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Best telescope for under £200?


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Thanks so much for the help everyone.

I think I am going to save a bit and go for the SW 150p dob, definitely seems to tick all the boxes for me. Will probably be back asking for help on collimation the day it arrives (😫) but thank you for all the advice!

Cheers,

Sam

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22 hours ago, Graviton1 said:

Thanks so much for the help everyone.

I think I am going to save a bit and go for the SW 150p dob, definitely seems to tick all the boxes for me. Will probably be back asking for help on collimation the day it arrives (😫) but thank you for all the advice!

Cheers,

Sam

That's a good all rounder, nice & portable, easy to use & it'll show you a fair bit 'up there'.

I've owned 3 reflectors & never needed to collimate them straight away, probably just good luck.

There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube & it's not as daunting as it sounds.

Edited by nephilim
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13 minutes ago, Graviton1 said:

Thanks so much for the help everyone.

I think I am going to save a bit and go for the SW 150p dob, definitely seems to tick all the boxes for me. Will probably be back asking for help on collimation the day it arrives (😫) but thank you for all the advice!

Cheers,

Sam

Certainly not a poor choice. The 150P dob is an f/8 mirror so it's less critical on collimation and not too demanding on eyepieces either. I have the equivalent "tube" on a different mount and it performs very well and holds collimation well too. Unless you suspect there's something badly out I'd use it first chance and check collimation by a star-test on Polaris. Don't fiddle without good reason.

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The good thing about the F/8 150P dobsonian is that a mirror of that focal ratio has a proportionately larger collimation "sweet spot". I think the figure is 11mm for an F/8 compared to 2.8mm for an F/5.

 

 

Edited by John
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1 hour ago, John said:

The good thing about the F/8 150P dobsonian is that a mirror of that focal ratio has a proportionately larger collimation "sweet spot". I think the figure is 11mm for an F/8 compared to 2.8mm for an F/5.

Didn't realise it was that fine John, do you have links to any data on this. Would be interested to read up some more on this as my F4.9 dob needs a collimation but just not gotten round to it. Think main issue is the secondary is too high but obviously the whole lot will go out when I remove the mirror to washer it out. Sorry OP, I digress.

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On 30/12/2021 at 10:19, Graviton1 said:

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!

The York Astronomical Society is very active and a welcoming group  - would thoroughly recommend joining - the monthly stargazing guides and regular events are well worth the membership fee even if you only dip in occasionally. Let me know if you need more info. 

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On 30/12/2021 at 10:26, Graviton1 said:

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!

You’ve probably made your choice looking further down the thread and it looks to be a good one. Just to add for interest though (possibly for others) - I’ve experience with the Starquest mount (with a 102 Maksutov) and it’s very good -some consider it a next gen EQ2 class equivalent. The ability to quickly switch between Alt-Az and equatorial modes is very useful as I found when showing my nephew some basics. 
Unfortunately not available as a stand alone purchase - yet. 
I didn’t experience  the joys of telescope ownership when I was a PhD student, but if I had would have been delighted with a 6 inch reflector of the sort you are considering  - enjoy and let us know how you get on!
 

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22 hours ago, Graviton1 said:

Thanks so much for the help everyone.

I think I am going to save a bit and go for the SW 150p dob, definitely seems to tick all the boxes for me. Will probably be back asking for help on collimation the day it arrives (😫) but thank you for all the advice!

Cheers,

Sam

They usually arrive well collimated, so I should leave well alone until you have had chance to use it.  A great scope BTW, good luck!

Edited by rwilkey
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1 hour ago, Astro_Dad said:

You’ve probably made your choice looking further down the thread and it looks to be a good one. Just to add for interest though (possibly for others) - I’ve experience with the Starquest mount (with a 102 Maksutov) and it’s very good -some consider it a next gen EQ2 class equivalent. The ability to quickly switch between Alt-Az and equatorial modes is very useful as I found when showing my nephew some basics. 
Unfortunately not available as a stand alone purchase - yet. 
I didn’t experience  the joys of telescope ownership when I was a PhD student, but if I had would have been delighted with a 6 inch reflector of the sort you are considering  - enjoy and let us know how you get on!
 

Hi @Astro_Dad,

Its interesting you say that as I was nearly swayed by the SW StarQuest-130P f/5 because of this mount. Decided the dob was better to learn the skies and the slightly larger aperture would better serve me initially. I was trying to see if it was possible to eventually put the 150p dob onto one of these mounts, but have seen it might be quite difficult for a few reasons (long length etc). 

Thought if/when I wanted to use a tripod and mount it may be easier to just get a small and cheap 80mm achromatic scope and try some basic deep-sky imaging. Already planning my next purchase🙃🤣

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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

 

Very good advice Steve, wish someone had given me such good advice when I first started! would have saved me lots of headaches and lots of £££

Edited by mareman48
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1 hour ago, mareman48 said:

Very good advice Steve, wish someone had given me such good advice when I first started! would have saved me lots of headaches and lots of £££

@mareman48 Thanks, When I first switched from visual astronomy to imaging I wasted a lot of money trying to do it on the cheap. An EQ5 mount with aftermarket motors, a cheap unmodified DSLR & my SW Explorer 200p that I used for visual & a modified (£5 off eBay) Xbox webcam as a guidescope 🤣 (although this did work quite well for very basic planetary imaging for £5). Needless to say it made a hobby with a very steep learning curve even harder, to a point where I actually gave up entirely on astronomy for a few years. This is one of the main reasons I always try to advise anyone whose starting out, whether its visual or imaging to do as much research as they can before making any purchases (its very easy just to jump straight in & regret it later). As with my experience making the wrong choices can put you off the hobby for good.

After moving house to a tiny village at the foot of the Northern Pennines (Bortle 3/ 4) & seeing  the Milky Way as a shimmering silver band everytime I stepped out of the front door on a night (On a rare clear night that is 😒) I decided around the end of 2020 that I would give it another go (I might have put astronomy 'on the shelf' for a few years but it never really leaves you) but this time do it properly, do as much research as possible, ask plenty of questions on here & actually take the advice given from others with more experience than me. It took me over a year to save up for everything (I'm not keen on credit) but I finally had everything I needed to start last August (or around then). Its been far from cheap but i'm finally taking images that i'm very happy with & it can only get better from here.

Its taken me a long time to reach this point but so worth it. This was the first image I took 🙂

Clear Skies

SteveMay be an image of sky

Edited by nephilim
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On 01/01/2022 at 14:59, Graviton1 said:

Hi @Astro_Dad,

Its interesting you say that as I was nearly swayed by the SW StarQuest-130P f/5 because of this mount. Decided the dob was better to learn the skies and the slightly larger aperture would better serve me initially. I was trying to see if it was possible to eventually put the 150p dob onto one of these mounts, but have seen it might be quite difficult for a few reasons (long length etc). 

Thought if/when I wanted to use a tripod and mount it may be easier to just get a small and cheap 80mm achromatic scope and try some basic deep-sky imaging. Already planning my next purchase🙃🤣

The 150 Dobs would be too much for the Starquest mount - I tried my Heritage 150p on it and was a touch top heavy - and technically over the advertised payload anyway. 
Either scope would be great and you’d learn a lot. The Starquest has a useful RA tracking motor as an add on, but the old adage of aperture is king is worth bearing in mind also. Everyone will have their own opinion but I’d say a six incher will serve you well - you could always go for a Heritage 150 and buy a mount/tripod later?

Research is good but avoid analysis paralysis if you can (easy for me to say as I still suffer from that!) - enjoy your choice and the relaxing immersion of visual astronomy - a potentially perfect antidote to the trials and tribulations of a PhD!!

Edited by Astro_Dad
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