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KateSheff

Help choosing travel telescope. Skywatcher Heritage 150p or too heavy?

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Hiya, 

I'm planning on getting a telescope for my son for Christmas (he'll be 6 by then). I want it to have some lasting potential and would rsther get a decent ish one so he can actually see things more clearly and retain his interest, although obv don't want to spend a fortune. However, we don't have a car, so in terms of opportunities to take advantage of dark skies, it would need to be portable. I was all set on the Skywatcher Heritage 150p and it seemed to tick so many boxes, and it kept getting tagged as very portable and great for travel, but I just noticed the weight is 7.5kg... so it may be portable compared to bigger ones, but I'm not sure about lugging it, a whole load of camping gear and two kids on a bus and a train! 

Does anyone have any recommendations for anything similar spec-wise, where you can collimate both ends etc, that's also an easy set up and that's just a bit more lightweight?

Thanks,

Kate

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How about the 130p ?   A bit smaller and therefore more portable.....however it does sound a big challenge considering the way you’ll be traveling, especially with kit for camping.  I think you need to consider long and hard about just how much stuff you’re intending to take.

The Heritage 150p and 130p are great scopes but need a solid table to use them, a regular lightweight camping table would be a bit wobbly.

Welcome to SGL 👍

Edited by NGC 1502
Correction

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11 hours ago, KateSheff said:

I was all set on the Skywatcher Heritage 150p and it seemed to tick so many boxes, and it kept getting tagged as very portable and great for travel, but I just noticed the weight is 7.5kg... so it may be portable compared to bigger ones, but I'm not sure about lugging it, a whole load of camping gear and two kids on a bus and a train! 

@Lockie has done a few videos on this scope. You may want to watch his first video on it to get an idea of the size. The start has some measurements and weights, but he also picks it up near the end which is probably quite relevant to you.

In terms of weight, almost half of it is in the base so potentially you can lighten things up a bit if you can find a lighter mounting solution. Have a look at the following thread where a user mounts the smaller 130p almost directly onto a (relatively) cheap photo tripod. I've got the same tripod and would guess that it is a bit wobbly, but when weight and packed size are the important criteria I think that would be acceptable. This method could also be used with other telescopes. A small Maksutov, say the 90 or 102mm model would be relatively easy to take, but the maximum field of view is quite a bit narrower than the Heritage 130p or 150p if just scanning the skies is something your son would like to do. However, with a 45° erecting diagonal, a Mak could be used for terrestrial targets during the day, which isn't something that you can do with a Newtonian reflector.

 

 

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For camping trips I pack a Sky-Watcher Skymax 102. A 102mm aperture, 1300mm focal length Maksutov telescope. It's very compact - the telescope, a 6x30 finder and a star diagonal fit into a camera case. You could probably stuff a zoom eyepiece or a couple of plossls in there too. Small and light enough to employ a child as a pack horse. 👍

The only real drawbacks are the narrow field of view compared to a refractor or reflector & the cost due to requiring a mount/tripod would be more than a Heritage.

IMG_20200928_091055787.thumb.jpg.9faf7a136abbfceaf745b61622b08201.jpgIMG_20200928_091136595.thumb.jpg.db21e3e64ddb62051d968c275d640b4e.jpg

 

A lightweight mount and tripod can be packed into rucksack.

Here is a video review by our very own Lockie of the telescope on a very light weight AZ Pronto mount.

 

Edit: Another option is binoculars. 8x40 binoculars are light enough for a child to hold, easy to pack and are great under rural skies. A nice pair is cheap as chips compared to a telescope too. Around £40-60 for a decent pair.

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
Binoculars
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A pair of binoculars is perhaps one option? I love mine for wide field views of the night skies and it gets as much use as my telescope, plus it's great for terrestrial use as well. The Milky Way looks wonderful under good conditions. 

My main binoculars are 2.6kg, but I have some Celestron 12x70s that weight half that. They have a tripod bracket for a small light tripod to steady things up. Quite portable, but the tripod really helps wee ones hold them steady.

The Heritage 130 or 150 are very nice but agree the base could be lighter. Those are scopes you could have years of use from and not be bored...

Tough decision!

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I too was going to suggest a small catadioptric, (i.e. Maksutov or Schmitt-Cassegrain), in my original reply.
note: a dew shield is a must have accessory. 

Youngsters and other newbies probably may or will not understand the reason that they need to be cooled down to acclimatise before putting in an eyepiece before use, as they can take up to sixty minutes*. Young children in particular are inquisitive and will want to look straight away through the eyepiece and whilst waiting may get bored and irritable.

Binoculars or a small refractor maybe a better option, as they can be used for other outdoor activities too and can be mounted on a camera tripod with an appropriate mounting bracket/hardware. 

 

* I give my ETX105 {Mak.} and C6 [SCT] an minimum of 30-40 minutes.

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