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I'm tempted to go down the route of getting myself a brand new reflector...  My friend's old Meade 114/900 is a good telescope, but I want something of my own and with a bit more light gathering power.  To this end, I've been looking at a couple of different models and manufactures.  





I must admit, the Skywatcher Explorer 130M floats my boat, as it's motorised with a speed controller.

Any thoughts or observations?🤔

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the 130M looks very like the SW130 I have, EQ2 mount and RA motor to track that can be switched for star/planet and runs off 4xD batteries. It's a competent scope tho I've yet to try it for any form of imaging. Eyepieces are OK tho I've a few better ones now so don't really use the originals. I'd double check tho if the mirror is parabolic, not sure it is since it doesn't specifically say tho I don't think it matters as much being a longer OTA version.

Can't comment on the others you list as I've not met those myself :) 


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I think that all Skywatcher mirrors are parabolic 1/4pv (diffraction limited).

The Skywatcher Explorer 130M looks to be the best choice out of those.

I would not purchase from Amazon, much better to support a small company that specialises in telescopes like FLO.


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The Meade Polaris is basically the same scope as the Skywatcher 130p but with a single axis motor drive included. Made by the same manufacturer (Synta) I reckon.

I agree with the wisdom of buying from a reputable astro dealer such as First Light Optics.


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The SW-130M was our first scope from FLO. The EQ-2 isn't suitable for imaging, but it got me enthused enough to upgrade a year or so later. The RA-motor is a bit clunky (particularly the clutch), but does a fairly decent job of keeping the target from wandering out of the field of view. For observation the  polar alignment doesn't have to be that great - there's no method of taking into account rotation of Polaris, but when aligning & tightening the Alt/Az although it used to shift a bit, viewing was still ok.

I found the supplied red-dot-finder difficult for star-hopping & quickly upgraded to a 9x50 right-angled finderscope & a Telrad, which the mount just about coped with and made star-hopping easier.

Initially everything was a very steep learning curve, but now I regret selling the scope even though it held it's price pretty well.

The Meade option looks like it has a more robust (heavier) mount, which is a plus, but I still miss the 130M...

Whichever scope you decide - Definitely buy from one of the established dedicated astro dealers... IMHO.

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Alternately you can go for a SW ED80 or ED100

I have ED80 on a EQ5pro go-to mount, had now for almost 10 years, and been very reliable

Do you intend to do AP as well, or just purely visual

Attached pic of my ED80 recent club solar viewing day

Second image sun blocked out by bush fire smoke over the weekend


Skywatcher ED80.jpg

Bush fire smoke sunset.jpg

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I've decide to stick with this old Meade 114 for the moment, as it seems to do a good turn.  Updating the eyepieces for Plossls and getting a red dot finderscope should help...:thumbsup:

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