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Newbe just starting out


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HI

Advice from those in the know if possible....

I started my search for a new telescope for viewing and astrophotography 70/30 in favour of viewing, its always nice to picture what you can see for others in the family to have a look at when its too cold for everyone to stand in the garden or join me up in the hills. Ss far i think i have worked out the following please correct me if i am wrong....

I prefer a Newtonian as I think I am getting value for money at 6" minimum, 8" my preferred if I can afford it, a low f/5 as I am going to try and get some deep space viewing in rather then planetary viewing, only picking on planets when I cant see anything more interesting.

I have managed to get a reasonable deal of £269 for an Explorer 150P with Eq3-2, the motors are £99 and a few other extras like coll tools and filters should just about spend all i have available (£500). I suppose the question is am I making a good informed decision here.

Would the extra 2" of the 200P make any difference giving up the filters and tools for now or maybe not putting motors on until later and forgetting the photography in favour of the inches. Is the Newtonian even the best idea in the first place

Any help would be appreciated I have to make my decision in the next 2 days

Should have mentioned i live just south of a city light pollution area so the viewing is not great but i will be going on trips to darker skies for the evening when i can

Cheers

Gavin

Edited by jasperuk
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That sounds reasonable for a new scope - FLO have them at £285 right now so you've saved a little bit. Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 150P EQ3-2

The 150P is a smashing starter scope - that's what I had and loved it to bits. A 200P has more light grab of course, but then, imaging is a steep learning curve and there's no time like the present to make a start on it - get Steve's (Steppenwolf) book "Making Every Photon Count" for a thorough walk through the subject.

I would have chosen a Mak or SCT for imaging planets, or an appo for dso's. Never tried imaging with my newt so not sure where they fit in to that. Someone will advise. Hope that helps your decision :o

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Gavin

I am pretty new to astronomy but have a Celestron 130 Nexstar SLT and recently bought a Skywatcher 200P on an EQ5 Synscan mount. The problem with the 200P combination is if you are going to be "mobile" it is a heavy and large scope and mount to haul around whereas the 130 is very practical.

Hope this helps

Neil

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I can also recommend the explorer 150p as i am very impressed with its performance on both jupiter and now saturn, it is also really good for dso,(in my opinion), it is also fairly easy to move around, and take it in and out of the house. i also sometimes take it in the car so i can travel to darker skies, really love my scope! hope that kinda helps:icon_salut:

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Well I had the 130p and upgraded to the 200p with Synscan unit fitted, and have never looked back, the views of the planets are breathtaking compared to my old scope, and clusters and DSO's are stunningly crisp? what more can I say, the 200p + EQ5 + SynScan is the perfect scope, although large and heavy?

Ray

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and I forgot to mention I have to travel to use my scope, so it all packs away nicely in the Focus, 200p sits nicely on the back seat, Tripod in front, EQ5 and all the bits in the boot, it's a car full but still worth it.

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Welcome!

If it were me, I'd take the extra two inches of aperture. You certainly don't want to give up collimation tools, but they're cheap: just buy a cheshire. No need for a laser.

Imaging is almost a separate hobby which, to do well, requires a lot of expensive and heavy gear. Most people who image have one scope for imaging and another for visual. No one scope does it all. I would suggest setting yourself up for visual now. Get a feel for the sky. Put your money into inches of aperture: an 8'' Newt/Dob would be great. Once you develop a feeling for the hobby you can supplement this scope with an AP rig. Don't forget that you'll be wanting to spend money on eyepieces. I've seen some breathtaking shots taken with 3" or 4" refractors.

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I just upgraded from a 114/1000 which I hesitate to mention but since it looked the part and was my first 'scope I figured would be okay. Much frustration followed and I now realise that these are only really toys.

After reading much on this forum and taken advice from a couple of stores, I have just upgraded to a 200P/EQ5 - its HUGE by comparison but not too big or heavy to lug around and fits in the car without any problem. I reckon anything larger could be a handful to transport so very pleased with it so far.

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Now i really want a 200P over the 150P, what am i saying i always wanted the 200P the question is how much can i scrape together now or should i get the motors later on....

How easy to fit are motors are they best done when i get a new scope or can it be fitted just as easy later on.

No too bothered about GOTO on the mount i love to search around and i have an ipad with astro softare to show me where everything is.....:)

Update:my supplier has no 200P's in stock and the new batch will be more expensive.... :(

Edited by jasperuk
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Hi Jasper,

Welcome to SGL! I help hundreds of beginners off right every year! Allow me to offer a few general guidelines - you can decide how much these apply to your situation.

1. The 150mm dobsonian is the workhorse scope of my astronomy program. I have 12 of them in service, and some have been in the classroom for more than a decade now. Rugged, lightweight, easily portable, sets up literally in a minute by anyone from an 8 to 80 year old, it will show you everything you can get in light polluted skies well, it easily masters great views of Luna and the major planets (and their moons), and it leaves you plenty for a good set of eyepieces. You can even get an inexpensive clip-on mount for a pocket digital camera and take really quite good lunar photos with it (don't hope for more than that, though!). A fellow could go farther and spend lots more with out getting substantially much more performance at the eyepiece, where it counts. 6" dobs also hold their value well, you can learn on it for a year and sell it off for near what you paid for it and upgrade when you know more about what you are doing.

2. Add complexity only when you have achieved mastery of the kit you already have. :) Astrophotography is a '250' level course (beginners take the '101' level, naturally!) - 2nd year students who did well in the 101 and 150 courses are considered eligible to enroll. There is a lot of (expensive!) gear, and decent photos require a mount which is worlds apart in reliability and accuracy compared to a simple visual tracking mount. "Portable" is something of a sick joke with the astro-photo crowd - 100-200 kg of gear is not unusual, and it is several thousand pounds to ante up with a scope, mount, and then there it the DSLR camera..... $$:($$. I would happily say "go for it!" if you had been observing for a year and could tell me what you did (and didn't) like about the kit you've been using - and clearly describe what the new kit would do for you. But I don't get the feeling you are at this level yet.

If you are really "gung-ho!" as we say here in the desert, then I could easily recommend two upgrade options - even for a first scope owner.

A) Go for the 200mm dob. This means considerably more reach for the deep sky - but it will do nothing much for you in the city. If you plan to go out regularly to darker skies - this one will pay off handsomely in richer, more detailed views of almost every object you observe. Light pollution robs you of this advantage in the city, though. It is bulkier, and almost twice as heavy - but not too bad for a fit fellow. Not for kids though, unless Dad is helping out. You can also easily make an aperture mask for it which will convert your 200mm f/5 into a 100mm Off-axis f/10 for killer lunar and planetary views! :p

B) Go for the 'intelligent' scope option. This adds a pointing computer (and lots of complexity!!!) to your scope - but you can leave the computer off and use it easily without the electronics. Especially if you view mostly in the city, a pointing computer will be invaluable to help you find stuff when many other landmarks in the sky are obscured.

C) Don't forget a descent set of EP, a barlow and a lunar filter and a case to tote them about in. To avoid busting the budget (marriage saving advice here!) price the accessories first - then see how much scope you can afford to put under them, so to speak. ;)

Lastly - I'd feel lots better if you were hooked up with a local astronomy club. There are lots of friends there you don't even know yet who would be thrilled to help you set up and learn to use your brand new kit. You can't imagine how much help it is to have someone at your elbow who's been there, so to speak!

I hope that helps! Let us know what you decide on!

Dan

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ipad with astro softare to show me where everything is:

I have an Iphone with Star walk and pocket universe etc! but these will only give you a general direction and pick out the bright planets and stars, as for DSO's it's a big sky up there, and although they may point you in the right direction it does not mean you will find the object without learning basic star hopping and a general knowledge of the night sky. Binoculars are great for learning the basic night sky :-)

Ray

Edited by RayGil
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ipad with astro softare to show me where everything is:

I have an Iphone with Star walk and pocket universe etc! but these will only give you a general direction and pick out the bright planets and stars, as for DSO's it's a big sky up there, and although they may point you in the right direction it does not mean you will find the object without learning basic star hopping and a general knowledge of the night sky. Binoculars are great for learning the basic night sky :-)

Ray

The pad is there as my reference book if you like (Star Walk and Redshift), i managed to find a very faint andromeda using the ipad and my canon 400D DSLR, I also have a netbook runnning stallarium and something else i cant remeber right now.....that learning curve is stretching out and heading upwards really quickly the more i look into all this

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