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Sidd

Seeking kind advice about my first Reflector

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Hello Everyone, 

I am nearing the time when I would be getting my first ever telescope through a friend from UK who'd be visiting Pakistan in a few weeks time. So I have to finalise my decision as to what am I getting during these days. I have been stargazing for some time now. I have done it through my own eyes for a start so far :) and I must say that it has captivated me already. I was thinking about getting a good binoculars for the sheer excitement of it but then I cannot wait to use a telescope so I have decided to bypass the binoculars and get myself a telescope. 

I have done my bit of research so far and I kind of know what I want yet I just want to be sure that what I am getting will not disappoint me and therefore need your kind advice in letting my know if what I am about to get for my stargazing would actually fulfil my gtarzagin 'needs' and I call them needs because I do not want to compromise too much on these. So my needs or shall we say requirements are as under: 

1. DEEP SKY: I am deeply interested in the deep sky. So you can call me a DSO person. I do not want sharpness of the view for the moon or planets I can compromise on that for as long as I can dive deeply :) Therefore refractors are out of question for me. 

2. TRAVEL: While I would use the telescope mostly on my roof top however which is in the city and so I plan to visit two other locations where I would be taking the telescope along. (a). I plan to go to my father-in-law's apartment at a hill station located at the foothills of the Himalayas called Margalla hills (6000 ft high) twice a year maybe once and (b). to the village of a friend that lies at the base of the Malakand hills which are the foothills of the Hindukush range. One location is just a 40 minutes drive whereas the other is 4 hours away. So portability is there and also durability. 

These are the two 'needs' I cannot compromise on or would not want to compromise upon. Therefore, what I have in mind is as under:

(BUDGET: I cant go beyond 100-120 Pounds maybe 140 Pounds max.)

- A Newtonian Reflector within the 114-127 mm aperture range. 

- I do not have a clear idea of the focal ratio but my research tells me something under 10 is good perhaps near to 5 being great. Is that correct?

- I think the telescope should have a parabolic lens ? plus the lenses need to have a coating of some kind for durability ?

- An Equitorial mount is best ? if yes, I shall be getting that (I have no interest or budget to go far the motorised ones. The go-to ones. Kills the fun and excitement of locating something yourself through star charts etc. By the way I have downloaded Stellarium on my computer and am getting familiarised with what I behold when I look upwards :)

I saw the Celestron Powerseeker 114 but it had real bad reviews. There is one made by MEADE which is a short tube 127mm and the short tube is good with portability. Similarly there are other options available. 

Anyway guys, based on the above, what do you recommend? And please no refractor related advice ;) I will be getting a reflector and that is for sure. But which one would suit my needs best is what I am confused about. 

Kindly enlighten me...

Regards,

Sidd. 

 

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As you are interested in visual, equatorial mount is not necessary. It would be good to know if you travel by car, if so - you could look at some bigger second hand options for your budget, but for a start maybe something like this one https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html would be suitable? 

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Hello Sidd, welcome to the SGL.

Take a look at the 6" 150P Skyliner reflector telescope, great value for your money, easy to use and setup.
I have the 8" 200P Skyliner, a bit better due to the larger aperture, then a 10" or 12" gets even better, for visual use only observations.
The 150P would be a good start, but if your friend can manage it, depending on their method of travel, you would probably have more fun with the 200P.

Don't discount binoculars, their not for planetary use, unless you can afford something in excess of 15x magnification, with 70mm or more objectives, but the scope will better  binoculars on magnification. I have several pairs of binoculars, but favour my 8x40s for Stargazing the constellations.

Edited by Charic
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For portability the Skywatcher Heritage 130 can't be beaten. Both the Celestron and Meade telescopes you mentioned both use a spherical mirror, unlike the SW130, and a corrector lens in the focuser tube to correct the spherical aberrations and increase the focal length of the telescope. Spherical mirrors are easier to make than parabolic mirrors and tend to be found in budget telescopes. The SW130 heritage uses the better parabolic mirror.

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150p used, well in your budget: http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=124084 

there's also 200p without a mount for £120 on the same site , but, as mentioned above, it's rather big, and collection only.. Just to give you an idea of what you can get on the second hand market. 

Edited by Erla
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12 hours ago, Erla said:

As you are interested in visual, equatorial mount is not necessary. It would be good to know if you travel by car, if so - you could look at some bigger second hand options for your budget, but for a start maybe something like this one https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html would be suitable? 

Yes I do travel by car. Thanks for the recommendation the second had market is good I never thought of it before... 

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12 hours ago, Cornelius Varley said:

For portability the Skywatcher Heritage 130 can't be beaten. Both the Celestron and Meade telescopes you mentioned both use a spherical mirror, unlike the SW130, and a corrector lens in the focuser tube to correct the spherical aberrations and increase the focal length of the telescope. Spherical mirrors are easier to make than parabolic mirrors and tend to be found in budget telescopes. The SW130 heritage uses the better parabolic mirror.

This looks like a great telescope. Has great reviews. I shall look in to that and maybe I will get this one. Thanks for the recommendation...

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12 hours ago, Erla said:

150p used, well in your budget: http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=124084 

there's also 200p without a mount for £120 on the same site , but, as mentioned above, it's rather big, and collection only.. Just to give you an idea of what you can get on the second hand market. 

The page requires a long in and password.. thanks for the advice 

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OK so yes I do travel by car (a hatchback really) so keeping the scope isn't a problem but I do not want a very big thing as its difficult to carry it around and to store it. The Skywatcher 130p collapsable seems like a nice little thing but it is on a desktop dobsonian mount. I personally do not like this mount even though its good to go easy to use preinstalled thing but I have a small balcony at the hill station I mentioned and will have to use a high table to put it on for better viewing. But that is not a hassle one can manage that easily. 

I just with the skywatcher 130p was available with a tripod mount. Maybe I am saying this as I haven't used a dobs mount and once I use it I might find it really good.

Thanks for the advice ... I think I shall go for skywatcher 130p.... a bit more info on this scope would be helpful please including what to expect to see with it would be appreciated. 

 

Lastly, if the telescopes without the parabolic mirrors come with a aberration corrector then the problem is solved no ? or is it that a parabolic is still better in terms of performance ?

Edited by Sidd

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The heritage 130p telescope can be removed from the table top mount (actually i use mine sat on an upturned bucket) and with an attachment use on a photo tripod. I'll add a link to show how one member did this later.

If you did buy that you'll want at least a collimation cap but you can make your own using an old 35mm plastic film canister.

There is an extent thread on 'what can I expect to see' it is a sticky and is well worth a read.

With the supplied 10mm I could make out saturn had a ring though not the cassini division. DSO are often grey smudges so it is more for me about having found the object and what it is.

Edited by happy-kat
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37 minutes ago, Sidd said:

The page requires a long in and password.. thanks for the advice 

That's strange, I am not loged in (never registered there) and can browse the ads... 

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22 minutes ago, happy-kat said:

The heritage 130p telescope can be removed from the table top mount (actually i use mine sat on an upturned bucket) and with an attachment use on a photo tripod. I'll add a link to show how one member did this later.

If you did buy that you'll want at least a collimation cap but you can make your own using an old 35mm plastic film canister.

There is an extent thread on 'what can I expect to see' it is a sticky and is well worth a read.

With the supplied 10mm I could make out saturn had a ring though not the cassini division. DSO are often grey smudges so it is more for me about having found the object and what it is.

Thanks for the info. I shall surely read it. So what do you recommend that is within budget and good for DSOs... ? Also plz do share the links you mentioned ... Thanks

Edited by Sidd

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OK after a bit of digging I seem to be confused more now. I think the best choice in my budget seems to be the skywatcher 130p for the aperture size and ease of use however the desktop dobsmount is not attractive enough. There is the celestron astromaster 130mm on EQ mount but then it lacks a parabolic mirror. The skywatcher 114p has the parabolic mirror but its half an inch less of the aperture. The Seven star sheriff has a lot of accessories and eye-pieces supplied with it including the EQ mount but its again 4.5 inch aperture and non-parabolic. The MEADE polaris is on EQ but is again 4.5 inch and non-parabolic. The skywatcher explorer 130mm is good like 5 inch aperture and EQ mount but is again non-parabolic. And so on and so forth...

Which would be the best thing to buy from out of so many to choose from considering that all I am interested in is actually DSO observing (no photography intended only observation) and portability isn't too much of an issue really as I have a hatchback and can transport my telescope easily. 

What difference would half an inch in aperture make in terms of DSOs? Also is the dobsonian desktop mount ok or the EQ would be better to use? 

I am personally in favour of skywatcher heritage 130p for the inches and parabolic mirror but its mount is putting me off a bit... what to do ... plz suggest.

Edited by Sidd

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Hi Sidd,

Your budget is very small and you should consider that all mounts supplied in this price range will be weak and wobbly.

The heritage 130p has a table top mount for that reason - because it is preferable to a weak & wobbly EQ one :)

Don't be fooled by the pictures of these sexy cheap scopes/mounts - at the end of the day they are cheap mounts and you cannot get something for nothing!

Alan

 

Edited by alanjgreen
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8 minutes ago, Sidd said:

OK after a bit of digging I seem to be confused more now. I think the best choice in my budget seems to be the skywatcher 130p for the aperture size and ease of use however the desktop dobsmount is not attractive enough. There is the celestron astromaster 130mm on EQ mount but then it lacks a parabolic mirror. The skywatcher 114p has the parabolic mirror but its half an inch less of the aperture. The Seven star sheriff has a lot of accessories and eye-pieces supplied with it including the EQ mount but its again 4.5 inch aperture and non-parabolic. The MEADE polaris is on EQ but is again 4.5 inch and non-parabolic. The skywatcher 130mm is good like 5 inch aperture and EQ mount but is again non-parabolic. And so on and so forth...

Which would be the best thing to buy from out of so many to choose from considering that all I am interested in is actually DSO observing (no photography intended only observation) and portability isn't too much of an issue really as I have a hatchback and can transport my telescope easily. 

What difference would half an inch in aperture make in terms of DSOs? Also is the dobsonian desktop mount ok or the EQ would be better to use? 

I am personally in favour of skywatcher heritage 130p for the inches and parabolic mirror but its mount is putting me off a bit... what to do ... plz suggest.

I'm no expert but honestly if it were me, I would go for the one with the biggest aperture above all other considerations. And its compact, and in your price range, and several people here agree. The 130 heritage does sound exactly what you are looking for. You could always get it and change the mount later on if you didnt like it?

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With your budget you need to make some serious compromises. Dobsonian desktop (and larger) mountings cost very little to make, but stable metal mounts with tripod for a small telescope often cost in excess of £200 retail, without the telescope.

While a 130mm telescope is a respectable size, its performance on DSOs will be unexciting compared with larger and more expensive instruments, e.g. 8". 

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3 hours ago, Sidd said:

OK so yes I do travel by car (a hatchback really) so keeping the scope isn't a problem but I do not want a very big thing as its difficult to carry it around and to store it. The Skywatcher 130p collapsable seems like a nice little thing but it is on a desktop dobsonian mount. I personally do not like this mount even though its good to go easy to use preinstalled thing but I have a small balcony at the hill station I mentioned and will have to use a high table to put it on for better viewing. But that is not a hassle one can manage that easily. 

I just with the skywatcher 130p was available with a tripod mount. Maybe I am saying this as I haven't used a dobs mount and once I use it I might find it really good.

Thanks for the advice ... I think I shall go for skywatcher 130p.... a bit more info on this scope would be helpful please including what to expect to see with it would be appreciated. 

 

Lastly, if the telescopes without the parabolic mirrors come with a aberration corrector then the problem is solved no ? or is it that a parabolic is still better in terms of performance ?

Avoid spherical mirrors at all costs. I have one (astromaster 114) and it's not that good, to put it mildly. I have it in my balcony and sometimes use to have a quick fix, but I wouldn't buy it, lots of issues with that type of scope. 

This is a good thread to get an idea of what can you see with regards to DSO 

as is this FOV calculator to show you what you'll see with a particular scope and eyepiece calculator http://astronomy.tools/ 

130p is slightly underpowered aperture-wise for DSO, but given your access to high altitude low light pollution sites - I don't really know, actually my spherical 114 is capable to show pleiades or Orion Nebula to some extent in light polluted skies, so I guess 130p is adequate. Someone who owns one could advice you better, I guess. I own 200mm, or 8", that I use when I can for DSO and if you could get that size - do it. 

Edited by Erla
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Btw, I second guys above with regards to equatorial mount. Mine 114 is mounted on eq1. Seriously, a mere touch makes it wobble. And I mean a touch with a face to an eyepiece. It's more of a device to strengthen your ability to cope with frustration than a mount. If it wasn't a gift I would have thrown it out looooong time ago. 

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9 minutes ago, Sidd said:

OK after a bit of digging I seem to be confused more now. I think the best choice in my budget seems to be the skywatcher 130p for the aperture size and ease of use however the desktop dobsmount is not attractive enough. There is the celestron astromaster 130mm on EQ mount but then it lacks a parabolic mirror. The skywatcher 114p has the parabolic mirror but its half an inch less of the aperture. The Seven star sheriff has a lot of accessories and eye-pieces supplied with it including the EQ mount but its again 4.5 inch aperture and non-parabolic. The MEADE polaris is on EQ but is again 4.5 inch and non-parabolic. The skywatcher explorer 130mm is good like 5 inch aperture and EQ mount but is again non-parabolic. And so on and so forth...

Which would be the best thing to buy from out of so many to choose from considering that all I am interested in is actually DSO observing (no photography intended only observation) and portability isn't too much of an issue really as I have a hatchback and can transport my telescope easily. 

What difference would half an inch in aperture make in terms of DSOs? Also is the dobsonian desktop mount ok or the EQ would be better to use? 

I am personally in favour of skywatcher heritage 130p for the inches and parabolic mirror but its mount is putting me off a bit... what to do ... plz suggest.

I think there is some confusion in your thinking. The Celestron 130 does have a parabolic mirror as does one version of the Skywatcher 130, the SW130P. The Celestron and Skywatcher 130P probably use the same mirror set due to Synta being the owner of both brands. The longer focal length SW130/900 does have spherical primary mirror, but with an aperture of 130mm it should be ok. 

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The dobsonian mount, although simple, is very stable even when viewing at high magnifications.

Personally, my recommendation would be the Skywatcher Heritage 130 for your budget. Good optics plus easy to use plus readily portable. "win, win, win" :icon_biggrin:

Good review here on this scope from Neil English:

http://neilenglish.net/a-newtonian-travel-scope/

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2 minutes ago, Cornelius Varley said:

I think there is some confusion in your thinking. The Celestron 130 does have a parabolic mirror as does one version of the Skywatcher 130, the SW130P. The Celestron and Skywatcher 130P probably use the same mirror set due to Synta being the owner of both brands. The longer focal length SW130/900 does have spherical primary mirror, but with an aperture of 130mm it should be ok. 

How does one get to know if its a parabolic or not. The p after the aperture size is a clear indicator but its not there with the titles of some of the scopes. Knowing my requirements and quest .. what would you recommend ... I know you told me SWH130p but the dobsonian mount is a put off ... what can I get in my budget ? The celestron and skywatcher 130 on EQ with a p mirror ? or should I stick to the Heritage 130p on a dobs...?

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39 minutes ago, Erla said:

Btw, I second guys above with regards to equatorial mount. Mine 114 is mounted on eq1. Seriously, a mere touch makes it wobble. And I mean a touch with a face to an eyepiece. It's more of a device to strengthen your ability to cope with frustration than a mount. If it wasn't a gift I would have thrown it out looooong time ago. 

Is yours a celestron power seeker 114. I have heard that the mount with this particular model isn't good at all. Oh, seems like you have an Astromaster. Well if the astromaster mount isn't steady, forget about the power seeker mount right. 

Edited by Sidd

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19 minutes ago, Erla said:

Avoid spherical mirrors at all costs. I have one (astromaster 114) and it's not that good, to put it mildly. I have it in my balcony and sometimes use to have a quick fix, but I wouldn't buy it, lots of issues with that type of scope. 

This is a good thread to get an idea of what can you see with regards to DSO 

as is this FOV calculator to show you what you'll see with a particular scope and eyepiece calculator http://astronomy.tools/ 

130p is slightly underpowered aperture-wise for DSO, but given your access to high altitude low light pollution sites - I don't really know, actually my spherical 114 is capable to show pleades or Orion Nebula to some extent in light polluted skies, so I guess 130p is adequate. Someone who owns one could advice you better, I guess. I own 200mm, or 8", that I use when I can for DSO and if you could get that size - do it. 

Thank you so much ... I read the article you linked. Very informative and educating. I cant get an 8 inches scope :( my highest aperture would be 5 or 5.1 inches i.e. 130mm because I need portability as well. But this thread is helping me nail myself down to the one I d be buying finally. 

 

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23 minutes ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

With your budget you need to make some serious compromises. Dobsonian desktop (and larger) mountings cost very little to make, but stable metal mounts with tripod for a small telescope often cost in excess of £200 retail, without the telescope.

While a 130mm telescope is a respectable size, its performance on DSOs will be unexciting compared with larger and more expensive instruments, e.g. 8". 

I understand and am ok with the detailing on the 5 inches scope. I have to adjust with that given that that is what I can get within my budget so I can live with 5" happily. So you are saying that a good EQ mount is the one made for around 200 pounds and hence the budget scopes under 200 pounds with EQ would actually have crapy EQs.

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2 minutes ago, Sidd said:

How does one get to know if its a parabolic or not. The p after the aperture size is a clear indicator but its not there with the titles of some of the scopes. Knowing my requirements and quest .. what would you recommend ... I know you told me SWH130p but the dobsonian mount is a put off ... what can I get in my budget ? The celestron and skywatcher 130 on EQ with a p mirror ? or should I stick to the Heritage 130p on a dobs...?

Your choice, but cheap wobbly manual equatorial mounts are not worth having. They're annoying and have little advantage over a wobbly alt-azimuth mount. Do yourself a favour. Don't buy one. The test of a tripod is: if you hang on to it, are you holding it steady, or is it holding you steady? With a decent mount like the EQ-5, with its thick tubular steel legs, it's the latter.

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