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Hello from Sunny (or Starry) Manchester


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I'm Phil, I'm 44, and I want a telescope.

I've always wanted a telescope. Years ago, I fad a 4.5" Tal Newtonian, and enjoyed the Pleiades, M42, Venus an Jupiter.

But I've always drooled over big glass.

When I were a lad, you were taling about serious bucks for anything over a few inches, but I just bought Astronomy Now and Sky at Night magazines, and it seems like these days a good 8-10" can be had a for a few hundred quid (on a Dobsonian mount, of course).

Of course, all the GoTo stuff has got cheaper as well, but to be honest, I'd rather catch more light than fiddle around with yet more gadgets.

So, I'm seriously considering convincing my wife that we need an 8 or ten inch scope.

The problem is, I live in Manchester. It's a fairly rural suburban area as Machester goes, and quarter of a mile to my left are some big open fields.

The unfortunate thing is that I live in a pit. My back garden slopes upwards so much tat as I look out of the upstairs window at the back of the house, I'm looking at the back of the garden, and have to look upwards to see over the back fence... This means that from my garden, I can see a slice of sky that ranges from about 20-30 degrees above the horizon in the north and south, and from about 60-80 degrees above the horizon west and east.

And that slice is nearly always full of clouds.

So, whilst I want a biggish light gatherer, I have to be able to cart it around a bit. I have a car, and am willing to put in time to find a place that doesn't involve too much lugging by hand at the other end, but still, weight will be a concern (especially if I'm going to be on my own).

Of course, there are other options, such as a half decent refractor in the 100-110mm range, which seem to also have dropped in price in the last quarter of a century.

I need to decide on my priorities, and then take some good advice. The first I can sort out on my own (perhaps), the second is really why I'm here!

Thanks for reading

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Hello Phil and welcome to SGL!! There are "Flextube" Dobsonians that can be collapsed to easily fit into a car for transport or as you suggest refractors around 4" aparture that can easily be transported. So much has changed! I started in th '70s when a 4" refractor cost more than a small car - they now cost less than a set of tyres!!

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Hi Phil and welcome. You are right, what constitutes a big scope has really changed over the years and 10"-12" scopes have never been so cheap (well Dobs anyway). Lots of good advice on this forum about scope purchasing. Collectively there is a lot of knowledge and experience to draw upon amongst the folks of SGL.

Edited by JAO
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Hi Phil and welcome to SGL :)

When you decide on budget and intended use just pop a question in the Beginners Help section and someone will be along to advise soon. From what you've said so far it looks like a Skywatcher 10" or 12" dobsonian (maybe flextube/auto) could be the order of the day ;)

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Hi Phil and welcome to the forum.

In regards to observing on your own, have you contacted Manchester Astronomical Society (Membership £20 pa) to see what groups or arrangements they may have set up to facilitate observing. They may well have some sites already sorted for you to visit and of course its a way of meeting like minded people who can offer good advice.

Clear skies


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hi phill and welcome to the forum am look in for a refractor of that size my self the 12" dob is a pain to lug around but its a great scope.but would love a refractorfor the same reason as you so i can escape to darker skies


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Hi Phil & welcome from another Manc.

If a big scope is important to you, then a flextube Dobsonian as advised above would be a good way to go.

Alternatively, if portability/transportability is more important to you, a 5" Maksutov would be great for observing the Moon, planets and some DSO's.

Maksutov - Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak

Maksutov - Skywatcher Skymax 127 (EQ3-2)


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