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What are your reccomendations for deep space and general viewing?


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Hello all, i am looking at buying my first ever telescope and was considdering buying the Skywatcher Skymax 127 AZ-GTi WiFi Telescope

 

as can be found here

 

Upon mentioning this scope on here ive been informed that due to the scopes small focal length it will struggle when it comes to viewing larger objects. i want a scope that can fit the full moon aswell as full deep space nebula, aswell as being able to provide decent views of the planets. preferable one with a similar mount too

 

Any help guys? or is the scope i was looking at decent enough?

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It’s always tough giving advice.  The scope you mention is no doubt useful and in general wouldn’t be a mistake. When properly set up it will find objects for you and the tracking will keep it in view. So if that’s what you want, then read up about it all you can, consider things then perhaps go ahead.

Having said that there are alternatives that will give a better view. The popular and much recommended 8” Dobsonian is a very capable scope that can give a lifetimes use. The downside is of course you have to learn the sky, find stuff yourself and hand track to keep it in view. For many of us on SGL it’s second nature, poses no problems and is what we love.

There’s no way anyone can make your mind up for you, only you can do that.

All the best in your decision.

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19 minutes ago, NGC 1502 said:


It’s always tough giving advice.  The scope you mention is no doubt useful and in general wouldn’t be a mistake. When properly set up it will find objects for you and the tracking will keep it in view. So if that’s what you want, then read up about it all you can, consider things then perhaps go ahead.

Having said that there are alternatives that will give a better view. The popular and much recommended 8” Dobsonian is a very capable scope that can give a lifetimes use. The downside is of course you have to learn the sky, find stuff yourself and hand track to keep it in view. For many of us on SGL it’s second nature, poses no problems and is what we love.

There’s no way anyone can make your mind up for you, only you can do that.

All the best in your decision.

Do you have a link to the dobsonian you mentioned?

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5 hours ago, gamermole said:

Do you have a link to the dobsonian you mentioned?



If you click on First Light Optics at the top of this page, then on telescopes you will have 3 options for an 8” Dob. These are from- Stellalyra, Ursa Major, and Skywatcher.  They are all the same optically- 8” or 203mm primary mirror with 1200mm focal length. The differences are in the accessories included, like eyepieces and finders, and the colour.

Happy to help further, I’ll check back this evening.

Ed.

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1 hour ago, NGC 1502 said:



If you click on First Light Optics at the top of this page, then on telescopes you will have 3 options for an 8” Dob. These are from- Stellalyra, Ursa Major, and Skywatcher.  They are all the same optically- 8” or 203mm primary mirror with 1200mm focal length. The differences are in the accessories included, like eyepieces and finders, and the colour.

Happy to help further, I’ll check back this evening.

Ed.

I had a look and I'm looking for a scope that comes on s tripod as apposed to sits on a table/floor is there one similar to these that meets that requirement?  

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Was there a reason that you were looking for a tripod-mounted scope? The Dobsonians are meant to sit on the floor and work well like that. One common reason for preferring a tripod is if you have an obstructed horizon, then the tripod can help raise the viewing point.

As @NGC 1502 says, the Skymax and the Dob are both good choices for a first scope, in their different ways. Yes, the Skymax has a narrower view because of its longer focal length - the maximum you can get (unless you modify it) is a little over 1 degree. So there are a few objects that you wouldn't be able to fit in entirely, but far more that will fit. You can simulate what you might see (in terms of the fit, but not the quality of the image) at this site: https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=70|2245|||1||&messier=45  (I've set it up here for the Pleiades, viewed in the Skymax and an eyepiece that gives it a maximum field of view).

An 8" Dob will gather considerably more light than the 127, so you should be able to see fainter objects and details. But you will need to get used to "nudging" (unless you get one with motors, which will be considerably more money). The Mak on the Az-Gti, if set up correctly, will track objects and allow easier extended viewing. This can be useful if you are sharing observing with family or others who are inexperienced. And you have the go-to, which can be very useful if you don't know the sky (yet). The wider field of the Dob makes it easier to get an object into view than the Mak, but in either case I would recommend you use a combination of a decent optical finder and a red dot/ Telrad /Quikfinder, which make it as easy in the Mak as the Dob. Depending on the scope you buy, it will come with either a red dot or optical finder. If there is only one finder shoe, then put an optical finder in that and get the other one as a stick-on.

You may also find an advantage in the Mak with eyepieces. A scope with a faster focal ratio (typically F4.5 to F6 for reflectors like the Dob) will be less forgiving of some eyepieces. In particular, if you want to get into wider field models (say, 70 degrees plus), then you might have to pay more for a better design, to achieve the same quality of image that you could with a lesser model, when used in the Mak. 

The Dob is more of an all-rounder in terms of targets, while the Mak can be better for higher magnifications, typically for planets, tighter double stars, globular clusters and planetary nebulae. I Have a Skymax 127 and a fast-ish reflector. I enjoy them both, but have found myself gravitating more often to the Mak.

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29 minutes ago, Zermelo said:

Was there a reason that you were looking for a tripod-mounted scope? The Dobsonians are meant to sit on the floor and work well like that. One common reason for preferring a tripod is if you have an obstructed horizon, then the tripod can help raise the viewing point.

As @NGC 1502 says, the Skymax and the Dob are both good choices for a first scope, in their different ways. Yes, the Skymax has a narrower view because of its longer focal length - the maximum you can get (unless you modify it) is a little over 1 degree. So there are a few objects that you wouldn't be able to fit in entirely, but far more that will fit. You can simulate what you might see (in terms of the fit, but not the quality of the image) at this site: https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/?fov[]=70|2245|||1||&messier=45  (I've set it up here for the Pleiades, viewed in the Skymax and an eyepiece that gives it a maximum field of view).

An 8" Dob will gather considerably more light than the 127, so you should be able to see fainter objects and details. But you will need to get used to "nudging" (unless you get one with motors, which will be considerably more money). The Mak on the Az-Gti, if set up correctly, will track objects and allow easier extended viewing. This can be useful if you are sharing observing with family or others who are inexperienced. And you have the go-to, which can be very useful if you don't know the sky (yet). The wider field of the Dob makes it easier to get an object into view than the Mak, but in either case I would recommend you use a combination of a decent optical finder and a red dot/ Telrad /Quikfinder, which make it as easy in the Mak as the Dob. Depending on the scope you buy, it will come with either a red dot or optical finder. If there is only one finder shoe, then put an optical finder in that and get the other one as a stick-on.

You may also find an advantage in the Mak with eyepieces. A scope with a faster focal ratio (typically F4.5 to F6 for reflectors like the Dob) will be less forgiving of some eyepieces. In particular, if you want to get into wider field models (say, 70 degrees plus), then you might have to pay more for a better design, to achieve the same quality of image that you could with a lesser model, when used in the Mak. 

The Dob is more of an all-rounder in terms of targets, while the Mak can be better for higher magnifications, typically for planets, tighter double stars, globular clusters and planetary nebulae. I Have a Skymax 127 and a fast-ish reflector. I enjoy them both, but have found myself gravitating more often to the Mak.

yes its exactly that, i need to raise the viewing point. thank you very much for all of that information. out of your skywatcher 150i and the skymax 127 which would you say would be the best scope for a beginner?

Which of these 2 linked would you rather own based on cost and performance?

 

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-star-discovery-wifi-p150i-goto-telescope.html

or

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-127-az-gti-wifi-telescope.html

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16 minutes ago, Elp said:

What bortle zone are you going to use the scope in?

my home is located within a class 5 but obviously i will be able to travel to a lower zone, but typically it will be used at 5.

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An 8 inch Dobsonian is often recommended as the ideal starter scope.  In fact, they're often lifetime scopes.

However, in my experience one of the most common reasons beginners drop out, indeed probably the single most common, is that they struggle to find objects.

Yes, Go-To will help find objects and track them, but there's an even simpler way.  It's a type of "push to"  called Starsense Explorer made by Celestron.

It doesn't move the scope by means of a motor.  Instead you push the scope to where arrows on your mobile phone direct you.  The app works with most modern mobiles - there's a list on the Celestron website. 

The app is really easy to use.  Indeed my 7 year old grandson had no problem at all.

As mentioned above, you will need to "nudge" the scope to keep an object in view, but this is something that's easy to learn.

It's a little more expensive than a fully manual Dobsonian and comes with just one eyepiece, but you don't need to buy an extra finderscope as most of us end up doing.

First Light Optics stock it, together will all the Starsense Explorer range that are any good.  Go to https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-starsense-explorer-series/cel_starsense_exp_8_dob.html

Edited by Second Time Around
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Generally there isn't one scope which can fit the full moon in view, see planets and fit nebula, you'd have to decide which you prioritise which will determine the best focal length scope for the requirement. The ability to see nebulae may also be difficult if you don't have a large aperture scope which will also require a larger mount (or a dobsonian is built onto one). A longer focal length will also require a decent mount due to faster perceived movement of the target in the eyepiece, no such issue if the mount is motorised and capable enough to carry the load of the scope.

Edited by Elp
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30 minutes ago, Elp said:

Generally there isn't one scope which can fit the full moon in view, see planets and fit nebula, you'd have to decide which you prioritise which will determine the best focal length scope for the requirement. The ability to see nebulae may also be difficult if you don't have a large aperture scope which will also require a larger mount (or a dobsonian is built onto one). A longer focal length will also require a decent mount due to faster perceived movement of the target in the eyepiece, no such issue if the mount is motorised and capable enough to carry the load of the scope.

Whats the difference between these 2 scopes, i know the scope is the same and its the mounts thats different, both mounts are motorised, im just wondering why one costs more? does it have different axis on the motor?

 

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-127-az-go2-wifi-maksutov-telescope.html

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-127-az-gti-wifi-telescope.html

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I am deliberately not entering the 'this scope rather than that' discussion.
Hopefully just providing a few things to think about.

A big consideration is where will you use the scope? Where will it be stored?
If you have to carry it down 3 flights of stairs do you want a big heavy setup?
how are you for light pollution?
Will you observe from the back garden, or drive to a dark site miles away?

With any scope package your money is shared between the scope, the mount/tripod and the electronics.
The mount/tripod is always the smallest/flinsmiest mount the manufacturer can get away with providing.

As a general rule, the following provide guidance. With the warning that free advice is worth what you pay.

With a basic dob, the mount cost is low. Almost all your money goes into the glass.
You get a lot of scope for your money.

With a long refractor + tripod you risk getting a wobbly mount, which makes high power use difficult.
A short tube scope on the same mount will perform better.

If you spend on goto features and mount electronics, how much is left for the glass?
No amount of clever electronics and software will make up for a lens made from old wine bottles.
Sales leaflets describe goto/electronics setup as almost non existent. Not so!

Keep asking the questions.

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56 minutes ago, gamermole said:

yes its exactly that, i need to raise the viewing point. thank you very much for all of that information. out of your skywatcher 150i and the skymax 127 which would you say would be the best scope for a beginner?

Which of these 2 linked would you rather own based on cost and performance?

 

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-star-discovery-wifi-p150i-goto-telescope.html

or

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-127-az-gti-wifi-telescope.html

Definitely the Skymax 127. The discovery has a fixed primary mirror which can’t be collimated(aligned) If you bump your scope and lose collimation it will be a hard job to get it back. I have looked through a friend’s discovery and found the collimation to be off. Probably due to heavy handling during transport. My little 127 held it’s perfect collimation for over the year I owned it. Whatever you decide I wish you good luck 👍 

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10 minutes ago, Carbon Brush said:

I am deliberately not entering the 'this scope rather than that' discussion.
Hopefully just providing a few things to think about.

A big consideration is where will you use the scope? Where will it be stored?
If you have to carry it down 3 flights of stairs do you want a big heavy setup?
how are you for light pollution?
Will you observe from the back garden, or drive to a dark site miles away?

With any scope package your money is shared between the scope, the mount/tripod and the electronics.
The mount/tripod is always the smallest/flinsmiest mount the manufacturer can get away with providing.

As a general rule, the following provide guidance. With the warning that free advice is worth what you pay.

With a basic dob, the mount cost is low. Almost all your money goes into the glass.
You get a lot of scope for your money.

With a long refractor + tripod you risk getting a wobbly mount, which makes high power use difficult.
A short tube scope on the same mount will perform better.

If you spend on goto features and mount electronics, how much is left for the glass?
No amount of clever electronics and software will make up for a lens made from old wine bottles.
Sales leaflets describe goto/electronics setup as almost non existent. Not so!

Keep asking the questions.

The scope will be stored at home and i want a lightweight setup, im currently just using some celestron binoculars on a tripod and i want to move up to a telescope. where i live it a level 5 bortle zone but its possible for me to make it to a level 2 twice a year.

 

what would you say the mount to scope quality ratio is of these scopes, as this is what im looking to buy.

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-127-az-go2-wifi-maksutov-telescope.html

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-127-az-gti-wifi-telescope.html

 

Edited by gamermole
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6 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

Definitely the Skymax 127. The discovery has a fixed primary mirror which can’t be collimated(aligned) If you bump your scope and lose collimation it will be a hard job to get it back. I have looked through a friend’s discovery and found the collimation to be off. Probably due to heavy handling during transport. My little 127 held it’s perfect collimation for over the year I owned it. Whatever you decide I wish you good luck 👍 

Yeah im seriously considering the skymax 127, now to choose the lightweight mount i want.

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16 minutes ago, gamermole said:

different

Hard to say as SW do not state a load capacity for the go2. What I would say is the go2 is an alt az mount only, the azgti is also an alt az but the firmware can be updated for it to work in EQ mode if you wish to do some tinkering to get it to work and get into deep sky imaging. It could be demand, hence price difference, the azgti also comes with the SW pier extension so it adds to the price a little.

You want a lightweight mount, whatever you do, put considerable consideration into the quality of the tripod. A thin leg section one will be worse then a thicker one, vibration is your enemy as poor tripods will take ages to dampen vibrations which will ruin your experience, even a slight breeze can cause this, even movement on the ground around the tripod. Others can comment on the tripod supplied with the azgti mount, I use my own tripods with the azgti, the thicker steel one on the go2 looks better but I'd prefer the azgti mount for it's flexibility, but that's my personal preference.

Edited by Elp
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1 minute ago, Elp said:

Hard to say as SW do not state a load capacity for the go2. What I would say is the go2 is an alt az mount only, the azgti is also an alt az but the firmware can be updated for it to work in EQ mode if you wish to do some tinkering to get it to work and get into deep sky imaging. It could be demand, hence price difference, the azgti also comes with the SW pier extension so it adds to the price a little.

Thank you so much, now the big question before i make the plunge................ is there a better scope i can get for £539? one with a similar mount but a better telescope in general.

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Just now, gamermole said:

Yeah im seriously considering the skymax 127, now to choose the lightweight mount i want.

I had the standard alt/az go to version without the WiFi being built into the mount. I just used the handset and was very happy with its performance. If you do decide on one then a tip I’ll give you is to ensure that you level your mount before fixing the scope. It will help a lot with the go to performance.

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35 minutes ago, gamermole said:

Which of these 2 linked would you rather own based on cost and performance?

I think I would probably go for the 150i as a more all round scope. On planets and the moon the 127 mak might just edge it but for DSOs the Newtonian will be the better scope. The larger aperture will mean that you can see slightly fainter stars and that your optimum magnifications are slightly higher, making objects a touch easier to see. The shorter focal length (half) means that when you want it, you can have a wider (double) field of view. You can also get a larger exit pupil, which is useful if your went to add filters to view nebulae, although from a Bortle 5 site this might only apply to the Orion, dumbbell and ring nebulae.

However, the downside of the fast focal ratio is that you need to purchase better corrected eyepieces. The 5, 8, 12 mm BST starguiders will all work well with the telescope but for your widest field of view eyepiece you will need to buy either a 24mm StellaLyra UFF or Es 68. If you buy the Mak the longer focal who means that all of the starguiders will work although you will want to add a 32mm plossl as well in order to get a larger exit pupil.

The 127 Mak is the more portable of the two scopes. The telescope and the azgti head will fit into a backpack with a few eyepieces leaving only the tripod for you to carry. As the azgti uses a photographic 3/8” fitting, a tripod that is even more compact could be added later to make transportation even easier.

Overall it is a difficult choice and I don't think that there is really a wrong option when choosing between these two telescopes.

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13 minutes ago, gamermole said:

is there a better scope i can get for £539? one with a similar mount but a better telescope in general.

You have to decide what you want to observe as a priority order. I've never spent more than that on a scope, but each scope I bought served a particular purpose.

I personally like apo refractors (can ramp up in price quickly, for visual you can get away with an acromat, I've owned an acro and the apo is much better, visually and photographically), and Newtonian (a dobsonian is a Newtonian on its own based on John Dobson's purpose built mount). Maybe a dob will be your best solution as it will also allow you to buy a large aperture. The heritage 150 gets recommended a lot.

Edited by Elp
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The best way to find out what you like and really want is to find an astronomy club near you, even if you have to drive a couple of hours, and get your hands on a scope or ten.  There is positively no replacement for hands on experience. Amature astronomers love showing off their toys and what they can do.  As deep as the knowledge is here on SGL, we will tell you what we would get based on our preferences.  By getting some hands on time you will be able to figure out what it is you exactly want.  

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i really dont know how you guys hit the PURCHASE button at checkout. it may be as im new to this and never bought a scope before but £550 seems hefty, im even considerring a cheaper refractor scope seeing as im only upgrading from a pair of celestron binoculars.

 

Im wondering if this scope is worth considering and maybe with the money saved on buying a new eyepiece to go along with it?

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-startravel-102-az-go2-wifi-refractor-telescope.html

Edited by gamermole
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13 hours ago, gamermole said:

Hello all, i am looking at buying my first ever telescope and was considdering buying the Skywatcher Skymax 127 AZ-GTi WiFi Telescope

 

as can be found here

 

Upon mentioning this scope on here ive been informed that due to the scopes small focal length it will struggle when it comes to viewing larger objects. i want a scope that can fit the full moon aswell as full deep space nebula, aswell as being able to provide decent views of the planets. preferable one with a similar mount too

 

Any help guys? or is the scope i was looking at decent enough?

I have this set up and it’s great - I’ve had a 6” newt and an 8” sct and this is my favourite to date 

if it’s viewing the moon and plants - this is for you 

however it’s not renowned for dso more for planets and the moon and some brighter dso and doubles but it’s a good mount and you can convert very easily to an eq once you get board of visual and you will! and you will no doubt expand to ap with a small refractor 

Edited by Beardy30
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30 minutes ago, gamermole said:

i really dont know how you guys hit the PURCHASE button at checkout. it may be as im new to this and never bought a scope before but £550 seems hefty, im even considerring a cheaper refractor scope seeing as im only upgrading from a pair of celestron binoculars.

 

Im wondering if this scope is worth considering and maybe with the money saved on buying a new eyepiece to go along with it?

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-startravel-102-az-go2-wifi-refractor-telescope.html

You don't have to buy new, for example - https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=194554 always worth a look on the second hand market if you are on a budget

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