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jkemal

Advice on first time telescope

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Hello, I am totally new to astronomy, although it's is something I have always wanted to get into. I am currently on the look out for my first telescope and have roughly £200 to spend.

I have so far come across the following potential scopes

Skywatcher SKYLINER-150P 153MM (6") F/1200 PARABOLIC DOBSONIAN TELESCOPE, the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ , SkyWatcher Explorer-130/900 EQ2 Telescope and the Skywatcher Explorer 130P Newtonian Reflector Telescope and I would appreciate any advice on where the best place to start might be.

In terms of the Skyliner 150p would it also be useful to buy a moon filter, or perhaps the Celestron Eye Piece & Filter Kit as well as the Celestron 'Omni' Series X2 Barlow Lens . I am obviously a totall beginner and while I don't want to spend a fortune I would also like to get something that offers decent quality. I would be grateful for any advice. thanks.

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Well first of all, you'll probably find that they're all cheaper at FLO, which is just generally a better choice anyway:

First Light Optics - Suppliers of Astronomy telescopes, binoculars and accessories from Skywatcher, Celestron, Meade, William Optics, Atik, Imaging Source, Starlight Xpress, ADM, Moonlite, Catseye, Hotech and others.

Of those your best option would probably be the 150P, the others might be good (not as good) optically, but cheap equatorial mounts are (pretty much without fail) wobbly and hard to grasp for beginners. The dob will provide the largest aperture and be the easiest to use, which are really the main things you're looking for.

A moon filter would probably be a good idea with any of them, but just to start with i wouldn't rush into buying tons of accessories - the eyepieces it comes with are pretty decent and should give you some good views, and let you learn what might be a good idea to go with next. I probably wouldn't even get a barlow to start with.

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Currently using a skywatcher 130/650, I can safely say for the money that the quality exceeds my expectations. Ofc for £200 mount quality isnt going to be great but for casual observing its gonna be irrelevant.

Personally when I get some money together my first priority will be mount then aperture, so looking at something for reasonable tracking/stability mount wise and then a big dob or something for detail in DSO's.

If I was in your position I think after my (limited) experience I would go for the dob and just add a barlow when you have a few pennies left over.

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hi and welcome , once you have 50 posts you can acess the for sale section on here , i have always had a good experiance buying second hand on here , take some time and decide which kind of scope/setup will suit you , go to your local astro club and ask questions , look through different scopes. :glasses2:

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Thanks or the advice, I am more and more thinking about the 150p, and considering getting a Celestron Moon Filter as well, if I can confirm that it will it, as it seems a reasonable price and is getting good reviews.

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Go for the Dobsonian. You get more stability and more aperture for less money. There are no compelling reasons to buy a Newtonian on an equatorial mount if you're doing visual observing.

Personally I don't use a moon filter (even with big Dobs where the moon is still bright at higher powers) but I know a lot of people do. It's not that I don't have one, I just prefer not to use it.

I like the fact that the 150P is f/8. For a first scope, I recommend not going faster than f/6. You'll get better views that way because cheaper eyepieces won't show much astigmatism, there's little coma, and the collimation tolerances are generous. In addition, slower mirrors are easier to make so I would guess you're more likely to get a good quality primary if you don't stray f/5 and faster. In other words, you'll get sharper views for less money with that 150p than that Celestron 130EQ, which is f/5. That's not to say that faster scopes can't work, they can work very well, but it costs more to get the most out of them.

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Hello,

I have the Astromaster 130EQ and am very happy with it. I have not had experience with any other scopes so don't want to influence your choice. Just that if you to decide on this scope, I am happy to share my expereince with it, good and bad! I also have the EP/filter kit you mention and that has worked out well for me too.

dag123

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Site sponsors First Light Optics should have the kit you are after. Click on the link at the top of the page to get to the FLO website.

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Telescope House offer price matching and FREE delivery.

Best to ask them to price match, and save on FREE delivery, what you save on delivery costs you can buy some nice filters or other accessories that would otherwise just be money wasted on Fedex :(

(And they have a weekly prize draw :) )

Edited by Willly

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What I would like to know is if you have looked through a scope before? The reason for asking was prompted by George's comment above about going for the 200P which, if I'm honest, is what I would be saving for be it new or used. I spent some time (1 year) when I started out looking through many different scopes of different sizes in order to get am idea of which/size scope would help me satisfy my expectations.

Now the stars aren't going so there's no need to rush into making purchase though if you're like me, it can be tricky holding back your natural enthusiasm to get started! Part of anyone's research should be to get some idea of what all the specifications and numbers really mean and to do that means looking through some scopes by attending observation nights held by your local astro club or observing group. Yes, the 200P new is more money of course (+£71) than your allocated budget, but in my opinion, it is at 8" aperture that observing starts to become interesting, when you can start to 'observe' an object rather than just seeing it. This is my opinion and others might possibly disagree but I would feel a little disappointed for you in your excitement to get a scope, if on buying the smaller scope, you quickly felt the need to upgrade and thus wasted some of your budget in the process. This is why it wouldn't do any harm to take some time out just to have a look through some kit out there so that you would feel happier that the 150p will satisfy your needs.

It's easy to spend other people's money for sure, but getting the right scope from the start can make all the difference to your long term enthusiasm. Should you later feel that astronomy was not for you, it will be far easier to get most of your money back on a 200p given their huge popularity, than perhaps the slight smaller scope.

Clear skies

James

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In the end after doing quite a bit of reading, I opted for the 200, it just seemed as James above stated that if I was willing to spend a half decent amount of money on a telescope that I hope will last me many years, why not spend a little more... I can't even begin to think about upgrading in the future - so this scope will need to last, this will hopefully become a fun hobby that I can share with my kids.

In the end what I might be able to observe and see was paramount - I didn't want to take up part of my budget on electronic gadgets which will automatically find what I want to see - there's something to be said for using a planasphere - and I have really enjoyed getting to know how to use one using nothing but my naked eye and a compass, can't imagine what it will be like with a telescope.

I have always been interested in space since first watchin Sky at Night, and being given my first pictorial atlas to the universe - an interest which has been re-ignited by Brian Cox's fascinating Wonders of documentaries. I decided now was the time to see what i could see myself - but not at a huge cost - I hope I have found the right balance with the 200. Now I just need to wait for it to arrive and for a clear night :-) I will definately report back on how I'm doing :-)

In the meantime I would appreciate any advice on a collimator, as judging by what I have learned the most tricky aspect of owning a newtonian will be collimating - so I guess it's laser Vs Cheshire - (at least I think those are the choices?) Advice please????

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Oh and as for joining an astro club, I would love to, the problem is my job currently means that I have to live in Germany. So far I have been unable to find a club - if there is anyone who knows how I might find an astro club in the Herford, Bad Salzuflen area of Germany, I would really appreciate the advice?

Jan

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Enjoy your 200p dob when you get it.Ive just bought one although ive not used it yet:( but i cant wait.Im sure you wont be disappointed:)

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Cheers Saturn4me - I may have to wait a while though, technically it's a Christmas present rom my wife :-)

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No problem mate! Just remember,good things come to those who wait!:rolleyes::o.P.S your'e wife must love you!!;)

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The usual classic advice is to get a pair of GOOD binoculars, and there is reason in this old saw. They are easy to use - point and look... They are readily resellable, reusable in other fields - birdwatching, sailing, etc. You may be able to get them as family hand-downs. The classic pair are Navy night glasses 7x50, which may be heavy if they are ex-WWII. I got mine as Russian Bressar-Hunter 7x50s some 28 years ago and never regretted it. Oddly enough you rarely see these for sale second hand... I wonder why! Maybe people keep them!! Otherwise good 10x50's, 10-12x70, or 11-15x80 are classic "Astro" binoculars, especially when used on a tripod (or turn a broom upside down and put a towel over the bristles...). I actually made a 5x50 monocular out of scrap lenses when I was 15 (a looooong time ago), still got it, works fine. Old army 6x30s are also good for compact lightweight viewing.

Nortons Star Atlas is still good; Will Tiron';s Cambridge Star Atlas is fine, similar things are available free off the web - just google for star charts, free. Programs like C2A, Carte du Ciel, Stellarium, Kstars, Xephem are all free. USe a LED bike rear light with masking tape over part of the lens to cut the glare.

You can tell I am an impoverished cheapskate can't you!

Otherwise a Dobsonian 200mm is pretty good - but needs practice at low powers until you get muscle memory on how it moves. Persevere - there's lots out there.

Regards, James Albinson, Support Group Keele University Observatory

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... I would appreciate any advice on a collimator, as judging by what I have learned the most tricky aspect of owning a newtonian will be collimating - so I guess it's laser Vs Cheshire - (at least I think those are the choices?) Advice please????

Cheshire. Cheap, simple and accurate.

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Don't buy a cheap laser. You're better off with a cheshire/sight-tube combo tool.

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I agree, a cheshire is more reliable, laser ones can go out of collimation themselves. As for the EP set, wait until you have got used to the scope with the bundled ep's, see how you get on and then decide on your preferences, I bought the Celestron set, but didn't use half of them (the higher mags) as my preference was for wide field deep sky and so I went on to buying wide-field ep's, also note that the Celestron moon filter has a slight colour bias, it's better to get a neutral density filter (ND96 0.09) in my opinion.

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Well my Skyliner 200p has finally arrived, and my wife has given me a week to play with it until she wraps it up for Christmas. First night out with it was great - however the second night was absolutely amazing, stunning. Despite being in the back of my garden with quite a bit of light pollution and a few clouds I had a fantastic view of Jupiter. This time with the finder scope aligned which made aiming the scope far easier. First with the 25mm eyepiece which offered up some fantastic views. However the 10mm eyepiece made all the difference - Jupiter, red cloud belts and four of its moons with the great red spot clearly visible, incredible - have I used enough adjectives? Just wish I didn't have an early start the next morning, otherwise I would have stayed up to see the moon and Mars come up :-)

I can't wait to take it out into a dark field on a a crisp winter night and the chance to try some deep space observing. I'll let you know how I get on.

Jan

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congratulations on your scope. an 8 inch dob ,wow.

thats the same scope im going for next.

good luck with it and keep us posted with some reports.

clear skies...

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