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Hi,

I was hoping I could get some advice for what to buy for a first telescope. My price limit is about £200, and like the rest of us, I would like the best viewing oppitunities! I am not interested in using the telescope in the day. I am also not scared of a challenge in terms of learning to use equipment. So far, the best sounding option I have found online is the Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ. However, the Orion StarBlast 4.5 seems good too. 

Thank you in advance!!

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> Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ

Widely regarded as one of the worst telescopes on sale. Lousy optics, lousy mount, lousy eyepieces, lousy finder.

> Orion StarBlast 4.5

The tabletop Dobsonian version is fine, it's not widely sold in the UK though. The equatorially-mounted one ... I didn't get on with a Newtonian reflector on an equatorial mount because the eyepiece tends to end up pointing in silly directions and adjusting it requires rotating the whole tube (whereas with a refractor you'd only need to adjust the diagonal to get the eyepiece in a comfortable position).

The "default" recommendation for £200 in the UK is the Skywatcher Heritage 130P.

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If buying new, use a proper astro retailer.
NOT Currys, Amazon, John Lewis, ebay.
A speciailist retailer will be able to deal with questions/problems.
Examples are FLO, RVO, 365Astronomy, and more. Apologies to those not mentioned.
They want your business next year when you upgrade. Others just want today's sale.

If buying used. It is difficult.
Do not buy unless you really know what to look for, or you know it is coming from someone 'genuine' whatever that means.
Ask around at a local astro club if you have one nearby. You might also get chance to look at and hold a scope or two.

Avoid used on ebay, gumtree, facebook, etc like the plague.
You might get a bargain, you might equally get a door stop.

Keep asking. David.

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17 hours ago, mirandaehh said:

Hi,

I was hoping I could get some advice for what to buy for a first telescope. My price limit is about £200, and like the rest of us, I would like the best viewing oppitunities! I am not interested in using the telescope in the day. I am also not scared of a challenge in terms of learning to use equipment. So far, the best sounding option I have found online is the Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ. However, the Orion StarBlast 4.5 seems good too. 

Thank you in advance!!

Google "Local Astronomical Society" and contact them to locate when the next public star party is and pop along.  You'll get to view a variety of astronomical targets through various telescopes.  It will help you get a true perspective on what results you get with various levels of equipment.  £200 is quite a limited budget, and at that price point you may do better getting a decent set of binoculars rather than a cheaper telescope.

David gives some excellent and often overlooked advice, I would ad Argos to the list of retailers that should be avoided.

I would also suggest following Louis's instructions as the forum is full of posts like yours where people join to get advice on purchasing at various price points.  The only thing is you are likely to become confused and likely to spend more than your intended budget as we all have different opinions as to what we feel is ideal...   It's like asking what car to get on a motoring forum... we all have our own preferences.

 

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In my opinion if you want a starter telescope then a refractor is the best way to go and I would avoid reflectors and EQ (equatorial) mounts.  Refractors are more expensive because they use lenses instead of mirrors  Around your price range I have found the following:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/evostar/sky-watcher-evostar-90-660-az-pronto.html

This will make an excellent starter telescope.  I hope this helps.

Edited by rwilkey
typo
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1 hour ago, malc-c said:

David gives some excellent and often overlooked advice, I would ad Argos to the list of retailers that should be avoided.

and anything branded 'National Geographic' and sold in boxes full of colour pictures and promising anything more than about x250 magnification in the UK.  My standard piece of advice is, if you don't look anywhere else for advice my standing goodie as a fellow beginner is to look at the first page here and even if you don't read the text, look at the pictures on the first page and get your expectations in tact.  Try and get a Skywatcher 150P perhaps, and remember that the small pictures are probably representative of what can be seen with a Skywatcher 200P (an 8" mirror refractor)

 

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By far the best telescope to buy is one that will be used.  We have a steady flow of disgruntled beginners who bring their gifted telescopes to the obsy to receive advice on how to set it up and get the best out of it.  Mainly, they are Newtonian reflectors on cheap and wobbly EQ mounts.  Simply put, the easiest one to use is as Robin describes, a refractor on an Alt-Azimuth mount.  Look no further than that.

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When I bought my first proper astronomy telescope (a long time back) I had an idea of £200 budget.
Then when I visited a retailer and looked what was on offer I realised £200 would not give me the views/performance I wanted.
I ended up spending more than double! But I prioritised on the scope - not the add ons - and it served me well for several years.

Nowadays you can get a lot more scope for your ££ spent. There are though a few truths to consider - that avoid the refractor/reflector/binos/mount type arguments.

When you buy, your money is shared between the scope (glassware), the mount/tripod and any electronics (goto or motor drives).
In with kit packages, you expect (and need) a couple of eyepieces.
Clearly, for a given budget you have to decide which aspects are more important.

If you buy a dobson mounted reflector without electronics. This gives most money available for the glassware.
The mount is a few bits of melamine coated chipboard. No insult intended to Skywatcher et al. The mounts work.

If you buy an alt az or EQ mount and tripod, that is obviously pulling at your glass budget - whether refractor or reflector.
Manufacturers always sell the smallest/flimsiest tripod & mount they can get away with for a given scope.

If you buy goto, it is another chunk of glass or mount money gone on electronics.
Further goto is marketed as  'place and view' the reality is a bit more involved - unless you spend a lot.
I used to say the basic goto was 'go somewhere in the general direction of' though things are improved.

Your decision on scope type will also be influenced by where you live, and where you view.
Navigate 3 flights of stairs then drive 10 miles? Take out of the house and place on the garden?

After a few months you will wonder about the quality of the kit eyepieces and look at upgrades.
But this is all do-able for affordable money. Further should you sell on your scope for upgrade, you keep the 'better' eyepieces.

If your scope gives good performance, but wobbles, you have options on looking for alternative mounts.

Keep asking the questions. We will tell you specific scopes to avoid. However, there are a lot of good starter scopes on sale now.

 

 

 

 

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