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Hi there, I’m new to the forum but thought this would be the best place to ask for advice.

I have a massive interest in astronomy so think it’s time to make the move to buy a telescope but want to make sure I’m not going to be disappointed when I get one.

I have my eyes on the Sky-watcher 130p so 130mm diameter aperture and 650mm focal length and is about £200 so for a beginner this seems suitable.

Could anyone give me an opinion as to whether this is a good buy or even if there is a telescope at a similar price which would be more worth buying. Any info is much appreciated.

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Hi, Welcome to the forum a great place to learn and chat.

I am pretty new to all this as well which means my advice may be limited. What will help with getting advice is to maybe elaborate on what you potentially hope to do with the scope, observing only or astrophotography and do you have a main interest in planets or DSO's. Most new to the hobby either are not sure or want to have a go at it all. Unfortunately, there really is no do it all scope. Yes, most can observe planets and DSO's and you can take images through all of them but none are really great at all of them.

Also if you do intend to do any serious imaging of DSO's then best advice is to put the majority of your cash into a good sturdy mount. The best scope in the world with a poor mount will not take decent images.

The 2nd hand market always has a lot to offer, especially for beginners equipment as many sell their early stuff on after a while as then progress in the hobby.

My first scope, like so many, was a Dobsonian like this.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

It is not a goto, but I see that as a positive for beginning as you have far less to worry about , such as alignments etc, so you can get started as soon as it arrives, also you learn the sky better where everything is rather than just press a button. You can pick them up for around £180 2nd hand, maybe less, and is a great introduction to the hobby. Gives you a great idea what you can see out there for a low cost start up.

Many people when they start seem very underwhelmed at what they first see as in many instances the stars are just a bit  bigger and brighter than with the naked eye, but wow there are so much more than you could ever see without a scope, I think they see the Hubble images and think they will see the same with a £200 scope, it really is not like that. BUT, if it is for you then it is not underwhelming, quite the opposite.

After a few sessions with the Dobsonian you can then sell this on you have lots of time to find the scope (and mount) that you really want. I now have a couple more scopes and still cannot bear to part with my Dobsonian. But this hobby can take a lot of cash if you are not careful (but it doesn't need to) so take time to choose well and you can get equipment that serves you well for many years to come.

Anyway I digress as you will get lots of help from many with so much more experience on this forum. This is just my experience as a newbie.

Most of all enjoy your sessions, too easy to get bogged down in all the setting up, aligning and tripping over wires or getting frustrated with not getting all the high tech stuff to work and you get little time observing. Keep it simple (to start with anyway).

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang

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Hi there, a very warm werlcome to the forum.  The Sky Watcher 130P is a very popular beginner telescope and gets great reviews hereabouts, you cannot go wrong with this one but make sure you buy it from an astronomy supplier such as FLO, the sponsers of this website, just click on their logo at the top of this page. 

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+1 for Robin's advice, a very good starter telescope.   😀

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It is very well though of. I have the photographic version the 130P-DS and have no complaints at all, the mirror is well regarded as being very good for the price, the volume they make keeps the price down but I imagine it also helps consistency.

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A warm welcome from a German stargazer; enjoy this friendly and helpful forum!

Another +1 for the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P. I bought the Flextube version in summer 2017, and am still very impressed by it's versatility and quality. Easy to store, to transport and to handle; excellent optics allowing for magnifications from 21x up to about 240x; holds collimation well; decent mount and eyepieces. The price - benefit ratio is hardly to beat. It's way more than a beginner's scope, but complements my larger scopes excellent as a grab-and-go and travel scope. Have a read here:

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

(you may skip the math part),

and here (the OneSky Newtonian is the same scope, just another (US) brand) - a humongous thread of 131 pages, obviously for good reasons:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/463109-onesky-newtonian-astronomers-without-borders/

Stephan

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SmoothOperator,

Great choice. I too started out with a 130mm reflector as my first scope, it served me well. I got bitten by the bug thanks to having a GOTO type mount as this helped me find more objects to view. 

What is your budget for the scope?

Here are some options... Obviously the more expensive the mount then the less shaky the view/experience at the eyepiece...

This is a great goto bundle that allows Wi-fi control via a free app

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az-gti.html

if that’s over budget, then here is the same scope on a solid AZ mount

ww.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az5-deluxe.html

Slightly less stable but still decent pronto mount

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-pronto/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az-pronto.html

alternative, slightly larger dobsonian style base...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

When deciding on the mount, you must consider where you will store the scope when not in use. If you don’t have much room or have to get down stairs then a mount that splits into smaller parts would be better.

Here is a really portable 130mm scope...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

of course, do search on here for each of these scopes to find real user experiences and commentary...

HTH,

Alan

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5 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Hi, Welcome to the forum a great place to learn and chat.

I am pretty new to all this as well which means my advice may be limited. What will help with getting advice is to maybe elaborate on what you potentially hope to do with the scope, observing only or astrophotography and do you have a main interest in planets or DSO's. Most new to the hobby either are not sure or want to have a go at it all. Unfortunately, there really is no do it all scope. Yes, most can observe planets and DSO's and you can take images through all of them but none are really great at all of them.

Also if you do intend to do any serious imaging of DSO's then best advice is to put the majority of your cash into a good sturdy mount. The best scope in the world with a poor mount will not take decent images.

The 2nd hand market always has a lot to offer, especially for beginners equipment as many sell their early stuff on after a while as then progress in the hobby.

My first scope, like so many, was a Dobsonian like this.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

It is not a goto, but I see that as a positive for beginning as you have far less to worry about , such as alignments etc, so you can get started as soon as it arrives, also you learn the sky better where everything is rather than just press a button. You can pick them up for around £180 2nd hand, maybe less, and is a great introduction to the hobby. Gives you a great idea what you can see out there for a low cost start up.

Many people when they start seem very underwhelmed at what they first see as in many instances the stars are just a bit  bigger and brighter than with the naked eye, but wow there are so much more than you could ever see without a scope, I think they see the Hubble images and think they will see the same with a £200 scope, it really is not like that. BUT, if it is for you then it is not underwhelming, quite the opposite.

After a few sessions with the Dobsonian you can then sell this on you have lots of time to find the scope (and mount) that you really want. I now have a couple more scopes and still cannot bear to part with my Dobsonian. But this hobby can take a lot of cash if you are not careful (but it doesn't need to) so take time to choose well and you can get equipment that serves you well for many years to come.

Anyway I digress as you will get lots of help from many with so much more experience on this forum. This is just my experience as a newbie.

Most of all enjoy your sessions, too easy to get bogged down in all the setting up, aligning and tripping over wires or getting frustrated with not getting all the high tech stuff to work and you get little time observing. Keep it simple (to start with anyway).

Steve

 

3 hours ago, alanjgreen said:

SmoothOperator,

Great choice. I too started out with a 130mm reflector as my first scope, it served me well. I got bitten by the bug thanks to having a GOTO type mount as this helped me find more objects to view. 

What is your budget for the scope?

Here are some options... Obviously the more expensive the mount then the less shaky the view/experience at the eyepiece...

This is a great goto bundle that allows Wi-fi control via a free app

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az-gti.html

if that’s over budget, then here is the same scope on a solid AZ mount

ww.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az5-deluxe.html

Slightly less stable but still decent pronto mount

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-pronto/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az-pronto.html

alternative, slightly larger dobsonian style base...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

When deciding on the mount, you must consider where you will store the scope when not in use. If you don’t have much room or have to get down stairs then a mount that splits into smaller parts would be better.

Here is a really portable 130mm scope...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

of course, do search on here for each of these scopes to find real user experiences and commentary...

HTH,

Alan

Thanks for the info, very much appreciated. So here’s a bit more about what I’m looking for: I have a budget of about £200, I’m interested in planetary observations, preferably a reflector with EQ mount. If you have the perfect one in mind, would love to know! 

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Why do you want an EQ Mount? Are you doing imaging? 

With £200 your mount choices will be limited and if you want visual usage then reflectors and EQ are not a good match as the eyepiece will end up all over the place.

With your £200 you could get a 150p dobsonian or a 130p on a Pronto AZ Mount. Either of these are a better bet if you are visual user rather than an imager. 

if you want to image then you really need a decent mount with motors to hold the target in the centre of the field of view.

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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My first serious scope years ago was a 6” reflector with a central pillar. It was a pain to set up though.

My advice would be to consider how portable you want it. If can get really old really fast if your spending your time setting up and setting down on a cold night in January. EQ5 mounts are HEAVY   

Jarvo

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I'm more of a refractor user and my vote goes to a 3" - 4" ED refractor as a first scope. They are versatile instruments that can handle both wide field and high power planet views well. Also a lightweight Alt-AZ mount would be ideal for beginners. They are easy to operate and you can practice with your star hopping techniques to locate targets manually.

A Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS Pro or Altair Starwave 80ED-R on a Skywatcher AZ5 mount would be a good combo to start with.

As for eyepieces, BST Starguiders would get my vote. At £40 per unit they simply offer some of the best values on the market.

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18 hours ago, KP82 said:

my vote goes to a 3" - 4" ED refractor as a first scope.

With an EP and mount that's going to be pushing a budget of £200 quite hard!

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So many ways to skin a cat! The 130p is a great scope and you can't go far wrong with that. I like @teoria_del_big_bang's 200p suggestion for the simple reason that it's how I got going- it's a smashing scope with more light gathering power and gives great views- check out the FLO review. But beware that it is quite big: you'll want the space of a dining chair to store it upright. And with any manual scope it will take some time to get good at finding things- but I'd still recommend it over goto both to get bang for buck and to learn the sky.

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On 06/12/2018 at 17:05, Stub Mandrel said:

With an EP and mount that's going to be pushing a budget of £200 quite hard!

My bad. I was carried away by other posts when someone suggested 200p or bigger.

Anyway as for refractors, a ST102 on a AZ3 mount would be nice as a beginner scope too.

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