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Recommend a good starter scope £150 ish please

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Hi folks, new bloke here learning the ropes.

A bit of history- my interest in things beyond our atmosphere started when I was a small (back in the days of yore when Messrs' Armstrong and Aldrin were boldly going etc.) but gazing through telescopes became a thing when I was in the army. I spent some time with access to a very large Nikon mirror lens (aperture about the size of a dinner plate, crane needed to lift the thing off the bench etc) and, when things got too dark to see the bad guys, I pointed it at the sky. Seeing the moon fill the field of view and have it disappear during brief conversations with colleagues, finding a funny shaped thing with ears and suddenly realising it was Saturn- I was hooked. The trouble was, I couldn't afford to own a scope of my own so, over the years, apart from occasional access to others scopes and attempts at moon photography with a DSLR and long lens, my gazing waned.

I now find that I have some excess cash after Christmas and want to get back on the wagon. I have around £150 but could stretch to around £175. I know this isn't much but it will be my start and upgrading later will be an option.

What is a good scope in this range? I want to be able to get reasonable images of the moon using a DSLR and hunt around for inspiration elsewhere in the sky.

I have seen the Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope on Amazon. Any good?

Thanks in advance.

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welcome, at the given price range you might find it a struggle to get a motor drive scope that will take a dslr, have a look at the 150p dobsonian, you should be able to connect a dslr and take single shot images of the moon

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I suspect that you will find it difficult to find one scope that will do everything well.  Adding in a requirement for photography will significantly muddy the water, and you will rapidly find that trying to image is a complicated (and potentially very expensive) business.  The best value to be had visually is with a Dobsonian telescope, and the sponsors of this site suggest that this is the UK's most popular Dobsonian - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html   Eight inches of aperture would take you very far into the hobby.  It is, of course, a bit more than you had hoped to spend, but you may be able to find one used for close to your budget.  If it must be new, then this is the next model down: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

Some folks might recommend binoculars ahead of a telescope.  The standard 'how to find stuff' books are 'Turn Left At Orion' and 'Nightwatch'.  You should certainly think of budgeting for one or both of these, since otherwise you may find yourself getting lost.

Edited by gnomus
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Have a dig around the second hand market. The 8" Dobsonian can be had second hand under £200.

try http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/

Just use the "search" option at the top of the page. There are plenty of scopes on there, and if you don't mind waiting, one will come up for sale near you.

Then there is the "for sale" section on this site!


Most people look after their scopes so you rarely get a battered one.


If you find one you like then always go in the daytime and have a look through it in the daylight, it will expose any issues more clearly.

If you get one with motors then always get a "demo" before you buy.



Edited by alanjgreen
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If you want a 130, try the Skywatcher 130p Dobsonian Skywatcher 130p

Although it doesn't have an EQ mount, unlike the Celestron this scope has a parabolic mirror making it a far superior scope.

At your price point any kind of astrophotography is difficult. You are better off going visual until you have more funds.

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Bearing in mind your comments about parabolic mirrors, how does this measure up?


I ask as I think I am likely to get out in the car occasionally to head for the local common which is pretty dark compared to my garden so an EQ mount as opposed to a table mount is going to be easier to set up?

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"Turn left at Orion" has been mentioned. I think it's a good resource to review when considering buying a telescope to help answer questions like ...

Will an inexpensive wobbly 4" Newtonian that looks impressive as it has lots of twiddly knobs satisfy me or do I really need a sturdy but more rustic looking  8"  second hand Dobsonian? Or should I save my money until I can afford better?

Many of us commit to the former and fast regret. Those fragile sub-£200 aluminium toys are an utter waste of money and you will either grow out of them within weeks or become so frustrated that you sadly abandon the hobby. Fortunately, much of 'Turn left at Orion" can now be viewed on line. So do try the views via the various telescope apertures depicted. 


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