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Recommendation with budget of £400-500


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Basically im finally at point where i can afford a fairly decent telescope, but being a relative newbie when it comes to astronomy im finding it hard to pick one

Basically my requirements are the following:

- Budget of £400-500

- plan on viewing a few planets with it, but also hopefully a few galaxy's and other deep space objects

- which means i need a wide aperture but guessing with that budget i will have to compromise a little

- Would like a GoTo attachment or similar thing, just to make it a easier for me to find things,

- Actual size/weight of the scope isnt really a big factor for me, wont be moving around it too much as live in an area of low light pollution

- If possible to be able to mount a dslr,

I was originally thinking of a Celestron NexStar 4SE or Skywatcher 127 SkyMax, but after reading reviews, it seems they are limited by there small aperture size and with them only being around the lower end of my budget im thinking i can get something a little better

so any help or recommendations would be greatly appreciated :p

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Push your buget a little and get a Skywatcher 150P with goto.

Sherwoods do them for £520.00 (scroll down about half way)

Big enough to do what you want, but small enough to transport in the boot of a car. You'll also need a battery but they can be picked up from Maplins for £25.00 if you wait for them to come up on offer which they do on a regular basis.

Will give you years of satisfying gazing before you need to move up to something bigger. Lots of members here cut their teeth with this scope. I have one and love it.

:)

* Edit * The site sponsors are even cheaper and running an eyepiece offer. :p

Edited by thesatanbug
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The fly in the ointment is your last item on the wishlist:

" If possible to be able to mount a dslr"

How about this:

Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 200P DS OTA

or this:

Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 150P DS OTA

Used on this:

Skywatcher - Skywatcher EQ5 Deluxe

Then later on adding this:

Skywatcher - SynScan PRO GOTO Version 3 Upgrade Kit for EQ5

Astrophotography is horribly expensive to get geared up for (I would love to do it, but am giving it an extremely wide berth).

Probably pay to get and read "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards (Steppenwolf here) Books - Making Every Photon Count - Steve Richards (sorry Steve I am avoiding buying this like the plague, as I know I will get addicted and can't even begin to think about that yet, lmao!), before you part with a penny.

There's a lot of enjoyment to be had sticking with the strictly visual (I use one of these at the moment, and love it to bits Startravel - Skywatcher Startravel 120 (AZ3) ). Finding your way around sort of happens anyway along the way (Stellarium is a huge help and it's free Stellarium ), and I for one don't mind getting utterly lost amongst outrageously enjoyable views. :p

I must admit if I hadn't been extremely wary of light gathering power due to my eyes, the uncertainty of being able to control that light gathering and inadvertently ending up damaging my eyes, and a further mitigating concern over getting something highly usable as a daytime spotting 'scope (to doubly ensure value, as the only bad 'scope is one that doesn't get used), so I'd never have to think of 'binning it' by selling it, I'd have gone for one of these:

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian

Nearly all of the money is going into the telescope itself, very little is going into the base, and that's some serious observing power to get your hands on. Mounting rings and a heavy duty mount for astrophotography could be added later.

Add a few nice eyepieces (which don't have to be expensive) and a decent Barlow, and you are set for life (as long as you can avoid aperture fever *grins* and a 10" might just be enough to give that a miss).

If you want something a little easier to lug around, the 200mm is very popular with members here for very good reason (personally I wish Skywatcher did the 200mm with the 1500mm fl tube - I'd have one like a shot, not so much for the F number, but for the viewing comfort of my back) Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

You'd have enough change with the 200mm for eyepieces, a collimation device Collimation - Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece red led torch, and books, star atlas, etc., to get you up and running.

Don't ignore secondhand though, decide what you want (that is indeed the hard bit, and mainly involves whittling down the 'want' to the 'need' to get a result that's a long term success), and keep your eyes peeled, and you can save a lot of money. Lots of nice eyepieces come up secondhand too (I picked up 3 lovely Baader Hyperions and tuning rings off here very reasonably, for example).

Oh and even though you don't suffer from much light pollution, still pick up a Light Pollution Filter (the Skywatcher is great value Light Pollution Reduction - Skywatcher Light Pollution Filter). I didn't get around to them for too long, as with little light pollution here, it didn't tend to be something I thought about, and I didn't appreciate how much they would help with contrast as well.

I'm still kicking myself about that, to be honest. :)

Best of luck whichever way you go, the more experienced hands on here will give you far better advice than I will, but as a relative newby to the sport myself, that's the sort of stuff I've gathered along the way, and anything significantly off will be pointed out by the others and we'll both learn from it. :D

Edited by Ogri
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Very nice post but at the end you want to:

Observe planets, observe DSO's, do astrophotography and it has to be a goto. Please don't get me wrong but anything in the world of amateur astronomy that's missed out?;):D

For astrophotography you really need a mount that alone exceeds the budget you state.:)

Weight and size are a factor, unless you have the scope housed permanently outside. The mount counted as a minimum for astrophotography is best described as HEAVY, the better option is even heavier, and thats without a scope and the counter weights attached.:D

The 127 mentioned is good for general observing and will show DSO's, what you do is not try and observe with large magnifications. They usually come on a goto mount that is Alt/Az.:(

If you stick a DSLR on the rear it will be too heavy and out of balance for the drive unit and being Alt/Az isn't great for AP to start with.B)

You can get the 127's on an equitorial mount which would be better for AP, you can then adjust the balance to improve things for the motors. But the 127 itself being long focal length then isn't good for AP.:p

However if that route is considered for AP the mount should be the HEQ5 (£600). The EQ3 will probably not be up to it (extra weight of DSLR etc). Not sure how the EQ5 stands. All EQ options will require motors. Generally not goto, that costs a lot.

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Thanks for all the replies guys :p all very helpful!

It has given me a lot to think about!

But what i think at the moment is that the best option for me, will be to focus on the mount, scope and eye pieces for the time being. And leave the Goto and heavy mounts for AP for a later date. Which in a way is better i guess as it will mean i will learn the sky a bit better

As for the scopes, i do like the look of the Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX and 200P Dobsonian. But no so much the mount. If i did get one of those scopes, what mount could i get for it? would the E5Q mount actually fit it?

Next thing would be eye pieces, what would you say would be the best ones to start out with? and should i go for 1.25" or 2" ?

Thanks again!

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Its mainly me being fussy really, but mainly not so keen on it being close to the ground. I mean i could live with the mount fine at first, but at some point i would like to get a better one, so i could take up AP and add a GoTo attachment at some point in the future. So was just wondering what my mounting options would be for them

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Maybe then you'd be better off with a reflector on an EQ mount like this Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 200P EQ5

Would leave you with a bit off cash left over for other stuff, eyepieces or whatever, and when funds allowed you could add GOTO if you wanted to.

I can confirm that if you want to have a serious go a AP then it is going to cost a lot more. I have this OTA and the EQ5 mount with GOTO, and have tried DSLR photography with this setup. But to get reasonable results (and I want to), I would be looking at buying a new heavier duty mount (like the HEQ5 or EQ6) and investing in a new scope to act as a guidescope, and a guidescope camera (all in all probably another £1000 including all the gubbins), even if I carried on using my DSLR!

Edited by Black Knight
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The AP thing is a red herring in my view. When and if you start imaging the instrument of choice will be a small apo refractor for very many reasons. They are not too expensive but they are not very good in visual use. Too small. I would remove AP from the equation and concentrate on the visual observing options at this stage.

Dobsonian mounts are great, smooth, stable and running in an instant. You could maybe try some scopes at an astro soc near you? There is bound to be one somewhere to hand.

Olly

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Dobsonian mounts, IMO, are brilliant. Set up takes literaly seconds and they are supremely steady. Yes an EQ5 will hold a Skywatcher 200p scope but its a big tube on a heavy mount. Forget about astro photography for the time being and get an 8" Newtonian on Dobsonian mount such as the Skywatcher Skyliner 200p it is an excellent scope. This scope will be more than good enough on deep sky objects and planets alike in order to develop a real interest in astronomy, you will not out grow this scope. Once you know how to handle your scope and know a bit about the night sky then look into some better eye pieces. And further down the road if you want to give astrophotography a go you can get yourself a HEQ5 or EQ5 mount and put Newtonian tube on it.

Astronomy is a hobby where it is very easy to rush into buying a lot on expensive 'extras' much better to be patient and slowly develop your observing skills and enjoy it without regrets.

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Yeah i think thats probably the best bet at the moment, taking ap out the equation, and coming back to it when i have a better budget for such a thing. And just focus on observing at the moment

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of a Dobsonian mount compared with an EQ mount? (if we take goto and ap out the equation)

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Dobs, for;

-no polar aligning. Put it on the floor and start.

-no tripod to unfold and fasten.

-no counterweight so far less overall weight in your setup.

-very stable indeed. This is not true of budget EQ mounts.

-intuitive left-right, up-down axes of movement.

-eyepiece remains in a sensible orientation all over the sky. No need to rotate the tube in the mount to achieve this.

-makes a smaller hole in the budget available for the important bit, the optics.

Dobs against;

-you have to track the object manually. Only a significant negative for planetary-lunar targets at high powers and even then the improved view through your better optics will make it a worthwhile sacrifice.

-No use for AP (but then neither is any EQ mount below the EQ5 pro. All sorts of budget EQ mounts have, on paper, what is needed for AP. They just don't work well enough to make it viable. Trust me on that!)

Olly

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I must admit there are two things I would get with any 'scope from the word go, and with a reflector, three (eta: ignoring ancillaries like a red led torch, a small compass which is handy, and books such as Turn Left at Orion, for example).

Starting with a reflector, a collimation tool;

A Light Pollution Filter (even if you have no light pollution, for me, the option of changing the contrast of the view, and the help with a lot of DSO's, is indispensible);

A reasonable quality eyepiece with a decent field of view, that gives close to 30 x magnification in that particular 'scope.

For a 200p/250p dob with a 1200mm fl, I would get this Skywatcher - Skywatcher PanaView 2" eyepieces in 38mm (31.6 x mag is close enough).

Yes, there are 'better' eyepieces around, for a lot more money. But the speed these things (and the 32mm version) are snapped up and disappear when they come up for sale secondhand, says a lot.

With mine, I find the around 30 x mag eyepieces are almost constantly in use when I am looking at DSO's (I get this from a cheap 20mm 1.25" erfle design which works amazingly well, and my recently acquired 21mm Baader Hyperion, with my 'scope having a fl of 600mm).

I think with eyepieces it is fair to say, that around 25mm is the crossover point? 25mm and longer suit 2" EP's, 25mm and shorter suit 1.25".

Something else to consider, as a future upgrade for a dob, is the recent launch by Skywatcher of 'scopes with the GOTO dobsonian mount. I wouldn't be surprised if these mounts get offered separately at some point before too long (there's a huge potential market out there if they price it right).

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 200P FlexTube GOTO

Edited by Ogri
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have you not considered a second hand scope??

you would get alot more for your money and maybe some extras.

i got my skywatcher 250 on an eq6 off ebay in excellent condition for alot less than brand new price (around £1100)......

there are always some cracking bargains to be had in the for sale section on here, deffinatly worth checking out

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have you not considered a second hand scope??

you would get alot more for your money and maybe some extras.

i got my skywatcher 250 on an eq6 off ebay in excellent condition for alot less than brand new price (around £1100)......

there are always some cracking bargains to be had in the for sale section on here, deffinatly worth checking out

You need to have a decent post count for the sale section to be available on these forums, a pity really for someone starting out as making the initial post count without spamming mindless posts (like this one?) is a struggle.

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You need to have a decent post count for the sale section to be available on these forums, a pity really for someone starting out as making the initial post count without spamming mindless posts (like this one?) is a struggle.

50 posts is not really that many especially if you are looking into the hobby and asking a few questions on the beginner forum you could do it in a few days. IMO the forum rules regarding using the FOR SALE section are perfectly valid.

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50 posts is not really that many especially if you are looking into the hobby and asking a few questions on the beginner forum you could do it in a few days. IMO the forum rules regarding using the FOR SALE section are perfectly valid.

I agree for the most part however, im trying to ask questions as I learn and simply not spam as I also read other posts and try and research, so its certainly not taking me a couple of days though.

However like I said I do agree withthe premise of a clean moderated board.

Sorry for going of topic guys (regarding telescopes)

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