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Hi fellow SGL compatriots.

Hi I'm Shaun from lovely Lincolnshire UK and just wish to say hi.  I'm looking into long term goal of astrophotography but for now being a complete beginner of using scopes and cameras going to settle into first exploring the night sky. 

 So being a beginner and everything and budget in mind I have settled on one out of two scopes to buy either a Skywatcher Skyhawk 114p or an Skywatcher explorer 130 (EQ2).  My question is whether having the parabolic mirror at a slightly lower aperture is better then the spherical mirror at a slightly higher aperture. 

Any help would be great thanks



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Hi Shaun and welcome to SGL from another imager. 

4 and a half years ago I started knowing nothing and one of the best things I did was get hold of the book 'making Every Photon Count' available from the book section of the FLO website. This is something of an imagers bible and should be read once ..... twice and thrice....... then think about what you need and why. When you understand what works best and why then you will be best placed to spend your money without making costly mistakes. It's an excellent £20 investment and should be read by all before starting out in imaging.

Also have a look on the imaging threads and think about what you want to achieve. people often list their kit by their images so it gives you a good start on what works and what you can expect.

Look forward to seeing you around :)

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Hi Shaun,

Welcome to SGL., Good advice above, I would also say go along to a meet of your local astro club and see what others have and what may suit you best there is a group ELAC hosted on east midlands stargazers website.

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The reality of astrophotography is that you are lookikng at around £1000 to start, there are also certain requirements.

The mount has to be equitorial, the mount also need to have at least motors and preferably goto, the mount needs to be steady, the scope is for AP so that means small, and fast.

As to mount, the least is really an EQ5, the 3-2 is not up to it.

People can and will get images with not quite AP equipment but if you are going to do astrophotography you need the appropriate stuff.

Check the specification on the 130 - specifically check the focal length and the tube length.

One variant of the 130 has a focal length of 1000mm and a tube length of 500mm, I will put it simply - avoid it if that is the situation.

The design used will result in poor images and little that can be done to resolve the problem.

If the idea is to get visual equipment now and use it later for imaging then select carefully, the requirements are different. For visual you want a big scope on an adaquate mount, for imaging you want a good stable mount and a small fast scope.

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Hi Shaun and welcome to SGL, some sound advice already given, I would certainly support Sara`s recommendation that you obtain a copy of Steve`s book, probably occupies shelf space of the majority of imagers on this forum. Enjoy your Astronomy  :)

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Sage advice from both Ronin and Sara above. If your budget's around that, it might be worth seeing if you can stretch it to the Skywatcher 130P. The shorter focal length and faster focal ratio will make it a bit better for AP if that's your aim while, from the few reviews I can find, also giving better visual performance. It's a bit more expensive but then Astronomy is an expensive hobby. It's def worth getting Making Every Photon Count when you're ready to start looking into photography. Most people on here have it and highly recommend it (just ordered mine).

If you're starting out just exploring the sky visually, it's also worth investing in some decent eyepieces. There are lots of options and there is a certain element of "get what you pay for" in that it's generally worth spending a bit more to get a better eyepiece if you can. They can make such a huge difference to your viewing experience and the ones that come with either of the scopes you're looking at won't be that good I'm afraid. I can personally vouch for the Celestron X-Cel LX range. They aren't cheap, but not actually that expensive as eyepieces go and will improve your viewing greatly over the eyepieces you'll get with yor scope.

It's also well worth finding your local Astro club and having a chat with the members. They'll be able to show you what you can expect to get for your money, give you a chance to see what they can do and be able to suggest where you'll be able to go for supplies as and when you need them.

Good luck and good hunting.....

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hi shaun and welcome to sgl, people in the first posts might sound blunt or of putting but they do no what there talking about, and in the long run, you will achieve what your after and save a lot of money :smiley:

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