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I want a telescope

- but not an astronomical one

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Fowlers Fury25/02/2021 20:50:05
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A lot of justified support above for a spotting 'scope to meet your needs.
A tripod is essential and the 'scope needn't cost a fortune. At the Midlands ME exhibitions some years ago, there was often a stand run by a Chinese (?) lady who sold various optical devices. I think I paid GBP70 for one of her spotting scopes with tripod and coated lenses. Its performance is impressive even if the focus control knob is a little imprecise. Here is a composite image taken with a Leica Q2 of a cement works about 2.5 miles away. It shows the images taken at x25 and x75 with the camera via a home made adapter coupled to the 'scope. (For posting this, the image size and resolution has been much reduced).

spotting scope.jpg

Mick B125/02/2021 22:07:56
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Posted by Tim Stevens on 25/02/2021 20:42:21:

...

Thanks for all your comments. I was particularly impressed by one of you who said: 'I sometimes take a WW2 military Scout Regiment ... on walks'. Especially as they must all be at least 90 by now.

Regards, Tim

It's a telescope: 'Tel. Sct. Regt. Mk.IIs' made by Broadhurst Clarkson & Co. of Farringdon Road.

Of course, I thought everybody would know that...

wink

Mick B126/02/2021 09:34:43
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One telescope through another at about 16 miles - Jodrell Bank seen from 'The Mermaid' at Thorncliffe near Leek.

This was shot by a Canon compact through Negretti & Zambra's 'MacLeod' stalking telescope on a Bushnell tripod using a home-made clamp and camera adaptor.

The elevation mech on the big radio telescope uses training racks from 15" gun mountings salvaged from 'Revenge' class Grand Fleet superdreadnoughts - so maybe it's the only radio telescope that fought at Jutland?

jodrell thro n&z mcl 35x 16ml.jpg

Frances IoM26/02/2021 10:09:01
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and I'm one of a select group who have been up to the prime focus of the beast ! - admittedly many many years ago before the rebuild
Neil Wyatt26/02/2021 17:42:20
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Posted by Tim Stevens on 25/02/2021 17:23:33:

Hello

As this lockdown runs into the better weather (again) I find myself staring out of my windows (again). My view extends to about 4 miles away along the English-Welsh border, and I need something steadier than binoculars, so I think a telescope on a stand would be very handy.

Most of the auction-style adverts are for gazing at the heavens, but I suspect their magnification is much too high for me. Perhaps something with zoom from 10x to 30x - does that make sense?

I need advice, then, on what to look for, and where to look. And can I get anything useful under, say £100 ?

Many thanks
Regards, Tim

You've had some good advice regarding spotting scopes Tim - I have and 'Aldi/Lidl' one myself and it's not bad considering it has zoom and was quite inexpensive. I bought it on the recommendation of a very experienced birdwatcher.

The main issues with astronomical scopes are:

1 - They usually rotate the image upside down or flip it right-left, unless you have an 'erecting prism'. You can get erecting 'extensions' supplied with very cheap astro scopes but these are usually so poor as to not being worth bothering with. I have a 1250mm catadioptric scope (a Celestron C90 Mak) ideal for long-distance birdwatching as it is compact due to the folded light path and is supplied with a 45-degree prism that gives a correct image. It is sold for both astronomical and spotting scope use. With the supplied 40mm eyepiece it gives 30x which is possibly rather more than you want, but optically it is very good.

2 - As you might guess, newtonian reflectors with a 90-degree bend in the light path are impractical as terrestrial scopes.

3 - There are plenty of short focal length astronomical refractors, a 400mm one will give you 10x to 40x with a selection of eyepieces or you could invest in a zoom eyepiece. Magnification is eyepiece focal length/scope focal length. The best quality ED and APO astro scopes make excellent birdwatching (and photographing) scopes.

4 - ideally get a scope which will fit on a camera tripod, many larger astro scopes won't do this easily. Many astro mounts are 'equatorial' and very difficult to 'point' at terrestrial objects. I do have one mount that is an oddity converting between equatorial and alt-azimuth.

Another idea, for your budget, would be to get some slightly more powerful binoculars and mount them on a tripod. This can be very comfortable to use, yet few people realise most decent bins have a cover screwed into the front of the joint that allows a cheap generic tripod adaptor to be fitted.

This is a 'slim version' for roof prism bins, cost about £8 from Harrison Telescopes but I bet you could make one if you havve a 1/4" UNC or Whitworth* tap and die.

* Camera tripod screws and sockets are deliberately made loose so both UNC and Whitworth fit!

Neil Wyatt26/02/2021 17:44:48
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Posted by Mick B1 on 25/02/2021 22:07:56:
Posted by Tim Stevens on 25/02/2021 20:42:21:

...

Thanks for all your comments. I was particularly impressed by one of you who said: 'I sometimes take a WW2 military Scout Regiment ... on walks'. Especially as they must all be at least 90 by now.

Regards, Tim

It's a telescope: 'Tel. Sct. Regt. Mk.IIs' made by Broadhurst Clarkson & Co. of Farringdon Road.

Of course, I thought everybody would know that...

wink

My dad has a 4" by ~20" sighting scope of an anti-aircraft gun in a wooden case. It weighs about 25lbhs, must be loads of brass in it. He doesn't understand why I am reluctant to use it for astronomy

Neil

Mick B126/02/2021 18:40:29
1857 forum posts
92 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 26/02/2021 17:44:48:
Posted by Mick B1 on 25/02/2021 22:07:56:
Posted by Tim Stevens on 25/02/2021 20:42:21:

...

Thanks for all your comments. I was particularly impressed by one of you who said: 'I sometimes take a WW2 military Scout Regiment ... on walks'. Especially as they must all be at least 90 by now.

Regards, Tim

It's a telescope: 'Tel. Sct. Regt. Mk.IIs' made by Broadhurst Clarkson & Co. of Farringdon Road.

Of course, I thought everybody would know that...

wink

My dad has a 4" by ~20" sighting scope of an anti-aircraft gun in a wooden case. It weighs about 25lbhs, must be loads of brass in it. He doesn't understand why I am reluctant to use it for astronomy

Neil

A Scout Regie is a 22 x 2" - it only weighs a bit over 2 lb.

20x -odd isn't much for astro purposes and 2" gives little light grasp.

I did get a decent moonshot once with a BC &Co 'Super 60' 3" big-game telescope on max mag.

But generally I use my 6" Celestron NexStar for astro, though I don't get results anything like yours... blush

larry phelan 127/02/2021 12:59:37
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They do say "The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune " cheeky

Neil Wyatt27/02/2021 14:07:17
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Posted by larry phelan 1 on 27/02/2021 12:59:37:

They do say "The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune " cheeky

Rarely true about telescopes, at least as far as the optical performance goes, although some vintage mirrors are very good.

Although it can be fun to use an old scope from time to time, I have a little 60s/70s Tasco that gives lovely views of the moon.

Neil

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