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Jcousins

my first go to telescope what, shall i buy?

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hi

i am looking to purchase a computerised goto telescope and i have a budget of around £300 or so could stretch a little. My choice is out of either of these two scopes:

Sky-Watcher SKYMAX 102 SynScan AZ GOTO Telescope or,

Celestron Nexstar 90 SLT Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope

I would like to know anybodies experience with either and any recommendations?

I primary want to view solar system/lunar objects with some sort of photography and some deep sky observing of easy targets? Also binary star systems will be of interest as well.

So i look forward to any comments etc

thanks

james

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Hi James, I haven't used these scopes but I think the spec on the Sky Watcher Skymax 102 looks better. Also factor in the cost of a portable power supply and a dew shield. Also, if you are serious about astro-photography, get yourself a copy of Steve Richards book 'Making Every Photon Count', it may save you loads of cash if this is your ultimate goal, follow this link: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

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Niether will be any good at astrophotograthy because of the mounts you realy need an eq mount to trak the sky .whats the reason you want goto .? You could maube catch planets with web cam about it .

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thanks for the input so far!

I am new to the latest technology but not to astronomy, i have a good knowledge of the sky etc. But i would like a telescope that takes some of the hassle out of seeking various objects. I would like to view solar system objects and lunar observation, but i would like to see some DSO too.

Astrophotograpy of the planets and moon with a compact digital camera or a cheap webcam could be a priority.

Portability is also high on my list as well as reasonable low maintenance of the scope itself!! but like all things in life compromise is always there!

The scope also has the ability of upgrades such as focuser/eyepieces or other modest gains!

so any help for my choice will help

thanks again

James

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you can buy a skymax 127 auto track for a little over £300 , that would be much better and it could be used for planetary webcam imaging , this isn't a goto system it will just track for a while, so you can use it for long exposure shots , but i doubt it's any use for DSO..

http://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/SkyWatcher_Skymax_127_SupaTrak_AUTO_127mm_Maksutov_Cassegrain_Telescope.html

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127 scope is great but very wobbly cheap plastic mount i sent mine back after 3 days planets looked great .but narrow views not easy to find things .

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What about a 4" refractor on a goto mount? Better field of view than a mak scope, so therefore better at dso use a Barlow for magnification?

Anyone used the celestron nexstar, 102slt refractor?

Cheers

James

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Not sure about that scope but agen goto is quite gimmicky more money spent on the goto then the optics .you want value 200p dob .no good for taking pics althought got great pic of moon on one .but all money spent on optics .or the 150 on eq3-2

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Goto is what you make of it but there are 2 posts at present of people with 200P's that have just realised they cannot locate things themselves. So the nice big 200P show not a lot to them.

Yes you are spending money on electrics but neither Skywatcher, Meade or Celestron give them away free. Much the same as car makers charge for the motor that is in the car. The software and processor in your PC/Laptop that wasn't free either, so why this strange idea that you actually pay for the goto motors and software when it is normal to do so.

If you want to image then you need a mount that has motors and tracks, which mount is your choice. The equitorials have the better options as they will do "long exposure" but only if solid enough and set up right. Long exposure is really 20-30 seconds at most.

If you want to image anything resembling a DSO then you also need a short fast scope, Mak are not short and fast.

One thing that you may come to realise is that an imagers system is not an off the shelf system, they are a system built up of individual items. Meaning that what you see as a buy now set up from a retailer is not what many use.

Edited by ronin

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I had the same budget and I was looking at those very same ones , I am a complete beginner and I went for the skywatcher 200p. In the end the thing that made me pick this one was the fact it can offer far better views than any of the other ones at similar prices , it's a beast and looks very solid and simple to take about . I guess seeing with your own eyes is more important than a photo ? Let the professionals worry about that with much better results :)

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Goto has its place, no doubt about it. If I lived in London or the middle of the greatest city on earth (Manchester) then Goto would be essential. Lucky for me I don't . if you don't need Goto then don't buy it. Learn the sky, its ace. Take your time, the universe is not a Mc Donald's drive through. If you are ready to buy a scope then buy the very best, you won't regret it.

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Hi James,

You don't mention if portability is a concern?

If so, I could recommend the Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT (slightly above your budget at £359 on firstlightoptics.com). It comes with an Alt-az GOTO mount. The mount won't be suitable for long exposure astrophotography, but you can do planetary webcamming with it. Field rotation won't be much of a problem over the couple of minutes required. Great planetary observing and decent dso viewing also. It also can fit in a mid sized backpack with the tripod in hand.

If portability isn't an issue, go with the 200. But you won't be able to take it anywhere without a car.

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Hi Guys

Thanks for the advice! I am quite well versed on the stars and constellations and navigate the sky well! but being a gadget fan a goto system would enhance my observing. Portability is also key as i will take to friends house or observe away in better skies in the countryside. I live in a town but limit viewing due to other houses etc

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Niether will be any good at astrophotograthy because of the mounts you realy need an eq mount to trak the sky .whats the reason you want goto .? You could maube catch planets with web cam about it .

Totally Agree, I recently sold my goto az mount as it can only image planets so that I can free up a bit of money for a HEQ5 soon, I would have saved myself a fortune if I had read making every photon count before :) mount is everything in astrophotography.

But on the other hand if you are looking at the moon / imaging the moon and planets the 102 will be great. you will see some DSO's with it but dont expect too much. Good luck & enjoy :)

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The Skywatcher equatorial mounts are upgradeable to have motors for tracking purposes, and to have GoTo, by buying the synscan system for that particular mount. I'm getting an EQ5 in a fortnight, and although I'm fine without GoTo, at least I have the option if I decide I want to.

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Waht be best for me a goto MAK scope or a compact goto Newt scope? what is best for ongoing maintenance etc? The Newt will be cheaper? any recommendations please?

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What are the best eyepiece upgrades for a modest cost for MAK-cassegrain scopes as they have a a long focal length.

I would like to to see saturn's rings and titan, uranus/neptune. But also some deep sky objects like M31, Orion Neb, and other star clusters?

Are barlow lens worth it on a MAK scope?

I look forward to thoughts?

James

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Waht be best for me a goto MAK scope or a compact goto Newt scope? what is best for ongoing maintenance etc? The Newt will be cheaper? any recommendations please?

If you're carrying it about for longer distances than from living room/garage to garden the Newt will need collimation. The MAK is a lot sturdier which I find goes out of collimation much more slowly. Case in point: my 127 Mak went minutely out of collimation during extreme turbulence (read "flying hostess trolleys") during a flight recently. My 150P seems to go out of collimation every time I tidy it away.

What are the best eyepiece upgrades for a modest cost for MAK-cassegrain scopes as they have a a long focal length.

I would like to to see saturn's rings and titan, uranus/neptune. But also some deep sky objects like M31, Orion Neb, and other star clusters?

Are barlow lens worth it on a MAK scope?

I look forward to thoughts?

James

That's something I'm looking into now, I'm currently using my Meade 4000 Plossls that I bought with my 150P, however the eye relief is a little short, especially when using a barlow. I do use a x2 barlow with the Mak, just only with my main low power eyepiece.

The default lenses should work fine on the targets you've mentioned. I'm not sure about titan as I haven't used my Mak on it yet.

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If you really want GOTO you could do worse than either the 102 or 127. The 102 will give you much wider views with appropriate eyepieces but will likely be at a disadvantage for planetary, showing some chromatic aberration at higher magnifications. The 127 should be surprisingly capable with planetary with the longer focal length, but consequently a narrower FOV for DSOs. In reality this is a problem for few objects besides just scanning star fields, and most will fit in the slightly more than 1 degree max FOV (again with an appropriate eyepiece). The 127 won't show any fringes on planets, and the larger aperture might give it a slight edge with DSOs, but it might be hard to tell the difference. They both share the same mount, so there's nothing really separating them in that respect.

Personally I don't regret going with goto, I prefer to spend time looking at objects rather than trying to find them through the light pollution. Each to their own.

If you decide against goto, the 200p seems to be the default choice, and neither of the little gotos above will be able to hold a candle to the bigger reflector on DSOs, but that's just the way of the universe. Aperture wins under the same conditions.

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Anyone had any experience with celestron LCM goto mount and tripod, and what sort of OTA mounted on it? Or is a celestron LCM 114 reflector any good as a goto grab and go telescope? I be interested in anybody's thoughts on this.

James

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I've just got the 4" Celestron Nexstar on the goto mount. I have to say I'm pretty impressed with it so far although I haven't had chance to use it at night yet due to the Rubbish weather. I have used it terrestrially during the day though.

Firstly the tripod and mount are very solid and well built. Almost no discernable vibration. Secondly, a big plus for me as a beginner was that you can use the built in wedge to set up the mount as an equatorial as well as the standard goto giving you experience with both types in one package, and the option of some basic photography if you want it.

A lot of people are quite negative about the goto and suggest that its a lazy way of looking at the stars without learning anything. In my book that's simply not true. You can manually direct the motors to anywhere in the sky using the spotting scope without using the goto function. Again for me this is the best of both worlds. Add to that the portability of a Mak and it was a no brainer. I took ages deciding what sort of scope I wanted and I have to say I'm not in the least bit disappointed.

True I may eventually feel the need to upgrade, but I would say this is probably true of any starter scope.

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