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new here and would welcome a view on potential first scope

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Hello all.

I am new to the forum and would welcome some advice on a first telescope.

I have been looking for a not very expensive first scope that is simple to use and portable. Initially i want to find my way around the sky and look at the moon and planets. Longer term i would like to do some astro photography but appreciate that a beginners scope may not be suitable.

I am considering the Skywatcher Heritage 130 flexitube as it is not too expensive and looks easy to use for a beginner. I am hoping to join my local astro club to get some help and try some photography, but want to learn for myself as well.

Any thoughts on the Skywatcher, and any pssible alternatives? Would the Skywatcher allow me to attach my Canon DSLR to it?

Any help and advice gratefully recieved.


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Hi Andyb505,

Welcome to SGL!!! Great guys and gals on here and they will certainly show you the options. I'm a newbie too and they have helped me loads :)

What kind of budget are you looking at so we can get a feel for your limits? Obviously the further you can push it the better the kit.

I have just got the SW 150P Pro Goto and I can honestly say so far I am well impressed! Looks complicated but seriously, if I can use it, anyone can. ;) The setup with the EQ mount takes a bit of headscratching for a newbie but once figured out is a breeze. I plumped for this because although the Dob mount is easier for a beginner, I could not guarentee I wouldn't want to try a bit of AP in the not too distant.


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andyb505.........Hi, welcome to SGL. as cussine mentions, if you could join or just attend for one night, you could learn a lot, and if a few members attend that night, I doubt they'll all have exactly the same telescope, so you could try the different variants on offer. Also download the Freeware Stellarium. You can lean  a lot from this program, all real time. You can play about with different eyepieces, produces Star charts. Th e list goes on.

Edited by Charic
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The 130p is often a persons first scope so there is a lot of experience for it.

I am a little unsure as it will require a table of some sort to put it on, if transport is highly relevant then that has to be accounted for - you would have to transport scope and table.

I think the 130p is a fairly fast scope so reasonable eyepieces are required as an upgrade, the supplied one therefore could need replacing quickly.

But for size and convenience it is small and easy to move round.

I tend to prefer the 150P in dobsonian form - it is the longer focal length, however like many things cost more.

Alternative would be something like the Evostar 90mm refractor, think it is on offer somewhere for £80 or £90 somewhere but you need a mount to go with it. The EQ3-2 being a good option, the EQ2 is possibly a bit too lightweight.

Warning: Purchasing a scope is the start, consider 2 extra eyepieces and if a reflector a collimator at some time.

DSLR and imaging: If imaging is what you intend then forget a scope that is a dobsonian mount and is manual. Ultimately you need an equitorial mount and a motor driven one. Do not think that you will get a dobsonian mount and get something from it ij the imaging side. The mount is really not applicable to imaging.

I say this now as the number of posts saying I bought this nice dobsonian reflector and have seen lots, noe how do I image with it are many, the real answer being you don't.

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Really happy with the heritage here. You can have fun using a webcam to image with it for say the moon and planets. Can also point a camera at the eye piece to wysiwyg just can't do long exposures and there is a weight issue with trying to use dslr on the focus arm.

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I am a little unsure as it will require a table of some sort to put it on, if transport is highly relevant then that has to be accounted for - you would have to transport scope and table.

I take a folding camping seat and sit next to mine with it resting on the floor. I find that works fairly well, though sometimes I have to use a camping mat and sit next to it on the ground. It's a compact wee scope, easy to transport. They're popular.

+1 for Ronin's comments on needing a Cheshire - my Heritage 130p holds collimation very well, but you probably want to check it anyway. And yes, it's no good for imaging other than maybe a little web-camming.

I got mine as an 'introduction' scope, in the knowledge that if I got into it I'd get a much bigger scope - but having a little portable one would still be useful. And it is - I had it out last night as setting up the 10" for an hour's viewing is just too much like hard work. I've managed something like 80 of the Messier catalog over the last year, so it hasn't done badly.

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Whereabouts are you?  As advised go to a Star Party if you can, get advice and see what a range of telescopes look like - and their cost.  And remember that there are always extras once you get started!

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You might be able to practice photographing the moon with that scope. You need a focuser or a barlow which has a t2 thread and a t2<->canon EF adapter. The adapter costs maybe 15 euros. Once you upgrade to a real astrophotography telescope, you will be able to use those adapters too. 

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I have just been through the same process as you and I too decided on the Heritage 130p. 

My plan was (like I guess a lot of noobies) to buy a scope that did everything including imaging to rival the Hubble and cost less than £500 !!!

My plan now is to use the Heritage to find my way round the sky and to have FUN - maybe later I will buy a HEQ5 and an ED80 for imaging and maybe a big Dob but for now the Heritage is providing lots of fun.

I got the book - Turn left at Orion and as well as being fascinating it is incredibly useful and I would hand on heart recommend it.

Two nights ago we had a short break in the clouds and even though it was a very bright moon the view of Jupiter and her moons was breathtaking - enough to get everybody in the house wrapped up and outside - they were blown away!!

The alterations I have made to the scope are -

a couple of turns of PTFE tape round the thread of the eyepiece holder to make focusing smoother and removes all the play

spend a lot of time adjusting the red dot finder in daylight so when you use it at night what you point the red dot at actually appears in the eyepiece

Take time to check the collimation - after being thrown around a van by UPS mine was miles out

get a table to put the scope on or put it on the floor and get something to kneel on - my wife's yoga mat has mysteriously gone missing ;-)

Grumbles - personally I find the supplied eyepieces are not great - the 25mm is acceptable but the 10mm one is dire. Maybe I got unlucky - I posted on here and most people said to check the collimation etc but its bang on - I tried the eyepiece in a different telescope belonging to someone else and they agreed its rubbish - even in daylight the image is blurred and 'cloudy'. I bought a 9mm Celestron x-cel LX and the difference is night and day (pun intended).

I keep it in the garage so its always down to temperature and ready for use - if there is a break in the clouds in 30 seconds the scope is in action.

Its GREAT and I am really enjoying it - I hope you do too.

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The most helpful thing for you would be to go to a meet/open night where there are scopes set up and you can try them out.  It makes the decision much easier when you can find out what it's like to use a particular scope and also see what the view is like.  If you were up north I'd suggest you pop along to The Astronomy Centre in Lancashire.  Sussex is a bit of a trek though!

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