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starting up question.

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Hi and apologies for the noob questions but here goes.

Never used a telescope before but I've been lurking on here for a bit and picking up stuff.

I've got my planisphere and been checking out with the naked eye and my cheapie bino's the constellations etc and starting to work my way around the sky.

Inevitably that leads to wanting a scope to get a bit closer to what's going on up there.

At the moment it's all exciting and I want to see a bit of everything and I'm not yet blinkered to only wanting to concentrate on one thing, I'm also aware that without doubt whatever I plump for now will probably seem like a mistake in 6 months time and I'll want bigger/better/faster/smaller/electronic/more expensive etc etc been there already with most of my other hobbies.

That said I've been casting the glad eye over the heritage 130p flex-tube. I like the idea of low cost of entry, the easy dobsonian mount, small footprint for easy storage and portability to start with.

I've also scored on the bay of e a brand new, older style, (black head) EQ3 tripod and some 1.25" lenses off a Danubia 2000 scope as a package for very little money which will allow me to play with the 130 on an eliptical mount also should I wish.

All in I'll be set up with the scope and the two types of mount for around £200

So the questions are as follows. will the Danubia lenses be of better quality than the ones supplied with the skywatcher 130 (I think the danubia 2000 was about £400 originally)

secondly at around £135 including shipping for the 130 online is there any other scope I'd be better off with instead for similar money?

Also may be worth noting that it will probably live in the shed as we've a small house and she who must be obeyed would not be keen at all on it being out on show.

apologies for the newbie nature of the questions and thanks in advance.  

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most lenses that come with starter scopes are cheap, Rubbish or cheap Rubbish. It mostly depends on luck if you get total Rubbish or ok-ish modified achromats. if you are really lucky you might get a passable plössl. Seems that the danubia eyepieces might be kellners. Depending on manufacturer they might be ok or total Rubbish.

I wonder if attaching a 130p flextube to an eq3 is feasible at all. That eq3 might be best utilized in astrophotography by attaching a camera straight to it (if it has a motor) or by getting a separate 6" telescope on top of it , or maybe a small achromatic refractor or maybe a 127mm mak.

For 200 pounds my choice would have been an 8" dobson , but a 6" flextube is not a bad buy. Avoid buying stuff piecemeal just because "they are cheap". Gain some experience and then start trolling ebay for what you need , one by one =)  

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Hi Andrew I would go for a 8" dobson and as your requirements grow you could use the tube on a Heq type mount, especially if you wanted to go down Astrophotography route.

anyway there will be loads of advice from more experienced members.

Welcome to SGL

Edited by daiwelly
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cheers for the replies. The eq3 is not motor driven at this time but can be. I've seen 130's on eq mounts so it can be done and just offers something for the future if I want to do motorised tracking etc.

I don't think I've got the storage space (or cash) for an 8" dob although it would be nice.

the other option would be to grab a 130p-ds as an ota and put it straight on the eq3 mount although I'd miss out on the dob mount going this route and lose the collapsible nature of the flextube. Although I'm not ruling it out.

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If you are going to store in a shed then you presumably will have enough room to store a 200p Dob. It is easy to stop insects getting in by putting a shower cap on each end and will last you a very long time, it may be the only scope you ever need. You can look out for a nice small refractor for your other mount , a nice short refractor will give you some nice wide field views and the possibility of some photography. For the small extra outlay the 8" Dob can not be beaten.

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Second guessing myself again now. The more I read the more I struggle to make a firm decision. Portability and size for storage are issues currently and I'm just staring out so don't want to go mad on my first scope as I'll end up buying bigger and better down the line (I know what I'm like). I also like the idea of getting simple photos.

Now I'm wondering whether to go with an ST80 refractor on a tabletop mount for the ultimate portable travel/starting out scope that could go in a backpack as cabin luggage for holidays, become a guide scope on a bigger scope later on and will get me started fairly inexpensively. They also seem fairly well thought of for what they are. simple starter scopes.


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Hi Andrew,

I have a Heritage 130p and I am very impressed with it, from a storage point of view it takes up very little space in our conservatory and is very portable. If you are interested in doing some basic AP then you can get a webcam (I have the Phillips SPC880) which was fairly cheap and easy to use for Lunar and Planetary imaging (Jupiter / Saturn and Mars at a stretch). I cant wait for the moon and Jupiter to come out at a reasonsable time so that I can start up again.

I have also see the Andromeda Galaxy through this scope along with M92.

Hope this helps.

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cheers Junior.  yep I'm swaying like a tree in the wind!

I really like the 130 and having read a massive thread on the xbox live cam modded for a bit of very basic imaging I've got one on the way for the princely sum of a pound.

I'll probably end up with the heritage 130 but just can't quite make that final commitment of hitting the buy button.

Everytime I think, do it! I see another post with the merits of the st80 or another scope. I think it really is a toss up at the moment between those two though for what I need and want at this time.

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Just reading back, if you already have a mount it may be worth getting the ST80 as it is cheaper (OTA only). They are both F5 scopes so viewing will be fairly similar I believe I think you definetly have a tough choice on your hands. :)

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Hi there again..the ST102 is only £60 more than the 80..but if your budget is around the £130-£150 mark then there are better alternatives. Refractors are easier to use than reflectors in that they don't need collimated but you can get bigger newts for the money than fracs. When I got my first scope I dived right in and got the 8" Dob..the sights I saw with that blew me away..only problem was that it was hard to star hop in a bad light polluted sky..i then went for a GOTO Mak and the sky is as they say  my oyster. I would go for the biggest and best scope that you can afford..other halfs have an annoying habit of saying "YOU SAID IT WASNT GOING TO BE BIG!" or "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU PLANNING TO STORE THAT!" but they do soften..(jeez im sounding a bit like Dr Ruth here!). If the 130 heratige is what you are going for then go for it mate but I don't think you would be able to mount that on an EQ mount..might not fit..

Good luck with whatever you buy and let us all know and keep us up to date

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There is a TAL 1m for sale on ABS at the moment that might interest you. TAL's keep their price quite well on the second hand market, and their optics cannot be beaten for the price (IMO).


Comes with two Eps (and if one of those is the TAL 25mm then its a great EP (especially if its a Gen 2)). the seller is also 'Open to offers'.... 

Some people think them as quite agricultural, but they were built in Russia (probably from old tanks)! so can withstand quite a pummelling, so having ti in the shed won't be an issue (they used to be shipped in massive wooden crates like this one:



though this is the 100r shown above....if you can get the box as well that would be good!

Might be worth a punt.

Good luck!

PS TAL's are no longer imported from what I can see, so these will become harder to get.

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oh yes, and my local astronomy group have a meeting on wednesday so I'm heading down there and figure I'll get some good advice for my local seeing conditions.

If you have the opportunity to visit an astro club it will allow you to see different kit in use and how big it is. :smiley:  

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I have both the heritage and the ST80.

The ST80 is great on the AZ3 tripod. Has a nice focuser being rack and pinion.

The heritage is great for bigger apperature and it has a small foot print and very easy to set up.

I have yet to use my ST80 in a dark site but really looking forward to it.

I guess for me the final decision would be storage space limitations.

The AZ3 tripod is small but not tiny.

Quite transportable though as not particularly heavy. I have made a counter weight for it so I can use my dslr on the ST80.

I love both of my scopes so would be hard pushed to choose. Jupiter was great to see in both scopes.

The where you point relationship to what you see of a refractor I do gell with.

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The focuser on the 130 heritage is ok for visual but you are likely to find it inadequate for imaging of even moon and planetary imaging.

The tube is ok but made of compressed paper I think so outside shed storage needs to be dry.

In summary it will always be a good compact scope for visual but not well suited to any kind of imaging.

My advice is forget imaging for now and buy a 150mm dobsonian

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The Heritage 130p tube is steel, I just stuck a magnet to it.

So it is made from steel tube, injection (I guess) moulded plastic mounted on a hardboard dob base, like the other dob bases.

If you can only walk to even more remote viewing places then think about what you can carry. The heritage is 6.3 kilos from memory.

The focuser can be inproved by wrapping plumbing tape around it to make it smoother and less wobbly but it is fiddly to focus a camera in it, but possible.

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Cheers Happy-Kat.  the fact you have both and like them is both encouraging but as you say hard pressed to choose and you've used both!

I'm tempted by the ST80 on the table top mount as this would be ideal for taking away on holiday and a great grab and go. Basic simple imaging would be possible and as you say the simple point and see nature of the refractor is easy to live with. I know the table top mount is not well thought of but the ST80 OTA is £97 on the sponsors site and £100 with the mount so a bit of a no-brainer. With the EQ-3 tripod on it's way to me I've got a good mount for home/car based work anyway.

Would also make a good guidescope apparently if/when I find I need to upgrade to that big light bucket! Size would make it really easy to store at our small house and it would be small enough to live indoors.

The heritage flextube satisfies the whole aperture is king (by comparison to the ST80) it's not quite as portable as the st80 but is still light and easy to move around. The dob mount makes for simple start up but the scope can be thrown onto the eq3 mount for easy tracking etc. The focusing gets a bit of a bashing but nobody seems to actually hate it and most say it's easy to live with in reality. It's too big to live anywhere indoors (and keep swmbo happy at the same time) but I've got space for it in the shed so not a deal breaker by any means.

when I re-read what I've written the ST80 hits lots of bases but the extra aperture of the 130 and the dob mount are a lure.

still choosing is half the fun!

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Moonshane,  cheers.  I've got a nice almost hilltop location about 2 miles from my house which whilst not quite dark sky status shields most of the light pollution from town and gives a wide field of view of the sky. easy to set-up straight out of the boot/back seat of the car.

real dark sky stuff is about 30 minutes away by car.

My garden has a fair bit of local light pollution and overhanging trees so whilst I can do a bit of gazing from my garden the good stuff will mean a short journey.

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