Jump to content

NLC-Banner.thumb.jpg.acb5ba835b9e8bf0718b90539633017d.jpg

Best telescope for under £200?


Recommended Posts

Hi there,

I am new to astronomy and looking for a beginners telescope for under £200. From browsing around I am slightly overwhelmed by the amount of options and would please like some suggestions.

I would mainly be viewing from my garden or driving somewhere for viewing, so portability isn't a huge issue for me. I'd say I'm more interested in deeper space stuff but additionally would like to be able to view the moon/planets (if that's possible to do both?). From this, it feels an "all round" telescope may be a good starting point for me but these seem to be difficult to pick out. I've read that a Dobsonian is potentially better but I don't really want the faff of using a table, so feel a tripod set up may better suit my needs.

 

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

 

Cheers,

Sam

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Graviton1  Welcome to SGL & the minefield of buying your first scope.

As @bomberbaz mentions above, there are unfortunately no scopes that 'do it all'. The scope he mentions is also a very good choice, the only Dobsonian scopes that require a table are the very small beginners ones & also if faff is what your wanting to avoid then you really want to steer clear of a tripod. These are EQ mounts & only really a necessity if your imaging as they track the sky & avoid star trails. The Dobsonian is imo the best design for visual astronomy & for someone new to the hobby, they are very easy to set up & very easy to use plus you'll also get more scope for your money.
With your budget I would highly recommend the second hand market.  https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/   is a good place to look & you should be able to pick up a good quality 8" reflector for your money similar to this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

I will also say to be prepared for what you will actually see as far as deep space objects are concerned. Galaxies, nebula etc will only appear as faint, grey smudges with no colour. Quite a few advertisers from the lower end (read lower quality) of the market are very good at conning first timers that the images they will see will be the same as they show on their boxes, these images are usually M42 (The nebula in Orion), Barnard 33 (The Horsehead nebula) or M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy). You'll only get anywhere near these images with a camera & very deep pockets. Planetary on the other hand is a different story, with the scope i've linked (above) or the scope linked earlier (the 150p) you'll get some good views of the rings of Saturn, Jupiters  banding & Red Spot & also The Moon. 

You will also need to budget for eyepieces at some point as the usual 10mm &20 or 25mm that come with most scopes are very poor quality & sometimes put off newcomers to the point of giving up. EP's are another minefield & again second hand is the way to go if on a tight budget. In my opinion you cant go wrong with these, they are a good allrounder when it comes to cost & quality, I would personally start with a 5mm for planetary detail, an 18mm for globular star clusters & a 25mm for widefield views such as the double cluster in the sword handle of Perseus. I appreciate that those 3 would set you back £150 but second hand they go for around £35 each & you dont need to buy all at once.
Another thing I'll add is that a lot of (yet again) lower end brands of scope advertise unbelievable magnifications. Dont be swayed by that, some of these scopes may very well be able to achieve these magnifications but the views at that power will be far from satisfyingly. Have a read of this as its quite important.  https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/303667-what-is-the-maximum-magnification-you-use-in-uk/

I hope this has helped a little but it will probably have left you with more questions than answers. One thing to remember with this hobby is not to rush into buying until you've researched to death whatever it is your interested in. This hobby isn't cheap & the last thing you want is to end up buying the wrong thing & end up spending more money. Many of us on here have made that mistake (I'm guilty of it & not just the once) so ask as many questions as you want, you've come to the right place.

Steve

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Graviton1 said:

Hi there,

I am new to astronomy and looking for a beginners telescope for under £200. From browsing around I am slightly overwhelmed by the amount of options and would please like some suggestions.

I would mainly be viewing from my garden or driving somewhere for viewing, so portability isn't a huge issue for me. I'd say I'm more interested in deeper space stuff but additionally would like to be able to view the moon/planets (if that's possible to do both?). From this, it feels an "all round" telescope may be a good starting point for me but these seem to be difficult to pick out. I've read that a Dobsonian is potentially better but I don't really want the faff of using a table, so feel a tripod set up may better suit my needs.

 

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

 

Cheers,

Sam

Hi Sam,

Sticking strictly to your budget, I think your options are limited with new kit, and get better if you will consider the used market.

Buying new and pretty much sticking to budget these are the two best options I can see;

The first one is under budget, but is a table top dob so doesn’t quite hit the spot.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

This second one is a little over budget but seems to be a lot of scope for the money. The mount won’t be the most stable but should be quite useable, plus it can be operated on either EQ or AltAz mode depending on preference.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-starquest/sky-watcher-starquest-130p-f5-parabolic-newtonian-reflector-telescope.html
 

On the used market, the best place to look is AstroBuySell, and you should be able to pick up a 150p f8 Dobsonian for under your budget, or if lucky and quick, a 200p f6 Dobsonian for somewhere around budget but more likely £250 ish.

There are bargains out there, I bought a used Zhummel 12” dob with a load of accessories in decent condition for £150. That’s a big, heavy beast though, not what you are after but it shows what can be done to stretch your budget.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 for the 150mm Dobsonian, it’s a very capable scope and will perform well on your chosen targets……

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html

It’s over budget brand new but Astronomers need patience so perhaps just keep saving ?  ……. Or buy second hand ? 

Edited by dweller25
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a 150p and mount on Astro buy and sell. It's £250 but with a mount and extras:

www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=181083

or this one for £175

www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=181030

 

 

Edited by Clarkey
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome

The heritage optical tube could be taken off the base and put directly on a suitable tripod at a later date. I use mine either with it on the ground or with it on an upturned bucket, I sit on a garden chair. Here's a review of it, this heritage design now also comes in a 150P mirror size.

https://neilenglish.net/a-newtonian-travel-scope/

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Stu said:

The first one is under budget, but is a table top dob so doesn’t quite hit the spot.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

This second one is a little over budget but seems to be a lot of scope for the money. The mount won’t be the most stable but should be quite useable, plus it can be operated on either EQ or AltAz mode depending on preference.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-starquest/sky-watcher-starquest-130p-f5-parabolic-newtonian-reflector-telescope.html

These are two good options. I have the first one and have used it a lot, especially on holidays, it really is super portable considering the aperture. Regarding the table, if you store it in a sturdy plastic box or tub, you can use the box as a table to stand it on, so no real hassle. You'll also need a stool but seated observing is nicer than standing anyway. :)

A plus point for the second option is that the scope does not need collimating (unlike all the other mirror scope mentioned here). I think that's a really useful feature and has proven to be reliable over recent years. You can see a full review from a fellow member here: 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, RobertI said:

These are two good options. I have the first one and have used it a lot, especially on holidays, it really is super portable considering the aperture. Regarding the table, if you store it in a sturdy plastic box or tub, you can use the box as a table to stand it on, so no real hassle. You'll also need a stool but seated observing is nicer than standing anyway. :)

A plus point for the second option is that the scope does not need collimating (unlike all the other mirror scope mentioned here). I think that's a really useful feature and has proven to be reliable over recent years. You can see a full review from a fellow member here: 

 

I see what he has done there, change the angles of EQ to give you AZ, very ingenious and surprised I have not come across this before and would indeed be a worthwhile consideration plus only slightly over budget..

@Graviton1, where are you based as it is usually worthwhile popping along to a local astronomy club and chatting to the members plus discuss the various types of erquipment.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following on from what @nephilim posted, I would definitely consider getting your expectations in order before purchasing a telescope.  As previously stated, the pictures on the box will be a long way from reality. There is an absolutely superb thread on this site that compares expectation (or Hubble images), versus reality, and it’s the first post here: 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Astronomy is not a cheap hobby and £200 will not go far.  Telescopes also need a mount which can cost hundreds of pounds by itself even without the addition of motors or GoTo.

Threads like this one generally point the beginner in the direction of a Newtonian telescope (an inherently simple and cheap and easy to manufacture design) mounted on a Dobsonian mount, which is generally made of chipboard and costs only a few pounds to manufacture.  The Dobsonian telescope/mount began as a design that could be made by impecunious DIY enthusiasts, but is nowadays a commercial item.

There are other alternatives, but they are either toys or cost more because of the requirement for a more elaborate mount with tripod.  It should be pointed out that a heavy-duty fully functional metal mount with GoTo will greatly add to the potential uses of any telescope but will generally be heavy and cost a great deal of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ande said:

I think the OP may have ran for the hills 😂

That was my thinking as well. Probably done some proper research, seen how much a half decent set up would/ could cost & thought, 'Nah, I'll take up vintage car restoration, it'll be far cheaper'. 😂😂

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

…. The question “do you have any binoculars” didn’t come up… there are some good options <£100 and the rest could go on good guides. Learn your way around, go to some clubs and Se what stuff will show you.

 

Peter

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 27/12/2021 at 04:00, nephilim said:

@Graviton1  Welcome to SGL & the minefield of buying your first scope.

As @bomberbaz mentions above, there are unfortunately no scopes that 'do it all'. The scope he mentions is also a very good choice, the only Dobsonian scopes that require a table are the very small beginners ones & also if faff is what your wanting to avoid then you really want to steer clear of a tripod. These are EQ mounts & only really a necessity if your imaging as they track the sky & avoid star trails. The Dobsonian is imo the best design for visual astronomy & for someone new to the hobby, they are very easy to set up & very easy to use plus you'll also get more scope for your money.
With your budget I would highly recommend the second hand market.  https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/   is a good place to look & you should be able to pick up a good quality 8" reflector for your money similar to this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

I will also say to be prepared for what you will actually see as far as deep space objects are concerned. Galaxies, nebula etc will only appear as faint, grey smudges with no colour. Quite a few advertisers from the lower end (read lower quality) of the market are very good at conning first timers that the images they will see will be the same as they show on their boxes, these images are usually M42 (The nebula in Orion), Barnard 33 (The Horsehead nebula) or M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy). You'll only get anywhere near these images with a camera & very deep pockets. Planetary on the other hand is a different story, with the scope i've linked (above) or the scope linked earlier (the 150p) you'll get some good views of the rings of Saturn, Jupiters  banding & Red Spot & also The Moon. 

You will also need to budget for eyepieces at some point as the usual 10mm &20 or 25mm that come with most scopes are very poor quality & sometimes put off newcomers to the point of giving up. EP's are another minefield & again second hand is the way to go if on a tight budget. In my opinion you cant go wrong with these, they are a good allrounder when it comes to cost & quality, I would personally start with a 5mm for planetary detail, an 18mm for globular star clusters & a 25mm for widefield views such as the double cluster in the sword handle of Perseus. I appreciate that those 3 would set you back £150 but second hand they go for around £35 each & you dont need to buy all at once.
Another thing I'll add is that a lot of (yet again) lower end brands of scope advertise unbelievable magnifications. Dont be swayed by that, some of these scopes may very well be able to achieve these magnifications but the views at that power will be far from satisfyingly. Have a read of this as its quite important.  https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/303667-what-is-the-maximum-magnification-you-use-in-uk/

I hope this has helped a little but it will probably have left you with more questions than answers. One thing to remember with this hobby is not to rush into buying until you've researched to death whatever it is your interested in. This hobby isn't cheap & the last thing you want is to end up buying the wrong thing & end up spending more money. Many of us on here have made that mistake (I'm guilty of it & not just the once) so ask as many questions as you want, you've come to the right place.

Steve

 

Hi Steve,

Firstly thank you for your response. From your reply and others it does seem like a dobsonian will give me the best bang for my buck. I'll have a browse through the 2nd hand market as my plan was just to get a 'cheap' telescope to learn the basics of star gazing and then upgrade when I have a bit more of an idea what I'm actually doing... I've seen that people say to avoid this strategy as you may be put off the hobby by a cheap telescope with poor optics, but I'm fully aware of this issue. I'll keep searching for the time being and definitely not rush into buying anything, thank you for the great advice!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 27/12/2021 at 16:01, bomberbaz said:

I see what he has done there, change the angles of EQ to give you AZ, very ingenious and surprised I have not come across this before and would indeed be a worthwhile consideration plus only slightly over budget..

@Graviton1, where are you based as it is usually worthwhile popping along to a local astronomy club and chatting to the members plus discuss the various types of erquipment.

Hi Steve,

I'm based in York currently. I hadn't thought about contacting any clubs (didn't actually know they were a thing😂). Appears there are a few in the area so I will get some emails sent, thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/12/2021 at 13:01, Cosmic Geoff said:

Astronomy is not a cheap hobby and £200 will not go far.  Telescopes also need a mount which can cost hundreds of pounds by itself even without the addition of motors or GoTo.

Threads like this one generally point the beginner in the direction of a Newtonian telescope (an inherently simple and cheap and easy to manufacture design) mounted on a Dobsonian mount, which is generally made of chipboard and costs only a few pounds to manufacture.  The Dobsonian telescope/mount began as a design that could be made by impecunious DIY enthusiasts, but is nowadays a commercial item.

There are other alternatives, but they are either toys or cost more because of the requirement for a more elaborate mount with tripod.  It should be pointed out that a heavy-duty fully functional metal mount with GoTo will greatly add to the potential uses of any telescope but will generally be heavy and cost a great deal of money.

Hi Geoff, thanks for the response. From all the replies I've now seen that £200 will not go far at all in the telescope world😂. I'm currently a PhD student, being the reason for the tiny budget, and was hoping to pick a telescope up to learn the basics then upgrade in the future. It seems that the second hand market may better serve this purpose so will probably look for a Newtonian on there.

However, the Sky-Watcher StarQuest-130P f/5 Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope does look appealing from what people have commented so may give in and purchase this scope if I don't have any luck on AstroBuySell.

Thanks so much for all the help from everyone!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/12/2021 at 18:02, nephilim said:

That was my thinking as well. Probably done some proper research, seen how much a half decent set up would/ could cost & thought, 'Nah, I'll take up vintage car restoration, it'll be far cheaper'. 😂😂

😂😂, sorry for the slow responses! I'm still hanging on (just🤣) so many options!! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 30/12/2021 at 10:13, Graviton1 said:

Hi Steve,

Firstly thank you for your response. From your reply and others it does seem like a dobsonian will give me the best bang for my buck. I'll have a browse through the 2nd hand market as my plan was just to get a 'cheap' telescope to learn the basics of star gazing and then upgrade when I have a bit more of an idea what I'm actually doing... I've seen that people say to avoid this strategy as you may be put off the hobby by a cheap telescope with poor optics, but I'm fully aware of this issue. I'll keep searching for the time being and definitely not rush into buying anything, thank you for the great advice!!

Hi, I've just realised after singing the praises of a certain EP I actually forgot to name them 😂 These are the ones I mentioned. Good luck with your scope choice, second hand is a good way to go if on a tight budget & you can pick up some good bargains, especially just after xmas. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html

Steve

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.