Astro Dog’s relationship with Kson means you can customise your package just the way you want, at the best possible price. We offer an excellent beginner telescope package. None of the telescopes we supply are toys, ‘children’s telescopes’, cheap gimmicky plastic telescopes but are serious telescopes suitable for a beginner certainly, but designed for a lifetime of viewing pleasure.
It all starts with the mount
We recommend a ‘Goto’ mount. These do everything a manual mount does (you can move it around), it tracks (moves with the object you are viewing – manually you need to constantly move it, often resulting in the target being lost and being hard to find again) and is available at such a low price point, that we don’t recommend you start with anything else. There are other advantages – do you have ten AA batteries ready to go? Probably not – for that reason, we supply an Australian adaptor – just plug it in, and it will run. No need to mess around with anything further.
The Kson Light Goto Mount bears up to 5kg of weight and has all the wonderful software features of its far more expensive cousins. Unlike some other Goto mounts, which ‘select’ stars for you to hunt (which may not be visible / behind trees etc..), the Kson Goto lets you align it using the stars/objects you DO see – even planets! Simply pick bright stars / objects you can easily find, identify them with your iOS app of choice, teach the mount where it is before it will work for you.
Let’s add a Telescope
Now that you have added the mount to your cart, let’s move on to your telescope. A reminder that if your upgrading from an existing telescope, you don’t need to add a Telescope package. Just attach your own. You will need to have it attached do a vixen style plate to attach it to the mount though. We currently offer a choice of four different telescopes.
The Kson CA80 is an 80mm, f/5 400mm aperture refractor that offers great views of bright deep space objects such as M42, the constellations and lunar views with a maximum magnification of 160x. Although it is the introductory scope in the range, with a keen eye and dark skies, you can see nice details on the planets, the moon and you may even some details of distant quasars. On Saturn, you should be able to see the disc and rings with high power, globular star clusters (they will be faint). The key advantage of this over the next model, is that it takes up very little room, is highly portable and very light weight. Unlike the CE102, it does not need to be collimated as it is a refractor. An 80mm refractor shows about as much as a 102mm reflector again, due to its inherent design strengths.
The Kson A102G is a standout refractor, an amazing visual tool. As a true 102mm refractor, is offers to show you a huge amount of objects in excellent detail. The 20mm extra aperture might not sound like much, but it allows in 40% more light compared to an 80mm. Despite it’s exceptional 102mm aperture, with the dew shield retracted, it is a mere 700mm in length and is not difficult to handle. It’s f/6.86 focal ratio means it also enjoys more flexibility in working well with different types of eyepieces than an f/5 and controls chromatic aberrations better.
The Kson CC90 Maksutov has a 90mm aperture, a 1200mm focal length f/13.33 and features a built in focuser. Mak’s very good optics (with amazing magnification), and are sturdy and robust. The CC90 is very portable, light and amazing for planets and the moon. They excel at lunar and planetary objects as well as double stars and clusters. Although they have a narrow field of view, stars are typically pinpoint from edge to edge, and they have excellent contrast. Like the reflectors, Mak’s need to be collimated, so you’ll get to enjoy learning that aspect too. They have a narrower view than other telescopes, and the 32mm to 8mm are the useful range of eyepieces. They are also very good on bright planetary nebula and bright emission nebula like M31, M51, M81 and the trapezium (four lovely little stars) in M42 looks great with a Mak.
A reminder, that if you already have a telescope, no need to add one – as long as your existing one has a vixen plate, or can be attached to one, you will be able to connect it to the Kson Light Mount.
The Essentials to Align your telescope
Too many Telescope sellers don’t tip you off about alignment. To make a Goto actually work, you need to enter quality information into it. Sadly, near enough is just not good enough when it comes to alignment. Your alignment needs to be dead on – if not, you can get odd results – like your telescope pointing at the ground thinking it’s looking at the moon. That means it is not good to enough to have the star in the ‘middle’ of the view, you need it in the middle – exactly.
The equipment you will need for this is the mount, the telescope, a finder (either the one supplied or the upgrade) and – importantly – an illuminated reticle eyepiece (it is an eyepiece with a crosshair in it – so you can precisely see what is in the middle).
Here are the steps to align your telescope.
1 (During the day) – Read the manual (it comes with an excellent, perfect English manual) and put it all together. Attach the default finder, or the quikfinder (for the best possible experience, we recommend upgrading to the QuikFinder by Astro Systems – it’s worth it). Take it outside, and set up the tripod. Don’t attach the motor drive. Yet.
2. You need to level the tripod. It makes a difference, it is good practice and not difficult. To do so, we suggest grabbing the app called ‘PS Align pro’ (iOS / Sadly not on Android) which has an amazing perfect level built in and is ad free. It costs $2.99 and is a fantastic investment. Don’t skimp on it.
3. Attach a reticle eyepiece to your telescope.
4. Attach your motor mount to the levelled tripod and then wait until late evening when the stars are visible.
5. (During the night) Point the telescope using the up down, left, right buttons on the Goto. The telescope will start moving around, and so will, of course, the finder is which attached to it. A red dot finder paints a red dot over the star. When you look into the telescope, you will see it is actually off. That is because it’s the first time your using these two instruments together. You adjust the red dot finder up and down, left and right until both the red dot finder and the telescope have exactly the same target.
6. Using the menu, you can opt to do a one, two or three star align. I recommend a two. What you want to do is align them on opposite ends – not to close to one another. This allows the mount to get a better position. When you do so, you will be prompted to move to the first star. What do point it at? Use a tool like Skyguide (iOS) (also on Android via Google Play)
7. Point it at something bright – I recommend Alpha Crux, Alpha Centauri, or something similarly obvious. Move until it is precisely in the crosshair of the telescope. You can adjust the speed at which it moves. It is worth slowing down when your close. Hit enter. You will be prompted for another target.
8. Do the same again, but this time select an object in a different area of the sky. You can identify good objects with your phone app. Once entered, it will confirm alignment.
9. To test, tell it to Goto a target you can see. If you got it right, it will move to that target. If it is slightly off, you can adjust it again to center it, but it will track and move with the target.
So, what do you need? An illuminated reticle eyepiece is best – and the quikfinder is something you will never sell, even if you upgrade your telescope or mount down the track.
We are currently adding the reticles to our stock – check back in a few days.
The Telescope of course, is essential, but the best telescope will perform poorly with poor eyepieces. Astro Dog automatically upgrade you from the two lower quality plastic standard Hygen eyepieces to a lovely 1.25″ 20mm Plossl made with optical glass which will have great views across the range. We also include a free barlow, which doubles the magnification of the included Plossl to 10mm. The barlow will do the same for any other 1.25″ eyepiece you buy. To really enjoy what the Cosmos has to offer, we recommend grabbing a eyepiece kit either now, or down the track. The Astro Dog Eyepiece Kit is exceptional and complements your eyepiece and barlow.
Astro Dog do not include certain items in the kit. We don’t include color filters. The general consensus is that people do not use them as for all the good they do, they add an unpleasant distracting hue to whatever you are looking at. When you are beginning, you probably won’t appreciate the difference they make, and they can be picked up for just a few dollars separately. The kit doesn’t include a barlow as we provide you with one right from the start. We don’t include a second eyepiece that is the same as the one you got with it, which is what most other kits do. Additionally, some provide a 20mm and a 10mm, which is pointless, as a 20mm eyepiece with the barlow is a 10mm.
Astro Dog do provide a range of eyepiece types, so you can experiment and learn about the strengths of each eyepiece type we include. This is great for when you add even more eyepieces later. We also provide other essentials that genuinely expand the use of your telescope and are practical and useful, including a light soft case (not a clunky aluminium one you won’t take) a proper light pollution filter (an O-III – not just an UHC) and the best and ROR – a cleaner for your eyepieces should they get fingerprinted.
Add your discount, pay, and await delivery!
Astro Dog have a special discount for first time buyers, a $20 discount code. Use code FIRSTIME to apply the discount to your cart.
When we get your order, we order it same day, it is prepared, packaged and sent within 72 hours and is usually delivered within 10 days. Enjoy the skies!