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Any good telescope stores in the North West?

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Hi I am very new to both Astronomy and these forums.

I have a small, cheap Dobson which I only got for Christmas and I have really enjoyed viewing the sky with it.

However, I know now that my appetite for seeing more detail and more objects will soon outgrow what this scope can do for me and I will definitely be looking to upgrade in the near future.

As I said I am a novice to this and am a bit nervous of purchasing a scope online having never had my hands on it, so to speak, beforehand.

I would really like to be able to walk into a store and get some solid advice from someone whilst being shown the various models which would suit my purpose.

I am not averse to buying online however so my question is twofold.

Firstly does anyone know of any good shops anywhere in the North West which would allow me to have a first hand look at some equipment before buying as well as get some advice?

Secondly can anyone recommend a reputable web seller that I can maybe contact for some advice and be confident I am buying the right scope from?

Thanks in advance


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I can highly recommend Opticstar in Sale. They are not pushy on the sale, they are knowledgable on the products they stock and are willing to spend time with you to help decide what it is you actually need. Go into the shop and you usually find a few customers just there to have a chat to others as well as picking up the piece of kit.

And no I don't work for them - just a satisfied customer.

Another just across the M62 is Green Witch which again I've used. Lee is a font of knowledge and again is not a pushy sales guy.


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Opticstar in Sale has always been the one for me. I went to buy a scope there some time ago and they suggested a much cheaper one with near equivalent performance. They also know their stuff when it comes to accessories and make sure you have thought about all the "extra bits" you might need like spacers etc. Nothing worse than getting home and finding you are a part or adapter short to make something work. Their "own brand" stuff comes with excellent documentation they have written which foresees the most common problems.

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Opticstar in Sale and Stockport Telescope are both very helpful. A tip if you're looking for advice though, try and avoid calling in on Saturdays when they're busy, especially just after Stargazing Live. They would have more time to talk to you at other times.

I have found online retailers very helpful. I have bought stuff off First Light Optics, Rother Valley Optics and scopes'n'skies.

If you're looking for advice you could try the societies. I think the closest to you would be Bolton.


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If you think of going to Rother Valley Optics, call ahead to check they have things you are interested in.

They have a lot of 'direct from warehouse' shipping.

There is a lot of stock in the shop, but necessarily the item you want to look at.

If passing, I sometimes call in just for a look around - usually ending up spending.

I have called in late in the day and found them busy shipping goods so having difficulty dealing with my enquiry.

But we all expect to order late in the day and get same day shipping, as well as shop attention.

For online, I have found first Light Optics first class. An email with questions is usually promptly answered and they don't make false promises on shipping dates. I have yet to need to return anything. But on at least 3 purchases the instruction has been 'if you don't get on with send it back for refund'.

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Another thumbs up for Opticstar. Have visited them on numerous occasions, always very helpful/knowledgeable, and just as happy to talk whether your buying or just browsing. Shop always has plenty of choice gear on display.

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Yet another recommendation for Opticstar. As already mentioned they wont sell you anything they dont think you need (they talked me down from buying an A&M at £4k to an Equinox 80) and offer sound, free advice - I've always been happy with their recommendations and with what they have sold me. If you do visit make sure you have plenty of time as, when they have no other customers in the shop, you can soon pass a couple of hours and feel guilty for leaving early. They are my first port of call for anything within their range.

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