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Looking For A Telescope Under £130 If Possible


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Hi there.

Im a new member who has always enjoyed reading and watching documentaries about space and our wonderous universe.

I am now looking for a Telescope as a joint Christmas present to both myself and my 5 year old daughter who is showing a very keen interest in the stars and planets.

As the title of the thread says I am looking to spend as least amount of money as possible, preferably under £130 but possibly up to £150, but obviously I want the best possible scope for this money. Something that will enable my daughter and myself to enjoy views of the moon (craters and all), the planets and deep sky objects (ie nebulas and galaxies) and that will keep us viewing the heavens for many a year to come until we can afford to spend a bit more money on something larger.

Any help or recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks in advance guys and gals.:)

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I agree with Doc / Mick's recommendation. I've just been asked the same question by a friend and recommended the Skywatcher Explorer 130 there as well. If you can find a bit more cash a 6" dobsonian scope like this would be an excellent choice and very easy to operate:

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian

Please don't get tempted by what look like flashier or "bigger" scopes on E.Bay by the way - 90% of those are extremely poor.

John

Edited by John
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Or one of these.

Smaller mirror though.

SKYWATCHER EVOSTAR-90 (AZ3) TELESCOPE

90mm (3.5") f/900 REFRACTOR

£130.00

  • Magnifications (with eyepieces supplied): x36 & x90


  • Highest Practical Power (Potential): x180


  • Objective Lens Diameter: 90mm


  • Telescope Focal Length: 900mm (f/10)


  • Eyepieces Supplied (1.25"): 10mm & 25mm


  • 6x30 Finderscope


  • 45° Erect Image Diagonal 1.25"


  • Multi-Coated Objective Lens


  • AZ3 Deluxe Alt-Azimuth Mount


  • Aluminium Tripod with Accessory Tray


  • 65% more Light Gathering than 70mm


EVOSTAR-90-(AZ3).jpg

from sherwoods photo

Now we are gonna get into reflector or refractor debate I would buy second hand off ebay or on this site....

Go for a decent name, Celestron, Skywatcher, Orion etc

si

Edited by simon e
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Just found this on ebay, again not very big mirror, but a cheap goto at £172.

SKYWATCHER MERCURY-70 f/700 SYNSCAN GO-TO TELESCOPE on eBay (end time 08-Jan-10 23:52:29 GMT)

My two boys love looking at the moon and Jupiter, they have use my 6" Orion Europa, Which I got off ebay a while back and they love it.

si

Edited by simon e
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The 130 gets my vote too. Was my first scope and a really excellent introduction to telescopic astronomy. Very good optics, without being too large or ungainly. I still regret the day I traded t in (might have mentioned that once or twice before!)

How lovely that you little one is interested too! Something to definately encourage!

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I have had a little look and found this too, any thoughts on this one?

Sky-Watcher 114 Skyhawk Catadioptric Newtonian Reflector Telescope (921) - Warehouse Express

These small, low cost catadioptric newtonians are not that great to be honest - they use a spherical (rather than parabolic) mirror and an additional lens to try and correct the image - not 100% successfully I seem to recall :).

First Light Optics do a proper Skywatcher newtonian 114mm scope which would be a better bet in my opinion:

Reflectors - Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145P

John

Edited by John
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Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT get anything with an EQ mount (that's the complicated looking one with the great big counterweight sticking out.)

My reasons: If it is you and your five-year-old using it, you will be CONSTANTLY twisting it, fiddling around trying to get the eyepiece to a place you can both use it. Otherwise you will get pretty tired lifting your sprog so she can get a look in...

I have tried showing a kid the wonders of the universe with an EQ mount, and it is a right pain in the ***. At least with an alt-az you can put the wee'un on a chair and don't have to contort yourself to get your eye to the eyepiece! A Dob would, I'd imagine, be just as easy for you!

But yeah, big BIG mistake would be getting an EQ mount.

That's my 2p.

-eli

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I;d agree with the comment about EQ mounts. Personally I like them (for an adult) but with a 5 year old it will be comp-licated and awkward. I'd get a Dob or maybe a small refractor on an Alt/Az to start with lilke this

Evostar - Skywatcher Evostar 90 (AZ3)

Its simple, robust and will do some decent view of the big stuff like the moon, jupiter etc.

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EQ's awkward? Only if you put them in EQ mode. If they are a pain, flip them to 90 degrees and use them as Alt/Az until your confidence grows. DO NOT skip over an EQ-mounted scope that would otherwise be ideal just because it looks complicated.

I would more likely say keep away from refractors. Anything in your price range will not be worth bending over to look through.

Arthur

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These small, low cost catadioptric newtonians are not that great to be honest - they use a spherical (rather than parabolic) mirror and an additional lens to try and correct the image - not 100% successfully I seem to recall :).

First Light Optics do a proper Skywatcher newtonian 114mm scope which would be a better bet in my opinion:

Reflectors - Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145P

John

I must admit that my head has been turned towards this one. Gets a very good write up in "The Sky At Night" magazine:).

Can anybody shed a little light on the pros and cons of a parabolic mirror as oppose to a spherical mirror and whether this would make a major difference in image quality?? I am a total novice when it comes to telescopes so all info is truly appreciated.

Edited by OptimusPrimeval
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Regardless of mount eventually chosen, I would say at this price point the Skywatcher 130 tube takes some beating. I've used one and think it punches well above it's weight.

I don't think I would go smaller or get a refractor.

As I believe you live in East Anglia I would head out to the darker parts as soon as you've learnt how to use it.

Good luck,

Dave

Oh, and get those books Arrad85 mentioned.

Edited by davew
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I've got an Evostar 90 and it's quite a decent scope for the money. Had some nice views of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn and the AZ3 mount it comes with, although rudimentary, is great for being light and easy to set up. The only drawback for use with a small child is its size, it's almost bigger than my 5 year old daughter!

It's a shame that the StarTravel 80 isn't sold with an AZ3. That would be a lot more child friendly size and the the scope sells well second hand if you get bored with it.

Refractors tend to be a bit more robust so I would probably go for one in your position.

Good Luck

Alan

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The EQ 130 seems to be the one to choose at this price range. Although i wouldn't class it as an ideal option where kids are concerned. For me you can't beat one of the motorised AltAz mounts with a small tube. This way the eyepiece is always well placed for viewing and good for the kids. Because they track, the object doesn't fly out of view or get knocked out of view (this is my biggest problem with my 8" dob and my 6 year old). Just a shame those motorised AltAz scopes are priced out of reach because it would be ideal.

Edited by russ
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What Arthur is saying re flip to 90* is, instead of lining up with polaris ie 53/4/5* depending on where you are, line up on 90*. That way the mount goes left to right and up and down like an alt / az. It also doesn't matter where the mount is pointing. A bit like a Giro mount.

He may add to that if he disagrees.

Dave

Wish I could Type faster....... like great bear says :)

Edited by davew
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