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Orion_the_Hunter

Skywatcher Skyliner 200p 8"Dob

77 posts in this topic

Before I start this review, I'll put you in the picture re. my needs/requirements. I am physically disabled, I can't walk, but I can sort of hobble a bit as long as I have a wall or something sturdy to hold on to.

I went 'round the houses' deciding which 'scope to get. At first I wanted something portable & easy to set up and use. I wanted to observe DSOs primarily, but realised that with a portable telescope this might not be possible. This is when I started to become realistic about my expectations.

My choices went from a 5" goto Mak - Startravel 102 - WO Megrez 72 - Nexstar 6se - 8/10 goto flextube Dob:rolleyes:

Finally I decided that: A) Aperture is king. ;) If I get a large enough 'scope, I can just observe from my SSW facing balcony. C) Sod my disability, whatever I do, I'll make it work.

Final answer?

Skywatcher Skyliner 200p - €299

I ordered this 'scope fully understanding what to expect in terms of size and what I will be able to see with it.

Delivery day:

The delivery man turned up with the two boxes. One with the mount/rocker box flatpacked, and the other box with the OTA. This box was HUGE.

I started to put the mount together. This was pretty easy, even in my 'condition'. The instructions were easy to follow, putting the base/mount together was easy.

OTA/Collimation:

Upon opening the big box, I found the OTA, nicely protected by plenty of polystirene. It looked rather big, but not overly so.

I took it out of the box and decided to dive in with checking collimation. My laser collimator (which was collimated itself) told me that the secondary mirror was way out.

I tried and tried to sort this, as I turned the adjustment screws, nothing was happening. This got so frustrating that the telescope nearly got sent back. I finally found answers here: Astro Babys Guide to Collimation (thanks Astro Baby).:(

It appeared that the secondary mirror holder was mis aligned somewhat. After this was fixed, the rest of the collimation process was pretty straightforward.

Attatching and aligning the finder scope was straightforward as well, but I HATE the inverted up/down left/right finder scope.

Practice run:

I decided to have a little 'go' last night. This wasn't a proper first light. Putting the OTA on the mount was easy. I managed to do this myself.

When I got a break in the clouds, I put in the 25mm stock eyepiece and just looked.

I first did a star test to check it was correctly collimated, all looked good there.

I didn't look for anything in particular, I just really enjoyed 'gliding' around the sky for an hour or so. The beautiful, sharp, clarity of the masses of stars was enjoyable enough in itself.

I found operating/moving the Dobsonian so easy. The way you can 'glide around' with such ease was really enjoyable. The movement was so smoothe and fluid yet 'obedient'.

First light:

Today was a beautiful day, so I knew that 'tonight was the night'.

(Yes folks, the curse of the new 'scope even happens in the South of France)!

Driving back from Narbonne, the sky was so dark and clear; lods of stars were visible.

I set the 'scope up, got the eyepieces and bits out and checked collimation. Alltogether this took 5 minutes. (I keep it on the balcony so no need for cool down time).

25 mm eyepiece in, off we go. First stop, yep you guessed it, M42.

This was so easy to find with the simple, smooth movement of the Dobsonian mount. The detail in the cloud was beautifuly vivid, not too faint thanks to the Tripezium.

Followed by a glide around the upper Orion region. Lost myself, loved it.

Next up, a change of direction. Again, gliding around, I stumbled across a beautiful double star in the Pyxis area. One blue, one orange, the colours were stunning. I stayed and stared at this for a good few minutes.

Again in this area, I found a beautiful cluster. No idea which one it was as I was just enjoying 'gliding around' so much. So easy! Stunning bright stars made such a bright picture framed in the 25mm's field of view.

Then a look over my shoulder, and I saw Saturn had risen above the apartments which he hides behind in the evening. Turn the 8" Dob around, find Saturn in the finder scope, then in the 25mm ep, then change to a 6mm to give 200x magnification, focus, and there he was. The first thing to strike me was how bright Saturn was.

Plenty of detail, nice gaps inbetween the rings and the planet, and I can't tell you much else because I was blown away, in my own little world.

What I can tell you is that it was pretty easy to 'nudge' the Dob everytime Saturn went out of the F.O.V., although this seemed to move faster through the eyepiece as he got higher in the sky.

Then it started to get a bit chilly so I decided to 'pack away' which again, everything tidied away and caps on, telescope pointed vertically and tucked away into a corner took 5 minutes.

All in all a very enjoyable evening, made so because of the ease of set up and use of the Skyliner 200p.

Did I mention how easy I found this 8" Dob to use?

Or that I think it represents incredible value for money! One of my major impressions of this package is how much telescope you get for your money.

There aren't any gimmicks. The 'features' are few; yet the ones that are there are very useful and well thought out.

For example the eyepiece holder, the carry handle on the base, the tension handles and the nifty teflon pad are subtle, but are right there when you need them.

BUT Skywatcher, why oh why don't you put right angle finder scopes on your Dobsonians?

So to sum up:

Instructions 4/5

Build quality: 5/5

Features: 3/5

Ease of set up: 4/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Value for money: 5/5

A simple to set up, easy to use and well built package which does what it says on the tin beautifully well at an affordable price.

I'm so glad that I chose the Skykliner, that I didn't go for tracking or go to.

The fun for me is in the searching!:p

Ed

P.S. Thanks to everyone on SGL who has answered my many questions.:)

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Edited by Orion_the_Hunter
6 people like this

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Excellent review. I was considering this very scope, but settled on its 'cousin', the EQ5.

Ironically, I do most of my observations from a balcony too, and carrying the scope down into the garden would be a lot easier, had I chosen this scope, but I have no regrets, at all, about my choice.

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This is a an excellent and informative review of your initial thoughts on your new Dob and I am sure it will help others who are in the "deciding on what telescope to buy limbo". I very much enjoyed reading it.

Personally I think your choice of scope is excellent and an 8" Dob will open up a miriad of objects to you!

I am envious of your southerly location which must be 8 or 9 degrees of latitude further south than the UK. Just wait for the late summer mily way and all the objects that we can only dream about here in Blighty!

Enjoy your scope!

Adrian

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Nice review.

Or that I think it represents incredible value for money! One of my major impressions of this package is how much telescope you get for your money.

I completely agree with this, I had a 200p and they're terrific value - it'll be a long time before you run out of things to do with it.

BUT Skywatcher, why oh why don't you put right angle finder scopes on your Dobsonians?

Indeed. A right-angle finder is a great upgrade (a red-dot finder helps hopping around the sky too). Straight-through is a pain on a Dob.

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I enjoyed reading that review, thanks for writing it!

I took delivery of a 250px about 2 weeks ago and I agree with you, there is a definite feeling of freedom about a Dob mount.

So easy to use and you can be setup ready to go in only a couple of minutes.

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You made an excellent choice with an 8" reflector, they are a superb all round telescope and you will get many years use from it. I put a cooling fan in mine as I stored it indoors and the planetary views got even better. I also added a lazy susan bearing as the azimuth movement had a little 'stiction'. Treat yourself to some good wide angle eyepieces and you will have a great combo.

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Nice review. I was falling in love with a 200mm/eq5 but now you have me thinking again.

Btw I love your point C) and admire your willpower.

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Great review Ed, and I'm jealous of your location, J'adore le sud de la France :)

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Cracking review of a great scope!

I'd defiantly recommend getting yourself a RACI finder and maybe a Telrad finder too as these will really help locating objects!

Happy stargazing with your new scope!

Doc

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Thanks everyone.

A Rigel/Telrad is on my shopping list :)

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Great review thanks

Ken

Edited by ken spencer

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Fantastic review.

I know that goto systems are in two camps, the love em or hate em camps. I personally wanted goto on any scope I got. I beleive they are a fantastic teacher in pointing out where things are and aid a novice in learning the sky. This is why I opted for the 200P on a goto mount for that reason.

I have to agree with a lot of your comments. A right angle finder on any newtonian really is more practical, especially if you can only squint one eye ! - this is more so on an EQ mounted scope where the tube rotates into some strange positions :)

I agree with your comment that you get a lot of scope for your money. I think this is true for any of the skywatcher range.

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I also live in the south of france and am thinking of buying the Skywatcher can I ask which supplier you used

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Nice review. I have the same scope and absolutely love it. I also found the finder a pain in the neck literally so i added a Telrad finder. What a difference this makes locating objects. I think every Dob should have one.

Clear Skies

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great review mate,have the same scope but i aquired an orion 9x50 raci finder,so much better than the standard finder,also added a telrad.glad youre having fun cheers

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Thanks for a nice clear review Ed, its got me thinking seriously about a Dob to go with the Newt.

regards

Ralph

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I reckon the Skyliner 200P is a bit like the Transit Van of the telescope world :(

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top review and you sum up the reasons we dob owners love our dobs!

glad you are happy with it and enjoy it

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Thanks everyone.

A Rigel/Telrad is on my shopping list :(

The Telrad makes it soooo much easier :)

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Thanks for the review Ed, it made very good reading and I do admire your Dunkirk spirit in wanting to make things work for YOU. I have looked through many Dobsonians and have to agree with all the points you raise. For new people starting, dobs are so intuitive to use and being able to participate in observing at such a relatively cheap price has done so much to help so many people take part in astronomy.

The question is Ed - are there any signs of aperture fever yet as there appears to be a bit more room on that balcony?:(:D

Many thanks and continuing clear skies

James

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Oh man I can't wait for this.

The review was excellent :o

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Hi Ed

Superb review really enjoyed reading it.

That's exactly whats great about ya Dob.

Just cruise the sky. She'll go whatever speed you want. Any direction you choose. No worries.

Laid back relaxing way to observe.:o

Clear skies

Regards Steve

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