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hello everyone,

I currently have a friend's skywatcher 130mm reflector. It's been great, but it's time to get my own.

I'm new to all this, but have always been interested in astronomy. The clincher was seeing Saturn for the first time

(purely by accident!) and getting a very annoyed wife out of bed to look at it!

I'm looking at 2 at the moment..a helios sky scan 2001 150mm reflector and a celestron 127slt goto. 

I want a bigger mirror, but I like the idea of the goto, especially as it comes with an image capture and seems better quality.

Any advice would be brill. Thanks. Btw pics attached (i think) of the 2 scopes.

Roger

 

1.JPG

2.JPG

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Hi Roger and welcome to SGL you will get loads of great advice here as I have. For me the celestron wins hand's down out of the two. 20mm will barely be noticeable in light gathering power visually but I'm a goto fan boy all the way lol. The slt will not be as good for wide field deep sky objects but planetary /star splitting and moon viewing will be awesome. However if you wanna go down the photography route then the EQ on the Helios will enable long exposures where as the goto will only allow super short ones or preferably video imagining of the brightest objects. You gotta decide what you are most interested in long term i guess :) Clear skies pal.

Lee.

Edited by Guest
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Hi there, those two scopes are very different beasts, and will both actually be very good starter scopes, especially if you have already used something before and you know the basics.

Dont assume they're differing quality though, they're both made by the same manufacturer (Synta). This Chinese optics giant makes a hell of a lot of the telescopes on the market today.

The Helios is a 6" f5 reflector on an EQ mount (looks like an EQ3?). The mount has a polar scope and slow motion controls. As long as it's been cared for and the mirrors are in good nick this scope will show you a hell of a lot. If you polar align the mount you can track objects across the sky using one control only (RA). Motors can be added to give it automatic motorised  tracking and even GOTO. An f5 reflector will give you nice widefield views, enough to fit pretty much any DSO in the field of view of a low power eyepiece. With good collimation and a good Barlow you'll get great views of the moon and planets too. 

The Celestron is a 5" f12 maksutov cassegrain ('mak' for short). Compared to the Helios it provides higher magnification from a given eyepiece, but the field of view is correspondingly smaller. The mount is a motorised alt az and I believe it's not quite as sturdy as the EQ3 ( compare the tripods). This mount will give you automatic tracking and GOTO with minimal set up. Just plonk it down level and facing north for tracking, or do a two star alignment for GOTO. The 5" mak will give you great views of the moon and planets, plus the smaller DSOs ( planetary nebula, globs etc..) but will be limited on extended nebula. 

For me, I'd choose the Helios, as I think it's  a better all-round scope, and had a lot of options for upgrading bits and pieces as funds allow (and I'm not a massive fan of GOTO ;) 

HTH!

Craig

 

 

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Before diving in with money-in-hand and making a purchase, you have done well to come here first - good job!

I would suggest you take a wander through the forums in here, and asking questions as they arise - we love helping people find answers! By the way - Welcome to SGL, Roger - it's nice of you to join us!

Figure out what you'd be interested in seeing. There are different types of telescopes for different types of things out there - Planets, The Moon, Stars, Nebulae, and many, many more. I'm sure all of them will be of interest, but some will be more so. No one type of telescope excels for everything - or, trust me - we'd all have one! :D  So take your time to let the situation become clear and we'll be happy to point you to some good instruments to suit your needs and wishes.

Perhaps a good book that many beginners have found immensly usefull would help you:

https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundred-Telescope/dp/0521781906?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

And you could also use a software-program (technically called a 'planetarium-program') to help you to understand the nighttime sky and the amazing numbers of objects out there that most people are blind to would appeal to you - FREE - which is called (ready?) Stellarium - would help. Similar software can cost you upwards of £200. As stated, this is utterly free-of-charge (the following is a 'Cut & Paste'):

On this link is the main page for downloading Stellarium. Choose which version is correct for your computer. Here you go:

http://www.stellarium.org/
 
As for instructions, the most current one's are posted in Wiki due to there being new features & functions being created almost daily. There is also a Pdf. that's almost up-to-date, absolutely enough 'up-to-date' in all needed ways. Here's the Wiki-Link:
 
http://www.stellarium.org/wiki/index.php/Stellarium_User_Guide
 
And the Pdf. is here:
 
http://barry.sarcasmogerdes.com/stellarium/stellarium_user_guide-new.pdf

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So don't be shy - ask any and all questions you have as they arise. We'll be here!

Clear & dark skies -

Dave

 

Edited by Dave In Vermont
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Hello and welcome to SGL. As you seem undecided to which scope to go for and putting a few into the pot so to speak. Have you considered the skywatcher 150 or 200p . These always seem to be a favourite by numerous persons on this site and have a strong following due to there performance level to cost factor(bang for buck) . I don't think you will go far wrong either of these scopes and are a great beginner's scope. And you can buy these new but lots of used ones come up at good prices.There is the dob option mount set up, or AZ or Eq mount option(probably more suited for the 150). As for tracking don't forget because of the tech that goes into them you are paying a lot more for the tech rather than a basic mount . Me myself as a manual man I would rather put my money into the scope itself rather than the tracking/goto system. The advantages with manual so quick to set up and get going rather than the more time consuming of the goto systems. We do like spending other people's money on here☺ but you do get good advice from members experience, so in the long run you will probably save money by listening to other peoples experiences (I have and glad I have listened to people on this site?) . I hope the above has been helpful and maybe given you additional information.  

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Difficult choice between the three! Your main decisions revolve around go-to or manual, and Reflector versus Maksutov tube design. You may also want to factor in any accessories you may get.

The Helios looks good - I understand this was a previous version of the current Skywatcher. Mount looks solid, and looks like you may be able to add a tracking motor in the future (but check these are available and compatible). Unless one is thrown in, you will probably want to buy a Cheshire eyepiece to collimate (align the mirrors).

Size-wise, the Celestron is the most compact, so if you plan to travel with it, this may be an advantage. I suspect it is also the newest of the three you are considering (not sure though).

The Meade Mak has the longest focal length (1900mm) which means it is easier to achieve higher magnifications but at the cost of a narrower field of view. The photo you post shows this with two viewfinders - the second appears to be a RACI which is a nice accessory. It also suggest, perhaps, that the seller may know something about astronomy! It also looks like it has some sort of modification to the focuser (again not certain, but worth checking). I think Meade stopped making these scopes in about 2011.

Neither the photos of the Helios and the Celestron show eyepieces - although the Helios has something, perhaps a Barlow. The Meade does appear to have an EP, although I don't know what it is (Celestron silvertop, perhaps?). It's well worth checking out exactly what you are getting with these scopes.

Personally my choice would be between the Helios and the Meade. There's quite an interesting article on the Meades with details to look out for ("two common issues") here: http://www.spacegazer.com/index.asp?pageid=95026

 

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Why not a skywatcher star discovery 150p. You get a 150mm parabolic reflector on a goto mount at a price comparable if not cheaper than the 127mm mak goto.

Plus there are members pushing that mount and imaging with it within the boundaries that the mount presents. The discovery mount has freedom find which is the best of manual or electronic in one mount plus the mount can work manually with no power.

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well, thanks for all the advice everyone, great stuff! 

I'm lucky enough to live out in the sticks with almost zero light pollution, and can see most of the sky around except for the low horizon

because of hedges and trees. I like observing the planets and the moon, but also dso/nebulae. Got to see comet Lovejoy last year, which 

was great. Jupiter and Saturn are always good, but I haven't got to see the big red spot yet, just the bands and the four brightest moons.

I know Mars is pretty close to us at the moment and is the brightest I've ever seen it. Andromeda galaxy and M42 are two of my favs as well as 

Pleides. I don't think I'll be travelling with my telescope, so I want something thats easy to use, sturdy, quick to set up with decent light collecting

ability. I'd like to get some good pictures as well.

I'll definitely do some more research and spend some time on this site before making a decision on a new scope. 

Again, thanks for all your help.

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On 12/06/2016 at 14:47, Dave In Vermont said:

Before diving in with money-in-hand and making a purchase, you have done well to come here first - good job!

I would suggest you take a wander through the forums in here, and asking questions as they arise - we love helping people find answers! By the way - Welcome to SGL, Roger - it's nice of you to join us!

Figure out what you'd be interested in seeing. There are different types of telescopes for different types of things out there - Planets, The Moon, Stars, Nebulae, and many, many more. I'm sure all of them will be of interest, but some will be more so. No one type of telescope excels for everything - or, trust me - we'd all have one! :D  So take your time to let the situation become clear and we'll be happy to point you to some good instruments to suit your needs and wishes.

Perhaps a good book that many beginners have found immensly usefull would help you:

https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundred-Telescope/dp/0521781906?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

And you could also use a software-program (technically called a 'planetarium-program') to help you to understand the nighttime sky and the amazing numbers of objects out there that most people are blind to would appeal to you - FREE - which is called (ready?) Stellarium - would help. Similar software can cost you upwards of £200. As stated, this is utterly free-of-charge (the following is a 'Cut & Paste'):

On this link is the main page for downloading Stellarium. Choose which version is correct for your computer. Here you go:

http://www.stellarium.org/
 
As for instructions, the most current one's are posted in Wiki due to there being new features & functions being created almost daily. There is also a Pdf. that's almost up-to-date, absolutely enough 'up-to-date' in all needed ways. Here's the Wiki-Link:
 
http://www.stellarium.org/wiki/index.php/Stellarium_User_Guide
 
And the Pdf. is here:
 
http://barry.sarcasmogerdes.com/stellarium/stellarium_user_guide-new.pdf

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So don't be shy - ask any and all questions you have as they arise. We'll be here!

Clear & dark skies -

Dave

 

wow! thanks Dave. stellarium is awesome. book ordered today from ebay for £6. bargain! now just the scope....:icon_biggrin:

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23 hours ago, interstellarfan said:

my favs as well as Pleides

Be aware that the Pleiades are about 3 degrees across.  You won't be able to fit them in the field of view of anything longer than about 1000mm with a wide 2" eyepieces, so that rules out the Mak.  A good 3 to 4 inch ED or APO refractor might be the way to go for you.  More expensive, but much wider field of view, practically no cool down time, compact and light, and still excellent at higher powers.

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