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Steve_meg

Help choosing telescope

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I'm new here and looking for advice.

i have been looking for a telescope but am unsure which one to buy. I would like a goto telescope firstly, and have around £250-280 budget.

I liked the look of the skywatcher 70mm which i saw for 199, and the Meade DS2080 LNT 80mm 244.99. However after a long search I also found the skyhawk 1145p 249.99 and ETX 80 Bbservatory special edition 269.99.

can anyone help with a few things? Firstly is there a big difference between the skyhawk and skywatcher? secondly what exactly is the differance between the to meade telescopes, and which is better?

Thirdly which is the best out of the four?

also if anyone could recommend any better telescopes or cheaper places to buy these i would appreciate it.

thanks

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On that budget, this is the one to get:

Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130P SynScan AZ GOTO

- it's the telescope that many people on SGL got started with - but (as in the other replies in this thread below) - people generally get the "tracking" version rather than the full "goto" - on a tight budget it's best to spend the money on optics rather than the goto computer (as others say too, below).

PS Avoid anything from Meade that begins "DS" in its model number.

Edited by great_bear

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I'm new here and looking for advice.

i have been looking for a telescope but am unsure which one to buy. I would like a goto telescope firstly, and have around £250-280 budget.

I liked the look of the skywatcher 70mm which i saw for 199, and the Meade DS2080 LNT 80mm 244.99. However after a long search I also found the skyhawk 1145p 249.99 and ETX 80 Bbservatory special edition 269.99.

can anyone help with a few things? Firstly is there a big difference between the skyhawk and skywatcher? secondly what exactly is the differance between the to meade telescopes, and which is better?

Thirdly which is the best out of the four?

also if anyone could recommend any better telescopes or cheaper places to buy these i would appreciate it.

thanks

you're probably better off not getting a goto, the fun is in the chase, it doesnt take long to get to know a few constelations, www.stellarium is awesome too and is a massive help for us noobs, you should be able to get an 8" dob for the money. just IMO.

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In astronomical telescopes aperture matters and 70/80mm are very small instrumets with poor light grasp. Double the aperture and quadruple the light grasp.

The biggest scopes that come within, or nearly within, your budget are these;

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

A Dobsonian is a Newtonian reflector on a simple but very, very effective mount. They are gadget free (so don't break down or drive you to exasperation when they won't do what they are meant to do!) All your money goes into the optics, which is what it is all about. Not only that, the setup time is as long as it takes you to put the telescope on a flat surface. Seconds. You do not have to align them to the pole star and they move in an intuitive way. The mounts are excellent for not vibrating as well.

On a tight budget, buy optics not electronics.

Olly

ollypenrice's Photos

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Some good advice from above.

I have a...

Skywatcher Explorer 150P EQ3-2 with GOTO

also a...

Skywatcher Skyliner 200P FlexTube AUTO

and finally a...

Skywatcher Skymax 102 SynScan AZ GOTO

Though the first two scopes give better results, I use the Skymax 102 the most because it's the easiest to set up and use. I leave it set up and just pick it up and trot into the garden when the clouds clear. For every one time I might use the first two I use use the 102 twenty times. It's extremely portable so gets used the most. :hello2:

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The biggest scopes that come within, or nearly within, your budget are these;

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 150P Dobsonian

Dobsonians - Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

A Dobsonian is a Newtonian reflector on a simple but very, very effective mount. They are gadget free (so don't break down or drive you to exasperation when they won't do what they are meant to do!) All your money goes into the optics, which is what it is all about. Not only that, the setup time is as long as it takes you to put the telescope on a flat surface. Seconds. You do not have to align them to the pole star and they move in an intuitive way. The mounts are excellent for not vibrating as well.

I agree with Olly here, I also wanted a goto scope, but went for a Dobsonian in the end, I'm so glad I did.

Here's my write up of it:*http://stargazerslounge.com/equipment-reviews/132996-skywatcher-skyliner-200p-8-dob.html

The fun is in finding objects yourself & this is easy with a Dob.

Ed

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you're probably better off not getting a goto, the fun is in the chase,

No, the fun is in seeing things.

Otherwise we would be happy with constant cloud cover.

The Meade DS range are their single arm range, which was never what they did, so I suspect a tie up with Skywatcher/Celestron somewhere. Especially as the whole arm arrangement bears a lot of resemblance.

The ETX 80 is one of their fork mounted scopes. The 80 is a small short focus refractor.

If the scope itself is a reflector then at some time you will need to collimate it. Not an impossible task but is usually approached with trepidition at the first go.

Which is best?

Well at this time and going by the many screams of anguish from Skywatcher owners on this site the Meade's would have to win. Equally some years back everyone was complaining of Meade's. So you take your choice. It would seem that present day Quality from Synta leaves something to be desired. Synta own Skywatcher and Celestron.

As I have 2 Meades then I tend to favour them, but I am familiar with Meades so biased towards them a bit. Had the smallest for 10+ years and it is going fine.

Do you get a bigger scope if you get a Dob, well yes of course. Do you really expect the makers to give away the computer system and the motors free of charge? Go look at the price difference between a basic dob and a goto dob.

By the way the Dob bit is just the base, the scope itself is a newtonian reflector.

Whatever scope you get others will have advantages, they will also have disadvantages.

Dobs are fully manual, if you cannot point it then you see nothing.

Goto's need power and alignment.

Equitorial mounts need polar aligning.

Reflectors need collimating.

Refractors are costly for their size.

Where about are you as I would suggest a visit to a local club when they have a viewing night. That way you can look at the various options on display.

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Just to give you some more options for your consideration.

You can always buy a better scope and tripod first, then add goto later when funds allow. Though not necessary, it's just nice to have goto but adds weight/complexity, and needs either a heavy lead-acid battery or small rechargeables for the smaller goto scopes.

In the end it boils down to what is more important to you. I stared off looking for the best image I could get but settled for ease of use for day to day viewing.

A 6" reflector on EQ3-2 mount will give very good results but you wouldn't want to carry it too far and needs a bit of setting up with or without goto.

An 8" Dob can be picked up and carried out to the garden on a whim if the conditions are favourable for stargazing. Some let you add tracking or goto later if you want.

A smaller Newtonian or Maksutov with goto mount gives you portability and is ready to go in a few minutes, but lose out on image quality.

Options options...

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Let me chuck my hat in the ring here even though i am still learning

Not a complete novice i must add, 3nd scope in 10 years (previous 6in DOB, Meade 125ETX) but still a little lost..... the Explorer 150P was my preferredl choice and i am very happy with it, in my option for the beginner this is a massive scope for the money, once up and in the garden you will know where your money has gone, you will be shocked just how big it actually is with the mouth fully extended. The EQ mount is an interesting experience to put together and set up I can tell you, especially if you dare to put some dual axis motors on straight from the get go (i chickened out).

I think if this was my first scope i would be thinking what have i got myself into i wish i had gone for something simple on an Az mount with a goto but when all said and done the fun of finding stuff is definatly in the scanning of the skies (motor/manually) goto's are great but they take the fun out of it in my opinion.

For you I say get the most appeture you can which maybe a dob just remember if you expect to show people what you can see they need to be in the garden with you, if they are like my family you will have to drag then out from the warm inside by which time without motors the object will be gone or maybe get a DSLR camera mount and take some snap shots.

I hope you find something you like but i doubt i have been any real help :hello2:

:hello2:

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goto's are great but they take the fun out of it in my opinion.

You don't have to have it turned on all the time.

- you use it when you need it - it's not compulsory :hello2:

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Thanks for everyones replies so far, made me think that for the money i might be better going for the dobsonian as I feel a better view is more important to me. the skywatcher 200p looks really good, however I also looked at the 300p.

The 300- is 200 more expensive, is it worth paying the extra? my fience, who i will be stargazing with, said we might aswell pay more so we can see more. but im a bit worried the 300 would be to hard to use for a begginer?

i take it by most of the replies the skywatcher range is the best vaule for money?

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I've just seen the inbetween 250p, which doesnt seem that different than the 300p

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2" can make a big difference teasing out details and structure in faint objects. But you need a fair bit of experience to appreciate the differences. For a newbie I would say either scope is more than enough.

If you go for the 300 though make sure you're comfy lifting it - it split mine in two bits (tube and base) and it's about as much as I'd want to lift from house to car. You also need somewhere to store it unobtrusively - especially if living with an ocd partner lol :hello2:

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If you are considering the large Dobs have a look at this thread to give you a good idea of size.

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Yes, a 300mm scope is a big scope and you should see them in the flesh first.

Can you get along to an astronomical society? Let us know where you are and someone will know what's nearest.

Olly

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Right I think i have kind of decided one which one to go for! Well its between two, either a Skywatcher 250 px flex tube dobsonain or the meade lightbridge 10". I'm just not sure which is better?

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Sorry for yet another question. I am just about to order my scope, SW250p solid tube, but bit unclear about what i need to buy to collimate it? it the chesire kit from first light optics all I need?

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I'd go with the Skywatcher. I've owned a Meade Lightbridge 12" and while it was a good scope, it needed quite a lot of tinkering out of the box to make it work well. You would need a light shroud as well as the Meade is a truss tube design.

I feel the cheshire collimation eyepiece is better than a low cost laser collimator but have a look at Astro-Baby's guide to collimation as well:

Astro Babys Guide to Collimation

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Jahmanson thanks again for you advice, I have just order the skywatcher 250 solid tube dob. I got the cheshire collimation eyepiece and a moon filter. cant wait for it to arrive!

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Congrats - it's a lot of scope for the money.

Of course, because a Dob is basically a Newtonian reflector you can always purchase an equitorial mount (with or without goto) at some point and mount your tube on that. A suitable mount would really open up astrophotography if that's the way you want to go...

Course, none of the scopes mentioned on this thread can do what I need... peer through cloud!

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Hi Steve, congrats on your new scope, Iam sure you will be very happy with it when you get it. :D

Since you are now a proud Dob owner, pop over to the Dob Users Group, Community then Social groups, and see what you think.

Edited by BAZ Senior

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Hi Steve,

Well done on your new scope.

I'm sure you're in for loads of fun.

Don't forget to give us a first light report.

All you need now is the cloud to clear :D

Enjoy.

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