4
$\begingroup$

I’ve never purchased a telescope and I was considering buying one. However, I wasn’t sure what to look for. I love to tinker and so a telescope that I can program with libraries such as SPICE would be great. Any ideas?

$\endgroup$
2
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Astronomy Stack Exchange! I feel like this question is sort of opinion based... What does everyone else think? (By the way, I have little to no expertise in telescopes, so I'm very sorry that I can't help) $\endgroup$
    – MystaryPi
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to start by doing some stargazing (or planet gazing) with binocs just to see if it's something you like doing. Then decide whether you want to observe, or to get into photography. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 15:04

2 Answers 2

2
$\begingroup$

One project you could work on is an Arduino-based Go-To telescope system. You could use, in theory, any scope that can accommodate the addition for this purpose. Also, it's my understanding that any Go-To system that can be connected to a computer can receive custom scripts you could write. At least, I know it's true for the NexStar system.

In my opinion, it's best to start with a simple Dobsonian telescope from a reputable dealer, without any programmable components. It will force you to learn the sky well before you start observing. And it will serve as an entry-level introduction to the world of telescopes.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

What do you want to be able to see with it?

The previous answer recommending a simple Dobsonian is my usual recommendation. An 8" or larger Dob is very easy to use and offers the best price to aperture ratio. And aperture is the number one consideration in an telescope for visual observing.

When you start looking at computerized mounts, you find that you lose out on capability and quality unless you're willing to pay a lot more. While you can get a decent 8" Dob for under $500 USD, any computerized (what we call GoTo) telescope in that price range will give you about half the aperture, and all around mediocre to poor quality.

Before buying any telescope, my first recommendation is always to find your local astronomy club and join up. In the US, memberships typically cost $50 per month or less (usually less). By going to star parties, you can get a look at a wide range of telescopes and learn their capabilities before you buy.

If and when you do get a GoTo telescope, I'd look into ASCOM (AStronomy Common Object Model). The ASCOM group is an open group of developers that work to provide a common interface for telescope control. Each vendor has their own standards, but ASCOM seeks to bridge the gap. There are drivers and plugins available to handle most of the popular vendors and manufacturers' hardware. This goes not only for the telescope mounts themselves, but for some imaging systems, observatory control systems, planetarium software, motorized focusers, etc... You can learn more about it here.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .