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Anyone know about telescopes?

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OH very interested in night sky so thought about telescope for birthday pressie. Does anyone know what sort of entry- level price I should be looking at and also is there a minimum specification that I should aim for.

I know that it all comes down to quality of the lens but don't want to spend mega money in case it spends most of its time on a shelf waiting to be dusted.

As always, any help gratefully received.

Thanks in advance
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If you are really interested in the night sky buy the most expensive Telescope you can afford the bigger the aperture the better aim for dustbin lid size reflector

If its a good scope it can be programmed to search or give a tour, the small telescopes can give an insight but to see galaxies and nebulae on a powerful telescope its wonderful
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I can recommend Meade telescopes, amazing quality and they have really come down in price in recent years.

You can pay a LOT for one of these but at the more sane end of the market they do some excellent 'scopes with computer control (which make life so much easier and more interesting)

If your budget will run to around £360  then THIS is worth considering.

Tip:  To set the scope up properly you will need to know your exact position on Planet Earth, fortunately this is easily done by checking out your car sat-nav ! 

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There is a cheapy lying at the farm....my father bought it for my mother in her final years and it never really got used. Knowing my father, it probably cost under a hundred quid from Maplins or somewhere like that.

Its about 3 feet long and maybe 10 inches in diameter.

The instructions are long-gone. It has two different eyepiece things that slot into the side of it. With one, I can get a decent close-up of the moon, but the other gives nowt. I dont know if its operator error or if there is something wrong or another part missing etc.

The one thing I will say is get one with a decent tripod and adjustment system. This thing is incredibly frustrating as the adjustment is crap - almost impossible to get fine movements, which is vital as within about 20 seconds the earths rotation will mean the moon has moved out of sight and the scope needs shifted slightly.

A chap I work for has a better one which has heavy counterweights that must weigh a pound or so each on the movement axis and the adjustment is done via screw threads with the crank handles on flexible driveshafts so no vibrations are transmitted to the scope as you crank it.

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