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Which Skywatcher?


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Hey all,

I'm new here and new to this, I was pondering hard over a Christmas present for my girlfriend then it came to me in a flash a telecope! we both like studying the stars but we have done so mainly with the naked eye.

The prospect of viewing the moon and planets excites me and I know she'd love it!

So I need a little help and other opinions, I've decided on a Sky Watcher and that it'll be a Newtonian with a Parabolic mirror as a must.

What I'm unsure on is the benefits of a motor? Is it worthwhile still if you don't intend to do any astrophotography currently or possibly ever.

Also I'm toying between Explorer 130p or 150p as the price difference isnt HUGE but at the same time does that extra £££ really give you much better quality viewing of the planets and Cluster, Nebulas etc that is noticable to an amateur?

I hope you can help me make my decision.

Cheers

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Hi Jonny,

People on here are very heavily divided on motors. I'm a big fan of the goto systems, which find objects for you, and track them. Other people prefer not to use them. The other type of motor is one that just offers tracking - once you've got an object centred in your scope, it moves at the same speed as the Earth's rotation but in the opposite direction, so that the object stays visible and doesn't drift out of view as it otherwise would. This is a nice feature, although not essential if you're happy to nudge the scope every 30 seconds or so to keep the object visible.

Just to throw this out before anyone else does (!), you should also consider a Dobsonian telescope. These use a dead simple mounting, which means all the money goes into the tube and optics, and they're the cheapest way of getting a lot of telescope. People who have them swear by them.

And to answer your final question - the bigger the aperture the better. It's almost always better to err on the side of getting a bigger scope rather than a smaller one. Its job is to collect more light than your eyes can, and the bigger it is the better it will be at doing this.

Edited by Breakintheclouds
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Thanks for the fast reply.

Would a Dobsonian be less portable though as I'm likely to head out into the sticks to avoid the light pollution in town so the more portable the better really.

Edited by JonnyGG
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If you can afford it and a Dobsonian isnt your cup of tea then get the 150P or the PL which is the long tube version. The reaons being that (a) you will get better light grasp - that wont be super critical on a scope that size buy the other reason is (:D the 150 will support stuff like a 2" focuser and will be far more adaptable and expandable than the 130.

The Dob versus EQ debate always kicks off on this question. In short a Dob will give you more aperture for the money whereas an EQ with a motor will track for you.

Some people dont mind nudging a Dob and like its simple design. Some people prefer the mount to handle the tracking (especially if your doing planets at high magnification).

In matters of taste there can be no dispute - I prefer an EQ mount myself but I am not immune to the charms of a monster sized Dobsonian.

By the way - Dobsonians or Dobs are really just a refelector telescope with a simplified mounting.

If portability is an issue you may need to have a look at a scope - Boths scopes would fit in a small car. The Dob would be faster to set-up but probably a bit more bulky. An EQ mount would probably weigh more but breaks down into smaller bits.

If your girlfriend likes star gazing then it could be a very romantic present. It was for me when a scope was bought by a suitor years ago - but he lost out to someone else who owned a 'E' Type Jag. Whats a girl to do eh ? :headbang:

Edited by Astro_Baby
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Would a Dobsonian be less portable though as I'm likely to head out into the sticks to avoid the light pollution in town so the more portable the better really.

Not really. A 150 dob has essentially the same tube (i.e., the same telescope) as a 150 on a tripod; the only difference is the mount. And the mount for a 150 dob isn't that huge. It should fit into a typical car quite easily I think.

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Not really. A 150 dob has essentially the same tube (i.e., the same telescope) as a 150 on a tripod; the only difference is the mount. And the mount for a 150 dob isn't that huge. It should fit into a typical car quite easily I think.

With the dobsonian design the tube comes off the mount very easily for transport - the big ones have to be carried that way as they are too heavy in one piece. I found an 8" fine to move about in one piece though.

John

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For visual, if you think you can live without goto (I started goto, and now use a big dob) the dobsonian is the way to go IMHO. Allow extra for a decent star map (Sky and Telescope pocket sky atlas is very god) and IMHO, a Telrad finder. Much easier to use with a star chart.

As to size, as big as you can afford. I can fit my 12" solid tube dob in my Mondeo in about 5 minutes (back seats down). It's a bit unweildy with a 5ft tube, but it does go in there...

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I was looking at the 130p so I'd have funds to add a motor at the same time, but if the 150p offers more in the long term if we are to get more serious and want to expand further then clearly that's the way to go. Wish me luck!

I was wondering what accesories i'd need but from what I read on hear I'll know the answer to that myself once i've found out what i most enjoy viewing, although a moon filter is probably a must for moon gazing I imagine?

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Like the others have said, get the biggest aperture you can afford, I have owned Dobs and EQ mounted reflectors (but never owned a "go-to" ) , and been happy with either style of mount, but I would reccomend a 6 or 8 inch Dob , oh and bye the way, are you sure this present is really for your girlfriend ? :headbang:

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oh and bye the way, are you sure this present is really for your girlfriend ? :D

Well I've just made the purchase! it is for her yes but it's for me too!, you need to bear in mind that in total now I've spent twice the amount we agreed to spend on each other this year.

So naturally it'll be half mine too ;-) plus I'll have to check it works and is in good working order before xmas, I'd hate it to be faulty come the big day you see..........haha ;-)

I went for the 150p in the end, was going to buy from a retailer that google seemed to favour then stumbled on a few posts that really put me off them on here, I can live without the free book and other freebie they offered I guess, so I ordered from FLO and decided I needed an LED red/white torch, moon filter and a cheshire tool too. :-)

Next stop a decent book to read up on between now and Xmas. :D:headbang:

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was going to buy from a retailer that google seemed to favour then stumbled on a few posts that really put me off them on here, I can live without the free book and other freebie they offered
LOL... We know who you mean :headbang:

If you're after a good book, Turn Left At Orion is recommended by a lot of people.

Edited by arad85
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While you are waiting for the scope to arrive, i'd suggest having a read of Astro-Baby's Collimation Guide - Astro Babys Guide to Collimation

You may find you'll want to buy a collimator afterwards.

Made my life so much easier to align the mirrors after the shipping of the scope, knocked them out of sync a little.

Good luck!

Edited by leeq
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Glad you enjoyed your first light Jonny! I missed out on the clear sky tonight as Id agreed to play squash instead - sods law I suppose.

Just a thought - have you downloaded Stellarium yet? It is a really good "virtual night sky" which will help you learn the sky (and you can fast forward and zoom in on stuff as well).

heres the link

Stellarium

its free by the way

Warren:icon_salut:

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We've just had our first gaze through our new telescope, had a great time and thought i'd try and capture an image of the moon on my girlfriends mobile phone.

Great photo for afocal with phone!

Just curious! Did you went for the EQ or the Dob?

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Was a [removed word] to line up by hand with the tiny sony ericsson whilst pressing it's tinier button and I went for the Skywatcher 150p eq3-2 and we're loving it, next time we might try to view something a bit more challenging mind.

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