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Hi everybody, I've been reading the threads here for a few weeks, trying to get an idea of what scope I should be looking at for my first one.  I see this type of question gets asked a lot so I apologise for not being more inventive.  I have a modest budget of c£150 and I've narrowed it down to these two:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-Watcher-Newton-Telescopes-Equatorial-Mount/dp/B00UAH1TCG/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Skywatcher+Explorer-130&qid=1577436969&s=electronics&sr=1-2

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skywatcher-Heritage130P-FlexTube-Dobsonian-Telescope/dp/B002828HJE/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1ZBSS69B1WOIF&keywords=heritage+130p&qid=1577437009&sprefix=heritage+130%2Caps%2C354&sr=8-2

I'm really torn.  I like the idea of the Dobsonian, the ease of set-up particularly.  But, because of where I think I'll be observing, I think a tripod mounted scope is more suitable.  To start I think I'll want to be observing the Moon and planets as I think that'll get my family into it too, hence narrowing it to the scopes above.

But then, after narrowing it down to those two, this pops up:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-31051-AstroMaster-Reflector-Telescope/dp/B0013Z42AK/ref=pd_sbs_421_2/258-6896799-0440157?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0013Z42AK&pd_rd_r=8583654f-9ce0-4a10-bdf7-26bb5f442f95&pd_rd_w=vgb56&pd_rd_wg=6zAlD&pf_rd_p=f4a31d1d-8f61-48f5-b6f4-a22ba06df575&pf_rd_r=QTBY5ESV406NVWR491EZ&psc=1&refRID=QTBY5ESV406NVWR491EZ

£170 with the motor drive!  Is it worth getting this while the motor drive is essentially free?

Thank you in advance.

Paul

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Annoys me that they push scopes with rubbish lightweight EQ mounts as beginners scopes. Wonder how many have been put off astronomy after buying one? 🙁

The dob is the easiest scope to learn how to use. Would recommend avoiding those scopes with cheap lightweight EQ mounts. Not good at all. Also better to buy from someone like FLO than Amazon. Ch

This is not a bad combo to consider alongside the Hertitage. A 90mm Mak on an EQ1 mount. It is quite steady and is great for the moon, planets and the sun (with solar filter). You can add a motor driv

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I'd agree with banjaxed. While I don't think equatorial mounts are all that hard to get your head around, the lighter models are often not great. The EQ2 may not be all that stable. I also think the EQ scope you're looking at may have a spherical mirror  - not the end of the world, but not as good optically as the Heritage, which is a great scope.

What is it about your site that makes you think it may not be suitable?

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The dob is the easiest scope to learn how to use. Would recommend avoiding those scopes with cheap lightweight EQ mounts. Not good at all.

Also better to buy from someone like FLO than Amazon. Cheaper as well.

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

Edited by johninderby
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1 hour ago, billyharris72 said:

What is it about your site that makes you think it may not be suitable?

It's about a 10 min walk from the closest place I can park.  I'm imagining that a Dobsonian will require a plinth rather than being just sat on the grass.

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30 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Also better to buy from someone like FLO than Amazon. Cheaper as well.

I meant to say, I'm on a work computer and the gateway doesn't allow FLO access for some reason, hence the amazon links.  I do intend to buy from a dedicated supplier.

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30 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Back on my own laptop now.

That's quite a bit outside my budget.  I could probably stretch to this:

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

It has the parabolic mirror.  I assume it's a very similar scope to the Heritage?

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Hi Paul, first of all, welcome to SGL!  Yes, the link you give is identical to the specifications of the Heritage.  The customer reviews are also encouraging.  In my opinion this would be a great starter telescope, good aperture and rich field (f/5) which means it would show good portions of the Moon and star clusters etc, a good 'wide' choice.

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I suggest you go with the Heritage.  A solid equatorial mount like the EQ-5 (about £300 before you add motor drive or GoTo) is worth having in your collection of kit but a cheap wobbly equatorial like the Eq-2 is best avoided. Better to have an alt-azimuth mount, either the basic one thrown in with the Heritage, or a more elaborate mount like the AZ-5. (or the AZ-4).

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Hi I am new to this and I wish I got the dobs telescope I find the telescope on the eq1 mount is hard to Work with you set it up to point North and then try and look South the telescope lands up at a strange angle with the balance weight high of just level but the whole this feel unstable may just be me, there is a lot of messing about moving the telescope in its mounts to get the eyepiece so you can see into it 

Edited by Neil H
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The heritage telescope can be removed from the mount and used on other tripods (such as a sturdy photo tripod and adaptor) so has flexibility to be flexible. As I mainly observe from home I use mine on the floor (while I sit on a garden chair) and sometimes I place it on an upturned bucket.

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4 hours ago, happy-kat said:

The heritage telescope can be removed from the mount and used on other tripods (such as a sturdy photo tripod and adaptor) so has flexibility to be flexible. As I mainly observe from home I use mine on the floor (while I sit on a garden chair) and sometimes I place it on an upturned bucket.

I think this is the answer that has just sold the Heritage to me.  Thank you everybody.  I'll let you know how I get on.

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This is not a bad combo to consider alongside the Hertitage. A 90mm Mak on an EQ1 mount. It is quite steady and is great for the moon, planets and the sun (with solar filter). You can add a motor drive later and they track quite well. It won't have the aperture of the Heritage or be as good on clusters and nebulae but they punch well above their weight on the solar system objects. Its a small package and no collimation to worry about. You can connect a DSLR directly to the back of the instrument for shots of the moon (see below) and nature photography. The EQ mount can be a bit fiddly to start with but you soon get used to them.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-90-eq1.html

 

If you can stretch a bit further, a 6" Dob is a great all rounder which you won't regret

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

 

 

33650338731_f19eb41e63_k.jpg

Edited by Limerick John
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The other option might be the startravel 80mm on the az3 tripod. It's a refractor. You could carry this setup over the shoulder to your observing site. Member @mark81 has many observing reports using his. Link startravel 80mm the heritage does have bigger aperture so it's a weigh up of what might work better for you as the best telescope you have is the one you actually use. I have both telescopes each has it's strengths I love the crisp star fields the ST80 gives but then I saw the shadow of a moon transit on Jupiter with the heritage 130p (with a later bought eyepiece).

 

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12 hours ago, johninderby said:

Annoys me that they push scopes with rubbish lightweight EQ mounts as beginners scopes. Wonder how many have been put off astronomy after buying one? 🙁

My biggest moan about the EQ1 is I point at a star  lock the clutches let go of the scope and it moves an inch or so on its mount I can't see any way to stop this 

So will have to save up for a better scope can't change mount as this is 3x more than the cost of the telescope to start with just for top tripod so may go dobs  next time 

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If possible add your location at least as a town, that way people can suggest a club that you may be able to visit.

Unfortunately a beginners scope will be every possible type of scope. Usually they are what the person making the recommendation has.

Consider a beginner scope as a first introduction and little more. So purchase something easy simple and inexpensive. In effect something that you will move on from in about 6 months or a year. Learn what to do now, have the summer and then after the clocks change again next September maybe think of an upgrade.

Few will suggest a small achro, but a simple 80mm will show you a lot and they are easy. The other plus is you can get a front solar filter, or make your own, and go looking at the sun. A film filter is termed "White light" so will basically only show sunspots - no surface structure or flares. However it adds an option to viewing.

Astronomy could be standing outside on a warm sunny summers day doing some solar observing. And a small refractor enables that. Another possible advantage of an 80mm achro is that they can just be handled by the Skywatcher Az GTi mount. So you can buy the scope and an inexpensive mount now, go viewing at night sky and sun (with filtering) and later buy the Az GTi goto mount and have a small easily portable goto mount and scope.

So one may not be the biggest bu they have a fair amount of expansion options and diversity.

The EQ2 mount is not a good mount, I believe it has no option for a polar scope so polar alignment is difficult. If the mount is Equitorial then really it must provide for polar alignment.

Without knowing where you are Clubs:

http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/Clubs/Counties.aspx

If you are close to London then in Feb there is Astrofest, means you have to travel there and the entrance cost has to be added in but you can look at equipment. Although I guess most is advanced scopes. Was a show in Kettering last year not sure if that is to be repeated.

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Brilliant what a simple idea do you know if it will still track ok ?

The play I have is in the polar axis I have to adjust latitude to line up on a star if I do it on the clutch the telescope will drop an inch when I let go 

Edited by Neil H
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