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New telescope - beginer's advice for beginers


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Hello,

I thought I would share my opinions on a new telescope I've recently purchased. I'm buzzing with excitement and somehow feel the urge to share it, but most of all I thought it would help make new buyers' minds.

I am an astro beginner, however, I've been scanning the sky with binoculars and a tiny 20x50mm refractor for the last year or so, so I can find my way around and I'm generally familiar with what's happening above.

I live in a flat in Oxford, fortunately not in the centre, but in the south, nearly outskirts. It takes me 15 minutes to walk to a meadow by the Thames, far from street lights (even the Milky Way and M31 can be seen naked eye, roughly), but even from my terrace the views are doable. I don't own a car.

All above factors narrowed my choice a lot. I've been having a telescope on my mind for the last 6 months at least and always wanted a 200p skyliner or explorer, but then I thought I would need something more portable and easy to use. The Skyliner and its base seemed a little too big and heavy to carry around. I think you need a garden with a dark sky or/and a car to take it somewhere dark. it would be a waste of kit in my case. The Explorer seemed too difficult to use. I can't even see the polar star from my terrace because it faces south, so wouldn't be able to align the scope and carrying the tripod, mount and counterweights would be too much of a workout as well. Besides a friend of mine has one on HEQ5 syncscan and gorgeous as it when it's working, the set up takes time and you have to do a lot of pretzel-like gymnastics around the tripod. Equatorials are not very user friendly, especially for beginners and those who want to scan the sky left, right, up and down, that's my opinion.

I think I've made a perfect choice with buying a Heritage 130p. I think it is wonderful and ideal for either beginners or experienced users who want an extremely portable, grab and go kit that takes 25 seconds to set up. I ordered it on Monday from Ace Cameras for £124.16 delivered next day. Bargain methinks - the price allowed me investing in decent eyepieces (highly praised GSO/Revelation/Teknix set, £109 from Scope'n Skies, another Chinese price wonder).

The dobsonian base is perfect for moving around and really enables learning the sky. Just like binoculars, but with muuuuch more power. The folded tube fits into my 25 ltr backpack easily (I've just returned from the meadow, so easy!), the base is very ergonomic and light to carry. Everything in this scope is completely hassle free. I didn't have a chance to spend much looking through it yet (since Monday it's been as cloudy as it can be, so I just collimated the scope, it was almost perfect straight from the box, very sturdy thing it seems to be, it only needed a little tweak to the secondary - I've done a perfect job just with a hand made collimating cap - thank you Astro Baby :-) ). Only today I managed to track Saturn (awe inspiring!) and the very bright moon, but then the clouds came and it's too bright for DSOs anyway. The views were very promising nevertheless and I can't wait for a better, darker weather and better eypieces and the barlow. Oh boy!

I would recommend the Heritage to everybody, especially somebody on a budget and who wants to have fun viewing the sky rather than struggle with all assembly, weight etc. I think it's better to have a smaller scope and use it often rather than an expensive light bucket that you can't be bothered to move because it's too much hassle. The Heritage probably is the best, cheap telescope ever. it is fantastically portable and easy to use, but a relatively large mirror and excellent optics don't make viewings frustrating and I'm sure I will have years of great time with it. I would like the eyepiece holder to be metal, but the plastic they used looks rather sturdy and heavy duty. I am thrilled to see how good it will be with a camera. The scope can be mounted on a motorised mount as well (cheap one, won't need expensive HEQs or NEQs), so I plan to use it for imaging in the future. I can't imagine a more versatile scope.

Clear skies to everybody!

Adrian

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Great review, ultimate the best telescope is one that gets used! Everyone has their own opinion on scopes but if their too complicated or cumbersome to use then really what's the point? The heritage certainly seems like a good investment, i wish you good luck and clear sky with it :)

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If you get the chance give it a try, I'm using out more then my other telescopes due to it's simplicity ;-)

Probably won't be chin on a eq 1 but still acceptable on a ASTRO3 depending on the magnification, so it's a pretty universal little telescope (though f/5 has some downsides)

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A great review of the Heritage 130P showing not only what it is capable of, but also how portable it is for someone without a car. I think you are in for a real treat with the scope as the nights darken and lengthen.

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Thanks!

We all have different telescope needs, expectations and requirements. However, I think this particular model is very well suited for a large group of users. To me it's just a right balance between size/weight/power and really fun to use.

I wrote the rather longish review to possibly help somebody with his/her choice. I can see on e-bay that people often spend hundreds of pounds on telescopes they don't use for lots of different reasons and try to get rid of them after a few months... This one is very user friendly and even if you don't like it then £125 (bought it from Camera Centre Cardiff rather than Ace Cameras, my error, sorry) doesn't sound so painful and you can probably get £80-90 of it back if you try selling it, so not much risk there.

It would be interesting to hear if people use the Heritage for imaging. It might be a potentially good telescope. It's bright and light (the tube is 3.2kg). The eyepiece holder may not be brilliant, but I would quite confidently put an SLR on it, I think... Or even better some mirror-less camera. I'll report when I try :)

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It's s bit tricky to hey in focus with a DSLR, but at least it is possible thanks to the collapsible tube.

This also allows to screw the focuser in all the easy so the camera attaches sturdy.

Pushing the rods with both thumbs slowly while in live view mode x10 worked quite well...

With the black cardboard mod even for daylight photography, but then 're focusing gets annoying.

Tried it on a eq platform, but to many clouds, ship didn't get past seeing up the platform and mirror speed... and no motor in the eq/ Astro3 mount yet.

Looking forward to your results.

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Great "little" scope. Pretty powerful with very good optics. Brings new meaning to grab n go. I love mine.

I think it's better to have a smaller scope and use it often rather than an expensive light bucket that you can't be bothered to move because it's too much hassle.

You hit the nail on the head with that comment.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I picked up a webcam to use with mine, a winter project.

Seeing as the OTA is so light on it's own and could just make safe under seat hand luggage need to find a light weight small folding tripod to use with it. Rather then tube rings I was thinking of some form of adaptor that used the dove bar.

Choose this scope for pretty much the same reasons.

Your one was the cheapest I have seen them, does it have the secondary mirror shroud?

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The Heritage 130 is a nice little scope and does the job well for its size. I've flocked mine and finally manages to fit a light shroud. After first trying a fabric one which was a wast of time then I tried a camping mat. Because the scope is small the mat was just to big a bulky so that went in the bin. I ended up getting some black card which fits perfectly and I've flocked that too. I know it might not be the best when the dew comes down, but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

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Funny, I've just posted about making a light shroud out of neoprene.

I am wondering about flocking it, though. Optical Dob, how hard was that? I'm a little afraid about taking out the primary, though I think it should be straight forward?

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Hi happy-kat. I don't follow Camera Centre's logic because the same telescope on their website costs £139.99 whereas their ebay shop mentions £128 and they offer a 3% discount if you make a phone order rather than through ebay. I had no problems with them, the telescope came next day.

I didn't get any shrouds with mine, but I was thinking of making some of a camping mat. Neoprene might be better and probably I'll end up with something similar to the one here: (http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/150189-light-shroud-for-sw-heritage-130p/page__st__60__hl__+heritage%20+shroud#entry1955178).

Regarding the scope on a photo tripod - here's an interesting little design, maybe that would work?: http://halfinchrails.com/rigs-and-kits/dove-camera-mount

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Thank you for the link.

The early heritage did not have that plastic shroud on the secondary mirror, as it was so cheap I wondered if they had early model stock.

I chose the kite material as strong is fairly light proof double folded and will allow me to still collapse the tube, that's the theory...

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Hi Andy,

I did find it straight forward to flock the scope.

There are 4 scews around the bottom side of the tube holding the complete mirror assembly in. Also 1 allen type screw on the end of the dove tail bar.

With the scope horizontal the allen screw was taken out first.

Followed by the 4 cross head screws around the bottom of the tube.

I had a sheet of paper with a sketch and put the screws in their corresponding places so that they went back in the same holes. Not sure if this was needed its just something I've done with similar things.

With all the screws out I slowly removed the assembly from the tube and placed it in a safe place on top of the cooker :grin: . Like all scope mirrors its surprisingly heavy :eek:

I didn't have any intension of flocking the scope, it just that on a visit to willkinsons I saw the material and got some.

When cutting to size its important to have nice straight edges as this will be a big help.

The material was place flush to the top rim of the tube but stopped before the screw holes at the bottom of the scope as I thought the assembly would not slide in flush with the material there.

The flocking was applied in the way that many others have explained on the forum. The seam that runs down the length of the tube was used to line the material up.

It was a little tricky, probably because of its size as I suspect a larger scope would be easier.

Just to add I didn't remove the scope from the mount when I did mine but think it would be best to. :icon_redface:

I would feel bad if you decided to flock your scope because I said it was straight forward and then you went and dropped something.

As they say its up to you.

All in all I think the light shroud is a must. The scope hasn't been to a dark sky since flocking so I will have to see then how it performs.

Neil.

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All in all I think the light shroud is a must. The scope hasn't been to a dark sky since flocking so I will have to see then how it performs.

Neil.

Thanks Neil. No problem, if I do it I'll be careful - and I'd already been thinking about it any, so tips can only make it easier. I hadn't noticed the allen bolt on the dovetail either! I'd be curious on your opinions after you take it out to see how it performs.

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Thank you.

On the box it says that it was shipped (from China) in March, so I think I have a new-ish model. It does have a plastic cap that goes on top of the secondary mirror holder, so it keeps the dust off when it's folded, but it won't fit on top of the tube where the secondary is, when extended. I hope that answers the question.

I'm sorry if I sound a bit slow, but what would flocking do? I know what the aim is, but the tube is black inside already and doesn't seem very reflective. Are any changes noticeable at all?

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Nice to se you enjoy the 130p Heritage scope Adi. I certainly do. welcome to the DOB mob, or should we start calling it the Heritage 130p club, there are quite a few around here that own it :D Wait 'till you start hunting the DSOs, it is possible, even at the edge of the city where I am. I've hed some good views when the conditions allowed already, and not even experienced the darker autumn/winter skies yet to see how that will improve things.

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