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Need advice please with my skywatcher 130 900mm scope


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I have a skywatcher 130 900mm scope. At present I only have the 25mm, 10mm and 2x barlow that came with the scope.

I was wondering if anyone else that has this scope could help me decide whether to upgrade the eyepieces or to buy a better barlow.

Also I welcome any advice on the visual capabilities of this scope. So far I have seen Saturn once and could make out the rings which I was very excited about. I have mostly been looking at Jupiter. I have seen two main cloud bands and 4 moons. I understand the atmospheric conditions have to be right, I do allow my scope to cool outside first and the planet is better as high as possible. I know it takes patience and practise but it does appear very small in my view and I can't see how I will see any more detail ever as it appears this small. 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 


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the planets will always be small. If you Barlow your 10mm, you will have a mag of x180. That's good magnification for Jupiter or Saturn most of the time. It'll give you an idea of size. Even bigger scopes don't rally go way bigger than that. I have a 400mm Dob and most I'd go is x270 on an excellent night, but mostly x200-250. I'd maybe suggest getting sonething around 6mm giving you x150 which would be the most you should go maybe with your scope. If the seeing is really good try your barlowed 10mm. It's always best to spend a while on a planet I find. Try to get the best focus and keep looking, you'll find the clarity and detail in the view changes constantly and for a few seconds every so often you'll get a lovely clear image. It's quite surprising actually. 

Dont be mad to change EPs. Mess around with what you have. When you wish to upgrade without going nuts( and believe me, you can go nuts easily....) try the starguider or BSTs, they're branded differently all over the place. Very good eyepieces for the money. 

Lastly, enjoy, it's really fascinating, right?


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The supplied eyepieces are usually sufficient quality to get you going with your new scope - but not always the best. You can achieve improved views with a small upgrade - £40 to £60 per eyepiece is usually enough when buying new (or 1/2 to 2/3rds of that second hand). But I would advise you to watch your magnification. In the UK 180x to 200x is generally the best you'll get due to the atmosphere and weather - exceptional nights do happen but very infrequently.

Magnification = scope focal length / eyepiece size (all in mm). A range of 4 or 5 eyepieces between 5mm to 32mm I find useful for most scopes. But try them before buying cos not all eyepieces suit all individuals - everyone's eyes are different and you need to discover what suits you best. Hth :)

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I have a Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M. The eyepieces supplied with it aren't bad quality, but they are inexpensive give-aways essentially.


The SW 25mm Modified Achromat eyepiece will give you 36x on your scope, which isn't really high enough for lunar/planetary observing, although perfectly good for viewing starfields and some other objects.


The 10mm MA eyepiece will give you 90x which is a much better magnification for planetary observations. Ostensibly, the minimum magnification to see any real detail will be around 130x - 170x. You could achieve 180x with the 10mm plus a decent Barlow. Unfortunately, the Sky-Watcher Barlow supplied with most of their scopes is very poor quality.

SW Barlow (below)


It would be a good idea to invest in a better quality Barlow.

FLO sell this: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-2x-universal-125-barlow.html


It is far superior to the Barlow supplied with most SW scopes. I believe they are all manufactured by GSO and the Sky-Watcher 'Deluxe' Barlow is the same as the one above shown with the Barlow element unthreaded.

Also, some decent Plossl eyepieces would probably give you sharper images than the stock MA's. I would recommend the Celestron Omni series as being good value and well made.


FLO stock those as well: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-omni-plossl-eyepiece.html

Bino SW EPs fx.jpg

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Astro buy sell UK is a good site for used astro gear which I use from time to time. Just so long as you take the usual precautions - I always go for cash on collection both buying and selling - mostly so I can see the goods before parting with cash (and afford others the same opportunity). :)

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Living in Ireland, the market is much smaller so I buy and sell on Astro buy sell uk a fair bit. Can't get to see anything beforehand and never had a problem so far, buying or selling.  Mostly pay with PayPal. 

Most of my EPs are very well travelled, don't you know!

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