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Starting accessories for Skywatcher skyliner 200p

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I bougth a skywatcher skyliner 200p (a newtonian dobsonian telescope) and I should receive it in 2 weeks. 

Since I know nothing yet of the practicalities of astronomy I wonder what accessories I should get initially for it if any.

I would love to hear your advice.

Collimation :

From what I gathered, collimation seems a necessary thing to perform, even with new telescope, right?

I read a lot of good and bad thing about laser and only good thing about cheshire.
Since I ll be alone operating the telescope, which one should I get if any ?

a cheshire like this one https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ascension-1-25-Short-Cheshire-Collimation-Eyepiece-UK/322431518490?hash=item4b126a871a:g:VYkAAOSwWxNYrXEi

or a laser (in which case which one would you recommend )?

Any resources on how to perform collimation. That sounds a bit scary :)


I heard a lot about telrad and I am considering one
is a rigel quickfinder similar or better ? (https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/rigel-quikfinder-compact-reflex-sight.html)

Can these be installed without hassle on my skywatcher ?


I also heard that the default straight finder installed on the skywatcher is not very nice to use as you need to bend yourself (and the image is inverted)

Should I get a right angle one like :

How would I install it? Is it as simple as replacing the straight one ?

precise finding
In order to find objects in the sky, I though first to buy a push to telescope like the orion xt8i but because of the price, I decided to go with the simple skywatcher skyliner 200p.
This now means I have to learn to navigate in the sky, which is probably a good thing anyway. 

Finders helps here but to be precise, I thought about "setting circles" and inclinationmeters but these would require some time to built it and attach it. What do you think? Any good resources ? Probably something I can reconsider later?

I might instead try the "skeye" app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lavadip.skeye) but I ll need to find a way to fix my phone on the telescope. 


Protection / care:

Is there any precaution I should take when storing my telescope (while not in use)? Any useful accessories ?


Since the moon is such easy target and fascinating on its own. should I get a moon filter ?

What about planetary filter, are they worth it ?

Any other thing I should consider getting ?

Any recommended books ?




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Hi Ronan

I'm only just setting out myself, so can't give you answers with any degree of authority, except for books...  Most seem to recommend Turn Left at Orion.  I've just had my copy turn up from Amazon, and I'm really impressed with it.  I genuinely feel that it will be a massive aid in getting me started, and keeping me interested.  Just need the clouds to part now ;) 

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if you dont want to hurt ur eyes for sure you need moon filter or UHC filter if u can spend more $$ its more usefull for moon+make faint objects more visible during observation

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Telrads are very good and your skyliner has plenty of places near the focuser that will allow the base to be attached. The base has double sided adhesive strips so you just peel off the tape and fix it to the tube. Mark out the spot with masking tape so that you get the base square to the axis of the scope. There are adjustment knobs that allow you the adjust the position of the red circles. Position a bright star in the eyepiece and then align the red circle on same star. A dew shield for the telrad is also a good investment.

For the moon, two polarising filters allow you to adjust the contrast and brightness by rotating one of the filters against the other. Ebay or the scope supplier can provide them.

If you can find a local astronomy club near to you then go to one of their meetings, you will find members are only to eager to help.

Good luck

Oh, don't do what one of our members did and  fix the Telrad with the angled viewing glass towards the end of the scope. You will not see the red circles reflected in the glass

Edited by Tomatobro
additional data

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I don't know about collimation but apart from that, just enjoy your scope a few times and then you can slowly see what you need. The eyepieces will work and when you decide to upgrade you'll get a boost that you wouldn't get if you bought them now. Try the finder and if it's a problem then you can upgrade. This hobby is wonderful and there is plenty of cloudy time for shopping.

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Answer to the primary question 'NONE' go look up. :) 

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Learn the sky first Turn left to Orion is a very good. Telrad are very good, here are some free maps http://avila.star-shine.ch/astro/messiercharts/messierTelrad.htm.

Most cheaper laser collimators need collimating themselves better sticking to a Cheshire/ Sight tube.

Only get a RACI if you find looking through the straight through finder uncomfortable. But I would stick with the original until you are fairly competent with finding objects.

The moon is better observed when its not full so you can see the contrast with the terminator line so no need for a filter just yet. 

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30 minutes ago, RichM63 said:

Answer to the primary question 'NONE' go look up. :) 

What he said. 

Get stuck in, enjoy the views. Then once you’ve got a feel for what you like, start looking at toys. 

Edited by johnfosteruk

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I've had my 200p close to a year now.  It's never needed collimating in all that time, even though it has been moved in and out of the shed for viewing as well as being driven to various dark sites.

The only accessories I've bought so far are better quality eyepieces and a moon filter.  I haven't had any real issues with the finderscope, although a right-angled one would be an advantage.

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I am really new to this and also had so many similar questions what I started, and as such not really knowledgeable enough to answer all your questions (yet).

When I first started out I had cash I was willing to spend (what I thought was plenty for starting in astro photography but it probably is nowhere near in all honesty). However with good advice from this forum I saved my money (to begin with at least) and bought a 2nd hand 200P for a very reasonable price and when clouds permitted used it. Believe me although I want to get into imaging there is lots (I mean lots) to do first with observing and learning where everything is. And if just a manual Dobsonian then the fact you do not have a goto I think helps with remembering where things are with respect to each other.

On the cloudy nights get a couple of books and read or search for things on the internet. 

Don't rush t spend your money, it will be spent soon enough but make sure it is on what you really need, hence take time out to understand exactly what it is you do need, by reading and asking as you have done here.

I assume you will have a finderscope on the Dob but yes you are right converting to a right angle viewer really helps with comfort and making the view the right way round.

But use your Dob, you may well decide early on you want a new better eyepiece or two but again no need to get every size under the sun and don't be tempted to go for real high magnification, for the moon not really needed and for DSO's doesn't really allow you to see more they are just fainter.

Well that's my thoughts but as I say I have only been doing this a few months and also a real novice.


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For primary mirror collimation, I use a Rigel Aline.  For aligning the secondary to point at the center of the primary, I use this laser collimator.  It's also handy for getting the rotation of the secondary correct.  Try to get one that is natively 2" to avoid introducing errors from your 1.25" to 2" adapter.  For centering the secondary under the focuser, I use a sight tube with crosshairs.

The Telrad is better than the QuikFinder if you have the room on your tube, which you do.

Spend some money on a decent 40mm widest field eyepiece to make centering targets easier and to observe larger objects like the Pleiades and Collinder 70.  Something like the Aero ED SWA would be a good start.

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That short Cheshire collimator in your link is the exact one I have and it works 100% and highly recommend them 

Everyone recommends a Telrad for the simple reason that they are the best finders

Good luck with the new 200P :thumbsup:

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Welcome to the SGL ronan.

A Cheshire tool has become my favourite tool for collimation, I chose a long version, would appear to provide me a tighter tolerance.
I also have a cheap laser, which I use with a Barlow lens.

I like  using the standard 9x50 finder scope, keeping both eyes open when finding? when the image from both eyes align, Im on target, but remember to align your finder scope to the telescope during daylight hours, then tweak it at night for better accuracy.
I have used a Telrad but need glasses to see the reticules correctly at infinity? I also like using my my 32mm two inch fitting Panaview, that makes for a good  eyepiece finder rather than using the  external finder itself.

Precise finding? by the time you have got the coordinate your target will have moved, just look learn and practice on the targets you would like to see. Books or Stellarium are great for this, especially Stellarium, so many options, settings, and great if the weather fails you?

My scope is covered with a cotton sheet and a plastic cover and stored inside a tall floor standing cupboard.I can lift the scope out and into the garden.

For a Moon filter, use sun glasses, or look through thin cloud or use just view with only the 2" cap removed from the telescopes end cap. All methods work for me if you feel the Moon is too bright. You wont go blind looking at the Moon, although one eye will get disorientated due to the brightness when you want to go back inside for a coffee, just don't trip over!!

As for the scope itself, give it a good check over. It should be good to go once built! just the Dobsonian base needs constructing. Setup and align the finder and if you need too, check by eye or use a dust cap or 35mm old film container to make a collimation tool. Check out one of the guides on collimation, the one supplied by Astro Baby was the one that helped me most. Hope for the best regarding the weather, and on the night, go out and have some fun.

It all comes down to practice and more practice when it comes to using the scope, but sooner than later, it al becomes second nature and easy to operate. I very quickly changed the supplied 10 mm eyepiece for the BST 8mm on advice received here, and no regrets, in fact had to buy the set, great value and great images.

Ive used so called 'better' eyepieces, but you wont know unless you try better eyepieces, only then can you draw your own conclusion? The best you cn do is observe from the darkest of sites, try to avoid any manmade light pollution,  if its local like street lights, avert your eyes from them, hide behind your fence line or behind a shed, the darker the site and the more dark adapted your eyes become, the better the views, but the seeing conditions have to be good.

This might all be vey new, and such a rush of information, but whatever happens, just enjoy the situation, you never know, you might get hooked!

Edited by Charic

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Thanks all  for the advice!

I ll definitively postpone any shopping until I get to try my scope, except maybe for a moon filter.

I live not too far from dark sky places so my plan is to go there as often as I can to enjoy the most of it. Hopefully my kids will enjoy too :)

Thanks again

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I find I don't need a moon filter, I've tried one and my eyes are quite OK without it.

The best thing I ever bought for my 200P was a cheap adapter 3D printed from ebay that allowed me to install two finders on it.  I changed the straight through finder very quickly to a RACI finder (it's far easier to look through IMO) and then I bought a cheap Celestron red dot finder (RDF) (with the same shoe type).  It was still taking me 20 minutes to find targets with just the RACI (or straight through finder, but with the RDF added I can find anything I can see in the sky in about 30 seconds flat.  I have the RACI pinpoint aligned with the main telescope and the RDF aligned thereabouts.  Once I have something in the RDF it is then in the RACI view and if I am pinpoint central with the RACI it is central in the telescope EP.   I can't recommend the two finder combo enough - maybe you won't have a problem, but I found finding specific stars that I wanted in the view incredibly difficult until I added the RDF.  Picture here of my finder setup


Oh, yes and no-one has mentioned a red torch - def. a useful addition - try ebay.

When you do decide to collimate and it isn't as frightening at it first seems (I know how frightening this is), you will need Astrobaby's guide linked to above and a Cheshire collimator.  I bought a laser type too, but found the Cheshire was the tool for the job.   You will need a good 60-90 minutes the first time!

Edited by JOC

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You can get bone fide expensive versions from the standard astronomy websites.  I got that one from ebay.  The seller was in Poland which gave me pause for thought, but it was so cheap I risked it and it arrived just fine.  It looks 3D printed, but it works just as it should.  Try ebay and search for something like dual finder adapter telescope.

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Search for Orion's Dual Finder Scope Mounting Bracket.  Not exactly cheap from them, though.

Edited by Louis D
Orion can't be linked

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First of all congratulations ,you have chosen a great scope to start with. The 200p is a great " proper " scope. IMO probably the best bang for buck on the market ?

Make sure you get a copy of "Turn left at Orion" again in my opinion one of the best books/guides to location objects for the beginner out there.

Don't be to keen to spend money on accessories to soon. Apart from your scope and turn left. I'm my opinion your best accessory is going to a dark site.

Spend your accessory money on petrol getting to a "True dark site". 

Enjoy ☺



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I've found the cheaper ones.  On ebay search for dual finderscope bracket.  Several folk offering 3D printed ones from croatia.  You pay your cash and take your chance.  My one from Poland arrived in reasonable time via regular post with no problems.

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I just started with this hobby, and also got a skywatcher dobsonian 8'', and ALSO went looking around to find every accesory I could find, reflex 1x, illuminated raci finder, filters, collimation tools, digital inclinometer, zoom eyepiece, barlows, even spare caps (because I already almost lost a few), etc, etc. In fact I spent quite a bit of money already (haven't received any of the accesories yet). 

But let me tell you this, with just the telescope and the eps + 2x barlow that came with it, I already saw plenty of stuff I couldn't even imagine they be so cool. Jupiter, its moons, bands and the GRS, mars (altought a little small, still amazing), saturn and the rings, M42 (this was amazing, so bright and well defined, I swear I could even see some green/blue colors), some double stars, and some star clusters. Yesterday I got to see the moon for the first time, it was in waxing crecent phase, but still super impressed with the details I got to see, even the non illuminated part, that I couldn't even see with the naked eye, showed a lot of details thru the scope. I've a lot to learn, I just point the scope at random places and look for nice things to watch right now.

So the bottom line is, do you need tons of accesories to enjoy the views, absolutely not. But if you are like me you would still want them. I'd say, if buying the accesories is easy where you live, start slow, like if you are not happy with your finder after using it for some time, you can buy just that, when you feel your scope collimation is off, buy some tools to fix it. Don't buy everything at once. My issue is that where I live, I can't get any telescope stuff, so I have to buy them from another country. The few products I could get, have pretty inflated prices, so it's better for me to do a big purchase and import a lot of accesories at once because importing taxes/laws are pretty bad here.

Edited by wok
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