Jump to content

sgl_imaging_challenge_6_banner_jupiter_2021.jpg.eacb9f0c2f90fdaafda890646b3fc199.jpg

 

 

First scope thoughts, portable, compact, beginner friendly?


Recommended Posts

Well I've been continuing to read the threads other people have been posting here and and been looking at whats around at this time of year in my copy of Turn left at Orion and the itch for a first scope is getting stronger. I was really chuffed last night when I made out M13 as a faint fuzzy blob with the binoculars. But I'd really love to actually see double stars as doubles and saturn as more than a pinprick of light.

My initial thoughts after reading around were a dob 150 or 200, however I live in a fairly suberban area of the south east with a street light overlooking my garden :D. I have to shelter in the shadow of the house in order to avoid being dazzled by it while observing. The point being I guess that I'm not going to be finding many faint and fuzzies from my home site however much that may be of interest to me. Stuff I try and find from home has to be of the bright and shiney variety. Also the dob just seems too big to store / transport (2 seater car) and the thought of having to colomate it in the field every time I transported it somewhere is pretty daunting.

My three main criteria for choosing a scope are:

1) Portability, I'm in a pretty light poluted area so any time I wanted to get a wider and better view I need to put it in the car and drive out into the country on some fairly bumpy roads.

2) Storage, is at a premium my girlfriend took one look at the picture of the man standing next to the dobsian and said "uh huh", apparantly a telescope is not an acceptable piece of living room decor.

3) Quick and easy setup, mostly my observing sessions are quite short < 45 mins on a work night before bed, if I can't set it up and take it down easily it's not going to get much use.

At the moment I'm feeling fairly settled on the idea of a SkyMax 127 with the autotracking (non goto) mount. At around £300 I don't feel like I'm going overboard with it price wise and still leaves me free to get a couple of eye pieces and maybe a finder like a Rigel.

Eyepiece wise I was considering for the 127 Mak a 15mm (probably BST explorer) and a 32-40mm although I'm unsure as to what would be a suitable brand / model in this case. In addition to the 15 and 25mm's it comes with.

There seem to be quite a few owners of 127 Maks out there, how do you rate this as a beginners scope?

I can see from the pictures others are posting (I'm aware what you see is a fraction of what the camera sees) these scopes are good for the moon and planets, but how does the ~1 degree field of view work out for occassional chances to look at DSO's?

Do you have an recomendations for a low power eye piece to go with a 127 Mak? I'm aware the FoV is not going to get much above 1.1 degrees.

Thowing in a curve ball the StarTravel 120 also looks quite compact, although I know this a very different scope fast F5 as oposed to a slow F11.8, which has some appeal in terms of field of view.

How does the ST120 perform in terms of planetary / double star and globular views?

I understand an F5 would be much more demanding on the eye pieces and so also on the budget for them.

Are there any other scopes I should be considering of a similar kind of size / price?

Thank you for reading this far if you've made it and for any answers and advice which you may have.

Tyr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the mak is a good scope it will not have the false colour that the startravel has. In fact I wouldn't get the startravel for doubles observation. for doubles you need to be able to use magnification as well as good optics ie; the mak. However I am about to spout heresy here, in this case I would get the synscan rather than the tracking one. the synscan has a doubles database which will give you something to look at whilst learning the stars. Don't get me wrong it's not essential but it is a useful little feature to have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The mak sounds like it would be a good scope for you, though it won't be great for DSO's. It will be portable, good for double stars and planets and it will also be forgiving on lower quality eyepieces.

I would wait a few weeks, maybe even longer, before deciding what EPs to get. That extra time will let you know exactly what you need, and the ones it come with are good enough to get started with, especially on a slow scope like the mak.

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought regarding the street lamp...you could speak to your council street lighting people and ask if they have any plans to turn any off as part of the public sector spending cuts. If that doesn't work, I've read about people asking for, and getting, light shields fitted to street lamps. Might be worth looking into :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hy Tyr

I'm sure there will be plenty of more experienced people to follow my post. I have a SW 150p that I use for general purpose observing and DSO photos. Very good scope, not overly expensive: However it is pretty big, quite heavy and takes a while to set up properly.

I have today taken delivery of a SW127 Mak. Trouble is it is cloudy! when I have had good look through it I will post you a comparison.

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tyr,

Welcome to SGL.

You say you are considering the Skymax 127, from what I hear a great portable scope.

One point, you say not GOTO, if you are going to do the majority of your observing from your light poluted home you might want to reconsider. The reason I say this is that depending how bad your light polution is you may find star hopping difficult if you can't find the naked eye guide stars you need.

Take your time and ask plenty of questions.

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback, I like the idea of suggesting the council save someone money by turning off every other street lamp, maybe then they can afford to fix some of the pot holes :p

Getting the GoTo wouldn't kill the budget, although I was a little worried about the power consumption compared to the autotrack mount and also becoming dependant on it to find stuff.

Thanks for the advice on the Star Travel, it sounds like it might not so general purpose as I thought.

I'd love to have space for dob maybe some time in the future if I move house, however the comparison to a 150mm would be interesting none the less.

Hope you get some clear skies to test out your new Mak JKB, since the rain washed the dust out of the air here in the last couple of days it's been much clearer at night when it's not raining of course :(

I'll be sure to hold off on the EP's to start with :D, just don't want to forget them when thinking about budget.

Tyr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following recomendations for a GoTo rather than tracking version of the mount I've been looking at the Celestron 127 SLT.

The internal battery compartment and simpler goto alignment seem to be key points over the skywatcher version and the red dot finder seems preferable to me than a 6x30 straight through finder scope.

Is there any reason why at the same price the SkyMax 127 AZ GOTO would be the better choice?

Tyr

Edited by Tyr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following recomendations for a GoTo rather than tracking version of the mount I've been looking at the Celestron 127 SLT.

The internal battery compartment and simpler goto alignment seem to be key points over the skywatcher version and the red dot finder seems preferable to me than a 6x30 straight through finder scope.

Is there any reason why at the same price the SkyMax 127 AZ GOTO would be the better choice?

Tyr

none at all it's the same scope

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

I have the Skymax 102 on the AZ GOTO mount and would recommend the combination.

I also suffer serious light pollution and have found it difficult to find any DSOs with my previous scope - Short Tube 80f5.

With the GoTo I found M5, M3 and the Cats Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) on my second night out.

I would recommend the Baader Moon and skyglow NEODYMIUM filter and the GSO 32mm plossl for the max FOV - about 1' 15".

I would not think that the GOTO was much worse on power consumption, both have to drive the motors. However I would recommend a powertank (Maplins) as you will go through batteries pretty quickly.

The 102 is lighter than the 127 and less load on the mount which may help with goto accuracy.

Hope thus helps

Clear skies

Paul

Edited by DoctorD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, I have just bought a Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT Mak last week and I am currently out in the garden every night (weather permitting) getting to grips with it. So far it has been easy to set-up and also fits alot of the criteria that you wanted. Compact and easy to set-up etc. I would however suggest that you buy an external powerpack and lead. When I fired mine up last week for the first time it used up the power from 8 x AA batteries in half an hour. Don't buy the Celestron one though unless you want to spend a fortune. This does exactly the same job, but at a fraction of the price 3in1 Portable Jumpstarter : InCar Battery Chargers and Compressors : Maplin. All that you need then is a compatible lead in order to run the scope.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, I have just bought a Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT Mak last week and I am currently out in the garden every night (weather permitting) getting to grips with it. So far it has been easy to set-up and also fits alot of the criteria that you wanted. Compact and easy to set-up etc. I would however suggest that you buy an external powerpack and lead. When I fired mine up last week for the first time it used up the power from 8 x AA batteries in half an hour. Don't buy the Celestron one though unless you want to spend a fortune. This does exactly the same job, but at a fraction of the price 3in1 Portable Jumpstarter : InCar Battery Chargers and Compressors : Maplin. All that you need then is a compatible lead in order to run the scope.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tyr

The Little 5" Mak sounds perfect for ya.

Great little scopes. Just remember to set it up long before your out on one of your 45min sessions.;)

Else you'll get zip observing done ( Maks take for ever to cool down )

Regards Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ordered a 127 SLT yesterday lunch time ish from FLO and it was here by lunch time today ;)

So far I've only had a chance to open it up and see what's in the box, of course the clouds rolled in this morning, the BBC is currently showing cloud every day until Tuesday but at least it will give me plenty of time to get it put together.

Thanks for the advice about the run time on AA's I picked up a few high capacity rechargeables yesterday but I guess I'll just be keeping them around as spares or for running a torch.

Regarding jump starters like this

3in1 Portable Jumpstarter : InCar Battery Chargers and Compressors : Maplin

How do you attach the ring cables? are there some rings on the back of it or is it just a case of attaching them to the jump starters, which seems kind of a scary thing to do to my scope?

Martin, pointed me at this one although did say that the power tanks they sell on FLO come complete with cables.

First Light Optics - Skytron Power Cable for Celestron SLT

I've got a couple of places I can keep a tool box sized container with the optical tube in that are a bit cooler than the house so that might be an option, to help with the cool down times. Also I'm hoping that once the summer is over I'll be able to afford more time observing on week nights due to shorter daylight hours.

Tyr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 for the Mak option from me. If you are thinking of getting GOTO then get the Celestron. The SLT 127 is from the same factory as the Skywatcher AZ GOTO, but software in the Celestron GOTO controller is reckoned to be significantly better than the Skywatcher. You'll make better use of your short sessions if you have GOTO. Most of my sessions are only an hour long and you can rattle of quite a few objects in that time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Tyr. Yes the 3 in 1 powerpack is the one. You don't use the leads attached to the unit (It is designed to jump start flat car batteries), but is perfectly oK for the purpose of powering your motordrive. I bought my 127 SLT from First Light last week as well as a Celestron Ultima Barlow and the power cable that you have put in your post. You will select the cable that has a cigar lighter connector though NOT the one that has the ring connectors. I have the same situation with regards to the weather. Just as my new toy arrives the clouds roll in. At least it gives me a chance to fully get to grips with all the functions before I get outside.

If you look at my post from earlier today I have mentioned about suitable carry cases for the scope and tripod. They work a treat.

Malcolm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's hard to fault the Mak 127 as a beginner's scope, to be honest. Yes, it's not perfect on DSOs, but you'll still get quite acceptable views of many.

I like my ST120 and it's great for DSOs, doubles and so on, but you can't really push the magnification up as high as you might with the Mak and I find the chromatic aberration a bit irritating, especially on the moon. It'll still be a fair while before I part with it, mind.

From a portability point of view, there's not a huge amount of difference in weight. The ST120 is perhaps easier to handle because you can get your hands around it more easily and the scope rings support it nicely when you're putting it on the mount. With the dew shield in place it's well over twice as long as the Mak though, possibly closer to three.

You almost certainly will need a dew shield with the Mak, but then you'll probably feel you want some better eyepieces with the ST120 too.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try, I just bought exactly the same telescope last week, its a fabulous thing.

People may say the mal isn't great for DSOs and its true, it may not be ideal, but consider this: Messier defined his list with equipment which was a long way inferior.

I'm writing an observation report on my computer (on my phone at the moment) but the short version is, in heavily light polluted sky, I managed to spot M13, M57 and M10 last night, my first Messier objects.

It's a cracking scope, just be patient with it and accept that in all likelihood you won't get the entire north American nebula in the eyepiece.

Enjoy!

Alan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Tyr,

Like you I had narrowed my choice down to the Mak 127 and the 120 - and like like you I have plumped for the Mak 127.

I like it!!

I have recently added a Rigel Multi Reticule red dot finder which I have found very handy in locating celestial objects.

I am also about to purchase an "Antares" 0.5 focal reducer which is said to widen the FOV which I understand should help with the DSO visuals - does anyone out there have any views on this accessory??

From a storage point of view I bought 2 of the Maplins plastic tool boxes and use one for the scope and one for the EQ3 mount. I used foam from an exercise mat to make padded "build outs" to support the kit. The tripod is stored in a Screwfix polyester tool bag which I think cost about £9.99.

I needed the storage as I plan to take the scope with me when caravanning in the hope of less light polluted skies!!

I think a good choice of scope and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Robin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

I have the Antares 0.5 reducer - works visually with the 10mm but you start to get vignetting with the 25mm and with my 32mm GSO there is severe vignetting.

I can thoroughly recommend the 32mm for the widest views and at £35 it won't break the bank.

I use the 0.5 reducer with my web cam and SDC435 camera and it works a treat.

Hope this helps

Clear skies

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Judging by the amount of people who have responded to this thread. The Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT's must be flying off the shelves at the moment. Martin @ First Light Optics where I bought mine from said that it was down to the Prof Brian Cox effect. He is probably right. I would also recommend a dew sheild as well. I bought the Astrozap for mine. Also Baader Optical Wonder Fluid and cleaning cloth for keeping the optics pristine. Everyone on here says that it is the best cleaner out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I've got a Maplin near by it seems so I can go and grab a power tank fairly quickly.

Interesting about the focal reducer, I was unsure about how it would affect the image quality.

A 32mm EP is something to consider for the medium term I think, short term I want to try it out with the kit that came in the box, and probably invest in an external power source of some kind for the scope.

Thanks for the ideas on storage too, is it best to remove the star diagonal during storage or leave it attached (with dust cap on of course)?

Tyr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I've got a Maplin near by it seems so I can go and grab a power tank fairly quickly.

Interesting about the focal reducer, I was unsure about how it would affect the image quality.

A 32mm EP is something to consider for the medium term I think, short term I want to try it out with the kit that came in the box, and probably invest in an external power source of some kind for the scope.

Thanks for the ideas on storage too, is it best to remove the star diagonal during storage or leave it attached (with dust cap on of course)?

Tyr

Tyr,

Re Mak 127 storage - see the attached photos showing the case with and without the OTA as well as the case containing the EQ3 mount - hope this will help show the fitting arrangements.

Cheers

Robin

post-24267-133877604551_thumb.jpg

post-24267-133877604559_thumb.jpg

post-24267-133877604566_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re Mak 127 storage - see the attached photos showing the case with and without the OTA as well as the case containing the EQ3 mount - hope this will help show the fitting arrangements.
Well said/done, Robin! Serendipity(!) seems to find the MAK127 (and diagonal),

EQ3-2 mount etc., a fair match for yer typical UK DIY-store toolboxes etc. ;)

Edited by Macavity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.