09-30-2016, 08:57 PM   #14
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Wow Paul, that's quite a collection you have. I like that you have a variety of telescopes to choose from ad understand the pros and cons of each. I got to see through binoculars and reflector telescopes, with the San Antonio Astronomy Club at Guadalupe State Park. This is why we became interested. I was going to ask at one of the astronomy forums, but I knew there would be some very knowledgeable FGRV members that would understand the pros and cons of camping and camping in a 17 foot FGRV.

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