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Rorth72

Advice needed on new grab and go scope please

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I currently have a 10" Skywatcher 250PX. As much as I love this, it can be a pain to take in and out of the house. And as I don't get a great amount of time to observe, am looking to supplement it with a smaller grab and go scope with goto.

My thoughts are to keep the dob for longer sessions and DSO, and a smaller scope with goto for the odd hour here and there. The goto will help me find and observe and make things easier/more efficient.

I am currently attracted to either the Celestron NexStar 127 or the Skywatcher Skymax 127. Am I right in thinking that these will provide just as good images on the planets and moon as my dob? Also how good is the tracking on them, will I have to readjust at all when viewing planets?

Also, are these little scopes ok to transport. Would love to travel to some dark sites and maybe in future some star parties. Will they need to be collimated like my dob?

Oh.. and which of these two scopes is the best? Or is there another small scope out there that is better than these? Will I be able to take photos of planets and the moon with these scopes too?

Sorry about so many questions, but getting quite excited now about maybe getting a second scope. I have the bug! :)

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I started out with the Celestron Nexstar 127 and now have a 250 as well as a WO 80 frac on a NEQ6 Pro. I maintain that the tracking & goto on the 127 was better than my current set-up. Add to that one handed carry and you have a great portable set-up but trust me the mount is quite flimsy. I loved the alignment on the Celestron too, pick any three stars and you're away. I thought that the moon & planets were viewed well with a decent eyepiece too. I believe the scopes are the same but the handset programes differ??

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Pretty good on the planets, the 127, but the field of view is limited. Pity, because what small scopes of short FL can do is give lovely ultra wide views of clusters etc.

My own favourite is a second hand TeleVue Pronto (they go for ludicrously little, as in around 200 pounds) which is competent on the planets but breathtaking on ultra wide field. You'd need a Go To altaz mount if you wanted to meet your own stated spec. iOptron minitower? Twenty years ago you paid a grand or so for a new Pronto and they last forever.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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Hi There,

I have a 10"lx for my main scope, for hols I have two! a 102mm maksutov and a 120mm short tube refractor. They are both great for hols as without them I would have nothing to see through. Preference is the refractor 2" diagonal and ep's!

Best Regards

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Hi,

I recently bought a SW 127 from fleabay for under 240, and am very impressed. Although not guided (came on an eq 3-2) it is definitely portable, and gives decent views of planets and moon. I took mine out to a dark site on Sunday night. It took about 3 minutes to set up in the dark, and I was away. As an idea on the views, Jupiter showed clear bands through a cheap 15mm EP about an hour after it had risen, and I could easily resolve several double stars. The moon was absolutely stunning through all EP's from 25 down to 5 mm. Galaxies and clusters were visible, but not masses of detail, nor particularly bright.

No experience with the celestron, or the guided mount, but the SW OTA is excellent.

Mike

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My own favourite is a second hand TeleVue Pronto (they go for ludicrously little, as in around 200 pounds)

Olly

The small maks are pretty good for Lunar and Planetary.. my first scope was an ETX105EC and the views are still impressive even if the meade mount is pretty touchy and at times dire.....

The TV Pronto's are built to last...

I paid £349 for one only last week.. in it's case with a 40mm TV plossl 2" TV diagonal , RDF and Manual (complete with message from Al Nagler...)

I had seen them listed elsewhere for £400+ so thought the price wasn't too bad... But Olly's £200 estimate is interesting...:):eek::icon_scratch:

I have tried it on a Skywatcher SLT mount and its fine...

Peter...

Edited by Psychobilly

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...maybe I was lucky but I did see one on Ebay for a similar price a couple opf years ago. Mine had nothing but soft case and OTA, no EP or diagonal.

Olly

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Thanks for the advice everyone :rolleyes: I have now narrowed it down to two potential scopes. Either a 127 (SkyWatcher or Celestron) or a Meade ETX125. Am still trying to work out why the Meade is so much more expensive, does anyone know?

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Thanks for the advice everyone :rolleyes: I have now narrowed it down to two potential scopes. Either a 127 (SkyWatcher or Celestron) or a Meade ETX125. Am still trying to work out why the Meade is so much more expensive, does anyone know?

Because it's not as good?

Olly

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I have a SW 127 and am not that fond of it TBH. It takes an age to cool down before it gives good views. I am thinking of part-exing it for an ED80 eventually. (low priority ATM). Shorter cool down time and wider field.

Edited by RikM

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I was under the impression that the cool down time was about 30 mins for the 127 Rik, is that right?

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Mine takes an hour at least sometimes two. But I have to store it inside so it's always warm and obviously that takes longer.

I have an older blue tube model so the newer ones my be different. Most people seem to love them, but this scope just doesn't suit me.

Just re-reading your original post my 127 MAK doesn't come close giving as good views of the planets as my 250PX or Phenix refractor. I suspect I may have a lemon, but other people (who I trust to give sensible opinions) have looked through it and pronounced it fine.

Edited by RikM

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Oh.. now you have me thinking again Rik, lol. Hmm, maybe I will have to join a club and have a look through somebody's 127 before I shell out a few hundred pound. And perhaps stick to my 15x70 bins for the shorter sessions in the garden.

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I reluctantly sold my Celestron 127SLT in favour of a 250px and have noticed similar issues - bulky and awkward for short sessions, a joy on the longer ones.

I've never looked at a Meade 125, but recalling reading a group test of the SW, Celestron and the Meade and to be honest, one impression I got was that the Meade didn't justify its asking price.

The Celestron and the SkyWatcher have exactly the same optics, but the handset is different. Both SkyWatcher and Celestron have great features - I think if I was in your position, I wouldn't give that Meade another thought and would limit my dithering to the SkyWatcher and Celestron. I would go for a more sturdy mount though - perhaps an EQ3-2.

My 0.02p.

Alan

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I have a SW 127 and am not that fond of it TBH. It takes an age to cool down before it gives good views. I am thinking of part-exing it for an ED80 eventually. (low priority ATM). Shorter cool down time and wider field.

I don't find it too bad:- about 45-50mins cool down, by way of reference i allow 30mins for my small refractors to settle down properly.

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Could I purchase the Skywatcher or Celestron and then take the OTA off and mount it on an EQ3-2? Would the goto controls still work off that mount? Or can I buy the mount and OTA seperately and put them together myself with a goto system?

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Depends really - you could get the 3-2 goto option for around the same price as the Meade, or just go for the standard 3-2 and add the goto function later.

If you are happy starhopping with your dob, then starhopping with an EQ3-2 should be no issue. Add a laser pointer and its dead easy.

Alan

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It depends. I have the basic EQ3-2 with the motor drives and a polar scope that I bought with my 150P as a taster for deep sky imaging.

I bought the (SH) Skymax 127 on the Supatrak auto mount upgraded with Vixen legs for £80 with the intention of using it for planetary imaging with a webcam.

The EQ3-2 is head and shoulders more sturdy and stable than the Supatrak.

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How do you mean, add a laser pointer Inksmithy? What is a laser pointer and how does it attached to the scope?

Also.. if I decided to go for the standard SkyMax or Celestron 127 initially rather than on the EQ3-2 Mount. Would it be stable enough to use a webcam on it and also a DSLR?

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This is the laser pointer I have: http://www.gy3.co.uk/laser-pointers/green-laser-pointer.html

I got a little mount for it from astro engineering which attaches to the optical tube.

All the usual caveats, don't use at star parties or point at people or things which carry people (cars, planes etc).

With my dob, I push the telescope around to the point where the laser beam is pointing at the part of the sky I want to be looking at.

I can use the laser while looking through the telescope, since the beam is visible through the scope. Using the laser in conjunction with a telrad is very easy.

Alan

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