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3 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Are you thinking of the 102 xs Stu ? There are three now four ! (they've added a 1000mm one I don't recall seeing before ) versions of the 102,

the 102xs, which is the tiny short one with (reputedly) different glass, a 460mm focal length  https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102xs-460-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube.html?listtype=search&searchparam=102 xs

the one I have, the 102s at 600mm focal length https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102s-600-Hexafoc-OTA.html

 the 102/1000 , 1000mm focal length ( you guessed that, didn't you 🙂 ) https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102-1000-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube-assembly.html?listtype=search&searchparam=messier ar

and the 102L which is 1350mm focal length https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102L-1350-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube-assembly.html?listtype=search&searchparam=messier ar

OP might wonder why the weird different lengths , answer is ( briefly) longer tube acrhros control CA better. However, as I said, there is always a trade off ... the longer the tube, the harder and more expensive it is to mount properly, and obviously the more cumbersome it is .

Yes that is the one , Heather ... I think they all get a fairly good press , can't fault the look too , i reckon they look smart . 

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3 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

Yes that is the one , Heather ... I think they all get a fairly good press , can't fault the look too , i reckon they look smart . 

Mine is the 102 S. 600mm , the hexafoc . is really nice, and it is indeed a tidy looking 'scope. I had it on a £130 ish alt az head from teleskop-expres in Germany, which the 4kg mass of the 'scope was pushing the limits of . It is much happier on the Berlebach Castor I managed to pounce on on here , which would have cost me somewhere around £250+  new .

 

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2 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

If you're hiking, then obviously pack size and weight is a major consideration, so really your are limited to a very small refractor, maksutov or binoculars. If the instrument will be used at home then what are your skies like? Can you see at least a slither of the Milky Way or are you badly light polluted?

The cheaper achromatic travel friendly telescopes will not provide great high magnification views of the moon or planets but under dark skies there are plenty of other objects to observe. Likewise using 10x50 binoculars.

A 90mm to 102mm maksutov is small and they're designed for high magnification however the field of view is quite narrow compared to the refractors.The quality of the image is excellent compared to the cheap achromats and arguably not that different to an ED72.

Considering budget, this version of the Skymax 102 with the AZ Pronto mount and aluminium tubular tripod is ideal. The tripod can be strapped to the outside of a (for instance 40L) rucksack and the rest is easily fitted inside, with plenty of room to spare for the usual hiking gear.

https://www.microglobe.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-102-az-pronto-maksutov-cassegrain-telescope-p-18276.html

Unfortunately (for hikers) the tubular tripod has been replaced by a sturdier model and is more commonly the version for sale now:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-skymax-102s-az-pronto.html

 

Night sky is usually quite clear where i am, not tonight though! thick cloud it seems,  Bortle 4 I believe but a twenty minute drive from almost a Bortle 3.

Perhaps this is on me however, i am set on a telescope as i feel this has a bit more a impact as a astronomy present  (feel we all fall into that trap at some point!)- we have access to many Bino's which i'm sure we're now going to dig out and be taking out with us, perhaps we should turn our hand to these for hiking and get a more dedicated telescope for stargazing as a whole, couple hundred yards from the car or in the garden etc, definitely will need to turn the binos skyward though and see what we can get with them! so again, thanks to this forum for that suggestion.

I'll look at the maksutov's again, i do keep going back to the Skymax 102 - if you could see all the tabs i have open in my web browser with telescopes you'd think i've become obsessed! - ifeel i am settled on a frac however.

@Tiny Clanger

Thanks for explaining the longer tube thing! i have been wondering why on earth these things come in so many different shapes, makes perfect sense!, similar to a lens i guess - more glass, more weight - recently purchased a sigma 105 1.4, that thing is heavy for such a small lens!, i can hand hold the 70-200 all day at work, the sigma 105 can get a bit arm achy though!

 

 

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15 minutes ago, sw89 said:

Night sky is usually quite clear where i am, not tonight though! thick cloud it seems,  Bortle 4 I believe but a twenty minute drive from almost a Bortle 3.

Perhaps this is on me however, i am set on a telescope as i feel this has a bit more a impact as a astronomy present  (feel we all fall into that trap at some point!)- we have access to many Bino's which i'm sure we're now going to dig out and be taking out with us, perhaps we should turn our hand to these for hiking and get a more dedicated telescope for stargazing as a whole, couple hundred yards from the car or in the garden etc, definitely will need to turn the binos skyward though and see what we can get with them! so again, thanks to this forum for that suggestion.

I'll look at the maksutov's again, i do keep going back to the Skymax 102 - if you could see all the tabs i have open in my web browser with telescopes you'd think i've become obsessed! - ifeel i am settled on a frac however.

@Tiny Clanger

Thanks for explaining the longer tube thing! i have been wondering why on earth these things come in so many different shapes, makes perfect sense!, similar to a lens i guess - more glass, more weight - recently purchased a sigma 105 1.4, that thing is heavy for such a small lens!, i can hand hold the 70-200 all day at work, the sigma 105 can get a bit arm achy though!

 

 

If you have a tall monopod , it makes a good support to keep binos steady, many pairs have a standard threaded socket at the front, and you can get simple L shaped brackets  . Add a cheap ball head and it makes viewing much steadier. Have a look in the binocular section on here, especially content from BinocularSky, and his excellent monthly newsletter and website.

Good news by the way (you could do with some I think 🙂 ) most alt/az heads at non-stratospheric prices use a standard 3/8" tripod leg to head type screw, (note that 'most' though, I've not looked at them all !) , so the flimsy tripod most 'scopes get bundled with can be improved with something photographic and beefier. For instance, my 127 mak and AZ5 are on a manfrotto 55 I've owned for decades, and it is very secure there.

So, if you insist on not getting the 130 heritage as you should :evil4:, at least you ought to be equipped to swerve the rubbish bundled tripod  problem, altho' you might not reduce the cost much by buying separate mount & OTA rather than a mount/PTA/tripod package.

 

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4 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

If you have a tall monopod , it makes a good support to keep binos steady, many pairs have a standard threaded socket at the front, and you can get simple L shaped brackets  . Add a cheap ball head and it makes viewing much steadier. Have a look in the binocular section on here, especially content from BinocularSky, and his excellent monthly newsletter and website.

Good news by the way (you could do with some I think 🙂 ) most alt/az heads at non-stratospheric prices use a standard 3/8" tripod leg to head type screw, (note that 'most' though, I've not looked at them all !) , so the flimsy tripod most 'scopes get bundled with can be improved with something photographic and beefier. For instance, my 127 mak and AZ5 are on a manfrotto 55 I've owned for decades, and it is very secure there.

So, if you insist on not getting the 130 heritage as you should :evil4:, at least you ought to be equipped to swerve the rubbish bundled tripod  problem, altho' you might not reduce the cost much by buying separate mount & OTA rather than a mount/PTA/tripod package.

 

@Tiny Clanger

That sounds great to me, I've got two spare tripods hanging about and a monopod somewhere....attic I'm thinking there.

Just in from a walk with the dogs and we managed to see what appeared the Be a fireball on our walk !? Made this telescope idea even better haha, my partner was ecstatic at seeing it. Little bit of googling makes me think it may of been part of the north taurid meteor shower, could also see the pladies ever two faintly ( unless my apps were completely wrong !) All marched up however :)

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15 minutes ago, sw89 said:

@Tiny Clanger

That sounds great to me, I've got two spare tripods hanging about and a monopod somewhere....attic I'm thinking there.

Just in from a walk with the dogs and we managed to see what appeared the Be a fireball on our walk !? Made this telescope idea even better haha, my partner was ecstatic at seeing it. Little bit of googling makes me think it may of been part of the north taurid meteor shower, could also see the pladies ever two faintly ( unless my apps were completely wrong !) All marched up however :)

Yep, Pleiades are visible from my light polluted garden with the naked eye, and are just lovely in a wide field 'scope , that's one of the times when you want a big FOV. Try your binos on them , you will love the view, when the Pleiades are up I often finish an observing session by looking at them, doubt I'll ever tire of the sight.  🙂 And yes,  that does sound like a Taurid meteor 🙂

There's a vast range of info online, some favourites for me are the desktop downloadable stellarium program , which gives you a date, time and place specific zoomable sky map with labels, also available as a website and an app for android . There are many similar apps available for both major flavours of 'phone . What's going on in the UK in the coming month is very nicely set out here http://www.whitby-astronomers.com/sky-notes and  https://binocularsky.com/newsletter/BinoSkyNL.pdf   This is an interesting read too : https://in-the-sky.org/newsindex.php

And while I'm here, link to Binocular Sky's informative page about supporting binos https://binocularsky.com/binoc_mount.php

 

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Will be committing to the purchase this weekend, would of bought today but then remembered i'm out tomorrow day so no one home for delivery :(

Choice is still the evostar 90/660 or the starquest 102, once again so easy to see how you all end up with so much telescopes!

@Tiny Clanger if my partner enjoys one these i'll treat her to the heritage 130/150 for another gift for more at home use.... so i'm not completely ignoring that suggestion :) - I feel one these would suit more for use at home anyways , needing to put it on a table and what not.

Thanks for those links ill be sure to check them out over the weekend!

 

 

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Buying the 90/660 tonight, been up the loft and fished out monopod and older tripods for using binoculars also - day of receiving the gift is a week away so will let you all know how it went down :), thanks again everyone for your help!

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Don't know what happened, had the 90/660 in the basket all details filled out....went to hit buy....ended up navigating back and getting a heritage 150p @Tiny Clanger should be happy about that I think lol, think it was finding spare tripods and heads and doing further research into it....will get a frac further down the line! Figures this would be a nice visual scope for my partner to use, and she can join me with it if I further venture into the astrophotography.

Once again thanks for everyone's help, we got there in the end,

 

Stephen.

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The telescope that you will end up using is the best telescope, but its definitely an overwhelming choice! I have been all over the show with my 90/660 replacement from getting a Dob to run alongside to big frac and back and forth :)

I am sure you will enjoy your purchase (when the skies clear anyway) and don't hesitate to ask more questions SGL is great!

Edited by wibblefish
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  • 2 weeks later...

So scope was unwrapped on Monday 22nd November (along with star related chocolate bars...), and it went down a right treat, since then we've had it out in the garden a few times - weather hasn't been all to great to take it to the darker sites around here, clouds and what not, so just using whatever breaks we've had, managed to observe the moon a few nights, Jupiter and Venus.

Scope is easy to use, red dot needed a slight line up but was easy enough to do following provided instructions.

Scope is fantastic, came collimated, has a small footprint for the size of scope to is relatively easy to store, if anyone stumbles across this post you'll see i debated many scopes to begin with for my partner, the heritage 150p is fantastic and i can clearly see why it was being recommended now.

I see my partner getting alot of use out of this scope, each time there's been a clear night on pulling up back home, it has been taken straight out into the garden and observing within minutes!

once again, thanks to everyone who helped with this decision!

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Good result! The thing with the Heritage 150 is that even if in the future you end up with something bigger, better, with go-to or whatever it'll remain a capable grab-and-go for the future. Not a purchase to regret  🙂

Edited by wulfrun
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