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Astro_Baby

Newbies, Novices, Tyros - PLEASE READ THIS

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a) where you went to get advice

Most of my advice was taken of SGL Forum and fellow star gazers.

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Very helpful, got the right scope for what i needed it for.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

SCT, refractor and dob

d) what did you buy

6" SCT celestron with goto (nexstar)

e) why did you buy what you bought

Needed something portable as have no garden, easy to use as i only have weekends to get out of use it so goto has helped me with that. Also helps learn the night sky.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Love the scope its perfect for me, only downside is the goto nexstar mount is noisey so will upgrade the mount to a NEQ3 skywatcher as much quieter.

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a) where you went to get advice

Various websites and reviews

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Pretty helpful, although some of the reviews were a bit exaggerated

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Astromaster 90EQ, Bresser Galaxia II and Skywatcher 1145PM

d) what did you buy

Skywatcher 1145PM

e) why did you buy what you bought

Its reviews were pretty good and it won the Sky At Night beginner scope of the year.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Its a very good beginner scope - M81 and M82 are crisp and clear while Mars and Jupiter show some details even though its an f4 scope.

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Very new but had some experience with an Opticron spotting scope and binos before this.

a) where you went to get advice

All round, I guess particularly from boards like this and magazines. There were/are no telescope shops near me and I wasn't really a"joiner".

:icon_eek: how helpful (or not) was the advice

I found the advice columns helpful as was the forums (later on) on the net.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

I wanted as much bang for my bucks and aimed for a cat. on the net.

d) what did you buy

A Celestron Super Polaris on a GEM mount from EBay! Maybe a tad too much scope to begin with but it was a steep learning curve which I found interesting.

e) why did you buy what you bought

I figured that I wasn't going to be buying and selling scopes and it would be better to get used to one, find my way round the sky and get aquainted with astronomical optics. I was, and still am, keen on photography and thought that I could eventually combine the two, besides which, I was a long time fan of Sir Patrick and Arthur C. That and a long spell of wilderness walking and camping, seeing the sky on good nights and wondering.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

A bit tricky to lug about in the dark and set it up. I use it in my backyard which is on a hillside and have built a pier to set it up with the mount in situ. I am seriously thinking about a Celestron CPC 800 GPS XLT on a fork mount; anything bigger would be getting too hefty and anything smaller a come down. As it is written "You can't have too much aperture" I hope to strike the happy medium with a sound scope which is easy to manage and set up.

I hope this is of some help and, as ever, all advice is welcome.

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a) where you went to get advice

Didn't really go anywhere, looked into it all first.

:icon_eek: how helpful (or not) was the advice

Minimal once I visited the shop

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Goto's: Celestron 8", Meade 8" and smaller.

d) what did you buy

Meade ETX70

e) why did you buy what you bought

Small, inexpensive, in case I didn't use it much.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Great little scope, if you know it is limited

plus any overall impressions.

Does what it does well, easy to use, going well after 10+ years.

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a) where you went to get advice

Skygazers lounge... HERE!

:D how helpful (or not) was the advice

very very very helpful, plenty of experts and noobs to give great help

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Was always a reflector, refractors dont really seem good enough to me, i was originally looking at getting a 6 inch reflector of any make. But then i looked at skywatcher products and decided the explorer 200p. Then it was the skywatcher skyliner 200p.

d) what did you buy

After hours of looking around i bought the skywatcher skyliner 250px

e) why did you buy what you bought

I was convinced to get a dob because lots of people said how good they are especially for beginner, so i was going to get the 200p, but my budged allowed me to go for the extra 2 inches so i got the 250px

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

I only dislike the mount simply because it is cheap, but it is easy to move the telescope with Dob mounts which is great. The scope itself seems good. Only used it once, it was daylight still, sun just about to set and i saw the moon in great detail and then found jupiter and saw it clearly with its band and 4 of its moons, this was still in blue sky!

Overall im really pleased with the scope only after trying it once! i plan to stay up until early morning the next clear skies. I am also planning to record what i see and how good it is etc, i.e quality colour difference from last time etc. I am also going to do some experiments, first the galileo jupiter experiment and i am also going to use just the scope, paper, calculator and some mathematics to calculate the speed of the earths rotation :icon_eek:

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a) where you went to get advice

Stargazers Lounge, Sky At Night Magazine (Nov 2010 "Telescope Issue"), Manufacturers Websites (Meade, Celestron, Skywatcher).

:evil6: how helpful (or not) was the advice

Gave me more than enough information to make an informed choice.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

I considered a reflector but decided that size was going to be an issue so I was leaning towards a Mak anyway.

d) what did you buy

Skywatcher Skymax 127 Mak with Synscan.

e) why did you buy what you bought

I needed a scope that was fairly portable as my backyard is small and has a lot of light pollution. I had already taught myself quite a lot about the night sky so I felt that a GOTO mount was not cheating :icon_eek: and would help me maximise my time at the eyepiece.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Not really had a "good go" with it yet. I like the look of it and it's reasonably easy to set up. Still not had a sharp image as my first few times out have been thwarted by clouds, dew, not enough cool down, bad seeing and hurricane force winds blowing the tripod around (well maybe that's a slight exaggeration :D). I can see that given the right conditions that this will be a good scope for lunar and planetary observations as well a some deep sky stuff.

Regards

Jimmy.

Edited by Jimmy Stix

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a, where you went to get advice?

I went to the local camera shop and they had some Helios telescopes on display. They also referred me to Paul Money ( Sky at Night Magazine equipment Reviews ) no less as he was i beleive based in Boston at the time (1992).

b, how helpful or not was the advice?

the fact that i was able to look at the scopes in the flesh was a big deciding factor for me. also Paul Money replied to my email and was very helpful and also pointed me in the direction of the local astronomy club,

c, what sort of scopes did you look at?

i was looking at the Helios refractors first as i was more familiar with this design but also looked at the Helios reflectors.

d, what did you buy?

i ended up buying an 8 inch Helios Explorer

e, why did you buy what you bought?

i wanted the biggest aperture for the money i had available

f, how has it worked out-what did you like/dislike

it was great to finally be able to do some serious observing, unfortunately i had to sell the scope in 2005 as i needed a deposit for a flat. In 2009 i bought another scope, same spec, Helios Explorer 200 and started to get back into it all.

overall i am pleased i managed to get back into the hobby and have been very grateful of all the advice and comments i have received whilst on SGL. the scope itself performs great and i have had many happy hours observing.

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a) where you went to get advice

I started off not knowing the differences between a refractor and a reflector and not REALLY knowing what my requirements were. Initial digging in Google revealed the fast scope for deep space / slow ones for planets and the respective benefits of refractors and reflectors. Took a bit of digging to work our what a "Mak" is - rarely referred to this as a search term in Google - or that there were other hybrid types. I was aware that alt/az and eq mounts are different but had no idea that eq mounts are effectively graded by carrying capacity (still not sure if this some kind of standard or just an adopted approach). Main places that kept coming up in searches were Bristol Cameras, Harrison Telescopes, SGL and Cloudy Nights. It became clear pretty early on which makes are well regarded and which are not so searches focused on reviews of specific models for more info.

:evil6: how helpful (or not) was the advice

Generally, very. Proviso: as noted by other respondents, there are distinct camps devoted to types (and brands to a lesser extent) of telescopes and mounts; this bias needs to be considered (a surprising number of "get a big dob" style responses to all beginners, regardless of need :icon_eek: ). The first thing that became clear was that I needed realistic expectations regarding what I wanted the scope for - £300 clearly wasn't going to get a "do it all" scope (and now know that no such thing exists). Possibly the most important lesson was the mount is critical and the OTA can be replaced more easily.

Having identified "observing, with a desire to take on astrophotography", a few things became clear: eq rather than alt/az, over-spec mount for increased stability, at least RA motor. I am happy star-hopping so GOTO is not important to me. OTA selection was more tricky and I settled on an "ah sod it" approach in the end when a good option came up. Somebody wanting wow factor looking at DSOs probably would be better off with a big dob :D

Something that would be VERY useful is a guide to picking up second hand kit. Ebay is a great place to get stuff but the possible pitfalls are enormous for a beginner. I had several abortive attempts where, thankfully, SGL members put me off "dodgy" kit. It also became clear that people are unwilling to say something is a bit rubbish, but you will know enthusiastic encouragement when you get it (thanks AndyH!).

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

All sorts, and many of each. I started off looking at the biggest newts I could afford, then learnt about the importance of the mount and realised none of the buy-new deals included a mount that would be stable enough for AP. FLO have excellent combo selectors for HEQ5 and bigger mounts with most of the OTAs but these were well out of my price bracket.

Went on to look at refractors, then ended up with a good steer when I spoke with FLO - this is when I learnt about fast / slow scopes and their merits. Decided at that point I wanted about a 150mm f5 newt and a 80 -100mm f10ish refractor - to use alternately for imaging / guiding as subject dictates. Briefly considered various Maks and others but nothing anywhere near by budget suited. Was about settled on a 2nd hand Orion Europa 150 and Skywatcher 120mm refractor until I realised the combined weight!

d) what did you buy

Eventually bought (this week) a TAL 2M.

e) why did you buy what you bought

Solid mount, RA motor, renowned high quality optics, cheap on Ebay, most positive reaction from SGL members to queries about it (following some decidedly luke-warm responses to other potential purchases!).

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Cannot really say on this yet as we have had a 100' cloud base since I got it home! Definitely like rock-solid build (think the OTA and pillar were fashioned from Russian tank gun barrels!) and KISS (keep it simple, silly) construction approach. Really sensible design decisions like captive nuts so you cannot lose the buggers in the dark and so on.

I am planning to get a motor corrector so I can even out the RA worm screw motion and avoid the need for 240V mains supply... Also thinking about motorising the dec axis but this will be a bit trickier.

Sorry this is longer than a few lines - hope it helps!

Edited by jamespels

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a) where you went to get advice?

I went on the internet, looked in online shops that sell scopes.

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice?

Helpful

c) what sort of scopes did you look at?

Maks and small dobs

d) what did you buy?

I bought a heritage 130p

e) why did you buy what you bought.?

aperture size, cheap, folds away.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it?

quite good, grab and go, easy to set up, easy to move. dislikes not any barlows, only 2 e.p

plus any overall impressions.?

good, wont break the bank, easy to use, portable, quick to target object. nice red dot finder, robust, light weight.

Edited by mr saddo

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a) where you went to get advice

Articles on the subject written for websites of the amateur community

Reviews of specific products or comparisons published by actual consumers/users from the amateur community

Manufacturer sites - some allow only comparison of specifications; others offer immensely useful advice like Televue.com

Retailer sites - Company 7's perspective is unlike any other I've found. Most retailers simply regurgitate the specs and marketing blabber from the factory

Internet forums - you can ask questions to clarify your understanding, or read answers to questions similar to yours which have already been asked. Sometimes you find a good question you hadn't thought of yet, and often times the answer is there too.

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

The helpful advice is out there if you aggregate it from enough authoritative sources, take leads from what you find and then ask questions

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

still looking at everything

d) what did you buy

I evaluated several binocular, a smaller cassegrain type scope and a smaller refractor so far.

e) why did you buy what you bought

I haven't made any purchase decisions yet but I'm mostly evaluating smaller and simpler scopes for their ease of use and portability since I like to observe from the field

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

plus any overall impressions.

The best summary of what I've found so far is that you get what you pay for. No other parameter has really shown to have anywhere near as dramatic effect on the results as this one. I've compared tiny binocular to huge ones, little refractors to much a much larger SCT. Short focal length to long, high magnification to lower. While I've seen noticeable differences that one would expect owing to the differences in design as it relates to optical physics, the overall impression of the products have consistently correlated to their price. The industry seems to produce a wide gamut of quality and it also seems adept at pricing it. I can compare two completely different sizes and designs and if the price is similar, the overall impression will be similar. A low priced item that makes tall promises whether it's a telescope with a bigger mirror or huge binocular, will simply suck compared to a modestly specified product such as an 80mm refractor or some medium sized binocular that is built to exacting standards and costs far more than really ambitious low-quality item.

It's accepted that you can't defy physics, but the range of physical parameters practically available to the amateur is fairly limited overall. As a result, quality in design, materials, and manufacture has far more to do with the end result than what I felt I was led to believe by the amateur community that seems primarily preoccupied with physical parameters and mostly nominal and calculated specifications.

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a) where you went to get advice

SGL, UKastroimaging, web generally and manufacturers, actual shops!

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Very useful

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Skywatcher Skyliner 200 P flexitube and Skyliner Explorer 200 PDS + EQ5 PRO mount

d) what did you buy

Explorer 200 PDS

e) why did you buy what you bought

Base of the flexitube 200 was too big to go through the door of our motorhome. Wanted a scope for both planets and deep space photography

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Still on order!

plus any overall impressions.

Most astronomere are happy to show off their equipment and to provide advice!

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Hi,

a) where you went to get advice

I already had an overview of different types of telescope from

my school physics, but needed advice as to what would suit my

needs. I got this initially by reading on-line and then paying a

couple of visits Rother Valley Optics.

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

I felt that I received the advice to make an informed decision.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

SW Newtonians and Maks

d) what did you buy

SW 150P on EQ3-2

e) why did you buy what you bought

I decided not to consider GOTO but spend the money on the

largest reasonably portable scope

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

As I have only had it a couple of weeks and used it only once due

to adverse weather I reserve judgement on this.

Clear Skies - soon please :)

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Where you went to get advice:

SGL/books/varios web sites

How helpfull was the advice:

Very

What sort of scopes did you look at:

Fast imaging Newt/ED80 frac

What scope did you buy:

Orion ED80 on CG-5(non GT)

Why did you buy what you got:

Recomended for imaging + got it second hand.

How has it worked out for you:

It is a great, easy scope and I think i will always own it even if I upgrade, due to its wide FOV.

HTH AB! :)

Michael

Edited by msinclairinork

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well, i got all my advice from the lounge (here)

it was most helpful advice too

what did i look at...... everything, and wanted it too :)

what did i buy... a TAL 150p as the TALs are raved about in almost all circles (and for good reason)

how has it worked out you ask..... fantastic! i cant hold the TAL in any higher regard, superb!! :)

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For you it would be a pleasure Astro-baby. :)

a) where you went to get advice

Various astronomy blogs and forums found thanks to random google searches. The final step I took just before making the purchase was a youtube video search to see exactly what my selected telescope was capable of.

;) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Yes very helpful, I was mostly viewing 'impartial' advice by amateur astronomers and night sky enthusiasts, steering clear of telescope dealers and sources closely affiliated with a single dealer.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Any scope under £100, this was as far as my budget could stretch. It didn't take long to find out that reflector telescopes offer more bang for your bucks.

d) what did you buy

Celestron powerseeker 114eq reflector telescope. £75 new.

e) why did you buy what you bought

For me it was all about aperture size vs price. Also the Celestron name played a part as I consider them a well respected scope manufacturer.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

It has worked out well and overall I'm very happy with my bargain scope, I really like the eq mount and the ease of which targets can be tracked using the slow motion controls, The scope body and optics also get a thumbs up. Celestron supply a red dot led view finder, in my opinion much better than a 'cross hair' type viewfinder normally associated with scopes at this price.

My only gripe is with the quality of the tripod, it could be a bit beefier as strong gusts of wind or very light contact during viewing causes a lot of vibration.

The scope comes with 3 eyepieces (k20, h12, sr4) and a 3x barlow. I'm not a huge fan of the sr4 eyepiece and I expect to replace this perhaps with a 6mm plossl in the future.

plus any overall impressions.

So far I've seen Jupiter with its cloud belts and 4 moons, Saturn in immense detail (more than I expected), The moon's craters in incredible sharp detail as well as the orion nebula, The ISS, lots of iridium flares and loads of stars down to at least mag 10.

All objects viewed since the I made the purchase around 6 months ago and not bad considering the lack of clear night skies in this time.

I look forward to your article. :)

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- info/advice

Everyone is a beginner in some things and an old hand in others. Much of my knowledge was theoretical and I needed practical advice about an actual telescope. If I didn't ask any questions in SGL it was because they had been asked and answered before. There is so much collective experience here that I found the answers quickly and from many different perspectives.

- choices/decisions

If I lived in the country under dark skies I would have got a light bucket, but I don't. I realised that the solar system would be the primary target and deep sky an extra. I narrowed it down to a long refractor in the 4" to 5" range because I wanted something portable, robust, unfussy and I had an idea that its high contrast would help to cut through light pollution.

- what

TAL 100RS on an unmotorised EQ5 mount and some good quality but old fashioned eyepieces.

- why

It looked like the best optics on a sturdy mount for the money and it has received uniformly good reviews. I noticed that owners have a particularly warm affection for it.

- result

It is what I was looking for, the 5" version would have been nice but is hard to find and much more expensive. It's had a few outings and has yet to show its limits because seeing conditions have not been good enough. I have now found several Messier objects with it which surprised me given the conditions. It's a well made machine. The only thing I changed was the 6x30 finder which was too small to navigate by - I found myself using binoculars to find things - I replaced it with a 10x60 finder which is like having the binoculars built in.

Edited by SimonR

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a) where you went to get advice

Astronomy magazines, internet.

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Pretty helpful- I got to know the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of scope and what would be likely to be best value for my limited budget.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Small reflectors.

d) what did you buy

Celestron 114mm Newtonian reflector.

e) why did you buy what you bought

Reputation of company and quality of optics.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

It was a good scope which kept me going for a coouple of years. I liked the ease of set up and collimation. Optics were good but I became frustrated with the size- wanted to move up to something bigger.

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a) where you went to get advice

Interweb, previous knowledge

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

I took no advice as such I made a decision based on my own research

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

small refractors, small maks and small sct's on goto

d) what did you buy

nexstar5

e) why did you buy what you bought

it was the largest apparture scope I could carry on my back for some distance and the price was right

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

it does most things I want it to do (except imaging) I would like bigger but thats not practicable given my circumstances which was why a newtonion was never considered. i like the goto its accurate enough to find things in my light polluted skys I like its portability I can fit the whole thing in a large rucksack and walk to a relatively darker site. I dislike the narrow field of view but like the magnification on planets. one reason why I chose the sct over the mak is its slightly more versatile. my ideal telescope would have an apparture of 12 inches would have a wide view for dso's take magnification for planets have a mount capable of goto, tracking and guiding so that I could image weigh 2kg fit into a small rucksack and cost under £200 pounds as you can see the nexstar doesn't come close but the price was right and except for imaging. At least partially ticks all the right boxes.

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a) where you went to get advice

I Didn't bother

b) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Again I didn't take any

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Any mount that wasn't Counter Wieghted and had GOTO and tracking.

d) what did you buy

Meade ETX90

e) why did you buy what you bought

It fit the bill and I couldn't afford the ETX125

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

At first it didn't work out as I could never be bothered to align it and used to use it looking out through an open Velux window.

That was 6 years ago.

I have since got over my laziness and have had many great nights viewing. Have finaly decided I want something bigger and still not a fan of EQ mounts so after searching CN, SGL and any other review I could find I decided to get a Meade LS-6 as I like the idea of LS Technology.

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a) where you went to get advice

Here, there and everywhere. Lots of Google and Youtube searches. Also visited two shops in the Manchester area

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Lots of information to be found online. More video reviews / tutorials would be great. One shop gave great advice - Opticstar on Washway Road, Sale.

The other shop wasn't quite so great. Telling me I could image fine on an EQ3 with manual guiding and the most important piece of equipment would be the camera. That went against everything I'd read / been told before.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Only reflectors

d) what did you buy

Skywatcher 150p and the standard HEQ-5 mount

e) why did you buy what you bought

Not being a total noob to astronomy, I wanted something fairly substantial and sturdy that I wasn't going to outgrow too quickly. I had a TAL-1 years ago which I loved, but without a whole world of information at my fingertips, I never managed to align the mount or attach a (film) camera for photography. Astrophotography is something I've always wanted to do, which is why I bought what I bought. I spent as much as I could on a sturdy mount, and went for the 150p instead of the 200p to keep the weight down.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Worked out great, although I've only had about a 1 hour window in the wind, rain and cloud since I got it on Wednesday. Thanks to asro-baby's polar scope tutorial and a video tutorial found on youtube, I managed to get it set up and aligned within about 20 mins which I didn't think was too bad for a first attempt. It was good enough to get a 30 second image without any noticeable star trails. Next time I'll use a spirit level on the tripod and see how much it improves!

Hope that helps :)

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a) where you went to get advice

This forum. Google searches, FLO website and phonecalls, Manufacturers' websites.

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

From here... very good. From Google searches, obviously variable. FLO was a good site for tech info of scopes, as were the manufacturers' sites. Phone help from FLO was good.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

4 to 8" Newtonians.

d) what did you buy

6" Newt. SW150P on a EQ3-2.

e) why did you buy what you bought

best price performance ratio. Proper parabolic mirror, 2" focuser capability, direct SLR connection for prime focus imaging, and had so many recommendations for this as a first scope I'd be silly not to consider it.

I bought it from Stockport Telescope and Binocular Centre, simply because they are near, and had one in stock... and I'm impatient. If I could have waited (and been in to receive a parcel) I would have ordered from FLO because it was cheaper, and the advice I got over teh phone was good.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

So far.... it's been raining!

Easy to assemble. Good instructions. Quality seems superb, and even the small EQ3-2 mount seems very stable with this scope (considering it's price).

The annoying thing is the way the secondary collimation screws are tiny little allen headed screws hidden way down those little holes... but a small gripe all things considered.

Edited by pook

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i searched forums for advice and viewed astropics to get an idea of quality

most of the advice was good

gotos

skywatcher skymax 127 goto

best value for money

on the whole good but have to set up the goto each time i use it which requires some knowledge of stars which i did not have to start with so had to buy a book

shakes when focussing, could be me needing to set it up better?

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a) where you went to get advice

online stores and forums and sadly sbtc (stockport binocular & telescope centre)

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

everything i read online was excellent, but visiting sbtc in person they were useless and just tried ramming products down my throat!

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

refractors mainly the skywatcher range due to budget

e) why did you buy what you bought

in the end up i didnt buy a scope,a family member ended up given me a 72mm refractor

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

have not yet been able to use the scope,other than set up the rdf due to poor conditions :-(

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a) where you went to get advice

Google, here, Sky at Night website, Astronomy Now's website,

:) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Very. Obviously some conflicting advice from different sources but two main messages kept coming through "the best scope is the one that gets used the most" and "avoid cheap go-to for a 1st scope"

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

Newtonian reflectors on EQ and DOB mounts

d) what did you buy

200mm skywatcher newt on EQ5 mount

e) why did you buy what you bought

knew I wanted the option of doing astrophotography so an EQ mount won over the extra aperture I could have had for the same money on a dob

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

Absolutely love it, especially after adding tracking motors the EQ5 has really shone, its great to be able to keep a target bang in the middle of the view and take your time to really observe it instead of rotating the RA control by hand, which invariably leads to vibrating the mount.

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FGreat idea B-B....and helpful to newbs (like me!)

a) where you went to get advice

A combination of a mate of mine, lurked on here for ages, your website, and UKAI. Some astronomy mags as well.

;) how helpful (or not) was the advice

Advice from here has been spot-on. This is one of the friendliest forums that I have come across.

c) what sort of scopes did you look at

All sorts. I dipped my toe in the water with a Celestron 127mm reflector.

Then bought a 2nd hand Nexstar 8 GPS. I am getting into DSO imaging, so after a lot of research on here, have bought a SW Equinox 80 and EQ6

d) what did you buy

As above.

e) why did you buy what you bought

I wanted the simplicity of GOTO with the NexStar. The price looked about right and it was after a lot of searching on eBay.

I bought the Equinox and EQ6 following research on here. I opted for the EQ6 to give some element of future-proofing.

f) how has it worked out - what do you like with it/dislike with it

The 'scopes seem to have a magical effect on the cloud cover.....:)

Pretty pleased with it TBH. The Nexstar is mainly used for Lunar imaging now and visual stuff.

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