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Celestrons - NexStar 130 SLT or Sky Prodigy GoTo - Help please!


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Hi all,

I am hoping that someone will be kind enough to give me some help as we have, on the spur of the moment, decided that we would like a telescope. We are completely new to this and would be really grateful for some advice.

It helps that we only have to make a decision between two Celestrons - but which one should we go for? The choices are either a Celestron NexStar 130 SLT or a Celestron Sky Prodigy 70 GoTo.  I have tried to research both of these as best I can but even after all my efforts - I honestly am really no wiser. Are there massive differences between these two? Will one show clearer/closer images of the planets etc.

Many thanks in advance for any help you may be able to give me.

Janie

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Hello and welcome to SGL. Aperture always wins over technology. The 130mm reflector will capture more light than the smaller 70mm refractor and will show you fainter objects. The refractor will salso how false colours (chromatic aberration) around stars that  will not appear in the reflector.

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Peter, thanks so much for the amazingly fast reply.  We will definitely go for the 130 then.  (It is now ordered! :grin: ) Quite how we are going to work out how to actually use it remains to be seen of course! It looks a tad complicated to say the least.  I'm not sure either how well it will work with all the light pollution around us - so fingers crossed!  I can't tell you how excited I am - I've always wanted one!

I'm really enjoying reading all the posts on here - I think I will learn a lot!

Many thanks again,

Janie

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Hi Janie and welcome. 

I feel your excitement together with a certain amount of trepidation on what we have let ourselves in for. We all had this feeling to start with but with the help of the good people here at SGL there is really nothing too difficult to enjoying this wonderful hobby.

If you are completely new to the night sky Stellarium is a great free planetarium program which maps out the sky above you:- http://www.stellarium.org/

Good luck, have fun and remember any problems just ask.

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I originally looked at the 130slt, but ended up getting a 127slt (wrapped up unfortunately!) which although £50 more, seemed easier to get on with, took up slightly less room, no collimation and more forgiving of naff eye pieces, and seemed more suitable for planetary views which is what i wanted.


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....... It looks a tad complicated to say the least.  I'm not sure either how well it will work with all the light pollution around us - so fingers crossed! ...........Janie

Hi Janie. Light pollution doen't help of course, but there's loads to see, even from a large town. If you can find a place that has no direct light from neighbours or streetlights, that helps a lot. I use a tarpaulin pegged to my wife's greenhouse to shield nearby lights. Lots of options to shield nuisance lights according to your individual circumstances.

The moon, planets and double stars are the least affected by light pollution, lots of the brighter deep sky objects available too.

Another option is to get along to a local astronomy club, most are happy to help.

Maybe let us know how you get on ?

Regards, Ed.

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Well - I am back to report. It is a long and rambling report - but our first escapade with the telescope took a very long time!

We got the telescope set up in no time - then had to wait for hours and hours before it got dark! My son Tom and I took turns in racing out into the garden to look at the sky every couple of minutes and as soon as we could see stars - we were out there. Actually, as soon as we saw one star (the only one in the sky as it turned out), we were out there - then we had to wait ages until it was joined by a few more so we could actually use Sky Align! By this time, of course, we were absolutely freezing and had to dash in to get further layers of coats, hats etc. etc. (Good advice Alan - about wrapping up warm lol. I hadn’t realised quite how cold one would get standing about in the frost! Also about reading the manual - it was referred to many times!)

Finally, we were ‘Sky Aligned’ - result! Then we looked at each other and realised we hadn’t a clue of what to ask the telescope to go to, so we could have a look!  Tom ended up looking up and finding a bright star and heading the telescope for it. I almost knocked him to the floor, pushing him out of the way of the eye piece, when he announced that he had it in view! I was so excited that I was going to get my first closer glimpse of the heavens.  I peered into the lens and all I could say was wow - fantastic - it’s amazing! It was only when Tom looked again, that he told me that looking through the telescope at the star was exactly the same as looking up with the naked eye! I glanced up and I could see that he was right! At this point, the telescope was very nearly packed back up into its box to be returned. I was so disappointed but I reasoned that perhaps we should hang onto it until the moon appeared because, as it was bigger, it would hopefully show us a little more detail than we would see with just the naked eye.

We and the telescope returned indoors, to wait for the moon. (I do have to admit that I thought the moon was always in view when it was dark with a clear sky. Wrong!)  A bottle of wine was opened (warming up tactics!) and disappointed discussions took place. I could see that Tom was pondering the fact that surely, having spent a few bob on a telescope, then the telescope should show us a tad more than we could see just by looking up! He then decided to take it all apart and put it back together again. Everything looked to be ok - the big mirror was damp - presumably from the freezing cold air and he fiddled about with bits (no idea quite what!). Finally he announced that we should go back out and have another look just in case this fiddling about had improved things. The wine bottle had, by this time, had a bit of a bashing and I didn’t really fancy the thought of going out into the cold again, only to be disappointed. I voiced this opinion and got glared at, so hats and coats were again put on and outside we trotted. This time, Tom found a group of fairly bright stars. He was looking and I kept asking if it was any better - he said it wasn’t but he carried on looking for ages. He then announced, with a big grin on his face, that I should have a look.  I was speechless! I could not believe what I was seeing - what had looked like perhaps 8 or 9 stars in a sort of long triangle shape in the blackness (you may know what we were actually looking at by this very vague description!) had become a massive area of what seemed like zillions of stars. It was amazing - completely mind blowing - and incredibly thought provoking….. I wasn’t allowed to stare at this fantastic sight for long, as I was shoved out of the way so he could have another look! From this, we just looked at anything and everything around the area.

Then I noticed a ‘shooting star’ in the sky in the area we were looking at. I was so excited - too excited - because I almost fell over the leg of the telescope jumping up and down shrieking! (Nothing to do with the wine, you understand!)   We then realised that there were lots of meteors (is that the right word!) flashing across the sky - Tom was lucky enough to be looking through the telescope as three of them flew across the lens - this didn’t seem fair at all, as it was my telescope and if anyone was going to get to see that, then it should have been me!

All the noise that was accompanying this escapade then brought my neighbour round - dressed up in what appeared to be about a dozen layers of clothing, with a very fetching enormous furry hat on to boot - sensible lady! The three of us spent ages looking at the moon which had appeared by then and we all agreed that the telescope would definitely be staying.

I think we were incredibly lucky having such a perfect evening for our first star gazing session. Last night was awful - the whole sky was just a mass of clouds. This morning is bright and clear - so fingers crossed for tonight! I need to find time to do a little (!) research as to what we can see from where we are - I have no idea what planets we may be able to view - we asked the telescope to go to one of them, can’t remember which, and it ended up pointing at the ground! I will be going off to Stellarium to have a look later on today - thanks Alan. Ed - thanks for the advice about the light pollution and what to do to - 'deep sky objects' sound amazing - I can't wait to learn more about what we should look for.

Anyway, many thanks again for all the help and advice and I’m sorry if you were bored to tears by my very concise report! Have a great Christmas.

Janie

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Hi Janie, that is a very nice and honest report, of what is called your first light. As newcomers, a feather in your cap for at least being able to set up and align the scope, some often have bother, even at this first hurdle. It is best to wait till it is really dark before observing, as any light left in the sky will wash out the myriad of stars which should become visible, and if you want to take a break, do not disturb the scope but put a loose cover over the instrument to try and keep the condensation at bay. After the initial excitement and with no Moon present, the reality of it all has becomes clear "What on earth do we look at ?" as without this knowledge a goto scope will not come into its own. Help is at hand and Christmas is just round the corner. Obtain a copy of one of the most popular books available :- "Turn Left @ Orion" an invaluable aid to those just starting out and the experienced observer alike. A planisphere is also a useful addition, as it will show what constellations and stars are visible from your location at any time of the night thought the year. If you are mobile, transporting your scope to a nice dark site will help reveal a lot more of the sky, which may not be observable from a light polluted area, enjoy your new scope :)

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It sounds like you were looking at the pleiades or m45 it is one of my favourite sights with a small scope. when you look at your handset again look out for a list of m numbers pretty much all of them look better in a scope.

http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-messier.html

Nb these are photo's so they won't all look their pics but quite a few will

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‘First Light’ - that is such a lovely name for that first glimpse of what is beyond what we can see.

John, I will be ordering the book - we do need to know more! It’s been very frustrating as the telescope is sitting in the conservatory as the nights have been so cloudy since then! I even had to dust it yesterday! I hadn’t considered that it could be days (weeks) before we could get out there again. Frustrating to say the least.  If the telescope had arrived a day later, I would still be waiting to use it!

Yes, now that I have looked, it was definitely Pleiades - we were fortunate to choose a good area to look at first. Many thanks for the seasky link -  I will definitely be looking for the M numbers - I know all about them now  thanks to the link - if the skies ever clear again that is! It has been very cloudy in Bucks!

Wishing you all a great Christmas.

Janie

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Many thanks Nick - found and printed out - ready to go! That will be a huge help - I am now trotting off to try and find out in which direction Jupiter would be in the evenings - it would be fantastic to see it.

The only thing I can identify for certain in the sky is Ursa Major - how bad is that! Hopefully that will all change soon! Lovely clear skies here at the moment - fingers crossed! Hat and coat at the ready ........

Thanks again,

Janie

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Hi Janie, loved your first light report, have only just seen it.

Please be aware that what you see through the scope will bear no relation to the colour images in magazines and posted in the imaging section here. A more realistic representation is that provided by astro sketches. Here are all the Messier objects(M numbers) produced by one of our members:- http://www.pbase.com/mike73/messier_sketches

BTW you can find Jupiter in the east from about 10pm, use Stellarium to see exactly where.

Good luck and keep having fun.

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  • 5 years later...
On 15/12/2014 at 08:48, Janie said:

Well - I am back to report. It is a long and rambling report - but our first escapade with the telescope took a very long time!

We got the telescope set up in no time - then had to wait for hours and hours before it got dark! My son Tom and I took turns in racing out into the garden to look at the sky every couple of minutes and as soon as we could see stars - we were out there. Actually, as soon as we saw one star (the only one in the sky as it turned out), we were out there - then we had to wait ages until it was joined by a few more so we could actually use Sky Align! By this time, of course, we were absolutely freezing and had to dash in to get further layers of coats, hats etc. etc. (Good advice Alan - about wrapping up warm lol. I hadn’t realised quite how cold one would get standing about in the frost! Also about reading the manual - it was referred to many times!)

Finally, we were ‘Sky Aligned’ - result! Then we looked at each other and realised we hadn’t a clue of what to ask the telescope to go to, so we could have a look!  Tom ended up looking up and finding a bright star and heading the telescope for it. I almost knocked him to the floor, pushing him out of the way of the eye piece, when he announced that he had it in view! I was so excited that I was going to get my first closer glimpse of the heavens.  I peered into the lens and all I could say was wow - fantastic - it’s amazing! It was only when Tom looked again, that he told me that looking through the telescope at the star was exactly the same as looking up with the naked eye! I glanced up and I could see that he was right! At this point, the telescope was very nearly packed back up into its box to be returned. I was so disappointed but I reasoned that perhaps we should hang onto it until the moon appeared because, as it was bigger, it would hopefully show us a little more detail than we would see with just the naked eye.

We and the telescope returned indoors, to wait for the moon. (I do have to admit that I thought the moon was always in view when it was dark with a clear sky. Wrong!)  A bottle of wine was opened (warming up tactics!) and disappointed discussions took place. I could see that Tom was pondering the fact that surely, having spent a few bob on a telescope, then the telescope should show us a tad more than we could see just by looking up! He then decided to take it all apart and put it back together again. Everything looked to be ok - the big mirror was damp - presumably from the freezing cold air and he fiddled about with bits (no idea quite what!). Finally he announced that we should go back out and have another look just in case this fiddling about had improved things. The wine bottle had, by this time, had a bit of a bashing and I didn’t really fancy the thought of going out into the cold again, only to be disappointed. I voiced this opinion and got glared at, so hats and coats were again put on and outside we trotted. This time, Tom found a group of fairly bright stars. He was looking and I kept asking if it was any better - he said it wasn’t but he carried on looking for ages. He then announced, with a big grin on his face, that I should have a look.  I was speechless! I could not believe what I was seeing - what had looked like perhaps 8 or 9 stars in a sort of long triangle shape in the blackness (you may know what we were actually looking at by this very vague description!) had become a massive area of what seemed like zillions of stars. It was amazing - completely mind blowing - and incredibly thought provoking….. I wasn’t allowed to stare at this fantastic sight for long, as I was shoved out of the way so he could have another look! From this, we just looked at anything and everything around the area.

Then I noticed a ‘shooting star’ in the sky in the area we were looking at. I was so excited - too excited - because I almost fell over the leg of the telescope jumping up and down shrieking! (Nothing to do with the wine, you understand!)   We then realised that there were lots of meteors (is that the right word!) flashing across the sky - Tom was lucky enough to be looking through the telescope as three of them flew across the lens - this didn’t seem fair at all, as it was my telescope and if anyone was going to get to see that, then it should have been me!

All the noise that was accompanying this escapade then brought my neighbour round - dressed up in what appeared to be about a dozen layers of clothing, with a very fetching enormous furry hat on to boot - sensible lady! The three of us spent ages looking at the moon which had appeared by then and we all agreed that the telescope would definitely be staying.

I think we were incredibly lucky having such a perfect evening for our first star gazing session. Last night was awful - the whole sky was just a mass of clouds. This morning is bright and clear - so fingers crossed for tonight! I need to find time to do a little (!) research as to what we can see from where we are - I have no idea what planets we may be able to view - we asked the telescope to go to one of them, can’t remember which, and it ended up pointing at the ground! I will be going off to Stellarium to have a look later on today - thanks Alan. Ed - thanks for the advice about the light pollution and what to do to - 'deep sky objects' sound amazing - I can't wait to learn more about what we should look for.

Anyway, many thanks again for all the help and advice and I’m sorry if you were bored to tears by my very concise report! Have a great Christmas.

Janie

Hi Janie - i have just read your message as ive been in search of some answers for my recently purchased skypridogy 130! I was so excited to use this - but i had the same experience as you, when i look at the stars i just see exactly the same as i would if i were to just look up! very disappointing. do you have any advice or recommendations for me please? im so gutted and refuse to believe thats as good as it gets! thanks

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12 minutes ago, georgiacole said:

Hi Janie - i have just read your message as ive been in search of some answers for my recently purchased skypridogy 130! I was so excited to use this - but i had the same experience as you, when i look at the stars i just see exactly the same as i would if i were to just look up! very disappointing. do you have any advice or recommendations for me please? im so gutted and refuse to believe thats as good as it gets! thanks

Stars will always look like points of light now matter how much they are magnified and how powerful your scope is.

With a scope though, you can see more stars because it captures more light than your eyes alone can. So the fainter stars become visible and also many deep sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae, galaxies etc. You can also see that some stars have companion stars near them, sometimes very close.

But the stars are just far too far away to see them as more than pin points of light.

The planets though, can be seen as disks although people are often surprised how small they look even when using a scope. Although large (very large in Jupiters case) they are also a long way away (not anywhere near as far as the stars though) so their disks are small even when magnified 100x or more.

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, John said:

Stars will always look like points of light not matter how much they are magnified and hoe powerful your scope is.

With a scope though, you can see more stars because it captures more light than your eyes alone can. So the fainter stars become visible and also many deep sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae, galaxies etc. You can also see that some stars have companion stars near them, sometimes very close.

But the stars are just too far away to see them as more than pin points of light.

The planets though, can be seen as disks although people are often surprised how small they look even when using a scope. Although large (very large in Jupiters case) they are also a long way away so their disks are small even when magnified 100x or more.

 

 

Thanks John. That makes a lot of sense 

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