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Newbie Telescope Selection Query


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Hello all.

After a couple of years toying with the idea of getting a telescope, I'm almost ready to take the plunge. To start with, I'd be interested in planetary spotting and more local phenomena then moving on to more deep sky objects. I'm not planning on astrophotography yet but might drop into it later. Basically, I'm after a scope that I can 'grow' into.

I've identified a couple of telescopes (having had a look at this forum and astronomy now / sky at night) and mounts and would appreciate feedback / thoughts on using them as a newbie / grow-into-ability:

Skymax 150 & EQ5 mount

Explorer 200P DS & EQ 5 mount

Would it be worth shelling out extra for either of these:

Skymax 180 & EQ5 mount

Explorer 250P DS & EQ5 mount

Any feedback / comments recived greatfully!

Jon

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mmm, Well if you want to just concentrate on the Moon & the planets, you won't go wrong with either the Skymax 150/180, but saying that you might also want to dabble into Astropotography later, the Explorer 200P DS is a good scope, it can be used for Moon & planets also for DSO work. Its a reasonable size as well to manage.

For visual the EQ5 will suffice, for astrophotography I would recommend something like a HEQ5/EQ6. Hope that helps.

Nadeem.

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Nadeem,

Thanks for the points - am I correct in thinking that the HEQ5 is the EQ5 with motors and electrical control added and that you can buy the motor add-on kit?

I can't tell from the manuals from Skywatcher's website.

Jon

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Hi Jon - best thing to do first is decide on your budget. You won't go wrong with a 150P on an EQ mount (the "P" is for parabolic) which is what I started with. Yes EQ will be required for photography and so to will some sort of tracking motor. Goto isn't essential cos you can learn the sky which is a lot of fun - but really down to personal preference.

Factor into the budget the need for accessories (e.g. eye pieces, motors, power source, collimator, etc) and the fact that when you pay for electronics you may be sacrificing optical quality wich is paramount.

Light gathering is also essential and the best bang for buck is with Newtonians. Refractors of the same aperture cost a heck of a lot more. Generally go for the biggest aperture possible within budget leaving enough for the extras.

Btw - supplied ep's tend to be basic so you may want a couple of higher quality ones once you know what your're looking for.

Hope that helps :eek:

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I've just gone for the Explorer 200 PDS on a HEQ5 mount. Looks great, though the cloud cover hasn't allowed me to get much use out of it yet. My only comment would be that you need to decide where you will be using it. The whole package is really quite heavy and needs to be moved in at least two pieces and assembled where you will be viewing. If you only need to move it outside to the garden, this is fine, if you live in an apartment and need to lug it up and down stairs, you need to be prepared for a number of trips. I assume the 250 on an EQ6 would be heavier.

Portability and what you will be using it for are, in my opinion, crucial to deciding which to go for.

Edited by Moon Lander
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Agreed and why I akways sugget beginners think about where and when they will observe.

Once you add GoTo to that lot you are talking about lugging a bettery pack as well plus eyepieces, plus a torch - it all starts to add up to a hefty weight of gear to lug about.

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Budget-wise I'm looking at in the region of £800 (plus or minus a bit).

Portability isn't a huge concern (as long as I can move the scope and mount to the car and then erect it on site - less than 30m from the car).

Initial efforts will be mostly planetary eventually getting into to photography and deep sky observations.

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Nadeem,

Thanks for the points - am I correct in thinking that the HEQ5 is the EQ5 with motors and electrical control added and that you can buy the motor add-on kit?

I can't tell from the manuals from Skywatcher's website.

Jon

No the HEQ5 is a heavier duty mount. Somewhere between the EQ5 and the EQ6

Richard

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