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Hi and help!


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Hi All,

Complete newbie here. I've just got my wife a SW Explorer 130P AZ GOTO, after lots of research. We've set it up a couple of times and had a good look at Saturn, which is nice! However, we tried to look at a couple of nebulae/galaxies (Owl, Whirlpool, etc.) which I understand we should have been able to see quite well - but we could see nothing although the GOTO found them. I think this is probably a focussing thing although it may be light pollution - we live near a busy main road with sodium lights. I think not being able to get our eyes light-adjusted is not helping.

Which of these is likely to be the main problem here? I thought I caught a brief glimpse of the Owl nebula as I tried focussing but then lost it completely. Should we persevere in the garden or does it seem like we will have to find somewhere darker so our eyes can light-adjust?

Also, I bought the scope for my wife but I am now very keen myself. I was thinking of getting a bigger reflector on an EQ mount as I would like to find things to look at myself but I am now considering a relatively small (8") Dob. I've been itching to just get out at night and have a quick look about. I really don't have the cash to spend but with a bit of overtime at work I could probably get the £300 necessary.

So, would anyone recommend getting the basic 200mm SW Dob? Is the focusser upgradeable to a better dual speed replacement? Should I hang on and get a bigger flextube Dob next year?

I know this is a bit long and rambling but I would appreciate your thoughts.


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Hi there Haggismoon, welcome to SGL :(

If you guys can't even dark adapted, then I'd say look to the light pollution as the main culprit. Anywhere that is even a little bit darker will give you a better chance.

8" Dob sounds like a good choice. Not sure if the focuser is upgradeable or not, but give the standard one a try - you may find it doesn't need changing.

Buy or wait? Really can't help there, I'm afraid.

If it was my money I'd go for the 8" Dob now :)

HTH :eek:

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Hi, HM, and welcome to the forum.

The 130 is a nice starter scope, but an 8" would outperform it anytime. If you think you may be having issues with focussing, try making a simple Y-mask:

Three small strips of card (or anything) in a Y shape, secured over the front of the scope. A bright star will appear as an X with a further bar running horizontally through it. As you move in and out of focus, the position of that bar alters. In focus, it perfectly bisects the X.


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Welcome to SGL :)

I am loving my 8" Dob and can't recommend it highly enough. Its good there's the two of you- much better for going out in the car to dark skies than alone. Also the 8" solid tube could go on an EQ mount in the future whereas the flex doesn't.

Best wishes,


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hi and welcome i had the 8 inch dob and it was great i had just the single speed crayford focuser and to be honest couldnt fault it and as for finding m51 the whirpool galaxy i found it hard to find last night in my 8 inch newt had to use adverted vision and even then was a extremely faint nearly transparnt fuzz the skies and really dark enough for dso's try globular clusters like m13 m92 and m3 there still quite visable but saturn and the moon is all im going for this month good luck what ever you decide to do

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Hi Haggismoon and welcome to SGL, your intro reminded me of Fathers and train sets, what you have is a nice scope and setup, my advice would be to stick with what you have for a short while till you expand your knowledge, taking the scope to a dark sight will make all the difference and you have to remember that the sky does not really get dark during the Summer months which does nothing to improve the seeing at this time of year. The forum members are always here to help in any way they can :)


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Hi Haggismoon, welcome to SGL.

I couldn't find M51 the other night either, that was down to light pollution and high cloud, but I still had fun.

I see aperture fever has got you then! :)

If you take it some where dark, it will be like having a bigger scope, just by the amount of objects which will be visible to you. Here's a dark sky map, so you can have a look and see whats likely to be a dark site at a reasonable travelling distance.

UK Light pollution Map

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