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What next £500 to spend

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Ive had my Skywatcher Explorer 250 OTA and Skywatcher EQ6 Pro SynScan (being the bigest investment)for a few months now and am very happy with it originally my imaging was aimed at DSO's im not turning to the Solar System and maybe in the summer the sun, whilst i love the Skywatcher Explorer 250 its big and akward at times and I do find the collimation a bit of a pain at times, so as we all do im loooking for my second scope im thinking a refractor but am not sure what ?, as i have the mount im looking for something around £500 and would welcome thoughts

John B

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I've seen some stunning DSO pictures by different author using the 80ED. In fact it seams to be the most common scope on the astro photographers gear. I suspect there is a good reason why so many try and keep it. And if you go for 2nd hand you'll still have cash left for another item.

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I'm not sure if I've misread your inital post- if you're NOW considering imaging the planets, then a small refractor won't have the resolution you need.

A Skywatcher Mak 180 is probably within your budget and should get you some very nice planetary images, but it'll take a long time to cool down, so probably needs to be stored outside.

If however you're NOT looking to image the planets, and instead want a small scope that doesn't require collimation, then a small refractor will give you some great widefield images. The Skywatcher ED 80 is a good value package and is widely used to great effect. Fit & finish is good but not quite top notch from what I've read. The Meade 80mm ED scope came top in a recent Sky @ Night group test, but I get the impression that the review criteria were quite subjective.

I've got my heart set on TV85 simply because of the fit & finish, but in all honesty, I doubt that the views will be very different from any of the 80mm refractors in your price range. I've had a few looks through a WO ZenithStar 80 and been quite impressed with the quality of the views and the feel.

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