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Oat

Sold my 200 dob. What to replace with?

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I have recently sold my Skywatcher 200 dobsonian. Whilst the views were good, there was a problem.... it took up a lot of space and was a pain to take in and out of the house. This meant that it didn't get as much use as it should have done.

What next?

With the thinking 'the best telescope is the one you will use the most' in mind. It is clear i need something relatively simple to set up and portable. This pretty much rules out EQ and goto mounts. I am then looking at something in the skywatcher heritage series (100 or 130p and mount it in a full size tripod), or a little refractor like in the celestron astromaster series on an alt az mount.

Not having used the scopes mentioned before, is there any recommendation?

Thanks in advance (and sorry for asking the kinda question that comes up a lot!)

 

 

 

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Interesting question - and although the general request for recommendations in that kind of range as a first scope come up often, I can't recall many where they are "downsizing" (for want of a better word).  

I'm happy with my Heritage 114p Virtuoso and find the tracking (and adding goto with the skywatcher wifi adapter) very useful.  Quick to set up and easy to store.  But that's on the basis it's my first scope.  And although I'm happy with my choice, I would definitely like "more" scope.  I'd love to go for a SW 200 dob, but haven't for pretty much the reasons you sold yours.

I can live with the compromise I've made because I've never really known better, but I think it would be very hard to go "back" from a 200 dobsonian to something in the 100 to 130 range.  I know plenty here rave about the Mak 127 from various manufacturers, but I don't know whether that would be closer to what you aim for.

Good luck, and I'll follow your choice with interest.

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I think you need to decide just how much bulk/ weight would be acceptable. And then there is your price limit...

The 8" was a pretty competent scope, a good jack of all trades. Are you mainly into DSOs or solar system?

An OO 6" Dob would be a lot lighter than the Skywatcher 8" and takes up very little floorspace when vertical but you still can't carry it easily with one hand (5kg for the OTA). On the other hand you get a choice of focal lengths; f/5 or f/8..

Do skywatcher make a flextube 6"?

Small skywatcher Maks are very compact and have a good reputation but they're quite heavily biased towards planets in view of their long focal lengths.

On the other hand, the small refractors all come with the obvious restrictions of small aperture..IMHO the expensive ones are more effective for photography than visual but that's not your interest. I would'nt personally want to go  much smaller than 80mm with a refractor if it was my main scope. Visually, I think the great PMs advice from 50 years ago still holds a lot of truth...minimum useful size for reflectors is 6" and refractors 3" if it's to be your only instrument. 

Not sure if that helps any...

Edited by rl
additional info
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@Girders I stand by my reasons for selling the 200 dob. The view was great, but i just didn't use it as it was a pain to drag outdoors. I'd rather use something more often and take 'some' compromise.

The little heritage dob / newtonians are appealing. I have however always had this nagging want to use a refractor, maybe some people have both (?), but certainly in the medium term i will just have 1.

Can all of the heritage scopes be stripped from the stands and fitted to a tripod?

 

My brother has a 127 mak, i have used it and like it but found the goto to be a bit of a painfully slow process (especially compared to dobs).

 

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2 minutes ago, Ricochet said:

What's the budget for the replacement scope? 

A few hundred tops, so that i have some left over for an eyepiece or two, and a tripod (if it doesn't come with one). I don't want to go crazy with money.

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"This pretty much rules out EQ and goto mounts. I am then looking at something in the skywatcher heritage series (100 or 130p and mount it in a full size tripod), or a little refractor like in the celestron astromaster series on an alt az mount".

I completely understand and respect your decision to get rid of the 200mm Dob. As great as the small Heritage 130P is, you can do better. 

Stepping backwards with regards to aperture is not always a bad thing. 

I have both refracs and Newts (i even have the Heritage 130P), and to be honest i love my Fracs better. A nice 80-100mm refrac on an Alt-Az would be great.

This is my latest refrac. I also bought an AZ5 (tripod and mount combo)...........

https://www.bresser.de/en/Astronomy/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102xs-460-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube.html

The Skywatcher ED80 is a VERY popular scope.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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6 minutes ago, rl said:

I think you need to decide just how much bulk/ weight would be acceptable. And then there is your price limit...

The 8" was a pretty competent scope, a good jack of all trades. Are you mainly into DSOs or solar system?

An OO 6" Dob would be a lot lighter than the Skywatcher 8" and takes up very little floorspace when vertical but you still can't carry it easily with one hand. Do skywatcher make a flextube 6"?

On the other hand, the small refractors all come with the obvious restrictions of small aperture..IMHO the expensive ones are more effective for photography than visual but that's not your interest. I would'nt personally want to go  much smaller than 80mm with a refractor if it was my main scope. Visually, I think the great PMs advice from 50 years ago still holds a lot of truth...minimum useful size for reflectors is 6" and refractors 3" if it's to be your only instrument. 

Not sure if that helps any...

Newtonian or mak type bulk is OK. 200P type bulk is way too much.

My initial interest was / is solar system. I would like to look at DSO's but feel i need some assistance to move on to that.

I think the 6" dob is out, they don't do a flextube version of the 6".

 

If i were to have a frac, then it would minimum 9mm (celestron astromaster), or something a bit larger like i the skywatcher startravel range.

For a reflector then it's a bit more challenging to reach the 6" guide you mention given my needs of portability.

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4 minutes ago, Oat said:

I would like to look at DSO's but feel i need some assistance to move on to that.

Assistance as in go-to? Perhaps a Skywatcher 130ps on an azgti? 

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1 minute ago, Ricochet said:

Assistance as in go-to? Perhaps a Skywatcher 130ps on an azgti? 

Assistance in what shape or form, was my next question. Go-To, or "dont know your way around the night sky"?

 

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2 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Thanks but as said i'm not a fan of goto, and that scope is a huge step more than i will spend. 

1 minute ago, Ricochet said:

Assistance as in go-to? Perhaps a Skywatcher 130ps on an azgti? 

Yes, i have found DSO's difficult to locate, and if i find it how do i know it is what i think it is.... I think i would probably be best off joining a local group and learning DSO's from scratch... I just didn't get on with the goto thing.

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1 minute ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Assistance in what shape or form, was my next question. Go-To, or "dont know your way around the night sky"?

 

That latter.... i still consider myself a beginner (hence asking the questions..) 

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I'd forgotten about these, but came very close to buying one.  I was struggling to find reviews and then got the chance of a deal on my Heritage.  You might be able to find some more info on them one year on...

Compact tabletop dobsonians available in 5" and 6"

https://www.bresseruk.com/astronomy/bresser-messier-5-dobsonian-telescope.html

https://www.bresseruk.com/astronomy/bresser-messier-6-dobsonian-telescope.html

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3 minutes ago, Oat said:

Thanks but as said i'm not a fan of goto, and that scope is a huge step more than i will spend. 

Yes, i have found DSO's difficult to locate, and if i find it how do i know it is what i think it is.... I think i would probably be best off joining a local group and learning DSO's from scratch... I just didn't get on with the goto thing.

Ah, I missed (/forgot!) the no go-to comment. The AZ5 would be my alternate suggestion for a manual mount. 

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  •  
 

Newtonian or mak type bulk is OK. 200P type bulk is way too much.

My initial interest was / is solar system. I would like to look at DSO's but feel i need some assistance to move on to that.

I think the 6" dob is out, they don't do a flextube version of the 6".

 

If i were to have a frac, then it would minimum 9mm (celestron astromaster), or something a bit larger like i the skywatcher startravel range.

For a reflector then it's a bit more challenging to reach the 6" guide you mention given my needs of portability

OK...it's looking a bit like refractors are probably the way to go. Luke Skywatcher has a good point, the ED80 is very much a rite of passage and with good reason. The ED optics are brilliant...and the focal length is not excessively short that will require expensive eyepieces. And it would serve you well as a second portable scope if you ever got anything bigger...or got into AP. Very versatile if a bit small. I've got one of ther original blue ones that were built like a brick privvy but I think the newer ones are a bit lighter. 

Edited by rl
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33 minutes ago, rl said:
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Newtonian or mak type bulk is OK. 200P type bulk is way too much.

My initial interest was / is solar system. I would like to look at DSO's but feel i need some assistance to move on to that.

I think the 6" dob is out, they don't do a flextube version of the 6".

 

If i were to have a frac, then it would minimum 9mm (celestron astromaster), or something a bit larger like i the skywatcher startravel range.

For a reflector then it's a bit more challenging to reach the 6" guide you mention given my needs of portability

OK...it's looking a bit like refractors are probably the way to go. Luke Skywatcher has a good point, the ED80 is very much a rite of passage and with good reason. The ED optics are brilliant...and the focal length is not excessively short that will require expensive eyepieces. And it would serve you well as a second portable scope if you ever got anything bigger...or got into AP. Very versatile if a bit small. I've got one of ther original blue ones that were built like a brick privvy but I think the newer ones are a bit lighter. 

Yep, im thinking an ED80 on an Alt-Az and a copy of "Turn Left At Orion", or a planisphere,

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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@LukeSkywatcher Got the book 👍

I appreciate the scope recommendation. It is a chunk more than i anticipated, then the stand etc on top....  in short am i correct in assuming that the 80ED is different to the startravel series as the optics are better (reducing CA). Otherwise i'm guessing that the bodies are probably the same (but different glass).

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Yep, the ED optics are light years in front of the startravel achromats for planetary viewing. The startravel are cheap aperture intended for widefield deep sky stuff and are fairly compromised by both chromatic and spherical aberration that shows up with 3-figure magnifications. It's worth the extra cash for the ED quality given where your interests lie. To be fair, the startravels do a very good job for their intended function but that's not planets. I've had a ST120 and it was easily outperformed by the ED80 on Jupiter. For deep Sky at *20 magnification it's a different story but even there the short focus startravels have issues with field curvature that can be annoying. For just visual use the longer f ratio of the ED80 compared to a ST80 (f/7.5 vs f/5) improves the image quality no end and relaxes the need for expensive eyepieces to cope with the steep light cone (which would also be an issue with fast newtonians). 

If you are a member of a club someone will have an ED80 or similar ...virtually guaranteed.

If you keep checking the AstroBuySell website ED80s or their clones come up fairly often for about £250 for the OTA. The William Optics or Altair versions are cosmetically better and go for a bit more...typically £300, but the visual optical quality of the bog standard ED80 is pretty much the equal of the more expensive 80mm scopes.

Edited by rl
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Thanks.

It seems the astro show is just a few weeks away... i might wait until then to go and actually see some gear. I remember going a few years ago when it was at a different location and i learnt quite a bit. Also, Stoneleigh is about 45 mins away from me so could be well worth the trip this yr...

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Choices choices.

I have sent a msg off to FLO asking for advice, hope for their input tomorrow. In the meantime i have compared some copes on paper (see below)

Screenshot_1.jpg.b7b86d6ba05e1618b484798702bd2ed4.jpg

As i want one scope for most things, i guess i would be best with a F5 or F6. The 130 Newtonian on the AZ5 then ticks many boxes for me. I Really do like the idea of a frac, and in that regard the 102 on the AZ5 is attractive (certainly that AZ5 stand is the type i want). The 80ED frac, i fear is just going to be too much money by the time i have added a tripod / stand.

 

Do my ramblings and the chart i made make for any obvious suggestions choices to you?

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I would put the Firstscope and Astromaster into the definite no category. 

The ones that stand out to me are the 80ED, ST102 and 130ps. The Evostar would be a good scope but I don't know what you're mounting it on and it's probably at the size where it's comparable to the dob you sold for being too large.

The ST102 should be nice for wide field views but the CA will limit it on planets.

The 130ps should be better on both DSOs (more light gathered) and on planets (better resolution and no CA).

The 80ED will again be nice for wide field but should also be decent on planets. I don't know if 80mm is really too small for an only scope though. A possible extra advantage is that maybe you could use it as a spotting scope as well in which case you could combine the budget for both scopes. Even with the additional funds you might need to look for a second hand one.

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