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General Decent beginner telescopes

Tracy

Dark Sky Lover
Founder
Messages
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Location
Texas
Telescopes

William Optics 103mm
Celestron NexStar 8SE


I'm looking at starting a local astronomy club up, and would like to try to get some decent suggestions on intro level telescopes that aren't astrophotography quality, but would be great to introduce new users to the beauties that exist in the cosmos.
The first one or two I'll probably end up buying out of my VERY limited pocketbook, and if it takes off may contemplate going (in the US) a 501(c)(3) entity and pursue donations for more equipment from local sources.
Probably 2-3 "decent" beginners scopes are all I can afford out of my pocket, but would prefer to maximize the return on the expenditures.

Any suggestions for a SOLID beginners telescope and/or binoculars setup that would help get new people interested in the field by actually being able to see stuff that looks different than simply "looking up at the stars"? I don't have "deep pockets" so the best bang for the buck suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. This is NOT astrophotography level equipment, but simply hardware that would allow them to seem ore than they can with the naked eye and yet not be disappointed that they can't actually "see stuff".
I realize that much of the STEM instruction is sorely lacking in our schools, especially here in Texas with WAY to much emphasis placed on sports, which only the SMALL portion of participants will ever be successful at. The hard sciences are where the greatest chance of moving forward are.

I have my NexStar 8SE that I'm more than willing to use for them, but realize that I would need some more introductory level equipment than a $2000 setup in case they show interest. Few parents are willing to plop down $2K for their kids, but wont' blink an eye at a few hundred.
 
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