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First scope, Opinions?


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Hello all.

I have recently joined the forum and was wondering if i could ask some questions about beginner scopes.

Doc, has already suggested,with my budget of £200, A skywatcher explorer 130p SupaTrak Auto.

This looks like a good scope and seems to have good reviews, My girlfriend and I are interested in starting this hobby up again and would love to be able to see some close ups of the moon, maybe planets and even more?

Does anyone have any experience with this scope at all, or know what would be visible through a scope of this specification?

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The 130 gets rave reviews from owners. I've used another brand 130 f5 and was surprised at how good the view of Jupiter was. Another option could be a dobsonian, in particular, the Skywatcher Skyliner 150P. It's in another league to the 130 for the views you'll get. But it's fully manual, you'll have to find the objects yourself and then track them by hand. But the optical system is true planet killer and will provide some real wow factor moments with the planets and moon. But also a capable deepsky scope for clusters and galaxies.

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian

Edited by russ
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Hello Russ, yes i did look at the dobsonian, however where i live it is very undulating and there is very small amounts of flat ground, also to get to an area which is suitable would have to walk about 15 minutes, and it looks rather cumbersome and hefty! so i think i will stick with a scope like the 130p sta.

I must say, everyone is very helpful here, i am getting alot of feedback very quickly! i was part of another astronomy forum, gut they were not quite as helpful as this one!

so what kind of things can i expect/hope to see :D

Many thanks,

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If you could up your budget a little it might be worth getting the explorer 150P (or PL). you could always buy the tracking motors later (might be a worthy purchase if youre taking turns at the eyepiece as things can move out of view quite quickly).

If portability is a huge issue then it may be worth looking at the SKYMAX 127 as well - the skymax is very portable and is most suited to lunar and planetary viewing.

try searching on you tube to find videos people have webcammed through their skymax/explorer 130 or 150 -they might give you a good idea what you will see.

good luck

warren

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Thankyou, thats a great help!

Where abouts would be the cheapest to purchase a 150p? however i have just seen picture of it, and again looks rather large, other half is very space conscious!

If i stick with 130p sta, do you think this would be sufficient for a beginner scope, and still be able to see lots?

Edited by Astorix
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Ok will check out FLO many thanks!

also i have heard that for best views of the moon, a moon filter is advisable! where can i get one cheap? or do some telescopes come with them as i take it they are the most common filter?

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I can vouch for the sky watcher 150 on a eq mount cuz i've got one. the views are very good and you'd only have to raise your budget a little. Saturn looked fab at the weekend. I think a moon filter is probably a good idea with it though as when i view the moon it is very bright and ruins my night vision.

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Despite what you say about the dob and flat ground I would seriously consider one. They really don't take up much room - eg my 12" dob takes up less room than just the tripod for my refractor.

you would only need maybe a two foot square to set the scope down and then enough room for the chair or what have you. I use a flat site (my garden) but I gather they can take a slight slope. if you are handy then you could make a wedge for your regular spot and some way of securing it but I'd be surprised if you could not find a spot suitable making this unnecessary.

if you have to walk 15 minutes to observe, I'd really not fancy that with any scope - most will be quite big - I bet you'll be surprised. Try and see a few before you order online if you can. also, weight - I think the skywatcher 130P is about 45 pounds and the dob about 5 pounds more.

whatever you choose enjoy it and as I mentioned on the other thread don't forget used equipment from a good source - well worth it. nearly all my stuff has been bought used from this forum.

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NB The 150 is only a fraction larger in dimensions than the 130 so it shouldn't create any great space issues (pun not intended). The 130 is a good starter scope but remember - aperture is king!! Most people will agree that the scope they have is never big enough. I would desperately love the skywatcher 300. I live in hope :D

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Evening all, very helpfull comments again, thankyou!

Well, i have just thought, if i stick with the 130p sta for now, i will be using that for quite some time and not get bored, untill i can afford more. and as you said, if i bought the 150, i would just want more, its a neverending cycle!

And considering i have never looked through a scope larger than some plastic tube from national geographic, i highly doubt if i purchase the 130p i will want more straight away as i don't know what I'm missing!

Also i like the looks of the motor which should be easy to operate for me and the other half, and friends as well that have started showing a real interest in astronomy ever since i told them i was getting a scope!

I look forward to a group of us going out having some drinks, relaxing and taking in the views!

I think i will stick with the Skywatcher explorer 130p sta atm :D

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I dont think you'll have much to compalin about with a 130. If its any help I came back to the hobby after a very long absence. My previous scope had been a 4.5" reflector and although quite good (by the standards of 1977) it was a positovely hokey experience compared with the 130.

I bought a 130 on almost a whim and it was a great scope - far better than I had imagined it would be and as I have said before my bet is few peple ecer exploit the scopes potential because aperture fever sets in and people often upgrade fast.

I think if you could push the budget a 150 might be a bit better but it can be a never ending cycle if your not careful.

What will you see - well the moon will be awsome, rings of Saturn, Jupiter and its moons, great cluster in Hercules, two cluster in Perseus, Orion Nebula, Pleiades all look good.

JUst remember even HUGE telescopes dont render views in color on deep sky objects and very many deep sky objects are not caled faint fuzzies for nothing - its not the view though is the fact your seeing it at all which makes it awesome.

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You really won't have any issues with the view through the 130, they are a great scope.

In terms of size and footprint, you do realise the 130M is larger than the 150P. Just thought i would pop that in if space is an issue. It's the length of the tube that counts for space and the 130M is 150mm longer than the 150P. The 150P really is a small tube in the flesh and the EQ3 is a lightweight mount with a footprint no larger than the EQ2.

But i can see the appeal of the 130M, already a very capable scope, £60 cheaper, comes with the motor and leaves money for more eyepieces. So totally respect your decision.

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Thankyou Astro baby and Russ, very helpful comments! but i am going with the 130p supatrak auto which is 650 FL so just as short as 150 :D

I cannot wait to see the m13! where abouts is it atm?

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For easy finding of everything in the sky, download the free software 'Stellarium' It's fab and free too.

It tells you where everything is live so you don't have to work out where the planets have moved to week by week

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A free planetarium like Stellarium is a great tool and you can (I assume) print yourself paper charts from it to take into the field. I can't do with computer screens anywhere near visual observation, though some can. I would get a large format paper chart book like SkyAtlas 2000 (Wil Tirion) and a red head torch each. (Decathlon have cheap white light ones which you can convert with red cellophane.) You do need a set of charts or things will be very frustrating, and they are lovely to ponder on a cloudy night.

Olly

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Stellarium runs in night mode (red screen) so your night vision is not affected much. plus if you turn the brightness of your screen down it can be very unobtrusive. I tend to check it just before i go out and if needs be make a few notes. it works very well on a lap top in night mode tho. Try it for a night, it's free, so you've got nothin to lose :D

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just to through my experiance into the ring,

the Skywatcher 130p autotrak was the first scope i bought and it`s very easy to use, set up and operate, i would recommend one 100%

i sold mine to try imaging with a bigger scope and eq mount but costs do mount up when you go down this route although i did some imaging with a webcam on the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter with the Skywatcher which worked very well.

i sold my scope to a new member on here some time ago for £130 but it was in as new condition with all the boxes so look out in the for sale section to save you some money, also if buy from a dealer ask them to through in a Moon filter, thats what i did.

good luck and i hope the weather holds for us all.

cheers Rob

P.S. that is a picture of the 130p in my avitar above , the legs can extend further in height also.

Edited by red dwalf
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