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Looking for a grab and go scope


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Hello,

I am looking to get a grab and go scope to use on weekends away, when taking my 200P Dob is just not practical. I have found the following scopes on amazon and was wondering if anyone here has an opinion about whether they are any good:

Meade NG70-SM

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meade-20218-NG70-SM-AZ-Refractor/dp/B001WMC9K4/ref=sr_1_9?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1370937810&sr=1-9

TS-Optics 70/700

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TS-Optics-Refractor-accessories-Moonfilter-Starscope707/dp/B005DPMAIC/ref=sr_1_10?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1370937810&sr=1-10

SKywatcher Mercury-707 AZ2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/SkyWatcher-Skywatcher-Mercury-707-AZ2-Telescope/dp/B0017GXFXU/ref=sr_1_27?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1370938450&sr=1-27

I am leaning towards the sky watcher, only because i have had 2 scopes of this make previously and been impressed with them.

Any feedback is welcome.

Cheers,

David

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have you looked at this

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-mercury-705.html

I find that on an alt az mount a wider view is better as then you don't have to move the scope as much when viewing. It's true that its not as good at planets as a longer focal length but at that apparture theres only 2 planets and the moon you are going to get much of a view with. the mount is better too

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have you looked at this

http://www.firstligh...ercury-705.html

I find that on an alt az mount a wider view is better as then you don't have to move the scope as much when viewing. It's true that its not as good at planets as a longer focal length but at that apparture theres only 2 planets and the moon you are going to get much of a view with. the mount is better too

I would agree. The wide-field views with these short refractors can be great. It is lighter and more compact too.

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I would be inclined - if finances permit - to go with something like this.

Skywatcher Startravel 102 (AZ3) - First Light Optics

The main reason being - this would be a very useful grab and go to use not just on trips away - you could end up using it as much as your main telescope at home to observe different objects with, and for quick use between breaks in the cloud !

andrew

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Thanks for the feedback, i will take a look at the scopes you have suggested. Not sure the Startravel 102 is within my budget, i have about £130 to play within at the moment. But if the the 102 is worth the extra £86 over the 705, then i might wait an extra month and save to get that one.

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I would be inclined - if finances permit - to go with something like this.

Skywatcher Startravel 102 (AZ3) - First Light Optics

The main reason being - this would be a very useful grab and go to use not just on trips away - you could end up using it as much as your main telescope at home to observe different objects with, and for quick use between breaks in the cloud !

andrew

I would agree that that is a much better 1 the only reason i didn't suggest it was because it was 2x your original choices but that extra 20mm makes a difference in the views
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Agreed with above, my old grab and go was the st120, bullet proof, but somewhat larger than the 102. Impervious to snow,sand and dog slobber. Travelled in the boot, roofbox or back seat. The 102 will give great views and will sit reasonably well on the az3. They sometimes come up second hand. Worth looking out for in the classifieds or ASB&S :- http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php

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If you like dobs, think about a little dob - Heritage 130P. Brilliant scope, fits in a box, up and running in about a minute, and will give better views than any of the others mentioned.

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I was going suggest it, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the Dob mob arrived :D but I wasn't going to as I never owned a refractor apart from when I was a child, so I am not sure what I am comparing to with the above, the refractor I had and It was one of those cheapo ones, probably from Argos or something like that, I really don't remember, gave up using it pretty quickly, I only used the binoculars from my parents as a child, it was way better, but yes, since the Heritage 130p has no extras to carry around it really is grab an go, I can say that much :)

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I used to own a 2nd hand ST102 on AZ3. A nice combination. A good grab n go choice. There were two mods I made to (in my opinion) much improve the package.

Maybe Skywatcher have addressed these issues by now?

First the RDF was much too bright so I built a dimmer circuit to fix onto the RDF.

The RDF as supplied was fine for daylight use only.

Second. The scope balance changes that are unavoidable when swapping eyepieces, etc were making the mount struggle. A tight alt friction nut made the mount difficult to use. But a loose nut meant the scope moved when swapping eps. My bodge answer was to leave a spanner on the alt nut.

I have also heard of others adding a bit of ali bar pointing forward and a small weight. A heavy ep or camera means the OTA has to be a long way forward in the rings. Adding the extra weight, balancing with a 'grenade' eyepiece or camera becomes much easier.

No regrets though about buying the kit.

Hope this helps.

David.

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This might be an unpopular choice, but I'd throw the Meade ETX80 into the mix. I bought one 2nd hand a few months ago (on impulse) with fairly low expectations, but it's been great so far. It cost me less than £200 (the full GOTO backpack observatory kit) with tripod, bag, EP's etc.

I can perch it on my windowsill (without tripod) and perform a 1-star align out of the window within a couple of minutes. That's usually enough for the GOTO to sort itself out sufficiently for low-power observation.

Just don't buy one for the GOTO if noise is a problem. It's louder than my HEQ5 by some margin!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Resurrecting this as i have decided that my grab and go scope should be a GOTO mount and have been looking at the Skywatcher AZ GOTO range. Should be able to save up and afford one of these in time for the winter months.

Skywatcher statravel 102 synscan AZ GOTO

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/az-goto/skywatcher-startravel-102-synscan-az-goto.html

Skywatcher skymax 102 synscan AZ GOTO

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/az-goto/skywatcher-skymax-102-synscan-az-goto.html

Can not decide which would be the better option. Any advise on the pros and cons of each scope would help.

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both portable but I would still go with the refractor , wide field and bomb proof to boot. the skymax is better for planets but there are not to many of those. I use the Celestron 102 f5 and its a great grab. good for the faints and surprisingly good on the moon.

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the skymax has the better optics and is a better match for the mount. It is however slightly dimmer because of the central obstruction and has a very narrow field of viiew. but I think of the two I would go for the skymax. you will need a dew shield for the mak they don't cost much to make and you will need a little longer cool down time for the mak. At 102mm neither scope is brilliant at deep space objects, goto will mitigate the narrow fov and the mak is at least good on planets

Edited by rowan46
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ah, 1 vote each.

I know both scopes would be good for planets, but i was to be observing objects like andromeda galaxy, orions nebula and pleiades, which scope would be better at this? or would neither be any good at viewing these objects?

I know there is no catch all scope for viewing everything, but if one of these scopes is better at objects like these than the other, then i will probably be swayed in that direction.

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neither are going to get much detail from dso's the apparture is too small at a push I would say the startravel would be better it has slightly more light because of no central obstruction contrast will be slightly better . To be honest the startravel is a rich field scope open clusters and the milky way are what it does best at this apparture. The mak is similarly crippled at this apparture it will excel at lunar observation and be a little better on planets than the startravel and will be good for double star hunting. When I first got into astronomy back in the day Sir patrick moore used to say that 4" was perfectly adequate the general consensus now is that 6-8 inches is best for general astronomy because of light pollution. I think that 4 will still be fine under dark skies but I must stress it does need to be dark skies. I use an 80mm refractor as my scope and the difference to it away from the towns is phenomenal at a guess i would say that a dark sky at least doubles my reach.

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