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simonperks

Portable 'scope for beginner

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Hello All,

A friend of mine is interested in astronomy and is planning to buy his first telescope. He's looking for something that is easy to use and that he can set up quickly. He'd also like it to be easy to transport so that he can bung it in the car for family holidays, etc. As he's relatively new to observing, I'm guessing that he doesn't need anything too specialist. His budget is up to about £200.

I've suggested that something like my Skywatcher Heritage 130p flextube dobsonian (http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html) might be the sort of thing that he is looking for and he's going to try it out to see. But I'm a bit of a dobsonian nut and can't always be relied upon to give a balanced view when other types of 'scope are concerned, so I just wondered if anyone had any suggestions as to other 'scopes that might fit the bill.

I'd welcome any advice.

With thanks in advance,

Simon.

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Hi Simon! It's nice that your friend is starting out with astronomy!

Here's my opinion. As a starter myself a few months back I had the same dillema. Some friends bought me a refractor on an AltAz mount and it was perfect. The eq mounts seem a lot of trouble to me and a lot of weight too. Polar allignment buh.

I am all the way with you a dobsonian is great choice. You could help him with coolimmation at first. All the money are going to the optics with a dob as you already know. It's his starter scope so with your suggestion he is covered all around in apperture, ease of transport and ease of use. I would recommend a 6" or 8" (the 8" is the most popular dob I think), given his buget the 6". A great all around scope for 280£ I think. It's a little heavier and bigger than the flextube but a little bit of apperture won't hurt! An 8" dob is a scope for life though.

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I would have thought the 150 was the better option, the 130 is a small unit and as such it really needs a table to make it usable, kneeling on the ground is not the best way of using one. So although a 130 appears suitably small the need to have a stand for it starts to negate the small and portable aspect.

Has your friend had the chance to use one of yours, some people do not get on with a dobsonian. It is one aspect of astronomy that people forget. You may find a dobsonian mounted scope good, not everyone else does. As you sound like you are in a position to find this aspect out I would suggest you take the chance to do so.

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Thanks, Erekose. Yes, he's going to try out my little dobsonian, to see how he gets on with it. And yes, I take your point that he'd also need to stand it on something, which might not always be convenient. I'll suggest that he looks at the larger dobs and some of the tripod-mounted reflectors, too, so that he knows what's available.

Thanks again,

Simon.

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Don,t forget the secondhand market an 8" could be had for that price and I,m not a dob nut

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Hello All,

A friend of mine is interested in astronomy and is planning to buy his first telescope. He's looking for something that is easy to use and that he can set up quickly. He'd also like it to be easy to transport so that he can bung it in the car for family holidays, etc. As he's relatively new to observing, I'm guessing that he doesn't need anything too specialist. His budget is up to about £200.

I've suggested that something like my Skywatcher Heritage 130p flextube dobsonian (http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html) might be the sort of thing that he is looking for and he's going to try it out to see. But I'm a bit of a dobsonian nut and can't always be relied upon to give a balanced view when other types of 'scope are concerned, so I just wondered if anyone had any suggestions as to other 'scopes that might fit the bill.

I'd welcome any advice.

With thanks in advance,

Simon.

As for 'bringing it into the car for the family holidays', it depends on the car and on the number of the family members.:)

Although my car is big and my family not too numerous, this same concern eventually nudged me towards a small Mak (was considering a 150 Dob as an alternative). Also, I wanted to keep an illusion that I can bring my scope with me on a plane trip LOL. Granted, a Dob is a much easier starter scope and cheaper, too...so if space is not an issue...

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Thanks for all the comments and advice, which are really helpful. I did have a go with a little Maksutov at a telescope surgery we ran a while ago and it was very nice, so I'll suggest it to him as an option. I hadn't thought about second hand, but you're right, Jonn, it's worth considering. I'll see if any of the other members of my local astronomical society have any beginner-type scopes they're looking to rehome...

Thanks again, everyone.

Simon.

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Even if the bug bites a transportable setup is always good to have and take on holiday or grab and go and this is within the budget and leaves room to buy at least one eyepiece.

For a bit over £100 you can get a skywatcher startravel 80mm on an Az3 tripod. Day and night time use potential.

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It will have CA on bright objects but with mine with own eyepiece can see the two main bands on Jupiter and the main moons.

The Moon the CA was not intrusive again own eyepiece.

M44 was lovely.

Put my score in hand luggage and tripod in case though a decent camera tripod is smaller/lighter for flights.

I also have the heritage 130p. Also a great telescope bigger mirror portable but I do put it on an upturned bucket to raise it up and I sit on stool or garden chair. It's weak point is the focuser it is adequate.

The startravel 102mm on Az3 is also in budget with slightly bigger aperture.

Something like a 5mm bst explorer would boost either. Not used one myself but they are very popular.

Edited by happy-kat

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Hi Simon,

Sounds like you have made the right choice with a SW 130p, but I would err on the side of caution and ask your friend what do they intend to look at.

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Hello All,

A friend of mine is interested in astronomy and is planning to buy his first telescope. He's looking for something that is easy to use and that he can set up quickly. He'd also like it to be easy to transport so that he can bung it in the car for family holidays, etc. As he's relatively new to observing, I'm guessing that he doesn't need anything too specialist. His budget is up to about £200.

I've suggested that something like my Skywatcher Heritage 130p flextube dobsonian (http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html) might be the sort of thing that he is looking for and he's going to try it out to see. But I'm a bit of a dobsonian nut and can't always be relied upon to give a balanced view when other types of 'scope are concerned, so I just wondered if anyone had any suggestions as to other 'scopes that might fit the bill.

I'd welcome any advice.

With thanks in advance,

Simon.

Sounds like a second hand Skyliner Dobsonian for the price your looking at, or about £80 more for a new delivered model?

I've not taken mine on holiday yet, but all the above  text in green is doable with an 8",  not too demanding on eyepieces, and just a great all-round package.

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The 8" is great - but if bunging in the car for family holidays, he might not fit that much family in...

I got a 130p as a wee scope to start with, and it does very well. I do set mine up on the floor, then sit next to it on a low camping seat. Something taller would be more comfortable, but this isn't bad unless you want to look near zenith.

If he can handle the size, the 8" would be a fine choice. If not, the 130p is a really fairly compact, albeit without the advantages of aperture.

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