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More questions on the Skymax 102 Synscan AZ Go-To


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Firstly, many thanks for all the invaluable information and advice that I have already found in this forum.

I'm planning on buying my partner his first telescope for Christmas. Neither of us know the first thing about telescopes. However having done a bit of research in the last couple of weeks and reading Stargazer posts, I think I have decided on which to buy: Skymax 102 Synscan AZ Go-To. I've noticed that a few posters have experience of this telescope, so I would very much appreciate your opinion on my decision before I buy. So here's my reasoning and any thoughts would be very much appreciated:

1. Budget - this scope (plus battery) fits neatly into my maximum budget of £300.

2. Portability - this is probably the most important factor as my partner would want to take it into the countryside and on holiday. The Skymax 102 seems to be the smallest, lightest scope on the market for the price. Also, we live in a flat in London, so the smaller the better really.

3. Quality - the Skymax 102 seems to have a fair few fans out there, although I understand now that it's swings and roundabouts with telescopes - the Skymax is disadvantaged because of its relatively small aperture and while it's still good for viewing planets etc, it has limitations for deep sky observation. But overall a good telescope.

4. Synscan AZ Go-To - while I understand that this is where much of the money goes, I think it would be good because a) he'll take it to different places and won't have to bother with too much faffing and :) he doesn't have as much time as he would like to dedicate to a hobby - so he should get more immediate enjoyment from the convenient Synscan system.

So that's my reasoning. If you think I'm making a mistake would you let me know? I don't want to go wasting money on the wrong thing.

Also, are there any accessories that I should purchase for a more complete present: filters, additional eye pieces? I have been advised a focal reducer might be helpful.

And finally, if the computerised mount breaks can you remove the tube and use it on another mount? Silly question I know, but I can't seem to find the answer anywhere!

I would be very grateful for any thoughts you have.


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Hi minni17,

Don't get me wrong here?? Yes the 102mm Skywatcher MAK scope is a good choice. But if you really if you can afford a little more, than my advice is go for the bigger brother 127mm Skywatcher MAK scope, same sort of package you're looking for but for a extra £49 for bigger aperture and still portable to transported anywhere and you and your partner will see more detail on planets and many deepsky objects. Which a good around telescope which I agree having owned the Meade ETX 125 for 10 years from now and I still go back to it!!

You do better go to Skywatcher package cos the GOTO mount is alot easier to use and better tracking than the meade ETX 125.

The instruction manual is also easy to understand as well on the Skywatcher with clear diagrams which show how to use the scope effectively.

The optics are also excellent on the Skywatcher which I've compared the meade and skywatcher 5 inch series and to be honest with you I think the Skywatcher excels more than the meade personally.

The package you'll get will have 2 decent plossl eyepieces 10mm and 25mm.

The next investment is buy a 2X Barlow lens to double the existing magnification of your existing eyepieces and some color filters for more detail on the planets and moon.

You can buy these from First light optics and Rother valley optics

Skywatcher 2X 1.25" Barlow lens £29.90

Skywatcher lunar and planetary filter kit £29.99

These items are of good quality and very useful items which are good start in Astronomy. The choice is yours???

If you are still interested with GOTO AZ Synscan telescope series and practical demonstration on the Skywatcher handset than check out YOUTUBE and type this in to find some very good useful info...

The Sky Watcher AZ SynScan GOTO Series of Telescopes (A buyer's guide)

Demonstrating the Sky Watcher AZ SynScan GOTO System


These items are of good quality and very useful items which are good start in Astronomy. The choice is yours???

If any further questions please feel free to ask me anytime!!! :)

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That's so useful, thank you so much.

Yes, you have certainly given me food for thought with the 127 - I had initially discounted that, not so much because of the extra cost, but because of the extra size, which I think for me is paramount. But not being able to see either in the flesh I am having real problems trying to find out what the actual difference is.

And factoring in the cost of the additional filter and lens, I think I may have to stick with the 102. Again, I'm not 100% sure, but I think seeing as it will be a first scope it might be wise to keep the costs manageable (my original budget was £200, which I then extended because there are so many decent telescopes in the £200-£300 range). Hmm, tricky.

I don't suppose you know whether you can remove the tube and use it on another mount if the computerised one breaks?

Many thanks again -it's good to know that while the 102 isn't a bad choice, the 127 may be a better one!



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Yes you can change both 102mm or 127mm tubes with the GOTO AZ Synscan mount they have the same dovetail fitment????? If budget does persists then go for the 102mm still very good scope I must agree??? At least you can still get more items for it as well...

Any more questions Happy to help?????

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There is quite a "quantum jump" in the WEIGHT of the MAK127 over the MAK102, that can render the former less "grab and go" - Especially if you are taking it into the field (literally). Simply, with slightly dodgy terrain, the lighter scope may be not such a bad solution. Plus, you get slightly wider fields, perhaps more in keeping with "remote" operations using the Synscan GoTo. ;)

Though MANY consider the 127/Synscan to be THE (ideal) "grab and go" option, the smaller 102 (with a few extras) is not to be sniffed at either. The loss of a bit of aperture may be WELL rewarded by greater ease and convenience of setup and operation... :)

Edited by Macavity
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Just one more thing minni17??

Yes you can take the optical tube out of the AZ synscan mount and fit the tube to another mount that is definitely possible.

But if you want to fit a bigger optical tube onto the AZ Synscan mount, please don't fit no bigger than 102mm Skywatcher Refractor, 130mm Skywatcher Reflector, or 127mm Skywatcher Mak, please it would be too heavy for the Synscan AZ mount and will affect the tracking accuracy.

I have heard of people fitting a 150mm Skywatcher Reflector tube on these mounts, me personally I would not recommend what so ever!!!!!

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Oh thank you too Macavity! I missed your post as I keep having to surreptitiously close down the window now my partner is home. He's getting suspicious! Many thanks for your tip re weight - that is a real consideration for me. It's so difficult to find out things like weight from the internet without asking specifically, so thank you. I think I am almost 100% decided on the 102 now. Hurray!


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