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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone! So I’ve been lurking on this forum for a couple of months and thought it was about time I made an account as I’ve been back and forth deciding on which scope to purchase.

I only got into Astro a couple of months ago when I took my first photo of the moon on the night of the ‘flower moon’, with my Canon 700D. I don’t know why it had never occurred to me to try and photograph it, but I think lockdown prompted me to look around and notice the sky a bit more! 

Since then I’ve been trying to get photos of the stars whenever there’s been a clear night (rare in Manchester anyway, plus my garden is Bortle 8 on pollution). I’ve succeeded in a few nice snaps but it’s time I invested in this hobby now I think.

Having never owned a scope I’m completely new to this so trying to pick something that isn’t massive (for storage purposes), that I can get a good view of the planets but mostly something where I can see and hopefully photograph deep sky objects from my garden if possible.

I’ve recently been looking at the SkyWatcher Explorer 130PDS or 150PDS, and want to spend £400 max. I’m leaning more towards the 130PDS due to cost, and based on some photos I’ve seen on here, although I imagine the 150PDS would be better, although appears to need a mount purchasing separately. I nearly went for the William Optics SpaceCat 51 at one point, then realised I was probably trying to run before I could walk!

Any help at all would be fantastic.

Many thanks,
Nat

Edited by Natwooddraws
Typo

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Do you want to observe first or start imaging straight away?

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8 minutes ago, Kyle Allen said:

Do you want to observe first or start imaging straight away?

Thanks for your reply - I imagine I’ll want to image straight away :)

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Posted (edited)

The 130pds is an excellent choice.  However if you want decent images you will have to invest the most money in a good mount because you will need long exposure on deep sky objects as the Earth is rotating.   
 

carole

Edited by carastro
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Alternatively, you could choose to have a separate visual and imaging set up. If you already own a DSLR and lenses, you could get something like a SkyWatcher Star Adventurer and use that to get started with imaging. You mention that the light pollution is particularly bad where you live. The Star Adventurer is very portable so you could take it out to somewhere that has darker skies and get better results that way 😀

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2 hours ago, carastro said:

The 130pds is an excellent choice.  However if you want decent images you will have to invest the most money in a good mount because you will need long exposure on deep sky objects and the Earth is rotating.   
 

carole

Thanks Carole. I definitely think I'm leaning towards the 130PDS. Do you mean an equatorial mount like the Star Adventurer Kyle mentioned? I was looking into getting one of those, but maybe I should wait until I have the scope, then start adding on.

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2 hours ago, Kyle Allen said:

Alternatively, you could choose to have a separate visual and imaging set up. If you already own a DSLR and lenses, you could get something like a SkyWatcher Star Adventurer and use that to get started with imaging. You mention that the light pollution is particularly bad where you live. The Star Adventurer is very portable so you could take it out to somewhere that has darker skies and get better results that way 😀

Thanks Kyle - I was considering the Star Adventurer initially as I really got into doing long exposures in my garden. Definitely need to make a trip to some dark skies when there's the next clear sky - I'm desperate to try a milky way shot!

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The Star Adventurer is only suitable for camera lenses and small refractor telescopes in the 72mm class. For the 130PDS you will require a much more substantial mount. An EQ5 would probably be the minimum you could get away with and still get decent results but most would probably say to get the HEQ5. I suggested you start with a Star Adventurer as it is within your budget - just look up the prices for some of these mounts!

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I agree with Kyle comments, but I think the HEQ5 is really the best choice for the 130P, you really need a sturdy mount for long exposures, as even things like a bit of wind can catch the Newtonian and move it slightly giving you mishapen stars.

Carole 

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3rd vote for the HEQ5 if you want to mount a 130 or maybe a 150. If you are starting with the 130, but plan on going up to something like a 200 in a year or two, you'll need to consider something like the eq6-r pro.

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Thanks everyone - wow yes those mounts are pretty pricey! I'll have a look at some but I think in that case I'll probably start with the 130PDS scope for observing and then add these bits on later for getting into the photography side of things!

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Unfortunately astro photography does seem to be a bit pricey. If you already have an astro modified camera, I have seen some budget builds, people getting lucky with second hand items.

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Have a look for a 2nd hand HEQ5, they go very quickly when they do come up, as they are so popular.

Carole  

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Yeah I think I'll have to keep an eye out for a second hand one - I had no idea choosing a mount would be just as tricky as the scope!

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And then there is the guide scope, and the 2 cameras, and possibly a filter wheel and filters, something to control it all, auto focuser, then the second rig.... :D

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21 minutes ago, Natwooddraws said:

Yeah I think I'll have to keep an eye out for a second hand one - I had no idea choosing a mount would be just as tricky as the scope!

Once imaging becomes the aim, the mount becomes more important than the scope in many ways.

 

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19 minutes ago, Endolf said:

And then there is the guide scope, and the 2 cameras, and possibly a filter wheel and filters, something to control it all, auto focuser, then the second rig.... :D

Haha - it's a slippery slope!

3 minutes ago, John said:

Once imaging becomes the aim, the mount becomes more important than the scope in many ways.

 

Yes it definitely sounds like it! I think I need to take baby steps to start with and actually get the hang of the telescope first 😊

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Before you spend a penny on kit, buy This Book and read it twice, from cover to cover, then come back and we'll try to answer the inevitable questions. Steve is a mod on here, AKA "steppenwolf"

Also check out episode 1 of SarGazIne, is the section you won't have seen until you registered.

But be aware that AP can be addictive and a slippery slope to bankruptcy. I started out with a little 90mm ED 'frac and HEQ5, now I have kit worth a nice car :eek:.

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1 hour ago, DaveS said:

Before you spend a penny on kit, buy This Book and read it twice, from cover to cover, then come back and we'll try to answer the inevitable questions. Steve is a mod on here, AKA "steppenwolf"

Also check out episode 1 of SarGazIne, is the section you won't have seen until you registered.

But be aware that AP can be addictive and a slippery slope to bankruptcy. I started out with a little 90mm ED 'frac and HEQ5, now I have kit worth a nice car :eek:.

Ah fantastic, thanks for that! I'd seen that book mentioned a few times so will definitely pick that up. I've held off ordering a scope as I'm edging towards ordering the SpaceCat and Star Adventurer instead (based on the pricey mount I'd need for the 130PDS)! Going to listen to that now and get the book on order 😀

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