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Newbie in Morpeth

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Hi Guys,

We have had our 3" telescope for about 10-years but it didn't get much use.

Patrick Moore and sky at night relighted the interest.

Saturn was a challenge, and the Moore marathon highlighted plenty other observing opportunities.

I realised I was doing something seriously wrong when our 15x 70 Revolution binoculars gave a much clearer image than the scope.

Jupiters moons were easily visible with both, but I could tell that the scope wasn't right.

A quick collumation fixed the problem (thank you google)

Then the serious trouble began.

Extras bought so far = £105

9mm Plossl

12mm Plossl

2.5x Barlow

Moon filter

On the wish list = £500 plus

8" reflector on EQ5 mount (Skywatcher 200p or similar)

90 degree finderscope

And maybe a CCD imaging camera (1.3mp from Amazon)

I look forward to spending more money - with your advice.

Hopefully I can ask the right questions before the big upgrade.

Thank you for providing the forum,

and for the helpful advice coming my way.

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There is a guest speaker and astro night 10-miles away from me in a few weeks time. Meldon Hall - 5th October. www.nastro.org.uk/events.html I would like to see the size and weight of the skywatcher v

Hi Reeny. Welcome. You're not too far away from me. Some nice dark skies up there plus you're not too far from Northumberland astro society.

Pleased you got your scope collimated ok  You'll find that the hobby is a never ending spiral of upgrades and spending!!! Enjoy.

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Hi there Reeny,  Just a quick hello from sunny Blyth and welcome to the site its fantastic for all of your problems you will encounter.

I am not sure i will be able to give you much advice as i am new to the stars myself, a got myself the skywatcher 200p from amazon

just a couple of months ago paid £422 for it and the images are quite good indeed.Dont really have much advise on what you should buy yet though as i dont really know much myself as yet, but i will say i purchased the neximage 5 camera for to fit onto my focus for photos

and i have found out that it really is a waste of money if your mount is not setup to track what your looking at, my first mistake £170

camera and i cant really use it until i spend another £300 on my mount so make sure you wait and get good advice FIRST.

Just cant wait to get mine set up i must admit, anyways hoping you enjoy the night skys and above all have fun looking around out there 

its just amazing.

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Hi Reeny and welcome to SGL. The SW 200P mounted on an EQ5 system is certainly popular, though if it is imaging you eventually want to be involved in, then the top of the range EQ5 mount, but more suitable would be the EQ6, if your finances can stretch that far, the s/h market could be considered.  The correct image 9X50 finderscope is often the choice of many, but not all, as the RDF in the form of the Telrad is often at the top of shopping lists, both useful for finding your way about, reading straight from star maps, enjoy :)


A copy of Steve Richards book "making Every Photon Count", see FLO top of page, is a source of invaluable information when you come to consider imaging, and may well have a bearing on the equipment you end up with.

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Thanks for the warm welcome.

Hi Glowjet - imaging will be our secondary activity to scanning the nebula(s) and exploring the skies.

I was only going to get a cheap imager to play around with.

A major problem of having only one scope, is sharing the images from the eyepiece with others.

Big Nev - It was the £420 skywatcher 200P like yours which I was interested in.

The little scope is OK for the moon,

but it struggles with Saturns rings, and Andromeda is a complete blur.

I need to try one out before buying.

The 200p seems to be ideal for what I think I need.

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Hi, Reeny, and welcome to SGL! I would second 'Glowjet's recommendation of 'Making every Photon Count'. If you are thinking about astrophotography this book will save you a lot of wated time, effort and money by guiding you to a working set up from the start.


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Hi, Reeny, and welcome to SGL! I would second 'Glowjet's recommendation of 'Making every Photon Count'. If you are thinking about astrophotography this book will save you a lot of wated time, effort and money by guiding you to a working set up from the start.



I may hang on and check the book out first.

A Dobsonian mount would do my back in.

I don't want a go-to mount (half the fun is when you find stuff yourself)

And lumping battery packs around for tracking motors doesn't sound like much fun either.

I thought all I needed a grab and go mount, with slow motion hand operated controls.

I'll have a read, have a rethink, and make sure I cover all the options before comitting.

I don't have a decent digital camera.

So the USB 1.3mp imager was going to fill the gap (£43 from Amazon).


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Welcome Reeny. You will notice a significant difference if you go for the 8"..........

Your not wrong Kerry.

I noticed a massive difference with the clarity of the 15x 70mm binoculars.

Then I realised that the bins are similar diameter to the 76mm scope.

The better optics have helped massively - but the toy 3-inch will never allow enough light in to see the deep space objects.

At the moment, the scope can't go much above 100x magnification.

140x magnification is do-able - but it's not that great.

The 8" versus the 3" will be 8 times more sensitive to capturing the light.

That should give a huge improvement in depth and clarity.

I just need to scratch together the funds now.

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Welcome & thanks for supporting the UK economy... I too am caught up in the upgrade race.

My upgrade list is much more modest at the moment.  I have heard so much good stuff about Telrad finders, seems a must have.  Also a quality Barlow that is modular, have been looking but can't find a good well reviewed one yet.  To be honest my heart lies with an upgrade to a 2 inch eye piece set and diagonal for the deep sky stuff.

You will find loads of great advice and help here, thats for sure.

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I have joined the sunderlland and the Newcastle astro clubs, they have a nice domed set up at the Washington wetlands centre and its free to use, most take there own stuff on the public nights on Thursdays, open other days to depending on if its workshop or lectures you want, good bunch of lads, I live beside Gosforth and go to the derwent reservoir site up by slaley hall, sky is amazing and there's a good bunch of clever folk round to help if needed!

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Hi Reeny and welcome to SGL from another Morpeth Geordie now living elsewhere.

A Dobsonian mount would do my back in.

I definitely think you should see what the Dob mob have to say about that statement! I've now used the 200p, 250px and most recently the 300p Flextube Dobs on water butt stands, and the extra 30cm height makes the finderscope/Telrad/Rigel and observing most objects very comfortable. With the 300p I have to stand a little off my heels (tippee toes in Geordie) to look at the Zenith. If you're worried about your back, just wait until you contort yourself to use the 200p on an EQ mount (and at the same time struggle to find where the bendy slow motion knobs have disappeared to)!

Clear Northumbrian Skies!

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I need to get out more and talk to the owners of 8" scopes. 

I never realised that there were so many local groups nearby.

(20-30 miles is local in Northumberland).

My first post today, and the information is flying in.

Thanks for the advice.

The next step is to see how portable the EQ5 mount really is compared to a Dobsonian.

My reasoning is that a £420 tripod mounted Skywatcher has enough versatility over the Dobsonian version to justify the additional £140 cost.

Tracking Saturn at 190x magnification on the 3" using push/pull hand adjustnents was tricky.

I would prefer:

- the height adjustment of a tripod

- to easily move it around the back yard for the best views

- to fold it up and stash it in the motorhome for dark sky holidays and weekends

- and to have some kind of slow motion tracking.

If I decide on a Dobsonian, I'll go second hand.

There are loads on Ebay for sale because the owner wants something more portable.

Now I need to get myself along to one of the local groups to find out what is available.

Thanks again.

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