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Hi guys, I have always been interested in astronomy/astrology and now I'm at the stage in my life when I can do it as I please now having a job ect… I'm looking into buying a telescope, always wanted to so why not!? I have done some revision already and i'm pretty set on buying a reflector instead of a refractor because of the wider aperture, because it admits more light... You guys will know why. I'm still learning and reading about telescopes looking into different ones and struggling to make up my mind on what to buy. My Price limit for my first telescope is no more than £150 for obvious reasons. I'm trying to find the best possible telescope for that price to get me started. I don't expect anything super fancy but my goal is to be able to clearly see the rings of Saturn, see all the planets, other stars, closely observe the moon, see moons of other planets, see other galaxies, nebulae. things like that. I'm not getting into Astro photography yet, purely just stargazing. I have a few telescopes in mind at the moment - Celestron Astromaster 114EQ, I like this because its got a nice 1000mm Focal length and a 114mm aperture, this costs £129.99

 

Celestron PS1000 Newtonian relector telescope, this has a 127mm aperture and a zoom up to about 270x I think, it has been reduced from £249.99 down to £119.99

Meade Polaris 114EQ, this is similar to the first Celestron but its £10 cheaper but same focal length and aperture.

 

Any help or suggestions on this would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Merry Christmas, for astronomy a highly regarded beginner telescope at this price range is the Skywatcher heritage 130p. For astrology, you better go for a crystal orb!! The right tool for the right job.

?

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Hello, merry xmas and welcome to SGL. Personally I would avoid these telescopes and buy a Skywatcher Heritage 130P or Skywatcher Explorer 130P. The Astromaster 114 and PS1000 feature an extra lens built into the focuser the give the focal length and also corrects spherical aberrations created by the spherical primary mirror. Both of the Skywatcher telescopes use a much better parabolic primary mirror. 

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Hi Ashford,

good that you ask before you buy! The Celestron Astromaster 114EQ is a Bird Jones telescope. That's a type of which the optics are difficult to align, and you need to do that once in a while. It's just not a very good telescope.

A much better telescope would be https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html, with 200mm aperture. Good, bright optics and easy to use. Compared to this, the astromaster is a mere toy. 

Another option would be https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-explorer-130p.html.

Happy holidays!

 

 

 

Edited by Ruud

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4 minutes ago, Cornelius Varley said:

Hello, merry xmas and welcome to SGL. Personally I would avoid these telescopes and buy a Skywatcher Heritage 130P or Skywatcher Explorer 130P. The Astromaster 114 and PS1000 feature an extra lens built into the focuser the give the focal length and also corrects spherical aberrations created by the spherical primary mirror. Both of the Skywatcher telescopes use a much better parabolic primary mirror. 

Hi, I quite like the look of the Heritage 130p. is it complicated to set up? is there anything you could add about it?  Merry Xmas

3 minutes ago, Ruud said:

Hi Ashford,

good that you ask before you buy! The Celestron Astromaster 114EQ is a Bird Jones telescope. That's a type of which the optics are difficult to align, and you need to do that once in a while. It's just not a very good telescope.

A much better telescope would be https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html, with 200mm aperture. Good, bright optics and easy to use. Compared to this, the astromaster is a mere toy. 

Another option would be https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-explorer-130p.html.

Happy holidays!

 

 

 

Hi Ruud, I don't want to waste my money so its best I be cautious I guess! They are both slightly out of my price range. I'm looking at spending no more than £150 for my first telescope to then upgrade to something better during summer 2019, is there any you know of within tis price range?  Merry Xmas

 

 

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In terms of your £150 budget I would seriously consider buying second hand. Look at the for sale section here or Astrobuysell site. The astro community in my expereience look after their equipment well so you can save a lot of money buying this way. It will give you more options too.

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4 minutes ago, Alfian said:

In terms of your £150 budget I would seriously consider buying second hand. Look at the for sale section here or Astrobuysell site. The astro community in my expereience look after their equipment well so you can save a lot of money buying this way. It will give you more options too.

I will have a look, thanks!

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14 minutes ago, Ashford1701 said:

I will have a look, thanks!

For example there's a 130 heritage flextube on ABS for£120. Come the new year there will no doubt be more equipment up for sale so it may be worth hanging on, doing a bit more homework and see what comes up. If you are comitted to reflector, for visual only, I'd be looking at a 6" Dobsonian. When you have decided what you want you could even put a "wanted" ad post and see what happens.

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8 minutes ago, Ashford1701 said:

Is it a better idea to wait a few months, do some studying and buy something more expensive?

 

You can spend hours window shopping but there's no substitute for having a scope, any scope, to try to get to grips with the most frustrating ( in the UK ) hobby ever.

You may quickly go off the idea and decide to take up something more sensible so I'd buy the Heritage 130P as recommended and then see how you get on then if maybe you want bigger and better then be prepared to spend more or if you get bored with it the 130P will be easy to sell on.

There are usually quite a few brand new second hand scopes on various auction sites not long after Christmas :rolleyes:

Good luck

Dave :icon_santa:

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6 hours ago, Ashford1701 said:

Hi guys, I have always been interested in astronomy/astrology and now I'm at the stage in my life when I can do it as I please now having a job ect… I'm looking into buying a telescope, always wanted to so why not!? I have done some revision already and i'm pretty set on buying a reflector instead of a refractor because of the wider aperture, because it admits more light... You guys will know why. I'm still learning and reading about telescopes looking into different ones and struggling to make up my mind on what to buy. My Price limit for my first telescope is no more than £150 for obvious reasons. I'm trying to find the best possible telescope for that price to get me started. I don't expect anything super fancy but my goal is to be able to clearly see the rings of Saturn, see all the planets, other stars, closely observe the moon, see moons of other planets, see other galaxies, nebulae. things like that. I'm not getting into Astro photography yet, purely just stargazing. I have a few telescopes in mind at the moment - Celestron Astromaster 114EQ, I like this because its got a nice 1000mm Focal length and a 114mm aperture, this costs £129.99

 

Celestron PS1000 Newtonian relector telescope, this has a 127mm aperture and a zoom up to about 270x I think, it has been reduced from £249.99 down to £119.99

Meade Polaris 114EQ, this is similar to the first Celestron but its £10 cheaper but same focal length and aperture.

 

Any help or suggestions on this would be appreciated. Thanks!

I have the Meade "Polaris" 114mm/EQ-2 kit...

kit4.jpg.c241f4c6b8354044fcf39b56f39a6012.jpg

I was and still am quite pleased with it, upon its arrival this past July, and now.  You'll need better eyepieces, Plossls at least, when you're able.  The barlow that comes with it is just as bad, so plan on replacing that as well, if needed.  Otherwise, the telescope itself produced great images with my other eyepieces, and the EQ-2 mount is a bit larger and sturdier than the EQ-1 that comes with the Celestron; albeit that it needs to be in order to support the longer tube of the Meade 114/900. 

You'd want Plossls for the Celestron 127/1000, too, and I'm astounded that it comes with a 3x barlow.  At most it might need a 2x to reach the higher powers.  But let me tell you about the Celestron kit.  I'd love to have one myself, the telescope itself anyway, as I like taking things apart, enhancing and improving them; flocking the inside of the tube, blackening this and that, and for improved contrast, an improvement to be seen to be believed.  However, the Celestron 127/1000 is not a traditional nor a true Newtonian, despite vendors' descriptions, and those of the manufacturer to boot.  The telescope is a loose and poor simulation of a Jones-Bird catadioptric.  It also loosely and poorly simulates a more expensive Schmidt-Cassegrain, like the Celestron C5 or 5SE.  I realise that the shorter tube of the Celestron is a compelling draw, but said design is a good deal more difficult to collimate, and a precise collimation is necessary when ramping up the magnification.  I would avoid, nay, run from it, if you're inexperienced with telescopes, and on a DIY or shop level.

There is also this kit to consider... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

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7 hours ago, Ashford1701 said:

thanks! Any other recommendations?

 

Forget about astrology.

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15 minutes ago, kippford said:

Forget about astrology.

Unless you're an Aries - then astrology is definitely for you ? ? ? 

astromug.jpg.e9280b1e5eb403443802348e7a982fd1.thumb.jpg.dd4a402e22752ff9811c25b5fc932c78.jpg

(with thanks to @lukebl

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Its a  better option than the Celestron 130 Eq which looks similar but is inferior. The 130 is on the limit of what the EQ2 can deal with ie a bit "nervous" but optically a capable scope for the money.

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say I removed my limit of only getting reflector... what would be a good replacement on the refractor side for a similar price.. I have done more research and watched videos and I have been surprised by some refractors

 

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Reflectors are known for giving the most aperture for your money so there will not be an equivalent refractor that will match a 130mm reflector in that respect for £150. In addition you would be looking at an achromatic refractor which will show some chromatic aberration. That said an f5 reflector will show some coma and there is the central obstruction to consider compared to the refractor so its not necessarily a win win for the reflector. A refractor however even a lower end achromat  can be a nice scope. There is something about the unobstructed contrasty views of refractor that is in my opinion very pleasant with pin point stars, (no diffraction spikes caused by spider vanes) and even giving away some aperture  its worth thinking about. The scopes that spring to mind at something like your budget are the Skywatcher ST102 (f5) which seems to be more expensive than I remember at just under £200 and the F10 SW Evostar 90  AZ3) which at £149 is I think a pretty good buy and it would be the one I would choose. If you trawl around you will find some positive reviews. I know Neil English (see his site) has a very good opinion of it. As mentioned before buying second hand is worth considering, you might get an Evostar 4" for something like that money.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/evostar/skywatcher-evostar-90-az3.html

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In so far as a refractor, a 90mm f/10 achromat is no slouch.  It exhibits a respectable brightness...

doublet5.jpg.1ba561a1fe631ec304db757cb8fd50dc.jpg

You can see a great show with a 90mm.

If you'd like to track, either manually or with an economical motor-drive...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/evostar/skywatcher-evostar-90-eq2.html

...or the same with the AZ-3 mount as previously suggested.

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If there was 1 telescope whether it be a refractor or reflector what would you gys choose. I know everyones opinion is different but it will help me create my own preference and opinion

is it better getting a reflector or refractor at my price range?

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My choice for that money would be the Evostar 90 refractor BUT I happen to like refractors,  however I'm guessing most people would recommend a 130 reflector. I had the Heritage 130p for a while and for the money it gave very nice views indeed and is as compact and portable as you can get which is something to consider. I didn't like the helical focuser much but in reality its just as capable as the cheap plastic rack and pinion focusers you get on some reflectors so thats not such a big negative.

When starting out its all part of the learning curve that you discover what you like and don't like,  ie - what works for you in terms of what you want out of it. That will likely change with time - so whatever you choose it will be a case of jumping in, finding your way and hopefully enjoying the trip!

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1 hour ago, Ashford1701 said:

If there was 1 telescope whether it be a refractor or reflector what would you gys choose. I know everyones opinion is different but it will help me create my own preference and opinion

is it better getting a reflector or refractor at my price range?

At the same price-point, you do get a larger aperture with a Newtonian.  The downside is that a Newtonian has a secondary obstruction, which at least slightly degrades the image quality.  Also, the optical system consisting of two movable mirrors makes it more difficult to align, and to retain that alignment.  The design is quite mechanical.  On the upside, a Newtonian is 100% apochromatic, and indeed is a good simulation of a far more costly 102mm or 114mm f/6 apochromatic refractor.  With the Newtonian, you may observe Sirius and Venus, and without even a hint of false-colour; however, eyepieces and barlows contain lenses, and may impart a trace of false-colour on their own, but nothing to worry about really with modern examples.  That may exclude those eyepieces(perhaps) and barlows(definitely) included with entry-level kits.

Inch per inch, or centimeter per centimeter, a refractor provides the sharpest and most contrasty images over all other designs.  There is no secondary obstruction to lessen the image quality, and no collimation to be performed.  At f/10, the 90mm would exhibit less false-colour than a shorter achromat.  That makes the f/10 more of an all-rounder, for observing at low power and high power, and all powers in between. 

Among the entry-level refractors kits, they are usually provided with erect-image(Amici) diagonals, which are primary if not exclusively suited for daytime/terrestrial use.  They have rather narrow ports through which the gathered light passes.  For nighttime/celestial use, a star-diagonal is best.  The ports of same are larger, more open...

905500089_diagonaltypes3.jpg.087a67212bb52feb0c634c7dd66ae492.jpg

That's what you want when observing at night, there on the left, a nice wide port.

Also, Amici diagonals possess a line, the "Amici line", which shows up when observing brighter objects...

766609224_Amiciline.jpg.879ac602a7481c37b8740cf9c48ffeaf.jpg

On the physical Amici diagonal itself, its prism, the line is very difficult to see with the eye, but not with a camera...

1139886899_Amicilines2.jpg.3deb30384914a7f57e70cb79d7e9427a.jpg

Do you see it there, running vertically?

The 90mm "Evostar" with the AZ-3 comes with an Amici-diagonal.  The same on the EQ-2 comes with a star-diagonal, and a mirror.  Mirrored star-diagonals are fine for f/5 achromats, but at f/6 or f/6.5 a star-prism is suggested...

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/celestron-90-degree-star-diagonal-125.html

You wouldn't need to upgrade straight away, however.  Prisms are more durable than optical-flats(mirrors), and scatter less light than a mirror.  An example of light-scattering...

1998685291_lightscattering2.jpg.e34191c4e54643a26d33f583c8c8f58d.jpg

That information is provided if you choose the refractor.  In the end, I don't think that you would be disappointed with either design.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses as described.  The 90mm f/10 achromat can make merry use of a 2x barlow to reach the higher and highest powers, whilst the 130mm f/5 Newtonian may make good use of a 3x barlow for same.

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