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My heads spinning now, really need some advice:)


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Hi guys, i really need some advice if you can help me..

Background-bought a jessops TA800-80 cheapy a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, iv decided too save for a better telescope and up until now i have had the skywatcher 250PX in mind.

Id like too view DSOs as best as possible and have read that this telescope will be perfect for that..However i do live in quite a badly light badly poluted area, so i am wondering will i even be able too see anything? my back garden gets quite nice and dark but it is a built up area.

Other family members are also getting interested in astronomy, my father has asked me if id like too go halfs on a telescope and im happy about that-hes willing too put in half the money for the big dob..but i dont want him too waste his money if its unlikely we will be able too see much.

Hes been looking at the Celestron powerseeker 127 eq currently for sale at argos..and thinks it would be a good starter scope, and i think it could be too. But i understand a fair bit of its price (179.99) will be with that EQ mount. He is quite interested in this as there is one locle we can collect today-must admit that interests me too:P

How user friendly are EQ mounts? how much more could we realisticly exspect to see compared too the jessops TA800-80?

Id like too just say "yep get the biggest dob possible" but im strugling too work out whats really our best option.

Any help would be really appreciated:)

Edited by Madhatter
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I have to admit that all my experience with dobs has been at dark field sites and so I am unsure how well they work under very polluted skies. But as to the 127 it will be a great improvement on the 80 that you have. I may be mistaken but I think that the powerseeker has a spherical mirror and for that reason I would get the skywatcher 130p its pretty much the same price and will certainly be better optics. although you will not be able to go to argos and pick it up. just a thought

Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130P I do know that if flo have it in stock you will not have long to wait

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Hi Rowan, thanks for the quick reply! you may have just saved us on an impulse buy hehe!.

Is a spherical mirror a bad thing? i do like the looks of that 130P the tiny extra size sounds good and i like the red dot sight, iv read some bad reviews on the finderscope that comes with the 127EQ.

Is there any reason why the optics would be better on the 130P, is it lacking anywhere else?. Again optics were something that didnt get great reviews on the 127EQ and it dosent make much scence too me spending that money then having too buy lots of new EPs, it would seem better too buy a better telescope that comes with good EPs as standard.

Thanks for your help:)

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Hi MadHatter,

I'm not in your local area, so I can't comment on different models available at your local dealer, but I can offer some general comments that will help.

1. NEVER purchase a scope with a sperical mirror. Poor focus, inability to collimate properly, steadily degraded performance with magnification and very poor contrast that kills deep sky views. Enough said on that!

2. A 200 to 250mm dob will show you many thousands of DSO's, but the increase in size (and mass!) is very significant. Much more so than you might expect. If your Dad is going halves with you, make sure he can lift and operate it himself. (none of us is getting any younger!) Seeing one in person is essential with a big scope. Bigger scopes also are more difficult to transport and set up - this is part of the reason for SkyWatcher's 'flex tube' dobs that collapse for easier storage & transport. A bigger dob can also be "stopped down" with an aperture mask to make a killer lunar and planetary scope. If you want details on that, PM me - it is very easy to do and costs almost nothing. Your 250mm f/5 can easily become a 125mm f/10 off-axis crater killer for the moon!

3. Light pollution effects can be significantly reduced by three simple steps. A) Put a long dew/light shield at the front of the scope to keep stray light OUT. (12-inch tube extension of vinyl or similar cheap plastic held on with velcro works fine. :) Get a shroud to wrap your open tube dob to keep stray light out. Again, very cheap, black spandex held on with velcro works and looks great. C) use a 'monk's hood' (basically a dark cloth over your head) to shield your eye and the eyepiece from stray light. It looks a little kooky, but it works great.

4. A larger dob can be had with a non-goto computer that helps you find and point to objects - even in light polluted skies. This is not a magic bullet, you still need to align it properly - but all this takes is a bit of practice, you'll pick it up in no time. These can also be used without the computer for when you can't be bothered or don't need it. (no one needs a computer to find Jupiter or Luna, for instance.)

Lastly, a visit to the local astro club's public outing would be VERY HELPFUL before you buy. Try them out and "ask the man who owns one", so to speak. The visit is free and may save you a very expensive mistake.

I hope that helps,

Dan

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We have also been considering the skywatcher 8" dobsonian, its only £100 more..But if we bought that we could not really afford to then buy better EPs , any idea what the EPs are like with the 8" dobsonian?.

That seems a good mixture of both worlds..but then i cant help but think if were gona get the 8" why not save for the 10".

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The main difference is the parabolic mirror, it brings the focus down to a finer point giving better resolution and clarity. as to the eyepieces the stock eyepieces on any of the proper scope manufacturers is pretty much of a muchness. the general opinion is that the 20mm is fine and the 10mm is pretty awful and if they come supplied with a barlow they are generally awful. On the budget end of reflectors it tends to be if they don't say parabolic they are not. bigger better reflectors have parabolic mirrors as standard.

Edited by rowan46
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Having a 250px myself and having street lights nearby (including the taller one's for an A road roundabout!), My experience with the scope has been fantastic. Just a few precautions needed to avoid what I call 'direct' light pollution (whereby you get direct from street lights). I fixed this as best I could firstly with a large dew shield on the end. It makes a huge difference to contrast by stopping stray light reflecting on the secondary mirror. Also I used various boards up in trees for my viewing/imaging sessions to block any lights from my eyepiece positions as best I can. As for 'indirect' light pollution (the sky above affected by lights in the surrounding area)... this varies alot night by night. But its always good to remember, the sky is only bad if it has murk up there to relfect the light back down to us. If we have a blast of Northerly wind or very 'clean' sky, sky conditions can be very good for deep sky on these sometimes rare occasions enabling me to see some very faint galaxies and the like.

Matt

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thanks for your awesome advice! Certainly very helpfull, Thats really good too know that any light polution can be greatly reduced:)

I think both me and my father getting down too the locle astronomy group could be a problem as he works earlys and is limited with time, but i have shown him a video on youtube of someone assembling the 10" dob, so he can get an idea of the size- manovering it shouldent be a problem strength wise as he does a hard job, but he is about 5.8 ft tall so that something too think about.

"A larger dob can be had with a non-goto computer that helps you find and point to objects"

Thats really interesting too know! do you know if these can be added at a later date or must be bought with the telescope?.

I dont think we could afford too upgrade so what we get now is prob what we will stick with, im really thinking 10" dobsonian again now:)

Are the standard EPs that come with skywatcher dobs good enough so we wont need replacements for quite some time? if we did stretch to one i dont think we would have much left for extras, but could upgrade if needed at a latter date.

Thank you all for your quick responces, you just saved us a costly mistake! im really glad i came here and asked questions first!.

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as to the 200p dob I believe that they are again difficult to get hold of as suppliers have been trying to shift the backlog of orders. It's the most popular scope in the country at the moment as there is no other scope that has such a good price to performance ratio.

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I have found some for sale on ebay, from a seller with a perfect feedback record over 3500 sales, and recent positive feedback for exacty the same telescope (8" skywatcher dobsonian) . Im soo close too pressing the "Buy" button! lol.

How much extra can you see with the 10" ? im guessing a fair bit, but there has too be a damn good reason that 8" is the most popular scope in the country! £150 each 8" seems quite good, i think halfs in on the 10" would be more like £240 each.

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If you want to buy a telescope for astronomy, then my advice would be to ignore eBay & Argos until you know what you're looking at. Better to visit an astromony shop, or if you don't have one nearby, give the chaps at FLO (First Light Optics) a call - they sponsor SGL and the link is at the top of the page.

I have a Skyliner 200P on a dobsonian mount. It isn't powered and doesn't have goto. It's a simple telescope which gives me the maximum performance for my money. Comes with a 25mm & 10mm eyepiece. The 25mm is fine, the 10mm isn't great, but both will give you good views as you start observing. There's plenty of time to buy better eyepieces in the future.

Clear skies :)

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Always a little apprehensive about anyone getts the biggest scope they can as a first option. You may use it for a few months then give up. A lot do.

Also as previously said larger diameter means heavy. It is amazing that while nice and big, a heavy scope can simply put you off bothering to get it out in the first place. Someone very recently sent back a 10" once they saw the size of it.

DSO's will be easier to see with a large aperture, but if the light pollution is high then they simply merge into the pollution.

Suspect that the scope is f/5 so it will need collimating at regular intervals, also it will benefit from decent eyepieces at the shorter focal lengths. Which is what you will want for any magnification.

Any chance of locating a club that you could visit and that is holding a public evening. Basically go along and see the things in the flesh.

Wessex Astronomical Society

Weymouth Astronomy Club

Are the only 2 clubs I can see for Dorset, but you may be live to another one in a neighbouring county.

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Thanks for the replys guys. I have spent a couple of weeks really reasearching telescope, i know that isnt long..But i have been giving this seriouse thought. And that alone has made me question my original ideas.

Price/performance is our main objective. Neither of us mind lugging it around as it will most probably not leave the garden often and when it does hopefully it will be worth the effort:)

If price/perfomance is what your after, and you want too manualy locate and track objects yourself and your not looking to get into photography then a dobsonian is the best option?.

Getting down too an astronomy shop or club would be really really hard for the both of us, the closest i think we will get to seeing this in person is videos on youtube for the moment.

Too be honest i would rather get peoples personal opinions rather than phone up a company, iv read alot of praise for that particular company but they are a company non the less.

Do you think ebay is still risky if you know exactly what your looking at and what you want?.

Do you know if FLOs shipping company understands they are shipping telescopes and give them appropriate care and attention?.

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Most couriers will take a reasonable amount of care with your package but accidents do happen. Don't forget before getting to FLO they will have come from China so the packaging will be up to the job.

Regarding ebay I must admit i just tend to buy new stuff but its in the sellers interest not to try and pull a fast one. In the 8 years I have been buying from ebay I have never had a bad experience, perhaps I'm just lucky.

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I don't know who you are buying from so this is general not specific advice. first, price just because it ebay doesn't mean it's cheap some companies are offering this model for 285 inc delivery I think you mentioned you were going to pay 150 each does that inc delivery. "2nd guarantee, at the price you are paying it is obviously new but will the company you are dealing with be likely, to be there in 11 months time if something goes wrong. 3rd general aftercare what is their aftercare like if there are any problems after you have bought. many astro dealers score highly in these areas. they have a high reputation to uphold and work hard to keep it. having said all that There are a few ebay sellers who are building a good rep for themselves out in the amateur astro community. Google the seller the chances are if they are any good they have already been mentioned on this site. And I would buy a named brand item from ebay if the price was right and have done on several occasions without any problems at all.

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