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Mehtevas

My first telescope - Need some advice/help

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Hi there! (Before reading, my English may not be the best, but I hope you'll understand what I mean and say)

I'm currently looking for a telescope that will blow my mind (in a weird way). I've been a "fan" of the night sky since I was a little kid, now I'm 21 years old and I want to give the skies a try. 
So, the telescop I've been thinking about buying is the Sky-Watcher Explorer-150P(EQ3-2) F/750. To me it seems like a decent telescope for a beginner, but I have my questions to those who are  experienced with telescopes and those of you who maybe own their own Sky Watcher Expl. 150P. 

Questions: 
 1. Is this a good beginners telescope? Please explain why it is, and why it might not be. 
2. What will I be able to view with it? 
3. Is this a telescope I can use to take pictures? If so, how can this be done? (Using a laptop or a digital camera?...or both?) 
4. Is it difficult to take it with you and to operate it? 
5. If you could please rate it from 1-5 (for beginners), where would you put it? 

Those are the questions I have right now, I might come back with more later. I'm hoping for friendly and informative replies that can help me decide.
It's already pretty late here in Norway, so I'll be going to bed now, but I hope some of you can answer me within the next few days.  

Here's a link to a website I might be buying from: 
http://www.stjarnhusetonline.se/prod/telescopes/sky-watcher/newtonianreflectors/explorer150.html 

Have a great night. :)
Much love from Norway.

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1. Yes quite good for beginners, trusted manufacturer and scope will perform as well as any other in that price bracket.

2. Brighter DSO's will be easily visible.  The moon will look good and planets will start to show detail - if they are close enough.  Note that it won't look like the wonderful pictures you see here and on other sites, these are taken with long exposures.  Visually you won't see colour in deep space objects and not much detail, take a look at the sketching section to get an idea of what things look like.

3. There are two main types of imaging, planetary (includes sun, moon and planets and uses lots of short exposures) and deep space (long exposures).  The former will be possible but the latter would be very difficult as the focuser may not be able to bring a DSLR to focus and the mount is not steady enoug.

4. This is a fairly portable setup, neither the scope nor the mount are particularly heavy and they are easy to set up.

5. 3/5

 

Now if you are serious about wanting to image with the scope I would suggest going for the 150PDS as this is designed for imaging.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-150p-ds-eq3-2-eq3-pro-goto.html

This is actually slightly cheaper than the supplier you linked to even though it is a better scope.

Another option would be to go for a goto setup where the mount will point the scope at the right thing for you, for this though you would either need to pay more or get a slightly smaller scope like the 130PDS.

 

 

If you are not interested in imaging then a dobsonian will be cheaper and easier to use, you will get much more scope for your money as the mount is much cheaper.

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I like  the last comment by D4N,  a Dobsonian system for ease of use. I have the  Sky-Watcher Skyliner 200P, very popular in UK. These scopes just work very well.

For imaging, everything has to be critical or dedicated,  one way or another, nothing else will do? The mount system has to be sturdy, and capable of carrying a telescope, camera, with  all and every accessory you can think of smoothly, especially under windy conditions, a big scope  up on its EQ mount is like a sail in the wind?
The mount also needs to track  smoothly during long exposures, so any movements have to be precise, accurate,  as does the  equatorial position of the telescopes supporting system during setup.
You cant just use any camera. The camera often needs to be customized or bought ready custom. The list goes on. For imaging, you need to work in reverse, built from the base up. This can  be learnt from the mistakes of others, and there are some good books about on the subject of imaging, plus its amazing how small a scope you need for imaging alone? Here's a link........... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

If you want specialized imaging, save and build from the ground up. If you want the simplicity and ease of use to just look at the Stars, Moon , Planets and deep space objects then an 8" or larger Dobsonian is more than adequate.

Edited by Charic
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I have this exact scope and mount and can confirm planetary and DSO imaging is possible. It does reach focus with my canon 1100d attached at prime focus with about 1 cm left on the focus barrel. 

I got this in April this year and love it. I have added a new RACI finder scope, got RA and Dec motors (yet to be fitted) bahtinov mask (yet to be tested) filters (not used much) t ring for attaching camera. Total spend so far approx £500. If you can get the pd-s version on better mount for cheaper or same then obviously go for that,  but I am very happy with this set up. 

I would never have thought I could take my own images of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, mars, beautiful star fields, andromeda galaxy, globular clusters, ring Nebula, Orion Nebula etc. Yes they are miles away from the amazing pictures on here, but they are all mine ?

Check my profile for examples of what is possible. 

What you have to do, is set your expectations, if you want pictures published in journals you need to spend 10's of thousands on mounts and guide scopes and specialist cameras; if you want to take pictures worthy of printing out to go on your wall at home and share with friends, you do not need to spend all that much. 

Edited by Peco4321

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Greetings, mehtevas, welcome to SGL - it's great to have you aboard!

Looks to be a very good telescope to get you well on your way. And we'll always be around to help you with any questions. So don't be shy!

Starry Skies,

Dave

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From one Beginner to another, read up and check out the difference between a EQ  mount and Alt/Az mount, Astro-photography has a big learning curve, you cannot just jump straight into it ,  it is a precise aspect of Astronomy, if you go for the scope you mentioned, make sure you understand how a EQ mount works. 

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There is at least one member using that eq 3-2 mount with motors and taking really nice dso images with a dslr and camera lens. You do not need a telescope to image dso a camera with lens even as short as 135mm can do wonderfully. The bonus is the weight is far less demanding on the mount.

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I would like to add one of my frustrations regarding the term "astrophotography". All too often it is shrouded in mystery and complications and comments about how difficult it is and not for the faint hearted. 

Astrophotography is, to me, anyway, taking the best pictures you can with whatever set up you have, processing to bring out as much as you can and then sharing. 

It is possible with any set up. Take pictures and have fun. 

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First off welcome.

You have received great advice, I particularly like the comments of Charic.

Take your time deciding and take full advantage of the amazing and knowledgeable people here.

Good luck and most important, have fun.

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As Clint once said, "improvise, adapt, overcome!"

Peco4321..........I studied photography back in the late 80`s  using  35mm FP4 developing in my own  dark room, all great stuff, but when photographing at night, there's usually insufficient lighting,  and flash heads wont help when it comes to astro work, remember the  inverse square law of light, you`d need one powerful flash head?

The issue is not so much taking the photographs,  as long as you can get some exposure details, but quite often  its the length of the exposure required. back in my time with 35mm you were regulated by film speed, 125 ISO  but now with modern digital cameras, there seems to be an endless limit to where you can go ( my camera starts below 200- up to 3200 iso  with 1/3 stepping) so plenty of scope at night time.

I think  think because of the style of photography, the time it takes, and the critical alignment that everything needs to stay on track for the longer exposures is where the complications arise, and the why folk often assume and advise that this is where its gets difficult.

I have a few snaps of the Moon and Jupiter taken firstly with a handheld Android HTCD then a Nikon D5000, then ip6s and I have a Microsoft Webcam ready to modify for imaging, but this was not my chosen destination with my scope. I dont process any images at all these days, just point and shoot, but I may look at gaining a few images with the DOB using the WebCam.

Taking/making the best with what you have is a thrill, enjoy what you can with what you have, but  there would be some serious setbacks in trying to use my scope for long exposures, so you still need the 'right' setup for your needs

Edited by Charic

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Hi Mehtevas and welcome to SGL :)

The 150P/Eq3-2 is a smashing set up and is what I started the hobby with over 8yrs ago now. The telescope showed me my first views of Saturn, Jupiter, the Messiers etc, and is light and compact enough to chuck in the boot and pop off to a local dark site or take camping.

My only reservation is the tripod which is aluminium and not so stable as I would've liked. As such it takes a few seconds to dampen down vibrations - even after using the slo mo cables. However there's plenty one can do to make it a little more steady like hanging a weight under the eyepieces tray. For imaging though you would need something more stable like an EQ5 mount/tripod at least.

If you do intend to go down the imaging route - it's expensive and there's a lot to learn - I recommend the book "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards. Good luck :)

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Charic...,

Very good points, I have certainly improvised adapted and overcome many things in my short time in this hobby. And loved every minute of it. I am extremely envious of those with the time and budget to do justice to the amazing things out there. 

I love SGL for all these discussions that offer advice and inspiration to new members like me and the OP. 

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....your wisdom helps too, having just linked you to another thread about first time images!

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Thank you for welcoming me, and thank you all for taking your time giving me more detail and advice. I really appreciate this. 
I will take everything all of you have told me into consideration, and do a little more research on a few things - some of you have written. 
Sorry for this late respons, I wasn't able to reply earlier since I was away this weekend.

I will most likely wait with the photopraphing part. Instead I'll be focusing on learning the more basic stuff that is to learn about telescoping(?(Did I just make a new word, or is this actually something)). 

 

I have to ask you guys for one more favor: Can you please make a little list of examples, of what kind of DSO I'll be able to see through this telescope? 
Like, will I be able to see the Orion Nebula? (<- one example) 

And one more question: 
1. If I just want a telescope to look at DSO, planets, the moon etc, would this telescope still be "the one" to buy? Or would you rather I buy another one, if so, which one? 

 

Once again, thanks for all the warm welcoming. And thank you, D4N, very well informative for one like me, I appreciate it. Thank you, Charic, for making it very clear about the photographing part. Thank you Peco4321, hope we can come in touch and talk more about the telescope, I'd like to know more about your experience. Same goes for you, Brantuk. And to all, thank you very much. 

- Mehtevas

 

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I was looking at Orion last night with the 150p and it was lovely. What you have to realise is that DSO's through the eyepiece are not like the pictures. I find researching what you look for adds to the amazement when you see it, rather than being disappointed with a fuzzy smudge. 

I think I bagged Bodes galaxy last night as well. Not fully sure so will try again the next clear night. ??

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I compiled a quick list for someone using a 130p in a very light polluted area, these should all be well with the capabilities of your scope:

enjoy - plenty more up there once you've polished these 20 off :)

 

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