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Hi All,

Apologies in this has been asked more times than there are stars in the sky, but I am doing so much reading about it and only end up with more questions to ask than I manage to answer!

I have a budget of £180 (which realistically stretches to £200), where I am trying to get a complete kit. Any beginners filters, mounting, scope (obviously), lenses, must all be included in this price. I will mostly use the scope in my back garden, but wish to take this camping also. That means size is kinda important, but not weight.

I have seen a SKywatcher 130p with EQ2 mount for £190, or a Skywatcher Evostar 90mm refractor for £150. Very different scopes I know, but pro's or cons for either?

Looking at FLO's site, the Skywatcher 150p Dobsonian jumps out, but this really kills the budget. Maintenance would be higher than a refractor too I understand (but the same as a Reflector)? Also I would need to add £35 for a Collimating eye piece, aghhhh this is confusing!

I feel like I have answered my question already, and that the 90mm refractor is the one of choice, but I dont plan to upgrade any time soon. Just for background info, I'm currently (trying) to use 15x70 bino's, and an iPad with star maps for guidance.

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So Capricorn, if I understand correctly then, the 130p Dobsonian is essentially the same as the Skywatcher 130p on an EQ2 mount, just lots cheaper because there is less 'mount' to pay for? To put it i

I think it depends on how you define camping. If you're going camping specifically for the purpose of observing, then there's no distinction between that and a star party: take the largest scope you c

Forgot to add, it would be perfect if I could see them in the flesh first, but Essex appears to be rubbish for actual shops with telescopes.

Have also just seen the Heritage 130p flextube, seems to tick all the boxes, and comes in way under budget. I am one of these people though that would like to fulfil the budget to really feel like I have the best possible entry into the hobby.

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All good questions ... you mentioned size/camping, in my opinion the best scope you mentioned would be the 150p dob, by it is big and maybe not for camping.

The other option in your budget which would be far easier to 'camp ' with would be the heritage 130 collapsible dob ... worth a look, loads of people on here started with these

Good luck with your choice

Edit : must type quicker!

Edited by knobby
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Welcome!

The 150p Dob will pull in almost 3 times as much light as 90mm refractor. If you don't want to upgrade any time soon, then get the Dob. It will show you, so, so, much more. It's more likely to have to better optics than the 130p sky watcher because the focal ratio is longer and it's harder to mess up a longer focal ratio mirror. In fact, with a focal ratio of almost f/8, you could get by with the included "collimation cap" until you save up enough to buy a better collimation tool. Maintenance is a little higher with a Newtonian, but it's worth it because they will show you more seeing as they're bigger.

Edit:

The 6" Dob will be perfectly car portable and set up faster than an Eq mounted scope. It would well be more stable, too.

Edited by umadog
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Forgot to add, it would be perfect if I could see them in the flesh first, but Essex appears to be rubbish for actual shops with telescopes.

Have also just seen the Heritage 130p flextube, seems to tick all the boxes, and comes in way under budget. I am one of these people though that would like to fulfil the budget to really feel like I have the best possible entry into the hobby.

Take a look here http://stargazerslounge.com/index.php?/topic/89362-Look-at-the-size-of-that-thing......

Lots of piccies!

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Forget the term Dobsonian, this refers to the mount and not the scope.

The scope on both the 150P dobsonian and the 130P are both Newtonian reflectors.

You will need a collimator for either one to maintain collimation.

So add that in if you get a reflector.

For simiplicity I would agree with the Evostar 90, basically you get it and use it with no maintenance.

The Evostar will also be less critical on eyepieces, however I suspect both will have much the same practical max magnification.

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Thanks for the quick replies! Does anyone have any pictures of a Skyliner 150p that could give me an idea of scale? I've got a feeling this one might be a bit big, and websites only have these on a white background.

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+ 1 for the 150p, best and biggest aperture for the money. The 130 heritage is no slouch either. With a reflector you will need a collimation tool, but you can probably get by for now without if your budget is stonewalled at £200. As others say maintenance or collimation is a small price to pay for the extra light gathering power of the dob. Good luck with your choice. The cheapest collimation tool I have seen is on a website called North Star Astronomy, Sky watcher collimator eyepiece, £14.99 free delivery.

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So Capricorn, if I understand correctly then, the 130p Dobsonian is essentially the same as the Skywatcher 130p on an EQ2 mount, just lots cheaper because there is less 'mount' to pay for?

To put it in perspective, http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-ds-ota.html

and http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

Are the same scope specs just with a different mount?

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The little 130 mm flextube Dob is appealing due to its small size. Yes, it probably has the same mirror in it as the Skywatcher 130. Honestly, though, the 150 mm Dob is a better bet. You can use it on the floor, so it's easier to set up. Also, and I think this really will help for a first scope, it has a much larger focal ratio. Those 130 mm scopes are f/5 and will produce blurry views around the edges of low power fields of view. They are picky with eyepieces too. The 150 mm Dob is almost f/8 and will produce a much sharper field of view and it is easier to align. It's a much better beginner's scope and it will give you sharper images more cheaply than the others.

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The maintenance on a 150P dob is trivial - just a little collimation now and then which will be so easy once you're used to it - and it's a small scope, very ligthweight, and ideal for camping with no undue inconvenience. Without a doubt go for the extra stretch and get the larger aperture - you won't regret it. If the money is an issue then go for second hand under two years old - you'll save about 30% (depending on condition and extras) and still have an "as new" scope.

The 130P is a fine entry level scope but you'll see less with it than the 150P. The ETX90 is a reasonable starter achro that will work nicely on planets, doubles, and globs. There's no real disadvantage to any of them (depending on what you want to see) except aperture - and with that you'll be more satisfied starting as high up the aperture scale as possible.

I've owned both those newtonian's and still use an 80mm achro and for me the choice is obvious unless you have specific requirements. Hope that helps :)

Edited by brantuk
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Thanks for the quick replies! Does anyone have any pictures of a Skyliner 150p that could give me an idea of scale? I've got a feeling this one might be a bit big, and websites only have these on a white background.

Take a look at this video review of the Skyliner range

.

The first telescope reviewed is the 150P Skyliner.

As a comparisonin size this is the review of the Heritage 130 P

.

Peter

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If you do not plan to upgrade soon and you want to take the scope camping then the Heritage is the best choice IMHO. 90mm refractors are great scopes but why settle for 90mm aperture when you can go bigger. A150mm Dob i dont feel is exactly something you take camping although many do take them to star parties.

The Heritage 130P is a very compact,easy to setup and use 5" "Dob". Ideal for taking on camping trips once you have enough room in the car,caravan etc for a small box. It really does punch above its size and offers great views. It also holds its collimation extremely well, so this is not something you really have to worry about. Unless you are chucking it about the place, you really only have to collimate maybe 1 or 2 times a year.

Here it is on its Dob mount...................cheaper then £190

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I think it depends on how you define camping. If you're going camping specifically for the purpose of observing, then there's no distinction between that and a star party: take the largest scope you can cram into the car. If, on the other hand, you're going with the family then time and space constraints may dictate a smaller scope. Otherwise you won't be able to fit the SWIMBO, her hair dryer, the BBQ, and the dog.

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can you see from the videos why we dob users like them? easy to set up or what??? I tend to agree with the general consensus re a 150mm dob. this assumes you are travelling by car. don't forget that while the tube will take a set amount of space, the base can be filled with other gear like seats, pillows, etc etc so will take up less actual space than you think. 6" is a good aperture and starts to show nice detail from dark sites.

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You will be very happy with the Heritage and the dark skies of the campsite will only make the views better. Ive spotted M57 (The Ring Nebula) with this scope from my light polluted location. Not the biggest Messier object on the list, so it just shows how capable the scope is.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I am going to differ on this because of the price which must be ket under £180. The best all rounder that comes to my mind would be a second hand TAL 100 RS with its original equipment. The mount is quite compact and takes up not much space and the tube while quite long at a meter is relatively compact as well. The frac will be more rugged on the whole and wont need collimating but heres the real kicker the EPs are decent out of the box which means nothing much else to buy.

The TAL will be as bombproof as a scope can be and although it loses a bit of aperture to the 130 it has no central obstruction and the optics are extremely good.

Heres the real killer though....secknd hand you could look to pick one up with all its original accessories for the moeny you want to spend.

Yes the mont is a bit wobbly but no more so than any other budget scope and the overall package will leave anything else in the dust.

Take a look at the thad titled 'look at the size of that thing' for an idea of scale.

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A-B, TAL would be nice but they are not that common on the used market.

Being good people keep them, just looked at the first 4 pages of UK ABS and not a TAL on them.

If wanted for a specific time then I suspect that buying new is the only option, If willing to wait for a few months then wait, but check the used market at regular intervals, and you also have to be the one to get in there first.

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good luck with your purchase. Don't worry about maintainance/collimation, it's not ciritcal and you can easily do it will a small hole in the focuser cap and using the stars anyhow. No purchase neccessary.

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Considering your budget and the use you want to put it too, I would highly recommend the little Heritage 130p. It only has a 5 inch mirror, but that easily gives you enough light-grasp to explore most of the "tourist" sights of the night sky. The real beauty is its portability. The tube can fit into a sports-bag and the mount can fit into any corner of the boot and have stuff packed on it and around it. The thing is that if you can carry it around, you will use it.

Collimation is a doddle, the views are magnificent, it's so easy to use, you can get one now and you will have loads left over from your budget.

Also, if you ultimately decide that stargazing isn't for you (what!!!), then you haven't lost much.

The downside is that this little scope will get you hooked and after that you will never have any spare cash ever again.

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Jumping in rather predicably, to second (third / fourth) the Heritage 130p. Loads benefits, such as portability, quality, things to see. Only minor downer is the focuser, which TBH can be a pain. There are a few sunspot pics & Saturn in my gallery to show what sort of thing to expect if you get into webcam imaging.

Good luck :)

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Ive got a 130 heritage and its a cracking little scope. I've also got 200p eq5 and I'm almost positive that the dob will get more use such as camping and when there's only a brief break in the clouds. Obviously a 150 dob will give better views but as you've said, size is an issue when camping. I also find the stock eps quite reasonable. Hth. Scott

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