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Tippi

Which Skywatcher telescope is best for beginners

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Hi there, I’m looking for advice as to which of these telescopes would be the Best Buy & most useful for a beginner, I’ve been reading different reviews on sales websites but can’t make a decision, budget needs to stay around £200. So have whittled it down to Sky-Watcher Explorer 150P or skywatcher skyliner 150p telescope? What’s the difference?

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The difference is the mount.

For £200 you'll be lucky to get a Explorer 150p with a mount unless second hand. The Skyliner is a Dob so mount is included a is easier to use for a beginner.

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The Explorer? Which model are you looking at? On an equatorial-mount, it would cost you considerably more than £200. Whereas the Skyliner is £209.00 as a Dobsonian-mounted scope and would be a good choice for a beginner - as long as you don't plan to go into astro-photography just yet.

The Explorer is a good scope, but for £200, you might get the OTA, but no mount. I'd forget than if I were you.

Tell us more about your interests in viewing, etc. Then we'll be able to help you better.

Starry Skies -

Dave

Edited by Dave In Vermont
sp.
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Hi there,

and thank you firstly Dave & Ian for advice so far. I should say this is a present for my partner who is a keen beginner like me in all astronomy & wants to learn more. His knowledge is better then mine but I’d like this to be a surprise gift so can’t ask his advice either! To be able to view the moon, planets and nebulae etc would be wonderful for him. 

And yes just realised on looking back that the Stargazer Explorer for £200 is that price as doesn’t have a mount! Wow great rookie mistake by me haha!!  https://www.tringastro.co.uk/sky-watcher-explorer-150p-ota-3857-p.asp?gclid=Cj0KCQiAyNjRBRCpARIsAPDBnn09KC1KgAiwF64Re0byKOkR7CdQAnqwpjW2DwSCf3iEqEuMTyTkpgUaAuDLEALw_wcB

so would you say the Skywatcher skyliner 150p is the next best telescope? Or is there anything else out there more suitable at this budget? 

 

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I think you've made a very good choice - more than making up for your forgetting a minor detail - like a mount! :p

Seriously - the only thing you could do better with would be a 200mm! But that's known as "aperture-fever" as is an often incurable condition - always wanting a bigger telescope! And more money, too! If you had the 200mm, you'd then be wanting a 300mm. Next thing you'd know, it would be the Hubble-Space-Telescope. Then the Keck.....It never ends.

A 150mm is a very capable instrument, which can last a lifetime when properly cared for. You'll be needing the learn how to collimate the scope - which means the alignment of the optics with each other and the focuser to the eyepiece. But not to concern yourself now. And you'll have us all to help you do this, and other issues as they come to light (grin).That's why we're here - to help one another in our 'journey to the stars.'

I'm sure your partner will be utterly delighted with this telescope! And Skywatcher is an excellent brand. But there's one other item that will prove a 'must-have' for a Dobsonian-mounted scope: An RACI Finder-Scope of about 8 X 50mm. I'll explain what this in a simple way - an image:

 

imageproxy.php?img=&key=bdf8b2134cef9d8b5a3769ad1826c_GSO8X50mmRACIFinder.thumb.jpg.de8634a5ea482b5738bb4cca928af68b.jpg

 

A straight-through finder will cause quite a bit of neck-pain. Most scopes sold come with these types. So a RACI (Right-Angle-Correct-Image) will be of great help in finding your way about the sky at night. You might ask the seller - Tring? - about maybe getting one for this scope. Perhaps a discount if you were to swap the stock finder for one of these? Worth a shot.

Feel free to keep asking questions. There's much more information to follow. But I'll let this soak in for now.

Dave

Edited by Dave In Vermont
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A Dobsonian mount is a good start, not difficult to set up, portable(unless you get a 10 inch+) Yours, Skywatcher skyliner 150p, which is 6 inch is able to view bright star clusters, M31 under a dark sky and lots of amazing objects.

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+1 for Skyliner

The Skyliner is an f/7.8, the Explorer is f/5. This means the Skyliner has less coma and won't need very expensive eyepieces for optimal performance. It's also about £100 cheaper to begin with.

Remember that you’ll need a collimating tool (a Cheshire eyepiece for instance) to keep the optics in proper alignment.

A very informative youtube channel is ‘Astronomy and Nature TV’. 

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Just a quick heads-up on this one: the price @Tring is £215. The price of the same scope @FLO is £209. £6 difference may not be the earth, but (as I am sure someone has said before) "every little counts"! [I haven't checked with delivery included, so worth doing your homework on that]

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For what it's worth, I bought the Skyliner 200P (slightly larger than the 150P) as a beginner earlier this year and don't regret a thing.

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50 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

Just a quick heads-up on this one: the price @Tring is £215. The price of the same scope @FLO is £209. £6 difference may not be the earth, but (as I am sure someone has said before) "every little counts"! [I haven't checked with delivery included, so worth doing your homework on that]

Tring do free delivery, plus are the OP's local dealer so it should be relatively easy to pick the scope up or take it back in case of any issues. They also have a 150p Skyliner on display so you can see the size of it before buying (or at least they did the last time I was there). I got my dob there and recommend them as a good company to deal with.

@Tippi If you do go down to the shop then once you pull onto the little trading estate turn left, drive all the way to the end where you should see some spaces marked for Tring Astro and then the showroom is up the stairs on the left.

With regards to the scopes, even if the mount was included with the Explorer I would still choose the Skyliner. I think the dobsonian mount is better for visual anyway,

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52 minutes ago, Ricochet said:

are the OP's local dealer

That, of course, makes a big difference and in those circumstances would agree that Tring would be the better option. 

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A 150P is a very capable scope and is what I started with. I went for the equatorial mount and soon realised this was a BIG mistake for visual use. Had I researched properly before buying I would have started with an Alt/Az mount like a Dobsonian which IMO is far more suited to the purpose. An equatorial mount is only needed for astro photography and an EQ3 is not really man enough for this. 

This is only my opinion and I'm fully aware that others will disagree. 

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Wow thank you all for such informative and clear replies (for a beginner like me!) I wish I had posted sooner as I’ve been back and forth for weeks pondering what the best telescope I could get would be! It’s a mine field of choices so to hear your opinions has given me confidence to finally make a decision thank god! I’d love to be able to spend more and more but I’ve already jumped from my starting place of thinking a basic Celestron PowerSeeker would be ok to now being really excited to push it a bit further and get a Skywatcher so already got the bigger aperture bug!

It’s sounding like the Skywatcher Skyline 150p (not forgetting it’s Dob Mount!, imagine I’d got the Explorer without one and just had to sit there attempting to hold it steady haha!) is the winner here and I will either go with buying from the more local Tring store incase I need help or have found one on webex site as well which has next day delivery, given that I’d like this for Christmas!

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/sky-watcher-skyliner-150p-classic-parabolic-dobsonian-telescope-10564/

Do you think it will be ok to wait a few weeks to buy the Collimator and the RACI? Just so I can build my funds up again? 

And how about the lenses, will I require more to get better results? I read that a 15mm plossl is a good addition? Do all fit universally or do each brand have specific lenses and accessories? 

So so many questions and I’ve not even got the telescope yet haha!! 

Thank you all again x

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The 150p is an excellent scope to be starting out with, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. If it were me I'd prefer to buy a collimator at the same time as the mirrors are almost certain to need a bit of tweaking to get the best out of the scope, but there's no reason to break the bank by going down the laser route, a simple cheshire collimator eyepiece and a collimation cap are all you need.

After that though I'd recommend that you not buy anything else until you've had the chance to get a feel for the scope. The finder scope and the eyepieces that come with it will be more than enough to get you going. After a few sessions of looking at all sorts of different objects in the sky, you'll start to get an idea of whether you'd prefer an eyepiece with a wider view, and if you think you'd benefit from a little more or less magnification.

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My skyliner 150p was delivered and has never needed collimation once so you can probably hang onto your extra pennies for a bit. I also still have the stock finder on it. You don't even need to buy more eyepiece s to start with either :)

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200p.will get you some wonderful views.and could be all you'll ever need.but go to the shop and see what dobsonions are all about.hope you  get sorted out soon.try before you buy.make sure your able to lift it and fit it in your car if your going to be moble .I'd never change from my dobsonion. Merry Xmas. 

Edited by fiestazetecmk2
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If you go for the 150P Dobsonian (which is a great choice) I would suggest contacting Tring and asking if you bought from them they would be willing to collimate it for you. A scope like this is likely to not need touching again unless seriously abused.

As for eyepieces I would use the scope first before spending on upgrades. 

Good luck, if you have further questions you know where to come.

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I wouldn't buy any new eyepieces to start with, but once you have a few sessions under your belt and want to add some more options BST Starguiders are my standard recommendation.

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