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Best small refractor!

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1 minute ago, GavStar said:

Stu is correct 😀 - any of these would work I think (I like them anyway)

Tak 130fsq, Tec160fl and Astro Physics 130GTX


That picture does show how compact the 160 is for such a large aperture.

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13 hours ago, Concordia000 said:

That's quite a "small" refractor, being a grown person's height...

I guess different folks have different ideas of what qualifies as small.

Of topic a bit, I also never realized how big "small" fighter jets had gotten until I toured the production line of McDonnell Douglas in the 80s and realized how huge the F-15 really was while looking up at it.  It's about the same size as the B-24 from WWII and can carry almost 5 times as much payload at over twice the cruising speed and range!  That's crazy for a "fighter" plane.  It's no wonder they created the F-15E Strike Eagle version based on these specs.

Compared to a modern 24" Dob (bomber), I guess a fast 6" APO (fighter) could be considered "small". 🤔  It's all relative.

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To be honest any 6" and over refractor I would want to locate in an observatory. 
It's not just the weight of picking them up, it's on a cold winters night the opportunity to slip over and opps is very high.
I usually take my 5" in wearing gloves otherwise my fingers would get frozen to the handle.

My advice would be to go with a 5", if your budget is just for the scope then the AP130GTX is meant to be better than the TEC or Takahashi scopes around 5" for visual use.  I've not looked thru either just based on first hand reports.

Then other item to consider is the mount. Given the weight of the scope and you are not doing AP, I would consider looking at a harmonic mount. The reduction in weight makes setup easy and hence will increase your use of the scope.

Given your budget as well, if your interests are "widefield with planetary nebulae and general deep sky" then maybe a high end APO is not the best option. 
An NVD would make your back garden a dark site, so on a moonless night you could view those objects.


Same time the clarity of stars thru a wide field APO telescope really has to be seen to be understood. I quite using NVD paired with a APO as I can swap between the two and take it all in.

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