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Hello everyone, Im completely new to astronomy and have been lurking on here for a while trying to get some basic information on where to start, I have always enjoyed viewing the moon and had my first view of Jupiter and moons through my Bino's the other night and was so chuffed I want more. I am lucky enough to live on exmoor and so have some lovely clear skies from my back garden and so its just a case of deciding what scope to get at around the £300-£400 max budget.

I think something like a (secondhand) nexstar 6se will suit me the most as its mainly planets and the moon Im interested in at this stage although a bit of DSO viewing would be nice. Also I like the goto function as I feel this will help guide me in starting to recognise the skies, But then an 8-10" Dobsonian also looks a good option with a large aperture etc and maybe will encourage me to learn the skies quicker.... Ahhh Decisions Decisions :-)

Anyway Im sure I will be boring you all with plenty of questions so thats enough for now.


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Welcome Sean, what scope is the perennial newcomers question as there are so many out there. A big dob will give better dim object images and finer planetary detail but lacks the GOTO which just saves time but dobs are easy to move. Any scope on an Equatorial Mount will enable imaging while an Alt Az mount is limiting in imaging potential. Your budget should get you a good scope/mount but remember you will need eyepieces Barlows and filters too - best of luck.

Regards, John.

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Hello Sean and welcome to SGL!! I would suggest that you seriously consider the Dobsonian route, especially as you have good dark skies. Aparture is king for DSO's and a big (10" or so) Dob will give you that. It will also be good for the Moon and planets. Goto may seem like a good idea but you will soon learn (and have more fun!) your way around the heavens. Spend your money on a scope rather than on some fancy electronics!

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Wow, Thanks for the quick replies everyone. I guess the Dobsonian would be the best value for money and reading reviews is ok but I prefer listening to people with experience so thanks for the advice, I like the look of the skwatcher skyliner scopes so maybe a 200p flextube then?? or would you reccommend a different brand/manufacturer?

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Hi Shaun and welcome to the forum.

Exmoor is where I saw the darkest sky yet, so dark I couldn't find the plough there were that many stars!!! Dobs present best value for money but the secondhand market would give you that bit extra for your bucks - if you felt confident to buy from that source.

Hope you make a decision soon to take advantage of those great skies of yours.


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Thanks again for the warm welcome, Ive decided with your help that my best option is a Dobsonian scope and either an 8" or 10" made by a reputable maker which would include(I assume) Celestron and Skywatcher. Also it seems from reading through the forums that I wouldnt go far wrong with the book "Turn left at Orion" so Ive ordered that and while Im reading it I will also be researching all the other things I know nothing about such as collimation,Dew guards,Eye pieces,Mounts etc,etc,etc :-) so at least while Im snowed in with all the kids I will have something to do to keep me sane lol..

Merry Christmas to you all and......."Clear Skies"

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Hi Sean, welcome to SGL.

The Dob will give you the biggest bang for your buck, and although it has limitations, they are a very popular scope.

There is a Dob users group on the forum, click community and then social groups, on there you will find loads of info regarding Dob's.

Merry Christmas and clear skies.

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