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Hello everyone

I'll go straight into the topic. I have been searching a long time for a good beginner-intermediate telescope. But the more I search , the more confused I get!

I'm looking for a telescope in the range of £250-£400. I'm interested in planet observatory (jupiter and saturn's rings) as a start , and open for deep sky as well. So I don't mind f/5-f/7. I'm looking for a reflector since they are relatively cheap, but wouldn't mind a reflector in the price range.

I'm thinking that I should get a minimum diameter of 150mm/6inch as a starter. I don't want any computer/Go-to telescope, because I'm keen on learning how to find objects in the sky and would prefer to have the telescope that I can control manually my-self.

I have found good new features like the slow-motion adjusters, but only found them in cheap telescopes like the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ which was really appealing to me but found the tripod is not solid.

I would really appreciate your help if you would recommend a telescope or suggest new specs to look for.

At the moment I'm looking at:

-Sky-Watcher Explorer-150P (EQ3-2) f/5 £240 * like this one

-Skywatcher Explorer 150PL EQ3-2 f/8 £280

-Celestron Omni XLT 150 f/5 £370 *like this one

or even

-Skywatcher Explorer 130 (EQ-2) f/6.9 £140/£170 (with motor) *tempting motor,slow-mo and focal ratio

-Meade EQ114mm Reflector Telescope f/8.8 £150

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Another vote for a 200 dobsonian

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I had better explain the reasoning the problem with starter scopes is that you quickly grow out of them> as you progress in astronomy you quickly notice the limitations of your equipment. the first thing you notice is apparture if you get a small scope you quickly realise you are missing a lot. the problem with starter scopes is that when you want to upgrade the only people who really want to buy them is new starters so they are not quite as easy to get rid of as some scopes and with a small scope you are more likely to outgrow it quickly. If you buy an intermediate scope if the bug doesn't bite or you outgrow it you have a larger customer base to buy your scope as you not only have new starters but you also have people who want to trade up from starter scopes. so economically it makes a lot of sense to get a scope that you will grow into rather than out of.

Because you are getting in effect an intermediate scope you have a better chance of the astro bug biting and less likelihood of being disappointed. And finally and most important if you can handle a 150 on an eq mount you can handle a 200p dob because its more transportable takes up a smaller footprint and is just an all round better scope

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Yes, I would suggest the Skyliner 200P Dobsonian as well.

I have the 150P f/5 and originally used it on the EQ3-2. It is a very nice telescope and the mount is sturdy enough for visual use, but...for visual use, with a Newtonian on an equatorial mount, the eyepiece often ends up in awkward positions and when you are uncomfortable, you won't like to observe very much.

The larger Dobsonian would give longer focal length, so better magnification for planets, and more light gathering, so better for deep sky objects. f/6 vs f/5 means you can get good views with more economical eyepieces. Also the eyepiece is always in a comfortable position so you will enjoy observing more.

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Of the ones you have given I would opt for the 150PL.

Simply a little less critical on collimation, easier on eyepieces and the longer focal length gives the option for a bit more magnification.

The EQ3-2 mount is a bit on the light side but if you add motors (get dual motors) then you get tracking and the combination allows some basic imaging in the future.

Check round the various retailers ypu may get the PL for the price of the P at one.

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I'm surprised of the amount of replies within the short time! Thank you guys

I came across the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian, but what put me off is its size and portability, but I can be wrong since I only judged by a picture. I was thinking of a telescope that I can take with me in car without taking too much boot space and can be re-built quickly on site. From what I understood that such telescopes are more permanent once built.. The price and specs are really tempting, but the ease of define buildability and portability made me shy away from it...it's too big for a beginner like me

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I'm surprised of the amount of replies within the short time! Thank you guys

I came across the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian, but what put me off is its size and portability, but I can be wrong since I only judged by a picture. I was thinking of a telescope that I can take with me in car without taking too much boot space and can be re-built quickly on site. From what I understood that such telescopes are more permanent once built.. The price and specs are really tempting, but the ease of define buildability and portability made me shy away from it...it's too big for a beginner like me

The 200P is certainly a great scope and would be my recommendation also, but what you have said is very important. Its size and portability. Yes they are big but portable in the right hands. They can be broken down into 2 parts...............the base and the scope itself. Take seconds to join together. They are by no means too much for a starter scope. You would do well to visit a shop that sell them and see them up close for yourself and then decide.

I certainly wouldnt rule one out because of the fears you have.

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6 or 8" 1200mm dobsonians will fit on the back seat of any car easily ;-)

A reflector with a STABLE eq mount will be even heavier.

Check out http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&nv=1&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.joern-lenhardt.de/benny/art_scopes.html&usg=ALkJrhhpZEaf6xfE_jd6_0ug23c_T0GIlw

f/6 will be more forgiving regarding collimation, eyepieces and coma then short f/5 newtons. Also 1200mm dobsons are easily used sitting or standing, while on eq mounts the focuser can wander to wierd positions...

Shorter dobsonians are rare but easily built out of a newtonian telescope.

The heritage 130p is one of the view exceptions, very compact, but won't show as much as a 8" dobsonian... Nice though as it does not require a car for transport.

There are also larger flextubes that are shorter then the usual dobsonian, but the mechanism makes them a bit heavier.

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Yes, I would suggest the Skyliner 200P Dobsonian as well.

I have the 150P f/5 and originally used it on the EQ3-2. It is a very nice telescope and the mount is sturdy enough for visual use, but...for visual use, with a Newtonian on an equatorial mount, the eyepiece often ends up in awkward positions and when you are uncomfortable, you won't like to observe very much.

The larger Dobsonian would give longer focal length, so better magnification for planets, and more light gathering, so better for deep sky objects. f/6 vs f/5 means you can get good views with more economical eyepieces. Also the eyepiece is always in a comfortable position so you will enjoy observing more.

I never used equatorial mounts before nor a Newtonian telescope, I was afraid that I might face such a problem, but though they're very popular and such a problem will be overcome. Is there a solution for this? because that means that I need to reconsider the Newtonian telescope type since all Newtonian s that I've seen come with equatorial mounts.

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Dobsonians are newtonss, just in a rockerbox mount.

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A newtonian is a reflector. Its the name of the design of scope. Some come on equatorial mounts while others come on Dobsonian mounts. They are essentially the same thing but on different mounts. You just have to decide which mounting system is the one for you.

I have a Skywatcher Heritage 130P "Dob". Its a Newtonian reflector...................but on a Dobsonian base. It is the same scope optically as a Skywtcher Explorer 130P (Newtonian reflector), which comes on an equatorial mount.

It can be confusing to beginners..................what is a Newt and what is a Dob. They are the same apart from the mount.

The reason why a Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian mount is cheaper for the same scope then if you buy one on an equatorial mount is that dobsonian mounts are cheaper to make thus you are not paying for the metal,counterweights etc involved in building an equatorial mount.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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I'm surprised of the amount of replies within the short time! Thank you guys

I came across the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian, but what put me off is its size and portability, but I can be wrong since I only judged by a picture. I was thinking of a telescope that I can take with me in car without taking too much boot space and can be re-built quickly on site. From what I understood that such telescopes are more permanent once built.. The price and specs are really tempting, but the ease of define buildability and portability made me shy away from it...it's too big for a beginner like me

You can also get a flextube version of the 200p Dobsonian which should be more portable, in size at least, though it seems they can be hard to get, like this one http://www.pulsar-op...extube-200.html

Edited by AlexB67
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I agree with ronin ...the 150 pl would be better scope for planet observing the eq3 will be at the limit but the scope legs will not be extended so will be ok in a light wind...the Dob is more steady but will need to get used to nudging instead of slow mo nobs...think a visit to a club or a vendor and give the scopes a wee try....Davy

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If you are in London then light pollution is going to be a big factor, unless you are prepared to travel a long way every time you want to use it. Yes - you should be able to see and find Jupiter and Saturn, but DSO's and learning the skies and star hopping may be rather difficult. So think carefully before buying and don't dismiss the Goto scopes. There are societies in London and it may be worth your contacting them, going to the star parties, etc., as they will be able to give you better advice from first hand experience.

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Telrad and Star maps are Not that hard, and pushing a dobsonian can't seriously be considered difficlut?

Also:

Cheap older 40-50€ end of line Android phone or 7" tablet, red anaglyph transparent sheet, and skyeye or other software- Push to instead of Goto ;-).

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You have London as a location, if you can pay a visit to this group:

BSIA

They meet in Regents Park.

Say this for an odd reason. I went to a public star party as part of Star Gazing Live early this year. As I recall there was 1 reflector (6"), 1 refractor (80mm) and 8 or 9 Mak/SCT's all of 5 or 6 inch and all goto's. When an astronomy club has a make up like this you do have to consider why these types and size are so numerous and therefore so popular.

Also looking at what there actually is and how easy/difficult they are is very useful. You can also ask questions and have a coffee.

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Hello everyone

I'll go straight into the topic. I have been searching a long time for a good beginner-intermediate telescope. But the more I search , the more confused I get!

I'm looking for a telescope in the range of £250-£400. I'm interested in planet observatory (jupiter and saturn's rings) as a start , and open for deep sky as well. So I don't mind f/5-f/7. I'm looking for a reflector since they are relatively cheap, but wouldn't mind a reflector in the price range.

I'm thinking that I should get a minimum diameter of 150mm/6inch as a starter. I don't want any computer/Go-to telescope, because I'm keen on learning how to find objects in the sky and would prefer to have the telescope that I can control manually my-self.

I have found good new features like the slow-motion adjusters, but only found them in cheap telescopes like the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ which was really appealing to me but found the tripod is not solid.

I would really appreciate your help if you would recommend a telescope or suggest new specs to look for.

At the moment I'm looking at:

-Sky-Watcher Explorer-150P (EQ3-2) f/5 £240 * like this one

-Skywatcher Explorer 150PL EQ3-2 f/8 £280

-Celestron Omni XLT 150 f/5 £370 *like this one

or even

-Skywatcher Explorer 130 (EQ-2) f/6.9 £140/£170 (with motor) *tempting motor,slow-mo and focal ratio

-Meade EQ114mm Reflector Telescope f/8.8 £150

Good Afternoon,

Before making a decision there are a few points you need to clear with yourself, otherwise you'd end up buying the wrong scope, a multiple of scopes or something that you will soon stop using because it is such an effort to set up and get going. If you are absolutely sure that you have no interest in imaging then a DOB will offer the best value for money for an observation telescope, but there are caveats attached to this, DOBS need to be large aperture to be of any use in observation, that means bulk and weight, they are clumsy and fully manual unless you wish to pay for the SW motorised GoTo versions . They need a stable platform to operate from and that means low down on the patio or grass. They need as much collimation as other Newts if not more so but that is not a big deal as thousands of people carry out this task easily. A refractor is more of a plug and play type telescope and for the planets you'd need at least 4" of aperture and something like F9~F12. Planetary observation requires a stable and if not absolutely essential, but at least a motor driven mount as these little objects of the sky travel pretty fast at high manifications that you'd probably be using so even a slow motion control becomes tiresome. That means a Goto mount either in AltAz or even better an EQ mount of some description. Thse will also lay a foundation for imaging that most people will sooner or later decide to take up. remeber that we live in one of the most light poluted countries in the western world and London is up there with the best of them. LP seriously limits what you'd be expecting to see even in a large aperture scope. So it is best if you consider all this before forking out money. I think that the SW 150P is cracker of a scope but it is not large enough for observation of DSOs or long enough for the planets, on a mount like an EQ5 PRO or even better an HEQ5 PRO ( these are both SynScan mounts) it becomes a carcking imaging scope, the PDS version is preferable. You may consider something like an SC at F10 is long enough for the planets but these are very pricy even more so on a driven GoTo mount. What I would suggest you consider is the 200 P or PDS version if you have a feeling that one day you may want to take up imaging and then seriously consider budgeting for an HEQ5 Pro SynScan, rather more than your budget but there are some options open to you. A 200 is fast at F5 so there is plenty of light coming from the DSOs and is just about long enough that with a 2X barlow could show you great details of the planets and is suitable for webcam planetary imaging. Happy hunting.

A.G

Edited by lensman57
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Thanks for the replies. Well I currently live in London, and I'm not going to use the scope here. I'm planing to buy a telescope from UK before finishing my studies and take it back home. I regularly go camping and will definitely take the telescope with me to enjoy the night-time.

Some have pointed out that I should visit local stargazer groups or even the shop to test the kit, and that's what I'm planing to do.

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Also:

Cheap older 40-50€ end of line Android phone or 7" tablet, red anaglyph transparent sheet, and skyeye or other software- Push to instead of Goto ;-).

Already have one ;) infact I got two, Redshift and Star Chart. the last one is free on Apple store . This will be helpful, but I'm interested in learning the traditional way as well

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Good Afternoon,

Before making a decision there are a few points you need to clear with yourself, otherwise you'd end up buying the wrong scope, a multiple of scopes or something that you will soon stop using because it is such an effort to set up and get going. If you are absolutely sure that you have no interest in imaging then a DOB will offer the best value for money for an observation telescope, but there are caveats attached to this, DOBS need to be large aperture to be of any use in observation, that means bulk and weight, they are clumsy and fully manual unless you wish to pay for the SW motorised GoTo versions .

Good evening

I'm actually interested in imaging but won't consider getting straight into it now.

You make good points about the DOBs. I'm not the best when it comes to smoothly rotate an object, that is why I'm looking for a scope with slow mo rods. I'm not sure how would I be able to mange a DOB. I'm not considering any go to , but I may get a motor to keep up with an object. and yes the weight is a problem, im taking this back home so I will consider a lighter telescope.

Back home there are few dealers and most of them sell advanced telescopes only. That is why I'm considering to get a light quality starter telescope from UK.

They need a stable platform to operate from and that means low down on the patio or grass. They need as much collimation as other Newts if not more so but that is not a big deal as thousands of people carry out this task easily. A refractor is more of a plug and play type telescope and for the planets you'd need at least 4" of aperture and something like F9~F12. Planetary observation requires a stable and if not absolutely essential, but at least a motor driven mount as these little objects of the sky travel pretty fast at high manifications that you'd probably be using so even a slow motion control becomes tiresome. That means a Goto mount either in AltAz or even better an EQ mount of some description. Thse will also lay a foundation for imaging that most people will sooner or later decide to take up. remeber that we live in one of the most light poluted countries in the western world and London is up there with the best of them. LP seriously limits what you'd be expecting to see even in a large aperture scope. So it is best if you consider all this before forking out money. I think that the SW 150P is cracker of a scope but it is not large enough for observation of DSOs or long enough for the planets, on a mount like an EQ5 PRO or even better an HEQ5 PRO ( these are both SynScan mounts) it becomes a carcking imaging scope, the PDS version is preferable. You may consider something like an SC at F10 is long enough for the planets but these are very pricy even more so on a driven GoTo mount. What I would suggest you consider is the 200 P or PDS version if you have a feeling that one day you may want to take up imaging and then seriously consider budgeting for an HEQ5 Pro SynScan, rather more than your budget but there are some options open to you. A 200 is fast at F5 so there is plenty of light coming from the DSOs and is just about long enough that with a 2X barlow could show you great details of the planets and is suitable for webcam planetary imaging. Happy hunting.

A.G

Thank you for the informative reply. I'm sure that few years down the line I would have to upgrade to an advanced one. but for now I think I'm either going for:

-Skywatcher Explorer 130M (EQ-2) f/6.9 (with motor , red dot finder and slow mo) or

-Skywatcher Explorer 150PL EQ3-2 f/8 (with camera adapter and 6*30 finder scope)

I have searched a lot and both received very good feedback. the 150PL is a clear winner on paper when it comes to specs. but with 130M accessories and price (difference of £100) it is really tempty.

I like the 130M more at the moment, but will visit a store first to finalise my decision.

Would be nice if I get feed back from people who tried any of these two.

Thanks for all who recommended and helped me. I know a lot of votes were for the 200P, which is a great telescope, but I don't think it's for me. I hope this topic help others who are in the same position I'm at the moment.

I leave you with 2 videos for the 130M and 150PL, not the best but good enough for a beginner like me :p

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUlI3CjGbug

-

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It's virtually impossible to get a starter scope and avoid thinking later "ooh, wish I'd got that one instead" because as everyone here has rightly said, no scope is perfect for every type of observing/imaging. I don't think my refractor is the obvious choice for what I wanted to do but I'm having a great time with it.

Whatever you get, concentrate on what it can do rather than its limitations and enjoy yourself!!!

Good luck in your shopping!

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