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Skywatcher Heritage 130P or somthing just a little bit pricier?


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Hi everyone, I've always been fascinated by space (who isn't?), but I've never had a go at astronomy, and now I'm thinking I'd like to "give it a whirl" so to speak. The first thing I read was that many people recommend using a pair of binoculars before investing in a telescope, but to be honest I don't really want to do that (I'm sure they would shake while I was holding them anyway). So I had a look for a guide covering telescopes for beginners, and found this link on this website:

http://www.meteorwatch.org/telescopes-beginners-easy-guide-review/

It's clear that pretty much everyone seems to recommend the Skywatcher Heritage 130P, so I'm considering buying that. People also say buy from reputable dealers, and surely Amazon have to be considered reputable (if not exactly specialists), so I was looking at this for £144.29:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skywatcher-HERITAGE-130P-FlexTubeTM-Parabolic-Dobsonian/dp/B005KIXM66/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=311X2MIHS5TU4&coliid=I170SR7X21PPF7

But then when I searched for "Skywatcher" on Amazon, it came up with these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=skywatcher

which include the Skywatcher Explorer 130/900 EQ2 at £139.99, and the Skywatcher Explorer 130P f / 650 at £185.30. As far as I can tell, the two I've just mentioned are quite a bit bigger and heavier than the Heritage 130P.

So my question is, if I were to pay that little bit extra (I don't think I would go above £200 for my first telescope), would I notice any discernable difference in terms of magnitude and/or clarity?

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I was in the same situation as you a few months ago and I opted for the Heritage. I cant make a comparison as I don't have any of the other scopes but what I can tell you is that I was/am delighted wi

There's no getting away from the fact that imaging is complicated and forces you to learn lots of new things. I felt just like that when I first received MEPC, and I decided that there was no point in

After several months, here is my first scope! I've managed to align the finderscope. Not too taxing. I also attempted to collimate the scope, but I'm not convinced it actually needs collimating, becau

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I was in the same situation as you a few months ago and I opted for the Heritage.

I cant make a comparison as I don't have any of the other scopes but what I can tell you is that I was/am delighted with the Heritage.

The only 'fault' was  a sloppy focuser but a few wraps of PTFE tape solved that.

The supplied eyepieces (10mm and 25mm) were OK - the 25mm was pretty good but the 10mm left a bit to be desired.

I have made a shroud from foam backed vinyl to cover the open part of the 'tube' to keep dew and stray light out.

I have seen the supernova in M82, and a myriad of wonderful things.

I would highly recommend it as a brilliant wee scope.

But be aware - there is a nasty virus in the box - its main symptom is to make you want to open your wallet on anything to do with astronomy followed by going outside every half hour and coming back inside cursing!!!

Shop around - it's £128 from this forums sponsor http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html  so there you go - you have saved £11 already!!

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I recently ordered a 130P when I was in the UK. It was quickly returned. I was going to use it as a Shanghai grab and go.

The reason was not that it is a poor scope (it has good reviews)  but because of the quality control when packing them. Mine arrive with a very bent support for the secondary mirror. So bent I did not even contemplate trying to straighten it.

The locking nuts for the primary mirror were all loose too. I tried a collimation but no chance due to the damage on the secondary.

The dovetail was damaged and scratched as it had was shipped with the OTA in place on the stand but the locking screw was not done up. So it must have rattled and bashed its way from China where they are made. I feel this led to the damage on the secondary mirror support.

FLO refunded the money very quickly. I spoke to someone at the actual importers and asked if they ever inspected them prior to shipping onto a customer. The answer was no they did not. They said that many buyers wnatred their scopes to arrive untouched. This I can understand, but I have read a number of reports elsewhere where due to poor packing by the manufacturers I would have thought that they should be checked.

If you buy one buy through a proper dealer where you can explain anything that is faulty. Amazon support line staff would probably not understand the issues if there was damage.

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If your prepared to go to the top of your budget, I'd look at the skywatcher Skyliner 150p on a dobsonian mount.

New they are about £200 , you can get much cheaper 2nd hand .

The dobsonian mount is very intuitive to use , 150mm aperture ( 6") is a good size and collects a fair bit of light.

Not really heavy either , especially if you take the mount and tube out separate .

Having said this, I currently own a heritage 130, and so far I've been surprised how well it performs. I can't give a detailed opinion as I've only used it once in anger.

Regards.

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I would drop the 130/900, the mirror is spherical so the image will be slightly poorer.

You really want one that states Parabolic - usually they are the ones with "P" on the end.

The 130P are intended for use on a table top, so besides the scope you will have to take a table outside. So although easy to transport remember this additional bit of necessary equipment.

Still suggest you avoid Amazon, also check out http://fedastro.org.uk/fas/members/ for clubs around you that may be worth visiting.

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I'm very new to all this too but do have a look at the Skywatcher Skyliner 150p Dobsonian. It's a great scope and you are getting a lot of apeture for your money. Dobsonians are great for visual astronomy and very easy to use. I was all set to get one of these and then was tempted (by the people on this forum) to stretch my budget and buy it's big brother the 200p.

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The Explorer 130P has the SAME optics as the Heritage, so there should be mo difference in the views. It just depends on whether you want an alt-az or an equatorial mount. Alt-az is simpler, EQ would let you fit a motor for tracking. The 130/900 has I think slightly worse optics, but they're still decent.

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Personally I'd go for the 150 Dob it really is more of a 'scope and if you could pick one up second hand you wouldn't lose if you decide to sell it and upgrade. I don't like dobsonian mounts personally but they are the best way of getting a reasonable aperture on a budget. If you can find a local astronomy club go along and introduce yourself. Astronomers who are reluctant to talk about their kit and let you try it out are few and far between.

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Hi Ian, if you are going to buy a telescope I would recommend going to a dedicated astronomy supplier like the forum sponsers, FLO, they will be able to advise you best and you get a first class service second to none.

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As rwilkey says you're far better dealing with somewhere like FLO for advice and resolving any issues after you've purchased your scope. They're also able to give good advice before and after sale I deal with amazon but not for anything of any complexity or value

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Yes I must admit since posting this thread, I've dropped the 130/900 (because of the reasons stated), and I'm less keen on the Heritage 130P (because if really does seem small, and because of needing a table), and I've been tempted by the Skyliner 150P after coming across it. And I've been looking on FLO too, so I must be something right if I'm already doing what you are all suggesting!

I notice that the 150P has an SLR camera connection, which I might be interested in trying. But what kind of money would I need to spend on an SLR to get decent pictures (I would definitely go preowned on the camera, and I probably wouldn't use the camera for anything else)? And I hear that some telescopes have a motor built into them to track an object as it moves across the sky. Does the 150P have that?

Also, how big is the 150P? I can't find specs that tell me how tall it would stand etc. I've looked on YouTube and I've seen a few different size Skyliners (one was massive! and no doubt a massive price too).

And realistically what would I be looking to spend on new lensesm filters etc to being with? Just to get a rough idea of what I would be spending on top of the £200 for the telescope itself. Also, I don't know if this affects anything or not, but I've noticed that people sometimes state that they are more keen on looking at planets, and others at stars (and possibly neubulae?). If I had to choose, I would be more interested in the latter, partly because I know that but starter telescopes like these most planets are still rather small, but mainly because I've always been fascinated by nebulae. Don't know if that would affect anything like lenses or filters etc, but thought it might be worth mentioning anyway.

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If you can afford a 'little' extra, go for the skywatcher 200 dobsonian. A colleague that I work with has one as he was going for the 150 and then changed his mind at the very last minute. Buy the way he ordered from FLO and was delivered within one or two working days.

To quote a certain supermarket "Every little helps!" - OK so 50mm may not seem alot, but I believe you get an extra 50% light gathering with '200' over the '150' and it is 'kind' to eyepieces. Many new SGL members have been recommeded and owners of the '200' and have been recommended BST eyepieces too. If you can, buy individual eyepieces rather than a set.

Pun not intended, but he and his six year old are 'over the Moon' with it.

Edited by Philip R
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A skyliner 150P (6") is the minimum you should be looking at for visual observations? The Dobsonian was not designed for photographic use, so don't be mislead  by the   camera connection.  Check my gallery. I have images of the Moon which are too small for my liking. Since I took those images, I have some more adaptors to increase the scale of the Moon, but alas, I cant see the Moon for a week or so, as its too low in my Southern horizon, shielded by hill and forests.  There are some mobile phone images, hand held in the gallery. I think these are better? If your serious about astrophotography,  You need to get an Equatorial mount that is capable of tracking. These are not cheap, and my  manual EQ mount is a pain in the donkey to keep adjusting all night long. Even powered ones need continual adjustments. The Dobsonian mount was designed for ease of use to support a larger mirrored Newtonian telescope for visually observing  the deeper space objects, due to a larger mirrors (aperture) ability to collect light better. My total kit build in my signature stands at about £650 UK Although still expensive, pretty impressive too.

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That's a tough one. The Explorer 300 has an EQ mount, which would suit photography, and it sounds like the Skyliners 150 and 200 aren't good for photography because of the lack of EQ mount. And scopes with EQ mounts that are on a par with the Skyliner are a lot more expensive. So it looks like a choice between photography or quality, or a lot more money?

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I meant to say that the Explorer 300 has an EQ mount but an inferior lens...

If it is a case of the choice I said above, then I suppose I could get a scope just for viewing, and use telescope.org to "take my own" photos (which would be much better photos anyway, if not quite the same experience).

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http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/129945-beginner-telescope-good-enough-for-astrophotography/

It looks like astro photography isn't really an option on my budget according to this!

Ian

Why not start With planetary imaging? Like Solar (white light With baader solar filter), lunar and planets?

It´s much more forgiving and much easier to get into and can already be done With a small Budget. Like using a cheap modified webcam. (plenty of DIY topics on this forum regarding this)

You also do not need an EQ Mount to do planetary imaging, as long as it´s motorized so you can track your target.

When it comes to Deepsky imaging, the mount is the most important piece of kit in the entire chain. Hence, why the start Budget is higher. As you need something like a motorised Celestron CG-5 or HEQ5 as recommended minimum.

What is Your Budget?  For around 360 pounds you can get something like this:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/slt-series/celestron-nexstar-127-slt.html

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/az-goto/skywatcher-skymax-127-synscan-az-goto.html

All you need then is a modded webcam and you can start your planetary imaging adventure.

These 127 Mak Scopes are very popular Scopes. Plenty of People on this forums got one. It also got good reviews.

Edited by GuillermoBarrancos
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Yes I must admit since posting this thread, I've dropped the 130/900 (because of the reasons stated), and I'm less keen on the Heritage 130P (because if really does seem small, and because of needing a table), and I've been tempted by the Skyliner 150P after coming across it. And I've been looking on FLO too, so I must be something right if I'm already doing what you are all suggesting!

I notice that the 150P has an SLR camera connection, which I might be interested in trying. But what kind of money would I need to spend on an SLR to get decent pictures (I would definitely go preowned on the camera, and I probably wouldn't use the camera for anything else)? And I hear that some telescopes have a motor built into them to track an object as it moves across the sky. Does the 150P have that?

Also, how big is the 150P? I can't find specs that tell me how tall it would stand etc. I've looked on YouTube and I've seen a few different size Skyliners (one was massive! and no doubt a massive price too).

And realistically what would I be looking to spend on new lensesm filters etc to being with? Just to get a rough idea of what I would be spending on top of the £200 for the telescope itself. Also, I don't know if this affects anything or not, but I've noticed that people sometimes state that they are more keen on looking at planets, and others at stars (and possibly neubulae?). If I had to choose, I would be more interested in the latter, partly because I know that but starter telescopes like these most planets are still rather small, but mainly because I've always been fascinated by nebulae. Don't know if that would affect anything like lenses or filters etc, but thought it might be worth mentioning anyway.

The Heritage 130p doesn't need a table. I sit next to mine on a lowish camping seat. If you want to sit higher, then yes, you'd need something to put it on (I have, on occasion, used a convenient rock)

That said, if you've the space for it, and you're willing to take the plunge, you'll see much, much more with the 200p. I've both the 130p and 250px, 'cos the 130p is so quick to cart outside, but the 250px really outperforms it in the dark, or if you need the resolution.

Generally, the advice is to get used to the eyepieces that come with the scope first. I didn't - I went and got a 5mm BST, and that was probably a bit too high magnification. I'd suggest budget £150 or so for extras (and I'm including books in that), but then take your time and spend it reluctantly  :smiley:

Nebulae and dim things need good aperture, and somewhere dark. Now, the 130p has given me some lovely views of nebulae over the last year, and it's very portable, so you can get it out somewhere dark. However, the 250px knocks the spots off it under the same conditions. It's just more of a faff to put in the car. In town, well, the two scopes are much closer in performance.

So, if you live somewhere with really dark skies, I'd say just get the biggest scope you can afford/can store. If you'd be travelling, get the biggest you can still reasonably get to the site with. By driving out somewhere dark my 130p gave me some lovely views of the Veil, Swan, Lagoon Nebulae, even the Eagle Nebula on a good night. A much bigger scope in town just wouldn't have.

And keep an open mind! I didn't expect spotting double stars to be so addictive!

As for photography, well, apart from planetary web-camming, they seem to tend to be quite different kit - very strong and stable mounts, with comparatively small refractors seems common. Aperture is much less of a factor. But I don't really do photography...

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I was hoping to be able to just use the scope in the back yard, but there is light pollution like there is everywhere in the city. So it may turn out that whatever I bought might not work so well in the yard, and that I would have to take it somewhere to use it. In which case the 130P would be the way to go. But it if it did work ok in the yard then I would be tempted to go for the 150P or 200P, because it would apparently show far more than the 130P.

As for photography, I think I should give that a miss for now. I'm considering doing the telescope.org thing for "photography" anyway.

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That's a tough one. The Explorer 300 has an EQ mount, which would suit photography, and it sounds like the Skyliners 150 and 200 aren't good for photography because of the lack of EQ mount. And scopes with EQ mounts that are on a par with the Skyliner are a lot more expensive. So it looks like a choice between photography or quality, or a lot more money?

I meant to say that the Explorer 300 has an EQ mount but an inferior lens...

If it is a case of the choice I said above, then I suppose I could get a scope just for viewing, and use telescope.org to "take my own" photos (which would be much better photos anyway, if not quite the same experience).

Yes,    and     no   no   no!.................? 

The Skyliners are more than capable, just not on a Dobsonian mount.  And the bigger lens " Explorer 300" should be better at light collection than my 200P. The Explorer / Skyliners are not to dissimilar, just the mounts differ, and a slight difference in focal length. And the EQ mounts are motorised in order to enable tracking of a target, or GoTo a target, then track.

Normally the purchase of a Dobsonian ensures you get better/bigger quality optics, because more can be spent on the objective/mirror instead of all the money going on a computerised tracking mount.

There are normally two forms of Astronomy for us, Visual and photographic. So yes there is a choice. And one  costs more then the other. My system is about £600 so-far, just for visual observations ?

Edited by Charic
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Ok so I'm starting to think my options are either visual, in which case I'm looking at the Heritage 130P or the Skyliner 150P or 200P, or jumping in at the deep end with deep space astrophotograpy and spending about £1000 or something tasty with an EQ mount. With it being a very technical hobby, I suppose the sensible option would be the Heritage or 150P for visual to being with, and then maybe something more substantial later on for astro photography if I get really into it (although I hear that you can use some smaller scopes on EQ stands for astro photography).

The other issue like I said is light pollution. I live in the city, and I have no car, so it's the back yard or a long journey on a bus or train somewhere. Which would mean the Heritage for portability.

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The mount is the killer for imaging price wise, I am enjoying finding the limits of what I can image with the heritage like planets and the moon and enjoying my camera on its own for wide field. Have decided full on imaging is probably not for me.

Why not look at the PDS range 130pds or 150pds give you both visual but the reflector and mount is better geared for imaging with a better focuser etc. Getting motors for the mounts allow longer imaging and there are some great images been taken with these scopes and you can always make a dob base for pure observing sessions.

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Another thought get the heritage and then look at a second hand mount for it that you could motorise for starting in imaging at home though the focuser design is not as nice for focusing as a rack and pinion affair I have learnt.

I am light polluted and as long as I don't face a street lamp directly can still find stuff so far... Just starting out really.

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It's ok, I think I've been getting ahead of myself. I'm thinking keep it simple, get the Heritage, and actually learn how to stargaze. Then after that I can consider upgrading to a Skyliner, or maybe going even more adventurous for planetary or deep space photography.

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