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Let's start with how I started to become interested on astronomy...

My dad bought me a Tasco 60x1000 scope about 14 years ago from argos, I gave it a whirl but gave up pretty much instantly.

14 years later I'm clearing out my mum's loft and rediscover the scope, planning on putting it on eBay I took it home and discovered my fiance has always had a wondering about space so I set it up, pointed it at the moon and BOOM she was hooked! Now we have wet our whistle looking at the moon and managing to find Mars, Jupiter and Saturn we want something that's going to bring up a little more detail, I managed to focus on Jupiter and we saw three of its moons but I know with something bigger and a better mount we would be able to see more!

So we don't want to break the bank, looking at around £150 max. There are no telescope specialists around me and Jessops aren't knowledgeable at all.

I have been looking at a Celestron 114 eq because it was in a top telescope for 2913 article, and the 130 eq with motor I found on amazon for £128

I don't want to spend a lot but also don't want to waste my money obviously! I'm not expecting to get hubble grade images and I'm sure anything would be better than what I'm using currently but just want to ensure there's nothing else out there for similar money that would be a better buy!

Thanks in advance

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Hi

You are going to be very limited in what you get for that sort of outlay. As well as looking on Amazon I would have a look on E Bay for second hand scopes as you might be able to get something a bit better for the same sort of money. The 130eq will give you good views of the planets and moon and some of the brighter deep space objects like the Orion Nebula but don't expect to be able to see faint galaxies or nebula.

The danger, speaking from experience, is that you will rapidly tire of the small scope and want something bigger. This can be an expensive hobby and it has a way of pulling you in deeper and deeper. Just be realistic. You might want to see if there is a local astronomy club near you where you can have a look at others equipment and get some advice how to proceed before you actually make a purchase.

Good luck

Peter

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I would recommend a mount without motors (unless you can pick it up at a good price second-hand), as they add to the cost and at that sort of price range you need all of your money to go into the optics.  The mount will be fine with slow motion controls because the magnification will be low - things won't whiz through the eyepiece all that fast except for satellites and meteors.  All too often (myself included) I've seen people with "cheap" motorised scopes struggling because they can't get it to work properly - there's some sort of fault, their batteries have died, or they just can't understand the logic of the handset.

Have a look at Skywatcher and Celestron, they are very common brands and do some good cheap scopes.  Reflecting telescopes such as the 130EQ will probably give you the best value for money but you may also consider a refractor such as the ST80 which will be a bit easier to maintain and handle.

Browse the First Light Optics Telescopes section to see the kind of things that are in your price range.  I have to say I like the look of the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ, you could spend the remaining £30 or so of your budget on a decent eyepiece such as one from the Celestron Omni Plossl range - I would recommend maybe the 15mm to give you something decent between the 10mm and 20mm stock eyepieces that come with the 130EQ.

If you can stretch (double!) your budget then the Celestron Omni XLT series scopes are very nice, they come with a very versatile mount that you can add motors to later, personally I would choose the 150 or 127 from this range - the 150 will be a good all-rounder, the 127 will be good on planets and DSOs but has a narrower field of view so finding those small faint object may be tricky for a beginner.

Edited by jonathan
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Hi Little Tiny Kev, welcome to the forum!  I won't recommend any telescopes in particular, but would recommend looking at refractors as the best course to start.  BUT, the big thing I would recommend is going to an astronomy specialist when you order a scope, like the forum sponsors FLO, otherwise going to 'experts' like Amazon you might as well go to Jessops or similar.

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Hi and welcome to SGL.

I'm still new myself so can only comment on what I have used, which happens to be the 130EQ as mentioned earlier in the posts.

The scope itself is solid, the 20mm EP is quite nice for a supplied EP, however the 10mm really is very poor and I soon bough myself a BST 8mm which when you take it out of the packaging you see the far superior build quality. I think the main problem with the 130EQ is the mount. However if you are patient (always very good in this hobby) and take your time adjusting it can work very well.

If you decide on the 130EQ the one without the MD is usually at least £40 cheaper where you can buy the MD on line for about £34 and takes 10 minutes to fit. Having the MD does make life a lot easier, however still requires patience in changing the speed all the time.

From what I've heard stick clear of the 114EQ as I believe they have an additional lens within the EP holder that will cause you a lot of hassles later.

I've seen people give bad reviews of the 130EQ which mainly is because they have a scope 2 or 3 times the price, but I've also read posts where someone has compared the view with a far better scope next to one, both using the same EP and there was no difference. Also I've seen someone post an image of Jupiter using and SPC webcam which was just as good as the rest.

If I had my time again buying a first scope I may well spend another £100 and go better, however the 130EQ is usable and can provide hours of enjoyment.

Perhaps a nice set of binoculars may be your best option as a first purchase. I spend more time with my Olympus DSP 10x50 bins which only cost me £50 as they require no setting up and can be used anywhere. Especially ideal with our poor weather.

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Thanks to everyone for the advice!

at the end of the day this is to replace a 14 year old Tasco Luminova 900x60 refractor, so I've got a feeling anything would be better than this lol

I still think for my budget the 130eq is a sound option, although I am going to stay clear of the motor drive and get at least 1 decent eye piece. I have been reading a thread by The Warthog in the general help section and it's helped me understand what the differences between eye pieces are and why different ones are best suited to different scopes.

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I don't think you will be disappointed with the 130P, there are a lot of members here who have this scope and all have positive opinions of it.

Do a search for threads mentioning this scope and read some of what others think.

Good luck.

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I have the 114EQ, which is quite compact but at a price. The tube is shortened by the use of an additional lens at the bottom of the focus tube, which will effect image quality by putting another element into the path, but I kind of like it as a grab and go scope. The 130EQ sounds a good bet for you with the larger aperture.

Aperture is all important as you capture more light detail for your eye.

I have tried a Skywatcher 200P dobsonian and found that good but while more expensive than your budget it does represent good viewing quality for your money.

Don't forget you have to train your seeing ability and after a time you will observe more detail.

Let us know how you get on....

Adrian

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So after searching through this forum I have seen a lot of good reviews of the Skywatcher Explorer 130p.

I'm gonna stretch my budget slightly I think and grab one of these, and the rest of the kit i will accumulate with time meaning when I get tired of the standard eye pieces I can splash out a decent amount of cash on a single high quality piece of kit.

I also saw the 130p flexitube but I don't want to have to carry a table around, and as this is going to be being used outside and away from home quite often I didn't think that would be the best option

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought myself a Skywatcher Heritage 130P Flextube, as I did not want to spend much money. I put it on a fold up wooden garden table and use a camping chair.

I have been really pleased with the scope, it is very easy to set up (take out of garage, put on table) and use and gives some (I think) really good views.

Andrew

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