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Soleil

Skywatcher 130mm/f650 vs. Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ

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Hi everyone!

I am looking for a good beginner’s telescope that we could enjoy for years to come. My 10-year old son has wanted a telescope forever and is constantly reading up on the sky in encyclopaedias. 

For my tight single-mom budget, I have found two options that seem appealing (I am enclined to go with a Dobsonian over a refractor, following comments on better image clarity):

1. Skywatcher 130mm/f650 with EQ mount (2nd hand for CA$125) including 25 wide angle, 10mm and 3.6mm.

2. Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ (new for CA$200 including taxes) including 20mm, 4mm and 3x Barlow lenses, The Sky software and a 2-year warranty (and although the website calls it a "refractor" telescope, I’m pretty sure it is a Dob).

Could you please advise me on these two options? 

Thank you ?

 

 

Edited by Soleil

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I've used both, neither has a particularly good mount but the Skywatcher is the better option. The Skywatcher 130 is not a Dobsonian, a 150 Skywatcher Dobsonian would be a better buy than either of your first options, specially if secondhand.

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Is the onesky 130p/650 dobsonian mounted available in Canada that might be another option.

The onesky of the US version of the heritage 130p.

Edited by happy-kat

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Hi Soliel and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

The EQ mount maybe a bit intimidating for a 10 year old. I too would be inclined to go for the 150 'dob' that @Peter Drewmentioned above, or look for a 130 Heritage. The last one I mentioned can be used on a camping/patio table top or upturned bucket if you want to gain some extra height. There are other smaller aperture table top 'dob' 'scopes available too! 

 

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Between those two, go for the used sw 130. It will give you better views and most of your money back when you will sell it to upgrade.(Because soon or sooner you WILL upgrade)

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It could be worthwhile asking your son what he expects to see with a telescope. It wouldn't be surprising if his expectations exceed what a low cost telescope would provide - basically clearer dots (stars) and some smudges.  There won't be super clear views of planets and nebulae. Such a low cost telescope will not provide enjoyment for years to come as you request.

If you could take him to a local astronomy club it could help with making the future direction clearer.

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Wow, I feel so blessed to have had so many great replies already! Thank you!

@bobro, my son probably expects to see much more than clear views of the moon’s craters. The little guy knows more about neutron stars, pulsars and the planets than the average adult. 

Still, my budget is very limited.@R26 oldtimer, you had me rethink my perspective, and I would be able to upgrade a year from now.

@Cornelius Varley: Thank you for your input, I will drop Celestron altogether in my price range. 

@Peter Drew, @happy-kat And @Philip R: I have looked into a less-complicated tabletop version. Could not find the ones you suggested, but I did find the following two options (good brands, boasting the widest opening I could afford), and kept the used Sky-Watcher in the list to compare:

1. Meade Lightbridge Mini 114mm, tabletop Dobsonian for CA$210 (on sale at BestBuy.ca)

2. Orion SkyScanner 100mm tabletop Dobsonian for CA$155 (Amazon.ca)

3. Sky-Watcher 113mm/F650 EQ mount refractor for CA$125 (used)

Could you please let me know what you think? Thank you! ?

PS: We will like it to be portable, since we live in a big, bright city.

Edited by Soleil
Added PS...

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Ontario Telescope have an Explore Firstlight 114mm Newtonian on (Black Friday?) sale that might also interest you. It won't quite have the light grasp of the second hand 130mm scope but the alt-az mount might be better. I've not heard anything about it though as we don't get the Explore Firstlight series over here. 

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1 hour ago, Ricochet said:

Ontario Telescope have an Explore Firstlight 114mm Newtonian on (Black Friday?) sale that might also interest you. It won't quite have the light grasp of the second hand 130mm scope but the alt-az mount might be better. I've not heard anything about it though as we don't get the Explore Firstlight series over here. 

Oh! Nice! How would you say it compares to the Meade Lightbridge 114? Would you think it  is pretty straightforward to operate for complete newbies?

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Optically I doubt there would be much between them. The main difference is that with the Meade you've got a nice solid mini dob base, but when you're outside you'll need to find something to sit it on, and with the Explore you've got a tripod so it can be free standing, but it probably isn't as stable. Both mounts are simple alt/az so operating them should be fairly straight forward. You will need to find targets yourself though so learning to recognise the constellations in the sky will be the first step. The other thing to note is that the Explore only comes with one eyepiece so you may wish to add another. 

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Thank you! So here is where I presently sit: I have read quite a bit on the subject, and it seems that with a reflector telescope, the difference between 114 and 130mm is the "Haha!" factor we usually seek. Also, I researched the 2nd-hand Sky-Watcher some more: it is a reflector as well (paraboloidal Newtonian reflector).

I also found the Meade Lightbridge 130mm at a not-so-bad price (still breaking the bank though and customs will hit me with fees). So how big of a leap is it between these two:

1. Meade Lightbridge Mini 130mm (CA$225 + customs) Dobsonian reflector

2. Sky-Watcher 130mm/F650 (CA$125, possibly negociable, 2nd hand) EQ2 reflector

Is there a huge difference between the two?

I have narrowed it down to these two, because I need to end the search and just make a decision. 

Thank you ? I do appreciate all your help! 

(Should I open a new thread, given that the options have changed?)

Edited by Soleil

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If your close to Montreal, I found the 8" dobsonian for 200$ on kijiji. Which is a very good price if it's in A1 condition. 200mm aperture will last a long time for a bit more money.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-achat-et-vente-divers/longueuil-rive-sud/sky-watcher-dobsonian-telescope-8-pouces-de-diametre/1314027830?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

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1 hour ago, N3ptune said:

If your close to Montreal, I found the 8" dobsonian for 200$ on kijiji. Which is a very good price if it's in A1 condition. 200mm aperture will last a long time for a bit more money.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-achat-et-vente-divers/longueuil-rive-sud/sky-watcher-dobsonian-telescope-8-pouces-de-diametre/1314027830?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

I just sent them an email. Hopefully they haven’t sold it yet... I have someone who can pick it up for me! I had looked there...  An hour or so before they posted it, darn! Thank you!

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If you are into diy then you could make a dobsonian base for the 130mm telescope to give choice of mounting.

The cheaper price does leave room for buying another eyepiece in time.

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7 hours ago, Soleil said:

1. Meade Lightbridge Mini 130mm (CA$225 + customs) Dobsonian reflector

2. Sky-Watcher 130mm/F650 (CA$125, possibly negociable, 2nd hand) EQ2 reflector

Is there a huge difference between the two?

As with the earlier comparison, there won't be much to split the two optically, but the mounts differ. The mini Dobsonian base will be much more sturdy and simpler to use, but will require something to sit on to raise the telescope to a higher level. Good luck with getting hold of the 8" dob, but be warned that this is possibly a bigger scope than you're thinking. There is no way that your son will be able to lift it so you will have to get it out for him to use. A 114/130 mini dob would be small enough for your son to carry himself (the 130EQ less so due to the addition of counterweights). The 8" dob is also only portable if you have a car to transport it in and then a short distance to carry it at the destination. 

7 hours ago, Soleil said:

(Should I open a new thread, given that the options have changed?)

Personally, I think it is better to stick to a single thread, so that people can see the advice and options already discussed. When someone makes multiple threads it doesn't stop the original thread being replied to and people can find themselves giving advice that is no longer necessary or duplicated elsewhere.

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Soleil,

You mentioned that the Celestron package included The Sky software. Arguably, the best, and free, planetarium program is "Stellarium".

http://www.stellarium.org/en_GB/

This program will show you what you can see from your location. When running, either press  the "f6" key or move the mouse pointer up the left hand side of the window; this brings up the "Location" window. At the top right, is a long table containing the names of most of the world's major towns and cities. Select one near you, and tick the "Use current location as default" box at the bottom left, and close the location window. This will get you going. If you move the mouse pointer along the bottom of the window, you will see a group of icons that turn the major features off and on, and the right-most group let you move time, and watch the constellations move across the sky. There are many other features that you can add or adjust from within the menus behind the icons, and if you "muck it up" you can go back to factory defaults.

By using this program before it gets dark, you can select the celestial objects that you want to observe, and the best time, and direction to see them.

One of the newer features lets you add the details of your telescope (aperture, e.g. 130mm; focal length, e.g. 650mm; and eyepiece focal length, e.g. 25mm, 10mm or 3.6mm) and then turn on the "Ocular View" to see what is visible in the eyepiece.

Geoff

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9 hours ago, Soleil said:

I just sent them an email. Hopefully they haven’t sold it yet... I have someone who can pick it up for me! I had looked there...  An hour or so before they posted it, darn! Thank you!

I would check the mirrors first at 200$ to see if everything is in pristine condition. I think 200$ is a bit low for that telescope in A1 condition, if my memory serves me correctly, they sell it at around 600$ with the taxes, at the Montreal store.

You should know it's not exactly lightweight either, 11 kg for the tube only and bulky, don't know about the base. This can be an issue in stairs if you have things like back problems.

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Isn't the base at least the same weight? A google will probably give all need to know for that model.

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