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naxos10
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Just want to intriduce myself.

I live near Lichfield in Staffordshire and have been interested in the night sky for some time but have never taken up the hobby. This christmas the other half decided she would allow me to buy a scope as my Christmas present so I am now eyeing up the options based on portability as we have a campervan and a number of sites we have visited would seem to be ideal for stargazing, and a £400 pound budget. Any suggestions would be appreciated, the ones I have listed so far are:

Celestron Nexstar 4SE

Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT

I have a slight bias towards the 4SE due to size and having the sturdier mount.

Happy new year to all.

BR

Alan

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Hi Alan and welcome to SGL. I agree that the 127 will be the more useful scope overall as you will see more deep space objects with it, especially if you go to dark sky campsites and the like.

Good luck with whatever you choose :)

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Hi Alan,

Welcome aboard the lounge - sounds idyllic, camper van scope and travelling out to some great dark sky locations. I shan't rush in with advice on the scope here, as plenty of other members will have direct experience in this area and you will want something that will stow neatly away, but offer decent stability and great views.

Good luck hunting and fun exploring when you get sorted,

Regards - Jake

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Hi All,

Thanks for the welcome.

There seems to be a commonality in your answers regarding my choices mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.. food for thought.

James: Advised a number of times that a goto may be better to start off with and found that they tend to have the better tripods ie steel and decently heavy compared to an eq. Also for setting up at different places countrywide then it may be quicker and lighter (no weights).

BR

Alan

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James: Advised a number of times that a goto may be better to start off with and found that they tend to have the better tripods ie steel and decently heavy compared to an eq. Also for setting up at different places countrywide then it may be quicker and lighter (no weights).

Generally it's only the equatorial mounts that have counterweights. There are fork mounts, alt-az and dobsonians that don't, all of which can have GOTO. It may not be an issue these days as finding out your lat/long is not too hard, but some of the GOTO mounts may want to know it when you set up which might be a pain if you didn't have the information. I can't be sure about that.

Generally though I'd say that if you want to find a target quickly and you're unfamiliar with the sky then GOTO can be useful. With the SCTs and Maks it may also be useful because (in my case) I find it tricky to star-hop with them. I'm currently looking at putting a much larger aperture finder on my 127 Mak to help with that. Lots of people (myself included for the most part) don't use GOTO and navigate by learning the sky and star-hopping using star charts. "The thrill of the chase" can be part of the fun and I know I'm not the only one who doesn't mind spending a fair bit of time just finding whatever target I have in mind. It's really a question of whether doing so is your kind of thing. If it isn't then GOTO makes sense.

What often is useful (though again not absolutely necessary) is the ability to track a target once found. It's possible to do that as part of a GOTO system or independently.

James

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Hi All,

Thanks for all the welcome posts. Still debating which scope to get but hope to get there soon.

The campervan will hopefully be out later this year but I am not sure the wife is going to be to happy about the bias towards choosing remote low light pollution sites.

By the way forgot to say tha our first van was a Autocruise Stargazer which we affectionately named Patrick in honour of the great man.

BR

Alan

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