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CrazyCloud

Yes, that old chestnut again......

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Hi all! Yup, it's time for that age old question "What is the best scope for me?", once again! I am, as you have guessed, an utter beginner with a scope but after much reading of beginners literature and websites (great site btw, lots of cracking info, really found jahmasons link for beginners very useful), as well as scouring the sky by naked eye, I find my self in the enviiable position of my better half offering to buy a scope up to the value of £400! Amazing! :)

But now I find myself in a quandry. Do I choose a scope with a "GoTo" system so the little computer finds all the things I want to see? Do I jump straight in and get a 8" Dobsonion, or something else entirely? Decisions, decisions........

If you can help me decide, your advice, experiences, random info would be incredibly useful. Here's some info about what I want and my situation:

  • I have £400
  • I live in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire (not the clearest of skies, but on the cusp of the Peak District)
  • I want to view planets, nebula and other deep space objects.
  • I think fun is in the learning, i.e. I have patience :)
  • I wish to use my Digital SLR to get involved with astrophotography
  • We have a car so can transport fairly easily

Any other info you might need just ask! After researching scopes I came up with these:

SkyMax 127 SynScanTM AZ GOTO 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain - £360

EXPLORER-200 (EQ5) 200mm (8") f/1000 Parabolic Newtonian Reflector - £390

Meade 8" Lightbridge Dobsonian telescope - £380

So far I am leaning to the Lightbridge, but not being knowledgeable enough, I turn to you........

Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it!

Dan

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If you want to do astrophotography, the explorer is the only real option of those three:

the dob has no drives at all, and the AZ drives of the skymax, will cause field rotation.

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If you choose a Dobsonian, then bear in mind nyour astrophotography will be restricted a bit, and the moon and planets your main targets. A lot will depend on the scope you decide on.

If I was deciding for me, and with a budget of £400, I would

go for the Skywatcher Explorer 200P, on the EQ5 mount.

It will allow some deep sky AP, restricted to short sub lengths without guiding, but an 8" is no mean size, and will bring you some great views. If you get ambitious, you could add the Goto upgrade to the mount at a later stage too.

this one, second bottom.

http://firstlightoptics.com/products.php?cat=28&pg=2

Ron.

Edit] Whoops, Demonperformer and I must be telepathic.:)

Edited by barkis

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Whoops, Demonperformer and I must be telepathic.

All my friends tell me that I am psychic ... no, sorry, the word they use is psychOTic:D

Will stop hijacking this thread now ...

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I would go for the SW200P on the EQ5. This can be quite cheaply upgraded to motorised or goto at a later stage. It is a great all round scope for both Moon/Planets and DSO's. Don't waste your money on GOTO to start with - you say you have patience!! Learn your way around the sky, its great fun and you get a real sence of achievement. If you must buy toys to go with it I would suggest a decent 10mm eyepiece (the supplied one is not so hot!) and a Telrad finder (I'm not a salesman for these but they are EXCELLENT!! - download "cartes du ciel" - for free - and you can print your own finder maps with telrad "rings" on the map to help you. Also download "Stellarium" - also free - which is an excellent desktop planetarium.

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Thanks! Seems the Explorer is the one! I will also download that software, sounds good! Thank you for the link too, thats pretty cheap compared to skiesnscopes. I will give them a ring tomorrow after a little more research!

I must admit, the prospect of "finding" objects appeals to me as much (maybe more) as the actual viewing, so a Goto is pretty irrelevent at the moment.

Good advice, thank you so much. Hopefully my next posts will be full of wonder, though I get the feeling they will be yet more advice seeking questions.

Thank you!

Dan

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HI Crazycloud

You can't go to far wrong with the 200P set up :)

Cheers

Ian

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My votes for the 200P on eq5 as well. The motors are about £95 new but I've seen them go for £70 in the for sale section. You can save for those to upgrade later :)

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Hey all, thanks a lot for your help I've downloaded all your suggestions (though obviously not all the tri-atlas, hell I scarcely understand it at the mo) and placed an order with FLO for the 200p on the EQ5. To be fair its a confusing hobby to get into equipment wise, there is just so much stuff available that I wouldn't have made a great choice on my own, so thank you, you helped create one more astronomer in the world!

Dan

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Hi Dan,

You have made a great choice and you should enjoy the views with your new scope, however, I do not think it will be long before you are adding motors, I can`t seem to understand that you find some things confusing, now where did I put my hair restorer. have fun.

John.

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Thanks! Seems the Explorer is the one! I will also download that software, sounds good! Thank you for the link too, thats pretty cheap compared to skiesnscopes. I will give them a ring tomorrow after a little more research!

I must admit, the prospect of "finding" objects appeals to me as much (maybe more) as the actual viewing, so a Goto is pretty irrelevent at the moment.

Good advice, thank you so much. Hopefully my next posts will be full of wonder, though I get the feeling they will be yet more advice seeking questions.

Thank you!

Dan

I would suggest a couple of books that I have just read that will cover the entire spectrum of gear, how optics work, how to get the most out of them and a brilliant introduction to Astronomy , they are

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Ware-Astronomers-Telescopes-Accessories/dp/0471750638/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282222434&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Here-Infinity-Observatory-Greenwich-Astronomy/dp/0948065788/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282222474&sr=1-2

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Magic! Found both those books for under fiver on ebay, a good investment me thinks, cheers!

FLO tell me my scope will arrive tomorrow.

Prepare yourselves........... :)

Dan

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FLO tell me my scope will arrive tomorrow.

That would explain the forecast for the next seven days:( ...

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Ha! Yeah, shocking isn't it! Shocking and typical. Never mind, it'll probably take me 7 days to set it up anyway!

On the plus side, it gives you guys a week to prepare for the flood of questions...... Mua ha ha ha ha!:)

Seriously though, thank you so much for your help people (and I must also mention Martin at FLO who talked me through my scope this morning and patiently answered my questions, top, top service), Just from this thread alone I believe I am hooked.

Cheers!

Dan

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Enjoy your scope when you get it, it won't be long! A good choice, there are a lot of folk with that scope.

Clear skies!

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The 200 will be cracking. Get out there as soon as the clouid pushes off and have a look at M13 or the double cluster in Perseus. Easy enough targets and the 200 with its supplied 28mm eyepiece will do well on them.

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Ahhhhhh.......

My scope is here!! Now all I need are clear skies and we're away! Gotta go, lots of building and stroking of scopes to do.:)

Dan

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