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I took this through a Heritage 150p just with a phone. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is cropped so looks a lot bigger than it did in the eyepiece but it shows that real planetary detail is possible. Aperture equals resolution equals detail (given reasonable seeing conditions), so you will see more with a 150mm vs an 80mm achro or 90mm Mak.

Yes, the focuser is an acquired taste, but with a few wraps of ptfe tape it is much better. The dob mount is solid and a child can just push it around the sky themselves.

Bear in mind also that often the ST80 scopes come with a 45 degree erecting prism which is more suitable for daytime spotting use that Astro, where a 90 degree mirror diagonal is best.

Ultimately all we can do is make suggestions and you have to decide based on what you think will work best for you.

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2 hours ago, DhamR said:

@SuburbanMak thanks for swinging me back to the original tree!

To confirm you've seen all of those objects through the ST80? I thought the planets were a bit much for it and it's fondness for the violet. 

(I was planning on giving my 60D a go on the ST80 but it wasn't a serious consideration on the that scope over any other). 

Yes - the planets are small in the ST80 but Saturn’s rings are clear and the main equatorial bands on Jupiter plus of course the nightly dance of the Galilean moons.  It’s not a “planetary scope” as such but definitely capable of showing discs & the very broadest features. Haven’t found the CA too intrusive - bit of a green fringe in the moon but that’s so bright you can stop down using the handy hole in the lens cap. 
On the right night I find it runs fine at around 100x. 

(The first view of Saturn that got an “awesome” from the kids and kicked off my renewed interest was in fact with a Nat Geo Bresser 70mm 350mm fl - like a tiny jewel). 
 

 

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Can I just remind everyone that the op is buying a scope primarily for his daughter . She is 4 ! 

Let's think about that . Using high magnification may not be the best option here. A 4 year old will want to touch the scope , and that  causes vibrations which in turn causes frustration which in turn wanes interest . So talking about 100x magnification on an st80 is or could be a bit of a disaster in THIS particular case . Far better to have a solid mounted scope that is useable at a reasonable magnification to look at bright objects that the child can actually see with their own eyes without the scope to start with .  

 

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44 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

Can I just remind everyone that the op is buying a scope primarily for his daughter . She is 4 ! 

Let's think about that . Using high magnification may not be the best option here. A 4 year old will want to touch the scope , and that  causes vibrations which in turn causes frustration which in turn wanes interest . So talking about 100x magnification on an st80 is or could be a bit of a disaster in THIS particular case . Far better to have a solid mounted scope that is useable at a reasonable magnification to look at bright objects that the child can actually see with their own eyes without the scope to start with .  

 

Fair enough - my point in fact, probably not terribly well made, is that any of these instruments will deliver wonderous views compared to never having seen…. 

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17 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Now might be a good moment to point you to this excellent post :

 

 

 

The Hubble Voyager shot of Jupiter should absolutely NOT be the first image in the thread (and therefore thumbnail) 🤣

 

Very good thread though, and matches what I'm hoping to see. 

Edited by DhamR
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Does anyone have or know where I might find a comparison of the packed down size of the 130P and 150P heritages as I think this will be what decides between the two.

I can't even seem to find dimensions anywhere.  The Skywatcher website has the shipping dimensions of the 130, but doesn't list the 150 in its models (although it does list the Virtuoso model).

On that, is the Virtuoso (or similar motorised mount) something that can be bought later?  Or is it more cost effective to buy with the scope?

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1 minute ago, DhamR said:

Does anyone have or know where I might find a comparison of the packed down size of the 130P and 150P heritages as I think this will be what decides between the two.

I can't even seem to find dimensions anywhere.  The Skywatcher website has the shipping dimensions of the 130, but doesn't list the 150 in its models (although it does list the Virtuoso model).

On that, is the Virtuoso (or similar motorised mount) something that can be bought later?  Or is it more cost effective to buy with the scope?

I can't help with the 130 dimensions, but I'll measure my  150 'parked' in about an hour and give you the dimensions , bit busy just now !

H

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Right, time to wield the tape measure :

The 150s circular rotating base has a diameter of 36cm There are 3 small protrusions beyond the circular base (it's the rounded triangle actual base, with 3 plastic feet which rests on the table/ground/whatever) The protrusions are about 1.5cm each.

The actual 'wooden' white base on its own is 44cm tall

The 'scope mounts on a dovetail (aka vixen type) rail , and you can slide the 'scope along the rail  then tighten the knob to  lock it in place where it balances well with whatever  accessories you use. You can lower the 'scope , mirror end down, to make it as compact as possible , which would make the whole thing 53cm tall , but with mine correctly balanced ready for deployment mine is 57cm tall.

The tube itself is at the most 19cm in outer diameter when measured at the front, where there is a thick plastic collar housing the secondary. There are the 2 rods the front extends on, and the clamps  too, and the focus tube which protrudes by  about 6cm,  but they are well  within the imaginary cylinder you can project up from the circular base.

Hope that helps , if there's any useful detail I've missed, let me know. I don't own bathroom  scales so can't confirm the weight, except to say , not too heavy for me to pick up in one go (complete with the sturdy low triangular, metal legged table I  made for it ) and carry the whole thing out into the garden. And I'm a weedy girlie .

I'm pretty sure the  130 base is smaller, because ages  ago I mentioned to someone on here that I'd read on the cloudy nights thread for the AWB OneSky newt. of the 130 being neatly mounted on a bargain Ikea 3 legged stool (something like 'Kyrre'  ?) and they checked the dimensions and said the stool top was too small for the heritage base.

Heather

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The 130P Heritage is 6.2Kg

The 150P Heritage is 7.5Kg

ST80 OTA with tube rings, dovetail bar, diagonal, RDF, and eyepiece is just over 2Kg

Might as well future proof it and go big 🙂

Edited by Laurieast
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59 minutes ago, DhamR said:

How about the last part? I assume the Virtuoso/GTI is purchasable later? 

Don't think so.  At least, I've never seen it sold on it's own.  May come up second hand or in a FLO clearance but not likely to be often.

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1 hour ago, DhamR said:

700g is nothing right?!

Looks like him getting the 150P!

How about the last part? I assume the Virtuoso/GTI is purchasable later? 

No, virtuoso is a package . But the mounts are swappable, i.e if you went for a viruoso with a mak on it  at some time in the future , you could swap the mak out and the dob in ....

Go for the 150 over the 130, otherwise you will forever be wondering if you'd see more with the bigger mirror ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Right, so, in the interest of honesty/coming to terms with it myself, I'd be buying the 150P for myself, and I think I may need to make sure I factor my daughter, or more, the practicalities of showing her the skies, into the decision a bit more.

I bought Turn Left at Orion last week and have since read it (bar some of the more specific "what to look at" pages) cover to cover.  I think whilst I will love the thrill of the hunt, I think the little lady might get a bit bored waiting around while Daddy hunts the sky for something, especially something that, to her, may not be immediately impressive.  I could leave her indoors while I do the treasure hunting, then call her out when there's something cool to see, but then I'm worrying that things could move out of view.  Considering this is a gift for both of us, and I've had a cheeky bonus from work, I'm probably able to spend a little bit more, provided it ticks more boxes.

On that note I'm wondering

  1. do I get HER something cheaper she can use terrestrially too, as that means more opportunities for her to be playing with her new scope, but with the acknowledgment that if she gets into it, she won't get much longevity out of stargazing through it (and that my itch may not be scratched)
  2. do I spend a bit more, and buy US the 150P Virtuoso, knowing it'll help both of us get the most out of a decent scope or
  3. do I get the standard 150P, see how it goes, and consider buying a proper motorised mount at a later date if I feel that's limiting?

I don't like option 1 if I'm honest, and whilst she'd love it initially, I think it's a road to frustration.

One question I can't get much info on is whether the Virtuoso GTI will track objects at all.   I can't seem to find whether the terminology for "tracking" is what I think it is.  I.e. if it (or we) find something, can I hit a button and it try to track it?   This seems like it would be worth its weight in gold when "darkness-before-bedtime" is at a premium and she wants to see something.

I think I know the answer here and that it's the one that hurts the wallet more...

Edited by DhamR
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1 hour ago, DhamR said:

One question I can't get much info on is whether the Virtuoso GTI will track objects at all.   I can't seem to find whether the terminology for "tracking" is what I think it is.  I.e. if it (or we) find something, can I hit a button and it try to track it?

This is a variant of a question other newbies have posed. Be assured, if it is a GoTo mount, it WILL track. ALL GoTo mounts track.

Edited by Cosmic Geoff
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You can have a mount that just tracks such as a plain basic EQ5 with motors or you can have an EQ5 Synscan GOTO mount. So as above every GOTO mount tracks but not all tracking mounts are GOTO. BTW price is one big give away as to which is which.

Edited by johninderby
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I think most of the challenge with maintaining the attention of a young child (or in my case, a spouse!) is that the majority of targets that you or I might consider interesting, are simply not visually impressive enough without the additional consideration of what you're looking at/how far away it is etc, etc.  Choosing the right targets (saturn, jupiter, moon) is far more likely to result in a pleasing experience for a child, in my opinion.  Of course your experience may be different, as children are all different.  Don't underestimate the fun of looking at the moon, especially if you start trying to identify visible features.  It's very easy to find too!

Edited to say that I realise this wasn't really what you were asking.  Plus I'd say that if you spend a bit of time on your own, you'll get fairly used to finding things quickly (assuming reasonably dark skies), so the fear of "it's going to disappear out of view" won't last that long.

Edited by Orange Smartie
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The Virtuoso mount tracks. You set your longitude (or lat, I can never remember which way round they are) once, when you first configure it. After that you just ensure it's fairly level and is pointing to Polaris when you switch the mount on. For the remainder of the session it will do a decent job of keeping objects in view. It has clutches for the 2 axis so you can loosen them and swing the scope round and up and down, then when you tighten them it will keep whatever you're looking at in view.

It's not perfect and can be a bit puzzling at first but once you work it out it makes life a lot easier. Those 'ooo' moments looking at Saturn on good nights with fairly high magnification are made much easier if the scope can keep it in view for you while you all take turns at the eye piece.

For my thinly veiled attempts to convince the missus that my purchase is for my daughter, this has been a very useful feature and (IMO) is definitely worth considering. Getting a nice view of something cool only to have if drift out of view by the time someone else gets to the view piece is annoying as hell.

 

Also don't assume that visually dull targets can't create 'wow' moments. The fuzzy grey blob of our nearest galactic neighbour really astonished my 12 year old son - sometimes kids just 'get it' and the thrill of experiencing the very photons that started their journey millions of years ago isn't always lost on them

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2 minutes ago, mr_belowski said:

Also don't assume that visually dull targets can't create 'wow' moments. The fuzzy grey blob of our nearest galactic neighbour really astonished my 12 year old son - sometimes kids just 'get it' and the thrill of experiencing the very photons that started their journey millions of years ago isn't always lost on them

Don't forget that a youngster can probably see more of the stars in the sky than we can, so their view of Andromeda, for instance, will likely be more colourful and brighter to them than it seems to us.  Likewise the Orion nebula.

 

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Thanks everyone, the Virtuoso GTI version of the Heritage 150 is an extra £130 over the standard 150P.

To confirm, if I wanted to add tracking/GoTo later I'd be looking at a lot more wouldn't I?

I can see the the AZ GTi mount for example is £245 before you even consider a tripod to fix it to.  And I'd guess (as a relative layperson) that they're going to have very similar functionality, components etc.

Edited by DhamR
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39 minutes ago, savcom said:

Don't forget that a youngster can probably see more of the stars in the sky than we can, so their view of Andromeda, for instance, will likely be more colourful and brighter to them than it seems to us.  Likewise the Orion nebula.

 

Yes, my daughter (at the age of nine but she’s ten now) says she can see some colour on the Orion Nebula. She says that she can see a bit of pink in some parts of the cloud. To me it just looks totally grey.

And I’ve had other examples too. Eg she was the first to see the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. I got a “Daddy I can see the spot”. At first I didn’t believe her and it was a “let me see that” moment. Sure enough when I looked carefully it was JUST appearing on the limb of the planet and as such still hard to see. 
 

Now I’ve learnt to ask her “what can you see?” Rather than telling her what she should see. 

Edited by PeterStudz
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14 minutes ago, PeterStudz said:

Now I’ve learnt to ask her “what can you see?” Rather than telling her what she should see. 

Slightly off topic - but it's always more satisfying to ask your observer to describe what they see - it makes them look a little harder at the object.

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