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First scope: Skywatcher Skyliner 200P or Celestron NexStar 130 SLT?

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I'm thinking of getting my first telescope, hoping some experienced astronomers can share some advice ;-)

I'm looking for something around £300. I'd like to view planets, the moon and deep space objects. I live in a town, but might be able to make some excursions to escape light pollution. I don't anticipate getting into photography any time soon.

After a bit of research, I've come across a couple of options:

* Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

* Celestron NexStar 130 SLT

The attraction of the NexStar is the SkyAlign + GoTo features: for a beginner like me, it seems like it might let you spend less time hunting for things, and more time looking at cool stuff. But I presume the trade-off is that the optics are going to be less good?

I also wondered if Dobsonians are a pain to use, because I gather you have to keep nudging them periodically to track the sky's rotation? Or is it not really troublesome in practice?

What would you guys suggest (or any other options)?

Many thanks,

-- Matt

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I have the 127 mak because space is an issue where i am and with a 5 day old my time observing will be 30 minute sessions at most so goto will let me get the best from the time, but the 200p is a great scope and will fit in most cars should you want to seek darker skys. Something like skymap on your phone will show you where to point your scope (brightness might be an issue though). For a beginner, finding stuff manually is part of the fun though! The 200p will give you far better views of dso than the 130 but you may need to budget for better eye pieces and some way to collimate it if you're going to be taking it out and about. If its size and weight isn't an issue then i'd probably go for that.

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Hi Matt and welcome to SGL  :smiley:

As jaydeeuk1 says, learning your way around the night sky can be a very satisfying experience. That's not to say that GOTO doesn't have its place and it is the right option for some people. A certain amount of knowledge of the stars is required for GOTO. The database of 4000+ objects sounds appealing, but you may find that some are beyond the capabilities of a 5-inch 'scope.

The Skyliner 200P was my first telescope and I have not regretted my choice. As you are aware, you do have to nudge a manual Dobsonian to keep objects in view. This soon becomes second nature and isn't really troublesome, just a feature of this type of telescope. Could you visit your local astronomical society? If so, you may be able to have a 'hands on' look at some different 'scopes.

If the size of the 200P is not an issue then I think an 8-inch 'scope and a copy of Turn Left at Orion would keep you happy for a long time.

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Hello Matt as previously stated the 200 p is ideal for the observing you have outlined. I have one and love every minutee I get out of it . Very easy to and set up simple to operate. With a couple of good books you can quickly find your way around the sky and learn as you go.

Just one other point. When you buy your scope you will not get clear skies for a few days so let us know when you place your order so we can make other arrangements . Best of luck with your choice and enjoy your observing Welcome to SGL.

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Hi Matt, welcome to SGL, The 200p is an excellent scope, as already stated it is easy to use and very simple to set up, you really cant go wrong with this scope. ive owned mine for a couple years now and im still very happy with it, its a great scope, good luck with your choice. Dave

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"I've recently come across this piece on the web written by Alan MacRobert from the well known and respected astronomy magazine Sky & Telescope. It is well worth a read if you are thinking of getting into the hobby - ideally before you leap in and buy a telescope  :D :


As someone who has been in the hobby for many years now I found that many of the hints, tips and pointers in this article are right "on the button".

John "

Take a look at the advice given here

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