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New setup for a novice on a tight budget


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Hi All,

I am a complete novice looking for advice on my first ever telescope purchase. 

I watched the film Interstellar (I appreciate this film divides opinion) and it has fuelled my interest in the stars and space in general. So much so that I barely think of anything else at the moment ?

Therefore I am looking to buy my first telescope so that my son and I can look up at the stars and hopefully see some good views of the planets. 

I am on a tight budget of around £200 and have been looking at the Celestron LCM 114mm Computerised Reflector Telescope. Does anyone have any experience with this particular one?

Are there any others that are recommended and within my budget?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Matt

 

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Hi Matt and welcome to SGL.  You have come to a good place for advice.  I don't have personal experience of the scope you describe but someone may be along soon the does.  I will pass opinion though as follows.  I believe that particular scope will disappoint from an optical point of view.  It has I think a spherical mirror (cheaper to produce) but does mean it needs further optical correction by way of a barlow lens or similar.  It will not perform as well as a parabolic equivalent. Secondly, getting a computerised GoTo system in the package at that price tells me that the scope is made on a very tight budget.  Finally, your desire to view planets will be thwarted as they are not in good positions for a good while now with the possible exception of Jupiter and that is deteriorating.

P.S. I see Peter has recommended a Dobsonian.  That would be much better optically.

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With your budget, computerised go-to will eat up a large part of the total cost. Going manual would allow you to buy a better telescope. Perhaps the best value for money would be a reflector telescope on a Dobsonian mount - for the price you will get more aperture and these are very simple to use. They come in different sizes, the 6" (or 150mm) model is well within your price, the 8" (or 200mm) is a little more.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

If money is really tight, an excellent smaller brother is the https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html It is easily portable, and several members here with much larger telescopes, use it as a second grab-and-go scope and are very happy!

 

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Yep, agree with Patrick that optically the scop won't be great as all the money has gone mostly on the mount. For my 2 cents worth a good starter scope might be a refractor perhaps which for beginners are a little more intuitive to use than reflectors (I still prefer my refractor scope over my reflector one anyway). I have a ST120 frac on an Az3 mount which works OK for me (although I do need to mod the mount to add a counter weight into it for the weight of some of my EPs). Here's its little brother, which can come with either an Az3 mount or an Equ1 mount.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-102-az3.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-102-eq1.html

 

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Get this...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/clearance/clearance_skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube_51227.html

Along with a Cheshire collimation and a couple of decent eyepieces... You won't be disappointed! It was my first scope and I love it still. It's blend of portability, optical quality, affordability and usability is hard to beat. 

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Thank you all for your quick replies.

I shall go and research the various suggestions and see what I think will suit me best. 

No doubt I'll be back with plenty more questions!

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1 hour ago, Simbo said:

Thank you all for your quick replies.

I shall go and research the various suggestions and see what I think will suit me best. 

No doubt I'll be back with plenty more questions!

Take your time and do ask plenty of questions, you will find a wealth of knowledge here all freely available.

Good luck.

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I would agree with most of the posts above. I have experience with the NexStar SLT 114 which is similar to the LCM 114 in many ways. It is difficult to get good views with this scope as it is hard to keep collimated. I would also avoid anything on an eq-1 mount (unless you are extremely short of funds and have a masochistic tendency) as they are difficult to set up and fiddly to use. Besides getting more aperture for your money, you will learn more about the sky if you choose a manual mount rather that a GoTo. Welcome to the hobby! 

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Thanks again guys. Found you to be a very welcoming and helpful community so far.

Having done a bit more reading I think I have decided to stretch my budget slightly and go for the Skywatcher Skyliner 200p. I think the additional extra outlay will be worth it in the end.

Will the standard lenses/eyepieces that come with it be sufficient? Or would you recommend getting some additional ones? What about filters?

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1 minute ago, Simbo said:

Thanks again guys. Found you to be a very welcoming and helpful community so far.

Having done a bit more reading I think I have decided to stretch my budget slightly and go for the Skywatcher Skyliner 200p. I think the additional extra outlay will be worth it in the end.

Will the standard lenses/eyepieces that come with it be sufficient? Or would you recommend getting some additional ones? What about filters?

Most telescopes come with either one or two basic EP's, so yes at some point you will want to get some better EP's over the stock ones supplied. Filters are not a priority yet, so the main thing now when you actually get the scope is get outside, learn its pros and cons (all scopes have them at some point) use it, enjoy it & learn a little first before you rush headlong into the bank account draining upgrades of kit and EP's etc that you'll most likely go down if your fully smitten with the bug! :) 

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42 minutes ago, Simbo said:

Will the standard lenses/eyepieces that come with it be sufficient? Or would you recommend getting some additional ones?

The 10mm and 25mm eyepieces that come with it will work well enough for mid-low and mid-high power views.  I would start with them for a few months before buying anything.  For low cost upgrades, most folks seem to like the BST Explorer Dual ED line.

You'll probably want a widest field, low power "finder" eyepiece at some point, and based on my experience with the 40mm Meade 5000 SWA, I would recommend getting the 40mm Explore Scientific 68° Maxvision Eyepiece to max out your field of view in that scope.  It performs like the 41mm Televue Panoptic at a fraction of the price.  I went through several other astigmatic widest view eyepieces before getting one.  There are some nights I just like to cruise around the stars at low power with it to see what's out there.  To lighten it, you can decloak it.

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