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Sky Watcher 130 EQ2 or 130p flex or 130p EQ2

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I have been using for the past year or so a little 76 FirstScope. I have had some good times in my back garden. Last Saturday I was enjoying looking at Saturn and thought it was time to upgrade. My only upgrade so far was some semi decent EPs.

Anyway my budget is not huge and i dont have much storage space.

So looking at FLO they have an offer on a SkyWatcher 130 with a EQ2 for £115.

The Heritage 130p flex tube is £135 and the 130p with EQ2 is £165.

Anyway... Is the 130p £50 better than the 130?

is the flex tube 130p a happy middle ground?

Any other recommendations in this price range?

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If I am thinking of the right one, the optics are the same, the specification is the same in terms of aperture focal length etc, so what you see will be the same. In the end of the day it will really come down to what mounting type you think you prefer, and what you intend to with it. Not sure how robust that mount is in terms of stability for imaging, other will be able to comment better on that that have experience in that matter. In my case I opted for the Dob mount as it is an absolutely no frills, no spills, every so easy to set up, get out of the house with, pick up in one had and use within minutes and you are away.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Both 130p models have exactly the same optics, it's just the mount that makes the difference in price. the 130 has a spherical mirror as opposed to the parabolic mirror of the two 130p models, meaning it theoretically will give a poorer optical performance (though how much this will impact on a 5" mirror is debatable). My advice would be to go with the heritage 130p... it has the same optics as the 130p+eq mount plus you already have experience with a dobsonian telescope. The extra £30 saved could go towards (wait for it!) a couple of explorer BST eyepieces which will perform exceedingly well in your telescope (I believe they're now called 'starguider'). These eyepieces are available from SkiesTheLimit on ebay for £47 inc delivery, or you might be able to pick up a second hand one from Uk astro buy and sell. I'd recommend you go for something like a 15mm to complement the 25 and 10mm eyepieces that will come with the telescope. After that you can judge which focal lengths you find most useful and then you can really start looking at extending/replacing your EP collection. Hope this helps, and do let us know which you go for!

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I have the 130p Heritage on the dobsonian mount. It is a great scope!

I use it mainly for observing Jupiter and Saturn (as they are the easiest to recognise in the night sky) but have also observed a lot of double stars (thanks to the wonderful people at Rugby and District Astronomical Society), a couple of galaxies (Cigar and Sombrero) and it gives me great views.

My one criticism is the mount, it works great but to do any real observing you need a good sturdy table to put it on or be prepared to get down on your knees in the cold and damp!

After a couple of months I went and bought myself a Skywatcher Alt-AZ4 mount (this one http://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/skywatcher-az4-alt-az-mount.html) so I could use the scope "in the field" as it were and it is rock solid. If I had the choice again I would have paid the extra in the 1st place and bought the 130p on the EQ2 mount, but the scope was there and I had money in my pocket, what you going to do eh?

I have since bought myself an 8mm Vixen NPL eyepiece (beautiful eyepiece it is too) and a collimating eyepiece (essential for a Newtonian scope). I will say that the "cheap and cheerful" 10 and 25mm eyepieces that came with the scope do a decent enough job, but the 8mm Vixen shows far more detail, much better contrast than the included ones and goes to show just how good the optics are in this scope.

Would I recommend the 130p? Yes, without doubt. The only problem being that once you see what this "little" 'scope reveals you'll want a larger aperture.....trust me on that :p

So as to whether to buy the heritage flextube on the dobsonian mount or the 130p EQ2 mount? I would say (if you can) buy the EQ2 mount version. I am glad I bought this telescope, but there are days when I wish I had paid that little extra in the 1st place and bought the 130p on the EQ2 mount.

Hope this helps you out.

Good luck and clear skies, Richard.

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It would be good to have at least something like the Rigel Aline Collimation Cap if you can't afford much more to begin with, or better still a combination tool, FLO sells both.

I fell for that not buying one and had to make do with some crude visual collimation by eye for a few days, while that worked out okay, the scope was usable, there is always a chance that collimation will be out a little when the scope had been in transport and shaken about a bit, certainly in my case the secondary was in a bad way when I got it so that made it harder. More than likely though you'll just need to tweak the primary when you get it a little bit. Best thing to assume is that it is in collimation, check it first with whatever tool you end up getting, then fiddle if need be.

You can if you wish make your own from a film canister to start with, google around and it is easy enough to find loads of collimation tutorials, astrobaby is one of the most popular ones http://www.astro-baby.com/collimation/astro%20babys%20collimation%20guide.htm, but don't let it overwhelm you, as may be easily done once you get hung up on the whole collimation topic, if you start reading too much too soon and end up worrying about it too much. Unless you are into real perfection which for visual use is not really that massively important to get that last percent in collimation perfection.

This simple video just using the cap is what I did in the end, very simple and easy to follow, job done.

The absolute art in collimation can come later if you want something to do and learn when the clouds are out, for example search for the astronomy shed series on youtube if you want to watch a series of about 9 videos on the topic, and go through a few buckets of popcorn while you are at it :D

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I upgraded from the terrible H20 and SR4 (I think that's what they were) that came with the firstscope to some Skywatcher Plossls from - FLO 20mm and 7.5mm - nothing great.

I had a go at collimating - the secondary seemed ok but the primary was out. Hopefully I have done it correctly. I guess I can test that tonight.

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