comparing telescopes for a beginner
I'd like some advice on a telescope selection for a beginner. It will be used for astronomy, by several people, ranging in age from 8 to 30, none of whom have used a telescope before.
I would like to keep the price around $100, but I do understand that's a low starting price for a telescope(Honestly, I didn't think I would be able to find a quality telescope in that range, it's good you are having a sale!).
Because they are so deeply discounted, I've been looking at the Bushnell demo models, in particular, the 675x5 and the 100x4.5. I'm torn between the two--the 675x5 seems like it comes with a lot more accessories, and I think the equatorial mount might be easier for a child than the unusual cradle mount of the 100x4.5, but the 100x4.5 seems more portable, and maybe easier to learn?
Can you steer me in one direction? I am now leaning toward the 675x5, even though it's a bit more than I planned on spending. Can you tell me the advantages and limitations of each?
I appreciate the help!
The difference between the Bushnell 675x5 reflector and the Bushnell 100x4.5 compact reflector in terms of durability and simplicity favors the Bushnell 100x4.5 Voyager. With this telescope, there is nothing to setup or get knocked out of alignment. Just set the Voyager on a flat surface, say your picnic table in the backyard, and begin observing.
In terms of versatility and performance, the Bushnell 675x5 gets the nod. This is primarily because of its equatorial mount which will make it easier to track objects at higher magnifications. Yes, it is a lot of telescope for the money.
I would strongly suggest, however, that you spend a little more money and step up to a model with a better quality mount than the 675x5. Two excellent choices are the Meade 114 EQ-A Model 4.5" F/8 Equatorial Telescope, http://www.opticsplanet.com/meade-114-e ... 04055.html, and the Tasco 1000x114 Galaxsee Reflector, http://www.opticsplanet.com/rasco-1000x ... axsee.html. The investment will pay off in more hours of trouble-free use.
Lastly, I always sugeest a spotting scope as an alternative for an astronomy beginner. If interest in astronomy wanes, you still have an excellent telescope for daytime viewing of wildlife, scenery, and so on. Be sure to choose a model that uses interchangeable astronomy eyepieces such as the excellent LOMO 60zm (now on sale) http://www.opticsplanet.com/as60zmzoomsp.html
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