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Dodge

Skywatcher Heritage 130P Flextube Dobsonian

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Well, I've had this a few months, and despite it being summer and viewing opportunities fairly limited I think I'm finally in a position to write a review of my first telescope.

Firstly, a little about myself so you can see where I'm coming from. I'm a 99% newbie - the other 1% was me as a child playing with my first telescope (a basic refractor, probably a Tasco or similar). Anyway, I had been pondering my first 'proper' telescope for some time and despite money not being too much of an issue, I elected to go basic and selected the Skywatcher Heritage 130P Flex Dob as my way into the hobby.

I figured it was small enough to be able to get it out on a whim and be observing very quickly (not to mention being able to put it away in a cupboard when not in use) yet large enough aperture (5") to still be able to see some of the brighter DSO's.

The box arrived, and I eagerly unwrapped it and started assembly. Being a Dob, it was very simple to attach the OTA to the base and get the RDF aligned during the day. Of couse, I had a quick play during the day and was suitably pleased. Collimation was close enough to start with.

Supplied accessories were the RDF, and the usual SW 10 and 25 mm EP's. I'd also ordered a laser collimator, Turn Left At Orion and (later) a 2 x barlow from Ebay.

First light was mid-June, so it was a late one! I'm fortunate enough to have some farily dark skies where I live which is a bonus, but my first target (of course) was Saturn. To be honest, I was gobsmacked when I pointed the RDF at the planet, and looked through the 25mm lens. I could clearly see the shape of Saturn which I was very surprised at. Using the 10mm and things became even more amazing - the rings were very clear. No Cassini division or shadow, but I could see the gap between the rings and the planet, and a moon (Titan). I was jumping up and down with excitement. Not bad for 65x mag!

Pointing at Albireo, and the double was split very easily with an obvious colour difference.

M13 was also high in the sky, and was easily visible yet mainly an unremarkable smudge - ditto M31. I think darker Winter skies will help before I pass judgement on the DSO performance.

Later viewings allowed me to observe the moon which was utterly fabulous - it was VERY bright and clear, both with and without the Barlow. Drifting up and down the terminator showed a wealth of detail.

Last night was a big night, the moon was fantastic as usual, and I managed to observe Uranus which was a surprise. I double and triple checked it with Stellarium and it could only have been the planet. With averted vision, I thought I could detect a moon close by - on checking when I'd packed down, Stellarium confirmed Oberon was where I thought I'd could see the moon. That was very surprising, as I didn't think I could see that far with such a small scope.

Anyway, it finally happened - and Jupiter was visible for the first time. With the 25mm eyepiece it was piercingly bright, 4 moons easily visible and two bands on the planet surface. With the 10mm EP it was even more amazing. Unfortunately, the Barlow pushed the view beyond what the seeing allowed and I couldn't get a decent focus.

I'm very pleased with the scope, but it's not without it's problems. I thought the open tube would cause problems with contrast, but LP in my back garden is not really an issue, so I've not been tempted to shield it (yet). For me, the biggest issue is the focuser (it's of the helical variety), whilst it's very quick to get a rough focus, it's quite difficult for fine tuning. It's a metal tube in a plastic threaded part and it has quite a lot of slop.

The OTA has two trusses, which can cause problems with flexing and wobble. It copes fine with the stock eyepieces and a Barlow, but a Barlow and a heavy lens may put collimation out. Touching the focuser causes the image to shake too, although it's dampened out within a second.

Anyway, I'm pleased with it - they're very cheap and I can't see anyone getting more value per £ for a new telescope. Highly recommended for a first scope, not to mention a quick grab and go. I can be looking through it within a minute of deciding to.

To summarise:

Pros - Size, ease of assembly, portability, quality of 5" parabolic mirror, 25 mm EP not bad, cost.

Cons - Helical focuser not the most accurate, 10 mm EP a bit average, wobbles every time you touch it.

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Excellent review - thanks for that.

I recently bought my 6 year old grandson the smaller 76mm version of this instrument but because of the weather, he and I have not had an opportunity to really use it in earnest but for a six year old whose interest may well not hold, it seemed very good value for money. Strangely, it came with a rack and pinion focuser rather than the helical one that you have and this was one of the reasons that I bought this rather than the optically similar Sky-Watcher Infinity 76.

I hope you get plenty more great views through it.

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Hmm, I think SW missed a trick not offering a rack and pinion focuser. The helical one isn't THAT bad by any stretch - in fact, it's very easy to get a quick focus as already mentioned. It just takes some tweaking which of course makes the image wobble.

To be honest, I can't really fault it other than that - I don't really have the room for a big Dob, so it remains the right choice for me. Whilst I still lust after a Tal 150P, it wouldn't get dragged out half as often as this one. Until I get a permanent observatory that is....

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Thanks for the review. I was given the 76mm version as a gift wouldn't have bought it myself only used it in the cold weather snap last year though when it was to cold to take out my refractor been thinking of upgrading to the 130p it's frusting looking at planets through the 76mm as it's really no different to looking at them through a pair of 10x50 binoculars although it can just about resolve the disk of jupiter and shows it's moons quite well but still got good views of other targets so if the 130p can improve significantly on the planetry front i think the 130p would make a great grab and go scope...

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Just bought one as my overseas grab and go...will offer my fndings when I have had a play.

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Good review, thank you! I recently bought the 130p as my first scope too. The focuser is poor but much improved with a turn or two of put fe tape. The scope is susceptible to vibration so I'm looking for a sturdy base. I don't like the supplied 10mm eyepiece as it seems really poor but the 25mm is ok. So far I've had great views of Jupiter including the moons as well as our own moon.

Overall it's a great first scope, easy to set up and easy to use.

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I bought one of these as my first scope a few months ago. I have been blown away with the views of planets and stars so far (although I have no other scope experience to compare it to!). I bought the scope as I was not sure whether or not I would really use one and did not want to spend too much money just in case!

I have found that you can use the 10mm with a 2x Barlow if you do not extend the scope all the way. Also used the PTFE tape trick on the focuser to make it a bit smoother. I have also just bought my first extra eye piece; an ES 24mm 68o as I had read good reviews of them. It is quite heavy but the 130 will just about cope with it.

So pleased with this scope as it is so simple and quick to use and gives such good views.

Andrew

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I've just ordered one following reading many reviews, yours included Dodge, for a good first scope, it'll be with me tomorrow, I won't leave the binoculars in the draw but I'm looking forward to my first real 'scope.

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