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HI guys I have got a skywatcher 130 telescope and I want to get the best out of it like see clusters, galaxys ect.. has anyone got advise to give me more equipment I can use


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37 minutes ago, Ash79 said:

HI guys I have got a skywatcher 130 telescope and I want to get the best out of it like see clusters, galaxys ect.. has anyone got advise to give me more equipment I can use


Hi Ash79.

Welcome to stargazers lounge.  Your better off posting this question as a new thread in getting started help and advise 


you will get much more help.

A few questions to understand what your using . And your local area.

Type of telescope and mount.

Do you have dark sky's or lots of street light pollution,  

Mobile apps like Google sky map are a good help such for objects

There's a great book called Turn left at Orion which is easy to follow when navigating the sky's, 



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If you're new to astronomy, the first challenge is to get to know the night sky. You might like to compliment your telescope with a pair of 10x50 binoculars which will give you broad views. Try to learn the constellations and how they move over the year so you can find your way around.

You could consider trying to view the Messier list, the majority will be visible from your location and with your telescope. Charles Messier was an 18th Century French astronomer who was particularly interested in comets. To help him avoid objects which were not comets, he drew up a list of a total of 110 nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters which have become a classic for amateur astronomers. There are several very good books which focus on the Messier list, as well as a wealth of material on the internet, for example: http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-messier.html and http://messier.seds.org/

A further, similar, list was compiled by the late Sir Patrick Moore and is known as the Caldwell list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caldwell_catalogue and a much more difficult list was prepared by Herschel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschel_400_Catalogue So there's plenty to keep you busy!

In terms of equipment, Skywatcher make at least two 130 telescopes. Which do you have?

If you don't have it, Stellarium is an excellent FREE sky map program which you can download from the Internet. You can configure it to show you the sky as seen from your location at any time.


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As mentioend above Skywatcher make two 130 telescopes, the 130/650 and the 130/900. The figures are the mirror diameter (130mm) and then the length of the telescope (650mm or 900mm). The main differance really is that the 130/650 scopes have a parabolic mirror, ie one that is curved, while the longer 130/900 has a flat mirror, you may often see the shorter tube referred to as the 130p.

Knowing which particualr telescope you have would help people to reccomend which upgrade path to take in terms of eyepieces etc.

I started off with the Skywatcher 130/900 with the EQ2 mount and motors (sold as the 130m). The motor allows the telescopes mount to move with the nightsky, requiring very little adjustment and cmoes in handy for taking pictures of the planets. WIth the 130 I have seen the andromeda galaxy, the whirlpool galaxy, hercules cluster, beehive cluster, bubble nebula, orion nebula, crab nebula, the moon and the brighter planets. Many of those objects were found from a town environment meaning quite light polluted skies. If you can get to somewhere dark it will really help find objects.

Its worth downloading stellarium, which is free planetarium software. You can set it to show the sky from your location and tweak the settings so that the light pollution is similar to what you can see, this will then give you an idea of what stars are visible and what objects may or may not be easy to find. You can also use it when its raining to plan your next observing session.

Find some targets you would like to view and just get used to the telescope, if you also have the EQ2 mount, then you will find that it shakes quite badly every time you move the telescope or adjust the focus. It will soon settle down! One of the drawbacks with this hobby is that the more time you spend with what you have, the more you start thinking about what you would like next. More aperture (which captures more light and can help find fainter objects) or more stable mount or the first two.

Don't spend too much money trying to upgrade what you have, play with it first, get used to it and decide what it is you want to spend the future looking at, planets or deep space. Once you've learned how to make the telescoe work for you with what you have the perhaps invest in a better quality eyepiece or two. Start saving your money because although this is a good entry level telescope, it has a very limited upgrade path and the next step really will be either a new mount or new telescope. Or probably both.

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First - nothing is big, bright and colourful. Every image you see on paper or the internet has to have been captured by a camera and then processed. Images of planets can be stacked and basic processing done in 5 minutes but you eye does not stack and process what hits the retina.

You need somewhere dark, as dark as is reasonably possible. Next is how many of the constellations can you find and identify.

Also which stars can you pick out . Can you find Arcturus - bright red/orange one, it is in the South-West to West sky.  M3 and M5 (I think 3 and 5) are a little either side of that. They are 2 of the brighter globular clusters at present. M13 in Hercules is another that is easy. M13 is a good example - knowing M13 is a globular cluster means you know what you expect to see, but you first have to know what Hercules looks like, where it is and then where M13 is in Hercules.

M51 (Ring Nebula) in Lyra is easy to locate as it is in the middle of the 2 "lower" stars, if dark you might make out the faint patch that it is. You will need a bigger scope to get more but again well defined place so have a go.

My advice on planets at present is to forget them. Only 2 presently, Mars and Saturn. Both very low and so difficult to see any detail. Point the scope at them and have a look but do not then complain of how poor they were. You are not going to get Cassini type views - see first point above.


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I'm like you new no experience and want to see everything big bright and in full colour. what you will see is nothing like you see in books or the net as ronin has said you have to manage your expectations having said that you will be pleased with seeing the Rings around Saturn and the band's on Jupiter I've personally struggled to find the ring nebula but the moon is awesome.

If it's the 900mm version of the scope it's the same as I bought new about 6 weeks back and found myself a little disappointed and went out and bought another scope the 650mm version with the parabolic mirror which I thought was better but after collimating the larger model there isn't much in it really. What I'm saying is don't rush out and spend loads of cash on another scope as the one you have is not bad.

What I have found is a lot is down to conditions and the "seeing"  what you see tonight will be a different view tomorrow with the same scope and eyepiece, in short don't be disappointed and think you have bought the wrong scope give it some time and it will improve, another thing is like me you have bought into this at the wrong time of year it's late when it gets dark and early when it's starts to get light and frustration sets in with the weather above all else just enjoy learning although Im certain that collimating will pickle your head at first ☺️

Regards Baz


Edited by barrie greenwood
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As I'm disabled and I find my larger SCT takes a while to set up, I've been using my own Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M (f/l 900mm ~ f/6.9) to observe Mars (at opposition and later), Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon the past few weeks. I've seen Martian surface detail, the northern polar cap and recently its phasing at everything between 180x to 257x magnification. I can still get relatively decent views of Saturn where I live and Jupiter can still be observed setting in twilight. I can see the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings clearly and Jupiter's Great Red Spot (when visible). With decent or good quality eyepieces the 900mm f/l Explorer is quite a capable scope I find.

Edited by Mak the Night
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