I went 'round the houses' deciding which 'scope to get. At first I wanted something portable & easy to set up and use. I wanted to observe DSOs primarily, but realised that with a portable telescope this might not be possible. This is when I started to become realistic about my expectations.
My choices went from a 5" goto Mak - Startravel 102 - WO Megrez 72 - Nexstar 6se - 8/10 goto flextube Dob:rolleyes:
Finally I decided that: A) Aperture is king. If I get a large enough 'scope, I can just observe from my SSW facing balcony. C) Sod my disability, whatever I do, I'll make it work.
Skywatcher Skyliner 200p - €299
The delivery man turned up with the two boxes. One with the mount/rocker box flatpacked, and the other box with the OTA. This box was HUGE.
I started to put the mount together. This was pretty easy, even in my 'condition'. The instructions were easy to follow, putting the base/mount together was easy.
Upon opening the big box, I found the OTA, nicely protected by plenty of polystirene. It looked rather big, but not overly so.
I took it out of the box and decided to dive in with checking collimation. My laser collimator (which was collimated itself) told me that the secondary mirror was way out.
I tried and tried to sort this, as I turned the adjustment screws, nothing was happening. This got so frustrating that the telescope nearly got sent back. I finally found answers here: Astro Babys Guide to Collimation (thanks Astro Baby).
It appeared that the secondary mirror holder was mis aligned somewhat. After this was fixed, the rest of the collimation process was pretty straightforward.
Attatching and aligning the finder scope was straightforward as well, but I HATE the inverted up/down left/right finder scope.
I decided to have a little 'go' last night. This wasn't a proper first light. Putting the OTA on the mount was easy. I managed to do this myself.
When I got a break in the clouds, I put in the 25mm stock eyepiece and just looked.
I first did a star test to check it was correctly collimated, all looked good there.
I didn't look for anything in particular, I just really enjoyed 'gliding' around the sky for an hour or so. The beautiful, sharp, clarity of the masses of stars was enjoyable enough in itself.
I found operating/moving the Dobsonian so easy. The way you can 'glide around' with such ease was really enjoyable. The movement was so smoothe and fluid yet 'obedient'.
Today was a beautiful day, so I knew that 'tonight was the night'.
(Yes folks, the curse of the new 'scope even happens in the South of France)!
Driving back from Narbonne, the sky was so dark and clear; lods of stars were visible.
I set the 'scope up, got the eyepieces and bits out and checked collimation. Alltogether this took 5 minutes. (I keep it on the balcony so no need for cool down time).
25 mm eyepiece in, off we go. First stop, yep you guessed it, M42.
This was so easy to find with the simple, smooth movement of the Dobsonian mount. The detail in the cloud was beautifuly vivid, not too faint thanks to the Tripezium.
Followed by a glide around the upper Orion region. Lost myself, loved it.
Next up, a change of direction. Again, gliding around, I stumbled across a beautiful double star in the Pyxis area. One blue, one orange, the colours were stunning. I stayed and stared at this for a good few minutes.
Again in this area, I found a beautiful cluster. No idea which one it was as I was just enjoying 'gliding around' so much. So easy! Stunning bright stars made such a bright picture framed in the 25mm's field of view.
Then a look over my shoulder, and I saw Saturn had risen above the apartments which he hides behind in the evening. Turn the 8" Dob around, find Saturn in the finder scope, then in the 25mm ep, then change to a 6mm to give 200x magnification, focus, and there he was. The first thing to strike me was how bright Saturn was.
Plenty of detail, nice gaps inbetween the rings and the planet, and I can't tell you much else because I was blown away, in my own little world.
What I can tell you is that it was pretty easy to 'nudge' the Dob everytime Saturn went out of the F.O.V., although this seemed to move faster through the eyepiece as he got higher in the sky.
Then it started to get a bit chilly so I decided to 'pack away' which again, everything tidied away and caps on, telescope pointed vertically and tucked away into a corner took 5 minutes.
All in all a very enjoyable evening, made so because of the ease of set up and use of the Skyliner 200p.
Did I mention how easy I found this 8" Dob to use?
Or that I think it represents incredible value for money! One of my major impressions of this package is how much telescope you get for your money.
There aren't any gimmicks. The 'features' are few; yet the ones that are there are very useful and well thought out.
For example the eyepiece holder, the carry handle on the base, the tension handles and the nifty teflon pad are subtle, but are right there when you need them.
BUT Skywatcher, why oh why don't you put right angle finder scopes on your Dobsonians?
So to sum up:
Build quality: 5/5
Ease of set up: 4/5
Ease of use: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
A simple to set up, easy to use and well built package which does what it says on the tin beautifully well at an affordable price.
I'm so glad that I chose the Skykliner, that I didn't go for tracking or go to.
The fun for me is in the searching!
P.S. Thanks to everyone on SGL who has answered my many questions.
Edited by Orion_the_Hunter, 06 March 2011 - 03:02 AM.