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  1. Thanks everyone, some really useful info! And it seems dark skies to be the biggest factor My telescope is a Skywatcher 130p. My original post made it seem like I'm disappointed with the scope, which I definitely am not, it's more curiosity as to whether filters would allow me to see even more. I'm off next week on a week-long trip to in the middle of nowhere with no un-natural light, so I'm hoping for some clear skies to see some really amazing things! I think I'll not worry about filters right now and see how much of a difference the dark skies make compared to my highly light-polluted back garden. I'm definitely intrigued by both the O-III and the UHC filters so I may get those at a later date. Thanks!
  2. Hey! I'm just wondering if contrast is achieved by using higher quality eyepieces or filters, or is contrast just an aperture thing? I've managed to see a couple of nebulae and they are amazing to look at! I'm just wondering whether buying a new ep/filter of any kind increases contrast to see a few more details? Or is it all down to the power of the telescope? Thanks!
  3. Thanks Alan, I'll make sure I take a look! I have downloaded Stellarium, although it behaves a bit weirdly on a mac with the touch-scroll magic mouse so I'll have to get used to that! Seems like it could be a good tool though! Thanks!
  4. Thanks everyone for your replies and for further advice hippie, (or anyone else), are there any recommendations on EP's? I don't really have anything to spend so I was just going to get another cheaper Skywatcher. Are there particular brands that are or aren't good? any that I should avoid or others that you always use? Thanks!
  5. After weeks of being unsure what to buy I eventually went with the Skywatcher Explorer 130p with Supatrak AUTO tracking mount. It arrived and last night was a beautifully clear night to get it out in the garden and take a look. After everyone telling me to go for a larger telescope instead of the 130p I was expecting much, much less. I was very ready to be disappointed. But to my amazement what I got to see was unbelievable. I didn't look at much, as I just wanted to get a feel for how the telescope works and understand what all the eyepieces do, so I spent much of my time on a few objects changing the eyepieces. I managed to see Jupiter perfectly, along with it's belts and it's 4 Galilean moons, something I definitely didn't expect to see. I knew I would be able to see Jupiter as a disc but being able to see the belts on my first attempt I'm very happy. I then had a look at a few smaller constellations/clusters, one of the best being the seven sisters, which looked amazing. My last challenge was the Orion nebula and again I was amazed by how well I could see it. Everything I tried to look at, I expected not to see, or not to see very well, and everything amazed me. The only problem is now I want to spend loads more money! I only have a 10mm and a 25mm eyepiece at the minute, so I would like to get what people seem to call a high-powered eyepiece, something around a 5-6mm? And possibly a moon filter, as I was also amazed by how bright the moon was. I could only look at it for a few seconds at a time. I'm very happy with the Supatrak mount as well, I wasn't sure if I would like having to use the handset to move the scope, but it is so easy, and I can't imagine using an EQ mount as my first, or at least, if I did have the EQ mount I wouldn't have spent so much time looking at the objects I wanted to as I would be understanding the mount more than the sky. Anyone else considering the Skywatcher Explorer 130p I would say definitely go for it, I wasn't sure, and after buying it I still wasn't sure if I had got the right one, but to say I'm pleased with it is an understatement. I didn't expect to see a fraction of what I could actually see!
  6. Thanks everyone for your advice. I think I'm swaying more towards the 130p with the altaz supatrak mount. I did consider the 130p heritage as the benefit of collapsing makes transport easier and the dob mount does seem good, but it still seems like I would need to put it on something else to use comfortably, using it on the ground seems like I would have to crouch down or kneel on the floor. I think for now the 130p suits me, and I might consider upgrading to a much larger Dob in a couple of years.
  7. Thank you to everyone for the advice! The Dob's are definitely much bigger than they look in the white-background retail photos, which is why I thought they were table-top. I can see the appeal now! Although to me they look much less manageable transport-wise than a reflector on a tripod. The problem seems to be the size, I can see the benefit of the all-in-one mount, but the size seems much larger than a folded/compact tripod, the reflector seems much easier to transport? I just need to decide on the EQ2 vs the Supatrak Alt-Az now
  8. Thanks JG, the Dob's have been intriguing me. Everyone seems to recommend them, but they look like table-top scopes to me? or are they just relatively big and still stand on the floor? The reason I hadn't looked at a dob is exactly that, they looked like they have to sit on top of something else. Something with a tripod would be much more useful to me.
  9. Thanks Cussine, My main hopes are to view some detail on planets and the moon (the rings of saturn and jupiter), and some of the brighter galaxies/nebulae if that is possible with a scope that small. I'm not entirely sure what the EQ mount does different to the Altaz? you say you had no need for the EQ, does that mean there is a specific purpose to the EQ mount other than just being more stable?
  10. I was almost there, deciding on my first 'scope to buy, 99% decided on the Skywatcher Explorer 130p (EQ2 mount). But then started reading about Reflectors being bulkier, more difficult to transport, and the challenge of collimation. So now I'm back to wondering if a refractor would be a better beginner scope? The Explorer 130p and the Startravel 102 (Same price on an EQ1 or Altaz mount) are both around my price range (£150 - £200) with the startravel being the slightly more expensive of the two. I have read that an EQ mount is much better, it just takes a while to learn how to use properly, which I'm not fussed about if it is that much better. So my real question, is whether collimation is an easy task? or is it worth starting on a refractor so I don't have to worry about that straight away? Or is the 130p significantly better than the 102 and I should just worry about collimation when it comes to it? I will also be transporting the scope quite often, does anyone have any recommendations on how to transport it? In a bag or in a case? etc Thanks!
  11. Thanks to both! Is the GOTO really worth the extra straight away, as my first 'scope? I'm torn because I really didn't want to spend more than £200 right now. I could probably stretch to £217 for the supatrak, but I'm not sure if I could go all the way to £285 for the GOTO model right now. Is it a waste of money to go for anything less than goto?
  12. I forgot to post links/prices, from First Light Optics, the 130p is £165 and the ST AUTO version is £217: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p.html http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-supatrak-auto.html
  13. Hey all! My first post here. I've been interested in astronomy for as long as I can remember and am only now able to buy a 'scope. After trawling through so many websites, articles and forums I've come to the conclusion that the Skywatcher Explorer 130p is probably best for me to start with. My main goals to start are to look at planets and if possible, bright galaxies/nebulae. Maybe some fine details on the moon too. I initially wanted a refractor, but after reading I think a reflector is a better choice? So, if the 130p is the right choice, what about the SupaTrak AUTO version? It's an extra £50, and I can't decide if I should go for it or not. Having the ability to point at an object and not have to worry too much about re-aligning every few minutes would be handy, but is it worth the extra £50? Having never used a proper telescope at all I'm clueless. Any advice appreciated!
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