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What scope/s do you have and why did you go for it/them?


MrsR
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Hi everyone

I hope you wouldn't mind telling me a little about what scope you have and why you went for that one in particular.

I am trying to decide on my first scope and having a bit of a mare trying to decide which one to go for so thought I'd ask and see if this helps.

Thanks

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Hi, I recently went through this having bought a SW 150p in Jan.

I originally though about the SW130 model on eq mount, considered motor drives, then after reading many many posts on here decided that

a) aperature was important so I upped it to a 150

:) motor upgrade potential at a later date

c) reflector was what i needed (value £'s per aperature)

d) equitorial mount rather than dob (i didn't fancy nudging scope to track objects)

e) buy s/hand when the time is right

I had a look at them in a shop over Xmas when i was away to get an idea for the size of the scopes available. Although teh 150 seemed massive at the time & did when i picked it up, it doesn't seem out of place now in my dining room.

These are only some of my decision points, in no way comprehensive but gives you an idea of my logic, hope it helps :(

Chris

Edited by Ronseal
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my first scope was a 120mm f8.3 achromat which was a lovely scope and bought on the recommendation of the shop owner, especially as it was about £150 cheaper than the usual price. it was a great scope but really lacked the light gathering power I wanted for DSOs. It was lovely on open clusters etc showing really nice tight stars etc.

I then bought alongside that scope a 300mm f5.3 dobsonian and the views through this (even in my light polluted garden) are stunning on everything. It totally blew away anything compared with the 120mm although I retained that as it was a little better on planets and offered the wider view for things like M44.

BUT I then found a 150mm f11 dobsonian at a really excellent price and thought I'd try this against the 120mm specifically for moon and planets and it beat it hands down. Therefore there was no reason to retain the refractor so I sold it.

Another reason I sold the refractor was that it got confusing going from the upside down view in the reflectors to the left right reversed view in the refractor. strange but true. I also found the EQ mount cumbersome compared with the dob and it took a lot longer to set up and break down.

I am now settled on reflectors and dobs specifically and the bigger the better. That said, I may eventually buy a good quality 4-5" slow ED/APO refractor for double stars in due course although I must say that the 12" is great for those on the whole.

Edited by Moonshane
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My first scope was bought for me, a 4.5" Meade Dob with goto and it was a great scope. It didnt get as much use as it should have in the 8 years I owned it.

I suddenly got back into astronomy and got hungry for a (in my eyes) a proper scope. I wanted 'big' for good money and the Lightbridges looked awsome. I was split with these and skywatcher collapsables but was directed to a second hand Lightbridge for sale at a good price so that was that.

Have added EP's and little extras and love it although portability is a problem.

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Hi i have recently bought a nexstar 127 slt, i decided on this as my first scope because it got excellent reviews, it has go2 making it easier for me a total novice to locate objects. Also its a mak so its very compact making a great scope for me to take out with me. I have recently just started putting it to work with my first attempts at imaging with a spc 900 webcam, its long focal length really help with the planets.

hope this helps you decide

Regards

Ben :(

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You might regret asking some people... as it's hard to decide on just one!

I started with a 3" refractor on an alt/az mount when I was 11.

Next was a 10" F5 newt on an EQ mount.

Next was a 10" LX10 SCT - electric everything...

Then I had a break for a bit

SW150P on EQ5 - sold scope

SW200P on EQ5 - sold mount

SW200P on HEQ5 - sold scope and mount

So now I have

ED80 - for widefield imaging

Skymax 127 - for planets and the moon.

150P - not sure, haven't used for a while.

C9.25 - new for planets and the moon.

Have a HEQ5Pro and a EQ3.

Cheers

Ant

P.S. I have an eyepiece somewhere as well somewhere :(

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I've dabbled with many scopes over the years, but now have a Skywatcher 250mm Newtonian on a pier-mounted NEQ6. I bought it because:

1. It provides a great balance between aperture, focal length and quality at a really great price;

2. It has enough aperture for good visual observation of DSOs, and also enough focal length for the planets;

3. Combined with the NEQ6 is also a good imaging scope;

4. Repeat point 1

I really love this as a fabulous all-rounder. But each to his own! Ask a thousand amateur astronomers, and you will get a thousand different answers.

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A year or so ago I decided to list all the scopes I've owned in my 30+ years in the hobby - I was rather shocked when I realised that it's in excess of 25 :(

I've got 4 currently ranging from a 4" F/6.5 ED refractor to a 10" F/4.8 Newtonian. The two things that I look for in all my scopes are i) relatively quick and simple setup and ii) I have to be able to carry them around the garden to dodge trees / streetlights etc. The latter is why my largest scope is a 10" - I had a 12" dobsonian for a while and it was just too heavy and cumbersome for my needs :D

I also tend to like simple, undriven alt-azimuth mounts, again for their sheer ease of use. I have a driven (but not GOTO) equatorial but it does not get used very much at all.

As all my scopes are out of production now I'm afraid they are not going to help you decide on one for yourself but I do think ease and convenience of use is an important factor - my 4" refractor is my most used scope overall for just that reason :)

Edited by John
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I started off with a TAL100r which I had for a few years and I concentrated on double stars as deep space from my light polluted garden was rubbish.

I then got bored with double stars and planets and wanted to see DSO's so borrowed a 10" Hardin Dob of a mate, I could just see galaxies like M81 from my light polluted backgarden so decided to get a bigger dob. Loads of people said don't go bigger if you have light pollution which in essence is true but it does work.

Then came my 16" Lightbridge, I agree it sucks in more light pollution but it's big enough to also show a lot more objects and even though I have dreaded LP I have seen hundreds of galaxies. From a dark site the 16" just excells at those galaxies, simply awesome.

I have since bought a Bresser 152RS achro, it's a great scope, does have CA but DSO's are pretty bright and it's a great scope.

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The problem is, one scope wont do everything you want it to do. Planets, 1 scope, dso's another scope, wide field, another scope. Imaging - a whole new set of the above!

Then there's the mount, ep's, finders, dew controll, blah, blah, blah.......

Not helping am I?

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The problem is, one scope wont do everything you want it to do. Planets, 1 scope, dso's another scope, wide field, another scope. Imaging - a whole new set of the above!

Then there's the mount, ep's, finders, dew controll, blah, blah, blah.......

Not helping am I?

I know and this is why I am in such a mess :(

Wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't so serious about it all.

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Well I will limit my answer to just what I restarted the hobby with (I did it years ago but the choice was lot more limited back then).

This time round my firts purchase was the Skywatcher 130PM. I wanted a test purchase to see (a) what the quality would be like and (:( to see if I really had any interest. The 130PM was brilliant. A good mix of features and at a cracking price that allowed me to get some eyetime in and see what I wanted. I sold the 130PM quite quickly and upgraded.

I seldom sell gear on preferring to keep it if possible so all of the other scopes in purchase order are below with reasons I bought them.

(1) Skywatcher 200P on an HEQ5 - well rated scope by many people and the 130 led me to believe it would be fine. An 8" refelector was the scope I always aspeired to but could never afford years ago. It had the right balance of price/portability and gives good DSO views and fair planet views (more on that later).

My 200 is now very different from as purchased as its been upgraded a lot. Upgrades have included a better finder, Moonlite focuser, rotating ring system, fan and most notable of all a GoTo upgrade.

I found that viewing time was so limitred with the UK weather that GoTo became a must. The observing time I get is too precious to be wasted looking for things.

(2) Celestron Nexstar 4SE - I found the 200 a bit of a heavyweight after a while wand wanted something more portable and ideally with GoTo. The Nexstar fitted the bill being quite small and compact and with good views of planets and brighter objects. In the end though I found it was almost as much of a headache to rransport as the 200 as it needed power. The Nexstar was sold off as a result.

(3) Symax 180 Pro Maksutov. Actually bought as a present for my sister who found she hated it (long cool down time) and she just didndt like it. I have NEVER used it becaue I havent had the weather to try it out yet. I have owned it a year and seldom had the time to let it cool down. Its one and only outing was at SSP last year where it promptly dewed up so bad it was unusable. Since I bought the dew heaters for it its never been used.

(4) TAL 100RS - bought on a whim. 4" Russian Refractor. I bought it partly as a room decor object but once I used it for a few nights its become my favourite scope. It looks gorgeous and it gives good planetary views (better I think than the 200 Newtonian) and its no slouch on deep sky if you have a dark sky site to use it from. Some of the best views I have had since I came back tothis hobby have been with the TAL. On its manual mount its usable and light enough to make it my grab and go scope - on the HEQ5 mounts its simply wonderful. Rock steady and everything a telescope should be. Fine optics and lovely to use.

(5) Skywatcher 250 on EQ6 Pro mount. My latest acquisition. Bought as a test to see if a 10" really was too big for transportation and use. It is - too big, too heavy and will be sold as soon as I get round to it. Jury is still out on the EQ6 mount - it may be too heavy for what I want. Until I decide neither will be sold.

(6) oddballs - I also have a TAL-1 which was acquired for testing some ideas out with. Its never been used seriously and is currently in bits. For what I paid for it it was a bargain and a more recent one with the better focuser would undoubtedly be a great beginner scope but dont pay over the odds on ebay.

I also have two classic Unitron refractors. They look beautiful and I have a passion for old things in wooden boxes but in truth they are deeply unpleasant to use - especially with their old fasioned .965 eyepieces.

Not sure how much help or otherwise that is.

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My scope choice was really difficult to start with but easy in the end.

A few years back I had a non branded 6" newt, which while being generally ok, had cheap eyepieces and was not the easiest to set up.

I ended up being fed up setting the thing up and had the notorious "scope you never use"

This time around I wanted the "scope you'll always use" so I started looking at Maks /SCTs .

The compact size is ideal for what I wanted and I've never really been interested in DSOs but planets do interest me.

Thought about imaging for a little bit, but big mounts started getting mentioned, so for ease of use I looked at 4 or 5 inch Maks

So I decided on definately getting a Skywatcher SkyMax Synscan 102.....and ended up buying a Celestron Nexstar 6SE.

Did someone mention aperture fever ?????:(

Hope you make a good choice

Neil

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First one I bought was a Skywatcher Explorer 150. More luck than informed buying decision that one. It's quite a good starter scope because it's not silly expensive second hand but comes with a reasonable EQ3-2 mount so you can expand it with motors etc. for basic imaging it that's what you want to do.

I then bought a Skywatcher Heritage 130 because it would fit in my then small camper van and I kept getting frustrated when we went away and saw lovely dark skies. May I should have bought some binos. It's a nice scope on a little dob mount so works well with low to mid ep's magnification and it's very very portable if a little similar in performance to my 150 (not surprisingly). Much more limited though due to the dob mount so it's only ever going to be purely used for visual.

I'm just wondering whether I'd get better views of the planets with a refractor :(

Steve

Edited by solarwallace
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Thank you so much everyone so far who has taken the time to reply - it really is helping in a weird way and I think I will be re-reading this thread quite a bit.

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MrsR,

Mistakes made when choosing equipment hurt, so it is good to do your homework first.

OK I have currently 4 Telecopes all of which are used for imaging I don't think that listing them will be of any help but they all have a different role to play as I image the moon and planets and deep sky objects both large and small so I need the flexibility that different set ups give me

The best idea I feel is to decide what you are intending to use it for which narrows down the choice a bit.

ie, is your interest the moon and planets mainly, or that and deep sky objects

will the scope be used purely for visual work or is there a possibility that photography maybe the direction you maybe heading

does it need to be portable or transportable, does it need to track the night sky

the all important budget

If you have an idea what you want the telscope to do for you and you have a budget the choice gets less difficult and you will make a better informed choice.

Dave

Edited by Dave Moulton
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Mrs R ....

The best all rounder scope I have owned is a Skywatcher 8" F/6 Dobsonian. It has excellent planetary/Lunar performance and good DSO performance and cost less than £300.

Setup is really easy and it's a pleasure to use.

HTH

Edited by dweller25
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I don't know if this will help.

I am new to the hobby, no not as a result of the Proff. I had started researching scopes before Xmas last year and spent ages lurking on this site.

Like you I dithered finding it hard to make a decision.

I read all the relevant threads here and elswhere and felt the more I read and thought about it the more confused I became.

Part of the equation was cost and getting the most for my £££. This ruled out anything except a Newtonian and also Go2 mounts.

I ruled out a Dob because I felt (rightly or wrongly) that I would have problems with tracking.

My first thought was to go for the SW 130P but after more consideration (yes more dithering :(:confused:) I chose the 150P because I felt it came on a far superior mount and had the extra aperture. Aperture fever before I even start :)

Another consideration was that at a later date it would be possible to update the mount to Go2 and end with a set up that would last for some time.

I have had the scope for 5/6 weeks and because of the weather have not used it as much as I would have liked, however when I have used it I have enjoyed the experience.

Having a scope on an equatorial mount without Go2 is definitely a steep learning curve but not something that is so steep to put me off. I have always had a technical/scientific bent and find the pleasure from getting things right is part of the enjoyment.

Sorry to go on a bit but I felt the thoughts of a fellow newbie would be of interest and might even help.

Enjoy whatever you decide on.

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I needed something big portable no fuss set up and cheap so I got a 2nd hand nexstar 5 it does a bit of everything visually but is no good for imaging. it appears to be the biggest scope I can carry in a rucksack, which is essential for me as I don't drive and have no views from my back garden i also wanted go to else I would probably have got a heritage 130p dob

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Well i went for the 250pds.

reason being i wanted to do a bit of everything, dso,lunar and planatery observing as well as imaging all of the above, my original route was going to be strictly down the DSO AP route but after my dad starting showing an intrest in the moon and planets i had to rethink, i know you cant get 1 scope thats great at everything but so far i'm more than happy with the results i've been having.

it is a real minefield filled with loads of contradictions and i found the more i tried to compare scopes and abilitys the more confused i got, so hopefully by the time your buying your scope you'll of sussed it all out.

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MrsR,

I am glad you posed this question as I have been thinking the same thing.. I did think that the Heritage 130p Dobsonian would be great for a first scope, but someone mentioned that it has problems with focusing at higher magnification (How do you find it SolarWallace?)

Im also tempted by the 130p on an eq mount too.. but im wondering if my flat (and fiancee´) will allow me to have a full sized scope on a tripod! Its a tiny home, beautiful.. but tiny!

I guess that If someone tells me the Heritage is decent enough I'll probably go for that tbh..

Good luck with the decision making, I definitely feel your pain and confusion on this one :(

P.s. I also looked at second hand Tal-1's because lots of people seem to treasure them.. but again size has to be a consideration :)

Edited by Ianladd
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